Humans of Berkeley – Namaste England
About Humans of Berkeley
The Berkeley Communications team is excited to introduce a new blog series, Humans of Berkeley. This series will showcase the personal and professional experiences of the people that make our Comms agency tick. Our first blog in the series features Samvedna Bhushan aka Sam, a rising star in our PR team. Sam shares with us her story and her motivations for working in the UK and joining Berkeley Communications. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the wonderful personalities that are contributing to our business.
It has been slightly more than a year since I came to England from India. I was 7 years old when I left home for the first time to attend boarding school in Shimla, a beautiful hill station in the Himalayas. Since then, I have moved from one place to another, sometimes for studies, sometimes for work, and twice for the love of my life.
Although the initial few days after moving here were exciting, I soon learned the reality of living in a foreign land. Struggles seemed endless, and I regretted my decision to uproot myself from a well-settled life in India and move to a country I had only heard about and seen in Hindi movies.
It is surprisingly strange that such a life-defining move, undertaken by so many, is not documented. So here I am sharing my life-changing experience as a “Skilled worker” spouse – the bearer of the dependent visa, a term that has the power to upend one’s sense of self and worldview.
The first shock when I landed here was the lack of domestic help which most Indians are accustomed to in their home country. I gather that to hire a cook or a cleaner in Western Countries, one needs to cross a certain threshold of affluence. In India, house helps also have house helps! Despite the excitement of moving to a new place, the reality of adjusting to a new environment hit me hard within a month of my arrival. The initial enthusiasm I had for exploring my new surroundings was replaced by the overwhelming sense of being confined within the four walls of my home. Cleaning, mopping, and cooking became my daily routine. The lack of social interaction and new experiences made each day seem like a never-ending cycle of domestic chores.
Amidst all this there was a silver lining – I wasn’t clueless about navigating my way around the kitchen. I knew I wouldn’t have to starve to death, and I am grateful to my mother for passing on her cooking skills to me and all the enterprising “aunties” selling Indian meal packs for £20.
It has been challenging for me to overcome the absence of companions beyond my romantic relationship with my partner. I chose to distance myself from my friends by moving far away, and I faced the consequences of my decision by experiencing loneliness while my spouse was at work. The only remedy for isolation is forming new friendships. As a migrant, I have grown accustomed to leaving my old friends behind and starting anew. Despite the initial struggle, the friendships I have formed during this process have become ‘friends like family’.
Although I am still struggling to make new friends, I remain optimistic that this new country will help me form friendships that will last a lifetime.
Reinventing my identity
Though I moved to England for love, reinventing my professional identity became my new mission. As Salman Rushdie said, “the only ground an immigrant has to stand on is the one he builds for himself.”
At an ideological level, I struggled with the gender dynamics of my reality–I unplugged my life of 31 years and moved to a new country to be here with my husband. Would he have uprooted his career and bid goodbye to his friends and family to join me in, say, Timbuktu, if I were based there? (I think I must ask him that some day).
Anyhow, after numerous job rejections, my search for employment in a new country felt indefinite. The fear of never finding a job and losing my professional identity plagued me day and night. However, I took a chance and applied for an Account Manager role at Berkeley Communications, despite expecting rejection. Surprisingly, they valued my skillset over local experience. The interview process went well, and after sleepless nights, I received a call offering me a more senior position as Senior Account Manager. This is my first job in England and the struggle which seemed never-ending is finally over.
While I move on and focus on building my new life in a new country, all I’d like to say that life might seem odd and unfair at times but it’s not always the same. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
So here’s to calling England ‘home away from home’!
Who is your favourite storyteller – Kushwant Singh and his favourite work is Train to Pakistan
What would you sing at a karaoke night? – English: ‘Can’t help falling in love’ by Elvis Presley, Hindi: ‘Kahin door jab din’ by Mukesh
What is the most used app on your phone – Instagram