Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Fair Dinkum English

Aussie cricketers speaking after their match is the only time I heard some of Aussie accent. Living here certainly made it different for me. So, when you have a few tinnies around the barbie and get pissed you certainly are feeling a bit Aussie. For Desis it is drinking beer while cooking meat in the open and getting drunk.

Just listen to this joke which went around a couple of years ago. Perfect example of how the Aussie accent confuses us Indians who make it a point to speak the queen's English.

It's not just the way we (yes, I consider myself a bit of Aussie now) speak but the way large words gets shortened, cause we cannot be buggered to say the whole word. So, the favorite pastime Barbecue becomes a barbie and the postman is a postie, a linesman is a liney and a sick leave is a sickie. Takes a bit of getting used to, but fun to use.

A 'total bastard' is a real close friend and a bit of a bastard is the real enemy. While, getting into the real Aussie English takes some time, you have to make a fair dinkum effort to get along with it.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A melting pot called Melbourne

Coming from India esp. from Hyderabad makes one's tongue like a hide, if you are accustomed to eating hot and spicy Indian food that is. The spicy food not just makes one's taste yearn for that extra bit of Garam Masala but the stomach gets used to as well and gets along with your excesses of Paya (lamb hooves curry) or the ever popular Hyderabadi Biryani.

Sadly, other cultures do not subject their stomachs to such heat and rather have a noiseless visit to the WC. And why not, when it comes to taste, I am sure the Indian tongue among other tastes would like to experience the subtle tastes and exotic smells of international and intercontinental cuisine. But that is just my opinion of the Indian tongue, it never told me so.

What was told to me, by my Indian friends is that they do not want this subtle taste business and rather dive in to something spicy, but I was of a different opinion and would like to try something from other countries/cuisines. With that in mind I headed to the nearest Indian restaurant in Melbourne.

Now, if you miss home and rather have that Murg Mussalam than hop on a flight to remind yourself of India, you should rather hop on the flight. Because Indian restaurants cater to the international palate and don't remind you of India at all. I don't think I found Murgh Mussalam in any of the menus either. What I rather found was one dish called Vindaloo. I cannot say I travelled much of India, but I never heard of something called Vindaloo before and here I was, every Indian restaurant making it. Turns out our Anglo-Indian friends introduced it here, never bothered to let us know.

What is rather odd is that there is no American Chop Suey served in Chinese restaurants. Instead there is Peking duck and Cantonese Fried rice. Both, certainly recommended. South-East asians are not far behind in cooking. Nasi Goreng in an Indonesian restaurant, Thai Green Curry and Roti Chanai with Malay chicken curry are certainly recommended for that spicy yet not too hot tastes.

While, Melbourne is a melting pot of many cultures, I would like to write more about what is available with pictures if I can later. For now, I miss Haleem.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Ferry to Williamstown

Melbourne had a sunny day yesterday. While clear and fine days are in high demand during this time of the year, we had some supply of sunshine and getting that on a weekend was the perfect icing. I hopped on to a ferry from the city to Williamstown. Black swans on the Yarra were a very good start to the trip.

Start of a journey. A couple just got married and are very lucky to experience such climate on their wedding day.

I won't be surprised if I find a pregnant Preity Zinta dancing around this bridge/pathway.

A city taking rest after its weekend. As seen from the sea. (Yarra meets the sea somewhere on our journey.)

Williamstown at last, against the backdrop of the city. It grew dark very soon, but not for my camera.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Why I came here

Us NRIs are called a few things before leaving. Foreign-crazy, Taking the road to America via Ameerpet, keeda (bug) to make money, following your dollar dreams were a few things we were referred to as doing. I took offence at this if it was referred to me.

But, they were mostly true. Now, I love India with all my heart. But I wanted to travel, go places. While my Australian adventure is described in this blog, I think I have more places to go to.

I always wanted to come to Australia, not the US or UK. In fact after getting a good score on GRE, I did not apply for any US university. Australia, was the easy and preferred option. Why? Australia is closer to nature. The Great Barrier Reef, the Ayer's Rock (which changes colors according to the weather), the camper's heaven called Victoria all were attractions I planned to visit. And then there was education.

Not that there aren't other places in the world closer to nature, Australia's warm temperature is appealing. I also realise that there are numerous places in India I haven't been to and I hope to get there before commercialisation takes over.

I was reasonably well-educated before I started this journey, but the timing and my field of study (IT) were not suited at that time (which was the excuse I gave to my parents). So, I figured further education would lead me to travelling across Australia.

There are lots of things one can have on their to-do list. I have one thing to do, 'travel', and I already started it. Will not stop doing it till I die.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Far away from home

I have heard about it, I have read about it and felt very certain that I won't be affected by it. But three months in to living in Melbourne and it hit me. I was caught unawares. If you ever tripped over a step when you are feeling the most smug about yourself, you will know the feeling. If you have not, then try it once, up your confidence and remind yourself that you are all knowing, all conquering, you are the smartest and the strongest, do this while you are walking up a flight of stairs and sooner or later you will trip.

Back to the point, I became home sick. While there are varying degrees of home sickness, I was unfortunate enough to get hurt the hardest. I will say that about me won't I? During the start of winter 2003, I was a lonely soul, wandering about on the streets of Melbourne, very depressed and longing to go back home.

