Monday, July 31, 2006

The stay order

A long long time ago, Ptolemy concluded that the earth was the centre of the solar system and the sun revolved around it.

A long long time ago, Sayesha also concluded something. That India was the centre of the world, and everything else revolved around it.

When I was a kid, the world was a sphere full of places that you read about in a subject called geography. But there was only one place for me and others like me, to live in, and that was India. I lived in the centre of the world, the best place in the world. I had no reason to live elsewhere. The people who lived in the other places were a different kind, and I would never have anything to do with them ever in my life.

And then I heard about about someone I knew moving to this weird place called America. So I adjusted my theory and said, okay, maybe people like me go and stay in difference places in the world, but they always come back to live in their home, no matter how many years it takes them.

According to me, the earth was round in shape instead of stretching on endlessly, so that such people could go around it, see what they had to see, stay where they wanted to see, and come back home - to live in India - the centre of the world.

Two weeks ago, on 18th July 2006, I completed 8 years in Singapore. That's longer than my stay in any city in India. Two more years to go before I complete my bond. And after that, I'll have to decide. I'll have to decide which is home. I have to figure out what home really is.

All this while, my life had been pre-set. I had to live in Singpore till 2008. That was my fate, and not a bad one at that. The country has been good to me. But I could never see myself settling down here. I always thought I'd be going back to India. But now, as I near the magic number of 2008, I have to decide where I want to spend the rest of my life.

Is it Singapore where my job and friends are? Is it India where my family is? Or is it somewhere else?

A friend was discussing this with me and she asked, "Perhaps you should start thinking -- what's the most important factor that will determine which country you want to settle down in?"

"Umm... I dunno... availability of good pani puris?" I said.

(No, I wasn't joking.)

So I decided to make a list. A Singapore vs India list.

If I live in Singapore, I would be close to India.
But if I live in India, I'd be even closer to India.

Singapore has mee goreng and prata.
But India has the awesomest thing in the world - roadside panipuri.

India has my roots.
But Singapore has my job.

In India, you can be mugged and robbed anytime of your belongings.
But in Singapore, they say you've already been robbed of your freedom.

India has many crazy seasons that often go out of control.
Singapore has control over its one crazy season.

In India, I can walk around like I own the place.
But in Singapore, I can walk around without getting eve-teased.

In Singapore, I'm squashed by the stress.
In India, I'd be squashed by the crowds.

In Singapore, they speak four languages.
But in India they speak my language.

Singapore is clean.
But India's real neat too.

So I discussed my dilemma with my sister. She said she had the perfect solution for me.

"Come to the US."

"But why?"

"I'm here, that's why."

She had a good point. But I do not know yet where I will live. Things have changed. The way I feel and think has changed. I do not have that 'Of-course-I'll-go-back-to-India-where-else?' feeling anymore. Suddenly there are too many choices. Too many factors that come to play. Practicality, logic, numbers, ambition, desires, convenience. Emotions.

They say that the difference between 'staying at a place' and 'living in a place' is that while the former refers to a temporary arrangement, the latter indicates permanence.

Perhaps things have changed. Perhaps I don't need to pick a place to live in, anymore. I can stay where I am, and a few years later, I can stay somewhere else. Perhaps we don't live in a world where have to live in a place anymore. We just go around the world and stay at places we like, till we're ready to move on to the next place.

And perhaps that's the real reason why the earth is round. So that you can go around it, see all of it, and one fine day, if you wake up and you feel that you're ready to live in a place, you know exactly where to go.


American Pi said...


American Pi said...

Now to read the post. :)

American Pi said...

Interesting question - I am faced with a similar dilemma as I decide where I want to be - both short term and long term.

Apparently and ironically, I might go to Long Beach - Perhentian and become a fisherman.

Me said...


Macho Girl said...

I have also wondered about the same thing about a million times!!! But I got lots of time before I need to worry about that... India will always be home in the truest sense... the only qn is where higher education and good career oppurtunities will take me for my "stay" :)

btw... did copernicus say the earth revolved around the sun or the other way around? Wasnt he the guy who concluded earth was NOT the centre of the solar system??? :-/

Me said...

