Saturday, 7 August 2010

Missing the Homeland


03-05 August 2010
I had decided that I would adjust to the local conditions as fast as I could and start with the routine. I have been successful to do it to a great extent. As I have passed through the initial excitement of new people and new culture, I found that I am not successful in getting over the feeling of "I am missing my country so much." And I have spent one complete month in this country.
It starts with the smallest pleasure of having a small cup of tea at any time of the day at a nearby street side tea stall. More important than tea are the informal discussions and being friends with each other. Nobody offers tea or coffee to the guests over here and still they continue with long talks (friendly or official.) I am still finding it very strange. The other day it was raining heavily and air was very cool. In India, such situation leads to eating of piping hot freshly fried onion fritters. I had no onions or chick pea flour to make them and moreover I was alone in the house so there was no one with whom they could be shared over a chat by sitting near the window and enjoying watching the rain.
I wanted to buy some thick sheet of cloth, which can be used for spreading on the floor at the time of physical and yogic exercises. I have been struggling to find some thing similar to it for two weeks but I have not been able to find it till date.
Daily newspapers, for which we eagerly wait early in the morning even in this age of internet and television, do not reach this district place easily. In this country of 20 million people, there are only 5-6 daily newspapers. All of them are printed in the small tabloid size and the content and the printing both are not good in quality. International news coverage is minimal.
These are all material things but there are some of the things which are emotional and social as well.
I know it is a challenge, but what I found common here is if somebody says to you, "yes, I shall meet you in the office tomorrow," one should be open for the situation where the next day you might hear, "no he is not here, I can't say when he will be back," or what you find is only the locked door and it is still the working hour of the working day. I miss the professional working environment which I used to have earlier though it was bit stressful.
In India, the major plus point we have is the personal relations we develop easily. We keep many things understated, unexpressed or implicit. We do not say “thank you” easily. We know that we shall need to help somebody at some time and we want to keep those things a fair exchange. Back home, I know that such behaviour creates tensions but we keep on doing that. What I find here that there is a clutter of greetings and “thank you” but lack of personal expressions which we do easily in India without any fuss over it.
There is one thing which I am missing the most from my homeland and that is my home. The realisation of this fact occurred to me when yesterday everybody at my home celebrated my son's second birthday and over the phone he was trying to explain me how the balloon burst but was not unable to do it over the phone. Had I been present there he could have explained it easily and directly to me.
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