Moving but not Leaving…

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December 19th, 2012. On that day, I will have lived in India for 3 years, 1 month and 28 days.

It also marks the first day of our new lives in the US.

Yes, we are moving to the US. No, we don’t know for how long…potentially indefinitely.

I am excited and happy to be arriving in time to spend Christmas with my family after many years absence. I’m looking forward to meeting up with friends whom I haven’t seen in years.But….India. Incredible India. Really, I’ve sat here since we made this decision to move back to the US and all I can think about are the things that we will have to leave behind. Our friends. Our neighbors. The dogs. The food. The culture. The people.

But most of all…our family. They have given me so much. Anything and everything that I could want or ever hope for…our family here in India has provided. I will miss them above all.

I know that family and friends are still yours no matter where you go in this life. I am not leaving them so much as moving forward towards our next part in this life. But still…I’ll miss them.

And who knows what the future may hold…India and I will never be done. She has gotten into my heart and soul and will forever be a piece of who I am.

India has made me into a better friend, family member, wife, citizen and human being.

Incredible India. Yes…that fits.

DH and I will be flying out of India on the night of the 18th and arriving in the afternoon of the 19th. Yes…we are travelling in time. 😉

So that means, from today I have exactly 14 packing days to go. That means very little time for online activities.

I know…I know…I’ve been quiet for a while anyway. But I had a good reason. It’s called “Going through the extremely torturous US Immigration Visa Process”.

I promise to fill you all in the moment I get a chance.

And no…I won’t be closing this blog nor while I stop writing about India and my Intercultural Relationship. Mainly because neither are leaving my life, they’ll still be there.

There are still a lot of things that I need to tell you about, stories that I need to share, opinions that need expressing, vents that need venting.

But it will take some time to wrap up our lives here, to travel and then to settle into the US.

I promise though…I’ll document it and share it.

Till we meet again!

Sincerely and with so much Love….

Gori Rajkumari

 

© 2012 Gori Rajkumari

 

What Not to Bring…

Recently I did a piece on what you should know before moving to India.

It mostly dealt with what to look for when finding the right place to live and some pieces of advice that I wish I had gotten when I moved but never knew to ask.

Today we’re going to touch on another topic, but this is the reverse. Not what to bring with you but rather what NOT to bring.

CLOTHES:

You think I’m joking? I’m really not.

Sure, bring some of your favorite pieces or at least a week’s worth of change. But otherwise don’t bring anything more than that.

Why?

Well, for one, it’s really easy to find western wear clothes here and for really cheap. And secondly (probably most importantly) you’ll find you feel more comfortable wearing cotton clothes bought here. I’m talking heat/humidity here people. It’s horrid. It’s nearly year round. The light cotton kurta’s and kameez are so much more comfortable and airy then our heavier cotton clothes sold in the US.

The other side of the coin is that you’ll feel less “judged” if you go out for a shopping trip in some Indian pieces or a full Salwar Kameez. It’s just that simple. Yes, plenty of girls here wear jeans and tops. But you are going to be a firangi and you’ll be judged by Aunties for those same clothes, so just to save some sanity and have a judgmental free shopping trip, occasionally wear Indian clothes.

Bring ALL of your unmentionables. Trust me. I’ve found them here and don’t like them. I always replenish when I’m back in the states for this.

Leave the hose. I can’t think of anytime I would want to wear those here and not feel like I’m dying from heat.

DO BRING a few winter items as most places in India do have a “winter” although it’s milder in some areas and actually get’s snow in others. Depending on where you go is how much you should bring. I brought three days of winter clothes changes and I think I’ve worn one of my sweaters twice the three years I’ve been here. One of those times I was sick with a fever and feeling cold. ::shrugs::

SHOES:

Yes, I just said don’t bring all your shoes. Yes, I do know that is sacrilegious and totally against girl code.

But let me tell you, after crying over my ruined, moldy little pretties, I’ve decided it wasn’t worth the money to ship them here.

The roads were not made for walking in heels here. There aren’t really sidewalks like you have in the states. Bring a few favorite pairs if you must but be ready for them to get scuffed or the heel to break. Much wiser to bring just any sandals you have, a good pair of tennis shoes and then buy all new pretties suitable for walking in India.

