I’ve been wanting to blog on all the things I was thinking about and doing over the last three weeks.
Firstly, the flight from Sydney to Bombay was quite good. Sydney to Singapore was a packed flight with people stopping at Singapore to catch connecting flights to Bombay, Delhi, Germany, Paris and some other countries. I got my window seat that I had requested for and was seated with an elderly gentleman from Denmark and an exchange student from Germany. Now, I remember when I was flying from India to Sydney in 2005…I was seated with 2 Indian blokes who were friends and were extremely annoying and I didbn’t enjoy the flight at all. This time it was different. Not only did I have interesting conversations with the two co-passengers, we also all had our own time. At Singapore, I barely had time to freshen up and make a phone call to my cousin there before I had to check-in.
The flight from Singapore to Sydney was quite empty. I didn’t have anyone seated next to me and I got my window seat again which was quite nice. (Don’t have to ask them to excuse you if you have to use the loo!!) The food on this flight was ordinary compared to the previous one. And you could tell that you were on your way to India when the pilot (or whoever else speaks) had to remind passengers to be seated when they didn’t as the plane was taking off. Seriously, don’t people ever realise that there’s a reason such rules must be followed??? On the bright side, I had a wine on my Syd-Singapore flight and a beer on the Singapore-Bombay flight. Watched about 3 movies in total, two of which were stupid (‘Confessions of a Shopaholic and He’s just not that into you). It seriously made me wonder why they portray women as being such airheads and why that sells (But that’s a totally different post altogether!)
Finally, at around 2:30 a.m. Indian time, we landed at Bombay airport. To pouring rain. I kid you not when I say that I brought the monsoons to Bombay — I haven’t seen a clear sky since I have been here!!! In fact, at one point I wondered whether it was a smog covered sky but apparently it’s not. It’s just cloudy. Anyway, at Bombay airport, it was the usual chaos. You just know you are in India. Compared to Sydney and Singapore where things were conducted in an orderly fashion, in Bombay, chaos rules. the funny thing was with the swine flu scare — they ask you to fill out a form and state whether you have been in contact with anyone who has swine flu. In short, you could lie and they wouldn’t have a bloody clue!
Luckily my bag was immediately visible after I cleared immigration. The scary part was when we had to put our bags again for inspection before checking out — I noticed some people were allowed to get out without doing so. Excuse me, but where is the security??? I thought every one world over was stricter these days. Oh well. And as usual, the concept of standing in line is not there. A bloke just cut through and put his bags ahead of the guy standing in front of me. And all of this together said one thing to me: Welcome to India. Sigh.
I had my mum and sister come to pick me. And then it was a 30 minute drive on the rainy streets of Bombay to where I lived for 10 years. And a scary 30 minute drive at that. I had completely forgotten how there are no road rules here, no lane system and the ‘might is right’ phenomenon. In the past 3 weeks, every car ride has my blood pressure up there! I don’t know how people do it. I also learnt that a red traffic light means nothing. At least not in the suburbs.
Over the past 3 weeks, I have caught up with my mum, dad and sister. I have played games of scrabble with my sister and have had arguments since we are sharing a room again. I have met up with friends from school and uni. I have eaten so much I am scared to weigh myself. I have shopped for clothes, shoes, souvenirs for friends back home in Sydney and BOOKS!!! I have travelled by train a few times and reminisced about the days I went to college. I have whinged about the computer and the way things work here (slow!!!). I have been annoyed at the zillion bag checks upon entering stores and leaving them in the new shopping malls that have erupted in the past 4 years. I have fallen sick a couple of times and I’m currently battling another runny nose (Damn the pollution and my allergies). I have had moments of wanting to tell off my grandmother but have restrained myself mainly because I can’t speak the language! I have also had to meet family friends and neighbours.
The one question I have been asked by every Tom, Dick and Harry here has been the whole ‘racism’ thing. And I have given the standard answer: DO NOT BELIEVE ALL THAT THE MEDIA SAYS!!! In fact, there is a whole speech attached to this which my sister now knows by heart because of the number of people I have had to say it to. The media here has tainted the image of Australia so much that it’s not funny. In the three weeks, I hope I have done something to promote their image because I love Australia and it’s home for me. And I will not listen quietly when the media tries to taint my home. I have got my point across to all the people I know and hopefully they will pass on the message to other anti-Australians.
I have found that India has changed. For the better, I can’t say for sure. Yes, there’s more shopping centres and great progress in the IT industry. But I find that morally and socially, the country is regressing. I will delve further into that in a different post altogether. Let’s just say I am very grateful to call Australia home and even more grateful that I had the opportunity to go there and start a new life. I love my immediate family and friends here but I will be glad to go home. Two more sleeps to go.
Until next time,