Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Destination Des

Yes. We are moving back to India. And I get a lot of Wows. Followed by a bunch of questions. Coupled with exclamations about why so suddenly. People who know me well and/or are in regular touch with me knew this was coming. Today or tomorrow. Or the day after. The rest think its pretty sudden. So to answer it all. Yes. We are moving. And yes. It was part of a long term plan.

A plan that I painted before I even got to the US. I gave myself five years to make or break it:) I am a little over my original budget by a couple of years almost, but hey, delays in schedules, and slips in dates are all part of the project (sorry life!) right?!

Why am I moving? Well, lots of reasons. Probably one that sticks out most is because I want to live in my own land.

Back to the rest of the reasons. Some of them formed way before I even got here. Some of them while I was here. When I sit down to jot this post, all of them come to me in a rush and the end result is a huge mess. So let me try to deal with them chronologically ;)

Years ago, even before I was in the US, I met this person at a conference I went to in Kuala Lumpur. He was born to Indian parents in Malaysia. He got asked if he was Indian a lot of times because of how obviously Indian he looked. And this was a multinational conference so it wasn't uncommon for someone to walk up to you and ask you which country you were from. And he would always say he is from Malaysia and that he is Malaysian. I never once heard him say he was Indian. Are you Indian? No, I am Malaysian. And that was probably it. It was perfectly understandable that he insisted on saying he was Malaysian. It isn't unreasonable for any person to love the land they were born into. I then sub-consciously decided, my kids would never say they are American or from any other country for that matter. They will be Indian. Because I am. To expect kids to be "Indian" just because you are while they are actually American just doesn't cut it, does it?

While I was in the US, a lot of things changed in my own land. When I go back now I get a culture-shock looking at those malls and the people in it. Although I have frequently gone back to India, sometimes as often as once in 6 months, every time I have noticed a change. Traffic has gotten worse. Pollution has increased. Affluence has gone up. But above all, the culture has changed. And I already feel out of sync. When I see this generation's kids there, I am shocked to see the contrast between my own childhood and theirs. So I didn't want to delay that decision to go back to India any further. Because while I am at learning and adapting here, I am moving further and further away from my own culture. My extended family is growing at the same time. My cousins are having kids and they don't even recognize me, and that rates very high in my "totally sad" situations.

Then there is parents. Feel that it is nice to hang around them and comfort them when they need you while not asking them to move away from their own world. But I never wanted to make my parents or Subhash's parents the only reason for going back. Because then you are in this mind-set where you think you are doing something for them. And invariably when you think you are doing something for someone, you start to feel they owe you gratitude for it, consciously or unconsciously. And no matter how much the other person does, a slight digression from nicety immediately puts you in that mode where you go "I did so much for them and this is what I get in the end".

So that was one thing I decided I would never do. Move back to India for someone. My parents and his are one big reason why we are moving (50% of the timing for our decision) but we are not moving for them. We are moving because I am now prepared for it. I know I am done here, I did what I wanted to do, I worked for as long as I wanted, that experience for which I set out is now complete. I have nothing else that I need to hang around here for. I can go back home. And I totally feel free from any condescension psychologically.

So much for the reasons. I think about my move and a lot of thoughts come into my mind. Everyday I am thinking of something different. I have helped my mom run a house. I have gone around doing chores for our place, I have driven around in traffic, but this time its different. I have never really run my own family in India. I was only offshoot to one. And so, I am excited. And curious about how its going to be. And really trying not to romanticize too much because I know its going to be a lot of work.

On a finishing note (just for this post!) Subhash moved to the US for me. Because 3 years ago I wasn't prepared to move yet. I was just getting started on that upward slope from the deepest and lowest fall in life I have ever seen, and I was not ready to end this chapter. Not yet. What I wanted from the US, I hadn't gotten. And like I said, I didn't want to move back for him. Feeling that I am giving up something for him. Because I knew my own weakness. I would always hold him to it. I did this for you. Its much worse with a spouse than it is with parents. So he moved for me (he obviously doesn't suffer from the same weakness, to date he has never held me to it once :D. Never!). And when I think about it, I feel thankful for it. Only because he was here, I had an anchor. When I was troubled, he rooted for me. And then I sailed strong.

And now my sail is heading home ... ... at last!!


SK said...

Beautiful post Divs.
Touched by the last paragraph. :--)
Have a safe trip back home. And hopefully we will meet atleast in Desh :--)

Shubhika Taneja said...

Divya, you summed it up perfectly and surely convinced everyone for their vows and whys. wish you good luck for the life ahead in India..

Hob Gadling said...

Congrats Divs!

Bon voyage and have a great life back home!

Keep in touch.

Kiran said...

The last time i read your blog it was "back to India" and I saw this coming from you.

Eitherway Goodluck and dont forget to 'Have Fun' :)


Kishan said...

Good post and congrats on actually living up to the plan. Most people (including me) make this false promise of going back to India and they never keep it.

After my last trip to hyderabad, I almost decided to change my plan of going back to India. Though, I am happy that people are making enough money to spend at malls, multiplexes, I am was disappointed to see that innocence in kids and adolescents being completely lost.

