For the love of Bollywood music!

I have intentionally listened to more Bollywood songs during my two and a half years living in Atlanta than ever before. I have actually searched for Bollywood hits on YouTube and looked up a few fun songs that are commonly heard during every puja festival in Kolkata. I have even watched Bollywood movies on Netflix.

I know many of you enjoy Bollywood music. I have a few favorites too and I obviously listened to a few of them while writing this post. Some of them even got my husband dancing.


In India, you can hear Bollywood songs playing all the time. That’s one reason why I didn’t need to search for them on YouTube. You can hear them on TV, during auto rides homes, even at some tea stalls over their small radios while you sipped tea. I could hear them playing in the neighbor’s house in the evenings and of course during the many local festivals.

Somehow the scandalous clothing in the song videos do not draw many protests from families as long as the music is catchy. But when the music is slow with less scandalous outfits and dance steps – you can’t really watch those with your family without feeling slightly uncomfortable. I believe that the upbeat music and often hilarious dance steps blinds us to everything else.

Years ago my family and I had visited Mumbai (or Bombay as it called then). We visited Film City and watched the shooting of a Bollywood movie scene. That was an exciting trip! We were star struck even though we didn’t really meet any of the popular stars. We also hoped to run into superstar Shahrukh Khan during that trip but all we managed to see was the boundary walls of his house.

yadoon ki baratBollywood music has evolved through the decades. I read recently that the first Hindi sound film, Alam Ara released in 1931 featured seven songs. One movie from those earlier times had 42 song sequences! Some songs that were produced during the times of our grandparents are still cherished today. You may have watched the 5 minute video about the evolution of Bollywood music but watch it again. It’s worth your time: Evolution of Bollywood Music – Penn Masala. I bet you know all the songs that Penn Masala captures in this video. zoobi doobi

I don’t quite have the patience to watch some Bollywood movies because of the movie length and number of songs but there are definitely movies that are worth spending 3 hours over. Thanks to Netflix for featuring a few good ones these days. Hopefully better ones will be added to the list.

In case you’re wondering, these are some of the songs that I listened to while writing this: Chammak Challo (Ra One), Zoobi-Doobi (3 Idiots), Dhoom Tana (Om Shanti Om), Aaj ki raat (SRK’s Don). The featured photo on this post is SRK’s Chammak Challo – the movie wasn’t that great but the song is super catchy! You must have heard them all and some of you even played them in your head as you read the titles.

I think this post calls for a Bollywood movie weekend!

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What do people who thrive overseas have in common?

My father says you remember the smell of your country no matter where you are but only recognize it when you’re far away.

Aglaja Veteranyi, Warum das Kind in der Polenta kocht

I am putting this book in my to-read list because my dad often quotes a similar phrase in Bengali.

Homesickness has ruined several overseas experiences. If you have friends or family who live away from home, you must have seen their social media posts describing their homesickness. Different people deal with homesickness and unfamiliarity quite differently. Over the last few months I have been making notes about a few habits that help people thrive overseas despite their homesickness and circumstances.

Firstly I observed that you don’t need to be an extrovert in order to thrive overseas. So this post is applicable for both extroverts and introverts.

A determination to thrive

People who thrive seem to relentlessly pursue the best life they can have irrespective of where they live. People leave home for so many reasons – the adventure of trying something new, to be with family, for work, to answer a calling. The people we spoke to and read about, described times of overwhelming challenges or incidents of extreme homesickness but their determination to thrive carried them through.

They practice contentment

They are able and willing to maintain a positive attitude when dealing with the uncertain and the unfamiliar. They view the unfamiliar as fun instead of as intimidating. Fear is replaced by excitement. They also embrace their limitations, whether it’s their personality, illness, slow learning, they remain patient.

Read related: My struggles with depression while living overseas

They enjoy new food options

It’s not so hard to try new food options but when that new food becomes the regular option, it not always easy to thrive. Numerous struggles stem from the inability to adapt to new food habits. Finding food options that are close to comfort food have helped many adjust to the new tastes and textures quicker.

An open mind and desire to learn

Learn new cultures, language, lifestyle and habits without passing judgement all the time. A desire to learn and eagerness for exposure to new things is pretty vital to embracing the new experiences that life throws our way. An intentional appreciation for the new community and culture and not being a loner makes them thrive.

