Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Inheritance of Loss!

One of the nephews of Grandma-in-law is settled in the UK. Earlier this year, Grandma-in-law visited UK and stayed at her nephew’s place for about six months. They all had a good time especially the nephew’s two kids. Being born and brought up abroad, they miss the company of omnipresent relatives and elders that kids in India enjoy. Both the kids, especially the younger one, got very close to Grandma-in-law.

Sometime in July, Grandma returned home and it so happened that the nephew and his family visited India in August. Father-in-law is generally on a lookout for a reason to arrange family ‘get togethers’ and this Rakshabandhan, everyone met at Father-in-law’s place and had a good time.

When it was time to leave, the nephew’s kids weren’t happy. The younger one, who is a lovely little girl of 5, wanted Grandma to leave with her. The kid cajoled, then pleaded and finally cried. Everyone in the house tried but the little girl wouldn’t listen! She cried her heart out, loud and it was so unbearable, everyone in the house cried!

I have never seen a child cry like this. And I have also not seen a child’s father cry like this! I could understand the sense of helplessness the nephew and his wife would’ve felt! They might also have felt guilty but looking at the nephew cry, I realized his anguish was much more than his kid’s. Being an NRI is difficult, especially if you have left India after two decades of upbringing in a joint family. You go abroad to make money and after years of giving your youth to that country, all you have is money!

Watching the nephew cry, I realized how he must have felt all these years. He would be missing his parents, his cousins, his friends all the while. He must have blamed himself for not being present at his father’s deathbed, he must be terribly worried since his aged mother has chosen to stay back in India. Though he visits India regularly and his relatives and elders have visited him regularly, he knows his kids are missing what he certainly treasured as a child. Somehow, over the years, he has come to terms with the irony of being an NRI but when he sees his child going through the same feeling of loss, he can’t take it any more.

Throughout my career, I have had my fair chances of settling abroad but somehow I have not taken them. I still don’t know whether it has been a wise decision (or otherwise!).
There are times when I curse myself for not settling abroad and then there are times, like these, when I thank myself!