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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…
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.
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…)
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!
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.
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.
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!!
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…
And here in Mumbai….
Are you kidding me? How rare is it to have EXACTLY the same temperature in two such otherwise different climates?
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…)
Asia can be a sensory cacophony… Mumbai means living with an everyday decibel level that you just come to accept. Even the background sounds that fade from consciousness are ever present – crows, pigeons, hawkers, traffic, construction, music or TVs blaring, animated conversations at all hours… there is always something day or night.
Average noise levels of our city are at least triple that of your normal North American city. Throw in a festival or two and you can see decibel levels of 140 and above (let’s just say that far worse than jumbo jets taking off!)
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!
For anyone growing up in Winnipeg or tuned into the folk music scene in Canada, Mitch is a familiar figure. A visionary character that dared to have crazy dreams and convince others to come along for the party! (more…)
Why does it take the visit of the US President Barack Obama to highlight that India has a serious air pollution problem?
Some may have missed a small footnote in the excitement over the US President’s visit. It was initially suggested Obama, chief guest at India’s Republic Day Parade, should remain indoors as the air quality levels is hazardous to his health?! Naturally you can’t be chief guest at an outdoor parade without being… well.. outdoors! But at last there followed a series of articles in the press about just how bad pollution levels are in India. (more…)