Read related: Tips for Overseas Living – Be a Learner

Not losing sight of the purpose for moving

Those who thrive overseas stay motivated by not losing sight of the purpose for moving. They avoid getting distracted with random incidents and emotions, episodes of homesickness, complicated relationships or small setbacks.

The more I think about these the more I realize that some of these habits are good to practice no matter where you live but they come in a lot more handy when you’re away from home.


Author: The Overseas Magazine Editor




We would love to hear your travel and living overseas stories. Learn more bout writing for TOM here.

Questions you should be asking during your first overseas “check-out” trip

Visiting a place before moving there for long term is a great idea because it can prepare your mind and help you make moving decisions. Setting some strategies can help you make this “check-out” trip more worthwhile.

Whether you are someone, who enjoys just going with the flow or someone who needs it all chalked out – here are some guiding questions.

Of primary importance:

  • What kind of visa will you need to get?
  • What are some non-negotiable conditions for you to thrive in this new place? Think of food allergies, other allergies, medical attention.
  • What are some compromises that you are willing to make?
    • In several instances, the compromising attitude disappears when the going gets tough at the end of the glorious honeymoon phase. Giving this question some thought beforehand could help you push through challenges later on.

Know your limits

Everyday living:

  • What will housing look like?
    • Conduct a brief scan of the housing scenario and budgets
  • If you have kids, will you consider a local school or an alternative?
  • If your spouse will join you, what are things they could be involved in?
    • Include them in all these decisions.
  • Assess the public transportation system. Will you need a car? What kind of driver’s license will be required?
  • Will you be able to learn the language?
    • Learning the local language can help you feel more connected and confident.
  • Could you thrive as an outsider?
    • If you look significantly different than the local people, you will most likely get stared at a lot. Be aware of the attention you are getting and decide if you can handle the staring for the rest of your stay there. The staring doesn’t really go away although you might learn to live with it.
  • Do you like the food, culture, lifestyle?
    • Try the local food and decide from a daily meal perspective if that is something that you will be able to enjoy. Observe people and lifestyles. 
  • Will you do well with the weather conditions?
    • Weather often plays a big role in how productive and healthy we can be,
  • Will you be required to change the way you dress? Is that something you wouldn’t mind doing?
  • Will you have a local community that can help support you? If not, what are ways in which you can make your stay in a foreign land seem more like home?
  • Can you afford the cost of living?


Work related:

  • Where do you fit in and how you can best support the role?

Staying in touch with family and your community at home:

  • Will staying in touch with family and friends back home be easily possible?
    • Whether you are close to your family or not, having a familiar community support your time overseas, even sporadically, can offer a great boost to your time overseas. 

Getting back home:

  • How can the role help your plans for the futures?
    • This brings perspective and focus so that you can make the most of your time overseas.
  • Throughout your overview trip, ask yourself if this will be worth the move – Is the work you are going to get involved in be meaningful enough?

getting back home

Exit strategy:

  • If your health or some situation demands an early departure, could you leave without any hassle?
    • Even though sometimes having restrictions on moving can be helpful in being tough through overseas challenges, it is good to have an exit budget and a plan in place in case you need to leave earlier than anticipated.

obstacles cartoon

Read related: Tips for Overseas Living – Inside Considerations for Housing | Tips for Overseas Living—Outside Considerations For Housing

Do you have other recommendations? Email them to the


Chai recipes

Give a man some chai and you cheer him up for a day. Teach him to make chai and you will cheer him up forever.


We at The Overseas Magazine love teaching friends in the US how to make chai, mostly because then they can make some for us whenever we visit them.

A few months ago we shared our chai recipe with a friend named Jared. A few weeks ago, he invited us over to taste one of his recipes. Jared is a great cook and is fearless about experimenting with spices. Here’s his fancy chai recipe for one cup:

1 tsp Orange pekoe tea + half cup whole milk + half cup water + a slice of ginger + a tsp of licorice + a pinch of black pepper + a cardamom pod + a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Of course Jared did not use those exact measurements for any of the ingredients. He brought it all to a boil, let it simmer for a minute and strained the chai into a cup. We were skeptical about the taste but the chai was absolutely delicious!The ingredients had already made it mildly sweet so we skipped the sugar.

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.

