A New Life Awaits

Life is all about having your moments. Moments that sweeps you off your feet. Moments that take you by surprise. Moments that make you feel proud as an individual. One of my life changing moments happened some months ago when I was offered an opportunity to move abroad. I took my time, made an informed decision and took the opportunity. Now, a new chapter of my life will commence.

As a child, the United States fascinated me as a nation. There was a prepossessing quality about it. Right from the landscape to the people to the culture to the expansion and advancement, I just loved it all. When I grew into a young woman, I loved the sitcoms. In fact I’m a diehard fan of a lot of shows broadcasted on networks like CBS, ABC, and NBC etc.  My current favorite is Louie. However, I never knew working with these networks and making it big would be in my future. Writing about it today makes me so happy.

Moving to a new place is always exciting. When the relocation takes place across hundreds of miles in not only a new country but also on a new continent, it becomes even more thrilling. I am someone who is a lover of travelling. More than travelling, I’m a lover of solo travel. I, my bag pack and my travel journal make an excellent combo. Exploring new places and wayfaring through different cultures is magical. Travel transforms a person. Travel offers an individual endless opportunity. It adds a new perspective in one’s life. It makes a person responsible. Most importantly, travelling makes a person a little more of who he/she really is.

Moving to United States will be an experience of a life time. I can vouch for it. Every experience counts – the good and the bad.  Each experience will be a bit of a teaching moment. Every time I think of landing there, an innocent but subtle smile shows on my face. I do have some friends and folks there but there is a huge difference between listening to people’s experiences and having experiences of your own. There is just so much to learn, so much to sink in. Moving out to another country is moving right out of your comfort zone and into a world that is strange but inviting.

My job profile demands me to spend the majority of my time in California. That is where I will be based. California is one of my favourite states in the USA. The others being New York, Florida, and Massachusetts. I am sure I will keep adding more places to this list. California allures me, and not just now but always. Cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose , San Diego etc. make it such a happening place. Top notch universities like Stanford, UCB and Caltech make it one of the finest hubs of education too. Not only is California the hub of the entertainment industry in the world but also the home to ‘Silicon Valley’.’ Not to forget, it is one of the most liberal states

Can’t wait to catch a plane and land there. I guess, my first weekend will be spent taking a tour of the city I’ll live in – San Diego. Oh the lovely city of San Diego along the coast of the majestic and beautiful Pacific Ocean with its delightful beaches.  I have been reading some journals on the place and am extremely happy to know that it has one of the best climates in United States. San Diego remains pleasant throughout the year. I come from a place in India that shares this feature so I feel comfortable. A combination of good weather and good landscape is pure bliss. As a kid I always wanted to be a part of the crowd watching dolphins performing some impressive aerial acts at Sea World. Back then I had no idea that one day I will be in that crowd.

After San Diego, Tinsel Town  – Hollywood is what I’d love to visit.  My first step in Los Angeles might give me goose bumps. That is my level of excitement. Walking on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visiting all the studios which are world famous, taking a tour of the eclectic Hollywood Museum , all of these activities are on my ’To-do-list.’ Just writing about all this right now makes me so elated. Only God knows what will happen when I am  there in person.

Living on your own is a profound learning experience. Managing the smallest chore at your house to making last minute arrangements for a board meeting is all a part of that experience. Meeting new people every day with diverse ethnicities is exciting. Getting to know the most professional people and seeing them work is inspiring. They say, “If you’re the smartest person in a room, you’re in the wrong room.” I believe this is to be true. Seeing people much more established than you makes you want to move up in life too. Performance is the only key to step up that ladder of life. The more the challenges, the more is the growth in an individual. It does get difficult at times but I’ve always held the view that difficulties are like training camps. Every difficulty, every struggle makes you stronger and a little cut above the rest.

