And so you are back to India…..How do you feel?

This is a question everyone poses to me from the day I have come back to India. I really don’t know what I am supposed to reply to that. For the moment I say “Its fine but the traffic is bad” but has being 3.5 years away from my country really changed my view point about my country. Β Lets look at what has changed between my going to Japan and back.

2007 2010
I complained about the traffic in India *No Change*
Life used to start very early in the morning as I had to catch the 6:25 bus and ended very late almost around 10:30 or 11pm as I was a fresher to the IT industry Life still starts very early in the morning but thankfully ends a little earlier by 9pm or so as I am no longer a fresher (Being in the same team for 4 years really helps πŸ™‚ )
I complained about auto drivers taking more than the meter showed. *No Change* 

(Subway charges in Japan are more compared to the auto charges. The starting fare is 100 yen)

I hear metro is due to be started. Only time can answer this question.
I complained about the corrupt officials *No Change* 

Probably what I miss here is the sincerity and efficiency with which work is executed in Japan. No government office overcharges or takes under the benches. Everything is systematic. You need to fill the form and pay the minimal fees and goverment officials take care of the rest.

There were K serials at that time Now, there are A,K and S serials
Vegetables sold at lesser prices than in Japan Vegetables are targetting to reach the prices in Japan
Vehicles emitting pollution are visible everywhere The vehicles are still there but seem a little lesser these days
I totally love Indian food *No Change*
I wore salwars *No Change*
I barely spoke in hindi as I didn’t have many north Indian friends I speak in hindi only. Tamil has taken a backstage. I do speak but maybe not as much as hindi.
I celebrated only christmas and easter I celebrate every Indian festival
Every other road is dug up for laying cables or sewage or for laying road. *No Change*
Bikers dont follow signals *No Change*
Traffic jams are the order of the day *No Change*
I dont like the garbage thrown on the road *No Change*


So, as you can see most of the things related to India, in my perspective have remained unchanged. And am sure many of you may have the same perspective as well. So, does staying away from the country really change your opinion about the country. I really wonder. This place has been my home for almost a quarter of my life. I have lived across the country, seen people from different cultures, met people with different viewpoints and seen completely opposite natured people. I grew up in a small town, moved to the big city. I learnt to be strong willed and achieve my dreams. I made the best friends, friends whom I know will always be there when I need them. Then how can moving to a new country alienate you from all these things, how can it alienate you Β from the country where you were born and brought up? Yes, I have heard many people complaining about India once they are back from USA or any foreign country. Why do they do so? One answer could be they become used to the facilities, the cleanliness, the systematic processes in the foreign country and get irritated on seeing the confusion which confounds most of our government offices. But I am also sure that anyone who was born and brought up in India and has notΒ traveledΒ to any Β foreign country would also be in the same state.

For example, to get myself an ID card in Japan it took me precisely 30 minutes of form filling and paying the required fees. I just had to go back on the designated date and collect the card. No haggling over officials, no agents, no back-door fess, nothing. But in India to get the same ID card, its like a big achievement. Β So, naturally when you see such a good thing in a foreign country, you only wish that India were like that. There is no egoism involved in this. Its just a pure, simple thought wishing our country were also like that.

Of course, I do agree there is a section of the “foreign-returned” crowd who seem to make use of their “foreign returned” status every now and then. These people have never belonged to the country. They are like nomads settling wherever they go and not rooting to any place. But the larger section like me who have seen the best phases of their life in this country, travelled in the heat and dust to school and college, ate road side snacks, bargained on the pavement shops, stood in long queues for tickets, giggled away to glory with friends in the canteen ever like the stiffness of people in foreign countries. Probably never. During my stay, I couldn’t make a single Japanese friend. Their culture and lifestyle never appealed to me. I couldn’t bring myself to mingle in a society which looks a facade. Of course, I can’t apply this rule to each and every one there and this is just my opinion. Some may differ on that.

