Who Am I?

Who Am I?

I’m not what you think I really am;

Not the bones nor the flesh,

Not the clothes nor the sound.

Am broken and shattered, 

Torn and unheard; 

Oh No! Not the bones nor the flesh, 

Not the clothes nor the sound.

You say I’d be okay, you think am strong,

Oh No!  Am not. Am bleeding and trying to get along.

Am neither in nor out; neither close nor far;

I don’t have it all; not the way you’ve been thinking so far.

Success is a reward

For which one works so hard.

Now that I ponder,

Does that really matter? 

I’ve had my moments

Of sorrows and joy;

Now that I look back,

Will I ever get it back? 

Past is an illusion which is inevitable; 

I try to erase, that’s impossible.

You’ve been there,  then and now;

How could you ever not know! 

I’m not what you think I really am ;

Not the bones nor the flesh,

Not the clothes nor the sound..

Interview: Coffee With An Expat

Given a chance to interview someone really interesting with a baggage full of stories from around the world, I didn’t want to miss the golden opportunity at any cost!

Here’s is an excerpt from my interview with Yuliya, a wonderful person who has lived in over half a dozen different countries, a fellow blogger on WordPress who shares interesting anecdotes about her two beautiful little girls and her journey as a woman, a mother and a home maker in different countries on her blog Tiny Expats

Coffee With An Expat

Interview: Coffee With An Expat

Hi Yuliya, It is my pleasure to have this chat with you.
You’ve lived in so many different cities in various countries. Starting from your childhood in Ukraine to your current life in Pardubice, can you please share what is your real feeling about moving around?

I think about five or six years ago my husband and I really wanted to have a home, you know, like in ET ‘home…’. A proper long term and not a temporary one. That was still in Germany, before China, Russia and Czech. I guess, at that point it was not meant to be. Since then I really got used to this moving around life. We lived in Moscow for two years and in the end I started feeling restless. It was less so for my husband, as he went on business trips very often, but I was at home with kids and really felt like moving again.

Yeah, That reminds me;  “Home is where the heart is“. If you were given a chance to go back to any one of those countries; which one would you choose and why?

It’s hard to say, I found some pluses and minuses in every country we lived in. I loved London, but that could also be due to the fact that those were my student years and those are usually a lot of fun, no matter where you are. I also liked Shanghai, it was definitely very different from anything else.

Where do you think you had the best moments of your life; a country which you felt at home? 

Ukraine was, of course my home. I spent my childhood and adolescence there. Other than that – UK. I lived in London for 7 years and those were already my grown up years, so I explored more, got to know a lot of people, met my best friends, fell in love with my husband. I love London.

Did you have difficulties in understanding and coping with different cultures, food and languages? 

In some countries more, in some less. UK was quite easy to live in, especially, London. There’re so many people living there, with so many different backgrounds, that nobody really pays attention to you being a foreigner. You don’t stand out and are accepted the way you are, in most cases.

It was a bit more difficult in Germany. My husband and I both learned German, although, it was still far from perfect. We spoke German in our everyday life in shops, restaurants, official organisations, but we made mistakes and in some situations people were not that happy about our lack of language proficiency. That being said, we made really good friends in Germany, who did not care (or did not show that they did 😉 ) about our language knowledge. We keep in touch with them till this day. So it’s all about being able to see past the differences and trying again and again to get in touch with the locals.

China was very different, of course. We picked up a few phrases along the way, although it was far from being able to speak Chinese and not a lot of people speak English there. But you’ll find that Chinese are often very friendly to foreigners and just find it amusing when you are not able to explain yourself. There’re questions with bureaucracy there and sometimes I wished I could find some of my favourite food, though overall I liked that place a lot.

Moscow was not that foreign to me. I never lived there, but I speak Russian, so that was already a bonus. I wasn’t fond of all the paperwork I had to deal with, Moscow’s weather (not the cold, but the grey) and quite a high level of stress, which I think you can somehow feel in this city. That said, I think it has amazingly beautiful places to visit, some of those I wanted to see since I was a child. I also made new friends in Moscow, who made it all the more a pleasant experience.

Now it’s Czech Republic. I find that Czech language is quite easy for me to pick up and people are often very friendly. I love the little town of Pardubice, I think it’s totally cute, but at the same time very convenient. I think this place is one of the easiest for me to get used to.

Wow! What is the most difficult thing you experienced?

In the beginning it was hard to get used to living far from the family. It got easier over the years, I have my own family now and it’s much easier to keep in touch now than it was about 15 years ago.

