He was twenty-eight when he left India. Since he was a little kid, he always wanted to go abroad, just like every other kid in his town.
The culture, the people, the society, and the way everybody was …… everything was different, very different. The life in California was not what he had imagined, but he adapted.
It was a big adjustment over the years, many compromises at every turn. In spite of all that, he did not complain much; after all this was his own decision – going abroad.
All those days, all those years in America, he felt homesick; he missed the life he had left behind. The childhood memories, the old friends, the open fields – he often day-dreamed the life that used to be. At times, he felt empty inside. He wished he could go back; go back to his real home, his real life.
The recession came; he lost his job – the high paying engineering job he had taken for granted. He looked for another job, half-heartedly; no luck. Perhaps he was secretly wishing not to work in US anymore.
“May be this is a sign from the God! My be I belongs back home – in India,” he thought, he rationalized. “My own people, my own culture, my own skin tone, my own mother tongue – that is my place; that is where I should be!” The recession made it easier for him to decide – it was time for him to go back. It was time to cure his nostalgia permanently.
Eight years older, moustache missing and 25 pounds heavier, he arrived in his home town. The town however was not the same as he had left behind. The side-streets where he wandered aimlessly, the school where he learned to day-dream, the grocery store around the corner, the peepul tree next to the pond, the pond itself…. were all gone. He could hardly recognize any of it. Everything had changed. The friends, the neighbors, the neighbors’ houses, the relatives, the relatives’ affection – nothing was the same anymore.
He was stranger in his own town. The traces of his old life – everything he was nostalgic about, was long gone.
Now, he was an outsider. The life and the town he had left behind had moved on. He lived in the ‘new’ town missing the ‘old’ town – the town of his youth, the town of his childhood, the town of his past. He came back from America for something that he had missed so dearly all those years, but it was not there anymore. It was not there anymore other than in the figments of his memories.
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- Why do NRIs return to India?
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- R2I Surprises await the returning NRIs
- The NRI dilemma: This country or that home?
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