I absolutely love this country.
And I’m not entirely sure why.
India is kind of like an abusive boyfriend. It’s unreliable (or, reliably unreliable), gropes you when you don’t want to be groped, changes your response pattern to such gropes, feeds you unhealthy food, makes the simplest thing way more difficult than it needs to be, nearly kills you every time you leave the house (and oftentimes when you don’t leave the house), and generally speaking, makes it clear that you are insignificant and useless in the face of the force that is India.
Last night, while I was lying on sweat-soaked sheets in my windowless cement block room, killing any ants that made the transfer from my wall to my bed, swatting mosquitoes and waiting for the electricity to come back on so the fan could blow warm, dusty air down on me, I was plotting my return.
Mumbai or Delhi. A city big enough to have a nonprofit that I could intern with after graduate school and practice my Hindi in.
My Hindi has surprised me of late. It’s really not much better, structure wise, than it was when I left for India. But it’s become unconscious, which has never happened to me with a language before. I understand a lot of the basic family chatter without thinking about it. Weirder, when I’m around only English speakers, I have to actively filter the Hindi out of my speech.
How do people who speak multiple languages handle that all the time? It’s bizarre to have to filter your speech like that. It’s going to be even more strange to not be around Hindi all the time and be in a country where I don’t have at least enough of the language to navigate the day to day stuff.
I did some last minute shopping yesterday and purchased for my self a wall hanging that I folds small enough that I can bring it with me wherever I move to, easily, for room decoration and a reminder of India. Here I am, about to go to graduate school in the UK for a year after spending six months abroad, and I’m talking about moving to India after graduate school. When did my life become so damn international? How did I get from flailing at my office job for two years to packing for a trek in Nepal while mentally preparing to live abroad for what is turning into several years?
I made a decision.
I spent so long afraid to move forward in case I made a mistake. And you know what? Even if this had been a mistake, would that be so bad?
It’s strange how often, in retrospect, you realize that the thing standing in your way was not money, time, or obligations.
It was just yourself.