Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Change in Dateline

When we first found out we were moving to India for a couple of years back in 2004, we had all of three weeks to prepare - to figure out what to do with the house, the furniture, schooling in India for my son, how much stuff to take, what to leave behind, etc.

When the time came to head back to the US, we'd basically had all of the time we lived in India to prepare, but it was not enough, not by a long shot. When we left the US, we were coming to live close to family, close to our parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, and all our extended families who were minutes away rather than days away. We are heading back now to being our little unit again (although our number has increased by one more than we were when we came - my daughter who was born in Bangalore last year).

The house buzzed with activity for a week. Closets were emptied, clothes, shoes and toys given away, the pantry and refrigerator cleared. The pungent smell of reams and reams of packing cardboard and paper vied with the screeching noise of duct tape as it was torn off and plastered on everything from the tiniest spoon to the largest piece of furniture. The packers started off slowly and, fortified by many cups of tea made in the last saucepan remaining, became frenzied as the hours ticked away there were the pesky last few items still to be packed.

The whirlwind of packing and organizing the other aspects of the move had kept all our emotions under the lid. As was to be expected, there was a time crunch at the end. In the rush of taking care of the things on my list, there was, thankfully, no time for emotional, tearful goodbyes. My parents siezed the opportunity when it presented itself to make a quick get away (they had decided not to come to the airport) and my son and I waved them off in cheery tones and rushed right back into the house to finish packing the very last suitcase.

One final walk around the house and it was time to head to the airport. Just as we had finished checking in all our luggage is when the lid decided to come off. My son and my father, who had spent a lot of time together during our stay in Bangalore doing grandson-grandfather stuff, were the two people I was most concerned about. The finality of the move back sank in with my son at the airport check-in counter and with my parents on the long drive back from our house to theirs late at night. A single tear drop rolled down my son's cheek and landed on his watch followed in quick succession by many others and my own.

As is typical of children, he tried various permutations and combinations of living arrangements that would allow him to spend time with his grand-parents while allowing them to have their lives and family connections and him to continue on with his life in the US, negotiating right up to the point we got on the plane. Then, again, as is typical of children, the excitement of the journey caught up with him and the new TV/light/dinner table configuration on the plane took up all his attention.

There's a lot more adjustment to come, of course, once we are properly settled in at home in the US, but I am grateful for this opportunity we had after more than a decade to actually spend more than the three weeks we could scrape together during holidays in our hometown.

This, in brief, is the story of the change in dateline on the blog. There are a lot more posts on life in Bangalore coming up and about parenting and travel. I do hope you will continue reading.


Unknown said...

Bon voyage Sujatha and happy landings to all of you! I'm sure it was hard for all, it's nice that you got to enjoy an extended time in India, more than most do. :-)
warm wishes

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Sujatha. Do not forget to touch base with us. I am excited to see u all at the same time your post made my eyes moist (espacially the part about N and your dad).

Anonymous said...

awww, Suj, babies are like that. Actually, everyone is like that :) but N did get to spend those years with his Grandpa so in a way he did get to eat his cake. Hope you had a safe journey!

mookuthi said...

Thats so touching...i hope your sons okay now.Thats always the case with us moving away from our parents or grand parents. Hope you guys settle in soon:)

Unknown said...

Welcome back...wait, I don't live in the US any more. Damn! Well, hope your move goes smoothly.

And, when you have some time I've tagged you at my blog: Indian writers you've recently read or want badly to read.

Sunita Venkatachalam said...

Bon Voyage ! I'm waiting to see your insightful posts on how you readjust back to living in the US.
Will miss you, even though we have never met, it was strangely comforting to think that you were in Bangalore and giving me news on all the latest and the greatest :)

Anonymous said...

Poor N. This is a very moving post. But happy settling in, in your other home.

Terri the terrific said...

I was rooting for you to stay back in Bangalore. I thought you'd love it there and wouldn't feel like returning because all your posts sounded so positive.

But, welcome back! I'm sure you'll get settled in in no time.

Kavi said...

Hope you settle down well ! And continue to pick up from where you left of. Perhaps with the increased depths and anchors that India offered you.

That i'll keep coming back here, that is a foregone conclusion !

Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,

I just moved near you and was going to drop in a line!

Hope you have a comfortable move. Thanks for all the insights. Will keep reading for more.

Take care.
Naked Desserts

Omar Cruz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tharini said...

Welcome back Sujatha. I can imagine the heaviness of emotion that would have passed thru all of you...just remembering my own departure from there last year and the choke I was fighting back...

Hope you're settling in well!

Sujatha Bagal said...

Hi all, thank you for your comments. We're on the road right now. Will be in the US soon and will respond to your comments.


Mauro C. said...

Hi there,

I would like to invite you, and your readers, to be part of my challenge.

I'm trying to post 1 Million Love Messages From All Around The World in my blog.

I hope that you can help to promote this challenge... and, of course, i'll be waiting for your message :)

Best Regards From Portugal

Chitra said...

Oh Sujatha, this is such a surprise to me. I am a fairly new reader of your blog, and in fact this is my first comment. I found comfort in the fact that you were writing about your R2I experiences, and I have been doing the same too for 6 months now. I blogrolled you recently too!

All the best! Hugs to your son! I can understand the little guy's emotions! Will look forward to reading your R2A experiences.

Piscean Angel said...

hey this is such a surprise. ALtho' i didn't comment here much I used to regualarly read your posts about Bangalore & everything else & loved it. And u used to give soooooo much info too. I guess, we Bangaloreans will miss that now. Wish you a happy stay in the US. :)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back Sujatha. Venkat mentioned that you guys were moving, but I didn't realize it had already happened.

I have always wanted to move back to India to be closer to family, but wonder if I would miss my US life once I am there. You sound happy to be back.

The part about N and your dad was very touching.

Shobha said...

Hi, hope you are settling in and all is well. Take care.

umarag said...

S, Welcome back...across the pond !! I look forward to chatting with u more by phone :-)

I wonder what ur blog's taglines would sure u will come up with something creative, as always.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with your new life. I am sure your kids will settle in soon. Although we have never met, I could relate to your writings, as a returned NRI. It saddens me to see that you had to go back. However, the world is but a global village, what with internet and blogs. So, the US is really not that far off.

Sujatha Bagal said...

TGFI, thank you for the wishes. Hope you are settling in in your new digs as well.

R, now you get back here soon. :)

Amrita, cake was not enough. :(

Mookuthi, thanks. :) Getting there slowly but surely.

J, thanks. Will try to get to the tag, but may not succeed. I'm way beind on tags. :)

Poppins, thanks. Thank god for blogs, eh?

MG, Terri's mom, Malini, Kavi, Chandra, Chitra, Uma, Anjali, SS, Lakshmi, thanks.

Mauro, thanks for the link. Will check it out.