Wednesday, August 27, 2014

10 Insane Things about London That will confuse you

When I first stepped into London, I was a bit anxious. After being misinformed about almost everything about London and then Googling for ending hours here I was on in the heart of British Empire. Here are few things that are absurdly confusing (OK not absurd, maybe a cultural shock or maybe just absurd) in London.

1. They greet you with 'You Ok', 'Everything alright'.
The people in London don't greet you 'Hello' or 'Hi', they say, 'You ok', or 'Everything alright'. Now that is fine in normal London sense of way but the moment someone asks me that, I am like, 'Stop face reading.' 'No everything is not alright, starting with this form of greeting.'

2. Chips are Fries and Crisps are Chips
New Mucchad mascot for the blog.
No that's true, you ask for Chips and they give you fries. Even in Mc. Donald's were universal code (OK maybe not universal) for Burger is, 'You want to make it a meal with fries' but no in London they are chips. Want any chips?


3. The overtly attachment for fish and chips
Someone in the past invented fish and chips. The entire population liked it so much that they didn't bother inventing another seafood dish. Only seafood option available in most restaurants is fish and chips with an exception to fish pie which most of the bars seems to stock a lot.

4. Washing Machines in the kitchen
I still have to figure out the reason for strategic placement of washing machine next to my oven. A slight miss in the angle and I might end up washing my pie and burning my shirt.

5. Sandwich being the main item in a lunch menu
You tell me whatever you want, I will never understand how can a sandwich and a packet of chips (or crisps) be served at a lunch menu. Most of the time these sandwiches are not cooked, they are stuffed with cold meat, veggies and served in a nice packet. A geniune request to heat it up is respond with an even colder stare. That stare can only match with the weather in London.

6. Drinking hot tea to cool off on a hot summer day
That sentence is legit according to Londoners. What is the obsession with tea one can never understand until 5:00 when it seems the entire nation declares as the official high tea hour.

7. The too much politeness
The first time someone held a door open, I felt good. Thank you, I beamed. The second time, I wasn't thrilled but I still beamed. Repeat that forty times a day and you finally give up. Londoners are too polite. They even say 'Sorry' if you accidently bump into them. I believe if a robber decides to rob me he will come up and say, "Sorry chap, can you please give me all your money?" Talking about money they don't have anything above 20 pounds in print.
Solar charger that doesn't work as nicely as you expected.

8. The lack of Sun
Sometime in the past, the Londoners decided they didn't need the sun anymore and he obliged. The lack of Sun only mocks at you if you proudly bring a solar mobile charger with you on your journey. British summer season comprises of a week of nice hot sun followed by two weeks of spontaneous downpour.

9. Spontaneously standing in the queue for Banks, Supermarket, Parks and any random place that requires three or more person.
In India people fall in line when they are subjected to metal restrains, watched over by security guards who carry wood sticks and after a fight, confusion about the correct line. As a dedicated Indian who has come through this confusion I find it exceedingly appalling that in London, people spontaneously form lines at random places. Its like you are standing for a bus and wallah, people are standing behind you. You have that Kaalia - Amitabh Bacchan moment here.

10. License to watch television
The most interesting British citizen James Bond proudly boasts he has License to Kill. That is not some clever catch phrase, you need to have license for everything, including watching television. The house owner has given a television but you cannot watch it until you buy a license for it. "My name is Bond, James Bond and I have License to Kill," "Yeah Sorry mate, until you pay the license to watch television I am not going to allow you too."


Monday, August 18, 2014

Things no one should tell you when you are leaving the country but still they will

A while back I moved to London. The transition was smooth, I packed a box of seven clean underwears, a packet of bakarwadi (it's a pune thing), few clothes and was on my way to the land of Queen (real one).

It was a new experience altogether. First thing that stuck me was how many people had wrong advise about traveling to London from India. As goes the unspoken law of char log kya kahenge, my journey to London spread across the community of people I knew (and didn't know) and they had to meet me to talk to me. How do these people even communicate? Do they have some whatsapp group that we don't know about? Or do they like have weekly conference call to get status update from each other. "Oh my son just got a job with Xx salary, what about you, report." Anyways these people kept popping everywhere with advise in abundance.

"Oh be careful about immigration officers at Heathrow airport. They provoke you," said one wise fellow, "They have a right to detain anyone who creates ruckus and deport them from the country."
"Remember, " said another, "I have heard that British Airways is a bit of racist towards Indians. Be prepared to face that."
"But you have never left your house in forever, how do you know that?" I asked.
"I read," he said, "I have a news filter that tells me all countries that are racist towards us. I think they are jealous of our rich culture and the fact that our national anthem is chosen one of the best national anthem in the world."
That jibe about national anthem went for another fifteen minutes. Before he could start about his long lost anscestor, the Prince of Nigeria, I made an excuse of going for a TB test.

The number of people Indians know from London is alarming, "My closest friend lives in London. If you have any trouble, just pop over to him," he said.
"Thanks, I'll need them when I am actually house hunting. Can you give me their contact details so that I can call them when I reach in London?"
"Sure give me your email id," he continued, "I don't have their latest contact number but I have their yahoo email Id"
I'll tell you what, I am a email racist ok, you give me your yahoo email id and I will judge you. You give me your rediffmail email id and I will start looking for your tail.

While this one going on another set of people started popping up at different times. Now these set of people were not here to advise me on what I should do in London (thankfully) but rather what my personal choices are and how me moving to london is going to throught India back into stone age.

"Why you don't love India?" he asked.
"I do..." I shrugged.
"You don't get enough here or what? Leaving your country, you learn in this country and become corporate slave for them..." and the lecture went on. The problem with that was, during is swadeshi moment I was struggling hard to find a pause to gulp my coffee.

Two weeks later I am on a 9 hour day flight (I counted) chasing the hot sun, five pegs of whisky, two hours of sleep and watching two movies back to back later, I realised, I am in London. No there was no racism on the flight but i may have troubled one flight attendant talking about my allergy to certain vegetables while gobbling on vegetarian food. Poor fellow she kept checking on me from time to time.

No one provoked me at the Heathrow airport. The immigration officer in Mumbai had more questions for me but those were mostly because he could not believe anyone would want me in London (I get that a lot).

Stepping outside the Heathrow airport and breathing the British air for the first time, I realized... dammit I forgot to pack six pair of socks.

Have you had any such experience while planning a trip? Share them in comments below

Friday, August 15, 2014

Things India needs freedom from


Many years ago we made a tryst with destiny, we choose a nation for ourself. A nation ruled by people, for people and of the people. Yet somewhere down the line, we failed. We failed miserablely. Yes, India is a nation ruled by democracy, it is the biggest democracy in the world and yet, our democracy is broken. Did we really set our for this path, perhaps we did, perhaps it was a big mistake. Organizing a nation of 1.2 billion people is not a joke, big civilization couldn't do that. But what the government and administration should do or did is not the purpose of this blog. Lets look at the 10 things India needs feedom from.













Monday, August 11, 2014

Why Prince of Nigeria could never start a riot

DEAR SIR, I am Prince Some-Obviously-True-Name the elder son of the late King Why-Would-You-Care-II whose demise occur following a brief illness. Before the death of my father, King Why-Would-You-Care-II, I was authorised and officially known as the next successor and beneficiary of my father’s property according to Some-Country Traditional rite...

Have you read my book yet?

Have you read my book yet?
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