– C.S. Lewis

20151212_110509There are many chai recipes serving different needs and cravings. We want to share a few of our favorites with you.

Basic chai recipe for two cups:

Bring about one cup of milk + one cup of water + two tsp of loose tea leaves to a boil. We prefer Orange Pekoe loose tea because of its amazing taste and flavor. When it rises, lower the heat or turn it off and let the chai simmer till the color changes to caramel brown. A darker color might mean that your chai is too strong and anything lighter might mean that your chai is not done. Strain it out, add sugar or honey and enjoy! 

I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.

– Dostoyevsky

Adding a few spices to chai is what makes it more exciting. 


Ginger (Hindi: Adrak):  If you’re using the root, use a tiny piece for that mild flavor. You can add it to the milk and water along with the tea leaves. If you are using powdered ginger, add a pinch of it. Ginger’s inflammatory properties make it ideal for fighting a cold or chest congestion. 

Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.

– Bill Watterson

Cardamom (Hindi: Elaichi): This is another delicious chai spice. It makes tea taste like dessert in a cup, especially if you like Indian desserts. You can use one whole pod for two cups of tea. The chemical composition of cardamon makes it perfect for easing stomach cramps, morning sickness, assist with digestion and soothing nerves.

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

– Henry James

Cinnamon (Hindi: Dalchini): Cinnamon added to chai makes it feel Christimassy and it is also known to make your house smell nice. So add a sprinkle to your tea everyday, like we do! Cinnamon is a great source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known to lower blood sugar levels. 

As far as her mom was concerned, tea fixed everything. Have a cold? Have some tea. Broken bones? There’s a tea for that too. Somewhere in her mother’s pantry, Laurel suspected, was a box of tea that said, ‘In case of Armageddon, steep three to five minutes’.

– Aprilynne Pike, Illusions

Spiced rum: Spiced rum works very well with all chai recipes. Add the rum after you have strained the tea out into cups and you can determine the quantity.

If you are cold, tea will warm you;
if you are too heated, it will cool you;
if you are depressed, it will cheer you;
if you are excited, it will calm you.”

– William Ewart Gladstone


Tea can help you sleep better and also help you feel more alert – it’s truly multi-purpose. Let us know if you tried any of these and The Overseas Magazine team would love to stop by for a cup!

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea! How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”

– Sydney Smith

Help someone thrive overseas by sharing your stories with The Overseas Magazine. Send an email to

Flying to the US? Learn more about the latest electronics ban

Flying to the US with electronics just became a lot more inconvenient. Major airlines flying via countries in the Middle East and Africa will no longer allow electronics larger than a cellphone in a handbag. Passengers will be required to pack them with their checked luggage.

This step was taken by the US to avoid the risk of passenger planes being targeted by terrorist groups who might smuggle explosives in electronic devices.

Medical devices might be allowed on the plane after thorough screening.

Airlines impacted:

Egyptair, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Royal Air Maroc, Royal Jordanian Airlines, Saudi Arabian Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

Preparing for flights to the US:

  1. Check with your airline to determine how the electronics ban will effect you and pack accordingly.
  2. If you have medical devices, let your airline know in advance so that they can be prepared to screen them and allow them on the plane with you.
  3. Estimate longer layovers because of additional screenings. Pack some dry and permissible snacks and perhaps some reading material to make long layovers less painful.
  4. Prepare to be searched thoroughly, exercise patience and cooperate with officials.
  5. If you absolutely must carry electronics in your handbag, book tickets with airline who are currently unaffected by the ban.


Did the ban effect you? Write to us:

Read more about the ban here.


Get that Minimalist Traveler mindset

With most airlines announcing new baggage rules and rates, it’s time to get our smart packing tips up to date!

Long flight? Some helpful tips you should know

Someday I plan to travel the world in style but with only one small side bag as my luggage! I might write about it when I finally do that. But thus far I have managed to go on a week long work trip with a small backpack. This post is about traveling light in general and I hope that some of these tips prove useful to you.

I prefer packing clothes that can be worn more than once during the trip. So wrinkle free, fast drying fabrics in colors that don’t get dirty too quickly are the obvious choice. If I am traveling for two or three weeks, I carry two pairs of jeans or cotton trousers or shorts, depending on the weather, including the ones I wear on the flight and at the most five shirts. Clothes with patterns or a mix of colors hide dirt better than plain colored ones. If there’s no laundry facility available, wash clothes in the shower at night and they will be clean and dry in the morning.

