Category Archives: Return to India

Mein Jaag nahi sakthi

We humans are a strange lot. We don’t care for anything we own unless we loose it. And then we miss what we no longer own. And the cycle continues.

images_logo1 I miss complaining about how little my one vote can do to change the system. I miss my Dad chanting “No vote, no college” mantra when I used my extra important morning class excuse(the one that I otherwise conveniently bunked). I miss my right to vote in this country. Yes, I made an informed decision to become a “Videshi” but back then I didn’t think about what I would loose. When Jaago Re plays on TV, I keep thinking about how I cannot wake up from this slumber, how I cannot be one insignificant number in the one billion target. Why? Because nobody cares about my Perfectly Indian Soul. 

So all those of you who plan to hit the snooze button, think about it for a minute. Would you rather try and make your feeble voice heard or have no voice at all? Think about everything that our past generations may have sacrificed so that we could have this luxury that was once their dream. It must have been each of our grandparent’s vision to see their future generations having a say in the country. What would they say if they saw this apathy? If not for us or our ideals, do it for them.

Go make your mark. Nothing may change if you do, but if you don’t then what is the use of all the gyaan that comes later?  The word democracy itself says “crazy”, so quirks are part and parcel of it. Everyone is free to pick on the quirks but does it do any good? We have a long time to pick on the quirks, I’ll join you in the rants but first go vote.

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A year later

Jan 1, 2008 was a memorable day. We celebrated the birth of 2008 with family after landing in Bangalore 🙂

Today, we have completed a milestone – one year after returning to India. Looking back, it has been a great year personally. I would like to Thank a lot of people for inspiring me to make it this far.

Amma and Dad, thank you for your undying support. We could not have done it without both of you. You’ve dropped everything in hand to run down and help out in every possible way and we are grateful for having the support.

Achan and Amma for the endless prayers. I’m sure your prayers are being heard and are a huge factor in us being where we are today.

Sis and BIL for all the help. We could not have done it without you.

Veliamma and Veliachan for always talking positively. We are glad you are in Bangalore and look forward to your visits regularly.

A and RRK for the inspiration and showing us that it can be done. RRK, special thanks for your informative web site. I hope it inspires many more. And yes, I’ve not yet forgotten my promise. I’m starting an R2I diary this minute 😉

Friends, you rock! S,V and R, even now if there is anything I miss about the US it is you ladies. Of course, K, K and A, I’ve not forgotten you guys. Thanks for all the help and support. I’m sure it was difficult to help us with the move along with a zillion  other things you’ve got but you did it and you will remain truly special. We made it and so can you. Here is wishing you all the best in whatever you choose to do.

It has been a momentous journey and here is summing it all up.

The ups

The vibrant country, the beautiful culture, the resilient people have all exceeded our expectations.

The school and K’s friends have made it truly a great experience for K. Hope her spirit continues to soar and transcend all boundaries, just like their motto “O nanna chetana, aagu nee aniketana”.

The apartment community and our wonderful neighbors have all been exceptional.

Our friends and family continue to inspire and support us.

Personally, the ability to stay at home and still have a social life is on the top of my list.

We love the new Bangalore – the multiplexes, the malls, the supermarkets have all made the city very likeable. The old timers still have the famed commercials and brigades, Lalbagh and Cubbon park, the Bull Temple and the Infant Jesus church and all else.

I enjoy visiting parents at the drop of a hat. It’s an overnight train journey and weekend trips are convenient.

The festivals, the celebrations, the beauty of everyone celebrating what we are celebrating is definitely exciting and fun.

The sense of belonging, especially feeling “I never really left, in spirits I was always here” is truly euphoric.

The availability of help for anything and everything is also noteworthy.

 The downs

The traffic, the potholes and the lack of civic sense hits us the instant we set foot on any Bangalore road. GOD help the Bangalore commuters! The sheer difficulty in getting from place to place wants to make me stay put. Driving is definitely not an easy task on non existent roads!

The recent terror attacks in Mumbai have left a deep impact on every Indian around the world and we are no different. I don’t feel secure even in India. I know we are being targeted and hope and pray that the world is a safer place for our children.

Mr. ASATYAM Raju(Satyam = truthful and that’s not true anymore) has made sure that the already failing economy has something more to worry about. What was he thinking? We have been seeing hiring freezes, job cuts etc and I’m nervous. Hope things work out.

