A bright and vibrant country with an eclectic mix of various cultures and people, land of astounding diversity in languages, suffused with rich culture … that’s my land, India! Glad to be born and brought up here …to have lived and to continue being a proud Indian. I had absolutely no intentions of traveling anywhere away from my homeland, so much that I had prior condition while getting married, that I would never leave India (My fear generating from the fact that my husband was in the IT and the general notion that most people tend to travel abroad for work transfers in this field).
Well, I may have delighted in my intelligent pursuit of having a flourishing career, being close to my family and thriving in the familiarity of my country; but the supreme power had planned to intervene my chosen path. Such is the forceful circumstances strengthened around us, that we are bound to make decisions that are stark opposite to our inherent nature, principles, and goals in life.
It is rightly said, ‘We attract what we fear’. My husband got transferred to the UK and the fear that had taken a backseat in my subconscious suddenly surfaced as a cruel reality before me. Nevertheless, my unbound love for him had grown so strong in all these years that I hardly flinched at my decision of dropping my career and crossing the continents to be alongside him. Whether it was marriage, motherhood or simply the wisdom that came with that age; it sufficed me a renewed vigor to overcome my inhibitions and traverse life in leaps and bounds. We embarked upon our new chapter in life.
Living in UK was like living a dream. I wondered why was I so staunch about not wanting to travel in the past. Maybe sometimes it’s best to fear something and attract it in our lives. England is a beautiful country packed with stunning sceneries and landscapes. There is a work-life balance embedded in people, a competent healthcare system, quality of life in terms of safety, law and order, public transportation, and what is a luxury in India seems quite easy to find here. Some naïve reasons for me to love being here were 24-hour electricity, no traffic jams, less pollution, no VIP culture, and of course, the exhilarating feeling of being in the place which is the hub of tourists. Proximity to the neighboring European countries and being able to reach out to explore them with ease seems quite an achievement.
They have a high quality and high standard education system. There is a structured curriculum that is designed to meet the needs of all students through differentiated teaching and learning activities. The curriculum is designed around the interests and abilities of children. They learn through questioning, problem-solving and creative thinking rather than by the mere retention of facts. Children grow up with more freedom and self-confidence. They have less pressure of academic excellence and are free from compulsive steering to choose only a few selective fields for a career. Seeing my child excel in the enriching environment couldn’t have been more pleasurable.
Human nature is peculiar! We quickly get used to the good things around us, take them for granted…and start lurking for what we feel is lacking in the system. As most Indians, I began to fear what my child would lack while growing up in UK and surrounded my thoughts with many ‘what ifs’ – what if my child doesn’t want to learn our language, what if he doesn’t want to imbibe our cultural values, what if he cannot connect to our families in India, what if he becomes too relaxed and less disciplined…and so on! But are these fears true?
My logical mind struggled with the ‘what ifs’ of raising a child in the UK.
Will my child be less disciplined in studies and behavior? Absolutely not, we often confuse command with discipline. Raising a more independent child doesn’t mean they will be less disciplined. Shouldn’t sincerity, a keen interest in learning, and mannerism, be preferred over, gloating in false ego being elated when children do what we tell them to do, eat what we feed, study what we tell them to study, marry whom we tell them to get married to!
Will my child forget the roots and stray from our culture? Not so! Don’t we take extra efforts to expose our children to our roots and culture by putting them through classes like Indian dance forms, cultural fests, our language, etc.? I have celebrated almost every Indian festival while in UK than when I was in India. Maybe because when we are living in the roots, we just assume that by merely being in the scene, we are naturally absorbing the roots.
Will my child have a language barrier while connecting to our nearest families? Why so! While we efficiently teach multiple foreign languages to our children, couldn’t we teach them our own? I have seen children raised in western countries, being more connected to their extended families in India and I have witnessed children in India never having met their near-families.
Will my child face an identity crisis? Not at all! Children here grow up having a stronger individual identity. Could we not be unorthodox and be open about accepting the outcomes of raising a more confident child growing up among multi-cultures and races co-existing.
Above all, would it not be easier and simpler just to accept the fact that our children need to live and survive in their times to come. We can refrain from constantly trying to tie them with our past childhood experiences, and instead, just choose to provide them the best we can! Being enlightened with this peaceful analogy, I was happy living in that country, and constantly kept pushing away that tugging fear – I didn’t want to go back to India now.
And here I am, back in my home country yet again! perplexed to see my life’s fear taking a full circle and wondering if I could ever be as happy and peaceful here, as I was before taking the leap…