Rolling up your clothes instead of folding them saves space and prevents creases. But be generous when packing undergarments and socks.

To add something interesting to the limited amount of clothing, pack scarves, belts and a variety of jewelry to make repetition of outfits less boring. These items require less packing space and can be squeezed in between other things. In fact, pack your jewelry and other smaller items in your purse to make the best use of space since purses are considered personal items and are complementary on airplanes.

If you’re traveling to a colder place, carry your coat around your arm instead of packing the bulky thing in your bag. That could save packing space and you could use it at the airport too since airports are usually cold.

During the flight wear shoes that are comfortable, stylish and match every attire that you’re taking along. There are so many options to choose from. Go ahead and buy one if you need to, especially if it will save precious bag space. Most shoes cost cheaper than overweight baggage fees! If you absolutely need to pack an extra pair of shoes,  fit them in between other packed things separately instead of as a pair if that saves space. Stuff your socks into your shoes to keep the shape of the shoe intact and save additional space on packing socks.

Toiletries can be bought easily in most travel destinations so I try not to pack any non-essentials. If you do need to pack some soap or shampoo for your trip, opt for bars instead of liquid soaps. If you carry  the permitted amount of travel liquids, pack them in plastic Ziploc bags so that they won’t bleed onto your clothes in case they get squeezed. If you use make-up, pack the versatile and most essential ones. When it comes to medicines, pack sanitary items, bandaids, pain relief ointment, stomach calming tablets and eye drops.

Now about all that additional clothes and gifts that you pick up during your extensive shopping trips. You could keep your backpack half empty or pack an extra folding bag in it. Folding bags take up less space and can be filled it with things on your way back. You will need to pay for that extra baggage only one way! Some people can exercise a lot of discipline and avoid compulsive shopping but that advice doesn’t apply to everyone.

Smaller laptops are easier to pack.  If you don’t like small laptops and have one that’s 17 inches, like I do :), take it only if you need to. It’s possible to plan the rest of the space in your backpack around it.

Organized packing plays a huge role if you want to maximize your luggage space. Pack the items that you will need during the journey (id, wallet, passport, tickets) in a way that gives you easy access to them.

If you’re planning to pack books, opt for Kindle instead. Or if your phone battery lasts long, just get the app on your phone.

If you don’t mind doubling your phone as the camera, you won’t have to pack your camera – big space saver there!

Get the minimalist traveler mindset and you can save some baggage fees during your next travel. Can you think of something else that I missed? Comment below or start a conversation on our Facebook page.


Author: The Lead Journal Editor

Apps that make staying connected between countries easier

It has never been easier to stay in touch with people in different countries. Messaging apps have made it possible for us to stay in constant contact, not just through texts but videos and voice messages. Here are some of the most reliable messaging apps.


Whatsapp is currently the leading messaging app in the world for android phones. It is perfect for texting, sharing images, voice messages.and most recently video calling! We tried the video calling function and the quality of the call was very impressive! Our favorite feature about the app is it’s affordable storage needs and minimal use of internet data.


Kakaotalk is dominant mostly in South Korea but we use it as a family group chat in the US. It offers fun emojis and is easy to use. The service works a little better on iPhones than on androids.


Skype was a leader in video calling across media and still rocks in many ways. But it’s significant need for phone memory and bulky updates make it a better option for iPads, netbooks and laptops and perhaps phones with remarkable memory capacity. Skype emojis are the best and it offers more than just emojis – the video clips and awesome GIFs make it one of the most entertaining ways to chat!

appear-in needs no downloads or installations and it’s an efficient group video calling option. All you need to go is create a room, send the room link to your contacts and you can invite upto 8 people to join the conversation. The video and audio quality are great too.


GroupMe is another pretty low maintenance group messaging app. It offers free images and GIFs that are free for sharing and expressing yourself beyond emojis. You could also just ‘heart’ a message, when words are not needed. You can create a new event for your email calendar and send invites to your group.

We used Viber for a while but struggled with privacy issues. We would receive calls and friends requests from strangers so we uninstalled it. Facebook messenger is great too but battery and storage usage is a real strain on the phone, and we use messenger only on laptops. Tell us about your favorite messenger apps in the comments below.