I’m not quite sure whether I’m ‘videshi woman’ or ‘desi turned videshi’! All I know is that as an Indian turned British, single mum of two lovely children, I would love to share my journey with you.
To those of you who are in India considering a life abroad, or the videshi women in India who may be able to offer me some tips on life in the UK. Or those who may share similar lives looking for how to find that fine balance between the pressures of a demanding job and the joys called motherhood, or even those of you wondering how to start afresh from a marriage not worth pursuing any longer. Or for anyone else reading this simply because as you read, for this one moment, our paths in life – however different – are crossing (albeit virtually). Please feel free to share your comments, write to me, or find me on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter as you please.
Vinita Ramtri was born in Rajasthan, India and moved to the UK in 2006. She now lives in London with her two children.
What brought you to the UK?
Fate! It was more destiny than design. We were settled in Pune in 2005, when my husband decided to further his career in Edinburgh. He moved alone for a while, my daughter and I joined eventually and we have been in the UK since 2006. Life has a strange way of evolving; little did I know how fundamentally this was going to change my world.
Although I had been to the UK before, this was my first trip to Scotland. I still remember a rainy afternoon in July when I arrived in Edinburgh. We boarded the number 100 bus that takes you from the airport to the City Centre i.e. Princess Street. I was absolutely stunned by the breathtaking views of Edinburgh Castle and the Princess Gardens and thought Edinburgh would make a fine place to call home. I was in Scotland for a few years, and you have to admit, the Scottish landscape is simply stunning, after all, God’s own canvas, right?
I have since moved to London and it’s been the perfect move to match the transition in my personal life. London has its own unique charm and while I did love Scotland for its beauty, London is just more me. The city has so much to offer that I guess I could try and discover London for the rest of my life and still not be done.
What have been your greatest challenges in adapting a new culture?
Since I was married to an Indian, and a college sweetheart, it would be fair to say that we possibly didn’t see the same level of challenges as some others would. I believe, our ability to stand together played a huge role in getting through the initial years, as coming home still meant being with the people you loved and cared for and felt so comfortable with.
However, my heart went out to our daughter for whom sometimes I felt the move was a little harsh at the start. While we went out to work, she felt the loneliness, as suddenly there weren’t any neighbors to play with. It was often cold outside and for long hours during the evening, she would be confined at home with grandparents until we got back. Days were much shorter. I still recall the very cold dark evenings when I would be approaching home. I dreaded looking up at the window as I knew I’d see my child staring outside looking out for her parents to come home. It was too much to bear and I almost insisted on having another child, and our son was born in Edinburgh in 2008.
Of course that was just a phase and she soon made friends and grew to love Edinburgh.