Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Returning to India

Every once in a while, I'm asked whether I'm happy I returned to India. I vary my answers based on who is asking the question. If it's an old friend from the US asking me, I say "Yes, I'm happy though I miss a lot about my old life". If its someone from India, I say " Yes, I'm very happy - who wouldn't be?". The common thread I find that I say is "Yes, I'm very happy". Is that the truth? I'm not sure.

Recently someone I know who had moved here around the time we had, has decided she just can't live here anymore. She has tried to fit back in, she has tried very hard, but says she just can't do it, and doesn't want to try anymore. And they are moving back.

I find that things aren't so black and white for me. There are several things about India that I love. I love that my daughter has so much family around her - that she gets to grow up with grandparents and cousins, aunts and uncles. I love that they want to spend time with her and love to be with her - that I don't have to pay someone to spend 2 hours with my daughter while I have dinner. I love that people are genuinely willing and wanting to help at any time if you need them.

But I desperately miss personal space. I miss sidewalks. I miss parks. I miss open spaces with no one in sight. I miss being able to go to a grocery store and being confronted with a shelf of choices.

A close friend is moving back here. I've known him forever and when he genuinely asked me, "So would you recommend I move back?", I was only able to give him the pros and cons. It works for me, but I can understand when it doesn't work for someone else. Its a very personal decision. And there's no way to plan for it.

I found that everyone - and I really mean every single person I know - asked me "why did you move back?". It seemed like people moved back only for a reason - lost their job, not enough money, terribly homesick, enough money to retire - but none, like us, who had no reason at all. We still ask ourselves sometimes What prompted us to move back? And still there is no answer - we just always thought that we would.

Some people need 6 months just to adjust to the idea of moving back and another year to plan it out - career options, living options etc. For some, like us, you just book the ticket, don't think about it too much - pretty much jump into the water and learn how to swim again. And sometimes, the pool will be filled with water, and other times, it might be cleaning day, and you might hit hard concrete! :)