‘I’m sorry’

A tree in my neighbour’s backyard has grown over his fence, across the alley between our houses, and into my backyard. It’s been squeezing a bay leaf tree in my backyard against the garden shed. If his tree is not trimmed soon, my bay leaf tree will die. I needed to bring this up with my neighbour so he could hire a gardener and get the tree trimmed back.

I am an uber conflict avoider. The thought of asking someone to do something, with even a slight potential of conflict gives me a shiver.

I am also Indian. So the idea of people refusing to do what’s their responsibility is almost the natural default for me.

The combination of these two characteristics meant that for last few weeks I’ve been playing the encounter with my neighbour in my head. My fears and my overactive imagination meant it had gone far enough that we were filing police complaints against each other for ASBO12.

Anyway, I saw him today when we returned from the evening walk. I waved at him and approached.

Me: Hey Scott, I’m sorry, but do you have a minute.

S: Yes, of course.

Me: I’m sorry, but there’s a tree in your backyard that’s grown over into mine and is strangling one of my trees.

S: Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t notice it.

Me: No worries, it’s right at the far corner.

S: I’m sorry. I’ll get the gardener to come do something about it.

Me: No worries. Thanks.

S: Cheers. I’m sorry. See you later.

No, we didn’t end up filing ASBO complaints against each other. We just said ‘I’m Sorry’ to each other a dozen times, smiled, and carried on.

I can breathe now :)

Continue reading ‘I’m sorry’

Transition complete – passport & visa

Got my OCI card in the post today. The document transition is now complete

…from the Indian passport & the British permanent visa (indefinite leave to remain)

…to the British passport & the Indian permanent visa (overseas citizen of India)

Continue reading Transition complete – passport & visa

Welcome to the UK…

They were initially bemused by the complexity of bus timetables, bin collections and—most of all—by the changeable weather. “In our country, when it’s summer, it’s summer,” says Ziead Alsaouah, Mr Batak’s son-in-law.

—The Economist | After the exodus


I had a very similar reaction to the weather when I moved here 8 years ago.

North India, where I spent the first 24 years of my life, has a very predictable weather. When it’s summer, it’s hot and dry for months on end. When it’s the rain season, it’s raining almost every day for a month. And when winter arrives, it’s bitterly cold, mostly dry, and frequently foggy (recently smoggy) for months on end.

Contrast that to the weather here on the island – it’s common to have at least two seasons in a day. Three’s not uncommon either. We had two months of constant dry, warm summers this year, and it’s already caused a mild panic. If we get a week of snow in the winter, news bulletins are full of ‘snowcalypse’ references.

It’s unsettling, at least initially, for people coming from places with stable, ‘continental’ weather patterns. Where culture, life, traditions, activities are based on the season, what do we do when the seasons just aren’t anymore?

Continue reading Welcome to the UK…