I am ready to talk about India

Because it’s Thursday like a Friday and if I don’t write now, just as the words are taking form in my head, I probably never will.

If I ever had to articulate everything that I feel about our move to India in a song, it would have to be Coldplay’s The Scientist. Coming back to the start. Before you get to the actual post, please know that I feel most things more strongly than most people. I know of people who can make complete sense of living abroad and their move to India in the most logical, oh-well-whatever way. Me? I am a drama queen. I feel. Feel feel feel. So here goes.

Come up to meet you, tell you I’m sorry
You don’t know how lovely you are

When I lived in Bangalore, I didn’t like it as much as I liked say, Mumbai. I was harsh to it, to its auto drivers, to all the character it hid behind progress and development and hideous and sterile tech parks and its gorgeous weather. Oh I hated the damn tech parks and chose only to talk about them. Taking cities for granted like they are family? Yup, that’s me.

I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart

But the last four years saw me aching for Bangalore. For its greens. For its food, its getaways and yes, for its weather. On most days, I ignored it. But as night fell and melancholy made its way to the balcony, all I wanted was to be in Bangalore. I have made fun of my brand of love for the motherland – I have called it the “Maid In India” and “Aye Mere Pyaare Mutton” brand of patriotism. But no, it’s not patriotism. It’s just a connection you have with the cities you live in. If it was patriotism, I’d be happy going back to any city back in India. But the very fact that it is Bangalore.. That’s what is making my world go round. I did not know I needed the city as much as I did, till I realised I did. That I needed Coorg to be that close, that I needed Bangalore dosas and filter coffee and tree lined streets and traffic and chaos and Cubbon Park to feel a little more whole.

Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh, let’s go back to the start

In many ways, I didn’t give Bangalore a chance the last time I lived there. I questioned its existence and everything it stood for while singing paens for Bombay. My real problem was the industry I had dumped like a bad boyfriend and just how important it was in Bangalore. I hated that every nook and corner of the city made me question if my agency life was a trade off as opposed to a life I could have had, even as I enjoyed what I did more than ever. I know now that if there ever was quarter life crisis, that was it. This time around, I hope to be more open to the city’s real stories. Behind those glitzy tech parks and malls. Because I may not be wiser but I am definitely more sure about the choices I have made in life. And the trade offs. So I am willing to listen more and complain less. Let’s go back to the start and re-do it, Bangalore.

Running in circles
Coming up tails
Heads on a science apart

Nobody said it was easy
It’s such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard

Oh, take me back to the start

I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling the puzzles apart

Even as we drove away from our orange walled wonder, I wondered what I was in for. I won’t complain. Living and adapting to Malaysia was easy. If I didn’t have Nandini, I had a horde of banana leaf restaurants. If I had no friends, I had people who accepted me with all my eccentricities. It wasn’t difficult, not by a long shot. But it was just not home. Not something I could take for granted and love and fight with the same fervour. I spent many months being what can only be called uninvolved. I went by my day, laughed at all the jokes, fought when it was necessary, wore all the western formals, learned all the necessary local words to get by, learned tools to get by even (Google Translate) but it seemed like a marriage of convenience. Yes, convenience. For someone who feels (and likes to) things as strongly as I do, my only real moments came in the form of guilt (of being away from everything important) and homesickness on Saturday evenings, watching Pepsi-Kurkure ads with mums and dads and bawling my eyes out. Sometimes out of guilt, other times out of feelings in unknown places in my heart. Oh it wasn’t an easy ride and surprisingly, it wasn’t that hard!

Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh, and I rush to the start

As it goes with most moving back stories on Quora and such, it has been pointed out to me that it will not be easy. That the traffic is much worse now, the infrastructure is terrible, things are harder. That the tunnel view might be more important than it has ever been before. Oh, I know. Convenience has trumped many things in my life before but this time around, I really don’t care. No, make that it just doesn’t register. For one, every country/ city has its challenges. So I had the highways here, that I could manoeuvre to get home on time to make dinner. Every single night. But in India, I will not have the highways where I can cruise but I will get to come home to cooked full meals. But today is not a day for technicalities. It’s about that abstract. That abstract you know you have going for you when you are home. 5 miles from home or 5000. That’s what Bangalore was me. A spot of home, of comfort, of the charm of predictability.

Of course I have questioned if it’s the end of my adventurous days. Of course I have questioned. Of trying everything once, of my willingness to uproot and start over. Trust me, I have. My answer? I should have taken the bank PO exam while I still had the chance because the only thing that keeps me going is a change of scene. I know this move to Bangalore is not the end of the story. It has nothing to do with “settling down”. It’s a blind curve. Even if it means that at the end the curve lies what was once home and is a completely different version of itself now. So here’s to change, to new experiences and old. To the excitement that I seem to find exactly where the familiar and unfamiliar collide.

I’m going back to the start.

 

 

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