Monday, November 25, 2013

Are you a Indian??? The Traits of being Indian

Every individual is a representative of the culture and belief system from where he or she belongs to. So there are few typical trails which will definitely be visible in mostly all individuals who are from same community/group.

I observed such same things which are found in the mostly all Indians when I was abroad. Please it is nor to praise neither to criticize any religion, community, caste etc. They are just my simple observations

1. Currency Conversion: Everything related to money will need its home rupee conversion, then we cry our hearts out how expensive it is...god !!!! n then ending up not buying or looking out for some cheap alternatives...

2. How clean n tidy: How and whatever way we live in India, we try to keep our toilets clean while staying abroad, we are careful about it. While in India, we don't give a dam. Throwing bits of paper, wrappers of eatables, empty water bottles anywhere on road is normal in India. But since we can be fined or its our netiquettes abroad which resist us!!!

3. Show off: When we are abroad, we can easily boast about our family, our background, credit-ability and credentials. It is quiet easy to boast as we know, there will hardly anyone who will verify the facts

4. Stocking and storing: We love our Indian food, so when its time to go-go India, we get as much of Indian food stuff as much as possible. There's another reason to it one is many people are veggies out there. and then its the love of the family which is reflected through food... more the love more is the Indian food you will be asked to take along with you.

5. Adapting to new place: Adaptability is really high among Indians, since we want to excel in a different nation. Its the need of hour to dress up, learn their culture and to certain levels imitate them.

These are some of my observations, However I may b wrong too... in case so I would love to have your feedback.

But In-case you agree to me above then do share it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Appreciation to maids in Jakarta

Well the topic may sound stupid or abrupt to many...but I'm sure the Indian homemaker ladies will understand the gravity of this subject...

Here While settling down back in India, the one thing that I really, really and really miss is the maid concept I saw in Jakarta. There in Jakarta when you have seen the maid who is well trained and can perform every task so quickly, systematically, neatly and at the same time maintaining that warm smile on your face, as if she is loving and having fun while performing her job.... is commendable.

Yes, I was actually shocked to know that the maid there will wash your delicate clothes with hands, press all your garments.... all means all including your under garments!!! She will tidy your bed, change your bed sheet, perform cleaning dusting and all that you can imagine every work she will perform, with a lovely sweet smile on her face. Now since when you are back in India, where you have to bear with all the fancy tantrums of your maid here, every work she perform will half hearted and with all the extra sentences which she will keep on saying to you... and then all the more when you have guests coming at your place and she says "didi me kal ni ayungi"..... actually adds on to your misery....

Here when in India, you have to manage a huge list of tasks at home, let me elaborate (Dusting, arranging your bed daily, cooking which also includes chopping all the variety of contents to be added, grocery and vegetables shopping, managing which stock is about to get expired, maintaining inventory of not only kitchen but also of bathroom, accessories, cosmetics, kids stuff and not to forget your maid cleaning stuff and medicines.... the list is long and tedious to put it all on paper.

Yes many will say its only home that you are managing for many this is a misconception that being a home maker is easy. when you have the wash clothes. Your delicate ones separately, the ones which leaks colors will have to be washed separately, then there are clothes for dry-cleaning. To add on the repair of your garments when you have to get then altered, or stich the button back on your hubby's favorite shirt/ trouser. and you have to find the thread of same color...... aaahhhh....... yes the list as I said is less as a theoretical and more practical.

There are other tasks too.. cleaning of the toilets, regular dusting of your bathroom slabs, regularly refilling the soaps and changing towels, ensuring that the bathroom is dry to avoid any falls of your loved ones. then you have to look into the repair and maintenance of walls, are there any spider webs being formed?? then you come to the arranging the wardrobes, clearing the mess else all the clothes will fall as son as you open your wardrobe. then comes the change in weather, now you have to refresh your wardrobe again according to the seasonal clothes. and packing those which are not in use.

This is the daily work, over this if there is stain on clothes, or you have guests at your home then it adds on to the existing list of jobs.

Now, we say that the lady has to work also, knowing that the work pressure that everyone deals in India and the kind of competition that we have at our work places, the pressure to excel, the deadlines, peer pressure to party, socialize, spend time on calls, having gatherings, reading on net the gain that extra edge over others.

This all in itself is hell lot of tasks. and let me make it more complex you have kids too who needs your time, who needs to get there assignments/ homework's, projects done.

where is the time.... I actually have to think is there anyone who will understand you... no will your boss understand, will your kids understand, will your maid understand, or finally will your partner understands....  but unfortunately the answer is NO...