Being away from home, away from the people I love, away from my food, away from everything comforting is scary. But taking a giant leap of faith and trying something out of your comfort zone is always worth it. It refines you. It really does. My people will be missed but I know they are comforted to see me making it on my own. They are proud I am pursuing what I wanted to. I feel grateful that I have parents that have supported me like a solid rock all this while. I come from a family where empowering daughters is a priority. Growing up I didn’t really realize the importance of having a liberal family. But today, I can’t thank them enough.

Not everything will be perfect but I will hang in there getting exposed to new facets of life every single day. I will grow. I will evolve and I will adapt. I have always ‘Lived it real.’ I will continue to be this way even in a foreign land. This is my moment and I’ve waited for it for a very long time. Now it’s time to step out from one home to another.

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Akriti

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”Not Every Man is Threatened by the Rise of Sassy Women’ : A Young Woman’s Perspective

akriti-mattuWelcome a new author here on Ronovan Writes. Hope you enjoy these looks into the world by a highly intelligent, business minded young woman from India who is striking out to make a name for herself in a new country. Her’s the first article here on Ronovan Writes by Akriti Mattu. For her personal blog, click here.

Diverse Creations

An Indian woman is one of the most diverse creations of God. Endowed richly with diversity and culture, the 29 states of India have women that vary greatly from one. However, one thing that is common to women across cultures, religions, and ethnicities is the shifting power dynamics of the man – woman relationship in contemporary India.

In the last two decades, India has witnessed a massive leap in science and technology. As with many societies with such advancements, people have become more aware of themselves as individuals and of their rights. With this new awareness has come a gradual change in Indian society itself. This gradual remodeling and restructuring is having a huge impact on the average Indian citizen, especially young women and men from my generation.

The Modern Woman

A modern Indian woman can be liberal and sassy. She’s not afraid of being herself anymore. Being aware of her identity as an individual, she does not want that identity to be masked by roles of a mother, a daughter and a wife alone. She wants to be known in the world for who she is. Her true self is what matters now. Good thing is many Indian men are not lagging behind the times.

Parents are becoming increasingly supportive of educating their daughters and making them at par with their sons. They are realizing the importance of education and financial independence of women. The literacy rate in India has shot up to 74.04 % from 64.84 %. For women it is 65.46 %, as compared to 53.67% previously.

The Fear

However, as women are becoming increasingly independent and conscious of their rights, there are some people who are not responding well to this transformation. There is a section of men who feel threatened by successful, educated and well aware women. They even go to the extreme extent of claiming they feel emasculated in the presence of powerful women. A powerful woman by their definition is any woman who is independent, educated and hence successful. They are conservative in the context of not liking women to be given any freedom or liberty. I call such men threatened.

For hundreds of years when women were subjugated and denied even basic rights, men like these were in their comfort zone. They were at the top of an imaginary pyramid with the excellent support system provided by the woman at the base.

But now? The pyramid has inverted with the base at the top and the peak, with the man, at the bottom. Therefore this reversal is seen by some as a dangerous trend. Not only do they feel vulnerable, they don’t like other men endorsing this change.

At one hand where we see a rise of a new India with women earning well and advancing in their careers, topping entrance examinations, making it to top positions of private companies, public sector units, bureaucracy, defense services, aviation, technology etc., at the other hand we see a dark reality that cannot be ignored; the reality of trepidation and fear is still being instilled across quarters.

I’d like to point out this gap in India does not really lie between the rural and urban India but with the mentality – Archaic versus Modern. While there are people in rural India who are well aware of the gradual change, there are literate people in cities which shame us. No wonder it is said that literacy and education are different concepts. They are not mutually inclusive.

Nirbhaya

A short but powerful documentary was recently made by a British film maker – Leslee Udwin, and was aired on the BBC. It is a re-enactment of the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old girl whom India calls ‘Nirbhaya’ (It is the Hindi word for fearless). This brutal gang rape happened on the 16th December, 2012 in the heart of the Indian Capital – New Delhi. This young girl, Nirbhaya is representative of the contemporary Indian woman. In fact she epitomizes the changing ‘power dynamic’, I wrote about before.

