HT Image
HT Image

My journey from Yamuna to Yarra

It's tough to be independent in a foreign land, feels Dushyant Pratap Singh.
By HT Correspondent | None, Melbourne
UPDATED ON APR 28, 2006 06:47 PM IST

Landing on the Changi International Airport at Singapore I thought, Mughal emperor Jahangir could call Kashmir 'Paradise on Earth' only because this airport wasn't constructed then.

And for some odd reason I felt as if my decision of going abroad for further studies wasn't at all incorrect.

Vineet, a pal from my Engineering College days in Agra who had also secured a place at RMIT, said, "I wish I could stay here my entire life."

But, he couldn't. Nevertheless we went on a city tour in the seven-hour break between the flights. And after another eight hours flight, we landed in Melbourne - the city of my dreams!

I had never realised that a week could pass as if it were a single day. Everything was great; I fell in love with the city almost instantly. The roads, the street-cafes, the houses…everything was like a treat for the eyes. And my uni (as they call the universities, here) - simply mind-boggling!

It really felt something else sitting in the lecture theatre, sharing space with people from different countries with various dialects; different not just in physical appearance but in their ideologies too. Some even had a first-hand experience in the industry. I remember I could not concentrate on the lecture for a couple of days - the entire ambience was distractingly awesome.

Truly a marvellous experience!

I felt like calling up Hirdesh, my closest chum who is working in Pune, and giving him a day-to-day analysis of the place. But, I spared his eardrums of the long recitals.

For a month life was absolutely exhilarating, not that it is any less now, but two years ago, when I was a newcomer in this city, I was more of an explorer. There was so much to learn and discover not because I was in Melbourne but since I was independent for the first time in my life.

But, trust me it's tough - to be independent in a foreign land!

When you know mom is not there to prepare you a nice, sumptuous breakfast in the morning; when you know there is no car standing at your driveway; when you know that at the end of each day you have to calculate each cent that you have spent; when every moment you have your sub-conscious mind hitting hard on you to put up to the expectations of your parents, and as if that's not enough, the timely reminders of the loan you have taken for your studies.

Once a group of Indian guys from college decided to go to an Indian restaurant for lunch. Saying that the preparation was below par would be an understatement.

I had never eaten such bland food in life. I mean, not only was it non-spicy but tasteless too. My favourite chholey was prepared in a sea of water, with mere specs of visible chickpeas. The aloo-gobi still worse and the chutney could easily be crowned as 'the worst' in the platter. Disappointed by the main course, we ordered gulab-jamuns for dessert.

Well, if not the taste at least the price made us relish it. Can you imagine eating a gulab-jamun for almost Rs 90?

The only sour part of my tryst with the enthralling life here was the money factor. I couldn't help but convert my spending in Indian rupees. And that would send jitters to my stomach.

Any other NRI reading this would coincide with my thoughts that initially when you land on a distant land you tend to convert each dollar into Indian rupees.

Not just my spending, I used to convert my earning too. I felt proud earning somewhere between $300-500 (around Rs 10,000 to 17,000) a week. But, then the cost of living equals the big bucks!

I am happy I have got rid of this annoying and futile habit now.

The toughest times while living abroad are those of festivals. When you know your family is celebrating Diwali.

When there are fireworks all around your country, when your house is illuminated by umpteen diyas, when there are countless boxes of kaju-barfi and laddoos lying in your kitchen.

When you know all this is there - only you are missing out the joy and festivity.

I remember how awful I felt when I didn't receive rakhi on time, last year. And worse still when I had to tie it myself and could not experience the sheer joy of giving Rinky a present. I so wished I was with her that day.

One thing that I've learnt after coming over to a far away land is that nothing can match the spirit of India.

Life is very different here. People are friendly yet, distant in their manners.

Not at all meaning to imply that Australians are any less amicable or pollyannaish than Indians. Yet, there is something about the warm nature of we Indians that makes us uniquely perfect.

I remember, once Junaid (another Indian guy, who I met at the uni and who happens to be my closest buddy now) and I were buying groceries at Coles department store when, for the first time after our arrival in Melbourne, we saw an Indian lady wearing a sari.

We were absolutely elated to see a lady gracefully draped in a silken burgundy sari. I couldn't resist the temptation to compliment her but, by the time I could reach the outside of the store, she stepped in her car and vroomed off.