Thanks to technology! Shanghai and London are two busy and beautiful cities, one in the east while the other in the west. How was your life there?

I think my love for London is not very rational. It’s based on a lot of good memories I have of all that’s happened there. I love walking in London, especially St. Johns Wood, Warwick Avenue, Baker Street, Regents Park. Those are my favourites, but there’re tons of other places I’d love to visit again. I love British accent, although you don’t hear it that often in London with all the mix of every other accent imaginable. I love how multicultural it is and you can find anything and everything in one city. I love English breakfast and Quality Street. I love local pubs, like the one on Acacia Rd, and street markets, like Borough Market. I can go on and on!

What I love the most about Shanghai is the energy you feel. The city grew immensely within the last 15-20 years. It’s amazing how much work and resources were required to achieve that. And even today, if you drive through Shanghai, you can see building sites all around. It’s growing, it’s moving, it’s old, but it’s always new. It’s China, but it’s also so much more. It’s a wonderful city and I’d definitely recommend anyone to visit it.

That’s so cool! But being a mother of two, how do you manage your family life with so much travel and moving around? 

Not sure how I would’ve done it otherwise! My kids always moved, so hence the name of my blog – Tiny Expats. It’s a coincidence, but my daughters were both about 1 year and 4 months when they first relocated. We’re thinking now that we should better slow down and find a place for us to stay for a while as it’s time for our older daughter to go to school, but, to be honest – I’m not sure where that would be.

Interesting coincidences indeed! Makes me believe in the design of life! Can you please share one of the most unforgettable sweet incidents in any of those countries?

I guess, one of those experiences would be visiting Chinese sights during the public holidays. Internal tourism is quite popular in China, so a lot of people from distant provinces would come to see Beijing, Shanghai, or other interesting places when they have several days off. We actually happened to be in Beijing during the October holidays and in Shanghai during the Spring Festival time. That was really strange for us, I guess, I realized what it must feel like to be a celebrity! Some of these people have never seen foreigners before, so they would come up to you and ask to take a photo or snap you on their phones without asking. If you are very tall, red headed or a blond child – be prepared to be surrounded by a crowd of unexpected fans.

Being a celebrity! That’s really funny!:D Would you mind sharing one of your most emotional moments?

I think the first day at a new place can be one of the hardest ones. You are tired, stressed out, so many things to do and think of. Our first day in Shanghai was rather tough. We arrived in February and the owners of the flat that we rented decided to clean and air the apartment before we arrived. The window was left opened for a couple of days. So here we are, arriving to a long awaited home after a Hamburg-Dubai-Shanghai endless flight with a one year old child, really exhausted, only to be welcomed by an absolutely freezing place. I have to say I felt pretty emotional on that day and not in a good way. Nevertheless, I always tell myself it’s just jet lag and next day would be much better. And it always is. So just persist and you’d get settled in any environment really, just give it a time.

Wow, it must have been a really long journey! What message would you like to share with the world from your experiences as an expat?

After moving around, leaving things behind, getting used to new places, meeting people and saying good bye, I believe that the most important things in our lives are not things at all. Don’t stress over too much about not being able to buy something or having to leave something behind. Don’t get attached to material belongings – after having to wait for your container for three months, you realize that as you lasted that long without them, probably they are not essential anyways. Your family, people around you, these are the most precious things you have in your life, so this is what you have to value and care about.

Yeah, that’s so true. Thank you so much for sparing your valuable time Yuliya. It was a really nice, informative and interesting chat. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. It would be my pleasure to meet you and your family if you take a chance to visit India. Hope to see you soon. 🙂

Monsoon Once Again

Monsoon Once Again

I look through the window with my heart in pain,

Oh! it’s the monsoon once  again;

Pouring her heart out without any strain.

Darker and heavier she gets; 

She could move no more and there she rests.

Bursting out what she harbored for long

Look at those trees soaking all along

As she lightens her heart and brightens the day

I wonder and look up at the sky

Only to see her bright and gay.

After all the drama I’ve got to say;

Oh! how did you bear so long?!

Ah! it must be nice for you;

To free yourself from what you’ve been going through

Oh! look at you all white and glee!

Moving around again on a thirst-quenching spree

Now that I realize am just jealous of you;

Could I ever be like you? 

She responds to me, smiling brightly and moving away

Only to remind me; life is a circle and it goes on anyway.. 

