It’s 29th December 2017 here in Chicago and it’s my second day since my return from trip back to my home: India. It was such a wonderful time and now I’m missing home so much, more than the first time I came here (It’s my second time though). So I thought I should write something about my experience back home. To me, the experience is very personal and I don’t care what you — ‘the reader’ think about it. I just felt that I should write so I’m writing. This story can also be seen as continuation to my previous blog post: “Losing Nationality”.
Prepping for the return
It was somewhere between September when my brother’s (cousin) betrothal negotiation was done and I was informed by my parents that the date of wedding has been fixed at the end of November. Though in foreign countries this could be just another wedding and one may not go but this is India and we have names for even those relations that do not exist in the western culture. It can be a brain teaser for a foreigner to name the relation of his grandmother’s brother’s grandson’s daughter to himself but it’s very common in India to keep with relatives of far lengths. So, summing up, I’m a part of a happy joint family and even though he’s my cousin, he’s more than a real brother to me so I was going to attend his wedding.
And, I started preparing for it: Online Dance classes, more Workouts and adjusting my Diet accordingly. I booked my flight and I was so much looking forward to reaching home and telling about my time here in Chicago. Here it was, the day of my flight! The excitement was raging and I was flooding out of happiness and joy because after all I was going to spend a month and a week more with my family and I’d be meeting every relative in the wedding.
It was a pretty long-haul flight from Chicago to New Delhi and my flight was connected via Mumbai where I missed my connection due to excessive rush on the airport and the next flight I got was 6 hours away! All the excitement and happiness I was carrying got drowned when I heard that I missed my flight. The chameleon just showed it’s colors to me or like: I stepped into my home and it kicked my off! Anyways, I landed in Delhi via the next flight and I was totally frowned by the experience as I had once I stepped into the country and that’s why as I was sitting in the car going back home I tossed a ton of comments on mismanagement throughout the country.
As I reached home, everybody mustered to see how much I have changed in 8 months. Well… Everybody was quite surprised that I was same dude as I was before. We had talks for a couple of hours and the next day I was busy and nobody had that much time to ask me questions. Why? Because the wedding was just in 6 days!
Well… In western culture a week seems enough to prepare for and get married but not in India. The preparations started about 2 months before the wedding, a day before betrothal negotiation and it keeps on going until the couple is happily married (or even sadly married, doesn’t matter 😆). There are a ton of rituals to be done during this time period on specific intervals and the last 15 days before wedding are the most crucial because it is the time when guests start arriving and the folk songs are sung by the ladies every night which were made several decades ago dedicated to every person who has some role in the bride or groom’s wedding.
I was all ready for the Sangeet Party and Baraat dance, it was all in my head and I was confident that I’d impress everyone with my learned dance moves. Nah! Life’s not that easy on me! when the time came, I totally forgot everything! I don’t know whether it was nervousness or anxiety but I literally forgot everything even though I practiced last night. Anyhow, I managed to do something in front of the crowd of which I’d be very hesitant to show you the pictures and videos.
The whole week was very busy for me, so busy that I didn’t even touch my laptop and it caught dust lying on the desk just like objects in the Interstellar movie and it reminded me of this dialog from the movie “I guess I can’t describe it, it was just steady flow of dirt.”
But still I enjoyed a lot and got to meet everyone from extended family members to relatives to friends and I was asked this question a thousand times: “Are you all set there?”, and just like I explained in my last blog post: “What are your plans on settling there?”. On a serious note, I really hate these questions but these questions also shed light on the curiosity of people to know about the quality of life here in America.
After the wedding was over and a few more days passed-by, we were all called my my uncle at their paternal village for a lunch. So we went and paid them a visit. But it was not just their home, we (me & my cousin) have a bunch of paternal uncles there because my grandfather had 8 brothers. So we visited each of the families. Every house’s story was different! We got to eat so many varieties of dishes and most importantly, every house we visited, the grandparents there has their unique stories! It was so intriguing to listen to their stories! Some gave information about the family’s past, some gave information about the village, some has casual talks on family matters, some even uncovered stories from very past when they were kids and India was partitioned into two. I got to learn a lot about my family and my village’s history and to me, it was like I found the gold from mythological era! The day was short so we could give only a few minutes to a couple of hours to each house but every house I visited and heard the talks, I wished if I could stay longer and listen the whole story!
When I was in Chicago my roommates used to ask me “How would you manage in India? Things are completely opposite in India, everyday tasks are not as easy as they are here.” but wait! Everything was just the same as it was before coming here, I was managing everything quite easily but still when I arrived back home, I hated to be there. Everything was looking very unorganized, everything was tedious and little-bit hard to do. As time passed, I began to understand it that it is the way it’s supposed to be, this is not America, this is India! Then I fell in love with it, again! And, I felt more connected to my family, friends, city and my country. At then end days, when it was time to head home (temporary home), my heart was not willing to go but I had to go as it’s been said by Mathew McConaughey in Interstellar “It’s like we’ve forgotten who we are, Donald! Explorers, Pioneers, not Caretakers!”
Eventually, I had to go but this love traveled with me and it dignified my decision of returning back home after I’m done here in America because love is the feeling that is stronger than gravity, it pulls you and it pulls you hard!
When you arrive, you first hate it. Then you understand it. After that, you fall in love with it and when you return, you miss it!
I hope you enjoyed reading my experience and I hope you also love your family and your motherland that much, hope you have an amazing New Year!
Thanks for reading!