My Mom, is one of those typical sari-clad Indian women but little did I ever know that to see a woman in a sari would one day become something that big.

Well, that reminds me that my kurta-pyjamas must have by now become home for the silverfish family. Seriously, I haven't worn them for two years now. Once an Indian friend asked me if I wear kurta-pyjama here, I couldn't help laughing and replied, "I'll be the laughing stock of Melbourne if I wear those."

Strangely enough, I notice that Indians feel intimidated by following their traditions abroad. Though, our so-called 'western' counterparts have no qualms following their customs and habits anywhere across the globe.

Why then do the Indians feel 'odd' to do so? I ask this question though; honestly I too do not have an answer.

Maybe, that's the reason that one yearns for one's homeland more.

(Dushyant Pratap Singh is a student of Masters of Business in Information Technology at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Australia.)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
The court did not see merit in the grounds on which the candidates were seeking an extra chance, and was also worried about this setting the wrong kind of precedent.(HT file photo)
The court did not see merit in the grounds on which the candidates were seeking an extra chance, and was also worried about this setting the wrong kind of precedent.(HT file photo)

No extra chance for taking UPSC exam: Supreme Court

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:43 AM IST
In a February 5 hearing, the government offered candidates who have exhausted their chances an extra one, as a concession, but the court advised it against this, although it said the government is free to exercise its discretion in addressing the grievances of the petitioners.
Close
CRPF personnel being vaccinated against Covid-19, at Hindu Rao Hospital in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
CRPF personnel being vaccinated against Covid-19, at Hindu Rao Hospital in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

Paid shots from March 1 as India expands Covid-19 vaccine drive

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:23 AM IST
The decision marks a significant opening up of the vaccination drive, with the roll-out for the general public being moved up from the previously estimated window of mid-March, and comes at a time when the country is on the brink of a second wave of infections.
Close
Digital media includes intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook, and publishers of news and current affairs content. It also includes so-called curators of such content.(Reuters file photo)
Digital media includes intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook, and publishers of news and current affairs content. It also includes so-called curators of such content.(Reuters file photo)

Govt rules for online media to include takedown power

By Deeksha Bhardwaj
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:05 AM IST
Digital media, as defined in a document that lays out the government’s framework to regulate online content, will cover digitised content that can be transmitted over the internet or computer networks.
Close
Referring to the 2019 decision to scrap the special status of J&K, Pujani said: “We reiterate that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral and inalienable part of India."(AP file photo)
Referring to the 2019 decision to scrap the special status of J&K, Pujani said: “We reiterate that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are an integral and inalienable part of India."(AP file photo)

‘Patron of terror’: India hits out at Pakistan at United Nations

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:48 AM IST
India’s “right of reply” to the Pakistani minister’s speech was delivered by Seema Pujani, second secretary in the permanent mission to the UN. She described Pakistan’s continued misuse of various platforms for “baseless and malicious propaganda against India is not new”.
Close
The government hopes to cover an estimated 10.5 million paddy growers this year, against last year’s 10.2 million.(PTI file photo)
The government hopes to cover an estimated 10.5 million paddy growers this year, against last year’s 10.2 million.(PTI file photo)

2020-21 likely to see record paddy procurement

By Zia Haq
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:36 AM IST
Paddy is the main summer staple that drives the incomes of millions of farmers. The ministry’s official figures show the government’s total procurement of summer paddy has touched 65.8 million tonnes until January 22 against the purchase of 56.5 million tonnes in the corresponding part of last year.
Close
Javadekar said that further steps for administrative work in the Union territory will be taken soon.(ANI Photo)
Javadekar said that further steps for administrative work in the Union territory will be taken soon.(ANI Photo)

Union Cabinet approves L-G proposal for President’s rule in Puducherry

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:25 AM IST
L-G Tamilisai Soundararajan recommended imposition of President’s Rule in Puducherry after the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies did not stake claim to form the government
Close
A view of Motera Stadium, the world's biggest cricket stadium. (ANI Photo)
A view of Motera Stadium, the world's biggest cricket stadium. (ANI Photo)

