When Are You Coming Back?

My husband, our daughter and I went, for a few days, to visit our families back in India. This has become an unsaid protocol, a yearly visit to India – Bangalore. We met my family and my husband’s family, both in Bangalore. Needless to say, days were hectic. Our schedule was jam-packed with places to visit, weddings to attend, relatives to meet, food to eat and things to buy. There was never a dull moment.

When Are You Coming Back?

While in Bangalore, my husband and I woke up everyday with great enthusiasm and smile on face. Headaches were snubbed by popping pills; acidity by drinking a cup of homemade tonic. My daughter, all of four now, was equally energetic. There were days when she managed with just 6-8 hours of sleep and no afternoon nap. She ate all her vegetables without much nagging from me. She was even ready to let go of her daily rendezvous with her best friend Mickey mouse in his clubhouse!

“You guys! Move back to Bangalore” was the common tune of everyone in family, as if they all were conspiring to persuade us at any cost this time! They had a list of benefits already worked out for us. Kiddo will bond even better with grandparents and her cousins – the common reasoning. That she will learn our values, tradition and culture even better was another motivation. To aid their conspiracy, suddenly my kiddo knew all the names and relations of our divine Gods “Ganesha is the son of Shiva”.

Time flew without much fuss in Bangalore. Kiddo was showered with lots of gifts; her toys in 15 days grew more than the toys she had collected over last one year. I do not disagree with any of the above reasoning. Yes, kiddo might bond better with our relatives. She might soon know the significance of all our festivals. She might even memorize our family tree by the end of a month. Just in fifteen days her limited vocabulary in our mother tongue had grown by ten fold.

There are many advantages of staying away from family too. Kids get more independent and responsible while growing up in a nuclear family, away from extended family. There will be no grand parents to fall back to. There will be no aunties and uncles to pamper and do all kid’s work behind us. Probably, the biggest advantage is the exposure to a foreign culture and language. They grow up to be more broad-minded and tolerant of other religions. Kids observe and learn the lifestyle and practices of a new culture and their own culture and in the process become more flexible.

I am not sure towards which side the scale tips more. We all have choices to make a decision. To gain something we often have to lose something. But I am sure that kids don’t have to be taught who loves them and who their well-wishers are. We didn’t have to tell our kiddo about our extended family. She already knew, somehow, that they were an extension to our family of three (well four, my kiddo insists to add our dog to family count). We are away from family for a purpose. You can call it as career or commitment. Kiddo is slowly but surely forming a bond with her cousins, grannies, aunties and uncles. And with time, this bond will only get better. I end with that hope.

Divya Rao is a mother to a 4 yr old bundle of joy. She has one eye set on growing her career and the other watching and enjoying her little one grow up.

  • Staying away has its pros and cons for sure. We stay away from our family (this is more like north and south India). We end up meeting only once a year for a fortnight. Right now my 2 yr old takes time to become familiar with the family in Delhi, I hope it improves with time. And we also keep on hearing “Come back to Delhi now, you’ve had enough of Bangalore” 🙂

  • Falak, I understand your anxiety. Last year we went, my daughter just sulked in a corner. This year she was a lot better. She made full use of her short visit. I was quite relieved!

  • Whether we stay close or far away from the extended family, the bond that we share with them is special and unique. May be that’s because of the same values and beliefs, sense of belonging…. So whenever we meet them the bond becomes a shade stronger! And the same will be true for your little one too! 🙂

    • That’s the hope Shilpa. This time my kiddo somehow mingled with great ease!!

  • Roshni

    “To gain something we often have to lose something.” That is so true and I am grateful to be exposed to new cultures and new opportunities!

    • Right Roshni … The opportunities and exposure is something that I am thankful for !!

  • Your kid has now started enjoying her social phase and she loved people all around her who opened a new window to her. But on the other side the good factor is that she is growing up as more responsible and independent individual in a nuclear family.

    • Yeah you are right, she is only now in the age where she likes people around her ..

  • Amrita Thavrani

    When are you coming back , Divya ? 🙂

  • Its a global world and every family has its own reasons to move out or come back… but the bonds of love are stronger than the distances, now with video calls and skype things r easy. I remember when we were kids we will get a letter from grandparents once in every 10-15 days..

    • Yeah..letter writing used to be in our school syllabus. Wonder if it still is!!
      Yes, Video calls take a big chunk of our weekend time!!

  • Hi Divya
    As mom of a 2.5 yr old that just returned to India (Bangalore) with her family 4 weeks ago, the one thing I’ve realized is that life here is nothing like it is when you come here on vacation 🙂 We see such a biased slice of life during vacations. And all the joy is crunched into 3 weeks .. it’s sooooo different when you actually move here. 🙂 I’m right in the middle of these growing pains with our new life in Bangalore. Extended family seemed so much more fun and available during vacations. I just blogged about my growing identity crisis as a mom of my 2.5 yr old growing rebel 🙂 born there and now moved here. Certainly not saying extended family isn’t an advantage … just totally agree with your analysis of a nuclear family and life away from what seems like *home*. Raising well traveled multi-cultured kids takes a lot more effort but comes back with fruits of joy at the end. Good luck! 🙂

    Here’s a link to that post on my blog if you’re interested.
    http://arushofbloodtotheheadnow.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/this-blogs-subtitle-should-have-read-in-search-of-self-identity-crisis-part-1/

    • Hey, I read the article! Oh man, your stress levels are too high right now. I hope everything smooths out eventually. First couple of months are the rough patch! I heard this from my cousin who recently shifted back to Blor.
      And you are totally right about “slice of life” thingy. I have seen subtle hints of the life I would lead if I were in Bangalore. It definitely doesn’t look all rosy. Thanks for your comments, Crunch!