A decision which is irreversible and impacts everyone in my life scares me. I generally put off such decisions indefinitely or leave it to DH. Poor DH takes the trouble of helping me out with suggestions and then gets an earful from me for not considering some minuscule possibility or overlooking something that was so important to me that I myself would not have paid attention to it for quite a while. Jokes aside, returning to India was one such difficult decision just because it impacted K’s future and she had no say in it. It did scare me at first and as always I did try to pass it on to DH. But then, we always knew in our hearts that we wanted to return. Both of us unanimously voiced our opinions on the pros of raising our precious daughter in India. There is one thing that really mattered to me and that was my family and their presence in K’s life. For that, I was willing to give up whatever it was that the future held for her in the US. I did feel guilty making the choice for her and also was apprehensive about her losing out on the opportunities that the land had to offer her. I was hoping that the choice we made was good. There is no right or wrong in this decision and whatever the case, we hoped it made a difference. And then, we packed up and left and for once I can say that I made the decision to move back and DH supported me fully in this decision….
Here we are away from the land of opportunities. I am now looking at the next generation Indians and feel like a fool for even thinking that K will be losing out. Kids in India these days have the same level of exposure and opportunities as kids anywhere in the world. More and more parents in India are able to afford giving their kids the extra edge. Lots of students are getting to travel abroad to widen their outlooks and also to study. Most schools thesedays emphasiseon extra curricular activities along with their curriculum and also focus on it at school so we don’t have to necessarily drive them from class to class There are a multitude of options to choose from once it comes to activities – painting/art/music(both Indian and western), instrumental, Chinese maths, tae-kwon-do, karate, dance(all Indian forms and western), fun science classes and much more. There are a lot of outdoor fun activities that are catching up as well. Is there anything that K is missing out by coming back? I don’t see anything amiss. As an added bonus, she gets to see her aunt every week and her grandparents every month!
We will never know the true impact of our decision for at least two decades now but I’m hoping that whatever the loss per se in terms of opportunities are made up in terms of culture and family values. I would rather have her sacrifice a few opportunities and have her in a social setting that will give her a strong identity and a background that she can truly relate to.
The best part of returning to India is the culture and heritage the kids imbibe without any special efforts from our part. Schooling in Bangalore or any Indian city is more than just education. They learn a lot about the country and its varied heritage, be it different languages or customs. And miraculously they do it all by just listening to their teachers or talking to friends. Little K has already started enquiring about the next “Holi” celebrations in our apartment community. She is excited about celebrating everything from New Year’s Eve to Holi to Independence Day to Diwali all the way upto Christmas with all her friends in the complex. She enjoyed the environment day celebrations, the highlight of which was a show with live snakes!
K is adjusting marvellously to school. She is also learning Hindi and to my surprise and dismay has already picked up a few words here and there. I have nothing against the national language, in fact, I’m proud of the fact that my six year old is able to chant ek, do, teen upto dus without a hitch. I’m also extremely pleased that she is enjoying in her new set up and is gaining a lot culturally. With all this, guess what I’m fretting about? DH’s and my handy secret communication tool is going to go away in a few months and we need to find an alternative soon. We can’t get away with Hindi anymore and DH suggested learning French an alternative. Any suggestions?
Things are not the same in Bangalore. Everything has changed considerably since we left. Lots of things have changed for the better. For instance, I love the umpteen super markets we have to choose from these days and the excellent services they offer. I love to shop and find Bangalore a very happening place for the same. I still buy some veggies from the vegetable vendor outside the gate but that’s not as frequent as Amma would do it. I remember the regular veggie vendor and his cart. He would show up at the same time every single day and Amma would buy only enough veggies to cook for the day. Thanks to my huge refrigerator I do what I did in the US, buy a week’s worth of grocery and store it.
Another thing that has changed for the better that really stunned me was the customer service. I remember going to the Telephones office back in the days and I remember the exact treatment I got. Now, things have improved so much that not only does BSNL have a customer service number, they actually pick up the phone and address your complains. The rep spoke to me regarding my issue, then clarified on a query and called me back with an explanation. I was stunned! I’ve called BSNL a number of times, most recently with a disrupted internet connection and each time, I got a polite representative, who actually knew the issue or got back to me with an answer. Thanks to privatization, the country’s essential services are actually improving. Of course, there are glitches in the system but the gaps are far less conspicuous than a decade ago.
The city’s traffic of course has taken a turn for the worse. The booming metro has more vehicles on its roads than anyone ever dreamt of a decade ago. Increasing population is evident with the advent of all makes and models of cars on the ill maintained roads. I’ve never imagined the city to grow so much, most of the suburbs are now full.
The city is crying for lack of good roads. BBMP (Brihat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) has taken an oath to dig up every possible road in Bangalore for construction of some kind – be it an under pass or an over bridge or some metro related work. Residents take up the challenge to veer through the already existing potholes and the newly dug up roads in the hope of a better tomorrow, if that tomorrow ever comes. If the Bangalore Metro ever becomes a reality I’ll take the metro every time I need to go to Central Bangalore. (Metro to Central Bangalore – almost sounds like the Tube to Central London!)I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the same.
As somebody rightfully said, the only thing constant about change is change itself. Here is a silent prayer hoping for changes that bring about a better tomorrow for this metro which we now call home….