August 2, 2016 by Preeks
There was a very small segment of population before the 2000s who would go out of their comfort zones, their houses, to explore careers outside their cities. In all likelihood, they also fought with their families to get permission to make this move.
To go to the scary North, from a secure, comfortable South Indian city was a big deal. Some rare few did it. And those who did, their lives were special.
A small family of 4 South Indians, sticking it out for themselves in the North. They taught their kids Hindi, because they don’t want them to stand out. But they also taught them their native tongue at home. When these kids grow up, people comment saying, “Arrey, your Hindi is not ‘south india’ like”. They know nothing about how hard their parents worked to ensure it’s not.
Every year, they spent their whole LTC money, taking a long train journey back to the roots. Through the Chambal Valley, with the Cool Keg and long tunnels and the cutlet for breakfast. They never complained that every summer vacation is to the same place. Because it’s important they are a part of this culture too.
They never got the holidays for Pongal and Ganesh Puja and Varlakshmi Vratam. But they woke up early and celebrated nonetheless. Not that they did not celebrate Holi and Diwali with the same fervor.
It’s different when you stand out. You are alone. The small family gets closer and closer. You make your own special moments, because there are no relatives around, no own people around. Happiness, sadness, fear. Everything is closed in the four walls between these four people.
And so, despite standing out, they start settling in. This becomes home now. They know Punjabi, Hindi, Rajasthani, Telugu and English. They know every ritual that North Indians celebrate. They also know everything there is to know about Pongal. They start blending into the crowd. The world may not refer to this as their home, but they fight to make this home. With their own sweet little moments, this becomes home.
But how is it home if it’s not permanent? You have to leave when your time comes. So, like many other people retiring at the age of 60, they retire too. But unlike others who just stop going to work one day, these people uproot themselves and move back South.
New task. Make this your home now. The place seems unfamiliar now. Roads have changed. Scary flyovers have emerged out of nowhere. People have changed. Friends are now in the North. So many relatives. So many get-to-gethers.
Doesn’t matter. They will fight it out because they are fighters.
Many people have written about moving a lot in their childhood. I am not taking anything away from that. I am sure that’s a hard life. Or maybe fun.
But this, I know for a fact, is a common story too that noone writes about.
The struggle of moving to a new place and settling down there for a long time. And then moving back.
Anyway, the news is as of today, I am no longer a Delhi girl.
And while the parents start the new battle of now making Hyderabad home again, I’ll spend my time, lapping all the memories of 25 years into as many mind palaces I can, so that I can never stop saying that Delhi was home too.