Food for thought post !
I have always wanted to do this post…what triggered me to almost instantaneously open up my blog and start writing out of the blue was that repeated continuous dreaded phone call I just received from one of J’s friends in the US during my busy office time…Don’t get me wrong…It was just a usual – normal call where J’s friend called in to ask me for J’s number. The phone just kept vibrating while I was on an official call and without a break there were 4 missed calls…it was like someone was desperately trying to get to me to pick the call…What scared the daylight out of me was the number that flashed on my phone screen…It’s a random unknown number that flashes when someone uses the VOIP or a calling card. It’s the same number that flashes when my parents call from India or when my eldest SIL calls from Europe using VOIP (SIL’s calls represent anyone from my in-laws because my in-laws usually don’t call us directly unless there’s an urgency and that will be from their land line phone..My SIL actually represents the entire in-law network :)) .
When we receive calls from family then it’s mostly at standard times and I know that call is the routine call from them, but when the number flashes at unusual times and desperate repeats – I just plain panic and the whole world shuts down for me..My mind runs into wild imagination on the negative path and I wonder whats wrong with our families and I wonder who needs our help and how our lives may change the very next minute…
Dear Lord…Gimme the strength to over come my negative fears is all that I have to say…
Cons of not living in India :
1. Away from Family : My heart aches every time someone needs us emotionally or physically, be it my in-laws family or my own family, there was once my MIL had to go for a minor day surgery to check for fibroid and I wanted to be at the hospital with her…There has been once when my Dad had a minor accident on his two wheeler and twisted his leg or the times when my only sister just needs my presence for emotional for moral support…That’s when I desperately want to be there. Glad we visit Bangalore at least twice a year.
‘M’ would have seen an added advantage if he had got to spend more time with his grandparents and met his cousins more often. We really miss being there when there are family gatherings for the good (like weddings and special occasions) and bad (like the passing away of J’s maternal uncle or my grand mom) Also, to mention that sometimes we are scared that our families will hide important health facts from us reasoning the distance we live at and they would not want us being ‘far away and worried’..
2. The Uncertainty : Whatever the life we are leading outside India, there is a certain amount of uncertainty that lurks deep in our hearts. Like I explained in the start of this blog you will know what 1 phone call can bring about. We don’t know which country we will be moving next or will it be moving back to India. That initial stage of settling in and the nervousness that comes along with it ! The life with uncertainty has extended for 5 years here in Singapore and only time will tell as to where it will take us !
3. Miscellaneous Help : The privileges of having the access to domestic maids who can do the household chores and that will serve a sheer bliss for a person like me who really hates doing the routine chores and I do it here because I have no choice and hiring a help is expensive . Simple pleasures like having the iron- man press your clothes is bliss which we take for granted in India… I also miss the beauty parlour facials or the shopping on commercial street for clothes or trinkets that I do not get to do in Singapore. Indian clothes are pretty expensive as compared to in India and I prefer shopping during my India Trips !
4. That feeling of Nostalgia : This one is hard to explain, but that feel good feeling when you live in your native – where you literally grew up and you are so familiar with every corner of the street and you know where to find that one bakery that sells your favorite honey cake !
” The chaos , the traffic and congestion and yet that warm feeling when you are sitting in an auto rickshaw caught in a traffic jam in the middle of the road – battling the heat and dust and then you overlook that happy tender coconut seller on the footpath with his wife sitting beside him and their little child sleeping beside them blissfully ” – That’s when you feel at HOME ! That’s India for you, unlike living a midst strangers in a different land.
5. The Roughness and the Toughness : I’m afraid M’s missing being brought up along the roughness and the toughness that the Indian kids are brought up with. It’s just in the Indian blood to cross a mad busy road by carelessly shoving your hand at the traffic and just traversing through with vehicles just inches away from you amidst the honking and the beeping !
