Tale of Two Relocations – Part 1
I am sharing what I wrote in the year 2007 (originally in Marathi, for a book published by Granthali) about my experience of two relocations – first in the year 1993 to the USA and then in 2001 to India. I am serializing it for the blogosphere now. Hope you enjoy it! Click here for the मराठी version.
“Why did you return to India?’
In the early days, I used to ponder a lot whenever I was asked this question. I never used to be sure about where exactly to begin. But soon came the realization that almost all the time my well meaning interrogators expected some simplistic answer – they were just not ready for a complex story. Then I came up with two stock answers.
The first option was as follows.
Around the year 1999, the ‘dot com’ mania had reached its crescendo in the Silicon Valley. Those were the days of ‘IPO’, ‘stock options’, ‘venture funding’, ‘NASDAQ” and the like. The buzz about millionaires – small, big, accidental – was omnipresent. The talk about this “easy money” was everywhere – coffee table conversations among friends, newspaper columns, magazine cover stories and TV debates. One day, my eight year old son asked me – “Dad, what is your net worth?’’ I was shaken to the roots! I remembered the words from Bhagvad Gita.
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः, परधर्मो भयावहः
Better to die sticking to one’s intrinsic values
than to live, clinging to values foreign to self.
That very moment I decided – ‘I have to go back’.
Now the option #2.
If I found the interrogator flaunting a glass of some interesting drink, I would recite a couplet by the famous Hindi poet, Harivansh Rai “Bachchan”.
कितनी जल्दी रंग बदलती है अपना चंचल हाला
कितनी जल्दी घिसने लगता हाथोंमे आकर प्याला
कितनी जल्दी साकीका आकर्षण घटने लगता है
प्रात नही थी वैसी जैसी रात लगी थी मधुशाला
How fast does the fickle wine changeth its color
How fast does the goblet lose luster,
How fast does the infatuation of the wine server fades
How different the pub feels the morning after!
Before I proceed with this blog series, it is necessary to do some expectation management. What I am going to describe here is a kind of travelogue. It is about my relocation – first from India to USA and then USA to India. The focus is the journey, not the traveler. It is a very personal memoir – I do not mean to generalize my observations.
Of course, these answers were not just funny – they had an element of truth too!
Back in 1993 when I moved to the USA, I was clear about “that part of the world” and us. It was a given that we were to return to India eventually. While we did relocate in 2001, ironically enough, the rationale for the return was not quite the same as what I was initially convinced about!
And BTW, you must have realized that I always use the word “relocate” – and never say something like “moved for good” etc. Declaring something “final” doesn’t leave room for any more options – be it a Java class or a real life situation, right?Next: