'I am in Love with Biryani'

Published: 29th May 2015 06:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2015 06:04 AM   |  A+A-

Expat diaries

HYDERABAD: It has been a year that Nawal Ameen landed in India, and she has now reached a stage where she can bargain with the shopkeepers and auto walas.

That too in a Deccani dialect that resembles that of a local – kitta hain, kitta hua, itta kaiku dena and so on.  

Nawal who completed her graduation in English Literature from Ibb University in Yemen and is currently pursuing her Masters in Comparative Literature from University of Hyderabad.

The girl from Yemen, who was amused  and also surprised to see packed crowd in buses and trains is now, she admits, a ‘true Indian’.

Nawal, hails from the city of Ibb which is the heart of Yemen. She was worried like any other youngster who move’s base to another country. She says, “All I wanted to do was go back to my country. But now, I like it here.”

Though everything was different for her when she first moved, life became easier after she made some friends. It was the diversity of languages among Indians that was most striking for Nawal.

“I found it interesting that Indians speak different languages. In my country everybody speaks one language and that is of course Arabic,” she says.

Clad in a niqaab, considering it her duty towards god, the 24-year-old, though traditional is also very enthusiastic and outgoing. Only a year in a foreign country and she has a number of friends that she maintains a healthy relationship with. She explains, “The welcoming nature is common to our people back home too. I also feel like this is my second home as we share a lot of cultural and religious similarities.”

Ask her one thing that she has not been able to get used to and she responds quickly, “I fell in love with biryani the very first time I had it. Thali is also good. But I cannot have other foods. They are too spicy and oily,” she says.

Nawal also shares that making it to the University of Hyderabad has been one of her achievements. The city is special to her for more reasons too. “The kind people, like I mentioned, the peace and harmony in the city and also the Hyderabadi Biryani.”

As much as Hyderabad makes her feel closer to home, she misses Yemen. “Though I feel at home regarding life and people, I miss the weather in my country. It is cool and refreshing along with the usual rainfall. I also miss my zero-oil and zero-spice food,” she says emotionally. 

She hopes, “India will become cleaner and will always be peaceful, kind, with simple people who will co-exist despite linguistic, religious and cultural differences,” and signs off.

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