Many Indians fantasize about the life in the United States, and long to live the American dream, with access to money, fast cars, a better quality of life, beautiful malls and unending entertainment.
I shifted to the US of A, a year ago. I wasn't every comfortable when I first arrived, though friends and relatives insisted I would definitely adjust; it was only a matter of time before I wouldn't even want to return to India. Sure enough, I gradually adjusted to the climate, people and lifestyle. In fact, I adjusted too well! When I think about returning to India, I think of it as home, as a place where I have my family, my people, and as a place where I would want to settle eventually. Now that I am so used to the facilities at our disposal here, I worry about whether I would ever be able to re-adjust to our homeland.
Soon after shifting here, I got pregnant. Days flew by and before long I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. This gave rise to many other questions that I hadn't considered earlier. Should we return to India? And if we do, would my son be able to adjust to the harsh climate? But then again, where would I want to raise my child? In India? Or in America? Children here are taught to be independent at a young age, which is a good thing if that is what you are looking for. But me, do I want my child to be independent? A quick introspection later, I discovered that I want my child to want me, to need me. I want my child to miss me when I am away, just as I will miss him. No, I did not want him to move out as soon as he turns 18, so my husband and I could have our privacy. I wanted our family to be inter-dependent, as opposed to independent.
So bearing all these factors in mind, naturally the next point we had to consider was, where should we bring up our child? India, or America? This is one question confronted by all non-resident Indians at some point in time. There is no easy answer. While a lot of parents want to raise their children in India, shifting back is not always an option. Boarding school in India is an option, but then do you want to stay away from your child? We spent many nights thinking about whether we should plan to return to India, and then came to the conclusion that the place doesn't really matter. What matters is the upbringing we give our child. Shifting to India does not, by itself, guarantee a good upbringing. While we may not be comfortable with certain aspects of the American culture, there are so many plus points. As with all cultures, there is a good, and a bad. Being independent doesn't necessarily mean loving less. We decided to stay on here, and are confident that our child would turn out to be a fine, independent, young man.
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- The Indiaparenting Team