…..how I wish!!!! No, I am not going back to India but I am fighting this intense urge to pack my bags and leave UK after living here for 10 years. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH of this gloomy weather, not knowing my neighbours, not seeing people on the streets, having to switch on lights the whole day due to the lack of sunlight and most of all living alone. I was talking to my dad today and asked him why he did not advise me against going to UK for my education when they had lived abroad for more than 10 years, surely they must have know how it was going to be. His answer was simple, I wanted you to experience it. Sure, I did. I learnt to work whilst studying, to live independently, to keep up my self-respect and dignity which might not have happened if I studied in India. But after 10 years, after all the things I’ve learnt, I want to go back.
I read some blogs about people contemplating to go back after living in UK/US for many many years and everyone’s concerned of how it might. Some are nervous about job prospects, some about the traffic, some corruption…everyone’s got their reasons….but let me tell you this….GO BACK IF YOUR HEART IS IN INDIA. Some of us will get to a stage in our lives when we’ll start missing the pollution of India, the cows on the roads, the traffic, the intense heat…and this is when I think is the right take to make ‘that’ decision Sure, we all miss our families back home…but it is when you miss the ‘not so nice things’ about India…that you are ready to pack your bags.
Last year, I was in India for 6 months. By the end of my holiday, it felt like I was living there and I was visiting UK. I didn’t want to leave at all. I won’t say that my holiday was all hunky dory….there were pros and cons….but the good thing about the holiday was…it gave me an insight into how life in India has changed since 2001 (when I first left). Prices have gone up….even a simple OLAY moisturising cream will cost you more than 500 bucks….parking tickets no less than 100, food prices…..don’t even get me started on this…..snide remarks from men on the streets and the disrespectful manner in which superiors treat the people who work under them. These are just some of the things I find difficult to digest….but you’ll get used to it eventually. It took me six months to soak myself back again into ‘Indian Culture’ which isn’t that long really. When the time came for me to leave….it was difficult. I was part of the system by then. When it was time to leave, It felt like 2001, the first time I left India and everyone I knew and moved to a new country….the only difference being….I was excited then….in 2009….I was sad. Nothing about returning to UK excited me….S was here and that was the only reason I wanted to to be back.
Most of my friends in UK have always told me that they’ll go back some day but no one has managed to. I always wondered why. There must be a strong reason which is keeping them here? Will I make the same mistake? If the day came when I’ve had enough and wanted to leave….I should be able to pack my bags and LEAVE….simple.
So what is it that has made me think so hard about going back? Let me tell you. I am a social animal. I need people around me all the time. I absolutely hate living alone. Unlucky me, the job market in the UK is crap….so it’s been quite difficult to find a job. I do not know if I’d want to go back if I had a 9-5 job. So anyway, for now it is S and I….we know a few neighbours and most of our friends are scattered all over UK. I barely see anyone on the streets…it’s quite odd. As a student, this was not the case. I lived in halls so you always saw someone. It is this feeling of being alone that annoys me everyday. In India, you at least have a maid who comes home everyday, the ‘phoolwala’, the vegetable vendor, the ‘sweetwala’ etc etc. It is this constant flow of people I miss. Oh….how enjoyable it was…watching my mom bargain with the ‘sweetwala’.
Your priorities change when you have kids. I don’t have any but since most of my friends do….I always end up asking them…..why do you guys still live the UK??? I see most women just stay at home once they have children. All the child gets to see is the mother and the father…and some friends who occasionally visit them but is that enough??? Since the husband goes to work….it is the wife who has to take care of everything….her world revolves around her child and all the child does is climb up the stairs and roll down ….since he/she cannot go out and play because of the disgusting weather. How boring must it be? But somehow they manage. Recently, I offered to help a friend’s son study in the evening. I asked him to bring home some of his books. Apparently, they do not have any. Whatever they need is online…..or something like that. His mom had to buy some books in a store to help him study….it was her initiative. Most of us complain about the burden Indian students are put through in schools…I agree….it is a lot….we can get some sanity into the number of books a child has to carry to school….but no books at all?????
Most of all, when I see my friends kids growing up here….without their grandparents, aunts and uncles….I wonder if they will ever have the ‘family structure’ that most of us had growing up. Family is the most important influence on young people. Meeting your grandparents, visiting them on holidays, going out with your cousins, celebrating birthdays, visiting your uncles and aunts….this is all important….isn’t it??? Because at the end of the day….you might have shit loads of money….a career to die for…but if you do not have family…..it’s not worth a single penny. I would want my children to grow up in front of their grand parents. I will not be happy with 6 month visits (which is in the hands of VFS Chennai) or a phone call when my baby starts walking….or his/her first day of school. If it’s a sports day….I want it to be a family affair….I want my children to have the opportunity of playing cricket or football or what ever they wish OUTSIDE….not just stay indoors and play stupid video games. That is how I grew up. I want them to have a ‘proper family’….not just a mother and a father.
I have so many wishes and so much optimism for the future. Not all plans work out the way we want them to…..and not all dreams come true….but I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP ON THIS ONE!