Languages

So its been quite some time that I’ve shifted to India from U.A.E. and I’m still having trouble settling in. Its not as easy as we thought it was and time by time my mom will say, “Let’s just go back to U.A.E. now. This place is getting out of my hands.” If my mom is saying that, then you can understand I guess how much difficulty we are having staying here!

There are the obvious things we are having trouble adapting to like the changed environment, lifestyle, mosquitoes etc. But one of my personal difficulty is language. So I thought that today might be a good day to elaborate on that. Let’s get to it now shall we?

When I was 8 months old my parents took me to this wonderful country called U.A.E. and well, I’ve spent my entire childhood there and also most of my teenage years. So I’m brought up in an environment with diverse cultures and different languages speaking people. So the language that was given most importance to me was English because it helps me to converse with any type of people. And then at home I was taught the language that comes from the place I belong. But in school I was taught India’s national language – Hindi. Somehow that last part is what people here forget.

Over there when I was to converse with anyone, it’d be English, with elderly people its Hindi and then sometimes at home the language of my state. So I know all the languages. But most of the people here think I don’t know Hindi. They think I can’t even understand it! I know I talk a lot in English, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know Hindi. I can very well talk so. And also understand.

Quite a while back one person cracked a joke in Hindi. It was funny and since everyone was laughing, they din’t hear me laughing. And then one person asked me, “You understood right? Want me to explain what was being said right now?” I got really furious because this happening way too much with me. I said, “You know what? I’ve learnt Hindi for 10 years. I’ve aced my Hindi exams and was the one who represented my class for Hindi speeches and reading competitions. Do you really think I don’t understand Hindi?” And she replied, “I thought you don’t know because you’re from Dubai!”

One of my neighbors likes to show off a lot. So whenever she speaks to me she speaks in English and her English isn’t very good. One day by mistake she spoke to me in Hindi and I replied in Hindi and she says to me, ” You know Hindi? Wow. I din’t know! Did you learn it now when you are here?” I replied, “No aunty. I know Hindi quite well. So can speak from a very long time.” She then said, “Oh my! You’re from Dubai right? So how can you know Hindi?”

This is exactly how I react to everyone with all these assumptions that I don’t know Hindi. Reaction in my mind at least….

Just because I don’t speak in Hindi more often, doesn’t mean I don’t KNOW Hindi. Just because I spent my growing years in a foreign country, doesn’t mean I don’t know my national language. Do you all really think that because my parents brought me up in a country other than my native one, I don’t know the language of my country and don’t know my traditions? (Yes, they think that too. They think I celebrate American traditions. How is America and U.A.E. related? They’re not even in the same continent!!) Its getting kind of offensive towards me, and I can’t tolerate that.

I wonder why these people don’t assume the same thing about my mom though….

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Surprise Surprise!

So on Friday my friends in U.A.E. organised a surprise birthday party for my close friend. When I was talking to Nerd Enchanted about it, the event triggered a lot of memories of mine regarding surprise parties. And so here I am blogging about all my memories.

The series of ‘surprise parties’ started in April 2012, and I was the first um, victim? (I don’t know what to call myself).
So it was a Monday (yes I remember all the details) when a close friend of mine called me up in the afternoon. She asked if I would be able to join her for a trip to a nearby park on Thursday. I said yes, but I was wondering why all of a sudden she wanted to go to the park! We don’t go a lot to parks you see?
Everything was okay till Wednesday. In the evening I was watching TV when the phone rang. I saw that it was a friend of mine who was calling so I picked up. And as soon as I said hello she said, ‘Is your mom there? I want to speak to her.’ Without any questions I gave the phone to my mother but was really surprised. Why would she want to talk to my MOTHER? My mom spoke to her and gave the phone to me again. When I spoke to her she said, ‘Ask your mom.’ I asked my mom and she told me that she asked for permission to give me a send-off party on the next Thursday. This really got me suspicious.
So that night I saw a dream (like I do every single night). In the dream, I saw that I was in the park with my friend. Nothing strange until I saw my whole school bus group seated right next to me! I immediately woke up shocked and wondering why I saw such a dream. You see, I get a lot of prophetic dreams. I’ll tell you about them some other day maybe. 😉
The next day I was walking with my friend to the park and was telling her about my other friend’s phone call. She din’t respond and normally she responds to such stuff. Now I was quite sure that my dream is gonna come true. I went to the park and from behind a tree all my friends jumped up infront and yelled ‘SURPRISE’. Well it wasn’t a surprise, but still I was the happiest person on the planet that day!

