Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Life in the UK

It has been a year and two months since I came to the UK. Yesterday, my flatmate Tanweer and I had a good discussion about what we learnt or achieved from our life abroad after I received an email from British Council. I can confidently say that the last two years in my life was the most productive and creative time with regard to the academic and professional front. Leaving that apart I would like to talk about my personal life that took a new turning point, which I realised only during my visit to Kerala this January.

The simple things that I kept ignoring in yesteryears that I managed to adopt as the needs of today’s life here in UK seems to push me forward to be more confident on nearly everything that I was been longing to do in life. You might find it silly but I can bet that almost 80% of my confidence generated from a newfound love for cooking. In future I can be a loser at a lot of other places and activities but I am sure I will stay an achiever in kitchen. The most relaxing time I spend after work or studies is in kitchen with stupid experiments on what could be a truly new tasty dish. It is like painting or making a film. Well, the dishes might not fancy everyone but at least a few could have a positive opinion about it. J It’s been true about my films too. So far I haven’t followed any recipe. It is like writing without proper grammar and spellings or filming without script. I remember a long fight on phone with a good friend from English literature background Susan Deborah on my immediate and important need for a new word ‘fourbile’ or probably ‘frible’ in English that can follow the sequence of ‘single, double and triple’. Naturally it is not practical but I love this experimental way and I don’t think I ever looked for any takers whether it is film or food for good. I will give you an example of an experimental dish from the kitchen that my sister liked a lot - a curry with ivy guard, mustard, aubergine and boiled eggs. Have you heard of this combination before!

In spite of my dad’s words, I never thought of exploring ‘cooking-as-a-need’ for years, though I had all possibility for that during my stay in Chennai. I thought it could be time killer and hence wasted money at restaurants. Now that notion has been proved wrong. I cooked for my mother on most of the days I spent at home. I enjoyed intruding into her territory that she cherished for many years. For the food and me there were some interesting remarks from family. The funniest was my uncle’s, who said that he now truly agree and support to my plan of a single life as I proudly proved to him that I can cook a good meal, enjoy it and wash my plates all alone.

Let me get into my second achievement. I guess I have learnt to live with people now. From that loner of Chennai who was cocooned inside his own room marking it his only world, he had grown to a 99% social being. I used to believe that I could never share a house with someone else. For that reason I lived in a single room in Chennai for almost four years. Like my notion on cooking it is proved wrong. I am terribly happy with my two flatmates here who are more like brothers. I guess I was more selfish and self-centred during my lone life and I feel better with this new change. It feels good, funny and freaky.

This time in Kerala I designed the most satisfactory film I ever did, my sister’s marriage video. I was not with her on her engagement. On that day while video chatting with her she asked me for a promise that I would stay with her throughout the day of her wedding. I gave her a little plan that I remain at her side shooting her marriage video so that no one calls me for any other task. It worked and she smiled at me all the time I stood with the camera in front of her. Today, my parents know only two of my films - My Paper Boat (because of the prize) and Aakkutty’s wedding video. I feel more addicted to Kerala and my family than ever before. I realise the need of happiness as a family, for the family and I need to get back home for my parents.

Today if I feel confident to create something new at kitchen and share with my flatmates, I am equally confident to do a film and share with audience. Art of cooking and life with my flatmates surely contributes to all the films I probably do in future. I got an email from British Council that they are sending a certificate for a letter I wrote for a competition conducted on ‘Life in the UK’. I shared only the academic and work life that the judges of the competition called highly commended. What I never mentioned was the other learning in personal life and social life that I will cherish for this lifetime as my confidence.

I just cooked something quick for breakfast. Would you like to try? - A mildly spicy omelette with desiccated coconut, tomato and tiny slices of chicken ham along with a few slices of bread and a pint of Apple & Raspberry Squash. Give it a try…

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