Did I mention the mold? ::shudder::

SOME ELECTRONICS:

I’m not saying you won’t need your hair dryer here or that you can’t use your blender. What I am saying is that to use them here, you’ll have to buy a current converter and there is nothing more a pain in the patootie then having to plug those things in everywhere. You can get all that stuff here.

Except maybe some game consoles…X-Box JUST came out here AND if you get the Asia release console you cannot play your US release games (in most cases). So I suggest at least bringing that. You can get the plug changed and then buy a converter box that’s the size of a small shoe box but required.

DO NOT try to use the normal plug converter unless you want blow up your power box. (Been there….done that).

Basically, most things for the home and your personal care can be purchased here. Unless you plan on moving here and never ever-moving back, my suggestion would be to NOT ship your antiques or Grandmother’s china.

I made the mistake of shipping some of that. One important piece was broken. The rest is fine, but when we move back I’m going to lose it trying to be ABSOLUTELY SURE that this time nothing get’s broken.

I wish I would have stored these items at my parent’s house or a storage center near a family member who could check it and make the payments for me.

SUMMATION:

The next few months will be me doing inventory and preparing to pack for our move back. As I do this, I’ll come across more things that will make me think “Why on earth did I bring this???” and when I do, I’ll write an update.

I hope this helps you!

© 2012 GoriRajkumari. All Rights Reserved.

Wipro and Educational Initiatives Study shows troubling trend.

No man is an island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. ~John Donne

Literary education is of no value, if it is not able to build up a sound character. Mahatma Gandhi

All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.  I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

I read an article in yesterday’s Pune Mirror which was troubling to say the least. You can find the piece here: “…if these are the prejudices young minds nurture.”

According to a recent study by Wipro and Educational Initiatives, Indian children are becoming more at risk for prejudices which could greatly reduce India’s ability to move forward as a whole Community. Approximately 23,000 children from Stds IV, VI and VIII from 89 schools across the country were surveyed and the results are staggering.

Simply put, our youth is demonstrating traits like gender bias, cultural and religious intolerance, and civic irresponsibility. So what were the findings?

 

Disagreements: About 30% of children surveyed said that they wanted to have the last word in an argument, felt uncomfortable with opposing points of view. Another 30% said they were aggressive when arguing, saw no problems with this behavior and did not feel it affected others.

Girl Students: Approximately 40 – 43% of students surveyed felt that education for girls was not as important as her responsibility towards the family.  About 15% of STD VIII felt that girl children were a burden to their family. For STD IV children most felt that both boys and girls were equally capable.

Immigrants: Nearly 60% of students were unwilling to accept ‘outsiders’ from other states as they felt these people do not conform to local traditions, steal away jobs and are a source of communal disagreements.

Disabled:  As many as 70 – 80% of students across the different class levels feel that the disabled are burdensome, unhappy and not good at studies. Although older students were more inclined to accept these kinds of students. There also was a shocking lack of knowledge about HIV.

Slow Starters: It was found that until STD VIII, Indian students are below the International standards. It was noted that students learn by rote  and this was why it wasn’t until later that most students began answering questions correctly.

Civic Sense: Younger students seem to have a better rate for civic responsibility than older students. It was found that as a child get’s older, they tend to have less personal responsibility and will repeat undesirable deeds that they see other’s performing.  Most troubling was that 67%  of students feel that it is OK not to consider another persons inconvenience if it’s not done often, if the other person does not complain or if no perceived laws are broken.

But, perhaps most troubling of all (for me personally) was a quote at the end of the piece by a Parent.

Parents cannot be blamed for everything going wrong in society. It is the friends’ circle and those are who committing violence who are disturbing children. 

I found this statement most telling of all and likely to explain the problems our children face. If she cannot even recognize that it is the duty of every parent to make sure that not only THEIR child is behaving but also their friends then what is our Country coming to? When one adult is too afraid to tell any child when something they are doing in a public space is wrong, that child will only have the experiences of his/her parent who may have no problems with the bad behavior or may exhibit themselves.

