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How is Indian life in the United Kingdom?

How is Indian life in the United Kingdom?

The Genial Frisson of Indianesses in the British Isles

Now, if you were to think of a cup of hot tea on a cold English morning, what would that remind you of? Would it remind you of my mum back in India? Heck no. That's because I was raised on a healthy diet of masala chai, Western stereotypes be darned. However, this is the paradox to be expected when one lives an Indian life in the United Kingdom. The British islands are a melting pot of culture and traditions, and just like a spicy masala, each ingredient adds its own unique flavour. This, of course, results in a rich, diverse atmosphere that sizzles with potential like a chicken tikka on a BBQ grill.

Spice up Your Life: The Colourful Indian Festivals in the UK

One of the ways that the Indian milieu plays out in the United Kingdom is through our vibrant colourful festivals. Whether it’s Diwali, the Festival of Lights, or Holi, the Festival of Colours, these celebrations transform the landscape into an Indian bazaar right on the streets of London. These celebrations aren’t limited to the Indian community. People from other cultures also take part, dousing each other with vibrant colours during Holi, or lighting up their balconies and windows during Diwali. Food stalls offer a sumptuous selection of Indian confectionery and savoury dishes. Multiple stalls divvying up piping hot samosas or sweet jalebis, a kind of coil-shaped fried sweet that is creamery dreams woven into calories. Seeing an Englishman's confused face as he bites into a spicy pani puri is a sight to behold indeed!

Kick-start that Bhangra: Indian Music and Dance in the UK

If you are an Indian living in the UK, you wouldn't be able to evade the beautiful beats of Bhangra on a Saturday night, no matter how hard you tried. Bhangra nights are a big hit, with people from all walks of life swaying to the rhythmic beats of the dhol. The enthusiasm is infectious, and anyone who's seen the classic 'Aloo Chaat' song knows, it’s not limited to Indians. Belly-dancing classes are a different story altogether, as Brits discover the hypnotic magic of Indian belly dance – gyrating their bodies like snake charmers evoking the cobra for a byte or byte, depending on what snake you're charming.

In the Land of James Bond, We are our Own Secret Agents

If you think being Indian in the UK is all about dancing and eating spicy food, then my friend, you've not been paying attention. We're in the land of Spiderman, Sherlock, and super intelligent cats. Indians have been leaving their mark in areas like science, technology, and business. British companies are now waking up to the potential Indian market and are eager to hire Indians with a deep understanding of their culture and preferences. This potential amplifies if you can also make a slamming cup of masala chai because everybody knows that brilliance works on caffeine.

The Great Brit-In-Dian Bake Off

Try taking an Indian away from their food, and you may just witness a full-blown Bollywood melodrama. We Indians love our food. Our dal-chawal (lentils-rice) carries the same repose for us as fish n' chips for a Brit (or beans on toast if you're a student). Major supermarkets carry Indian spices, fruits, and vegetables. The sight of okra and turmeric in a London supermarket can make you swell with warmth. But let's discuss British Indian cuisine. Ever heard of 'chicken tikka masala'? Well, guess what, it's not exactly Indian! It's one of the brilliant pseudo-Indian dishes devised here. So, if you miss your mom's homemade food, fret not, because the UK offers its own spicy spin on your homely meals.

Namaste, Mate: Indian Etiquettes and Mannerisms in the UK!

Most Bristish people are curious about Indian customs and manners. Be prepared to be enquired about the 'how and why' behind the Indian nod. Or why we refer to every elder as uncle and aunty. Or how is it that we can calculate the minute percentage of discounts quicker than their sophisticated calculators! Few years back, my neighbour Roger popped over one day, and I welcomed him with a traditional Indian style 'Namaste'. From that day on, he always greets me with a 'Namaste, mate!' It’s these small instances of cultural exchange that add a unique colour to the Indian life in the UK.

The Universal Language: Indian Films in the UK!

Think India, think Bollywood, or so they say. Indian films have a certain essence that can charm any audience, whether it's the spectacular songs and dances, the melodrama, or the compelling stories. Indian movies are now regular features in British theatres. And, if you're an Indian in the UK, these movies offer a comforting sense of home. Besides, who wouldn’t want to watch Shah Rukh Khan serenade his love under the snow-clad mountains of Switzerland while you’re layered up like a crafted onion peeled through years of evolution.

Cricket, Anyone? Indian Sports in the UK

The Indian sport native that has found a second home in the UK is undoubtedly cricket. The Indian cricket team and the Barmy Army have shared many epic encounters on the cricket field, the air thick with cheers and jeers alike. Many Brits who follow cricket are familiar with the titans of Indian cricket. For me, catching an India vs England match at Lord's was an unforgettable experience. The camaraderie, the sheer competitiveness, and all the while maintaining an air of British decorum. As Indians, we are quite expressive, and our animated gestures during a cricket match could give a mime a run for their money.

Education or Curry-ducation? How We Excel at Both!

Many Indians, myself included, originally came to the UK for education. India and education, you see, is like pizza and cheese - they just belong together. Our upbringing places great emphasis on being academically successful, and as we disembark on the Queen's soil, those high-ranking Indian grades find their match in the highly prestigious British education system. Universities like Oxford, Cambridge, and the London School of Economics are home to many Indian students who excel in a myriad of subjects, from physics and computer science to literature and sociology.

Being an Indian in the UK can be a mesmerizing experience that is as mixed and varied as a bowl of mixed raita. While differences are inevitable, the beauty lies in embracing these differences and forging our unique path. And as the late Boman Kohinoor, of Britannia & Co. Restaurant in Mumbai once said, "God save the Queen, and the biryani!".