Friday, December 11, 2009

In India soon :)



Hi all,

Apologies if I have not responded to anyone who has written to me and asked me my travel dates--it is pure oversight. Making amends through this blog post, because I know you would read it for sure! :-)

Many of you wanted to meet me and wanted me to sign your copy of the book. I am reaching Mumbai  on 13th(yes! day after tomorrow!)  noon (Hooray!). I would be leaving on 15th. I am meeting Guru and Shru at this lovely place  (thanks to Guru's suggestion) at  Juhu, Mumbai on 14th (December) morning.  If anyone wants to join us, please let Guru or Shru, know. :-)

I would be in Bangalore from  18th to 22nd. A few of us are planning to meet on 20th (December) morning, at Cafe Coffee Day, Indiranagar, 100 feet road. Prashant  (he won the Royal Challengers Contest and is the Chief blogger of RCB), Prats  and  Varun will be there and Gazal  too. If  you want to join us, please let Prashant or Prats know.

I would be having limited Internet access and so there may be delay in responding to comments. I'd be coordinating about time of meeting with Guru & Shru,(In mumbai) and  Prashant & Prats (In Bangalore).


It is about ten months now since I have been away from India. I am so eagerly looking forward to meeting a few very good friends  and also my lovely niece Gia who just turned 3.

I'm coming home and it feels mighty marvellous! 


This is probably my last post for this year.


So here is wishing you a very merry Christmas and a Happy Happy new year! And if I don't see you in Mumbai or Bangalore, I'll see you here in Jan! :-) 

Oh--and one more thing..Thank you so much for the wonderful support I have been getting here. :-)



Cheers
Preeti

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Blue Chrysanthemums (Wordless wednesday no.17)



I stumbled upon this wonderful poem,
I just had to mail it to him.

He slipped away from work at lunch time,
Hiding these blue chrysanthemums
Behind his back.
And he rang the bell.

I laughed in delight
At the unexpected surprise
And he looked at me with a kind of look that comes
Only when love burns with an intense depth

No words were needed
His eyes said it all
But still he said them to me,
"For the most beautiful woman, in my eyes,"

I smiled to hide my bashfulness, my joy
And asked him to have lunch
But my heart had already begun to hum
And it was hard to drown the song.


I still hear the music.
And I smile.
I feel Cherished and loved
The best feeling to have.

© 2009 Preeti Shenoy

For more poems click here. Some poems have already appeared in print. Kindly do not reproduce without permission.


Photo clicked by Atul Shenoy.
Initially was going to post only the photo for Wordless Wednesday. But the flowers and the feelings associated with it were so beautiful that I had to put it in a poem.





Friday, December 04, 2009

The perfect pet




Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A personal note from me to you




What amazing and loyal readers I have! No wonder I keep posting so regularly despite having such a crazily hectic schedule. I also gave my blog a new makeover. It now has all the links right on top, to all the stuff I do, which was missing earlier. I really like the new look and I am sure you will too. The notebook was getting a bit too cluttered and one could not find the tabs. This one is so much simpler, neater and cuter too :-) [New improved like the adverts go] I even managed to fit my 'current mood video' in a tiny box--do listen to it for an instant 'perk me up' feel :-)
So many of you discovered that my blog has been nominated for 'Best personal Blog' by Indibloggies and you wrote to me saying you have already voted for me--even before I asked! I was really surprised by the number of mails I got--A big thank you to all of you who wrote to me and voted for me too.

And if you have been a silent reader it would take you only a minute of your time to make amends. Hold on,Relax! Take a deep breath--I am not asking you to comment :-) You can continue to read silently but please vote for me by clicking here. (and do it right now please) You can scroll down to No.16. You would need to conform your e-mail id and click on the link which is mailed to you and Voila--it is done! It would take you less time to do this, than it takes you to finish reading this post. :-) And you do enjoy reading my blog, don't you? So it is really not too much to ask for. :-)

A writer from Femina is interviewing me and she sent me a few questions mostly about my book. I had completely forgotten about it till she sent me a reminder mail this morning. So you can imagine how I really need to carve time and gather every precious second like digging for diamonds in a mine :-)

The India-visit hormones are working overtime in my system. This is the first time after moving to UK (and it has been 9 months now) that I would be visiting India. (Yes--I will be in India from December 13th to January 2nd) My bedroom is really beginning to resemble a large gift store as I keep buying stuff to give as gifts to my good friends whom I can't wait to meet. I have no idea how I will lug it there and my overworked brain is thinking of amazing solutions like disposable carry cartons.

