Pardes – Our Migration Story
Past few weeks I have been in midst of moving countries. I have shifted base from India to New Zealand. Yes, all the way into the Oceania. I don’t know about me but what concerned me was my baby. She is two years old and is lot more aware of her surroundings and people now.
She just recently started telling how to go to different places. Like for example, she would recall all the landmarks like a temple, an auto stand, a peacock drawing and a moo-moo cow on her way to playschool. She would know which turns to take to get home after a certain distance is reached. She knew our neighbours not only on our floor but four floors below too with the flat numbers. The biggest thing was that her grandparents live just two floors below us. She could just get up and go to them on a whim.
I was dreading the move because of this. From a few days in advance, we started telling her about New Zealand and how fun it would be to go there. So every time someone asked where she was going, she would yell ‘New Zealand’. After a few days, she added the part, ‘that’s where Disneyland is!’
We also started telling her that only mumma, baba and she would go there, as we need to go find a special home. Then the grandparents will follow. But obviously, she being a people-loving person, did not like that. She started telling stories about a big house in NZ and how everyone will live together there. She would name all her relatives and cousins and say they are coming to Disneyland too.
Also we were packing and disposing stuff from the house. So when each item went out of the house, she would be perturbed and quiz on why we were disposing it. She never really cried or threw tantrums. She was always an adjusting kid. Even when her toddler bed went away, she didn’t really complain.
Instead, she was happy she could sleep on the big bed or after some days on the mattress on the floor. She moved into her grandparent house a week before the final move. We let her spend as much time with them as we slogged through the last-minute wrapping up of our life in India.
She cried a little at the airport when she got a rude shock that her ‘thatha’ and ‘ammama’ (grandparents) don’t have a ticket for New Zealand and so they would be flying in later some time. The next half hour with the sobs of ‘thatha kavali’ (I want grandpa) literally summed up all our emotions as we left for security check and for our journey to a new unknown land. I wasn’t going to cry. I had promised myself.
It was all for a greater good, I explained to myself. She will adjust, find new friends, like the new experiences. But she won’t definitely get the pampering and attention of grandparents on such a regular basis. Well, you don’t get everything in life. As they say famously ‘Sab ko mukammal jahan nahin milta, kissi ko zameen, kisi ko aasman nahin milta’ (Everyone doesn’t get everything, some don’t get the ground, some don’t get the skies).
What goes through a child’s mind is always a mystery. The younger they are, more taken for granted they are. Nobody really asked my daughter if she really wanted to move. She is just a child, she will adjust and move on, is all everyone said to me. I do also want her to move on but not forget. She has had the best first 2 years of her life with her totally doting grandparents. I will not let those memories fade away. They will be our happy memories and stories to live by.
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!