I missed - and still do - street food, the hustle and bustle on the roads and inside colonies, movie songs blaring from autos and buses, kids going off to school in the winter mornings and so many little things that you never notice while living at home. Basically I miss the sense of being surrounded by life all the time. Life in India is always noisy and colorful. But at the same time, I love many things about the American way of life. There is a sense of calm and order, people respect your privacy even in public spaces and I certainly don't miss the constant ogling and catcalls from strange men on the street. Given the snowy winters of Michigan, I also appreciate central heating and carpeted floors. And best of all - no power cuts!
Practically every Indian knows - and hates - that word. Come summer and everyone is anxious to know how many hours a day we have to go without power. Even worse than the scheduled loss of electricity is the completely unexpected power cut. The ones which strike just as you are about to step into the shower, turn on the hairdryer when you're already late for work or fall into a deep sleep at the end of an exhausting day.
I have fond memories of power cuts from my summer vacations in Guntur (my grandparents' home). Promptly at 8pm, the lights would go off and we had no generators in those days. The women used to rush us kids through dinner so that the kitchen could be closed for the night. Out came the kerosene lanterns and the candles. Now summer in Guntur is very, very hot and the night is no exception. Most everyone in the house would gather in the garden - the adults in chairs and talking, we children playing hide-n-seek in the dark! We used to play word games, memory games and make forts from the plastic chairs and sofa cushions in the living room. Yes, I have fond memories of those dark times but one side of my brain assures me that the other side is just being nostalgic. Of course, it also helps that I know I don't have to go through power cuts anymore! Little did I know what was in store for me.
|Image courtesy Markus Grossalber|
Experiencing a blackout in Michigan instead of India was a strange experience but I did find out one thing: no matter how old you are, everything feels more adventurous when it's dark!