My husband and me moved back to India in 2004 (I had moved back to India earlier too, in 1996) and we often get asked why we moved to India? Was it worth it? What has been the hardest part of living in India?
Well, the thing is that one you get used to living abroad; you form a sort of a perfect idea about the home country and think of it more with sentimentality than reality. Life is great in India in some ways and in others it is absolutely pathetic, and it’s pretty much the same thing no matter where you live. Most people living abroad somehow get a feeling that if they move back to India they will be able to hold onto the good things of the current country as well as the things they miss most about home. Well, it just never works out that way in practice.
Moving to India is a really tough thing to do. And here I am talking about the daily practicalities not the sentimental values. Life is definitely simpler abroad. For example, I have 2 part time maids for the house, a driver and a car washer, but still have less free time and end up doing more work myself than I did in the States where I had no 'help' and did everything myself, including shoveling snow. How is it possible? It’s an unexplainable mystery of the universe, perhaps.
The division of labor is very seriously marked out and observed. The driver only drives the car; he does not wash or dust it. The car washer tosses a bucket of water in the general direction of the car and usually only once a week cleans the floor mats and the rest of the inside of the car. My part time cook does not cook or clean dishes that have anything to do with mutton, and the housemaid cleans only the floors of the house and not the bathrooms, unless you count it as a separate job and pay separately. All day you have the comings and goings of servants and an endless retinue of people coming to your door. The milk and newspaper in the morning, then the maids, car washer and driver, then the trash collection ladies and vegetable sellers, the couriers usually come one after another in the afternoon and the dhobi and eggs and bread boy at night. It’s one non-stop one bell ringing exercise after another.
Abroad you have gadgets to help you through the day and here you have personal contacts with neighbors, friends and relations. Pick the one that’s important to you, before deciding to move home to India. If you feel you can have it both ways, I promise you; it’ll be short-lived.
More on best citites to live in India later on...