The children keep asking how many days are left to visit India. I am happy at their eagerness and I push aside the little voice that persistently cheeps saying that their eagerness probably stems up from their desire to eat paani-puri on the roadside rather than any deep patriotism. :-) But hey--as long as they don't lose their Indianness I am happy. (Both have already lost the Indian accents and now talk like Brits when they speak to their friends) They still speak Hindi well, thanks to Bheegi billi and bakwaas bandh kar of 9xM and also all the Hindi movies which a good friend sweetly sent.

My human portraiture course is going really well and I am now able to sketch live models and my pictures are beginning to get better and better.

The month of December has started today and there is such a cold nip in the air! The temperature here this morning was 4 degrees! Despite the cold, it is my favourite month of the year (Of course I was born in December). There are Christmas lights everywhere. There is such mirth and laughter. There is warmth and so much festivity. The whole city is shimmering and a tree measuring 60 feet has been put up in the city centre. Shops are done up marvellously well.

So--this is all the news from my end, folks!

And now I must run to pick up my daughter from her school and see what 'surprise' she has made for me today.

Cheers
Preeti

Addendum:

I must mention a big Thanks to Shantharam Shenoy who helped me so patiently to make the tabs open in new windows!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A special day

Like all men, he thinks his mother is the best cook in the world.
Like all most men he also thinks his mother is the most beautiful woman on this planet.

He loves bikes and cars and can identify a lot of cars as soon as he sees them.

He loves Call of duty and is really good at it.He also likes to play Chess.

He plays Football. He also paints pictures.

He loves to read and has read all the Harry Potter books, all the Roald Dahls, most of the Cornelia Funkes. He loves Paul Jennings too.

He also likes doing Science experiments and he finds Math fun.

He clicks the most amazing photographs. I am almost always, delighted with his pictures. See for yourself--I have put together a small selection of pictures that he has clicked. (His favourite subject in people, is me :-) )




He teases his sister mercilessly and also fights with her but will fly like a lion to her defence if anyone dares mess with her. He is fiercely protective of her and 'watches out' for her.


He brings me so much joy when he is around. He explains eagerly to me about 'cool stuff' and about 'guy stuff' that he thinks I haven't understood. He treats me like a buddy, a pal and even teases me. He can carry me too--he lifts me right off the ground and I squeal and tell him to put me down. :-)

Today is a very special day because he is a very very special person--and birthdays are only as special as the people who have them. He turns 12 today.

Happy Birthday Atul!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jack Sparrow -Acrylic on canvas . Wordless Wednesday No.17


This is the very first time I am using Acrylic in my life!

This is Acrylic on Canvas. Size: 12"x 16" (30.4 cms x 40.6 cms)

ps: Also see current mood video on right (scroll down)
:)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let them live




Like life mocking death
Water droplets on a dead leaf
Once green, proud and vibrant
Now discarded, replaced with no fuss or grief

Reminding you of outgrown relationships
That soared at their peak
No longer possible to retrieve
But just like the droplets, memories seek

A niche to stand out, a place to exist
Tear them not to shreds
Let them live out their old splendour
At least inside your heads.

© 2009 Preeti Shenoy

For more poems click here. Some poems have already appeared in print.



Yesterday I saw this leaf lying on the side of the road and it made me want to click this photo.(Please enlarge and view it to see its full beauty) It inspired me to write the above poem too.
It is a simple (but deep) poem that speaks for itself. Think about the message in it.

Once you let someone into your heart, a part of them becomes a part of you. Like the line from the song Hotel California goes "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."(See my current mood video on the right)

We can kill a relationship but we cannot delete it. We really cannot kill all our memories, can we?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Doodle art



Doodling is something everybody can do. But doodle art is taking it to a higher level, really.
I loved both these pictures that my children created. The one above was done by my son who will soon be 12 and one below was done by my daughter aged 8. Both are done on a A4 size paper.



Winter has set in and it gets dark these days in the evenings at 4.30 itself. It is pitch black and biting-freezing cold.
But things like doodle art is indeed time creatively spent instead of being parked in front of televisions and PSPs and X boxes. [Somehow I am partial to Wii :)]

All you need is a blank paper, sketch pens and some imagination.