The Unused Mailbox

Remember the good old days when we used to “write letters” and mail them to our loved ones? It is one of my fondest memories that I always cherish. I started writing letters when I was 5! Yes, I used to draw pictures and write a few words that I learnt in school and send them to my cousin who’s also my age! Only we could understand our tiny tot-language. 😀

I remember writing letters to my friends describing my new life in the city.  To my grandparents, I would write letters conveying my love and respect. Every evening, after school I would run and check the mailbox with great anticipation. Every new mail carried some special news and there was always so much to write. 🙂

Relationships were so precious. Every word written in a letter was treasured forever. I still have those beautiful mails in my ‘secret treasure chest’. They are priceless! 🙂

love leeeee

What about relationships and communication today?

You don’t have to write a letter and wait for days with anticipation. You don’t have to worry if the mail had reached the right person. Our modern day messengers and chat boxes give us instant updates. You even know when the message is sent, received and read..!

You also get to know the amount of importance given to your messages by knowing the time taken by the recipient to respond! You can also know if you are being ignored. Well, I guess that’s the best way you can insult a person in the internet era! :-/

blue-ticks-whatsapp-explained

People text every moment of each day and stay updated about their loved one’s activities, starting from waking up, brushing their teeth to having supper and going to bed! Meh.. O_o

I agree with the fact that now we are able to see people living 1000 miles apart through video conference and stay in touch and contact each other whenever we want. But the words written had more personal touch than the ones typed or texted.

Nowadays we see so many break ups in different relationships and many loved ones torn apart. Most relationships are ended with a blunt and emotionless text message or over a 5 minutes’ phone call. Distance is not a big issue anymore. Virtually, everybody is in contact with their loved ones throughout the day, across the borders and seas, but in reality, they are not.

????????????????????????????????????????

The precious words are no longer treasured in the hearts, instead they are saved in a memory stick.

People tend to live in a virtual world and their love, friendship and identity is defined by a “profile” and it doesn’t matter if you are friends in person; if you are not “virtually friends”,  then you are not friends in reality as well.

I’m afraid that the intimacy is deteriorating day by day and the children of the upcoming generation would hardly know what loving, bonding and missing loved ones actually mean.

Technology has brought the distant ones closer and the close ones apart.

The mail boxes are hardly checked.. The loved ones are hardly missed..

Sad, bitter, but True.

Today In Short : #3 Impatience – Why Don’t People Wait?!

Today I had some work at the bank. So, as soon as I got off from work I went to the near by bus station to reach there on time. There were 3 buses going to the same destination and I got into last one  in which some 20 people were seated. The bus drivers and the conductors had gone for a tea break so we all had to wait for few minutes until they came back. All these buses would leave the terminus with a maximum of 5 minutes’ time difference between each others’ departure, so it doesn’t matter which one you get into.

After say, 5 minutes, the driver of the first bus came back and all passengers sitting in my bus (technically not “my” bus, but you know to make it simple 😉 )  got up and scurried their way through the rest of the crowd to get into that one. You see, general logic, the first one with the driver takes off first. 😜

But unfortunately their conductor hadn’t arrived, he was still reporting at the office.

I didn’t leave because I know how it works. 😜

As soon as they all left and got settled there, the bus driver and conductor of my bus came back after their break and took off! 😜

Once again some of those passengers came back running and boarded my bus while the rest had a sad loser’s expression on their faces. Duh! It is just a bus not a million dollar lottery! Why do they leave? It is only a matter of 2 or 3 minutes! Why can’t they wait??

impatience queue

At the bank, there was a queue to submit certain documents. There were 3 counters and the queue was too long in all of them. To manage the crowd they opened another counter and everybody hurried and dashed against each other to reach that counter.

Once Again, I didn’t leave because I know how it works. 😄

Now, that counter had twice the longer queue. 😜 I was just behind 3 people in my counter now. I submitted the documents and was out in no time.

Even at traffic signals we can see people sneaking their way through all other vehicles to get to the front line. They squeeze through the gaps, hit other vehicles, get abused by fellow drivers and passengers only to go block the route and wait all over again. 😏

impatience traffic

Why don’t people wait? At ticket counters, traffic signals, banks, grocery stores, buses, trains,..in every single place I see people running from one corner to another to get their work done quickly. They don’t see how absurd their activities are. They are only wasting their time and energy. Why are they so impatient? Why should they push through the crowd to get nothing?! No matter how many times this happens, people hardly ever change. 😏

I Hated It. But Not Anymore.

“I hate doing laundry!”

That used to be my standard response whenever my mom talked about it. I loathed it so much that I would do anything to escape from doing it! But how can I have fresh clothes if I don’t do my laundry?!  I have no other choice.  Do I? Nothing that I knew of 😀

Well,  I realized the best thing to do to not hate doing it is to stop hating it! Sounds silly doesn’t it?  But it is not. I hated it because it was monotonous.  There was nothing creative about laundry.

