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Because The world Is More Indian Than You Think

For Indian women Marriage means a lot more than a pact for marital bliss for spending your life with your better half in perfect harmony. Instead it means an absolute upheaval of your complete lifestyle, learning to adapt to a new surname, leaving the comfort of home , the company of your friends and most of all being away from the people who love you the most in the entire world…your parents.

But for me it meant a lot more than all of this, since I was going to move out of the country right after marriage. I had no idea for what was in store for me. 

The stories I heard about Europe were no comforting either, extreme weather, no authentic Indian food, a close knit European society, markets that closed at 5 in the evening, no getting to celebrate Indian festivals or enjoying your favourite sweets.

It was the day of my flight and I wasn’t sure if I was more stressed about being away from my family or the fear of an unknown country. I found myself wondering if I will be able to adapt to the extreme cold weather of Europe, make new friends, get my favourite snacks but most of all will I ever be able to call a new country my home!

Just as I was pondering over the idea of getting used to the European styled life waiting for a flight change at the Amsterdam International Terminal, I noticed the initials on a waste bag and it instantly put a smile on my face and warded off a lot of my fears.

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At Amsterdam Airport Terminal: Never Realized reading a word in hindi could be so comforting.


Reading words in my own language made me feel more at home in this new country.

It was our first week in our new apartment in London and we had invited some friends for dinner when I realized I had run out of Gram Flour. My guests suggested I check out the International grocery section at my nearest Tesco shop (British food retailer chain). I was sure there was no way I would find this Indian ingredient at my adjoining Tesco Express(small Tesco outlets meant for daily essentials) but London again proved my fears wrong. Even the small Tesco express shop had a large International grocery section which really should have been called the Indian section since it carried nothing but Indian groceries right from garam masala to basmati rice, it had it all.

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International grocery section at my neighborhood grocery shop offers full range of Indian products.


Not only that, I also had no difficulties finding my favourite Indian street food joints and every time I had my snacking binges, I would totally forget I was not in India.


Yummy Indian snacks with old styled Coke in glass bottles, you may not find these in India anymore but still sold the old way here in London.

We are living in a comparatively more British neighborhood with very less Indian population so I was pleasantly surprised as I saw lovely Diwali decorations at the reception area of my daughter’s nursery. This is what I found at the reception table today.

Books on Diwali, Sikh faith, Ramadan and Id-ul-Fitr lying at the reception of childcare nursery


Beautiful Diwali decoration at my child’s nursery, London


Books on The Sikh Faith, Diwali, Ramadan and ID-ul-fitr lying at the reception table.

The last two years I have witnessed and lived a little India every day thousands of miles away from the actual India on the world map. This Ganesh Chaturthi we brought Ganpati home singing and dancing with other hundreds of devotees and attended 7 days of enjoyable fest and celebrations at the nearby temple.


Dancing away at Ganpati Visarjan Procession, Slough temple , London


As I saw my two year old daughter proudly hold the Ganpati flag leading the procession, I wondered if I had been able to give her the same experience had we been in India where our Ganesh Chaturthi holiday was spent lazying around at home and watching news clips of Ganesh Visarjan happening in other parts of the country.


Not only did I host Ganpati puja for the first time in my life, it was also the first time I went to play dandiya at a gharbha night recently.


Crowded Gharbha night at Harrow , London

But that’s not all I have London to thank for.

I could hardly believe my luck when my husband surprised me with two tickets of the Shahrukh Khan’s Slam+ Tour with his ‘Happy new year’ team in London a week back. Watching my favourite Bollywood stars dance and entertain to the latest Bollywood songs in an auditorium full of crazy Bollywood fans I couldn’t believe I was sitting thousands of miles away from my home country.

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An entertaining night with my favorite stars at the Shahrukh’s Happy New Year promotion tour concert 2014

The hangover from the concert had not even ended when the Diwali festivities totally swept us off our feet. Diwali is a busy time in London and the celebrations start almost a month before.

The events comprise of Diwali melas, Indian organizations organizing diya decoration, card making , face painting, archery workshops for kids, mehndi, stalls loaded with mouth-watering dishes and dance performances from the best Indian dance academy’s in London. The mayor of London hosts one of the best Diwali festvals in the heart of the city. Some pictures of the delightful event and some of the best dance performances I have ever seen live.

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Diwali Festival 2014, Trafalgar Square London

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And now if you will excuse me I need to finish my Rangoli for the society Rangoli competition.

Watch out for there’s a lot more India happening outside India now.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Tarun says: October 23, 2014


    Another wonderful blog and good to know so much is happening in England, it seems to be a mini India to me. Even we participated in the Gujrati garbha dance here in a recent gathering in Denmark and Scandinavia seems to be catching up but not as much as London! A very nice blog with pics that transported me to my childhood and festive days in India.Thanks!

