In about a week's time, I'll be back to the one place with which I associate my identity. It's not one place so to speak, but my need for a classification simplifies it to be. I've been all over the country and there is no place I can really claim as my own except the whole giant complicated thing. All of India, the 1% that I have seen, the 10% that I have known and the remaining vast unknown is a tag I wear, on my heart, on my sleeve and on my gut. For the past year and a half in a foreign nation two oceans away, the last drops of unrealized loyalty have crystallized into concrete understanding. I am an Indian even if it is the only thing I am, for better or for worse.
Yet they say, it'll be difficult. The traffic noise is going to get you, the smells are going to make you wrinkle your nose, the 'rudeness' of the people is going to put you off, the 'corruption' in the 'system' is going to drive you insane, even the time it takes to load YouTube videos is going to be a major aggravation in your life - all dire warnings on similar lines after an extended stay in a "first world" country are a dime (or more appropriately 10 paisaa) a dozen. You'll realize it from the moment you step out of the plane, they say. Yes, of course, it has to feel different, I agree with that sentiment to some extent and it should be that way. Isn't that all the more reason to return home? To breath in all the weirdness and the chaos, marvel at it still being functional and feel a sense of achievement in having played a part in it keeping it going. It's too much of a fun thing to be in the most irrational and unpredictable ways. Wouldn't want to swap it for anything in the world.