Monday, 4 August 2008

A place called HOME

A change of any kind is always exhilarating. So the decision to move base to another country was an adrenalin rush for us. We were geared up for an unending dose of adventure. The thought of learning and living a new culture, to trying out new cuisines, to adapting a new lifestyle, was highly ‘intoxicating’. Glasgow lived up to its promise. In fact, intoxication was found in its entirety and in abundance!

Our flight to Glasgow was rather unexciting, more like the lull before the storm. Our first interaction with an airport cabbie, left us drained as we couldn't comprehend his twisted Glaswegian tongue. After prompting the cabbie to rewind and replay, a tad slower each time, we barely communicated where we had to go. Our ride was short and quick to a "friend's" place, someone we were meeting for the first time. It’s amazing how we Indians are quick to create a bond with strangers, well only partly cause we come to know of them through family or distant friends because of their place in same alien city. Anyway, our introduction was short and broken by a drunken brawl outside the bar, above which the couple lived. Terrified, confused, we trekked our way up.

Our new-found friends were moving back to India in 3 days, “enough time” we thought before we found an apartment for ourselves. However, we continued to be homeless when the D-day came. So we sought the help of their friend’s and moved into their house. However, their hospitality was short-lived, so we were very close to moving out on the streets. The thought was slowly breaking us down. That’s when our family in Rugby offered us a place at their cousins’ place, which we readily accepted. I recall the first time we met that lovely family, we were starving, having eaten only bread n jam for the past two days, we gorged on the dinner like we had never seen food before! The stay, an hour from Glasgow, proved like a refuelling station. And with family coming from Rugby for a weekend, we were rejunvenated, both mentally and physically.

Our search for a roof over our head proved longer than we had anticipated. The rules of the ‘house-hunt’ game was beginning to be tiresome. Firstly, you need to book an appointment for viewing a place you’d like to rent. It could take anywhere from a few couple of hours, from the call, to a few days to get the viewing. And once the viewing was in place, you had to impress the flat-owners. There were times the viewings were scattered across the city, with 2-3 hours to spare, and we had little money to spend on a cuppa. So, we sat on the benches outside and braved the cold. We had decided on sharing a flat with another person/persons, as it proved more economical. However, our skin colour proved disadvantagous for flatshare. Then, we thought of playing the game the other way round, rent a flat on our own and then find someone to share it with.

After a gruelling week of trekking across Glasgow’s numerous holes -- some tiny, some big, some dingy and some posh – we found our apartment. There is no emotion to explain how fortunate and happy we felt on our first day in our apartment. And, minutes before we lugged our baggage in, we found a flatmate as well. So it all ended “happily ever after”!

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