Why do we need to ask people - friends as well as strangers, deeply personal and intrusive questions. Is it an innate trait of being curious and inquisitive? Or is it our need to know overpowering our sensibilities and common sense? Perhaps, the fine art of not asking intrusive questions is something that can be cultivated if it isn't something that comes naturally to us.
One of the elements of the expat or the immigrant life is the longing and the loneliness. The longing for friends and family who live in another part of the world, the loneliness - at least initially when you don't know a lot of people and miss the deep friendships that you once had. And so, when a festival comes up, you wish for both - companionship and friends to celebrate the good days, to revel in shared customs and traditions and to repeat over a hundred times how one misses the home that one has left behind.
My father always carried a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi in his wallet. It was a cut-out from a newspaper article, the size of a small square stamp. My father believed that Gandhi's life and his message helped him to be a better doctor and human being.
Walking tours, taster dance classes, musical performances, literary readings, immersive cinema, open air concerts - the Culture Night in Dublin had so many things on offer and everything was free. And if you were lucky like us, the night had many other unintended surprises, like a grinning young man, randomly approaching you and asking if you had any weed please?
There's something about a feast that is served on a banana leaf, with as much as 26 different varieties of food, all vegetarian and to have people serving you with a lot of love and affection. It is for this feast of Onam sadya, that we took a bus, wearing our traditional Indian outfits with husbands and children in tow, and head to the North of Dublin. Because how can one possibly resist a feast so divine?
This is a nostalgia post celebrating Ginger - a beautiful, British tomcat that had adopted us while we lived in Reading, Berkshire. He was a stray and he came to us, seemingly out of the blue and decided we were his people and that he would come to us every day.
Do we only see our neighbours when we are taking out the trash or while in the lift? Or do we, visit each other, sharing food and evenings and conversations and becoming like my parents say 'first families' to each other? I hope we do, because there's so much to gain from being a good neighbour and from having one yourself.