As a kid, I used to wait for the evening of the Dussehra festival. I would go to the nearby temple with my cousins and friends. On the open ground within the premises of the temple, huge effigies of the mythological character Ravana along with his two brothers would be erected. The effigies would be stuffed with firecrackers. An energetic lad disguised as Hanuman would be seen entertaining the crowd with his mace (gada). Little kids would release fire-tipped arrows from a distance, hitting Ravana’s chest and setting the effigy on fire.
I would clap and shout along with my tribe, watching the effigies collapse head-first, on the ground. The festival is a symbol of victory of good over evil, and I would run back home feeling elated and victorious as if it were I who had personally destroyed evil! I would then visit each house in my colony to exchange Apta leaf (bidi tree leaf) called ‘sona’.
When you move to a foreign country, however, even finding a ‘tithi’ can be challenging. Your mom is missed. Your dad is missed, too. And that regional calendar hanging from your kitchen window, listing all the tithis is also missed.
How is it to celebrate festivals abroad? A sneak peek attached from my book, available on Amazon India and worldwide!
“The first time I went to a restaurant was with my office colleagues. It was full of cultural shocks in this new country.
The server in the restaurant asked us if we would have a single check or separate. Everyone ordered for themselves. There was no discussion on the food to order, the combination of dishes, spicy level, previous experiences… I was used to having many stories around ordering food. The menu card would do round-robin, before somebody taking the lead, to realise all his choices were voted down!” I missed those stories. It was formal, jumping straight to the order.
As the bill arrived, I was shocked to see ‘gratuity’ there. Till that day, gratuity for me was the money employer would pay if one stayed for more than five years in the company.
18% gratuity (tip) was part of the total bill. My sharp brain quickly converted the amount to INR. It was more than my total bill at a restaurant back home!
I wasn’t inclined to pay it as I was still an outsider to the culture. I was yet to embrace the way of living here, now I call home!” shared a friend.
Which country are we talking about? Do you have personal experiences of the tipping culture away from home country?
Canada is inviting applications for skilled permanent residents in numbers that hardly any other country is doing currently in the World. A stint there can fulfil many of your dreams. Its cities rank high in the World city ranking index. Canada gives easy access to the US and many nearby regions because of its proximity. It has one of the best lakes in the World- The Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, a bucket list item.
When it comes to migration, the stakes are higher. You need to look into many more aspects than just at the surface. The job market, the primary reason you would want to move, is small; if it not an inter-company transfer for you. Several people have sold their assets in India, migrated and couldn’t find a job for six months to a year! You will end up in one of the top five cities in Canada because of better prospects. The rentals have been continuously increasing because of demand pressure, and you need to be good at calculations.
Local people are generally humble, generous and welcoming. The culture … ok, let me stop here.
Why would you want to immigrate to another country, leaving your comfort zone?