From Delhi to Oslo



Delhi, The Heart of India. Its area is 1484 km sq., which is approximately thrice the area of Oslo. It has a population of 11 million, approximately twice the population of Norway. It became the capital of India in 1911, a union territory in 1956, and so on. But this is not what defines Delhi. What truly defines it is its complexity. It has become a home for people from all over the country, and hence home to twenty-two different languages, cultures and traditions.

You will find a Sikh celebrating Onam, a Malyali doing Bhangra, a Muslim going to a Temple, a Christian not killing a Cow and a Hindu reading Quran. And not only its name, but its diversity truly makes it ’The Heart of India.’

’Saddi Dilli’ or ’My Delhi’ is special to me as it is my home. I was born here, I grew up here, did my schooling, college, job, everything was here. Precisely my whole life is encircled in Delhi.

Then one fine evening I was sitting by my window, enjoying my evening tea when I got a call.

’Hello, is this Monika? I am calling from Posten and Bring. Your profile has been shortlisted for a Web Developer’s profile. If you are interested, then please send us your updated CV.’

Norway! It was an exciting opportunity and I said yes

Then after a month of preparation and five rounds of interviews I was selected, and on November 1st 2016 a Delhi girl moved to Norway

Apart from an exciting opportunity to travel and explore the world, money was what I expected to earn. But life does not happen according to your expectations. A change of place changed a lot of things.

Flag – I used to see the tricolor flag hoisted everywhere in the city, and now I see the Norwegian flag. Even if I was not born here, I live here which makes Norway my country-and I love my country.

Don’t Push Me – Sandwiched between millions of people just to reach the gate of the metro to the office is a daily scene of a Delhi Metro Station. But its never a worry as the key is to just stand in your place and the public will push you in or out of the metro. But in Oslo sometimes its only me sitting in the entire coach of a T-Bane.

Who let the dogs out? – In Delhi the dogs are everywhere. They bark, they bite, they follow, they move in gangs and are very scary. In Oslo, weather it is larger than you or small enough to keep in your bag, they all are cute and lovely.

Where are the spices? – Seriously Norwegians, where are the spices? In India I was a non-vegetarian, but after trying a lot of things I prefer to call myself a vegetarian. The only places where I can eat non-veg are subway, mcdonalds or burger king because they are universal in taste.

Who is the boss? – In India there is hierarchy up to a level that a single individual is answerable to three different managers, but here we have flat hierarchy and have beers and parties with our managers and nobody is anybody’s boss.

Saturday Night – In India there is so much deadline pressures that the only friend on a weekend is my laptop, but here people maintain a work-life balance which gives me weekends for myself.

Cheers…Doc – One of my friends told me about a really funny incident. Once he was not able to breathe and went to see a doctor in Oslo. After examining him, the doctor said “its not that you are unable to breathe, it’s that you think that you are unable to breathe. So go home, relax and have a beer. You will be fine.”

In India if we go to a doctor and pay his hefty fees then we expect medicine out of him.

7:00PM – In India after we leave the office we can go out to shop and roam around since all of the shops and markets are open. Here, on the other hand, after we leave the office there is no other option but to go back home.

Volume – If I am sitting at home in India there are noises from everywhere. A car running on the road, loud music from the neighbours and if there is a wedding nearby then just forget that I will get to sleep that night. But here its pin-drop silence, which is calm and peaceful.

Snow…man – I have seen dry, humid, green, rain, winter, sun, everything. But I never experienced snow. Its bright, its beautiful and it paints the town in my favourite color WHITE.

Winter is coming – One day my mom called and told me that it was very cold that day: 10-degree C. ‘How is it there?’ And I replied: ‘na…its not that cold today, its only -1-degree C.’

Sports – Cricket is religion for us. We cheer when Virat hits a six, we bite our tongue when Yuvraj gets bowled…But now the cheers are for a Ronaldo’s goal and biting of tongue for Messy’s, or it could be the other way round.

Zebra Crossing – There is a Zebra Crossing in traffic rules book, on the road, but not in the dictionary of a driver. Vehicles don’t stop for people, people don’t stop for vehicles, but trust me everything runs harmoniously. I think in-spite of less traffic it will be difficult for me to drive in Oslo as I am not in the habit of stopping for people to cross.

Weddings – Its a special day. Family, friends, relatives, neighbours, dad’s friends, mom’s friends, and whoever is minutely related to the bride and groom are invited to the wedding. Its not a wedding day, its a wedding week when everyday a different ritual is celebrated with approximately five hundred people gathering (and that’s an average, it could be more). But here weddings are cozy, involving only those people to whom it matters.

In the beginning, I used to miss my family, my friends, food, my comfort zone… But gradually I started to add a little spice to the bland food, doing bhangra with norwegian music, sometimes working on a Saturday night. I don’t know if I brought a little India to Norway or if a little Norway grew inside me. But what I am sure of is that when I will go back it will be with not only money, it will be with much much more.

By: Monika Mangal

1 Comment

  1. 🙂 A good read … I really enjoyed how you have carefully avoided judgement and still managed to point out some obvious differences

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