Tis the season to be jolly. It’s also known as the “silly season”, so in keeping with the festive spirit I decided to try out a new cultural-blend look this Christmas. Santa hat, bindi, nose ring, and moustache.
What a deadly combination!
To be honest, the moustache was a logistical nightmare. My top lip was sweaty, causing it to keep drooping and falling off. It made it impossible to eat, drink, or talk!
(If you look carefully you’ll note that the moustache is a different shape to the one in the other picture, which was taken later in the day).
Um, yes, I have a moustache for every occasion. (I know, I think I have a few issues).
Yesterday, after a relaxing Christmas brunch on the Juhu beachfront at Vie, we unwittingly found ourselves at the sunset launch of a new brand of whiskey, which was taking place there. The invitees were fashionable and rich “twentysomethings”, who are clearly bringing about cultural change in this country. My friend termed it “The New India”.
So, what does “The New India” look like?
Polo shirts have replaced the much favoured stripey long sleeved shirt. And they come in an array of bright colours, one for every mood really!
This will be the third Christmas that I’ve been living in Powai, but the first Christmas I’ve actually spent here (the previous two were in Australia). There’s a wonderful festive atmosphere, with Christmas trees and lights everywhere.
For me, not coming from a religious family, Christmas has always simply been a happy time to spend with loved ones. However, there’s nothing like Christmas carols to get into the spirit and spread cheer. Yesterday, the choir featured local underprivileged kids who all received gifts from Santa.
“Jerry Pinto has canceled and we can’t find a replacement,” the Crosswords representative and my publisher told me.
Oh no! I was going to have to do the event by myself. As if I wasn’t already dreading getting up in front of a crowd of people enough. There’s a reason why I’ve written a book, and that’s because I write much better than I speak!
“Can’t we postpone it?” I pleaded. “Unfortunately no, the invitations have already been sent out.” The verdict was delivered. Some good ole Indian jugaad (improvising and making do) would have to suffice.
“Don’t worry, the universe has prepared you for it. You recently hosted a book launch and know what will happen,” one friend reassured me. (Thank you soooo much for that, universe!).
“It really doesn’t matter who the host is. Everyone’s coming to see you,” another advised. (But what if no one turned up at all?)
I gave my business suits to charity, quit my accounting job in Melbourne, moved to Mumbai, married an Indian guy, became a white Indian housewife, and started writing. This blog is where I share my thoughts and experiences about my expat life. It covers nearly everything from insights to insanity, food, culture, travel, and lifestyle.
Want to know more about India and me? Read my book. or start here.
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What Readers Have Said:
"What makes her story special is the way she writes it. It’s a sensitive and nuanced depiction, which neither glorifies the good nor mocks the bad. In fact, any woman who has ever relocated to another country can see a reflection of herself in Sharell’s stories."
"What I loved about Sharell’s story is the balance between open-mindedness to experiencing the new and an introspective account that is realistic and shows her flaws. As a psychologist, I was drawn to her insightfulness and her growing sense of awareness and sense of self."
"Sharell tells it exactly like it happened, warts and all, and she does so in a way that illuminates the deeper truths behind her experiences – truths many of us will be able to relate to. In her honesty, Sharell transcends simply narrating her own experience and speaks to all of us."
"The book is centred around finding happiness, questioning societal norms and finding your passion – no matter how unachievable it seems. It shares that struggle and persistence are keys to success, that knowing yourself and what you are striving for are of utmost importance and that the universe is constantly presenting the opportunities that we need if we are ready to take them.The vivid imagery Sharell’s writing brings about is testament to her passion and her talent as a writer."
"Being Indian, I loved the description of India which I thought was very different from the very cliched manner in which most non-Indians portray India. I am amazed at Sharell’s will power and love for her husband and her very positive attitude to life. The book is a very well written, honest account of her experience and it teaches all of us one thing. Have the courage to go out of your comfort zone and have the courage to change your life to achieve what you want."
"From the very first line of the book, you are transported into the author's world. You feel as she feels, you hurt when she does, you wonder in amazement at new found beauty, go through the tensions that she faces and celebrate with her in each new accomplishment. Sharell's way of writing weaves a magical but refreshingly detailed and honest view of life and living in Incredible India. Through her, we experience the "Real" India and not the touristy version filled with air conditioned hotel rooms and 24/7 water and electricity."
"Great book from someone whose blog I have been following for several years. It is a waiting-to-happen gripping movie story, a self help book and a biography all rolled into one. I bought the book today and the writing was so gripping that I almost (had to break for lunch) finished it in one go."
"When she talks about her frustrations with India and its people there is also such insight there, and when you consider she is not Indian it gives you a bit of a head spin. Having visited India myself I found her descriptions hilarious but was amazed at how well she coped. The whole idea makes my mind boggle. I stayed up and read the whole book in one night - I had to know what happened at the end!"