As a young girl of 23, like many other young women, Nirbhaya had high hopes and aspirations. She wanted to make an impact on the world around her. She wanted to contribute her bit to society and be a part of the ‘changing India’. She did make an impact and she did contribute to change – After her death.

The innocent young woman was so brutally gang raped she succumbed to internal injuries and died. The perpetrators were such predators they even took out her intestines. This incident shocked the nation and men and women across India came to the streets. Candle light marches were held. Protests were made. Pain was felt. Empathy was spread. People across castes, class, creed, age groups, professions and gender came as one. Nirbhaya united India.

Men across quarters fought for the spirit of the brave woman who died and for the women across the country. Nobody asked these men to fight for women’s safety. They did it on their own. This is one of the biggest signs of seeing an evolved male mentality. It was a proud moment. Not only did men become a part of the protests, they took a vow to not even eve-tease women for the sake of fun.

The brutality of the sexual assault on Nirbhaya made men cringe and bow down their heads in shame as men. They wanted to prove that, “all men are not the same” and they did. This is just one recent incident but there are many others. Every time a case of sexual violence, female foeticide, dowry death, honour killing comes to the fore, the modern Indian man extends full support to their female counterparts. It makes them feel sick that society treats women unjustly. Men like these are secure men. They don’t feel emasculated in the presence of powerful, liberated women. Instead, they take pride of having such women around as role models.

The Hurdles

However in spite of men like these, the ‘dark reality’ will do whatever it takes to hold back the women in their lives. They have an outmoded mentality, where the mere thought of a free woman is seen as a threat, a danger.

These are the kinds of men which take resorts like throwing acids on women when they turn down their proposals or indulging in sexual crimes to shame a woman, as a way of revenge for being free. They are the kinds of men who force their spouses to abort female fetuses in the womb itself. The mere existence of a girl child is undesirable to them. It is because of men like these that some places in India are now facing skewed sex ratios. Saddest part is that these men are ‘educated’ men. They consist of lawyers, bureaucrats, technocrats, even teachers and doctors. This is the section of society I personally despise.

I have always been a free spirit, therefore when I see people with such dogmatic attitudes; it comes across as an alien concept. Women must stand up against such rigid attitudes. They must start the process of empowerment within and most importantly, make ties in solidarity with other women who suffer. Only then can India rise and shine, and live up to the dream of being a progressive nation in the true sense.

Strength-in-Numbers

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What the World Needs Now is Peace. Don’t Let Hate Win !!

CEREBRATION

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As i sit down to write this post, the world is becoming a dangerous place. It’s slowly being consumed by hate, prejudice, stereotypes and most of all religious fundamentalism. A week ago there was a siege in a Sydney cafe. The world was appalled by the incident. Seventeen people were taken hostage and three were killed including the hostage-taker – Man Haron Monis, a fifty year old man born in Iran and settled in Australia. The Prime Minister of Australia -Tony Abbott has described Monis as “a deeply disturbed individual with a long history of crime, a long history of mental instability and infatuation with extremism.” The man has over forty cases concerning  sexual and assault related offences and a history of religiously motivated activism. During the siege , Monis displayed an Islamic flag.

The world stood in solidarity with Sydney. The best thing that happened was the hashtag that trended globally on…

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Cross Culture Interview with: Nishi Pal

What happens when a woman from one culture finds herself set down in the middle of another, literally half a world away? Why she ends up doing a Cross Culture Interview with me of course. From The Showcase . . .

 

Meet Nishi Pal

Nishi Head Shot

 

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: First of all for those who haven’t met you yet, tell us a little about where you grew up and where you happen to find yourself living today?

 

NishiNISHI: My family is from India that is where I was raised and where I went to school and college. I currently live in Salt lake City, Utah, USA

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: How did you come to move to the US? Was it a difficult decision to move half a world away from your home?

