April 28, 2011

About old thoughts.

I read somewhere that mostly our minds just go in circles spending a majority of its time focusing on already repeated thoughts and images. And those of you who know me know that this is indeed true for my mind. I have expressed the same few thoughts in several different ways and have probably come up with a few novel thoughts along the way. Few and far between. And of the thoughts that I often revisit, there is this one thought that often manifests itself into my mental space in the form of an image.

That of an old couple. What is wrong with this image, you ask. It shows that k and I would live to grow old and live to grow old together. All is well.

Now add a few accouterments to this image -- like a heavy grocery bag, snow fall and a walking stick (if you tend to be dramatic like me). Now, the color of the image changes significantly -- it's gone from pleasant pastel shades to a sort of undefined grey (if you are with my mental process still).

And this is the image that I keep circling back to in my head, every now and then. And the thought that goes with that image is that, I don't want to be that person. No really, I have no issues growing old (I believe, I have aged pretty well so far and plan to continue on the good beginning). My issue is with the loneliness and helplessness that I associate with that image (No doubt you pictured a happily chatting couple maybe pulling a grocery cart instead of carrying the heavy bag but stay with my image, will you? Makes my story telling a bit easier). So, my problem with this story is that I don't want to be the protagonist (Yes, k can be the protagonist when he makes up a story and when he puts that in a blog of his own!) here -- that old woman with aging hands, struggling to carry the grocery bag, hating the winter that she hasn't acclimatized to (in the past umm...40 years) and wishing she were in a warm, familiar place instead guessed it, Madras (Oh! You didn't? Ok, catch up with my archives and then come back here for story time!)

Yes, I agree there are several glaring loopholes with my grey image -- grocery shopping will all be done online by that time (as k was kind enough to point out), we might be enjoying the snowfall inside the house in front of a fireplace and possibly with family/kids instead of standing in front of Kroger. All that good stuff. But, that's not my image. Mine is that of husband and wife who often say, "We thought about moving back to India, we just never did. And then, the kids got old. And then, it was too late." I don't want to say that when I am 70.

So, what's stopping me now? For one, the lack of a concrete vision and plan. What do we do after we move to India? Where do we work? Where do we live? For better or worse, my dad is responsible for instilling a constant need to plan and map pros and cons and I continue to do that, all the time. So, why haven't I mapped this out? I guess life gets in the way. Initially, you are a student (FOB, if you will) caught in the excitement of America, then you focus on getting that job with that big company and then it's marriage, house, kids. All big stuff. Good stuff. But then, this old thought swirls in front of you, reminds you of what you have forgotten in the moment (which might be a good thing after all) and exits. It keeps this up until you finally decide to focus on it and do something about it. So, what have I done about it? Thought thoughts :) Thinking is a good thing, isn't it?

And then there's the whole people business. Even on regular days, I like to know that people besides me exist in the background. And since I work from home most of the time, this means, I really like having a nanny at home and the fact that maami comes home to cook twice a week. I miss the general bustle of conversation that is ever present if you live in India. I guess it's something as simple as just hearing people around me. Hardly a reason to wrap up and go. But go figure my mind!

Anyway, more thoughts about this later. For now, I do entertain the mental image and think of ways I can fix it. Who knows? Maybe even if we were in India, the image would probably not change -- our kids would probably have come to the US anyway...but I still can't imagine us living in India without people. And someone "people" seems to be the missing ingredient in my flawed picture anyway. Will update if the mental picture decides to change to that of a healthy old couple walking briskly along the Florida beaches, a vast expanse of blue for company and a golden retriever running behind faithfully ;) Somehow, my mind is not up to conjuring that image as often as it does the other grey image :)


Anonymous said...

Good to see you blogging frequently, again!

Anonymous said...

why can't you have it both ways? live here till your kids settle, retire in India, shuttle back and forth as you wish later ? Why are you making it sound so complicated ?

Ammu said...

R,I think I have commented on your earlier R2I post. Like I said then, if you enjoy your family and the experiences you get only in India, then don't think too much. Take the plunge. The rest will fall in place. Believe me! After more than a year since our return, I am really happy and now cannot even think about relocating back to US. Just dread the cold, monotonous weekends, the potluck parties and the artificial 3 weeks vacation every 1.5 years or so...Life is much more interesting here. And if your parents are sceptical about your R2I (they will warn you of corruption, pollution etc etc) ask them 6 months after you return. they will beg you not to go back. :)))

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of people like you who blather about missing people and going back. Ironically, they are the people who don't even visit India often! People who care just pack up the bags and leave - it's not so hard. I think finding jobs in India is much easier than finding jobs here. If you really miss people the way you say you do, you would be making plans to go home now

RS said...

anon -- thanks!

anon 2 -- Because it is complicated IMHO for reasons more than I can possibly catalog here.

ammu -- thanks for the great advice, glad to hear positive stuff :)

anon -- easier said than done. Ahem...I certainly hope I don't "blather on".

Meera said...

Darn!! It is complicated and i wish in 5 years, i can say what Ammu said. I miss the life in life here... the silence is deafening and the familiarity never seems to arrive... Good luck and hopefully see u on the other side of the Pacific :):)

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