It’s just in the Indian blood to barge yourself in into a crowded bus or in an unreserved train compartment and manage to secure a seat – That boldness can come only if you grew up in India…I’m surprised that with just living out of India for 5 years now in a safe haven such as Singapore I am “scared “to cross the road and cling onto my darling sister’s hand who just goes about it without a second thought…if 5 years can have this effect on me..Imagine ‘M’ he is being brought up in a country where he sincerely waits for the signal to turn green, before even thinking of crossing the road… I’m afraid he may be a Darpook (scarred cat) as per the required Indian life skill standards!
6. The Movies : J and I are big time movie bluffs – if in India we would have sneaked out at the least during our work timings to catch up with our favorite releases. I would have loved watching Kahani , Zindagi Na Millege Dobara or Myna or Kho or Aravan or Guzarish or Robot or 3 Idiots on the big screen rather than on the internet.
7. The Restaurants and mom’s food : When the cravings strike…I just feel like having spicy chat or that coconut burfi from Kanti Sweets – Ohh I really miss it ! Here we drive all the way to Little India and eat something that is not even close to the taste that you are looking for and pay by the bucket ! I miss being in India, I really miss Mom’s food – the simple vindaloo, mutton puffs or channa – Life’s simple pleasures 🙂
8. The Festivities : Though we officially celebrate X’mas and Easter – The feeling of the festivities in India is something so unique …It really impresses me to see Ganesha’s , Banana leaves and festive decorations, Firecrackers during Diwali , the Yummy Biryani during Id from our neighbors !Really miss that feeling !
Pros of living out of India and particularly in Singapore…
1. The Savings: Honestly, as the rupee dips and dollar value increases the amount of savings you can have in Singapore is good – mainly because of the 13 month salary system here that goes towards the payment of taxes which proves a good advantage as compared to the huge chunk of taxes to be paid in the US or UK.
2. The Governance : Efficient, Simple, Hassle and Corruption free..Everything goes by the book and follows the ‘FINE’ Rules…
3. The Infrastructure : Roads, No Traffic Jams, Public transport, Cleanliness , Convenience – Simply Amazing how this country works !
4. The Accessibility : Just 4 hrs from Bangalore…Take a 8.00pm flight in Singapore and Land in Bangalore at 10.30 pm India time and join family on a late dinner that too on a cheap budget airway 🙂
5. Child Care Facilities : I wonder if I would have found a child care with the same standards as here, for M in Bangalore. The 7.00 AM to 7.00 PM timings with a kindergarten combined child care that offers me the liberty of convenience to pursue my interests with being rest assured that M is in caring hands ! The best part is the healthy and nutritious food provided by M’s child care familiarizes him to various tastes and cuisines.
6. The Convenience : An Indian grocery store just a hop, skip and jump away allows me the convenience to get Dosa batter at 9.00 PM or a pack of Haldiram’s Soan Papdi when our sweet tooth calls for it 🙂
7.The Teeny Weeny vacations : I wonder if we would have ever got a chance to be visiting neighboring Malaysia or Indonesia which are just an hour away from home, if we had settled in Bangalore for good.
Last but definitely not the least :
8. The Freedom I have : (Disclaimer : Entitled to my own and my very own individual opinion..my blog and my say ! ) I must say I enjoy that extra freedom of staying away from my in-laws ..The freedom to cook what I want or just decide to eat out, freedom to take a nap because I’m tired when ever I want, freedom to just go out with my family as per our wish and schedule, Freedom to just sit in front of the TV and watch it, Freedom to wake up even at 10.00am on a Saturday, Sunday or a public holiday and go about my routine without a guilt or any ‘comments’ and the freedom from the suffocation I feel of being ‘judged and commented on’ when I have lived with my in-laws for more than a year before moving to Singapore….For me this freedom comes at a price – The price of not seeing my Parents and Sis as often as I would have, if I would have been living in Bangalore…
I’ve tried balancing both the pros and cons – they have 8 points each but I just cannot deny the fact that the heart is always more sensitive than the mind 🙂
Thanks for reading ! Common click on the Comments link and give me your say 🙂