Want to do doodle art? Tempting, isn't it? :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do not cry because it is over. Smile because it happened.

My dad would have celebrated his 69th birthday tomorrow. Actually, that is not true. We would have celebrated. He would have just played along good naturedly.

He was the kind who celebrated life every single day.

"Thaaank you my dear," I can hear him say in his deep voice, as I call to wish him.

His positive attitude, zest for life, his deep empathy for others , his ability to be like a rock, his tall stature (he was 6 feet), his love for driving, the superb way he could handle a car, a bike and finances too, his ability to laugh with us, even when we pulled his leg, his love for long walks , fitness and exercise, the endless debates and discussions I had with him, his teaching me to skim throw a stone, his teaching me and my brother to swim, his playing frisbee with my brother and me on the beach, the 'general knowledge' quiz questions he used to ask us , his love for western movies, his very practical nature, his go-getting ability, his genuine love for people and his ability to make good friends with every single person he met (and the way they confided in him and opened up to him), his uncanny sense of knowing what I was feeling even when I was hundreds of miles away from him, his love for the occasional whisky (and he never once got drunk) and occasional cigarette too, the marvellous way he could write (yes, my dad has written many short stories ), his love for nature and dogs and above all, the way he so effortlessly became the best dad a daughter could ask for--these are the things I remember most about him. They are fresh in my mind as though they happened yesterday. And yes--the photos are of me as a child and him.

It has been three years now but I still miss him deeply. You would think it gets easier with time. It doesn't. You just learn to hide it better.

Happy birthday to my dad. In me, he lives. His spirit, I celebrate.

I know this poem would have immensely appealed to him too.


Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

---Mary Elizabeth Fraye

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Can I have a Fosters, Mom ?

"


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"W
Really sorry--I have had to remove this post as it will soon appear in a book. Making it available online would have been very unfair to my publisher who has placed so much trust in me. I hope you enjoy the other posts as much as you enjoyed this one. A heartfelt thanks for your support and understanding.Thanks for continuing to read what I write.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A tag--7 secrets confessed :)

Rohit from "The journey" tagged me with this one and gave me an award too! How can I refuse now? :-) This is a really hard one because actually it would be a lie if I confessed 7 things that NO ONE knows about me. Come on! How can no one not know? Someone would have known but might have chosen to keep quiet or might have forgotten, isn’t it? I have blogged so much now, for the last three years that I honestly do not remember exactly what I have written. So with that concession in place, here goes my post:

1. I can write legibly with my left hand. When I was a child I fell down and fractured my right hand. I had to go to school though with a cast. I was so bored in class, of sitting still ,that I began writing with my left.

2. I cannot cook and talk on the phone. Yeah I know, women are supposed to be good at multi-tasking. But for some reason, I can’t cook and talk at the same the time. If I am cooking I hang up.


3. I know to handle an Air Rifle and my aim is good. My brother owned one and we used to take turns shooting, as teenagers. No—we didn’t kill any living things. (except a snake once) He did shoot a cockroach though :-) Recently at a fair, I used a ‘tommy gun’ which had a laser aim .It was much heavier than the ones I was used to but I really enjoyed it.(yes that is me in the picture)

4. I Love basket ball. I used to play National level basketball once upon a time when I was in school/college. I still play as there is a basketball court near my house.

5. I have received a certificate for being in top 2 percent of academic performers in the country in CBSE exams in both class 10 and class 12. I have several academic degrees/diplomas and I stood first all India, in the P.R and Advertising exam (which is one of my Post graduate qualifications). But I usually never mention this to anyone, as I always feel academic achievements really do not matter. I am truly not impressed by anyone’s academic achievements either, even if they have done a doctorate from the world’s top universities. The best teacher is indeed the school called LIFE.

6. I cannot sing to save my life. If I start singing my children and husband ask me to shut up. Despite this, I sing the song Chanda hai tu to my children with full and complete maternal emotions substituting the words, adding my own words. They quickly tell me that yes, they get the gist. :-)

7. I can skim throw a stone. I learnt it as a child. If you do not know what skim throwing is watch this video.

Now I am supposed to tag seven people. I am picking the first seven people who had left a comment on my last post .(All the names and descriptions are links to their blogs)

You are tagged and you have been given an award! (para-ra para-para..trumpets, bugles) :-)

1.Ayush: (I don't think you have a blog but you can write in my comment box)

2.Vinoo John:. I went to college with Vinoo. We used to be very close in college and now by a strange twist of fate we are both in UK. We plan to meet soon.