Not too long ago, Bear told some children in our complex to stop hitting cars with sticks and cricket bats. When he asked where they lived, they lied to him. So, he gained the assistance of a guard who knew the boys and had also attempted to get them to stop this behavior (later learned that he always had these issues with these two young men) and he accompanied us and the boys to their homes. Bear and the Guard tried to tell the Mother of one of the boys what had happened and that he had asked them to stop and that they lied about who they were. Her response? “Who are you to tell my child what to do? My child can play outside! My child does not lie! You go now!”

Those boys continue to be a nuisance here in this complex….except when they see Bear or myself outside. Then they behave.

Why? Because they know they cannot get away with that kind of behavior in front of us. But what of the parent? What of other adults outside who blithely walk past or sit and watch? Don’t they care where our youth are heading with this kind of behavior? Don’t they understand that we are a community bound together and will someday have to rely on the future generations?

Is it not all our duty to help make sure that our children understand their roles within our community and Country?

What are you thoughts on this? Should we only take care of our “own” or watch out for all others?

©  2012 Gori Rajkumari

Medical Mask a Must!

What to Wear while in India?

A lot has been written about what to wear or not wear while visiting in India.

Quite obviously, you wouldn’t wear your finest “Walmart People” outfit when visiting in India (see the link for excellent albeit scary examples).

However, one thing that I almost never seen anyone suggest wearing is the medical mask.

Available at any Medical Shop

Why do I suggest it?

Here are some very simple reasons:

1)      Pollution: India’s pollution rate is very high and air quality is no exception to this. Air pollution is a huge problem due to biomass and wood burning, vehicle emissions, construction “dust” and naturally occurring (earth) dust.

2)      Illness: While India’s infrastructure is struggling to meet the needs of the masses, air borne diseases are rampant. Without having grown up with immunity to India viruses, you’re likely to catch it.

When visiting India’s more populated areas, it’s important to remember that if you’re visiting you are not going to be used to the air quality that a city in India will offer.

Wearing a medical mask when out for long periods or in crowded environments or travelling on busy roadways will help you to stay healthy and enjoy your visit.

It may look silly or be hot, but trust me…its well worth the effort. And you’ll enjoy your stay a lot more!

You can buy medical masks at practically any medical shop in India at a very cheap rate (we bought bulk last time for 100 rupees and I still haven’t worn them all).

So next time you head out, don’t forget that the mask might be a fashion faux pas….but when you are NOT sick later you really will NOT care! 🙂

©  2012 Gori Rajkumari

 

Chicken Noodle Soup

I mentioned in my Holi post that we had an illness in the GoriRajkumari household but failed to mention the following…

  1. It was me…sick…again.
  2. Gastroenteritis SUCKS the big one.
  3. There isn’t a Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup to be had anywhere near us. Not one.

You know, when you’re sick, all you want to do is eat the foods you find comforting. For me it’s Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup, Saltine crackers, Jello (red…uhm…flavor?) and Sprite.

Sprite can be found here and I use Marie biscuits to substitute for the Saltine but the soup is hard to come by.

However! Bear has found an excellent substitute which, in my honest opinion, is 100% better than any Campbell’s CNS I ever remember eating!

What is it?

Maggie.

Yep! Maggie Soups are awesome! Way better than even Knorr which you can find here in India!

My favorite is Maggie Creamy Chicken. It’s delicious and warm and very comforting. Also good on a not so happy stomach.

So give Maggie a try! It’s not just masala noodles anymore!

 

© GoriRajkumari 2012

 

Comedy Central has made it to India!

 

Got Tata Sky? Then check for channel 218! That’s right! You’ve got Comedy Central!

It’s finally arrived in India!

24 Hours just chock full of 30 Rock, ‘Allo ‘Allo!, Fawlty Towers, Goodness Gracious Me, Hope & Faith, Happily Divorced, Popcorn TV, Punk’d, Reno 911!, Saturday Night Live, Seinfeld, South Park, That ’70s Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Kumars at No. 42, The Office, The Wonder Years, and Yo Momma!!

I’ve even seen some signs that they might be adding *Mash! Oh frabulous day!

The hardest parts? That every 5 words out of Eric Cartman’s mouth are *silenced* out and that they put that silly Comedy Central logo over Kitty’s face when she smokes because Red’s mother is coming to visit.

The Best part? Duh! The Daily Show with Jon Stewart!!!

Otherwise, its pure fun and I’m super happy to have yet another channel to enjoy!

© 2012 Gori Rajkumari