I heard of an Oulu India group when I first came to Oulu. I tried to get in touch with one email id given on that site, but didn’t get any response and then just let go (I was told later that they don't entertain emails from official IDs. They want our personal IDs.). I nearly jumped out of my skin when about 3 months later, as Harsha and myself were window shopping at Rotuaari, we heard a loud, jolly voice asking us – are you Indians? It was Jacob Uncle and then he went on to explain to us about Indian community …the surprise being that there are nearly 200+ Indians in Oulu!!! and he was their patriarch! We were introduced to the term Findian – Indians staying in Finland. He gave us a quick rundown on how he had landed there etc. Told us to visit his blog and add ourselves to the Google group.
2 days later, I bumped into Renuka in the market square, a girl we had met at Nallikari when we first came to Oulu. She told us about some Cricket match that was happening and we decided to go with her…and who do we see there? Our very own Jacob Uncle!!!
What a day!!! Met several Indians and came to know what an active social life they keep…what with cricket matches, cultural programs and just general get togethers.
Rubini had got her cycle along to practice, but between me and Harsha we didn’t want to return it to her. In fact we didn’t want to give anyone else a chance. Once she had it she didn’t want to give it to me and when I had it I didn’t want to give it to her! Rubini could have earned a few quick bucks if she decided to loan out her cycle for 30 mins!!!
After the match got over, we went to Jacob Uncle’s office just to hang around. There are 4 flats there that he rents out and loads of cycles. So while some played Badminton, some Carom, I got him to unlock a cycle for me and went off again!
It was awesome! I was so excited that I wanted to get myself a good second hand cycle and started asking all the people around if it is possible. Arun, from the university promised to help me and even tried. But unfortunately, the last week of May when many students return and decide to sell of their stuff, I had to go to India for urgent work and couldn’t get hold of a cycle. :-(. But the search continues!
After few days I heard that Oulu Indians are planning a Cultural evening on 12th June, what with a full toosh singing and dancing program. Went for one of their planning meetings and was amazed to see the enthu that these people had. They had booked a nice YMCA hall and had nice professional posters printed and put up everywhere…including my office.
It was an excellent program around the Seasons in India, with all of them doing nice Bollywood numbers that went well with each season. I guess for me the surprise package was Bala, which I did tell him. Rubini, his wife, I kinda expected would dance well as I had seen in her one of the initial meetings show everyone a sample. But Bala had this ‘kuch toh kar layngay’ approach – we’ll do something…like this..like that. But he did dance very well!!!
I had invited my friend Sirpa for the evening and she looked beautiful in the Indian outfit I got for from India. Infact she was quite happy as someone mistook her for an Indian and she took this as a compliment!!!
Kudos to all who the O-Indians who organized the event so well and to all the participants who put up such a great show!