It has been almost a year since I traveled to USA and since then time and again, I miss India.
I miss so many things every single day, all being the essence of who I am. I miss my parents, I miss my sister, I miss my friends, I miss the whole aura of celebration which comes with each and every festival- be it Diwali, be it Pongal or be it Independence Day. I miss Indian food. I miss the freedom I felt in my own country, however unsafe we might call it. I miss our people.
Being in New Jersey gives me a tiny glimpse of India every now and then. There is a big Indian community and I see Indian faces all around. I have Indian friend circle with whom I get to talk in Hindi and discuss about India whenever we meet. I get to eat food delicacies from every single state of India, though it never tastes same. I wonder why?
During Navratras, there are Garba pandals and for Holi, New York itself gets drenched in colors. At time of Diwali, there are crackers in the designated areas and the Indian sweet shops get crowded for buying sweets. Even there are Lotus flowers and idols of Ganesh Lakshmi available during Diwali. Independence Day parade is also being held and Indian flags can be seen decorated on the side of the roads and old patriotic songs bind the moment. Very next day, flags change to Pakistan flags and a parade is held for Pakistan’s Independence Day. It feels strange and unbelievable when I see it happening in front of your eyes.
There is everything available here but nothing feels same. I get to explore new places and that keeps me going. But other than that, nothing. Even air doesn’t feel the same and rain doesn’t carry the smell of our Indian soil.
I have read so many articles expressing the same nostalgia and feeling of longing when sitting in a foreign nation. While I always related to these articles, I never thought I would write one. Until today, when I was watching a video on YouTube, a song from Wake Up Sid movie and suddenly an image of Konkana Sen brought me back this feeling.
It is hard to understand how human mind functions and which image can trigger which memories.
So here I am, writing my feelings as they continue to grow inside me. While I sit and pen down my thoughts, all I can hear is the sound of keys on my keyboard and the background sound of train which passes every 5 minutes. This makes me realize how long it had been when I heard the chirping of birds? Though I never thought about it before, now I miss it.
There are so many little things I miss,
I miss dressing up in simple Indian attire Kurti pyjama, and going around on my scooter. I used to get stuck in traffic for long hours in Bangalore, I got drenched in rain so many times and I even dragged scooter on foot when storm came, but today I miss that moment. I miss that independence. I miss glancing at the open sky and taking deep breathes. I miss passing by the lake and looking at the setting sun, which served as a perfect end to my day at work. Air is cleaner here, sky is clearer and there is no dearth of natural beauty, but I miss being in my home land.
I did love shopping in premium brands when I landed here but now I miss designs from LifeStyle and Shopper’s Stop, where every piece matched my taste and size. I also miss road side shopping and the feeling of solace which I felt when I bargained.
I miss catching up with friends’ real time, not with some stale news- when we both are in same time zone, when we both are celebrating a festival at the same time and when we both are free from office. I miss celebrating every little Indian festival in office and making Rangoli, decorating cubicle and playing treasure hunt. I miss taking evening tea breaks and the samosa treats for every small bet.
I miss my holidays back in India. I miss ordering food in the comfort of a hotel room. I miss eating Dhaba food and I crave for aloo paranthas and Idli Sambhar for breakfast. Here all I can settle for is Dunkin’s coffee and a donut. I miss Lucknow ki chaat, Bangalore’s Meghana Biryani and Lajpat’s chole bhature.
I miss waking up to the sound of doorbell when maid came instead of doing household chores on my own. I miss instructing her to clean everything while I enjoy a cup of tea.
I miss being hours away from my home and that’s what I miss most. Catching a flight and seeing my mom is the feeling I crave for every single day. I do see her over video chat every other day but, I think I don’t need to put it in words.
I miss my country and I miss my home land. There is this irreplaceable feeling and it will always stay. And, I want to return soon to the land where my heart belongs, before this feeling fades away.