 

NishiNISHI: It was definitely not an easy decision, however not the most difficult. In spite of the hours I was putting in I was enjoying my work at the bank where I worked. But situations were changing as I had become a first time mum to a beautiful baby girl. She needed me but since I had my family to support me in taking care of her I continued to keep my job.That’s when my husband got the opportunity from work to come to the US on a project and so you could say it was a decision in the best interests of my family.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Nishi, what have you found to be the biggest difference between India and Salt Lake City where you live now?

 

NishiNISHI: There are so many differences from where I come from – India and here demographics, the people, the culture. India is the land of the ancient Indus Valley civilization and home to 1.2 billion people making it the second largest country in the world. With 29 states and 7 union territories divided into four regions – North, Taj_MahalSouth, East and West we have people speaking over 30 languages and numerous other dialects with Hindi and English considered the language for official communication. India home of the Taj Mahal, is considered a mega diverse country with its widespread and unique bio diversity which makes it a hot tourist destination.

Salt Lake City is a very lovely place very rich in natural beauty. What I  would note as the biggest difference between India and the US would be in the public infrastructure and the medical care system here. India in spite of being such a large country lags behind when it comes to roads. The roads in the US are much wider and public infrastructure is very well managed however, medical care is so much cheaper in India and hassle free.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What do you think of the political atmosphere in the US and how does it compare to that of India?
 

NishiNISHI: This is not a question that I can answer in a couple of sentences but I’ll start off with the similarities; both the US and India are democracies and in both countries citizens enjoy a lot of freedoms. However, when you have a two party system here . . . in India we have several political parties and small regional parties so the diversity of the nation shows even in its politics.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What was your life like back home as far as how people in the US would find different or unusual than an American would be accustomed to?

 

NishiNISHI: In India life for me revolved mostly around work and home.When in America people are more accustomed to an 8 hour work schedule, in India we tend to extend the hours to 10 maybe even 12..Its not the rule but it happens. Also in India we have a very close knit family structure and when in America you move out of your parents homes when you are 18, in India  we continue to stay until we get married and even then many people live close by their parents or even take care of them in their old age so you don’t exactly miss out on family time. 

But in general Americans would find India crowded and chaotic.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What would you say was the biggest challenge when you first moved to the US?

 

NishiNISHI: Getting to places on my own used to be a challenge initially. Here I’ve noticed you have the system where places where you shop are far from residential areas so without a driver’s license and a car it was tough to get to places on your own. That was a challenge.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What do you think your American friends find the most surprising about you?

 

NishiNISHI: American friends find the fact that I had an arranged marriage very surprising. Here I guess the girl and the boy fall in love and then let the parents know but in India majority of the marriages are arranged and fixed by the families of the bride and the groom.Which is not as bad a situation as it seems.. 🙂

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: We’ve talked about the differences and challenges, what if any are some surprising similarities between your home and the US?

 

NishiNISHI: The retail experience is similar I think..A by product of globalization no doubt.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What do you miss about home?

 

NishiNISHI: My Family and friends.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Of course, are there special things such as favorite foods from home you have a difficult time finding in the US?

 

NishiNISHI: I’ve found there are Indian stores here that sell Indian food and they seem to have everything – the spices, the mixes – everything we need. So not much difficulty there.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Now I want to ask a few questions about your Blogging. Starting a blog can be an impulse but working a blog is more than that. What brought you to create your blog and what keeps you engaging in it?

 

NishiNISHI: Yes, Ron, you are right, you could say it starts off on an impulse. Writing I feel is for me a highly meditative and therapeutic experience. I was looking at blogging as a creative outlet, a space where I could just write and express myself. With time I realised to make your blogging experience worth the while, to maintain the momentum, was not always so easy you have those phases…where you feel your mind is like fallow uncultivated land land and you look for seeds of inspiration to feel alive again. Not all of us are lucky like you Ron.. 😉

What keeps me engaged would be a sense of commitment to continue and develop what I started…also the positive vibes and the energy that I receive from the comments and feed back of my fellow bloggers and the wisdom and knowledge they share through their blogs.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: You don’t often write stories but more often slice of life articles and poems, is there a hidden author inside waiting to escape? If so, what would you like to write?

 

NishiNISHI: I’m still experimenting and learning, Ron. Serious writing is something I would consider pursuing down the line. Maybe a historical novel . . . I’m not sure. It’s too early to say still.

 

(Note: I knew Nishi was a writer, I was already following her blog, but then she wrote a piece that jumped out and showed me what she could really do. It was called ‘My Best Friend’.)

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What about blogging has been the most surprising to you?

 

NishiNISHI: What most surprised me is the strong network of bloggers or as I would like to consider them the wonderful new friends I have made here at WordPress. Their varied talents and the rich experiences just take my breath away every time. My friends in blogging have opened my eyes to a lot of new things. Also, I’ve learnt a lot about myself in the process.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Where would you like to see your blog head as far as content and what it represents?

 

NishiNISHI: I would like to see it grow creatively and with respect to the quality of the work I put out. I would like for it to represent me as the best possible version of me as only then will others benefit from reading what I write and what I have to offer.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Now for a few fun things, what is your favorite scent or smell or aroma and why?

 

NishiNISHI: I love roses. I’ve always loved the scent of roses also since Roses are associated to my birth month June. But, since we are doing a cross cultural piece one smell that I love and reminds me of my home in India is the smell of jasmines. My mother used to wear a perfume that had the smell of jasmine also we had a couple of jasmine bushes behind our home. It’s the most refreshing smell when you wake up in the morning and step into the backyard . . . the dewy morning air mixed with the scent of fresh jasmine flowers. Divine!

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What’s your favorite thing about where you live now?Salt Lake City Mountains

 

NishiNISHI: I love Salt lake City simply love the place!  My most favorite thing would be the mountains surrounding the place that we live. In the mornings stepping out into the balcony and just looking at them relaxes me.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What is your favorite word and why?

 

NishiNISHI: I don’t use this word often and I know it sounds funny but I like the word ‘Splendid!’ and how it sounds.. Splendid isn’t it?

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Splendid indeed.

 

 

I want to thank Nishi for joining us today and agreeing to this interview. I enjoy following her blog The Showcase and I also follow her Tweets. I suggest you all visit her blog and get your enjoy on.

 

Cultures are varied but we find they are so much alike in many ways. Our internet world has made it easier to learn about each other. We just need to take advantage of it and maybe we can make this world better and more united. Perhaps we may even rid ourselves of the misconceptions we are fed.

 

Until the next Cross Culture Feature,

Much Respect

Ronovan

 

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Luccia Gray…I cannot believe such a classy and amazingly talented lady would think I was inspiring, but she somehow ended up putting my name on her list. Wow.  Definitely go to her site and look around…and learn. Thank you very much Luccia, Ma’am.

Very Inspring Blogger Award

And here are the things to know:

1. Thank and link the amazing person(s) who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

 

Seven Facts About Myself:

1)      I’m a Gemini. I had to include that because Luccia’s first fact was that she also was a Gemini. If you have ever read any of my offerings you can tell that I am definitely two minds about my writing. I’m polite, courteous and encouraging to others and then destructive to myself and my own writing at the same time.

2)      I am a former History teacher who was mainly a World History specialist or so I was told. I took courses in Nazi and Facism as well as two courses on African History and a French Revolution class. Yes I know that Marie Antoinette’s brothers got Louis drunk and had him circumcised. And oddly I took a Bosnian and Serbian class?

3)      I have a method of writing that I don’t employ often myself and I really should. I have tried it. I write a scene in detail as far as feel and everything about something I know and then change aspects of it to turn it into fantasy or science fiction or paranormal. I just change the names of things, and a few details, but leave language and how people speak and act toward each other. I’m writing an article on it now.