So from there on, surprise parties are held for the birthday girl. It is so common that the birthday girl expects a ‘surprise birthday party’ on birthday. It is so unpredictable you see?

After this I was part of my friend’s surprise party on Halloween last year. The most hilarious part was the cake! I have this extremely blonde and childish friend who had taken up the responsibility for the cake. She did get cake, but forgot a knife. Now how will the birthday girl cut her own cake? More importantly how will we eat the cake? Seeing no other way around it, someone suggested that she should cut the cake with a plastic fork and that we eat it using plastic forks. And 5 minutes after, everyone destroying the cake with their respective plastic forks!!

After that I came to India. So all the ‘surprise party’ stories were conveyed to me by my friends via Facebook messaging. One party wasn’t a surprise because she realised it while the other party was a surprise until the other girls came late which made the birthday girl confirm her slowly increasing suspicions!

The party on Friday marked the very first success story of a surprise party, because it really was a surprise. The plan was perfect and it blowed the birthday girl’s mind!

All these events might just be a memory for me, and to know about the other parties I’ll have to rely on the Internet but it still makes me so happy! On Friday when I got to know about the success, even though I wasn’t there I was still so happy. Obviously my friends don’t know how I actually feel because I din’t tell them! Oh wait they might know now if they read this.
Lets hope I make new and wonderful memories here as well!

A very traumatizing two weeks

2 weeks ago, we Hindus celebrated a festival. When my family and I lived in U.A.E. we celebrated it on a small scale due to the restrictions there. Well, actually the festival isn’t as important to us as it is to the others so even here it wasn’t very grand.
Now when I came here I knew that this festival has a huge importance here in Mumbai. So I knew the celebration will also be grand. I was looking forward to see this celebration. Its an opportunity I din’t want to miss.

So the festival started on Monday (9th September). The building I live in decided to celebrate it as well, and I was quite happy. The entire building was decorated with lights. The place where the statue of God was kept looked so pretty! I was really happy that finally I’m able to be a part of this festival.

It was the third day of the festival. I was eating my snacks in the evening when I heard a blast outside. Extremely scared, I peeped out of my window. Thankfully it wasn’t a bomb blast like I thought it was, but it was the crackers that someone decided to burst. I thought, ‘Okay. So now in sometime they’ll burst some more. Its just a little so its definitely fine.’ Well to my horror once the crackers started bursting, there was no stopping them! I hate loud noise. This, was something that’s not classified as loud by me. The sounds were just…..bad.

Then arrived the fifth day. Now the fifth day is very important for most of them because that is generally the day most people end the festival. My building also decided to end it on that very day. Already knowing the fate of my ears, I told my mother that I refuse to join the journey in which we have to disperse the statue in the pond/river/sea. If from the 13th floor my condition is such, then I can’t even imagine the horror when I’m near the people! But my mother forced me and well, I had no other option.

My friend and I decided to be at the end of the crowd so that we could escape from all the drama the people were doing in the front. We weren’t a part of it even after all the forcing but we were able to see what was going on and my, was it bad!

That picture is the most appropriate description of their ‘dance’ which also included throwing artificial colour powders on each other. In the picture atleast some of their movements can be somehow classified as dance, but calling the movements these people from my building were performing as so, would be a disgrace to actual dance.

