Sunday, July 09, 2006

Coming home

We NRIs have a huge problem. Coming home to India to visit. Now, coming back to India on a permanent basis is a different problem altogether, one that I haven't got the luck to experience yet. But visiting itself is a project in itself. It is an obstacle course. Preparation is mandatory.

One question all and sundry pose, "When are you visiting?". The phone calls are replete with this question, not once, everytime. The answer: well, if it only is that easy. Old friends and acquaintances ask the same question here as well. "When are you going to India?", nice topic starter that.

Firstly, there is the timing. When does one come? Summer in India: too hot there, Summer here: tickets too costly. Does one have enough leave to make the visit a longish one? Does one have enough money to get along?

Then there are the relatives and more relatives. They mean well, the relatives. But I am not really sure when they expect some gifts from Phoren (desi slang for foreign). Most gift material is available in India anyway, one can find anything that is sold here, except for the 'Made in India' tag paid in dollars. If only they could understand.

It takes a bit of showing off in India for us NRIs, huge expectations of it. So, when we speak without the accent or don't go clubbing when in India, we haven't learnt much. It is readily taken care of by wearing open-toed shoes, 3/4th pants and following traffic rules when driving. Atleast we get noticed. One has to remind oneself that the food in the restaurants in a bit too hot than what one is used to. When ordering Biryani one has to roll the 'r' to make sure they understand.

The most worrying prospect of visiting India are the hosts at the airport, they have to be kept happy. But no one is not really sure how. They seem to be doing their job well, when all at once they corner you with one of the bylaws in page 563 clause (ii) b. Then the machinery stops. It has to be oiled now; Dollars need to be spent; Cursing is optional with more dollars lost, will not get you through sooner though. The process is reversed when these very hosts are seeing you off.

One of the most shameful times is when one has to oil such machinery, principles need to be broken and one has to be business like in these dealings, how much is enough to get through? Once one gets through, you meet family and dispose your gifts, worry that the traffic has gotten worse since your last visit, show off as an NRI and then wonder if it was better to wait a bit longer to get some more leave. And try not to miss your home in the process.

2 comments :

  1. Yashashwini Y P said...

    Bravo - with a rolling R!

    Good thing you are a NRI. You'll have more oil to oil!!!:p (cheeziest line ever)Dont worry about the principles...you'll find new ones. You're an Indian afterall.

  2. Sandesh said...

    Yes Aravind..Thats why I love to go to Chennai Airport. The folks there are a bit more decent when compared to Bombay or Delhi..
    Also you are spot on the gifts for all relatives :)