4)      I am fascinated by other cultures. Especially very old cultures. Obviously this is the Historian in me.

5)      I love beautiful colors. One of the things I enjoy is watching the birds outside my window at the bird feeders. There all kinds and colors. When that darkness starts creeping into my writing those birds can take it away at times.

6)      I am a recent cat lover, or I should say certain cats lover. I love Kitty and Spunky especially. If you snoop around my site you will see them there. Spunky has two siblings but they will be going to other homes eventually so I am trying not to get attached. Although Fluffy, the dark one, is difficult not to want to hold.

7)      I had a fall in my home within the past year. I ended up with amnesia, long and short term. I don’t remember 99% of my past but through things I have typed over the past 20 years on my computer I have a lot of notes to read through. I am light and sound sensitive and cannot watch TV, listen to music, or read books. I just write all the time.

 

Here are my nominees for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

I would like to say this. I know there are plenty of other people that should receive this as well and I would put them here, cheating like Luccia did, but if you read number 7 above you know there is a problem sometimes.

MareEastern Great photographs of more than just scenery. I often write a poem inspired by the photograph of the day. She also writes about her love of Scotland and her cats.

Long And Luxe A very positive and always encouraging person. Always has something upbeat to say. She’s groovy. J

Be Led By Reason New to our WordPress community but with a lot of deep feelings to share and some great photography and history of Hawaii as well.

Sober Is The New Black Another new member of the community. This young man is doing something unique here in the WordPress family. He is chronicling his life and a battle. You need to go check it out to see what I’m talking about. Give him a LOT of support. Seriously.

Suzie81Speaks A lot of you know Suzie. She blogs like a mad hatter and has a very professional style. She’s someone you want to check out to see how things are done for the type of blog she does. You’ll enjoy it. Speaks about life and makes it relevant.

Inside The Life Of Moi If you haven’t already visited then the first thing you are going to do is smile. Her header photo is excellent and unique and it is a perfect reflection of her blog style. A slice of life blog in a relevant way. A very, very fun and enjoyable time to be had.

Freebird A very honest blog about very topics but some you get a peek into the life of India. I love the phrasing of the articles which adds authenticity to it all and the culture discovered is something you don’t get just anywhere.

Serins Sphere Very honest reader of your blogs. Writes about life and a lot more. Namibia. I would be shot if I didn’t mention that.

Forgotten Meadows One of the most prolific poets around. An encourager and also one that pulls other poets in to unite a community.

Chapter TK/ A very honest blog. A slice of life blog that expresses opinions but also wants the other side of the story. Wants feed back and wants to really know.

The Fickle Heartbeat Irasia at the site is great to read. Enjoyable and the layouts and photo choices make it an easy for me to look at. This is about relationships. So why do I follow? Writers need to know a lot of things. If you’ve read some of my things every now and then I mention following for inspiration. Sometimes you just need to hear what you know in a different way or hear something new entirely you can play off of.

The Showcase A slice of life from India. Yes, I love the blogs from India. I’ve found there are a more similarities than differences. The style is different than that of thafreebird site.

Lesie’s World The first thing I noticed about this site was the strength of the photo of the owner. I just knew that whatever came out of this person would be something I wanted to read and I was right. Learn a bit of Jamaica from the real thing, but also about everyday things. I just hope you’re ready to read the accent. It’s a blast.

Nubian Waters Enthusiasm. That’s what I get from this site. We all want to blog but this one just puts it out there in real language and heart. Whenever you get that moment of why am I here you can go to this site and remember.

A Blog To Regret Poetry in motion. Variety in style. I look at the picture of the owner and the style of the content matches perfectly. I enjoy it here because it lets me know that my changes in style are okay. I’m nowhere near this level but I know it’s alright to experiment at times.

 

It would be nice to follow through with the rules above. It allows for connections and recognition for some blogs we might not ordinarily see. That’s up to you individually.

Much Respect

Ronovan