For all you globetrotters, here are a few pointers for people planning to travel to the queen's country. Each country has its own peculiarities. For e.g. India is a vibrant throbbing mass of humanity. It is exploding with colors, customs and smells. Travelers to India have to deal with a lot of customs they find curious. Similarly, if you are coming to UK you need to keep some things in mind.
1) Language: Yes, they do speak English here, you've heard right. There will be times though when you will shake your head and start feeling little bit like a blockhead. The local accent colors the language and makes it sound nothing like the 'Queen's' English. The farther you go away from London, the weirder the accent. God only will help you with the Scottish and Irish Accents.
Do not get offended and bash someone up because they called you 'Lov' or 'Lovey'. This is not eve teasing. These are just terms of endearment used by people.
2) Cities: London is not the only city in this country. People habituate other parts as well. As in India we have Kanpur, Nagpur, and Badlapur (Other than Mumbai and Delhi) so does UK have other cities like Chester, Lancaster and Manchester.
3) Weather: People here are obsessed with the weather. It’s the best conversation starter. Do feel for the people who see rains all 12 months. As in India, please do not predict the weather after looking at the sky. The clear blue sky can shake your predictions by turning into a sudden downpour.
4) Dress: You can dress any way you want. Brits are curious folks who will bundle up in the daytime in the freezing winters and the same people can shed everything the moment the clock strikes the hour of 'Clubbing'. At that time, dress becomes optional. You can follow the lead and wear as little as possible. If you are a woman, you can just wear a top, which is as airy as possible which is just barely covering your bare essentials. If you are a Man, a nice summery half sleeves shirt with your jeans resting as low as possible on your behind, without actually dropping down is the right dress code. Be sure to tank up on Alcohol before you plan to dress this way to brave the cold night air.
5) PDA (Public Display of Affection): Due to Hindi movies PDA is not so shocking anymore, but it sure can jolt you when you see it live, a few feet away from where you are standing. Do not stare with your mouth open. Shut your trap before you slobber and embarrass yourself. You can also give PDA a shot, with your companion. No need to check if people are looking. No one gives two hoots about it. No need to find a 'Jhadi' (private corner) as in India. '. Khullam Khulla Pyar Karenge Hum Dono' is the motto here.
6) Food: 'Curry' is now a British word and 'Chicken Tikka Masala' the favourite Indian dish of Britons. You will find ample curry restaurants which serve Indian food. If you are adventurous, give British food a try. It takes time to appreciate bland food where Potato is the main ingredient. You will get there eventually.
The further away you are from London the lesser Indian Food will be like authentic Indian Food. Don't be surprised to find coconut in your Butter Chicken. And food items will have different name too, like 'Naan' is called 'Naanbread' and Papad is called 'Poppadum'.
7) Shopping: There are many good places to shop where you will pay triple the cost for what you could buy in India. Most clothes, toys and trinkets will be made in India, Vietnam, China or Eastern Europe. Buying electronics, chocolates, cameras and perfumes here makes more sense.
8) Customs: Brits are known worldwide for their 'stiff upper lip' and they truly are that way. Don't get confused with polite smiles as an invitation to chat and pour out your heart and expect the same from them. Such familiarity will not be appreciated. Learn to use 'Sorry' and 'Thank you' as frequently as you breathe. It would be considered impolite if you fail to utter these words at the appropriate times.
9) Sports: Just like Cricket is a religion in India similarly, people in Britain eat and breathe Football. If you are a fan of 'Premier League', you will fit right in.
10) Alcohol: Brits drink copious amounts of Alcohol. It’s a national pastime. You will find countless pubs, bars and bistros in every city. There is no set time for drinking. If you get cravings for a beer in the afternoon, you can go and chug it without feeling guilty.
Now you are all set to make a visit to this country. Just make sure to have plenty of fun.
If you need any more pointers, do let me know.
P.S: These tips are based on my observations. There is no intention of offending anyone. It's all in good humour.
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