3.Gayathri :A lovely person a mother and a green thumber who makes wonderful pictures and cards

4.Laksh: She writes about daily life and her posts make me ponder.

5.Thoughtful train: We discovered that we are related too! True to her name she is really thoughtful and a genuinely nice person!

6.Chandni: A superb cook, one od my greatest motivators, a warm friendly person who has tonnes of friends

7.Mindspace: She writes a personal blog,A simple, kind and striaght forward person who finds joy in the smallest things of life

If anyone else wants to do the tag (and trust me it is very hard) I would be more than happy to read and surely will leave a comment if you let me know you have done it.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Pencil Portraits





Many of you have mailed me asking me about my Portraits, and so I thought I'd do a post to answer all the FAQs. (That way, I can point those who really want to know to this post and save the trouble of explaining same thing each time) :-)

These are the last three portraits that I did and I am very pleased with them. (I have done about 21 so far) . [Click to enlarge] Some of you must have already seen these portraits on my Facebook account and on my Art site. To many others these must be new :-) Click here if you want to see all the portraits I have done so far.

Most people who draw agree that Human body (Life drawings) is one of the most difficult things to draw, followed by Human Portraits. In a human body, it is indeed hard to draw a realistic figure. In a human portrait it is hard to get a good likeness.

Portraits have always fascinated me because everyone has 2 eyebrows, 2 eyes, a nose and a mouth. The combinations of these shapes produce millions and millions of different faces! The art of Portraiture is as old as Human civilization itself. As a child I used to find it amazing. As an adult, faces still fascinate me.

I use mostly pencils for my portraits. Yes, the very same pencils that you used in school for writing! :-) You get pencils with darker leads like 2B, 4B and 6B . I have a collection of these. I work mostly from Photographs. In my portraiture course, we use live models. This means a person is posing for you and you have to sketch that person live. I find this slightly hard because the time available is limited, as the duration of the class is just two hours. The models take a break every twenty minutes. Within two hours, one has to complete the portrait and I always find myself needing more time. In a photo, I can use the grid method. I would recommend this method to anyone who wants to learn how to draw or sketch.

It takes me about 4-5 hours to complete a portrait. Yes, it is a lot of hard work but I enjoy it so much. The biggest I have done is the first one that you see above, which is Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. That is an A3 size (29.7 cms by 42 cms). In the second photo you can see how small the reference photo is and how I have enlarged it.

When I drew my first portrait which was a sketch of Satish, there was hardly any resemblance to the original photo. I was so disappointed. Satish was one person who told me not to give up and that I can do it. He reminded me of my earlier sketches and said he did not have the slightest doubt that my pictures would surely improve. So did a good friend. (The third portrait is him). So did my children! They said " Mummy, you can do it. Try mama, that is what you tell us to do." :-) I felt they were all just saying it to assure me and it seemed impossible to me to get a likeness. But gradually, as I worked really hard, my pictures started improving and I began getting stunning likenesses as I practised more and more.

Now I can get a really good likeness from any photo and people have been asking me if I would do it professionally. (And yes I indeed am!)

The key to learning anything is simply hard work, practice and determination, once you read up or study or observe the basic techniques. One should never give up. Also it is never too late to learn anything if you have set your mind to it.

H.W Longfellow had said so beautifully,

"The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they while their companions slept
Were toiling upward in the night."

It is a quote which is very true. There is indeed no substitute for hard work.


In case you have any more questions about the portraits that I have not answered in this post, I'd be happy to answer them in my comment box :-)

Even if you have no questions I'd be happy to hear what you have to say too :-)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Cherish those small moments (wordless wednesday No.16)

Hello everybody,

hello, hello hello! (waving hand in the air. Everyone applauds. Thank you!) :-)

Yes, I am alive. Yes, I am well.

Thank you so much to all who called, to all who mailed and to all who asked. I haven’t been online at all as I wasn’t well for a few days (horrible flu but not the swine) and then as soon as I recovered I went to Derby to visit Niall. It was awesome! (Picture clicked in Niall’s drawing room. You can see his brilliant work on the wall. It was a privilege for me to see his pictures which I am so familiar with.)

