I, like many other Indians, have lamented plenty about the condition of India, the poorly constructed roads, the corruption, the sexism, the racism, the poverty, overpopulation, uncleanliness, and so many more. I used to love living here, and usually dreaded even talking about the moment when we will decide to move back to India for good. Lately though, things have changed. The change is ineffable. I can’t pinpoint what triggered it.
How I realized it –
One of my American colleagues, lets call him DP, recently made a trip to India. He stayed in Hyderabad for about a month except when he visited the Taj Mahal on one of the weekends. When he got back, he made it very clear that he had a terrible time there. He complained continuously about the food there – “Even their breakfast is spicy. Who in the world eats spicy food for breakfast!”; he complained about people – “The men are so touchy feely! I had a tough time figuring out if they’re gay or just have bad manners.”; he complained about lack of women – “I was hoping to find love there. On day one it was clear I wasn’t going to find any (unless I turned gay, heh)” and he went on and on.
Hearing someone else talking crap about my country affected me in a strange way. I found myself getting riled up and wanting to justify every complain he made. Sure my country has its drawbacks, no country is perfect! I found I was getting really bothered by it. I tried to laugh it off when he talked about it with me, but I found it very hard to not snap.
I guess you only realize how much you love your country when someone else criticizes it. I have lately started feeling this dull ache and a sense of longing when I think about moving back. I hope the time comes soon when we take the big step.
The funny part is, Sam used to tell me all along that a day will come when I will want to move back to India. I hate it when he’s right.