The return of the Desi
This time it was the long time acquaintance I met who set me thinking. I had seen it happening before and it was ever so familiar. I had seen it happen to my husband, to his friends and now it was happening to this girl who I was seeing after a considerable period of time.
To say man is never satisfied with what he has would be an understatement. When you have nothing you ask for something, when you have something, you ask for everything and when you have everything, you ask for more!! This never ends. I am talking of the "return of the Desi syndrome". This syndrome is about people exhibiting "indifference extraordinaire" to others in the sense of displaying excess money, mouthing extensive foreign experience and disapproving "patriotically" the Indian ness!!
It was the time, I had not stepped out of India. A thing, I hated to be. Probably, all those who have not stepped out of the country know what I am talking of. It is that feeling which makes most uncomfortable when you are in the crowd of "foreign returned". I felt shame and wondered why I had till then not been worthy enough of a foreign travel. I looked at awe when my husband told me the delicacies he had eaten into or the clean pavements he had walked on or the marvel of marvels he had seen. There was a sense of jealousy and also a sense of unworthiness! I felt insecure and looked at all his friends narrate endless tales of their "foreign escapades". I then, asked myself why I had not taken to computers - because that was the easiest way to foreign travel! The human tendency is to want something that others have so, I started yearning for that elusive foreign travel.
I had also by then understood the likes and dislikes of the foreign returned or the return of the Indian. So, I also started aping them. I tried shopping at expensive outlets to which my husband dear said - "its probably less than 8$ in xyz country. I shall get it for you when I go there next. Besides the quality will be good" and hence depriving me of the pleasure of spending like the return of the Indian. As I wanted to experience the beautiful Nature we went to Yercaud where mother nature has unsparingly showered her love with lots of greenery to which my husband dear remarked - "you know, in Europe, almost everywhere you see greenery that is far better than this" - and I was left wondering why God had to be partial with foreign countries endowing them with better greenery than here! One thing I could not do was to go on with the foreign nodding of "a-ha", of "hmm", or those unending different types of exclamations which till date I have not managed to master!
My prayers were at last answered, when my husband did get me that ticket to go to England. But, the fact did remain that I was not going to France or Germany or the United States, where my husband had traveled earlier. During my stay in England, I met a couple of friends of my husbands who went at length describing their stay at other countries and went on to say how other countries were by far better than England.
The one question everyone asked me was how I felt about my maiden trip abroad. I was quite not sure about this one because, I had mixed feelings. I did not know if I could feel elated about it because of the promotion I had got in becoming a "return of the desi" in India or to feel sad because of the shortcomings of the country everyone spoke about.
During our stay, I managed to go the Tourist Office and got ample information about the tourism in England, and also managed to make a couple of friends and tried to understand the English culture. However, my thirst was not quenched because many of my husband's friends spoke of other countries and by the end of the trip I felt that I had had a bad trip and that I was unlucky to go a country like England when others had seen the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Leaning Tower of Pisa convinced me. Although I had seen the London Bridge, the Tussads Museum or even the Kohinoor Diamond, I was still not convinced that I had seen a beautiful country and I brooded at length and wondered why I was so unfortunate.
When I finally did manage to travel to France, I heard a lot of people talk about the endless beauty of London. The forts and Palaces and then started off with other places in Europe like Italy. When I went to Italy, people spoke about Barcelona and when I went to Barcelona, they spoke about Andorra and the list could go on. By the end of this trip, I learnt one thing - people normally speak about the country they have been to earlier and nobody speaks about the country they are in!!
In fact, this has come in as a big lesson because, it lets me appreciate what I have and not what others have. I have been a big fool not to enjoy the Tussads museum when I was actually there and all the time, my sub conscious asked me if someone had seen something better than this? The biggest lesson probably I have learnt is to - Live for the Moment!- this doesn't come in easy but has to be gradually cultivated. In fact, after I came back to India, the one thing I consciously decided was to refrain from speaking about my travel. I did not want to be bracketed as one of those …… I also knew exactly how someone felt so, did my best to be my normal self. I don't know how far I succeeded but, this was definitely a good attempt.
Coming back to this girl whom I met, I could not quite judge. She displayed that terrible attitude about I have seen it all, I have lots of money to spend or even going out of the way to get what she wanted. It was as if like her birthright. Since, she had been deprived of certain Indian Pleasure -like eating - what else?- she, volunteered to be our guest. She opted for something to eat that was not in our menu - it was like asking her what she wanted to drink - coffee or tea? And she would ask for coke!!- It was so irritating but we had to bear it all.
She also went on about the money she spent on certain days and the attitude could not be tolerated. I was wondering why would someone change just because he/she had the good fortune to travel. Well, such are the human ways which none can understand. But this girl went on again and she finally asked - 'so, have you been to middle east?' (As she had just come back from Muscat!) 'Yes', I managed to say. 'Where exactly?' she asked again and I said, 'Dubai, Sharjah..' 'Oh, they are probably the only cities to see.' She said. After a pause, she asked, ' But, you still have not been to the US right?' I could manage to only laugh. This never ends, I thought. 'Yeah, I still have not been to the US'. The tendency of the human is to find out what one does not have I think. Anyways, now, its time to brood about the fact that I have not been to the US! But, years of wisdom has showered me the grace to laugh at the human tendency. It's OK. Xyzs may have seen dozens of countries but its OK. I want to live here in my hometown and enjoy the love my home showers on me.