My portraiture course is really intensive and it takes up almost all my time. Add to that writing my second book and of course, the famous housework which I mentioned in my previous post , precious time with my darling babies and you can see why it took me so long to even reply to my blog comments. I am sure you will understand.

This morning I got a request in my mail box (request ho tho aisi!) from Ruch of Nirjharini. This is what she wrote:

The Lament of a Blog Reader

No new poems and no world less Wednesdays

No new musings and nothing amusing

No mama moments and no blog marathons

Nothing new to ponder or dwell on

I know you are busy sketching

And those portraits look so very fetching

But please do write a line

Coz its for a new post that we pine!

Ok I know this is very lousy poetry and written in great haste, but can I please please have a new blog post :-)

I so look fwd to them.

BTW I hope you are doing well and are in good health.

Take care

Ruchira

I Loved her poem! She is being very humble to call it lousy. It might have been written in haste but what made it special for me was the thoughtfulness behind it. I immediately mailed her back and this was my reply:

How can I this request deny?

Promptly I shall comply.

You will see a new post at the end of the day.

Will reproduce your poem on my blog with credit to you, If I may? :)

She again replied back in verse granting permission :-)

So here is my post for today. It is really not wordless but I am filing it under Wordless Wednesday as it has a lot of photos which is what Wordless Wednesdays are about.

Often in life, we forget the small things. We are so busy in the mornings that we see but we don’t notice, we listen but we don’t hear, we glance but we don’t absorb, we eat but we don’t savour.

Last night I had a very bad nightmare. It was depressing, vivid and worst of all it felt so real and it was a possibility which I would not wish even on my worst enemies. I cried this morning as I narrated my nightmare to my husband –they were tears of relief that it was only a nightmare. But it did teach me a lesson—it reminded me to be grateful for good health, to be grateful for food on the table, to be grateful for friends who care and most of all, to really live each day, not merely exist dragging a weary soul behind you.

We don’t have to wait for marvellous things to happen to enjoy life. Life is mostly small moments strung together like beads in a necklace. Some are beads of happiness, some are beads of laughter, some are beads of disappointment—they are all there, but they fit marvellously to make life beautiful. It is up to you to notice the beads and savour the ones that make you feel good and quickly passing over the ones that don’t.

I clicked a few pictures this morning—all clicked in my kitchen and one in my drawing room. These are the things that I was truly grateful for this morning.

I hope you find your moments too!

Cheers

Preeti


Flowers in my drawing room. I love flowers.


Flowers on my kitchen window sill too. I did mean it when I said I love flowers :-)



Burgers I made for lunch that I packed for Satish and the kids, this morning. (There are aloo tikkis inside! Yum!) :-)


Soft spongy ildis (Yes I make good idlis and sambar and I painstakingly grind my own batter too. Not readymade mix) and steaming hot sambar that we had for breakfast :-) (yeah I am showing off now. heh heh.)


And finally a cup of tea that I did not have to make myself :-) Ah! Bliss!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Phoren country, Desi Dil

Apologies to all my English friends and to my non-Hindi speaking friends who read my blog as I have used a lot of Hindi words and Hindi movie references in this post.

The subtle and not so subtle differences in living in UK and India.

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For 37 years of my life I lived in India. I was born in India, raised in India, have visited almost every state in India and have studied in educational Institutions in four different parts of India and also speak 6 different Indian languages. In other words, I am one hundred percent Indian.(and a very patriotic one at that)

Then one fine day, we moved lock stock and barrel (Okay, not barrel. My husband is NOT fat and I am certainly not calling him a barrel) to the UK and it was a great eye-opener for me about how less than 0.9 percent of world’s population lived and how I had to adjust and adapt to their ways , after living life MY way for so very long. You can teach an old dog new tricks, but the dog has to be willing to learn. Most importantly, the dog should not belong to a ‘dhobhi’. (wink) This, I realised, was possible, only if I made certain acute and astute observations on the basic differences between UK and India and only understanding these differences perfectly would make my transition to a foreign land easier, smoother and perhaps richer than Amul butter. The following is what I found.

1. In India, the Sun is a constant presence like the hero in Yash Raj Films who is there is every frame, every shot, every scene—full paisa vasool—but in UK, the sun makes a guest appearance like Subhash Ghai in Hero, and you are filled with excitement and marvel and general satisfaction of having spotted him when he does—the sun, I mean, not Subhash Ghai.