I had no money, had about 90 dollars left in my bank account. The remedy for homesickness is to not let it get worse, a whole lot of good that would do. Calling home and crying over the phone is not recommended, cause the called party wails more than the called party, which in turn makes the called party (in this case me) a bit more depressed, if you catch my drift.

The remedy for any mentally related problems is to keep your mind busy, which certainly wasn't being observed in this case. But washing cars in the middle of winter certainly took my mind off things, I was too busy thinking about how to stop my foot from freezing.

A tip for you dreamers out there, if you leave your home and ever get homesick, just remember that it is natural and expected. And if it is winter then wash cars, you will make a bit of money and sleep tired.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Continuing Education

Education took up most of my time in the first 8 months that I came to Melbourne. The agent in Hyderabad reminded me that the course I am doing is a bit tough. I took it as when we are reminded in school that the exams are tough.

The major difference between education here and the one back in Hyderabad was the hands on approach. Assignments had to be completed during studies and counted for marks. So, when last minute cram sessions worked in India, I had sleepless nights throughout the semester working on assignments.

At the end of semester one, there were 6 assignments for 4 subjects to be submitted and exams were looming after that. I realised that there is enough time if you use it correctly, so out went watching TV or hanging out, all time was spent in libraries and reading up in the train.

'Everything's easy' approach got adopted in semester two and it hurt me hard, I failed one subject and had to clear the subject. Desperate times called, but easy subjects were offered. No time was wasted picking one up and passing it.

So, while I studied databases, Software Engineering, Network security and such, I work in a different field altogether. Am I happy? Of course I am, I passed didn't I?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Busy Procrastinator

Higher studies were the main reason I came to Australia. But the number of things I had to take care of put my studies in the background.

I was very busy the first few weeks I came to Melbourne. Coming from a city known for its lazy Nawabi culture, it felt like getting off the bed and running full tilt right away in the middle of the night with lights still off. Since I did not have much practice doing that, a few problems crept up.

One of the first things I had to learn was to walk. Yeah, I learnt that when I was a kid but somehow lost touch after getting a bike in India. Though public transport is a bit more efficient here than what we have in Hyderabad, it still does not drop you at your doorstep. Which meant I had to make use of my legs a lot.

Part of running in the dark was to figure out how to cook and how to wash clothes. Raw food simply did not agree with my stomach and I realised clothes smell bad if worn for too long. I now found ways to save time on these things.

I did not hurt myself too much by running in the dark, cause when I kept running dawn came. If I was back home, I would still be sleeping.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

My work, my life

Leaving India meant supporting myself. Though it was pointed out that pretty much everything from cooking to doing the laundry was to be done by myself, I did not worry too much about the money as well before leaving.

I first tried my mouth at telemarketing and got sold on the idea that I am bad at selling. I did a one up on my employer and quit before I got the boot. Physical labour was the other option, but I did not take it. Three months later hunger came up as another option, I opted for labour.

Christina Aguilera made working at the car wash a glamour job, but thankfully it wasn't as popular when I applied. I always thought I was fit, then I started working at the car wash and I lost about 5 kilos.

I now know that I am a bad waiter, not too responsible to manage a store, a sloppy sweeper, not really qualified to wash dishes and too slack at collecting data. But I got those jobs anyway.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

How I came here

I am one of the thousands if not millions, who have left their home land to move on and make money in a foreign place. Further education and settling down was the idea. Now I am settled down.

With not much of an idea of how I would get through living in Australia I came here. I had misconceptions and I hadn't planned this trip much. The planning sucked so much that I did not pack enough warm clothes. I checked on some site that Melbourne's weather ranges from 13 to 25 C. Assuming it can get as low as 13 in the winter nights, I got one blanket and a few sweaters. Last winter it hit 5 C at around 11 AM in Melbourne.

Another thing I had a misconception about was a part time job. I had only one friend living here and I spoke to her twice before I left Hyderabad. She said that getting a telemarketing job is easy to get. Australian governement is setting up a national Do Not Call Register now. So, telemarketers were just about to start being hated then.

The thing that I was most unconcerned about was my studies. I failed one subject in my first year of study.

But the important thing is I learnt that I can pull through surprises that spring up when you least expect. What I haven't learnt yet and don't want to, is to prepare too much for something I would like to begin. Would spoil the fun.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Free Hyderabad, Full Hyderabad

For someone living outside of India you will just be amazed at how many people you meet are Indians, there are Indians everywhere, some enterprising, some hardworking and some plain lazy like yours truly.

Someone told me a joke that in some remote part of Africa, a call came through and asked for Patel, they had to clarify if it was Dr Patel or Mr Patel they were after.

More amazing is the number of Hyderabadis you will find. Now, if you are in Hyderabad and know that every two and halfth person has left every next week to every which place outside of India. But, you may be forgiven for thinking that everyone else does it.

In my three odd years of living in Melbourne and the bit of travelling I have done in Australia, I have known and met many Hyderabadis and it is oh so comfortable speaking in Hyderabadi for a while. So, cheers to Hyderabad, a full Hyderabad, a free Hyderabad.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My first blog at last!

Hi all. After pondering and reflecting about my own blog for very long I have finally published it.

I was born in India and now live in Australia. If you ever wonder why Australian sports is represented in Gold and Green, I think it is because of how beautiful Australia looks when you watch it from your flight, it does look golden with green bits. It is probably one of Australia's many deserts. That is me, a desi in Golden land.

Will keep this blog updated with my experiences, my dreams and their designs.