Growing up in Mumbai, India, living with almost half a dozen people in my house was my normal. Something else that was also a part of my normal was being chided when I didn’t eat as per my mom or my grandmother’s standards with “You never get fat with home-cooked food, even if you ate more.” Whether it was my parents checking on me and staying up if I was out till late, or eating a less fancy meal at times just because there were one too many people to cater to, the feeling of being cared for superseded everything I may have compromised on. And more importantly, it was the home that I always knew to be mine.
It’s been exactly six months since I moved to Singapore, and I have come to realize the value of all the things I took for granted back in India, including the luxury of at least having a cooked meal on the table at the end of a long day. As I settle into my house in Singapore, a place where my husband and I have built our own little haven, my heart can still feel the emotions that I have carried from India with just as much intensity. But, hey, I’m not complaining!
Never having visited Singapore, the world-famous Merlion statue had always been my first and only pictorial and mental association with the Far East. That apart, the tropical and bright vibe of this island country, which draws a parallel with my good ole Mumbai, was enough of a reason to like this place from the word go. Another reason, and the most important one, why I was fine with living in this city was my husband. After all, there is no greater reason than love to make you cross seven seas.
My life has changed in a host of ways, after I came to Singapore. While finding my foothold in a new country, I’m also adjusting to the ways of my new married life. There are days when all I want to do is sleep in my mum’s lap and listen to her talk about her day, and tell my father to lower the volume of the television because the house is just too loud. I miss my maid telling me “Didi aaj kaam zyada lag raha hai kyunki aap kuch baat nahi kar rahe ho.” As I come to terms with the fact that I’m going to live the rest of my life as an NRI, I feel nervous thinking about the time when being so far away from home may not hit me as hard, or when I will not crave to be in India as much as I do right now. As excited as I am about our journey ahead, I become slightly unsettled thinking about my life in India as a distant memory, when the good times and moments from the upcoming phases of my life pile up. Until that happens, I just want to let myself feel all the emotions and be home sick, before this new country finally becomes my home away from home.