Suffering through a headache and thinking that I’m gonna be deaf soon, we decided to go back home halfway. For the next two days, the entire scene became a nightmare to me. I have never witnessed something so bad to the eyes as well as the ears!

Then arrived the 10th and final day.  This is the day when the huge statues are dispersed. Normally the size people keep at homes can be carried by both your hands using all your energy, but these are 10 times bigger so you need to take them in trucks! The condition of the place is so bad, that they just declared a holiday for everyone! Now since the statue is big, the celebration is also big. 10 times the crackers, 10 times the shouting and screaming & 50 times the pollution. But that isn’t enough for these people. They started playing songs at the highest volume level ever made by man and I thought my windows were gonna break!

Finally all of this got over, and there cannot be anyone who’s happier than me. I regret wishing to be a part of all this noise and commotion. My suffering had just increased to another level. Now I have to get ready for more. I think its high time I buy noise – cancellation headphones!

Global Warming At Its Best

What happens when the monsoon season is going on in a country? Of course it rains. But the past few days have been turning this belief around. Or atleast mine.

During the last 2 weeks, the rains have been incessant here. Most of the low-lying areas were flooded and movement from one place to another wasn’t possible. This isn’t something uncommon here. That’s the state of my native country every year when it rains.

Being me, I hate rain. I can’t pigeonhole a specific reason for that, but the main reason I guess would be because I’m hydrophobic. Another main reason could be because once you get wet, you’ll end up being sick. And I hate being sick as it makes me very bitter.

Now I’m not used to this weather, as I was brought up in U.A.E. Now as you know, U.A.E. is a desert, so you don’t expect rain there. So I was really happy there and obviously my friends weren’t. But things changed here, I’m the one gloomy and my friends want to be in my position and ‘enjoy’ the rain!

It rained incessantly here as I mentioned before, and the roads were a mess. It just rained so much, that even grocery shopping wasn’t possible. My mom everyday said, ‘I’ll go shopping tomorrow. Maybe the rains will calm down’. While the rains started to look really upset with us and started flooding the place even more, my dad was forced to buy grocery when he came back from work everyday. This scene of my dad bringing 2 bags of vegetables and fruits everyday made my laugh my heart out.

Everyone here was just wishing the rains would stop for a while, and the sun would bless us with its rays.

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My friends and family in U.A.E. have been telling us the condition there. The record – breaking heat has been melting every human like a Popsicle.  Air Conditioners are always switched on, and going out somewhere requires a lot of thinking and planning. Well the only place where no one needs to think before going is the mall.

They were wishing for the rain clouds to show them mercy and relief them all from the heat with a shower or two. Well, they still are wishing I guess.

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I know you must be thinking why did I mention this and not write anything related to the title of the post. Well, now I will write about it.

So 4 days back, the weather Gods decided to grant our wishes. That is NOT something you are granted every year. I mean in the first place, they can even hear us?

From the past 4 days, the sun has been shining extremely brightly here. All the roads have cleared up, and signs of water anywhere nearby is quite rare. Its like the sun bullied the rain clouds and told them to show up only once in a while, as it drizzled today. But anyways, everyone here is extremely happy with this sudden change of weather and obviously everyone is enjoying it too. It feels like Summer here.

4 days back I saw a status on Facebook that said it rained in U.A.E. I thought it was one of those pranks that people pull up out of nowhere, But then the status was bombarded with comments agreeing with the person. I asked my friend and she said it is true. Even on Monday it rained a bit there. It might not be the conventional rain, but all the people did get a huge relief from the ever-shining-so-bright sun. The rain clouds bullied the sun there.

So this is the effect of Global Warming on us. I only studied the effects of this phenomenon in Science class, and for the first time experienced it. And this time it did something good for both the countries.

P.S. – I know there must be something even more deeper than Global Warming that caused this, but right now I’m not interested in knowing about it. Maybe some other time we can discuss that.