Wednesday, January 31, 2007

And now, the end is near....

After what seemed like a never-ending haze of bubble wrap and Scotch tape, we finally packed all of our belongings in 96 18 x 18 x 24 inch U-Haul containers, some furniture in shrink-wrap and stuffed them all into the shipping container. The combined hard work of me,my hubby and the unpaid worker we had(my bro), the last week, paid off in that things went quite smoothly considering how many aspects had to be co-ordinated. And finally, it's done! our belongings have been shipped, we have packed 6 suitcases and we are ready to go! Living in this empty apartment(or should i now say flat) for the last couple of days reminds me of the last days in our Dos Vientos house when we were packing and moving at the same time. I was quite sad to move out of the house that we had seen being built from the foundation onwards but there was a sense of nervous excitement that we were doing something new. Now the sense of excitement has been multiplied exponentially!!! We know we are doing something new and it will be fun.

One change i have noticed in me and so has my husband is how relaxed and happy i have become, especially when it comes to my little baby. Other than the first 3 months after he was born, i have not been with him 24/7 till about 3 days ago. Now there are no restrictions on my time with him , no looking at the clock all stressed out that i have to get him to school and then go to work and do the dishes etc etc . It has been truly amazing. Call me old-fashioned, but i really like being a stay at home mother and wife. Yes, it is the novelty perhaps but i feel like i have slided into this role effortlessly. i feel like i really have connected to my son and my husband in a very different way than what has been the norm so far. i know i will do something for myself once we settle down in India, for sitting idly at home bores me to death. But till then i plan to relish this experience to its fullest. i can understand now what my aai must have felt like when she was rearing us. I used to ask her if she never got bored and she always said that she had enough to do around the house to keep her busy. he was always there when we woke up int he morning and when we came back home. I remember how she would freshen up and get ready in the evenings before my baba came home. Our home atmosphere felt real! and true! Like this was the way it was supposed to be.
My dearest sweetheart has always been saying that things will change once we start this new life of ours, for the better. i always believed that they would because coming home at 9:30 at night 2-3 days a week , does not make for a very smooth family life. My feeling is that it is manageable if one person, ohiut of the couple, is always thinking about life outside the house i.e work and has to manage the stress associated with it. Now this can be the husband or the wife. we know a few families where the wife is a very, very successful professional and the husband takes care of the house and their children. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, the husbands in these case are extremely intelligent men. But when both the people bring stress home, that is when the family starts to crumble. When the family comes home, it is a place of refuge from the outside world. And the home is not just made up of material belongings. it needs a soul and that soul is provided by the mother (or the father) who is there to receive the family back home. I remember the feeling I used to get when we went to the house of my best friend in nagpur. Her mother worked and whenever we went to her house in the afternon, my friend would unlock the front door, go to the daark kitchen and help herself to the food that her emother had made in the morning. Maybe I was spoiled, but that sterile environment compared to my house made me take notice. I am not saying that women who work are bad homemakers or bad mothers. I have lived that life and I would say that on the contrary, they do twice as much as those who don't work full time outside the house. But I believe it comes at a cost.I will disagree with the popular feminist sentiment that we can do both the things and have a happy and satisfied life. But there are many stay at home mothers who could not be bothered to make a life for their family, so it goes both ways.
Anyhow as far as I am concerned, i have loved my 5 years of work as a pharmacist and now i plan to love whatever comes my way. My family has always been my priority and always will. My patients can get another pharmacist, but my husband has only me as his wife and my son has only one mother, ME.
this will probably be my last post from this "land of the free and the home of the brave". It will take us some time to get settled into a routine over at my in-laws' house and so will be a while before i can write again. But i plan to savour every moment of my return trip and have fun. after all, you only live once!

Friday, January 19, 2007

End of a chapter

So it has happened. my tryst with Longs drugs has come to an end. I bade farewell the day I finished 5 years with the company. no, my loyalty was not with the company but with my profession and my patients.
I was overwhelmed by the number of people who came in just to say goodbye to me, bearing lots of love and goodwill. the whole day all I did was hug people who might as well be complete strangers, other than the fact that i know everything about their medical history! It was a very gratifying day. I got a lot of email addresses and I have promised people that I will keep in touch. I hope I can keep my promise.
Through all these years, I always wondered whether I "do too much" for my patients, do I get too involved in their lives? My husband has told me on numerous occasions that I do more than I have to for my job. Hmm....that sounds familiar. I remember my aai saying something similar to my baba all along while I was growing up! If you know me, you know that my father has always been and will always be my role model. As I grow older and smarter(!?) I have come to realize that I am more and more like him and I am so proud of that fact. He has instilled the value of helping others in me so deeply that it has become a part of my personality. So anytime, somebody comes up to me to tell me that they appreciate me and my work, I mentally salute him, for it is his life and teaching that has made who I am today. Thank you, baba for everything that I can put in words and for all the other things that I cannot.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Where is home?

This was my last weekend at work and I was terribly sad. I do not handle goodbyes well. I get attached to everything around me fairly quickly and begin to consider it my own. Given this proclivity towards genuine attachment, it came as no surprise to me that once the excitement of going back to India subsided a little, I started feeling a tremendous void. i am already thinking of a world without all of my things, my familiar and comfortable life, here in thousand oaks. a life that i had painstakingly constructed for myself with my hubby and had coloured it the way we always wanted!
When I sat down to write this entry I thought of writing about things that I will miss about the US in India, the things that i love here. but then I realised i cannot compare the life here with the one there for one very simple reason. I do not know anything about the life there. I have been away from india for going on 10 years now. I am very different from the person who landed in a cream salwar kameez at NYC's JFK airport. And the country that I said goodbye to has gone the fastest and most noticeable change in these last 10 years. My exposure to the tremendously varied experiences in this country especially in California have shaped me and given me a maturity that did not exist 10 years ago. So when i tell people that we are going back home, i think to myself, "is that really true? do i really know what home is?" When we visited India for the few short weeks of vacation every couple of years,i could not wait to get back "home", whether it was freezing Pittsburgh, blowing Simi Valley or foggy Newbury Park. So now i am thinking i am going back home to India, a place that i think i know very well but do i? What i have decided is to consider this as a move to a new place, like all the others we have had so far, a new country, a new set of people and hence a new set of challenges. Keeping an open mind, free of preconceived notions and expectations will make my transition a lot easier than otherwise.
As for where my home is..........well, as some one rightly said....
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS! or in another, very familiar language, close to my heart...

Jahaan pe sawera ho, basera wahin hain!
Jahann pe basera ho, sawera wahin hain!


So, a new year all over again....sounds cliched, but its true, a time to look back at what has happened and a time to decide you are not going to repeat the same things again! All those resolutions that you were just thinking about for the last few months seem to line up in anticipation of fulfillment. But alas!!! just as promises are meant to be broken, so too will these resolutions be relegated to the interior folds of memory only to be summoned in exactly another year.....when another countdown in a drunken haze reminds you of another beautiful year gone by!!