Well I guess you are facing the smilar situation of 'Ghat ghat ka pani peeya hai'. After living in Bhilai, Delhi and now Bombay..I sometimes think what is home and where should one settle down. OPften the thought of going abroad tempts but then when I see my people, my friends, my family, my language, my Gaalis and most IMP my FOOD..I think again and abandon all thoughts of moving outside India and think chalo videsh ghoomne ke liye theek hai! But I guess in the end home is where the heart is and the heart lies where family, friends and fun is!!!

P.S Pliss to be seeing my new profile pic what say!hee hee s

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

ahh. this is a long standing debate between me and myself too. no ijjy answers here.

American Pi said...

Mee GOreng, You Jane!

I could not resist this!


The Smiling Girl said...

Thats a confusion I always have, but thank God between Mangalore and Hyderabad.
But I think I am arriving close to my answer...

Meri maan le, aur thode aur factors ko consider kar.. like u know what, right? ;)

satish said...

aa jaao yaar india!

dont think too much. at the end of two years, pack your bags, say tata to singapur and come back to the place you belong to. actually this 'big' decisions sud be taken in fraction of seconds, because more we think, more we resist the idea of the change.

Abhishek said...

Hello Sayesha Ji... reading ur blog for quite some time now... ur blog is nice and different... altogether carefree and bindaas... and about ur dilemma... India is always the best... U may earn more money elsewhr... but u get a life in India .. ;))

Inder said...

it is all about the way look at it. i think the whole world is our home... nomadic life has a lot of good things. it does have its not-so-happy side. but, doesn't settled life have it own negative side?

SID said...

I guess it's a tough choice to make unless you have lived in every part of the world. Unless you have experienced it all, how can you decide which is best?

oxymoron said...

stay wherever. live in blogosphere forever ;)

neihal said...

I like your sister's reasoning...'come to U.S. bcoz I am here.'

Ravi said...

hmm profound!

You summed it up well in the end. I too have come to the same conclusion after a lot of thought. We are like Banjaras or Gypsies now in these changing times.

Anjaan Ladka said...

Very well penned! After spending 8 years in a city, you tend to attach yourself emotionally to that place coz of all the memories it gave you. Your university, your friends, your job were all a boon of this city. But sometimes you tend to want to move back to your root country just because you have always wanted to live there. If you do make that move and head back to India, I am sure within the first 2 months, you will already be missing Singapore and your great circle of friends.
The way I see it, you are an independent girl and you should remain that way. Moving to India or the US, you will have family with you and the independence will eventually disappear as you would have a lot of people (cousins, neighbours) who would give you a hand!

- Anjaan Ladka

rt said...

a very gud thought..
I too identify with it..
even though i do still stay in India.. I am away from home since last 8 years..
dunno where is my home now !!

Sakshi said...

I identify with the thought. Though my heart syas I want to go back home, job potential for Molecular biologist is sad. SO I know that my decision for practical reasons to stay abroad is sound and yet my heart yearns to be around people like me.
And though I am a firang in this city I live in, I identify myself in it too. After so many years, it does feel like a home.
So confused - I yearn to go home and yet my job means that I might have to wait. ANd its not what some people think - its not for the money - its for job satisfaction. I know I won't be able to do all the things I can do so easily here.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written. I'm going through a similar phase in life, and choosing doesn't seem to be easy. After home is supposed to be whee the heart is, but what happens if the heart can't choose? Sigh. I wish these questions had real answers.

Rays Of Sun said...

Thats a dilemma everyone faces at some point..U have been in S'pore for way too long in order to go back!It all depends 'how much u want to go back'
If the desire is place would hold u for long (except India)And if u weigh out all the options then India would never be a place to be!

Dev said...

Your post looked like this to me today:
[some text]
[some more text]

Yummy. Slurp. Mummyyyyyyyyyyyy, bhookh lagi hai.

Well..havent lived outside much... so I just cant compare. Maybe sometime in the future.. Ill get to know more :D

viv said...

You speaketh what i thinketh... but better :)

Rebellion said...

Nice analysis Sash :)

As usual, you've expressed your thoughts real nicely! Sooo, sure you wouldn't have decided yet right?! Know its just too difficult..

Hope you take the right decision for yourself :)
Wish you the best in life :)

Take care,

Hiren said...

I know a friend who has a unique health problem. She flies to Singapore virtually every month from Delhi and must have already made 7-8 trips. The cost of treatment in the Us is prohibitive.