Life goes on wherever we may stay. Staying away from a place doesn’t mean we lose our fondness for the place and staying in a place doesn’t mean we become attached to that place. I still long to go back to the place where I was born and brought up but circumstances and the situation there prevent me from doing so. However dirty, unclean, non-systematic this country maybe, its still my country. This perception will never change whichever place I might be. My roots may have been shaken for a small period of time but I have not been uprooted from this place. Β It will take another tsunami to uproot me completely!


42 thoughts on “And so you are back to India…..How do you feel?

  1. A very honest post Shilpa and I liked your tabular comparision…. πŸ™‚
    There are somethings that we all dislike about this country but at the end of the day whatever it is, its our home. And like it or not in someway we all are responsible for the current state of our country and so we should be grounded to our roots no matter what….

    I have seen a lot of people asking foreign returns about how do they feel about their own country now… Ideally ones opinion about his country should not change even after being abroad but in reality I have seen it changing in case of quite a few people…. I can’t really answer this question well as I have never gone out of India but I think even I happen to move out for sometime my opinion about our country and my liking for it would not change just like you… πŸ™‚

  2. Well some things dont change in our lovely country .. maybe thats what make it unique..

    loved reading this article can reelate to it in a lot of ways… actually i am going ot write something that jsut came ot mind reading yours …

  3. Roots – we all love to go back to our roots at some point of time. Of course there are floaters who are an exception. Simply put, yes some of the foreign countries may be clean, systematic and what not but its like a hotel food, its great but we cannot have it for long. We long for home food which inspite of being simple , served in simple ways but holds the missing link – the love and warmth along with memories.

    Nice post Shilpa πŸ™‚

  4. I love this honest confession post and totally agreeing to ur perspective, which is so much like mine…

    Theres nothing wrong in wishing for good things to happen to our country…we always want to see India doing very well….that thought will come only when we’ve grown as part of this country and its roots.

    There might not be any major changes in some more years to come, but that doesnt fade our patriotism….

    Lets always hope that good sense will prevail among the Govt offices more and we get to see things happening without the bribe and the delay and the rudeness.

  5. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    We cannot make somebody our Mother, just bcoz they look shiny and jazzy. As much as we like the place we stay in, Motherland can prob. be never taken out of our heart and thoughts.

  6. Fabulous Shil! While I don’t quite agree with your interpretation of the question “how do you feel?”, which does mean that if you feel good to be back in India. But in the end you have answered it yourself in style!

    “My roots may have been shaken for a small period of time but I have not been uprooted from this place. It will take another tsunami to uproot me completely!” This was simply brilliant! Perhaps mass movie actors should consult you before they deliver their punchlines! πŸ˜‰

    I think your report writing skills has been instrumental in putting out the table. Nice work indeed!

    I(we) wish and hope that you don’t forget your “baby tamil”. mangalam undaagattum!

    1. Thanks billu πŸ™‚
      tch tch you have made me all senti 😦

      You know when I was writing in that table those were my exact thoughts. S sir has really me an expert in tabulating things πŸ™‚

      Baby tamil I can’t forget it. My new found word is “kalakand”. If you are wondering what that is its “kalkand”. See I never forget such things πŸ™‚ am such a sincere girl πŸ™‚

      Dialogues??? Hmmm maybe I could consider it as a profession πŸ™‚

  7. Atta Girl! WONDERFUL post. It was like reading what I want to say πŸ™‚ No place can come close to our Motherland. It comes with a lot of pride. In any other place, you are still a ‘foriegner – ???? ‘ . In India, ‘ from foreign – !!!!’ . Ironic, but thats the truth. I can relate and understand every word of your post as I grew up in India and am living outside my country, bringing up my children.
    Keep it coming. It made my day Shilps!

  8. πŸ˜€ Japan and India are on two extremes! And I am just glad that you’re not one of those who find faults with everything once they are back from a foreign country!

  9. First time here…lovely article. been here in USA for like 4 and a half years…yet I find it difficult to adjust to the country here. cant wait to get out! Home is whr the heart is!

  10. Hi Shilpa
    Insightful post but koi desh perfect nahin hota ussko perfect banana padta hai:) There are things bout India which rock and I believe that it’s a near impossible task to change things in one day.Baby steps and let’s be d change

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