But what’s the point in grumbling and doing a poor job when you have no way out? Being grumpy would only spoil our own day. Right?

clothesline

 

So I decided to change it.  I imagined myself as a laundry expert! I played music, danced my way while operating the machine and while hanging and clipping them on the line under the hot sun I made sure they looked beautiful. Yes, all pants in one line,  shirts in the other..  In the order of color,  size and I used matching hangers and clips to hang them! 😀

Laundry - clothespins

It wasn’t boring and monotonous anymore. It was fun, colorful and creative! Most importantly I regarded myself as the expert! 😀 

This is not just about laundry. Of course not!

I understood one thing from doing laundry :

If you can’t change something and if you have no other choice but do it; it is better to stop hating it!

If you hate your job, cooking food, doing your maths assignment or any other task; then Don’t do it the way you usually do! You can’t change the task, but you can always change the way you perceive it.

I Hated It. But Not Anymore  🙂 

That One Thing We All Are Tired Of…

Yes, it is tiresome.. We all say to ourselves., yet we never stop! There are many such things that make us feel small and exhausted but we believe we don’t have a choice; we succumb to them. But there is One thing that almost all of us are ‘tired’ of :

 Doing Things That Others Expect Us To Do and Not Something That We Really Want To

The reason behind this? To make people like us, to impress others and to make others happy by sacrificing our own basic needs, wishes and desires.

Few years ago, I was a very different person. Every time I walked into a crowded hall, I would wonder if people really liked me. I used to take every word seriously; what people thought about me mattered a lot to me than anything else. Back then, I didn’t know that…

You can’t impress others unless you are confident about yourself!

I tried to join the clubs the others joined because I wanted to mingle with the pack! I wore similar clothes, worked hard, helped everyone with everything they asked for. I didn’t mind doing anything to help others. Firstly because it made me feel good, but later on I did because people expected me to. Well, people were literally using me to do their assignments, projects, other tasks and stuff. People took me for granted and I was not credited for anything I ever did. Later their opinions varied and what one wanted me to do was not liked by the other and vice versa. I was pulled in different directions by different people.

The expectations grew more and more and I never had the time to do what I really wanted to. In fact, I was not in the pack, I was just being used. I was too naive to know and understand. I was an idiot! But when I realized, I backed out. I learnt to say No. People don’t like to lose such an idiot. Do they? Of course they didn’t want to.  The worst case – people started to backbite and hate me. There were too many gossips, too many jokes. I was ‘bullied’ wherever I went. 

I was left alone, with none by my side to help me out. I thought it is better to be alone than in a bad company!

Well, that was few years ago. But am glad, I realized quite early. Now, I am a lot stronger person with my own lovely bunch of friends who love me for what I am. I put my foot down whenever I feel like I should. I do whatever my heart says right because I know my loved ones would support me and guide me in the right path. I do something because I really want to and not because somebody wants me to. Oh! Am so glad 🙂

All these bitter experiences taught me one important thing:

Do what your heart says. Not otherwise.

Still I have my moments, even now at times I feel insecure but whenever I do, I reassure myself “It’s alright. It’s okay. People always have something to say

The point is, there are so many people out there, worrying about their looks, clothes, status, habits, tastes..feeling vulnerable and insecure about every single aspect of their life. Some are unable to pursue their dreams while some don’t even have the liberty to take a break. They are frustrated, exhausted while some are innocent and naive like I was. I wish I could tell them all..

It’s alright. It’s okay. People always have something to say. You don’t have to worry at all. You are awesome being yourself.” 🙂

P.S. I must tell you, I was nervous before publishing this because I have never made such a personal blog post before. Writing this blog made me feel really very good.  I wish it reaches the right people at the right time. 🙂

Today In Short : #2 Share What You Have

There are many customs created by our ancestors that have so much meaning but they are forgotten over the years.  People no longer have the time to pay attention and heed to all those customs. But there are a few that almost all of us follow in our country even now.

Rice is the staple food in the South. Most of our dishes are made with rice as we require more carbohydrates to withstand the climatic conditions.

In the South, we have a tradition; we wake up before sunrise and wash our front yard and using dry rice flour we make patterns called ‘Kolam’ as shown in the picture below.

I made it this morning in our front yard! 😀

Kolam
Kolam

 

Well, do you know the purpose? It is not just to beautify the front yard.

