I’ve just returned from a trip round the state of Karnataka with my parents and two aunts who gamely decided to pop over to visit and do a short jaunt around the South of India with the one who still has a head like a brush. I enjoyed the trip immensely – partly because of the majestic palaces (Mysore), amazing temples (Belur and Halibidu) and the brush with nature in a hill-station (Coorg) but mainly because I spent it with family. I’ve been out here for so long that I’ve almost forgotten what it was like to have the warmth of one’s own family with you as you travel and what it was like to just kick back and chat over dinner with those who you know and who know you best.
I don’t think I was putting up a brave front when I started out here almost 9 months ago thinking that in getting used to India and my missing things from home would lessen. I did realise that the less I hankered for things from home, the more I eased into life here and got used to everything fairly quickly. I guess what happened was more of a shelving of the things that I hold dear and like from home and moving on quickly to get used to things that matter at the particular time.
Meeting my parents and aunts brought many things back and spending the past 5 days with them was great and something that I’ll always treasure. I’ve made great friends here and there’s no lack of love and friendship but there’s something to be said for spending time with one’s own family, especially after such a long time away. I also cherished the opportunity to share my life for the past months with them and to show them the country that I’ve grown to love. It was only when I met and spent time with my parents that I realised how much I really missed them.
And so one sits here with a funny feeling – missing the presence of my parents and aunts but at the same time looking forward to my return home in a couple of weeks. That does take the edge off the missing but I guess the months of shelving those emotions do take their toll. What complicates matters is the fact that I’m also going to miss all the friends and colleagues that I’ve gotten to know over the months. It’s going to be quite an interesting couple of weeks and one sighs as one realises that interesting times might not be the most restful for both mind and spirit.
Me, parents, Aunt Lucy and Aunt Hong with Mysore in background