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It’s time

After having spent half my life in the US, twenty-two years to be precise, my wife and I have decided to move back to India. 

It’s time to go home.

We missed many birthdays, weddings, Diwalis and funerals in India, but an immigrant’s journey in a home away from home can be incredibly rewarding in other ways. The experiences we enjoyed, the diversity we were exposed to, the friendships we developed, the memories we made, can only be fit for the fortunate. But, all these years, the one question that we could never settle on has been “Where is home?” Home, we later realized, is never just a point on a map. It’s the people, it’s the food, it’s the festivals, it’s family. We hope, that point on a map is somewhere in India. 

My professional journey in the US has been everything everyone else has seen – career transitions, promotions, layoffs, politics, interviews, coworkers who have become lifelong friends, horrible bosses, caring bosses, but most importantly immense personal growth. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, if not for all my mentors and the well-wishers. 8 companies, 20 bosses, 4 different cities, and hundreds of coworkers later, I’m ready for the next chapter of my life. 

Then came the question from everyone we knew – “What are you going to do?” I told myself, the more important question is “What do I want to do?” 

Life is too short to be spent climbing invisible and seemingly never-ending ladders. For the most part, everything in this world is unlimited – money, power, things. Time in itself may be infinite, but our own time is not. I constantly remind myself of potential future regrets. I don’t think I’ll ever regret not making vice president or not owning a Porsche. But I know, I will regret not capturing enough moments through my camera. I will regret not experiencing enough humanity through travels. I will regret not sharing enough untold stories. I will regret not being close enough to aging parents. I will regret not making enough new memories. 

If I’m leaving the familiar, the secure, the comfortable, I should at the very least leave for something that’s personally meaningful. And so, I have decided to pursue my love for photography and writing. I have no idea what that even means, but if I don’t take the plunge now, I’ll most likely regret later that I didn’t try hard enough. In four weeks, I won’t have a job, and will be foolishly pursuing a dream. I would be lying if I said I’m not excited, but would be lying no less if I said I’m not nervous. I often use the phrase “We’ll figure it out.” Well, that’s what I plan to do. Figure it out.

This transition, this next chapter is not going to be easy. I’ll be a foreigner in a country where I was born. I’ll have to unlearn many things that I take for granted now. I’ll have to get used to new ways of living – professionally, socially, and culturally. On the other hand, we are looking forward to reconnecting with old friends, spending more time with family, and looking at everything through a toddler’s eyes, experiencing a sense of newness which many of us lost when we decided to grow up.

Wish us luck. We are going to need it.

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Published by Arun Muthu

In 2019, I relocated to India after having lived in California for more than two decades. These scribbles attempt to capture my observations at what I call home through a foreigner's eyes.

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