It is to feed all tiny insects, birds and ants; they eat the rice flour! You can see them lining up and enjoying their meal.

We share what we have as soon as the day breaks! A great way to begin the day! Don’t you think? 🙂

Before cooking, we take the leftover vegetables, peels and stems, mix them with the water used for washing rice and place them in a bowl. Thirsty and hungry cows would relish them happily. If we maintain a particular time to serve, say 8 o’clock, they will be here at sharp 7:55 and the harmless cow would wait at the gate quietly until we place the food bowl.  🙂

As I said earlier, rice is everything for us. So, as soon as we cook rice for breakfast we can see crows, sparrows, squirrels and many other birds waiting on the kitchen window sill! Yes, before we eat, we serve some for them. Those lovely little beings take turns and eat. The most beautiful part is, if you a serve a crow or a sparrow, it would call all other crows and sparrows before eating and they share what we shared with them! 🙂

squirrel relishing rice
squirrel relishing rice

 

They always know when the food is ready! I really don’t know how.. and sometimes if we forget to serve, they sit on the window sill and call out for us until we notice them. 😀

This morning was in no way different. It was as beautiful as always.

Seeing them share and enjoy their meal made me smile, made me feel good as I’m able to serve nature… I was glad I could give back something instead of always taking. As you know, man’s greed has no end.

There are many more such customs that make us serve nature and thank the environment.. These customs teach us how to live and let live by sharing what we have.. Sadly, people these days don’t have time to follow them while they are busy following their favorite celebrities on Twitter and Facebook..

The Balloon And The Pin

the balloon and the pin

Too many downs; too much of tears; 💧

Nobody’s life is a bed of roses; 💐

Even if they seem to be; there are a million thorns beneath. 🌵

Sometimes life gives you so many things..

Like blowing air in a balloon.. 🎈

And before letting it fly high; it pops it with a pin.. 📌

Hah! Like it’s all an illusion.. 🎭

But don’t lose heart, there’s another year ahead.. 📆

Hope for the best; you have nothing anymore to lose or shed..

Who knows! You may be on a rainbow ride.. 🎢  🌈

That takes you high and drops you down;

Only to lead you to the treasures abound.. 💰

-The Confused Young Adult

~Yuvathi ❤ 🙂

Today In Short : #1 Kindness

Every evening, after work, I go to an educational institute which is 2 kilometers away from my place. I usually walk till the bus stop and take an auto or bus from there because it is more convenient.

Coming from a country with the second highest population in the world, it is quite rare to find a place without people. You are always surrounded by different kinds of people speaking different languages ( I hope you know, there are over 780 languages spoken in my country), with different complexions (Yes, North, South, East and West.. we all have different complexions and features!) wearing different kinds of clothing ( Well, there is so much cultural diversity, it will take years for me to explain 😀 ), rich, poor, tall, short, good, bad.. the list is endless. Simply put, you are just surrounded by all kinds of people everywhere!

Realizing the beauty of our country and the unity among our people amidst all the diversity, I was so proud, overwhelmed and impressed all at the same time! 😀

Well, the human mind can not always think straight. Right? The moment you are proud about something, it automatically pops an ugly picture or a figure of doubt to destroy all the happiness..and.. there it goes!

My second thoughts:

But.. out of these 1.25 billion people, how many are really kind to one another? 

This thought made me question the very basic nature of humanity and I was lost in deep thoughts. But in less than a minute, the universe gave me live examples to clear my doubt! 😮

While I was on my way to the bus stop, I saw a young woman stopping her bike on the road very close to a cow and a little calf. I wondered what she was doing and in fact I was worried that the cow might hurt her. But when I went closer I witnessed something really nice! She took some fresh bananas from her bag and fed the stray cow and her calf and left quietly after watching them eat. 🙂

By the time I reached the traffic signal near the bus stop, I saw a little boy holding a visually challenged man’s arm and helping him cross the road. The man patted the boy’s shoulder before parting ways. The smile on their faces was precious. One being happy to have helped, the other being glad and grateful. It was just beautiful. 🙂

When I was in the bus, an old woman, a florist, asked me to help her dial a number on her phone. (She didn’t know to operate her phone, well that happens here. Not all are techies and there’s nothing wrong!) After I did, she smiled and gave me a beautiful rose from her basket. Wow! 🙂

kindness

Wohoo! What a day! I have never been happier. The day was so lovely. 3 beautiful incidents to show that in a country with so much diversity and competition to survive and achieve, people do have time to show some kindness, help each other and be good to one another. In fact, I realized, that’s what binds us all together. 🙂