Ever since I was 8 years old I have lived out of India.
I was born in Dehra Dun and Papa admitted us in a good school there, Convent of Jesus and Mary. But we left India when I was in 4th grade there. I did have the good fortune to come back to India and study in Vanasthali Vidyapeeth (near Jaipur) for one year for 8th grade. I was 11 yrs old then. It was the first time I learned all my subjects in Hindi, except of course English. It was a very challenging year for me, but that is another blog. I also did my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in India. Also quite an experience for me. During my two years of B.Sc. I lived in the girl’s hostel, in Meerut, with my uncle as my guardian. M.Sc. was in Saharanpur with the joint family of my aunt. Again, that is for another two blogs. After those four eventful and wonderful years, I have only visited India every 4-6 years or so.
I have always felt a strong connection with India and want to keep coming back to my motherland, but since my immediate family is in USA, it was tough to come to a “home”. Whenever we came to India, we came as gypsies, ready with a suitcase and ready to move to a new place every third day. We would visit and stay with relatives or stay in hotels. There is a great freedom in doing that, and I got to travel all over India, which really has been a treat. India is beautiful.
However, for some years I have had a very strong urge to come to India especially to do some volunteer work. I tried that 7 years ago also, but it did not quite work out. So last year in 2011, I braved it and came to India on my own, which was a big step for me, as I did not even know who would pick me up from Delhi airport. Luckily, everything worked out (Krishna’s will) and I spent two months in Haridwar at Dev Sanskriti University, which is associated with Shantikunj. I had such a nice experience and met such good people that I could not resist coming back again this year (2012). The most important thing during these two years was that I stayed in one place and enjoyed one place rather than constantly packing and unpacking.
I don’t know what is going to happen in future. Coming to India in summer means no working in USA, which means no income and leaving my home and family for 3 months. So as much as I love my experiences and want to spend my summers here, I don’t know if I can do this every year. I wish it was easier......