Returning to the Homeland: One Year in India

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India has many faces.

One of the faces of India. Photo Credit: Meanest Indian via Compfight cc

Looking Back –  365  Days in India

This is really my account of a year of returning to India. It’s strange how eight years of living somewhere else changes your entire outlook. I came back thinking I was coming home and home it was but it was eons away from where I had left it. Little vacations here and there fail to give you the real flavor of the place; those days are typically monopolized – and desirably so – by family and friends. But it is only when more than a year has gone by in a place that it starts spreading its tentacles around you, shaping you to fit to its contours, nipping you a little here and molding an extension there.

India is zillions of years old, it’s ancient. Its roots go deep into hell, its trunk shoots to pierce the stratosphere and beyond, its branches engulf the universe gathering a little from everywhere. It is in this context that its people are colored and it is this vastness within which the mammoth extremes prevail. My reasons spring from the various things that I have experienced in the past year; highlights of which span personal experiences, public opinion, new friendships, starting a business, reading a whole lot of Kiyosaki and much more.

Right at the onset let me declare that I love it here. My life is full to the brim with love, creativity, innovation, family and a whole lot of new things that I didn’t think I would have to make space for. In one of my earlier posts I had written about how lightly time is valued in India. It wasn’t a learning but I had un-learned it when I was in the US. My wide-eyed attitude-sheet is covered with red strike throughs and circles. But what interests me most is that my mistakes only end up amusing me. Over the months I have come to doubt that India too has 24 hours in a day. It seems like I open my eyes in the morning and it’s over in a blink. I have become the AC repairman who had ditched me a while ago. Now I associate with him.

Stark contrasts in India

Shining India. Photo Credit: Heart Industry via Compfight cc

India – Clubs & Dhabas

It’s not always puritanical work. Here networking has more meaning than anywhere else in the world. So while I do it with a lot of excitement in the clubs, coffee shops and dhabas, I count on something fruitful to come out of it all the time. And it is in these little chats (because nothing here seems to be only professional) that I have come to realize a monstrous truth. India, or to be more precise, the upper class of the metropolis here, cannot set an example to the rest of the world when it comes to the institution called marriage.

Here bedrooms do not seem to be restricted to the couple of the household and neither would they bat an eyelid before inviting me into it! I cannot help but compare my social circle in the US with the one in India. I had friends in the US who would get divorced at the drop of a hat but not cheat while in the marriage. In all those years of being in the US I had only once heard of a case where my friend had caught his wife cheating on him. This of course is my experience only and I may sound ignorant to the lot who know otherwise but here in India I meet the kind every day! These people are beautiful inside-out, they are rich beyond measure, they have children and they have boyfriends. I am not writing this to be judgmental but just stating something that has changed in India.

I wonder about this because when you look around there are single people everywhere. Divorce rates have sky-rocketed. Are these couples then still rooted to the tradition of marriage, the rules of which they have lost? Or has this group of people always been there but have just come to my notice now; now that I have started mingling with the business class in my attempt to fit in there?

Our networking website which I toiled so hard upon in 2012 and a book that took every iota of our energy to publish still fade in contrast to the glamour of the tinkling glasses, quick messages of the eye, glistening lipsticks and perfume. Then again, when we come down from our rooftop heavens to go home, we cross seas of humanity wrapped in scarcity of every kind. That’s when one goes back to how vast India is. How she carries and deals with her contradictions and the mammoth complexities that tie her together.

Remembering India's Daughter

The color of India Photo Credit: Meanest Indian via Compfight cc

Remembering Nirbhaya

When the atrocity with Nirbhaya happened it took every bit of air out of me. I felt her pain deeply and hated every man walking the earth for a while. But as the days went by I realized something else had changed in me. My compassion for the have-nots deteriorated to being almost non-existent. My head had made a generalization which was probably not fair. It told me “Just because a person was poor did not mean he/she needed our sympathy.” Some needed to be castrated instead! It’s the same way with every class of person but since Nirbhaya was hurt by a bunch of bus drivers and conductors our wrath for the time being had turned to them.

Generalization of any kind is wrong but, like I said, the air was sucked out of many like me, mostly because we felt helpless in the face of such a crime. None of us could do a single thing when the Supreme Court declared that the most brutal of the accused is a juvenile and should be treated like one. All one can do then is to feel hate – the umpteen protests and candle light vigils just do not work. As I am writing this though, I cannot help but feel elated that one day the juvenile will be released and the public will get a chance to mete out their own justice out to him.

I still have faith in my country, and I do not believe that it is just in India that these things happen. The world over people are turning more and more savage!

For the time being I continue to fool myself in my nouveau lifestyle, I continue to breathe, live a full life and hope.

Kriti Mukherjee talks about NRIS, India, America and transitions on Chatty Divas in Lassi with Lavina

Kriti Mukherjee

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About Author

is a marketing consultant by profession. She says, "I like to think I am a happy person who can make a difference in people's lives. Absolutely love to travel and am nuts about my family. I write to hear my thoughts and to see what people have to say about them." She blogs at http://kriti-howaboutthis.blogspot.com/

6 Comments

  1. India is an ancient country and culture – it has experienced many cycles of prosperity and poverty – to live in India or anywhere in the World is to just be rather than judge or try to change or to amalgamate. So many kinds of pressures exist within every society – in the West – the constant pressure to work – so you can make your mortgage payments or your car payments leaves you with very little time to enjoy the subtler pleasures of life. In India, society has become so focused on financial success that people try to take advantage of you whenever possible.

    I agree, it is getting rough and savage – all the world over!

  2. I love how you describe the vastness of India, yet all consuming nature of living there. Very apt description.

    I remember entertaining an Indian family/friends describing the outrageous antics of an older Jain man I met once traveling by bus from Pune to Mumbai, attempting to seduce me (white, young, American); and the way I comically handled him and set him straight. It’s funny you should mention the lower class – because most often it is the upper class /corrupt politicians that concern me. Well really the true problem/results boil down to two things. First, those that have some type of power will abuse it if unchecked (whether it’s a husband in Mumbai or a bus driver in Delhi); also that we all have a sin nature – and the most disturbing evil seems to live in the hearts of men without hope or knowledge of the God of Hope – Jesus Christ. When I read your article, I think…India really needs another Mother Teresa. “If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta

  3. Vandana, thanks for coming by and leaving a comment! It’s so true that societies shape the challenges that its people have to face. India seems to be struggling with a whole lot but the race sometimes brings to the surface the worst in people. We just have to find a way to curb that more, I guess.

  4. Dea that’s a fair analysis and that’s why I said “It’s the same way with every class of person but since Nirbhaya was hurt by a bunch of bus drivers and conductors our wrath for the time being had turned to them.” I believe not only does India need a way to salvage itself but the entire world. I agree to your view when you say power unchecked is the cause of evil. That, however, is just one of the umpteen causes… Thanks for coming by!