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.
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.
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.
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