I’ve only lived in two different countries throughout my life and the transformation that I have gone through has been greater than I had ever expected. I was born and raised in various parts of India until I was twelve years old, which is when I came to London. I had moved around a lot within India but there was never any great cultural change which meant I had a very similar lifestyle for the twelve years I was in India for. Upon hearing the news that my family and I would be shifting to London, I did not know how to react as I had never been such a situation. I didn’t know whether to be sad or excited, I ended up being a bit of both. I had left India on January 2nd 2009 and that was the day the transformation began.
Upon arrival at London I felt like it was all a dream, it was all so surreal. It had not yet hit me that I had just shifted to one of the most famous cities in the world. The first time that I really felt a change within me was only when I had started school as I did not need to interact with many people before that. I was nervous before that first day of school. I didn’t know what it would be like, I didn’t know if the people would accept me, I didn’t know if they would accept the way I looked, I didn’t how anything worked here. The whole change from wearing a uniform to coming in whatever you wanted also took some time to adapt to as I didn’t know how to dress here, I didn’t know how to fit in. The whole system in London was also completely different to India. It was more relaxed and the teachers were not as strict and listen to your opinion more. This was a big shock for me as schooling in India was quite formal in class and punishments were handed out for small things which would not be noticed in London, this was a reason as to why I might not have been that participating in class as much as the teachers would like me to.
Everything was just so different in London, and I was starting to worry that I would never get used to it, starting from the people right down to having to use public transport every day. I had to rely on myself a lot more and I did not know if I could do that as I never had to. In India everyone has a driver who is available to them twenty four hours a day. It was a much more relaxed and maybe a bit of a lazy way of living. I wouldn’t say that it was difficult for me to make friends here but the way they acted was very different to my friends back in India. Since I am in an International school there are many different cultures, which means people with many different attitudes, beliefs and a very different way of living. Whereas in India, everyone had the same way of living, we believed in the same things to an extent and it was a lot easier to understand the people, as you knew what you would be thinking.
Another big change was the difference in accents, and I was worried what people would think of my accent. I know, it sounds ridiculous to be afraid of people listening to your voice, but I was a boy on a very low self-esteem. Moving to London didn’t only change the way I was on the inside, it also made a big physical change on me. I had to become a lot more active here as I had mentioned earlier, which led to me loosing quite a bit of weight which I think led to me being more open. I know all these points make it sound like I was the kid who sat in a corner with no friends, but that wasn’t the case. I just kept all my feelings to myself and avoided expressing myself.
London is completely different to India, which changed me a lot from the person I was before. I now am no longer that conservative little boy who kept his feelings to himself. I came into London a very shy, chubby, silent boy, who doesn’t share his opinions, doesn’t try to get to know people and basically someone just really low on self-confidence. And now I feel like I express myself more, socialise a whole lot more and someone so much more confident in himself, I even dress better now which is a good thing of course. London has made a major impact on my life and there is not one thing I would change about my school, my friends, my surroundings, as all that and a mixture of my Indian culture and background has made me the boy I am today.