Though this is not exactly a decision making parameter, it is worth a mention.

chandu said...

aren't u going to pakistan? :P

if ur desire to come back is very strong i dont think u need to answer any question.

Perspective Inc. said...

Well said, well said, well said! :-)
I too identify this dilemma, I have been away from India for so long now and I keep wanting to make the move back , but then I think of all the things I love about this place and I postpone my decision, yet again!
It just is so confusing.
Where is home??

The Inquisitive Akka said...

Hmmm, I can understand what you are going through. 20 years ago, my dad had to make a similar decision. He decided we had to move back. Sometimes I wonder if he regretted it.It worked out well finally, I guess.
On another note, I am in your second hometown!! Shall call you tomorrow. Am planning to go for the night safari tonight.I hope its lots of fun!

Anonymous said...

It's just you have lived ALONE long... thats what happened to me atleast.. Get some one... Now is that.. I can live/stay whatever... wherever.. but with her :-).. Cool..

saty said...

"phir bhi dil tho hindustani" rahega!!...:) i guess all the weighing of pros and cons, going in your head is because of lots and lots of choices you are having...choices ARE confusions!! of luck for whatever decision you take, hope you do not fall in trap of Mirza Ghalib's thinking.." woh har baat pe yeh yeh hota tho kya hota"....

Iday said...

i've been thinkin for quite some time now abt "the world is round and one should go around and explore it" concept :)
u have a much bigger decision to make.

Like Dev said
[some text]
...Pani Puri...
[some more text]

i NOW understand why u said what u said (aah!!! what a phrase)
Milega. Jaroor milega :D

Harsha said...

Maybe u'll get marrried to someone before that and you wont have to decide after all. Where your pati parameshwar will be, it is your swarg. ;););)

Chill...When the time comes, you'll know what to do. Sometimes it wont even be a choice. Till then just enjoy panipuris. All the best :)

qsg said...

The exact issue I am dealing with right now! :p Just cant seem to be able to make up my mind! Decisions, decisions! :)

The Light-House. said...

Home is where heart is ...
I think u should be looking forward to go to newer places... one can awlays come back.
One has to learn to let go of things when they seem to be dearest, moving ahead towards a new sunrise is the name of the game.

Rohit Talwar said...

Awesome awesome last lines!

I guess it's all about 'living' where you're currently 'staying'. Let it go on...and take it easy. Best wishes.

lil _kath said...

... oops one suggestion Kawaii, why not work here in Tokyo next time *wink* hehe... so we can have a good time ^_^ i'll tour u to Tokyo Disneyland :P

... u can always come back to India anytime u want dear or why not look for MR.RIGHT now so u will not be confused anymore. ^_^

...take care sweetie!


Sudeep said...

go to pakistan na.. :)

jokes apart.. go where u will get a home n not just a house

haan usse pehle pure world ki ek trip maarle

Ro said...

why commit when you can just 'stay'?

follow your heart. if that doesn't work, go where the chicks are hottest.

Naveen said...

I didn't want to think about this. It's uncertain and I've been leaving it at that.

It's not about where your job is now, it's about where you think the person you are, getting appreciation for what you are.

It's not about your parents, it's about where you see your children growing up.

It's as much about familiarity as being able to comprehend the world that you live in.

It's obvious I have an India bias, but the thing is, every moment that you give your best in Singapore, you want to think you are being appreciated, you want to think, this is what I can teach my children, you want to think, this is increasingly fitting your comprehension

Raysofsun said...

Hehehe so many ppl only adding to your confusion:))
2 years is a long time to make a decision.

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oxymoron said...

madamji, kahan ho? do din, no response? wats goin' on?

Anonymous said...

Salam namste bhai..

Bhai aaj se 20 yr baad jab aap apne past ko dekhoge to kya yaad rakhna chahoge... bas ye soch kar decide kar lo.. sari tension ek baar me khallash ho jayegi.. Ye idea apun ko apne Papa ne dia aur hamesha kaam karta hain. Aur haan bhai.. India me jo bhaigiri ka maja hain wo aur kahan.. Waise bhai aap decide jo bhi karo hoga wahi jo pehle se BIG BOSS bole to bhagwan ne decide kar dia hain.. Aap ne 10 saal pehle socha tha kya ki aap Singapore aaoge. Waise hi sab uspar chor do.. wo khud decide kar dega kidhar adda jamane ka hain.

