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What’s really been going on…

Ever have a time in your life where so much is happening, it seems almost unreal? As I wrote my immigration form a few hours ago to re-enter India from Singapore, I declared my travels in the last 6 days – Singapore obviously, but also India for a day, before that the UK and Canada.

And why so much travel? The real reason combines the personal and the professional.

On the personal front…

Lots of different things however the real big news is… drum roll here… my partner and I finally took the plunge to sign a piece of paper in Winnipeg with a wee wedding at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. We knew from the moment we met over five years ago that we wanted to spend our lives together, however took our time to get to this stage of bringing our respective families together in celebration.

It still feels strange when folks teasingly call me “Mrs Smith” – a last name I am not adopting but respect completely. I apparently even accidentally hung up on a consulting associate who merrily greeted me that way! (in fairness, the call didn’t connect properly)

Within a week of being wedded in Winnipeg, I was on more planes and found myself in Singapore for some work related meetings. Which is only the tip of the iceberg so to speak as on the professional front as much has happened over the last few months:

  • I was delighted to be back in Jakarta working on a project from September 2016 to December then back briefly in March and April 2017. Naturally this meant a few stops in Singapore in my crisscrossing back and forth between India and Indonesia…
  • January and May were pre-occupied with India projects that enabled trips to Kolkata and Kochi – it had been years since I was in Kerela so that was a particular treat!
  • February brought me to Delhi to co-facilitate a remarkable conference
  • More is unfolding in the technology space with the India company association… plus some new developments brewing that seem particularly exciting!

Beyond the personal and professional, everyday life in India inspired a few amused cribs about:

  • Ready or not, July 1st introduces India’s Goods & Services Tax with some absurd moments and migration migraines from Service Tax to GST
  • After a couple of years of effort, I finally successfully withdrew my last Indian Provident Fund. If ever anyone has tried to do this – foreigner or Indian – you will understand this is NOT necessarily a simple process!
  • After even more effort, a weird system error was finally corrected so that the Indian government was finally convinced I actually had paid my taxes in 2009. Really… honestly… I did… it only took 8 years for them to admit it!!
  • We also learned to survive the aftermath of November 2016’s demonetization in which cash was temporarily dethroned

So from newly wedded bliss, professional developments, to the everyday follies in India, life continues to be an amazing adventure!

There you have… a bit of insight into what’s really going on…

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Manitoba musical memories… a tribute to cold winters, warm hearts

In June I was in my home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is always good to be back and there were so many special reconnects.

One evening in particular reminded me how blessed we were to grow up in a place bursting with musical talent.

Living room jam

Living room jam

I looked around the room at familiar friends… folks I grew up… folks with many shared experiences… folks whose lives have gone through many twists and turns… folks whose  hearts have been broken, mended…. folks who faced trials and many triumphs… folks who still turn to share with each other life through music…. relationships that span several decades.

After all, we were there to celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday. Six fabulous decades of merriment, mischief and more. (more…)

Marginalized to Mainstream – PM marching with Pride

A terrible horrible thing happened in Orlando this summer. That 50 people lost their lives and many others were injured in a shooting at a gay nightclub is beyond a tragedy. However the outrage and condemnation of the attack was a small sliver of shinning light in a very dark moment.

As I walked through the heart of Toronto’s financial district in June, everywhere were signs of support for pride month. The aftermath of Orlando brought an enhanced push to the usual preparations for pride. (more…)

Travel time…

Not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been a bit pre-occupied the last while.

Lots happening behind the curtain with the upshot that in just a few hours I will be on a plane from Mumbai to London… enjoy the weekend there catching up with my partner, seeing him perform, hopefully meet a few friends!

Partner and I at BAFTA

Partner and I last year at BAFTA

Then hop on another plane to Toronto. Hope and pray everything goes smoothly with my Indian visa submission.

Hop on another plane to Winnipeg to spend some much needed time with family and friends.

2015 family reunion

2015 family reunion

Then hop on yet another plane back to Toronto where my sincere wish is that a lovely new visa will be ready and waiting for me. Pretty please!

And then, yes you got it… hop on another plane back to London then home to Mumbai.

Do you love Mumbai too?

My adopted home…

Won’t bore you with the details but this is a big change for me. Til now I’ve been terribly spoilt in the visa department. With a flourish of a pen all that changed. So now… my fate is in the hands of some random stranger. Just as it is for many people. Wish me well!!

