It is November and there is a pleasant nip in the air in Bengaluru. Even Chennai, that forever hot city, has a cool breeze wafting through the dusty streets. Winter is actually a welcome change around here. Sweaters, mufflers, scarves and ear warmers are out from our suitcases in Bengaluru. Chennai's denizens have their monkey caps and mufflers out for early morning and evening strolls. I can't help smiling at this because for all the talk of winter, the temperature in Chennai is still in the 70s. I wonder what these good citizens will say to American mid-west winters with lows in the teens and highs barely touching 32 F. For my part, I am thankful I am out of those winters now.
It has been two years since we returned to India for good. I spent the better part of last year writing my first book -- r2i dreams. Returning to India after a decade of life in the US has been interesting. Writing about it was even more so. It prompted me to examine my life, my choices and attempt to put them into words. Along the way, I remembered small details that I'd long forgotten and archived in my memory vaults. The first shock of America; the struggles of graduate student life; the manifold pleasures of working life in the US; the chaotic beauty that is India etc..
In these two years, I've had my ups and downs, navigated twists and turns, learnt some life lessons and ended up a little bit wiser. This r2i journey has also been one of introspection. Making a sea change in one's life always gives one pause. It forces you to rethink priorities, evaluate what is really essential and show you the compromises you can actually put up with.
Last week, one of my relatives who is still struggling to make the r2i decision asked me to explain logically why she should return back to India. I merely shrugged my shoulders.
"You either want to return or you don't. There's no right or wrong."
"But you must've considered all the pros and cons logically, right? You don't make such decisions blindly."
I merely smiled and shook my head.
Returning to India is like falling in love -- your heart leads and your brain follows. You do it first and then, because you are in love, everything just falls in place. Little nits don't seem like a big deal anymore.
Our stories in r2i dreams are the stories of millions of NRIs. Some of us come back, some of us don't. But the fun is in the journey. Come, travel with us and read our stories! Go pick up our book on amazon.com or pothi.com (if you are in India)! :-)