It is difficult for women to work in Bangalore. It is expected practice to work 9.5 hrs and add to it the commute, it is pretty much all work and nothing else. I would have loved to do something with my career but other than changing careers or slogging it out, I don’t see a way out. For now, I’m happy at home but I wish I found employers like the ones I had in the US.

And all that in between

The fond memories of a distant country we called home for years, the first years together, the birth of a beautiful baby and most of all the friends we made are all in our thoughts.

So far, no regrets regarding this move, only hopes for a brighter tomorrow, as always.

S,V and R, I hope you are reading and getting inspired! Come back, for all the glitter will still be there to go back to someday in the future. Think about it, isn’t it more important for our children to pick up the phone, call Grand mom and tell her to bring Mangoes and Bananas for this visit and then after a pause tell her that the most important thing is that you and Grandpa are here with us? For our children, this is the place to grow up in. So ghar aaja pardesis…….

foot in the mouth syndrome

Quite a few of our Netas seem to be suffering from it off late. It seems to be quite contagious actually. First it was the Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, then it travelled south to the Deputy CM of Mumbai RR Patil, then came the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, back to Mumbai to Vilas Rao Deshmukh and from there it traveled further south to Kerala with CM Achuthananthan.  Some of the Television journalists also seem to be affected by it. The minute by minute coverage of events during the attacks, whereabouts of commandoes and trapped guests were televised live in the name of competition and freedom of the press. The terrorists had to just tune in to let the so called “Angels of Free Speech” guide them to the commandoes and guests. When will they learn the etiquettes of on screen behavior?

Totally confused Firangi!

Technically, that’s what me and DH are. We don’t even have Firangi accents after having lived in the US for 9 and 12 yrs respectively. We are totally un American, nobody will call us Americans. We blend in pretty easily. We almost never have issues with our Nationality. I was just congratulating myself over it when I got into trouble. The nationalized back next door refused to let me open an account with them. Guess the reason? The manager wanted copies of every imaginable id proof and one of them happened to be the Passport which happened to be non-Indian. Well, I explained to the manager that I own an apartment here, my husband’s employers are pure desis, I have bank accounts in other Indian banks, I am an Overseas Indian Citizen and of course, that I won’t run away because I have a life here. That was all perfect but he still cannot give me the account.Phew… Finally, after some coaxing, he was willing to give me the account if I was introduced by an account holder. Thankfully, my good friend has an account there and we were able to open it. And we’ve had trouble getting a credit card as well. All is well that ends well but look at this http://www.business-standard.com/india/storypage.php?autono=341670

The terrorists can get SBI credit cards but I have to run from pillar to post for bank accounts and credit cards. Now I’m totally confused. It reminds me of the time Mohammed Atta was granted an F1 Student Visa by the INS weeks after he rammed into the WTC and I was flagged for an FBI name check to clear before I was granted US Citizenship. Hmm my name sounded very fishy to the INS.My name  is one that does warranty a one year name check against every record INS ever had. INS you have true counterparts in India. I’ll never miss you!

hope…

I’m really depressed with the recent happenings in Mumbai and the profound impact an incident like this has on every Indian across the globe. What makes me want to cry is the way the politicians in the country are as divided as ever on why this happened. Countries unite against enemies, political divides are forgotten for the common good but here in our country this is the best opportunity for the opposition to accelerate their campaign for votes. I wish people could just stop talking about why there was intelligence failure and help the country get back to Normalcy. I wish one of them has the foresight to make sure something is done to prevent such incidents in the future.I deeply sympathise with the families who are mourning the loss of loved ones and hope their sacrifice was not in vain. There are times in life when we feel overwhelmed and helpless; today is one of those days for me. I decided to handle it the way I usually handle such situations, by praying to God. I went to the temple with a very heavy heart, prayed and still felt down while leaving the premises. As me and K walked into the apt complex an amazing sight took us by surprise. It was a celestial wonder, a perfect smiley face created by a crescent moon, Venus and Jupiter. We clearly saw the smiley and enjoyed the sight. As I smiled with K I suddenly had renewed spirits. It inspires me to hope for a better and a more peaceful tomorrow for K and all our kids, for hope is all that keep us going. If we are lost, we can find ourselves but if hope is lost everything is lost. So I’m continuing to hope and pray for all the departed souls to rest in peace and that their sacrifice will have meaning.

decisions are tough(keeping fingers crossed)…

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.

From Hindi mein baat karo To Parle-vouz Français?

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?

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