‘Bau Colour Ni Mar.’
After being told my company wasn’t going to extend my contract I literally could not imagine anything worse than being at home and going through the whole process of finding another job! Not only did I quite like my job up in the City but I also met a bunch of people who I had a laugh with so I always considered myself to be lucky.
Going abroad was really not an option at all. All I had was one thing on my mind and that was to find a job. I would have done absolutely anything (within reason) to bag another job like my last. Anyway to cut the long story short my mum forced me like a typical Indian lady to come on a family holiday to India. I thought she had lost the plot but I decided to go ahead with the idea. I think it was when she said, ‘you might not even get to see my parents, what if this is the last time.’ Oh yes, she even pulled that line on me. Emotional blackmail on another level or what! So there I was on the plane, 27th November 2012… not quite sure how I ended up in this situation but quietly thinking to myself, it’s only 2 weeks of my life and then I’ll be back on the job hunt.
India really didn’t faze me even though it had been a good 7 years since my last trip. Random food stalls, cows strolling past and the constant beeping didn’t seem new either. It was more of an, ‘oh I’m here’ feeling – in a good way though.
Streets of Ahmedabad
Does this even need an introduction?
I warmed towards my family members straight away and I couldn’t help but feel enormous love for my grandparents. Ahmedabad turned into home pretty quickly and I bonded with my neighbours well. Knowing Gujarati definitely helped and I was even catching on to the local lingo. ‘Bau colour ni maar’ became my ‘oh whatever’ and people couldn’t help but laugh as it sounded much funnier when it came from me.
Meet my wonderful grandparents 🙂
I became incredibly relaxed and enjoyed the bright sunny days. I even extended my stay twice as I wanted to spend a couple of days in Goa for New Years Eve and again for a family friends wedding in February.
Freshly made utthapam, daar and sambhar for breakfast in Goa
I read a book by Deepak Chopra during my trip – ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success’ and there was a section about living in uncertainty which makes life much more exciting. I felt I was doing just that. It really did not matter what I was doing tomorrow, the day after or next week. I didn’t miss the after work drinking in London or fancy restaurants to make me happy. I was already happy enjoying the present moment life kept on surprising me with which didn’t even compare to my life back in London. I didn’t want to go back to certainty.
Me in Mount Abu
Everyone gathered by sunset point in Mount Abu including this monkey who snatched my packet of crisps.
My most memorable day of all was 14th January, Uttarayan (The Kite Festival). Why did no one tell me in all my life that this was the key celebration that should not be missed in Gujarat? Every single person in Ahmedabad was on the roof terrace flying kites and playing loud Bollywood music on their sound systems. I pretty much had ‘Pani Da Rang’ and ‘Mann Mera’ on repeat that day (songs I had heard in India which always take me back).
Have a listen…
The atmosphere was quite something, even Bas and Dadas were on the roof terrace soaking up the vibe. The sky was covered with kites and every so often someone would shout ‘e lapet! lapet!’ Can I just add I managed to cut three kites that day 🙂 All extended families get together and you really do sense a feel of community and family spirit. At night Ahmedabad looked incredible. Paper lanterns are flown into the sky from all directions along with fireworks exploding every 30 seconds. Magical.
Once you surpass the awkwardness of being a new bee and get over the small chit chat around cultural differences with uncles and the locals, you realise that we are all the same. Humour, desires, anxiety, hope, fear etc is in every human being no matter where you’re from. One time I ended up going to the Chinese food stall and my neighbour was making me laugh so much to the point I couldn’t even speak. I thought moments like this could only be created with my girls back in London.
Ladies gathered for a group picture in a village called Vankaner
Morning routine at 7.30am from my roof terrace.
Watching the Sunrise.
So what should have been a 2 week holiday ended up being almost 3 months of unforgettable memories. To experience the beauty of India just blend in like one of the Indians. Drop the ego. Forget who you are. Fancy titles, social statuses and whatever else. I can guarantee that your experience will be worth a lot more than you ever imagined and you will come back a whole lot richer.