What we all need is the peace of mind... for that we need time and to get that time we are getting dependent on maids.... relying on maids is the need of an hour and when the Indian maids also know this well that this home cant move without me, they add on their demands, tantrums and excuses.

However, here I'm appreciating the maids of Jakarta is because of their behavior, there patience, way of working the dedication and the honesty with which they are working is really commendable.

This is in there nature coz they don't crib about low salaries, they are content, they are not worried that they have to save for there kid's future and are away from many such insecurities and social status stigma. which helps them to maintain focus on their work, giving them the mental peace to atleast smile and be honest to their work.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

12 useful tips for Indian Ladies - moving to Jakarta Indonesia

This one's for all the ladies especially would say Indian who are planning to move to Jakarta:

Let me start with a brief about Jakarta - It's no doubt an awesum place to live. Awesum in terms of the places to visit are plenty, a lovely tourist spot. You would love the natural beauty, from seas, beaches, active volcanoes, amusement parks to Animal Safaris. Everything is available for you to explore.

Your first hurdle will be the :
1. Communication - Yes, Language is a the biggest hurdle you need to clear. Will be tough still few tips for rescue:
    a. Got a phone with internet access: Download language translator. A word of caution - The translator may or may not be correct, but still trying may be worth it, when nothing is working.
    b. Your phone is not working - You can ask "English", people may say yes or no and accordingly, you can search and get your conversation started.
    c. Once you have reached your destination, try finding someone who is bilingual, this could be your driver, maid, coach, friend, hubby. Anyone who can explain well in Indonesian language. Now, whenever you are in trouble call that person.

2. Extrovert & Confident - You have to be outspoken to a new place, despite of the fact that language is a barrier, still don't feel dishearten about it. there are thousands who are same like you. People travel on business visits and manage everything without knowing the language, place, direction and culture.

3. Fashion  & Technology freak - Yes ladies in Indonesia have an upper hand and the culture is such that men have always seen ladies taking decisions independently, they are financially independent, Females have there own business, They have a very practical approach towards almost everything in life. Technology wise also the most latest gadgets are available with them. So go on lady and enjoy life. Also you can easily find lovely dresses... so be sexy and enjoy!!!

4. Carefree about house chores - Maids are so easily available to you and that too so cheap. That you need not to worry about hiring one. People have different maids for different purpose. Mostly they are trust worthy but still you need to be alert.

5. Open Culture - Yes, no doubt the society is liberal. Liberal in the meaning that they have pubs, bars/ sports bars. Also it is quiet easy to find a Indonesian girl for men too. So here is the catch.

6. Traveler: Move on lady, get dress up and just explore. Have debit, credit cards with you and bang!!! You can also make a surprise visit to ur hubby's office sometime...

7. Boosing - You never had a drink, it is the time to learn the basics. If you don't want to drink then, learn to be a participant in such parties. Rather than making frowning faces its time to appreciate the culture.

8. Learn to Swim - I am not asking you to be swimmer but if you really want to enjoy life in Indonesia learn to swim. There are thousands of beaches, so dive in!!!

9. Learn conversions -  Leave this habit of calling your hubby all the time. Learn the basic rule for money conversion

10. Directions - As gradually you move out start the habit of learning directions. Have a navigator or keep your maps on mobile on, or best learn directions. This is helpful when you are moving on daily basis, and don't have your own vehicle. So better save money by guiding the taxi driver, rather than, them making fool of you.

11. Learn driving - You should know how to drive.

12. Explore your areas of Interest and join.

Life comes once.... live it to the fullest is my personal recommendation to all you ladies out there. And specially when you are in Jakarta, live it king size coz everything is in your favor here.... so why not make this living experience worth it!!!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Jakarta on Bike

Are you really concerned about your health, have you put on loads of calories...

If some of such things are bothering you and that too when you are in Jakarta, then of course the answer is - Smile N Be happy :) . Coz Jakarta is the place to be.

Cycling is one of the most followed sport/ hobby of the Jakarta citizens. I was really amazed to see that people are so really mad about cycling that they gather on Sunday  mornings at 7am near there fixed spots and travel from destination A to B.

Since this attracted me so I tried to gather info from various sources to summarize them here:

1. Name of the club is: Jakarta Cycling club well they have got their group name in local language too.
2. Meeting point: Monas (National Monument)
3. Meeting time: 7am on Sundays

You can find this group on facebook too. However there are not many likes to this page but yes if you see on road there are thousands of bikers on a sunday morning.

You will find thousands of people kids, youngsters, oldies and very few expats too. Its lovely to experience the cycle riding again.

