On returning to India

It doesn't happen very often that you find an email sitting in your inbox from a complete stranger in which that person is requesting you to update your blog, and asking you to talk about how does it feel to be back in India, while simultaneously he's expressing his adoration for your writing. A rare email of this sorts is then starred, and my inner lazy writer wakes up at 7am in the morning to write.

How does it feel to be back home, after much struggle and adventure in the US? There is no single word or sentence to describe that feeling. It's different here, definitely, much different. Perhaps not different than it was 2 years ago, but to me, it's again a whole brave new world.

As I sit in the open verandah on the second floor of our house, I can smell the fresh morning dipped in a hue of smoke. I can hear the sound of distant horns, blaring in perfect chaos, dampened by the chirping and twittering of many odd little beings that I have not seen or heard since long. Life seems to be slowed down here, yet the traffic on the road is ever-accelerating on twisting, narrow, unknown katcha-pucca roads. I am no more able to cross the roads or sit behind the car driver with ease. People stare at you here for no reason, and their faces look so tense or sometimes so serious, but perhaps this is so because their expressions are genuine and they are not trained to wear plastic white smileys as several are in the US. I could notice by the glare in their eyes, while I was showering a "thank you" to everyone who interacted with me, that there were many people who have not been thanked yet for their silent, lowly jobs.

Everything, everyone seems to moving, rushing past each other, heading for sliding into those closing doors before anyone else, and yet there is this strange stillness in this country. A stillness of a relaxed, and unorganized bachelor's room, where things lie as and where they can, without much care or order. This emptiness has ridden my personal daily scheduler of ink, so I don't have anything to do in the next few hours, or tonight or tomorrow, or the next two weeks, as per the blank entries next to the columns of days and time slots.

But no matter how difficult it maybe for adjusting to everything that was once my own, and perhaps still is, nothing, no developed nation in the entire world, can offer or defeat the savory, sweet-warm taste of gujiya on my early morning dry tongue.
Gujiya, my favorite Indian sweet. 

Current Book: "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking
Current Music: "Jaage Hain Der Tak" by A.R. Rehman in movie "Guru"

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Shreya said...

Welcome back. It's a sucky place to live in for the most, but at the end of the day, it's home.

Bhavana said...

cool!!! I too returned to India last year and can relate to some of your reactions. Smiles-- have to check out your other posts:)

Neeraj Kumar said...

Have as many Gujiyas as you could before commiting yourself to hard work of PHD again.

Tanya said...

Shreya and Neeraj, Thanks guys!

Bhavana, I'm glad someone could relate to this!

Arkantos said...

Must be a good feeling to be at home, doing nothing (nothing refers to no academic work) :-) I'm practically doing that myself!

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