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Temperature Twins! Mumbai vs Winnipeg??

There are a lot of things different about living in India vs Canada… not the least of which is typically the weather!

When people think of India, they immediately imagine blazing heat!

And Canada? Let’s just say the exact opposite…

And if its Winnipeg? Try swirling snowstorms. And Mumbai? Warm, humid perennial summer!

So this week when my father mentioned how nice and warm it is in Winnipeg? I just so happened to check the temperature…

There in Winnipeg…

2016-05-06 Wpg

And here in Mumbai….

2016-05-06 Mumbai

Are you kidding me? How rare is it to have EXACTLY the same temperature in two such otherwise different climates?

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Thank you Canadian voters!

I’m a proud Canadian.

I’m proud of the values I grew up with – embracing cultures and communities of the world, religious persuasion, celebrating that love is the person not the gender… believing in universal healthcare, access to quality education, funding for the arts, creating opportunities to work together in harmony with civility and compassion.

Understanding a helping hand and a second chance can make a positive difference. Recognising we are merely renting space on this planet and responsibility for generations to come in our treatment of our environment. Believing in fairness, a commitment to scientific discovery, that an open honest debate makes us stronger. (more…)

Letting go of bookish friends

Growing up, I was a voracious reader.

The books of my childhood were full of Canadian classics by L M Montgomery with her iconic curly topped imaginative “Anne of Green Gables” and early feminist and abolitionist American author Louisa May Alcott known for her book “Little Women” plus many other authors.

This hunger to discover worlds beyond my own through other’s words remains… though the quantity and range has reduced over the years… and for a time nearly stopped as the business of ‘living’ took over a love of literature.

With a slightly slower pace this year, my love of reading has resurfaced. (more…)

Winnipeg Folk Fest Part 3 – Thanks for the memories

Some folks in Winnipeg were surprised we did not remain for the Folk Festival.

After all, I’ve been an avid festival goer and volunteer for many years! Even dragged my partner from Bombay back for the 40th Winnipeg Folk Festival  in 2013.

However… our focus this trip to Canada was my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary celebrations in Winnipeg, with a side serving of re-uniting with friends in Vancouver, Canada Day with my partner’s sister and family in Toronto and a bit of amusement in London before scampering back to India.

But I gotta admit… this weekend as Facebook is flooded with photos of the Fest, viewing vicariously what I’m sure was amazing music, friends catching up with other friends, the effort and joy of volunteering, the next generation delighting in the unique community environment and activities… yeah I’m missing it.

So decided to relive it going through a few photos from 2013… and to share three: (more…)

Happy Canada Day!!

For the first time in 13 years, I’m actually in Canada on Canada Day!

We are celebrating at my partner’s sister’s home in Toronto (ok – actually Brampton) with folks dropping by all day and evening. What better way than to celebrate with family and friends?

#ExploreCanada, Vancouver 2015 (Everyday Asia)

#ExploreCanada, Vancouver 2015 (Everyday Asia)

For all you Canadians in Canada and abroad – enjoy your Canada Day celebrations!

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So long, farewell!

As we prepared our home for the demolition gang, completed last-minute shopping, we struggled with the internet… Yes… living in Mumbai you cannot rely on having one internet alone!

You would think having easy access to four options (yeah that’s 1..2..3..4…) would be enough:

  • My so-called ‘high speed’ internet has been down for two days and counting…
  • My partner’s slow but steady MTNL internet was sorta kinda working but now has gone from barely functioning to not…
  • Our recently re-charged data card isn’t compatible with my MacBook Air…
  • So I’m on my back-up to the back-up to the back-up… using my phone as a ‘hot spot’… however the signal keeps dashing off leaving me intermittently ‘high and dry’ as the city drowns in monsoon floods

Because ultimately the monsoon is the real culprit in this equation. And the poor drainage conditions in this city that leads to regular flooding, damaging cable connections and more.

I’m not sure how often I will post over the coming weeks while we trot around the globe to London, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and back to London… so quick before I lose this precious connection… ciao for now and catch you in a bit!

Looking to London, then Van-Groovy... then Winterpeg... T.O. and back to Big Ben!

Looking to London, then Van-Groovy… then Winterpeg… T.O. and back to Big Ben!

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