Back to my home away from home

Berharap anda selamat tahun baru. Not very timely huh… though better late than never I say. Been travelling this last month. Spent new year with parents and in – laws in India, and now ‘back to the future’ – rumah baru saya – Jakarta. The whole month was a whirlwind. For the lack of ability to be more articulate – I would like to conclude – I am ‘not sad’ to be back here.

Talking about living away from parents – both mine and his, has been a loaded conversation always, with anyone. Yes, all my blood ties are in India and my husband’s too. Yes, we love them, miss them. No, it doesn’t mean that Jakarta is not worth living in. It definitely is. Visiting home last month made me realise that. The ease of day to day life, cleanliness and the discipline in Jakarta seems substantial when compared to Mumbai and if I claim to like such a way of living, I should not be judged.

The attitude of people is probably the product of your surroundings and in immensely resource scant country such as India if people push around, jump the queue, interrupt conversations so that they would be given priority over others , litter on the streets because the dustbin is far away and they are in a hurry to catch a train/bus/flight – it could be attributed to lack of space, time, money and other such resources – if at all it could be justified. I am not saying that this might not happen anywhere else in the world. Its just that I don’t see this happening much in Jakarta, despite Indonesia too being a third world country like India. Personally, I haven’t changed much – I have always NOT littered, followed rules and queues, been polite and hence in general have not offended anyone ever on these accounts.

I am sure this kind of claim (the facts about crowd, discipline and cleanliness in India) could raise many voices. In general I would be giving offence to so many including my own family (My Mum for sure. Anything that I praise about Indonesia results into she concluding time and again that I wont be coming back to India). That said, I of course am proud of India and her culture  – in fact its influence on the Indonesian culture. There are so many words, customs and traditions that remind me of my homeland time and again. Being proud of my country doesn’t mean disowning any areas of improvement. It  would be like failing to own my faults as a person since I believe I am the best. Putting this here in as many words is necessary. I feel it is. How can praising Indonesia for its positives mean that I hate my country or that I am a condescending NRI now?

Despite the great infrastructure or the discipline and cleanliness in public places, no place on this earth would feel like home. I realised this immediately when I arrived in Mumbai.

Its the myriad smells and sounds that first pull your heart’s strings – chime of a temple bell,  a call of some street hawker, chirping sparrows (and even crows!! yes!! – I haven’t seen any birds in Jakarta) smell of jasmine gajras, a wafting smell of jalebis, and spicy vada pav from the stall in the corner. Then the colours usurp your attention – colourful flowers showing off through immense and fresh garlands, colourful bright dresses on women, wacky colourful boards just about everywhere…..then of course comes the taste buds – food – vegetarian food – available just about everywhere – and in varieties – makes you dance with joy. Lastly, the touch – of your loved ones. Hugs from parents when you surprised them by arriving at 1 in the morning – sensation of tears falling on your shoulders, when your mother hugged you having met after 10 months – sounds of laughter floating in the air and welcoming smiles when you met your family – all of that is too overpowering for you to feel more comfortable at any other place than this – your home. It imprisons all five of your senses. Please know this – mother!! Though I must maintain – I love Jakarta!

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One thought on “Back to my home away from home

  1. Oh dear, seems like you got sent on quite a guilt trip. Don’t worry about it, people do come around.
    I do agree with you on the sights and sounds and smells and food back home. I miss all that so much 🙂

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