2. When the sun does make an appearance you have to be faster than Akshay Kumar in Khiladi and have to operate that washing machine and put the clothes out to dry before you can say Rajiv hari Om Bhatia ne ki phir hera pheri :-). If you miss to do that, your laundry will pile up for the next seven days and you would be in grave danger of being submerged under it,much like the drunken men being submerged by the charms of Bips in Beedi jallaile, till the sun makes it next appearance.

3. In UK, you actually see four seasons whose pictures you had seen in story books and whose spellings you had memorised when you scored that perfect ten in dictation where you spelt autumn correctly. While in India, I always thought autumn was something English teachers conjured up to test your spellings. In India we see only sun, more sun, mild sun, rain and heavy rains depending of course, which region you inhabit.

4. In UK, even eggs are of three different kinds—those laid by caged hens, those laid by barn hens and those laid by hens which are allowed to roam in the fields breathing fresh air and listening to Mozart. Okay, I lied about Mozart (but everything else is true) :-). The kind of egg each egg is, is actually stamped individually on each and every single egg and each egg has an expiry date as well! The consumer has a choice which egg to buy too!

In India we have two kinds of eggs-- ‘bade ande’ and ‘aaj kal sister, ande chotte ho gaye’. :-)

5. In UK , if one needs a plumber then one has to book an appointment, who if you are lucky would be able to get one after 12 days (as he is on vacation in Spain) and on the appointed day he would arrive on the dot—not a second late—in a huge van (the size of a small home) which has a hundred million tools ranging from pipe cleaning tools to spanners to pipe reseaters and what-have you. He would efficiently analyse and fix the problem and leave you poorer by 80 pounds ( Rupees 6097 only).

In India, I just had to step out of my house and shout for Tapan or Patel or whoever was the Society’s ‘plumber on call’ who would come immediately, without a moment's delay with a wrench and a screwdriver and would fix my problem and would be thrilled with the rupee hundred note (1.31 pounds) I generously ‘tipped’. (as they already get a salary and aren’t supposed to take money from residents)

6.In UK, cars actually wait to let pedestrians cross. This ‘Pehle aap’ game while crossing roads took a bit of getting accustomed to . Especially, since I was so used to Mumbai and Pune where you weave your way through non stop cars at breakneck speed like the guy in the video of Bon jovi’s ‘It’s my life’.

7. In UK, my children ask me in a very British accent (yeah, they have lost their Indian accent completely now) "Mom—are my friends allowed in?" I always answer “Of course they are.” I was surprised to learn that in UK, friends are not always ‘allowed in’.

In India, my house was always full of kids on some days. They did not have to ask. They were welcome. It was also understood that if we were having a meal, whichever friends of the children happened to be present , ate with us. It was the same for my kids when they went to someone’s home too. But in UK things are a little different.

8.Mostly what hit me initially, when I first moved is the absolute quietness in this place. Everything is so silent. Everything is so orderly. Everything is so clean.Stepping out on to a street in UK and stepping out on a street in India is mostly the same as a difference between a song and dance sequence in a Karan Johar film and a scene in ‘Pather panchali’ by Satyajit Ray. :-)

9. The English language has no equivalent for the ‘th’ sound in Hindi (which is found in words like bolti) and consequently my name is always pronounced ‘pretty’ which I have learnt to ignore. But what I still haven’t got used to is my son’s and daughter’s friends calling me by first name. “Hi Pretty” said a lad who was already taller than me, at school (where I was helping out with a film making project) who is my son’s classmate and I looked over my shoulder before I realised he was addressing me.

In India, it was always “Hello Preeti aunty”. Here in UK, my English friends tell me that they find it very irritating to be called ‘Aunty’ because “I am not your aunt” and they have specifically told my children to call them by their first names, which of course we have no problems following and have adapted very easily too.

10.The best and really good part about living in UK is the libraries. They are outstanding, amazing, marvellous and nothing like I have ever seen in India.(and I have been a member of a library ever since I could read, so that is a LOT of libraries). One can borrow FIFTEEN books at a time which means between four of us, we can borrow SIXTY and that too free! Besides books, there are latest DVDs, Games CDs for Wii, X-box etc and also thousands of latest and old audio CDS, television series DVDs and so much more. For me this is like PARADISE.

I think I'll survive.
Life in UK isn't so bad too. :-)