Monday, March 05, 2007

Chennai Loyalty

Its been a year and a half since I moved back to Chennai. Having lived here for 24 years before that. Things have changed and Chennai is more cosmopolitan than it was and things are only getting better. This is as it should be.

For the first 6 months of moving back, I complained non-stop and to anyone who'd listen that I was longing to be back in the Bay Area. I missed the clean sidewalks, the empty (atleast population-less) spaces, independence, the food (especially the bagels!) and most of all the anonymity.

I was jealous of those who found happiness here in Chennai. Especially those who had lived in the US and had moved back and said they were glad they did so. I just couldn't understand it - why would you want to live here? I wished that I felt that the same way.

Things have changed drastically in the last year. I enjoy Chennai. As someone told me "in the US, it seems as if people are just trying to get through the day, the work day, and can't wait to get home. In Chennai, there's a sense of excitement, of promise. There's the longing to be more, to do more with their lives, to achieve more". I totally agree. People here want a better life for themselves and are willing to work harder and try harder to achieve it. You'll be hard-put to find someone who is complacent.

The one issue that still remains is anonymity but I'm glad now that there are people around me who give a damn about me. Who are willing to help, to lend a ear, to lend a hand. Someone I can drop my kid off with for an hour just to shop and they are excited to have her. People who I bump into in shops, in cinemas, on the road even whom I can have a conversation with inspite of having seen them only yesterday. There's a huge sense of community.

I am as surprised as anyone that I am writing this. But I've finally found peace at moving back. I do still long for those things in the US, but am happy to visit. The severe "homesickness" and aching have disappeared. I've joined those people I envied. I'm finally happy with my decision. I'm home.

11 comments:

Sig said...

Hi Arundathi, Glad to know that finally you are happy to be home.
One of my biggest fears is how it will be if I ever have to move back home. But I always think that time heals everything, so it is good to see the validation. Anyway from what you write, Chennai sounds great.

Monisha said...

Hi Arundhati -
First time here! You have a lovely blog, I admire your resilience and courage to make a decision to move back to India and to love it now! way to go! Looking forward to reading more about your thoughts and experiences.

Arundathi said...

@ Sig: Yup - time does heal or maybe it just lets you get accustomed to it. Which I'm not sure is okay - is it just that we are now "used to" this way of life? Or is this something we actually prefer? I'd like to think the latter.
Yes, Chennai is great. On the surface there are many problems like pollution, population, cleanliness. But I think if you peel back the layers, Chennai has a lot more good stuff to offer.
One of my biggest fears was also moving back - but its not so bad :)

@ Monisha: thanks for stopping by! yes, it was definitely courageous. we just set a date, and stuck to it. realized the whole "lets move next year" wasn't working. So we just gritted our teeth and did it! :) lol!

Anonymous said...

I am very glad you are at peace now, so am i!happy to start a new life in our very own home town :-) espcecially with you and our lovely daughter.
your hubby!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I just loved your post and your hubby's comment too! :-)

Arundathi said...

lol - now i know he reads my blog!

Nandita said...

Arundhati,
Totally understand what you say...i was away from Bombay just for a year and coming back here felt like coming back to a madhouse, especially after the quiet and peace in small town US. But while I was there I used to grumble about the fact that it is so quiet and no hustle bustle of a big city like Bombay...
Just learning to enjoy the best of the present now and that is best for all concerned!
Love your writings and would love to catch up with you when Im in Chennai...

Arundathi said...

would love to catch up in chennai too... or in mumbai! :) thanks for stopping by!

Surnish Nirula said...

aww... great post, nice comment by hubby :-)

Arundathi said...

:) thought you might enjoy that one!

Raaga said...

Homecoming. I've worked abroad, but have chosen to live in India and go only when work beckons. I miss Madras... I left it many years ago... only to return... left it again... hopefully I will return... someday.