With 2012 about to finish now, I decided to do a small A- Z of my experiences from India for 2012. Because I’m Norwegian and we have three more letters in our alphabet I did an A-Å actually. Since this is India, and we have a number of different calendars there I have given myself the freedom to choose events also from different years. And if I don’t find any word for the actual letter I have invented a word. That’s just the way it is…
A – Is for Alleppey. If there is any green heaven in India it must be this place. I went there once last year and twice this year and really want to come back again soon.
B – This could be for many things. But I choose B for Bombay Bollocks. A blog written by my very good friend Richard. Old chap; you really deserve a letter, but R is occupied so it had to be this one. Wishing you all the best for your new adventures in Goa. Ideally B should also be for Bollywood. According to Lonely Planet and other guides it is very easy to get a small background role in a movie if you are white and just show up in Mumbai. For me, after two years, it has still not happened. Maybe I will end up as a Bombay struggler?
C – Again the options are many. C is surely for Chai, the tea that everyone in India drinks. And it’s also for cricket. And talking about cricket, sorry all friends in Mumbai, C will always be for Chennai. Whistle podu with pride!
D – This should have been for Durga Pooja, the biggest festival of Western Bengal. But this year I was not in India during that festival, so I guess it has to be for Durgapur instead. Durgapur is the place where we went for the last of my four wedding ceremonies (see also W for wedding) and it was a fantastic place.
E – Is for Expatliv. That’s the name of Elis blog (another E there…) and also the kind of life I have lived for the last two years. Expat means someone living outside his/hers own society. Some people hate it, some people love it. I’m surely part of the second group. My two years in India have been filled with a lot of nice and interesting experiences.
F- This is an easy one; F for Friends! You know who you are and what you all mean for me.
G- Here I choose Garba. A traditional Indian dance that I really like. I still remember back in 2010 when my neighbors danced this and I got invited to my first local festival. G could also be for Goa.
H –This is for Hashing. When I first wrote a blog post about it people asked me if hash is actually legal in Norway! Ehhhrm. No. Not really. But it is not that kind of hash either. Bombay Hash Harriers is a group of people who gather together and run, and well, drink beer (see Ø for øl). I have made a lot of friends in that society.
I – here I choose an easy option. I is for India. The country where I have lived & loved for two years. Period.
J – Ehhm. Uhhm. Somehow I struggled a bit with this. I thought about Jainism or Jodhpur, but that was all things that happened more in 2011, so I ended up with Japanese. Another language that I know nothing about, but have been quite used to hear in Mumbai (see also L for Language confusion)
K – Kolkata for sure! Easy pick. As I said in my initial blog post about Kolkata, that is what I feel is the absolutely real India. And when coming there it didn’t disappoint me. I really want to go back there some time.
L – Language confusion. No jaar maaan. It’s not so bode simple to speak in India, boss. Ohh yeah. You have probably heard about Hinglish. The kind of English people speak in India. For me not being a native English speaker it is all wrong to try to make fun of how the Indians are speaking their English. But it is surely different from the way we speak it in Norway! And it has lead to a lot of confusions. Having got a lot of friends (see F) from different countries, I have ended up speaking a few words in a number of languages and mixing it all together in a way that I hardly know what language I speak anymore!
M – Marathon. Am I proud of this? Yes, for sure. I did two marathons in two weeks in two continents! Ok, we didn’t really run 42 kilometers, but well. Mumbai Marathon was more for charity than anything else the way we did it. Thanks a lot to Chintan, Kiran and everyone else at WeKare (sorry, W is taken) who put this together. And this quickly leads me to…
N –for Nanhi Kali. And this is when I get teary when I write. One of the reasons I went to India in the first place was to try to do more for that organization. And so many things we have achieved together! I honestly don’t know how many times I have visited Nanhi Kali homes, but every time it is just fantastic! Thanks a lot to Sheetal who runs this, everyone at Naandi and Nanhi Kali foundation. And a huge thank to Fiona and James who keep up the good work at Capgemini.
O – This is the only one where I choose something that is related to work. The reason why I came to India in the first place is Offshoring. But O is also O Saya, the Slumdog Millionaire hit that still is in my ears and reminds me of India.
P – This should have been for the camel fair in Puskhar. Sadly I missed that one. Some of my friends went there, and I guess I have to try again next year. So P is rather for Pune. Thanks to Pearl, Konrad and little Beth who have always been my hosts when I go there. I have really started to like the city and the area around it. P can also be for Powai, my home in India.
Q- This is for Quick. Something the service in Indian rarely is. Only exception is maybe Flipkart.com, who have delivered books to me on (or before) time every time I have ordered.
R – I can think about a number of things for R. But with the latest incident in Delhi it has to be for Rape. Sadly.
S – Self-drive! Getting my own car in Mumbai and be able to travel around wherever I wanted in Mumbai gave me a freedom that I didn’t had before. People still think I’m crazy when I tell them that I drive around in Mumbai, but I still love it!
T – Tiger! Ok. This happened in 2011, and somehow our planned tiger trip this summer didn’t happen. But for me it is still something I will always remember as very much part of India. Thanks to Del and the others who joined for that trip.
U – This is a funny one; U is for Urdu! No. I know nothing about (see J or L). But one of my colleagues actually told me that I speak Hindi with an Urdu accent! Well, I have no idea, so I can’t really disagree. Thanks a lot Anupama & Ayan for all the nice chats we have had. In Urdu, Bengali, Danish or any other language…
V – Varanasi. A must see for everyone who goes to India!
W- Finally! After having lived two years without being in any Wedding, I got to four wedding parties in six days in two states! Thanks a lot for the couples Shazneen & Erick and Abhisek & Puspita who invited me. Thanks a lot also to Orie, Elisabetta, Pearl and Konrad who joined me for these memorable events.
X- Is for Draw. Cheating you say? No. Back in the old days in Norway, when you were betting on a football match you filled 1 for home 2 for away and yes, x for a draw. So this is for the recent cricket match where England honestly trashed India. If I remember correct, England scored 600 and something, India 300 and something. And then, because it got a little bit dark or the players were thirsty and wanted some tea (see C for Chai) or something else, they stopped the match and declared it a draw. Stupid game…
Y – Young. India does have a very young generation that makes the future looking good for the country. Keep it up and make it count!
Z- Zliip. I’m sure the young Indians will use this word for sleep (see L for language confusion). Anyway. Sleep is something you hardly have time for in Mumbai….
Æ – Ærlig. Norwegian word. Meaning honestly. I have tried to always be honest. Both while writing this blog and in other situations. If I don’t succeed, sorry.
Ø – Øl Another Norwegian word. Most of you probably know that this means beer. I have been in Indian news twice, as far as I know. Once at TV for the Mumbai Marathon. Once in the newspaper for the Hashing. The title of the article was Blast with beer. Hmmm. Not sure if I liked that. But anyway; thanks a lot Libertad for being in the picture with me. You made it look good. And thanks a lot to Alok who clicked the photo.
Å – Åpen – Being open. In order to survive in India, you really have to be open to new experiences and impressions. Everything can happen in India…
Talk to you soon!