As I stepped into the Delta airlines flight, set to fly from Newark to New Delhi, I was positively awed to see a sea of Indian faces, so many turban covered heads; so many mothers draped in Sari; so many people in a rush to get their seat, rubbing against each other without much hesitation. I felt a rush of blood, announcing silently “I am here, I am here too”. With my right hand dragging the trolly, my left hand, slowly moved towards the heart as if to greet the people as I continued walking inward.
I always felt that “India is calling”, though I weren’t clear on anything after that. I had booked my flight to Bharat even before I received a job confirmation.
Be it family, friends, or acquaintances; be it in concerned conversations or casual courtesy conversations, people continue to ask, “Why return to India when you had the choice of a more comfortable life in USA ?” When asked about this, I find myself in the Indian situation of that girl who loves a boy and is trying to convince her family members for her marriage with that boy. Her father, in trying to propose a different boy asks with concern, “why do you want to marry that particular boy only?”. She says, “Papa, he has a good job, lavish salary; his family members are very accommodating; his friends are so welcoming; has a large government house … what else should he have”. The father returns the argument saying “But why not Sharma ji‘s son? He has a higher social status and is better on most of these parameters you mentioned”. The girl is muted. She then comes up with another set of qualities, a new set of adjectives … and the ‘argument’ continues. All that the girl says about her lover may be factually correct, but none of it is the reason for her wish to marry him. Its just a feeling that pulls her entire being. Most of the reasons that I give to justify my decision are also such straws of information, while the reason to return was just due to a strong feeling.
No logic can bridge two people talking from different planes of experiences. Logic is linear and can only connect people who are in the same plane of experiences. When trying to be totally honest, I find myself saying “because India is India, so I had to return”; but this hardly is meaningful. I also wonder if it is patriotism or nationalism. I wonder because I probably don’t feel proud about being an Indian. I don’t find my emotions rising when I hear someone say “India is a great nation”. I just feel normal about it. If I took birth in Ethiopia, my feelings and actions would have been analogous. I just feel that this is the country I was born in, these are the people who have nurtured me, these are the resources I was fed from, these people have payed for the road on which I walked to my school, these are the people with whom I walked the path of knowledge or illusion. I feel that this is the field I am given to plow by mother nature and this is my karmbhumi. I don’t need to claim that I will plow it because it is fertile. I will plow it simply because I feel that this is my first responsibility.
My stay in America was like a gift in many ways. I was touched by so many and got the opportunity to touch many lives. I hold it all very dearly. It was in the very special surrounding and circumstances created by my fellow friends and colleagues in USA that I could grow deep enough, that now I do not need an external motivation to continue the pursuit of knowledge. I find myself bewildered, how one after another circumstances and people conspired to make me fall in love with so many individuals. I have no way of returning that favor but I wish to assure my friends that I will share that unconditional affection with people here.
Coming back to Bharat from USA becomes easy for me because I do not have much ambition associated with my life. When I think about what I want to do and where I want to be 10 years from now, I only find myself certain about one thing that I want to use my life in sewa. This is just a feeling, a state of mind and has no logical origin or justification. Sometimes, some drops of romanticism also grazes through the thoughts but there is no face attached to that feeling so I don’t know how it will evolve.
With Gratitude from Bharat