I finally made the Big Move back to the Motherland. From the Big A, that is. I had made the decision secretly a long time ago. When, finally, I mustered the courage to tell my family and friends that I want to leave the beautiful apple and move back to Delhi, I became the butt of many versions of "are-you- seriously-stooopid?"
I left home four years ago on my journey of self- discovery. It's hard to do when you're enclosed by protective parents and chauffer driven cars. I wanted to taste absolute freedom. I packed my life in two large suitcases and said goodbye to my sheltered life.
After graduating from college, I had an itch that persisted: Home began calling. But admitting that I wanted to leave New York and all the great opportunities it has hiding in every nook, corner and crevice, was exceptionally difficult.
Nobody could understand my compulsion. Why come all this way, if you want to turn around and go back before you've accomplished something BIG? I had no answer. They were possibly right both in terms of reasons both professional as well as financial. I have been groaning under student loans—loans that I had initially intended to pay back in dollars while working in the US, preferably in New York. I battled these questions and judgments silently and not so noiselessly. I listened, rolled my eyes, shed colossal tears. But I had made up my mind. I was going home. I was going to do big things in my own country.
So once again, I packed two large suitcases and much cooler wardrobe, heading back to my sheltered life.
It took a while for me to feel at home, at home. The sky was a different shade of blue. The people seemed louder and unfriendly. And my freedom was suddenly yanked from me. My own rules no longer apply. I live at home with Mom and Dad again, and even if I'd been to the moon and back, in their eyes I'd always be their lanky, irresponsible baby. Oh, and of course the this-house-is-not-a-hotel spiel is something I can lip read even before my parents open their mouths to remind me of their rules. Haven't you all heard it? It's a good, sound verbal legacy that I'm sure I will drill into my own kids some day.
There are days when I crave New York. But I've shoved the feeling in a recess deep within me and I don't allow it to surface very often. Besides, I'm too busy falling in love with my country all over again while discovering how to balance the person I was four years ago and the me I am today.
I took the plunge. So, am I truly happy? Yes. Have I done great things with my life, yet? Eh... Sorta.
Any more self- discovering journeys? Probably.
But for now I'm content and it seems that there's no place like home, especially if home is India. I probably love it more than I did when I left notwithstanding every ear-shattering honk, its crowded, chaotic, overflowing urban life, the compulsive familial mollycoddling and lecturing and the shamelessly ogling strangers with their brutal eye-contact.