    • swatic12 says: October 23, 2014

      Yes there is a lot happening in this part of the world.
      Sometimes I have to rally remind myself I am not in India. Yesterday we put up lighting and
      Rangoli for Diwali too.I am happy that things have picked up in Denmark too. I wish you all the happiness for you and your family this diwali

  2. Paresh G. Kale says: October 23, 2014

    A very happy Diwali to you and your family !

    • swatic12 says: October 23, 2014

      A very Happy Diwali to you too Paresh!

  3. Disha Kotak says: October 23, 2014

    when you are away from home , the urge to hold on to your roots is even stronger.
    its wonderful to see you and the communities around you are doing this beautifully.

  4. Manjulika Pramod says: October 23, 2014

    I loved all the pictures. How cool is that you attended the Slam thing as well!
    Away from home I bet you are thriving in Indian-ness..

    • swatic12 says: October 23, 2014

      Hi Manjulika,
      I am glad you enjoyed the post. Yes London is totally Indianized so its a good change for me coming from Sweden.
      Wish you and your family a very happy Diwali!


  5. Vishal says: October 24, 2014

    Wow Swati! Took me a good 7-10 minutes to read the whole post which is very well written!

    Indeed the number of festivals in our country is quite high, and each of them is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. Great to hear that you participated and enjoyed!

    The adage “You can take a person out of India, but you can’t take India out of a person” holds true, right?

    • swatic12 says: October 24, 2014

      Hey Vishal,

      So good to hear from you after Long. Hope you are doing well. I am really happy that you liked the post and i am hoping it wasn’t a 10 minutes wasted:). Yes enjoying all the festivals with family, friends and enthusiasm,,touch wood to that. The adage is very true Vishal, our hearts remain Indian no matter where we live. Keep visiting the blog buddy and sharing your wonderful viewpoint. Its always so good to hear form you.

  6. Rahul says: October 24, 2014

    Agree , London is more Indian than many places on the globe! Well written, best of luck Swati for the contest!

    • swatic12 says: October 25, 2014

      It sure is Rahul, have you been here before? Thank you..hope you have voted:)

  7. swati says: October 25, 2014

    Hi Swati,

    Indeed a beautiful post and yes pics were equally awesome

    • swatic12 says: October 25, 2014

      Thank you so much Swati, glad you enjoyed the pics. I actually went out in a storm at 11 pm on the night of submission to take the Tesco grocery section pic:).
      So it feels great to know that my effort has payed off well and that everyone is enjoying the pics so much.

  8. Fayaz Pasha says: October 29, 2014

    Belated Happy Diwali Greetings to you Swati. Very well said and wish you best of luck.

  9. Praveen Kumar says: October 29, 2014

    A great post 🙂

    • swatic12 says: October 29, 2014

      Hi Praveen,

      Glad you liked it. Vote please:)

  10. Priyanka says: October 30, 2014

    Beautifully written Swati! I have traveled with Lufthansa India to London and it being Diwali, I could relate to the way you depicted celebrations there. And the travel was really amazing courtesy the More Indian Than You Think campaign – a sentiment beautifully captured by Lufthansa!

    • swatic12 says: October 30, 2014

      Dear Priyanka,

      You are absolutely right . And yes Diwali is celebrated with a lot of fervor here in London. Kudos to Lufthansa for such a beautiful campaign.

  11. Tanisha says: October 30, 2014

    Very well written. Brought a smile to my face. Hope you win the contest. Had the pleasure of Lufthansa’s excellent service and great More Indian Than You Think campaign when I flew with them recently. Thev’ye made a stellar campaign and website too!

    • swatic12 says: November 7, 2014

      Big touchwood to that! Yes I have heard a lot about the campaign and how effective it
      actually is from a lot of people as responses to this post and it makes me so proud that
      I have written for a good cause and a great organization.

      Thanks again for your lovely wishes Tanisha. Keep visiting The Eureka Life!

  12. Najm Nisa says: November 5, 2014

    Lovely blogpost Swati , it is so good to know that Indian roots are respected and celebrated abroad too 🙂
    Here’s hoping that you get to be a part of many more exciting and adventurous Indian rooted activities in London :))

    • swatic12 says: November 6, 2014

      Thanks for lovely wishes and comment Najm. Yes Indian festivals are celebrated here with a lot of fervor and infact a little more fervor than in India maybe because the need to remain rooted is greater here:)

  13. Ritesh says: November 6, 2014

    Great work indeed ! Diwali festival is couple of days known as queen of festival. Even here in Qatar all Indians celebrating Diwali. Glad to hear from you, same you enjoyed with sparkling and lightening !!!

    • swatic12 says: November 7, 2014

      So good to hear such nice stories from Qatar. Just goes to show that no matter where
      we are, Indians will always be Indians:)

  14. Amit Vele says: December 3, 2014

    Wonderful blog dear. Keep it up 🙂

    • swatic12 says: December 4, 2014

      Thank you so much Amit, glad you enjoyed it!


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