You can get everything related to cycling the cycle accessories or the rider safety and other accessories, every easily. Incase if you don't wana own a cycle, there are rented cycles available for you. Some roads are closed for the public on these Sunday mornings, so that the bikers can ride on hassle free

There are regular events that happen in Indonesia you can have a look at the website mentioned for further details:

Groups/ Forums list that you can follow:

1. For expats there are very few groups but one that I could figure out is :Cactolith

2. Community on Google where you can find few useful tips about biking.

3. B2W Jakarta. (Bike 2 work) however the website is all in Bhasa - The Indonesian language is known as Bhasa. Yes you can use the language translator for your help.

4. Another one by the name of Cycle Indonesia follow the link :

6. Indonesia bike forum:

At the end I would like to say you guys, cycling is indeed the best way to remain fit. Its not only good for us its equally beneficial for your environment. Move a step ahead for "Go Green" Moto...

Have a happy riding guys!!!

Friday, August 30, 2013

My experience about Jakarta

Just After you land at Jakarta Airport:

The moment you land in Jakarta - The capital of Indonesia: you feel a mesmerizing fragrance, the aroma that relieves your tiredness . The people that you see all around are like Chinese/ Japanese. As you move around you see people greeting you with smile, trying to help you in there own manner. As soon as you start speaking to the support people there is an issue, they hardly know English Language. I would say that the people are satisfied with their own language and are confident that they can greet/ help people without knowing the different language. They can just pick few words from English, and try to convert it into a complete sentence. Therefore, I would recommend that you know few basic words from there language. However, the airport is not that descriptive.

Then we look at the dressing of the people around, females are mostly well groomed as compared to the males. Females dress mostly like the west.  On weekends, at work, they prefer wearing their own traditional dress called “Batik”. Very few women wear burk-ah. But yes they follow their praying regime particularly. Talking more about the religion and the cultural beliefs of the people, in Jakarta people are liberal in terms of their dressing styles and patterns, but yes, there heart is purely Muslim, but that doesn’t really mean that the women are considered lowly, nor does it mean that people are so rigid about their dressing, or other such rules which are generally found in other Muslim countries.

Moving on to the people, their beliefs and behavior.
People are mostly good from heart, they will be more than happy to help/ assist you. They are not in any hurry, very peaceful; calm and content society. Resultant, you can observe a stress free, merry-go-round approach. Simultaneously, you will find people working at their own pace, there is no supervisor who is calculating output for every penny paid - a relaxed culture. This encourages people to work to the best of their efficiency. They work sincerely. However, one thing that I have observed is people are innocent and a bit ignorant too, since there is a feeling of being content, they don’t explore new possibilities/ things around in the different worlds.
Economically, it’s the Chinese people who dominate Indonesians. The Indonesian economy is the still developing and exploring new avenues to venture in. However, these days when all the world economies are going down, Indonesian economy graph was going upwards. A positive sign for any economy. Coal and Silver are the two things for which Indonesia is known best, throughout the world.

City has a variety of tourist spots ranging from historic monuments, museums, safari, kids adventure, discos, lively night life, Kareoke, good restaurants  catering to the varied taste of individuals from different lands. Let it be Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Chinese, Italian you can find them all. Its just that you need to explore a bit. Indonesia has its expertise in the spa treatments, it's a must experience for everyone to rejuvenate self.

Interestingly, Indians are considered as kings!!! Yes in Jakarta, people have opinion that Indians are wealthy. Indonesians consider Shahrukh Khan our Bollywood actor as there GOD. In there own funny yet cute ascent they say "Madam you from India - Kuch Kuch hoota hai... Shahrukh Khan. Say my hello to him..."

All in all a calm, happy and stress free place Jakarta is!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Do we value what we have

I have come up with yet another topic, this one's bit argumentative for some. Readers may  differ from me after reading below subject. But this is my experience as an expat, is what I'm sharing with you all.

I'm writing this as an appreciation of the Indians living in foreign land. May we learn something good from Indians living in foreign country. 

A common scenario on any National Holiday in India; would be something like sleeping late till afternoons. It is presumed to be another Sunday. If the kids are called for flag hosting on Independence Day to school, it’s another big irritating thing for parents mostly and at times for kids too. The charm of the festivity is also decreasing day by day, say for example Holi: We don’t move out from our houses saying colors will damage our skin or some or the other good excuse is always ready with us…. Talk about Dushera, Janmasthmi we don’t feel like going to pandals anymore. Yet another pair of excuses is ready with us. Something like we are tired after office. I gotta prepare for yet another important meeting for tomorrow. ..etc..etc...

