It's been 5 Years in South Africa since I first landed at O.R.Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg from Gurugram, India. I was so much anxious and excited about coming to this country and the city after hearing a lot of news items on the Internet. But as I remember, one of my friend I asked before I traveled, told me that it's good to try out the new city rather than going back to London, UK. I made my decision to come to Johannesburg and here I was on 2nd November 2013.
The day was Deepawali
, the festival of lights and I had no SIM card, no way to contact my parents and family until I reached the place I was assigned to stay by my employer. The roommate allowed me to call my family back home and then cooked food for me. I was busy getting my stuff in the almirahs as I celebrated Diwali alone as he went out with friends.
My first day at Standard Bank office in CBD was meeting some of the important people and getting the access card and laptop sorted. I continued to be amazed by the cleanliness and the infrastructure of the city. During my initial days only I came across Fordsburg - H.K. Superstore which continues to be my supplier of Indian groceries ever since. Dosa Hut was one of the places I would visit to get my South Indian food in the evenings. I continued to eat at a Pakistani eatery daily during my lunch time for some months till Sai Amrit restaurant which was a better one started its business in CBD. It's still one of the best tiffin/snacks kind of restaurant on Marshall Street.
By the end of the first week, my company moved me out of Roodepoort to Morningside, Rivonia Road and I had to start my life afresh. I got a friend as one other associate directly came to those apartments and we hired a car and started exploring the office and the city together. Soon it was December and I went back to India to meet my brother and family who came from the USA after a while. It was too fast of a trip but I could do some of the blog posts as my Indiblogger rating fell in November as I didn't have any Wifi or Internet connection in South Africa. I also won some of the contests and wanted to bring the prizes back to South Africa for my entertainment.
Over the next few months, I took the internet connection and started watching all the TV series which I had never seen earlier like 24, Game of Thrones, How I Met Your mother?, House of Cards, Homeland amongst others. It was constant watching starting on Friday evening till Sunday night. Sometimes I won't even go anywhere outside the home to eat food or meet people. I used to continuously watch episodes after episodes of 24 (All Seasons) and was able to finish them in a month or so. In between, I used to do some blog posts and tweets which will earn me some of the great invites and prizes. I used to ask various brands for their PR companies contacts and slowly and steadily, I became a part of their lives. There are still many brands which I am not part of and still trying to reach there.
In the last 5 years, my biggest achievements will be getting 2 promotions at work, winning Samsung Bloggers Challenge
which I always wanted to win since the day it was announced, winning Canon Instagram Engagement Award, winning Huawei Best Photographer (Jan 2019) and Huawei Mate 20 Lite, became debt free and start earning for the future, broken many relationships and making new ones. I have learned a lot and worked hard to achieve where I am now but this year I will take a break and relax a lot. I am not going to do any press releases as it takes time and benefits are not there at all. I will create my own content and blow my own trumpet to relearn what has been lost in translation during the last 5 years. I got so many gifts, tickets, show invites, launch events to attend and literally traveled around the city in my little Fiat 500. I love going to Montecasino, Silverstar Casino and many such places for their entertainment value.
Social media wise, when I came and contacted one Smartwatch company for their product review, they said I only have 50 followers on @TheLifesWay
and now the same has crossed 8000 followers and increasing daily. The Instagram handle @araijain
also was having around less than 1000 followers and now it has crossed 10k followers. The blog also crossed 2.16Million pageviews on 18th Feb 2019 and daily increasing along with the blog posts. I started my profiles on social media channels on Tumblr, snap chat, Pinterest and many others. This year I started focussing on Youtube channel too and soon there will be a lot of videos on the same.
Family wise, my wife started working as a permanent resource with a local company and my daughter loves her school and friends. We were blessed with a new baby boy who has just turned 1 last month. It's great to watch him grow as I missed the same with my daughter as I had to go to London, UK and they could not accompany me there. It's not easy to be constantly checking on the kids and sometimes I get irritated too but overall a smile from the boy gives me the courage to carry on.
It's still a struggle to earn some income from my blog
or any of the social media channels but I will reach there soon where I can ask for my price. I am working towards the same and the changes due to my decisions will be visible to everyone. I am enthusiastic about all the time I am able to get as I could focus on important stuff rather than putting effort to post Press Releases on my channels and promoting it later for free.
Last 5 Years in Johannesburg, I have seen a lot of places in and around the city and still, I fall in love with the city as and when I travel in my car every morning or evening. I fall in love with the city when it's raining or when the rainbow comes after the rains. I still love going to Sandton City and visiting all the Indian Restaurants in the city. I love going to Fordsburg and going to Lion and Rhino Park too. I love my travel to Suncity and Hartbeespoort. I have made so many friends and so many people became my friends for life. I might have not seen South Africa completely too but I intend to do so in my next year of existence in the City of Gold.
That's my journey in the city and I continue to enjoy the rainbow nation! Not only my hairs have turned grey but my heart has turned more Red as I fall in love again and again with this beautiful city!
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