Life in a New World

3 min read · Posted on: Dec 16, 2004 · Print this page

Adapting to Western lifestyle is something I’m having to do consciously these days. From using the toilets to eating food the so-called unnatural way of doing such simple chores is surprising. On the one hand London is a multicultural city with almost everyone continuing to follow their customs and wear their ethnic attire. I’m sure it hardly stands out anymore to see an Sardarji or an Afro-American. But there is somewhat a default environment around you which you must remould to make your own. For eg: Indian food here is slightly expensive than fast food. Surprisingly though the premium is not quite high. In other instances it is a minor irritant, like the UK keyboard which seems to have mixed up the punctuations and other symbols horribly. Having been used to the US keyboard, this takes a lot of unlearning. The office vending machines are a treat (rather feast). From the basic tea/coffee in a variety of flavours, you get to have different juices and flavoured milk for free. Commercial vending machines are omnipresent and multipurpose. There seems to be one for newspapers, chocolates, chips, train tickets, parking tickets, condoms and what have you. Hardly surprising as the basic wages are quite high here. I’ve also noticed that the weather here is very erratic. It was the coldest weather (2-3 degrees) in several months when I landed here this Sunday. But the temperatures are steadily dipping and it sometimes drizzles. The cloud cover is present throughout and even noontime looks like a typical evening. Vapour clouds come out sometimes as you breathe. I need to wear four layers of clothing everyday. Talking about clothing, an average Englishman wears a choice of colours - ranging from black to white :). There are occasions while in the train when I would be the only person wearing a jacket with a faint hint of blue while everyone else is wearing black. It must a reflection of the weather I presume, but its quite opposite in India. For eg: people from Rajasthan desert wear colourful clothes and vice versa in vividly coloured Kerala. There are good discussions which happen in routine meetings in the office. Perhaps my timing was good (we are now in Knowledge Transfer stage), I get to learn a lot everyday. Its amazing that such a complicated software solution becomes clearer and clearer with each passing day. Now I appreciate it much better. Television channels over here seem to be fairly well regulated. Adult programmes appear only after ten and only in certain channels. Contrast this to the present Indian channels wherein potentially suggestive ads or movie scenes could be spotted in any channel. The news is very localized and from the UK point of view. Hence I have to depend on websites. Interestingly there is a free tabloid newspaper in the underground railways i.e. the Tube. It is reasonably good.

Most Amazing Discovery of the day is Arun is a district in UK! Sounds Interesting ;)

There seems to be quite a few Indian bloggers abroad on ecelectic collection of topics from Bhopal to Indiatimes or egocentric.

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Arun Ravindran

Arun is the author of "Django Design Patterns and Best Practices". Works as a Product Manager at Google. Avid open source enthusiast. Keen on Python. Loves to help people learn technology. Find out more about Arun on the about page.

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