It is not the same place & same environment anymore. I am little glad that my home town (vijayawada)has not changed that much.

All the best to u.

Kamala said...

Hi Divya...

I have been reading all ur blogs for a little while now...and this one is the fantastic one!I wish you a bon voyage !!

Anonymous said...

well...the parents reason is fair enough, but kids growing up as indians and cousins not recognizing ...total BS (sorry to say)... given the rate of westernisation its (globalisation) of India, fat chance...but what is Indianness anyway???

DivSu said...

SK, Shubhika, Rajas, Kiran, Kamala and Kishan, big thanks to you all. I need all the best wishes, this is an important move :)

Anonymous: I think you need to re-read the blog. Cousins kids not recognizing me has nothing to do with Indian-ness at all. Sorry to say, your understanding of my blog is completely skewed:)

Anonymous said...

Let me guess -

(1) The job offer you got in "Des" was too good to be true, especially when compared with what you ended up saving at the end of the month wherever you are.

(2) Can't afford a house wherever you are.

(3) Following the herd - moving to india is hip these days, especially because of (1) and (2) above.

(4) If not any of the above, welcome to India. And oh yeah, please leave the "oh-i-have-lived-in-the-US-pollution
-dirt-annoys me" attitude at whichever airport you depart from.

DivSu said...

Hi Anonymous

1) The job is exactly the same. I will probably save nothing in India when compared to what I save here. If you are willing to believe it, I am taking a hit financially because I am moving to India. So (1) does not apply.

2) I can afford a place here in California. The only reason we haven't bought one since three years is because we knew we didn't want to live here. So (2) doesn't apply as well.

3) Moving to India is hep? Didn't know that. I can still see scores of people willing to kill for a US Visa :) So I don't believe I am following any herd. (3) doesn't apply.

4) I have lived in the US yes. I have traveled to India every 6 months on an average. I have seen it going from polluted to more polluted to even more polluted:) Since I am fully aware of what I am getting into, I guess you can acquit me of (4) as well :)

The other 50% of my timing was to make sure I moved to India when I was at a peak here in my career and at the same time not at such a peak that a move to India would work out unbelievably profitable for me. That way I am not fooling myself into believing that I am moving for the sake of moving when the real reason is an underlying advantage. Now I can confidently say, I am moving just for the love of my country and because I think that is my home. And I feel that "apnapan" towards it.

Thanks for your comment. It made for a good retrospection :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Divya,

My interpretation of the whole post is you saying - "I am pregnant, I need my parents".

and by the way there is nothing wrong if somebody born in US saying they are Americans or for that if malaysians saying they are malaysian. Thats how it should be, they are born in malaysia they are proud of that. they have some integrity. Are you saying to me that all th epakistani's and bangladeshi's should be saying they are Indians because their parents or grand parents at one point were Indians.

By the way - do you know if its a boy or a girl?

Another Anonymous.

DivSu said...


An ignorant and highly stereotypical assumption. But even if that were the case, I am much better off than people who say "I am pregnant, I need my parents, I will have them come here".

It is exactly my point that people born in the US will be Americans. There is nothing wrong with that and I am not saying that it is. Maybe you should read the blog once more. I don't want my kids to be Americans in any way, so they will not be born here. That is my only point.

Anonymous said...

OK Lets take a look at your response to my comments.

You said you are better off than people who say "I am pregnant, I need my parents, I will have them come here".

sorry to say this but you are not. not much difference mainly because everybody needs loved ones nearby in these situations. you go to India or your parents come here, what ever the situation calls for.

Now about you trying to make your children Indian. your comments suggest that if they are born in India they will be Indian, huh. If you do not have any problems with people being American or Malaysian why you do not want your kids to be them. Why? because you are Indian, good luck with making your children what you want. I would prefer my children to be good human beings, it does not matter if they are of any nationality.

and if you further read your post you would understand that raising a kid in India is becoming more difficult than over here. Marijuana and cocaine are readily available in India. You are in for a big surprise.

This all being said, Good Luck to you in your future endeavors.

DivSu said...


You are saying, you going to your parents when you need them is the same as making them leave everything they are familiar with back home and come to a country where they cannot identify with anything? Sorry to say, you have a completely skewed idea of what its like for parents when they are here. I have seen parents, not leaving the house for days on, because their highly inconsiderate kids didn't think of them till they got pregnant and their only trip to the US was this care-taking trip and all they can remember of those 6 months is feeding and clothing and bathing and what not.

Raising a kid anywhere is difficult. I am not saying that raising them in India is easier than in the US. Although a lot of people I know who have kids say its easier just because of the social support you get here. If you are a bad parent you are a bad parent whether its in the US or in India. But that was never a point in my post. bad or good parenting, I am not yet at a stage that I can discuss that.

But anyway, I don't see how its worth discussing this post with you as you still don't seem to have grasped its meaning what with your tangential comments:)

If you think I am worse than you, so be it, help yourself!

Post a Comment