What kind of value system are we developing for our coming generations, staying here in India? It’s a fact that the coming generation knows about Pokemon, Disney characters, Barbie dolls but they hardly know who our ministers are, what are our freedom fighters names and how do they look!!! You ask today's youth about current affairs. They are hardly interested.  

In India we always talk about respecting each other and our elders, boasting upon "Atithi Devo bhava", brotherhood. However, I find such things are better followed by our Indian friends living as expatriates. Only a mere fact that the other person is an Indian in another country gives us so much happiness that we tend to associate well with that person. if we happen to find a person from same state or region the happiness becomes many folds indeed. Sitting in an Indian restaurant, roaming around in malls or coming out from cinema hall after a movie, Indians abroad help each other and just after one meeting we tend to develop good bonding among each other. 

However, I somehow wonder that why is it that when we are living in our own country we can’t respect person sitting next to us. We are mostly busy on our cell phones, that we hardly acknowledge someone. So, expecting a simple smile from someone is a rare occasion.

While being in different country the scenario is completely different and for me it came as a surprise when I realized that Indian expats actually takes pain go to embassy for celebrating National days and not National Holidays!!! They try to celebrate all the festivals by which they can keep the spirit of India alive within their hearts. All the festivals like Navratras, Durga puja, Christmas, Holi, Diwali, Ganpati visarjan, Pongal, etc I may have missed out here but no one misses to celebrate. For them India actually lies in their hearts. Infact, abroad there are places where Indians are in majority, where these festivals are celebrated within those community residents. 

Abroad kids are taught about the culture that we inherit in our country, greeting with "Namaste". Kids choose to learn Indian classical dances/music forms rather western dances/music. They love to wear Indian dresses to celebrate festivity with full charm and aura around, that can’t be ignored. 

Indian expat kids have high IQ’s make me feel so proud. They not only know all about another language of foreign land also they know Indian culture, whose who in Indian history and current politics. These facts actually make me ponder a thought that; is it the kids are better groomed outside India?

Yoga evolved from India has many more followers abroad than as compared to Indians in India. 

I question that I asked myself after observing all these things is that, are we better civilized while staying abroad. As the person who moves out from the same country hardly follows these things in India but follows everything in a foreign land. 

I hope the message is clear, if the same can be performed in our own country as well, we can easily conquer not only brains but the hearts of people around the world.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Important to prepare well when moving abroad

When you wanted to speak a thousand words……..
You have decided to move on to different country many feelings pop-up within you. That may generate strange kind of fear in you. As said, it’s good to be little nervous… and then finally with that deep breath you take your step forward to a new beginning and towards a new journey.

Something like this; comes to many working independent women who are married and have to start a new life. When your husband got an opportunity abroad and you have to move along with him. Especially when this is your first trip abroad as - an expatriate.  Are the better halves are really well prepared? No, initially, we are so excited about the new opportunity in foreign land that we tend to forget the adjustment issues involved.

There could be several adjustment issues especially for other half. Your partner already has a new job in hand and he will be busy with his new assignments and new place adjustments. He may skip to realize the fact that you are also dealing with adjustment issues. This is more crucial for a person who was working for years and has been leading an independent life. I would term this as retirement phase.  Though the retirement is planned affair, but here person may or may not be prepared. Also the social surroundings and everything is new here. To meet these small requirements you have to struggle hard.

Imagine a life when you are so busy and stressed having no time to relax and now suddenly you have all the time in the world to do everything, but still you feel so stressed and blank about everything…..

My best advice is to go online, in fact before you have actually moved in to a new place. Get yourself acquaint with place, language, people and habits online. This is will help you to feel comfortable and at peace before you have actually moved into a new land.

Few things that I did when I moved to Jakarta, Indonesia:

1. Explored Facebook to find out are there any Indian friends, whom I can get in touch with. 

2. As soon as I reached language was a big hindrance, I downloaded Google translator for my help.
3. Moved out from my house to meet new people. However, it was really tough to communicate with the locals but gradually I build on.
4. Searched for online Indian community groups. As there are thousand of occasions when all Indians meet and enjoy during weekends, tea-coffee time, parties and several Indian festivals.
5. Hiring of maid was really easy and of real help. My maid actually helped me in guiding local market areas for daily grocery and goods. She was my teacher in learning there native language. For me she was a local tourist guide  and one stop solution for every need of mine.
6. Since I gradually made myself little comfortable with the surroundings, I started travelling to malls and other places on my own.
7. My hubby discovered, movie halls where Indian movies are played. There we meet many Indians for sure.  
8. You can also discover many expat groups also from different nations.

These are few of the things that I did as soon I moved to a new place. 

Lastly my love to my hubby for his support and dearest friend Deepti for her lovely advise,