BJP, Congress trade barbs over Motera stadium renaming

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:21 AM IST
At a cabinet briefing, union ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad also hit out at the Congress and wondered if the top Congress leaders such as Sonia or Rahul Gandhi have even bothered to visit the world’s tallest statue, that of Sardar Patel, at Kevadiya in Gujarat.
Close
Facebook said it cannot be compelled by any committee of the parliament or the state assembly to participate in an inquiry and that its move to appear before a parliamentary panel on information technology last month was “a business decision”.(Reuters Photo)
Facebook said it cannot be compelled by any committee of the parliament or the state assembly to participate in an inquiry and that its move to appear before a parliamentary panel on information technology last month was “a business decision”.(Reuters Photo)

Facebook now says it’s not obligated to appear before Parliamentary panels

By Utkarsh Anand, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 04:05 AM IST
The exchange and Facebook’s contention that it could choose not to appear before any institution, as long as it follows the laws, is interesting because it comes at a time when the Union government is readying a framework to regulate social media and digital media companies.
Close
Shantanu Muluk, a climate activist, arrives at National Cyber Forensic Lab for an investigation, in New Delhi, India, February 23, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi(REUTERS)
Shantanu Muluk, a climate activist, arrives at National Cyber Forensic Lab for an investigation, in New Delhi, India, February 23, 2021. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi(REUTERS)

Toolkit case: Shantanu Muluk’s bail plea hearing today

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:40 AM IST
Additional sessions judge Dharmender Rana, who granted bail to Ravi on Tuesday, posted Muluk’s bail application for arguments on Thursday. Muluk had got transit bail from the Bombay high court on February 16 for a period of 10 days.
Close
In two parallel investigations, the CBI is also probing a multi-crore coal smuggling scam. (FILE PHOTO)
In two parallel investigations, the CBI is also probing a multi-crore coal smuggling scam. (FILE PHOTO)

CBI names TMC youth leader in charge-sheet of cattle smuggling case

PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 12:17 AM IST
  • Earlier this month, CBI in the first charge-sheet in the case had named BSF Commandant Satish Kumar and Murshidabad-based businessman Enamul Haque along with five others for their alleged involvement in cattle smuggling across the India-Bangladesh border.
Close
The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that even under the existing system, Magistrates are made witnesses during trial as they record dying declaration and hold test identification parade. (HT PHOTO).
The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde said that even under the existing system, Magistrates are made witnesses during trial as they record dying declaration and hold test identification parade. (HT PHOTO).

Top court proposes cadre of magistrates to fill gaps in police investigation

By Abraham Thomas
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:55 PM IST
  • The bench, also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat apart from Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde were of the view that magistrates should play a more “intrusive” role in investigation.
Close
Police said the accused surrendered after killing the woman.(Representational Photo/Getty Images)
Police said the accused surrendered after killing the woman.(Representational Photo/Getty Images)

College student in Andhra Pradesh killed for rejecting marriage proposal

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:44 PM IST
  • Police said the accused and the victim were in a relationship for a year, but of late she had been avoiding him.
Close
Currently, the Railways have operationalized almost 65 per cent of Mail/Express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to pre lockdown times. (HT PHOTO).
Currently, the Railways have operationalized almost 65 per cent of Mail/Express trains and over 90 per cent of suburban services as compared to pre lockdown times. (HT PHOTO).

Higher fares for short distance trains to discourage needless travel: Railways

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:31 PM IST
  • The national carrier at present is operating only special passenger trains since the curbs on lockdown were eased. Regular passenger trains have been suspended since March 25, 2020.
Close
When asked about the new strains of the virus that have been found in several parts of the country, Guleria said authorities are closely monitoring the situation.(ANI photo)
When asked about the new strains of the virus that have been found in several parts of the country, Guleria said authorities are closely monitoring the situation.(ANI photo)

New strains not more infectious, need to aggressively monitor situation: Guleria

ANI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:28 PM IST
"Currently we have vaccines with efficacy of 70 per cent , 80 per cent, 90 per cent so even if there is slight fall in efficacy they will still be effective in preventing the virus from further spreading," Guleria told in an interview to ANI.
Close
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel recovered 2 Improvised Explosive Devices (1 pressure cooker and 1 pipe type) placed in a series manner near Dhanora, Narayanpur on Tuesday. (ANI photo)
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel recovered 2 Improvised Explosive Devices (1 pressure cooker and 1 pipe type) placed in a series manner near Dhanora, Narayanpur on Tuesday. (ANI photo)

2 security personnel killed in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur in Maoist attacks

PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:16 PM IST
  • Both the casualties took place due to IED blasts.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP