Monday, June 13, 2016

Bhubaneswar - first impressions

Bhubaneswar is my home town. I have developed a kinship for Bhubaneswar. When we reached the airport and I saw the Konark Chakra, I was filled with overwhelming delight. We could see my father and sister waiting for us in the entrance. Thanks to regular video calls, Chiyaa could immediately recognise her Aja. She ran with her trolley to greet him. It was indeed a spectacular sight. Blood indeed is thicker than water. In spite of the distance and gap , the granddaughter could immediately connect with her granddad. She has no reservations or stranger anxiety and immediately climbed into his arms. I think after a point, the sight of grand kids brings more joy than seeing one's children ;)

We had a pretty sultry ride home. In spite of the air conditioned interiors of the car, Pumki was very uncomfortable. She wailed through the ride back. But for Chiyaa who had never seen bumps before  it seemed like a roller coaster ride. In the back glasses of one of the cars there was a picture of the eyes on Lord Jagannath. She saw them and said, ' look there is an owl on the back of the car'. We were pretty impressed that rather than being enervated by the heat and humidity, she was keeping her senses open and was soaking in the vibrant colours and sounds of India. 

We were literally under 24 hours air conditioning at home. Frequent power cuts was another stark difference from life in the western world. Thankfully we had inverters keeping the flow of electricity. One day during a thunderstorm, the inverter went kaput. There was a pleasant breeze which was a relief and the kids managed to survive the afternoon. Papa called an electrician to fix the issue. The person was available within the next few hours and sorted the issue for Rs 300/- In another instance also we had the stabiliser mended within a few hours. The ease with which such assistance was available really amazed me. 

I don't know whether it is our lack of awareness or such facilities are a bit hard to get in the UK. When Chiyaa was born, we were occupying an apartment where none of the heaters worked except the one in the drawing room. We used to be holed up in the drawing room for most of the day. We had a makeshift bed arrangement in the room. For the nights we had heater fans , which were not as regulated and effective as a central room heater. But it was something we managed with. We spent a lot of time chasing the landlord and the letting agent but to no avail.  We got in touch with the apartment maintenance team who denied responsibility to any property repairs but for common areas. We  called an electrician, but he detected a wider problem and the solution would have burnt a big hole in our pockets. In fact he even suggested legal action against the landlord and the letting agent. But with an infant in tow, we opted to look out for a different place. We managed to ultimately move out and ironically in time for the landlord to fix the wiring. It took him close to 24 months to respond! ( yes it did take us quite a while to find a property of our choice, keeping in mind our family, facilities, commute to work and daycare .) In the recent past when we moved to Ipswich, we were given a sofa as part of the furnishings of the house. The sofa was in a very decrepit state and we wanted to replace it. Little did we know that this wish would lead to quite some work. We were able to get a very decent sofa for £60 only from a second hand furniture shop. But it was a challenge to get the existing monstrosity out of the house. Since it was categorised as 'bulky waste' we were not allowed to dump it in the usual garbage dump of the apartment. We had to get in touch with municipal council to collect it. They were not permitted to enter the apartment which meant we would need to wait for them with the sofa . They could arrive anytime depending on how busy they were. It was impossible for us to be on standby with a huge sofa when we already had our hands full with 2 kids. Google search gave us a few alternative and independent removers but most of it was a wild goose chase. To cut a long story short we eventually managed to find a site called who offered excellent service in getting rid of the ridiculous sofa . We paid £100 for their service which was ironically more than the price of the sofa we had purchased. Being at home the past few weeks made me realise it would not have been such a struggle to accomplish the same task here. Our 'jugaad' mentality does make a lot of things way more feasible. Repairs and refurbishments are easier, affordable and achievable here. 

I am impressed by the array of continental food items available in supermarkets. Yes the whole meal pasta does not look very convincing, but it is a good enough to keep the kids happy. There is a lot of real estate development and the number of day care centre advertisements drive home the fact, a lot has changed. There was a time when I dismissed that a 'small city' like Bhubaneswar could boast of such facilities. The city seems to have grown and matured. And I feel really proud of it!


I'll try 2 be truthful said...

well , it is the smartest city now :)

Amrita said...

Ah yes! Forgot that :)

Renu said...

Yes India has its own advantages..and being a growing economy everything is changing fast.

Amrita said...

yes true

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