Life keeps surprising you in packages, sometimes this changes your entire life or at least the course of action by substantial degrees, and sometimes it just brings happiness in terms of small packets with lot of learning in it.
I got a call from Solanki Uncle at Friday night to go for a road trip from Alperton to Loughborough to pick his daughter. He proposed to go to Leicester on the way, to see a township famous for its Indian heritage, who settled there during 1970s. My dampened spirits partly due to chilly weather and partly due to insecurity in the current project soared high by this proposition. This was a chance to break free from the same boring routine of adjusting to my PG accommodation room and trying to carry on with the project which did not show much of direction.
Picked up few chocolates from Budgens as I really did not know what do I get as gift. A quick one hour journey by central line to Holborn and then by Piccadilly line to Alperton and soon I was sitting in the cosy and comfortable front seat of Upendra uncle’s Jag (Well that’s his pet name for his Jaguar). As we drove at the speed of 90/100 kmh over the M1 motorway towards Loughborough, the open spaces around helped me clear my mind. We were soon discussing all the near and dear matters of UK, India, career, hobbies and so on. Solanki uncle although, I was meeting him for the first time, never made me feel that way and the age difference was faded quite soon.
I was again back to my interest of catching the open spaces, the green fields, cute little houses, grazing cattle, windmills and townships on the way in my camera. The discussions went on from general work culture as well as family culture in UK to soaring prices, job security, career options etc. I was very curious to know more about the British culture and its differences with respect to Indian culture. But most of the time I would end up comparing them with the US culture as thought they were so similar, but realized that they had substantial differences as well, not just limiting to the accent.
The Loughborough University campus was huge and it was really sunny when we entered there. Aniksha, Solanki uncle’s daughter was doing her final year in Technology (Engineering Design) there and got to know a little more on the education system here. She stayed in a shared apartments with her friends and was going back to Wembley for her Easter holidays (Whopping 4 weeks’ vacation)
The graduation happens at 13th standard here while the high school ends at 11th standard. You can continue with your graduation in the same high school, if it is sixth form. Otherwise you just have to move to a college for 12th and 13th Year. The education is so much practical and projects oriented and make you really get acquainted with the business or industry you are intending to join rather than being theoretically perfect in the subject.
We had our delicious Chinese fried rice and crispy vegetables lunch at Mirch Masala in Leicester. This area is aptly called as Little India and I could not help comparing it with the Edison from New Jersey USA. It had this same arrays of jewellery and Saree shops. The food items included Papdi, Jalebi and Bhajia shops and all the domestic needs of Indian households were served here. It was hard to find non-Indians in this area.
A day spent with some body really passionate and interesting, seemed to have given me lifetime of experiences and knowledge. I was really happy I agreed for this trip, although after a bit of hesitation.