Friday, April 3, 2009

Blabber Trigger: What I miss most about India

Everyone has it.. the blabber trigger. You can call it different names.. and you can like it or dislike it, you can even try denying you have it, but its a fact.. everyone has a blabber trigger. A blabber trigger is basically a trigger that sets you blabbering. Sometimes people like the blabbering, sometimes they don't. Depends on who you are. If you are Shakespeare, you will make history, if you are me.. well lets just say you will not have any interesting company till the time your trigger is active.

Well, its kinda dangerous to change your blabber trigger to your blogger trigger, but then blogs have the convenience that you can press Alt+F4 and you do not have to tolerate the blabber any more, so I will proceed to blog about my blabber trigger(s). I still dont know all of them.... I have identified some by the way my friends roll their eyes and sigh when I talk about certain things, but havent nailed them all.

One of the things that typically get me going on an obsessive rant is what I miss about India. I am not exactly the most patriotic person in the world, but this is something close to my heart because even after 1.5 years outside, there are still a lot of things I havent come to terms with. So here are the things I miss about India, more specifically about my past life:

1. Home: I miss home the most. I left home when I was seventeen and have lived in hostels and rented apartments since, but home was always just 2 hours of flight time away (in student days it was more measurable as a 500 rupees train fare). I could always go home whenever I wished. When I was sad, when I was happy, when there was some celebration, or a pooja, when I broke up with my girl or just for moms, dads or my own birthday. It just meant bunking a few days of class, or using up a few days of leave at work. Now I am on a different continent and it takes 14 hours of flight time and some good amount of money to go home. I talk to my parents over phone/net more often than I did when I was in India, and I wish I could talk more. By home I also mean, my sis, my nephew, my cousins, my close friends. And the only reason I can survive here is because I know that soon I will go back, and be close to everyone again. And I would have learnt to cherish them much more than before I travelled abroad.

2. Food: I am a typical foodie and the biggest fear of my life is that I will grow fat and not be able to impulsively go to a restaurant and hog. Thankfully that day is still a bit far off in the future. I believe in experimenting with food, till date I have tried a few notable cuisines, french, english, spanish, portugese, thai, chinese, mexican, italian, finnish and iranian, however I still like Indian food the most. Specifically north indian food. And I miss north indian food, especially bengali food a LOT. Some of my NRI friends scoff at me and think I am an inferior creature because of this, but what the hell, I am too much of an Indian when it comes to food. Thats what I miss most abroad - Indian food. The chaat, the pav bhaaji, the rawa dosa, the vadas, the egg rolls, the biryani.. I can go on and on. And I know there are some who are wondering why I dont just take a trip to an Indian Restaurant (Indisk Restaurang in Swedish), one of which is a 100mts from my apartment. Well because the food in the Indian restaurant is anything but Indian. I am a horrible cook, but I can still make more authentic Indian food than the Indisk Restaurangs in Stockholm. I miss food so much that I plan my trips to India based on the extreme food urges I have. The last one was for egg rolls, I nearly had one egg roll a day when I was in India! Thank God my best friend has learnt how to make egg rolls in Stockholm, but they arent as good as the unhygenic ones :).

3. Biking: Biking was always my first love. When I was really young and people talked about being successful, I always used to wonder how one defined success. So one day I sat down and defined it, I must have been 10 or 11 then. I decided that to be successful, I needed to have an apartment to myself (rented or owned, who cares), enough money to be able to eat chaat whenever I wanted to, a bike and a girlfriend. The last two were more important than the first two. And I still stick by the logic. When I joined my first job I achieved success as per my pre set standards, but what I was most attached to was my bike. It was my source of sustenance in a city and a life which had given me a lot of hardships. I used to meet my girlfriend maybe once a month (yes, parents of girls in India can be really conservative) and my bike was my companion through all the good and the bad parts of life. It was my first bike... and it gave me company through 4 cities and 5 years of of my life! I miss biking. I miss taking off on a long ride when I am tensed up, I miss treating myself to a fast hair raising scoot when I am happy, or a slow gentle ride when I am thoughtful. I miss the thrill, miss the euphoria of biking.. I would have saved every penny to buy a bike here but in Stockholm, for 8 months in a year its too cold to ride. Damn! I am not a successful man anymore!

4. People: And by this I do not mean the people I know and am close to. These are general people you travel with, see on the streets, walk with in a mall, talk to in a shop. People with brown skin, black hair, black eyes. People who talk loudly, laugh a lot and dont mind bumping into each other. People who would collect and pick up your things if your bag fell on the pavement and everything spilled out. I miss the common quotient that I share with them. People who haven't been here never believe this, but in Stockholm dogs dont bark, cars dont honk and babies dont cry. My European friends mock me about the fact that I miss the noise, but its not the noise that I miss. Its the warmth. Its the familiarity. I think I could live here for 10 years and still not feel fully at home with the blonde hair and the blue eyes. And yes, my NRI friends scoff at me for this too, so much that I will post a full blog about my NRI friends soon :).

5. Weather: You always take the weather for granted in India. It can be really sunny, or hot, or humid, sometimes cold, but we always take it for granted. The weather is like traffic, everyone thinks that their city has the worst of it (with the exception of Bangalore, they have the best weather and the worst traffic, and nobody argues about THAT). But even the chilliest of winters in Delhi, the hottest of days in Nagpur and the most humid day in Kolkata (and I have lived for years in all 3 cities) are no match to the extremities of the weather here. And here though the temperatures dip to minus eleven, sometimes minus fifteen, I never find that as a problem. Its the sunlight, it kills to live 6 months in darkness. I miss the sunlight in India, 12 months a year. And I promise that I will never take sunlight for granted. It was indeed a big day when He said "Let there be light", just that the message wasnt taken very seriously this side of the earth.

These are the top 5 things I miss the most. There are other things as well.. I miss the festivals of India, I miss going for really cheap buying sprees, I miss Manipal beaches, I miss being able to afford anything and everything, I miss driving around in Manipal.. and Bangalore.. yes I can go on and on...

I have grown to like Stockholm... a lot.. certainly more than I had ever imagined. It has some things that I will perhaps miss a lot and even crave for when someday I return to India for good, and just like every other city I have lived in (there are 7 cities I have lived in), this one too has taught me a lot. However I think I am still a long way from calling Stockholm my "home". But as I have learnt never to say never.. I will wait and watch..

Quote of the Day:
"My home is not a place, it is people."
Lois McMaster Bujold, "Barrayar", 1991


  1. Awwww.... this was so sweet... You should come to US.. sachi mein I call NY home now.. It has most of what i missed when in central US.. I guess my family is the only (but BIG ) missing piece.

  2. Hmmm...You really seem to miss India.. Well, for me, I have a stomach problem so I wouldn't miss the food you've mentioned as they have gone out of my diet and moreover you can always learn to cook those by urself, right? I would miss the weather of Bangalore for sure which I still do but would not definitely miss the noise and loud gossips.. If not Stockholm, US would definitely be a nicer place to live, wat say??