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Culture Surprises: London - 7/12

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Like 'Culture Shocks', this is 'Culture Surprises'. 'Culture Surprises' is my travelogue and peoplogue. Travelogue to discuss about all my experiences in every new place I visit and peoplogue to discuss about all my experiences with people from different cultures I meet. So, it is not necessary that I talk about only cultures here. It's about everything new that I come across. So, purists... please bear with the coinage of the title!

Part 7...

Most of our guys who go abroad for short term assignments would have a hair cut just before leaving India. And then they would have a hair cut as soon as they are back on day one itself. Because it's expensive to have a hair cut there. They would say that it would cost Rs. 500 or 1000 for a hair cut. So I also planned to have a hair cut before leaving. But where did I get the time for all that? Not only that. I was also thinking that there were possibilities of settling there for years together. So I also thought in…

Culture Surprises: London - 6/12

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Like 'Culture Shocks', this is 'Culture Surprises'. 'Culture Surprises' is my travelogue and peoplogue. Travelogue to discuss about all my experiences in every new place I visit and peoplogue to discuss about all my experiences with people from different cultures I meet. So, it is not necessary that I talk about only cultures here. It's about everything new that I come across. So, purists... please bear with the coinage of the title!

Part 6...

Within few days of our landing there we heard a lot about snow everywhere. Everyone was talking about it with a lot of interest. I saw something like salt on the roads on the second or third day. First I thought it was the remnants of previous night's snow. Then I understood that it's a kind of salt that is sprinkled on roads to melt the snow as a precautionary measure. They call it 'road salt' or 'defrosting salt'. Then on another evening there was a fall of some white small thing from sky. Aga…

Culture Surprises: London - 5/12

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Like 'Culture Shocks', this is 'Culture Surprises'. 'Culture Surprises' is my travelogue and peoplogue. Travelogue to discuss about all my experiences in every new place I visit and peoplogue to discuss about all my experiences with people from different cultures I meet. So, it is not necessary that I talk about only cultures here. It's about everything new that I come across. So, purists... please bear with the coinage of the title!

Part 5...

The security guard standing in front of the client office received me without a smile. 'Yet another frown face?!' - I was disappointed. We provide special training to our security guards here to receive the clients who come from other countries with a smile. Seeing all that I was always thinking that all these were western etiquette. Then why is it that the security guard there didn't receive me with that kind of a smile?! This smile thing was haunting me throughout my stay there. I would check if they smil…

Culture Surprises: London - 4/12

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Like 'Culture Shocks', this is 'Culture Surprises'. 'Culture Surprises' is my travelogue and peoplogue. Travelogue to discuss about all my experiences in every new place I visit and peoplogue to discuss about all my experiences with people from different cultures I meet. So, it is not necessary that I talk about only cultures here. It's about everything new that I come across. So, purists... please bear with the coinage of the title!

Part 4...

Every room had a heater. Still it was piercing cold. My daughter didn't have any problem. She slept well immediately. My wife was shivering. 'Oh my goodness, have I made a mistake like everyone said?!', my head was spinning. Nobody leaves with the family right in the first time. Only after settling in and being able to breathe does everyone take their family. But we? With the confirmation of just one month's stay, the entire family went thinking, 'Whatever is the experience, let's have it togeth…

Journalist - A Blog Novel by Mr. Hariharan Valady (3/3)

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Once again it has been a long break... I don't think I would be able to do justice to this review in three posts but I am also worried if my review would become longer than the novel itself. So, let me try to condense my comments in this post and start with a fourth part if required later.

A fiction cannot be a photocopy of reality. The author has realized it well and thus also deviated from reality in some cases. The real Durai from Tamil Nadu is not as educated as he is portrayed in the novel. We don't even know if he ever went to college. He never fell in love with any TV anchor from a 'national' channel though there were talks of some stuff with a local newsreader two decades back. On the other hand, this Durai's education and his affair with the TV anchor reminds me of Kashmir. Not sure how many more states' stories are going to come in the chapters in line. :)

Knowing most of the parallels in reality, I couldn't resist comparing every paragraph in th…

Culture Surprises: London - 3/12

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Like 'Culture Shocks', this is 'Culture Surprises'. 'Culture Surprises' is my travelogue and peoplogue. Travelogue to discuss about all my experiences in every new place I visit and peoplogue to discuss about all my experiences with people from different cultures I meet. So, it is not necessary that I talk about only cultures here. It's about everything new that I come across. So, purists... please bear with the coinage of the title!

Part 3...

The place we were supposed to go for accommodation was Croydon. First we had to go to the High Street in Croydon, collect the keys and then go to another place in Croydon itself. Every neighborhood has a High Street in London. It's a very English thing. It's similar to what is called 'Main Street' in many countries or the 'bazaar' in ours. Like the Hallis (Bommanahalli, Kammanahalli, Marathahalli, etc.) in Bangalore or the Pets (Saidapet, Teynampet, Kannammapet, etc.) in Chennai, the place names…

Culture Surprises: London - 2/12

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Like 'Culture Shocks', this is 'Culture Surprises'. 'Culture Surprises' is my travelogue and peoplogue. Travelogue to discuss about all my experiences in every new place I visit and peoplogue to discuss about all my experiences with people from different cultures I meet. So, it is not necessary that I talk about only cultures here. It's about everything new that I come across. So, purists... please bear with the coinage of the title!

PART 2

As it was dark before landing itself we could see how the city looks in lights. It wasn't that amazing in fact. It wasn't even as bright as Singapore. But there is much more to London than its lights. London has its own history, right? This used to be the capital of our rulers at some point in time. It is the capital of English people as well as the English language. It was a different feeling when I thought about it - that everyone around us would speak only in English (as opposed to India where English is reserv…

Journalist - A Blog Novel by Mr. Hariharan Valady (2/3)

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Now that all autobiography is over, it's time to get started with the actual review of the novel...

First, as the first thing in the new year, the author posted an introduction explaining why he was missing in action for sometime (I was one of them who was wondering what he was doing so silently after such a striking start!), and what he was planning to do in the next few months (his plan to write his first novel online) and the structure he had in his mind for that (how many words and how many chapters, etc.). He talked about what he was getting into as well. As he said, blog novel is indeed a not-so-tested idea in Indian context. Not many people have tried it in our part of the world though I am not sure about others. Like all other things, writing in India is way different from that in any other part of the world - including the English writing. Today, we have our own version of Indianized English. For that matter, we have Indianized almost everything western. Others can't…

Culture Surprises: London - 1/12

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Like 'Culture Shocks', this is 'Culture Surprises'. 'Culture Surprises' is my travelogue and peoplogue. Travelogue to discuss about all my experiences in every new place I visit and peoplogue to discuss about all my experiences with people from different cultures I meet. So, it is not necessary that I talk about only cultures here. It's about everything new that I come across. So, purists... please bear with the coinage of the title!

ON YOUR MARK... GET SET... GO...
It's one and a half years since I wrote about travelling westwards. My desire to travel and the work towards that started a year before that. It's not that I was particular about going to the west only. I was so desperate to travel that I was okay with any place (If you haven't read all my travelogues please don't jump to a quick conclusion and reduce it to just 'foreign craze'. It's a long story and it has many sub-stories around it. This series of blog posts is to t…