Of Car Horns and Road Maps

Kudos to my lovely friend Liz who passed along this article, “Indian Drivers Need Extra Strong Horns: Audi“. The article goes on to say that German cars sold in India need to be specially made with a sturdier horn because of the extreme usage they receive in Indian traffic. In my experience in India, I’ve observed that the horn is a normal part of driving, maybe even more widely used than turn signals and mirrors combined. The Audi India director notes, “You take a European horn and it will be gone in a week or two. With the amount of honking in Mumbai, we do on a daily basis what an average German does on an annual basis”. HA! I love this.

I tried to upload a video I took while sitting in traffic in New Delhi, but apparently there’s a 1 MB limit. (Sad times).

While we’re talking about driving in the subcontinent, can I just say that I am amazed by the ability of driver’s to text, drive manual cars, and honk and weave their way through traffic? Especially Varun’s sister. I’m fairly convinced she has a road map of New Delhi in her head. Which when you think about it, is really impressive: it’s a city of over 18 million people and, “At 1922.32 km of road length per 100 km², Delhi has one of the highest road densities in India” (Wikipedia). So lots of people, lots of roads, and lots of traffic. Hence the necessity of the horn.

Since we’re talking about driving in India, if you haven’t seen this video my brother made last summer, you’re missing out!

Some of the many modes of transportation in Kolkata

“We Both Do”

Varun and I are giddy with excitement: today we became permanent residents of Canada! As you’re probably getting tired of hearing, we’ve been seeking a common citizenship since we got married. After jumping through a few hoops, I became a permanent resident of India about a year ago. But if we want to stay in Canada, we needed to have Canadian PR. We began the process…well…a long time ago. We spent a year consulting lawyers, gathering documents, getting myriad passport photos taken and ordering far too many certified cheques. Finally, two weeks ago we got the email summoning us to Buffalo.

Wanting to beat the crowds, we got up at 5 a.m., packed all of our paperwork, passports, my camera and of course, breakfast.

Princess Tea seemed right for my day of becoming a Commonwealth Dweller

As the sun rose we listened to Katniss and Peeta as they began their journey to the Capitol (The Hunger Games, which we’ll talk about later). Our pleasant trip took a turn for the stressful as we realized we had gotten directions to…well…nowhere. We frantically called my Mom and, at $1/minute, coached her through Mapquest. Thankfully, she was more than helpful.

The best part of the day for me was when the guard at the Canadian Consulate asked us, “Who needs a visa?” and I replied, “We both do”. For the first time, we are applying for something together, getting a status that will give us a common citizenship: a place we can both call home. (Sigh of Relief)

Unfortunately, we have no photographs of the Consulate as they are very picky. They made us turn in our cell phones and watched us while we turned them off (“Not to silent, vibrate or anything else. Off!”). We handed in our passports and began to wait. We people watched. We watched the news. We fell asleep. I ate goldfish and Varun told me he didn’t want my “cheesy animals”. We noticed that nearly everyone had been called but us. We played Monopoly Deal. I won by a landslide. They called us up and gave us our papers, advising us to drive to the Canadian border and “land”.

At the border, we were bouncing with excitement. We noticed the Queen’s picture on the wall and tried to guess who the guy was next to her. (Varun: Maybe it’s her husband? Border Guard: It’s the Governor General. Me: OH. Well who’s that and what’s he do?)(We’re lucky they didn’t revoke our PR right there). As he processed our paperwork we were like two kids in a candy shop, leaning over the counter, asking questions and giggling. Finally, the guard asked us a bunch of questions, got us to sign our papers and smiled at us, “Congratulations, you’re permanent residents of Canada”.

Mr. and Mrs. Rana, Permanent Residents of Canada

Back in the car, Varun and I gushed about how this would change things, how hard we had worked to get it and how relieved we felt. Then we got down to business and back to Katniss and Peeta. As we drove into Hamilton and saw the smoke stacks dotting the skyline, I couldn’t help but think about how glad I am that Canada is our home.

Celebratory lunch from Randy's: grainfed burgers, homemade ketchup and yes, Throwback Pepsi.

More Little Things

It’s been a few weeks since I posted about the small things that made me smile. This week I was crazy busy writing papers and foolishly, starting the Hunger Games when I actually needed to get things done.

The Little Things That Made My Week:

-The sunshine and warm weather this week was amazing: fresh breezes, bare feet and skirts. I loved the day the high temperature was warmer in Hamilton than where my sister lives (the tropics) and where my parents live (8 hours south).

-I began putting whole cardamom pods in jasmine or green tea. I will never go back to the old ways.

-The Hunger Games. I loved reading it. Although I’ll be honest, one part gave me nightmares.  I found it stressful to listen to, albeit quite enjoyable. Also, I had a very difficult time being productive…

-Chai tea. Every milky, steamy cup Varun makes is a sweet and spicy treat.

-A friend gave me a whole bottle of homemade maple syrup. This is no “little thing”: this is pure, golden awesomeness in a bottle.

What about you?!

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