Khuda Haafiz bhai.

Aj said...

Hi sayesha,

Great post :)
the dilemma is real damn for sure,
do one thing, keep moving.. around the world...ever :)

i missed a lot of ur posts... hav posted a new post on mine too .do chk out


Girl next door said...

Your post has hit home for me too. It's a dilemma that many of us who leave our countries of birth face, those temporary moves that are supposed to last through university drag on as you get a job, gain experience, go back to school...before you know it, 5 years or more are up. I am convinced that I have to return to my home in Kenya to live. My family, roots, and culture are there and I feel deprived without them. But it's hard to have it all, there's always a trade off.

Sayesha said...

//Apparently and ironically, I might go to Long Beach - Perhentian and become a fisherman.

Hahaha! Maybe you can buy the hut next to Max's! :D


#Macho Girl,
//India will always be home in the truest sense...

That's true, but what really does "truest sense" mean. Can home in the truest sense be a place where you don't live?

ps: You caught me just after I posted and before I ran my verification checks. Yes, Copernicus was the guy who came up with the heliocentric model :)

//I guess in the end home is where the heart is and the heart lies where family, friends and fun is!!!

True, but what if family, friends and fun is where home isn't? Ah! :)

#Ipanema Gal,
Yeah... me going crazy too :(

#American Pi,
Eeesh! :P

#Smiling Gal,
Aur factors? Hahaha! Like what? Saare factors consider kar liye, including things like where I wanna educate my kids :D

See, the thing is - right now I love my vacations in India. Short and nice and fun. But I have lived the life of comfort here for 8 years now, and I'm afraid that if I settle in India, I may end up getting frustrated and disliking it. And I dislike the idea of that. :|

Welcome :)
The strangest thing is - I'm not even making loads of money here. Publishing doesn't pay much, but I love it. Even though I don't have a lot of money. :)

Yup yup... that's the prob... sigh...

Why does it have to be the best in the world? By the time I see the whole world, I'd be dead. So question of settling down then. If I wanna settle down now, I have to choose amongst the countries I have seen so far :)

Wah! LOVE your remark! Amen to that :)

Hahaha! My sis is like my mom, no logic to what she says, but she hits the nail on the head :)

//We are like Banjaras or Gypsies now in these changing times.

Well said :)

#Anjaan Ladka,
Yeah, right now I'm more inclined in favour of the US than India, but let's see... time will tell :)

Welcome to the club of the 'homeless' :P

//After so many years, it does feel like a home.
//ANd its not what some people think - its not for the money - its for job satisfaction.
//I know I won't be able to do all the things I can do so easily here.

Gosh you've echoed my thoughts EXACTLY. :)

At least we're not alone in such thoughts... I guess as long as we pick something and never turn to regret it, we will be fine :)

//If the desire is place would hold u for long (except India)And if u weigh out all the options then India would never be a place to be!

Sahi boli re!! :'(

Hahahaa! I wish my post looked something like that to me too! :P

Thanks :)

Nahin yaar, I haven't decided anything yet... but soon I will have to.

That's true, but medical services here aren't exactly cheap... in fact, lots of people go to India for treatment. Shankar Netralaya is so famous everywhere!

That's the problem... the desire to go back is not very strong... my life is too comfortable here... I dread the thought of settling down in India. But for all I know, I could be doing exactly that! :O

Sigh... yeah, where is home? What is home? Does there have to be a home? The questions are driving me nuts...

You're here! Hope you enjoyed the night safari, it's one of my favourite tourist attractions! :P

"Get" some one? Hahaha! :D

Yeah, there are too many choices...

Hahaha! Cool, see ya next year maybe! I'll collect my treat then! :D

//Maybe u'll get marrried to someone before that and you wont have to decide after all. Where your pati parameshwar will be, it is your swarg.


//When the time comes, you'll know what to do.

That's the problem. I'm a PR here. I gotta decide in the next year whether I wanna give it up or not.

//Till then just enjoy panipuris.

How??? Where??? :'(


Yeah... let's see what happens :)

Thanks yaar! Actually I only have a year to decide... can't really take it easy :P

Japan is one place I really really wanna visit. Some day I will, and we'll meet! :)

//go where u will get a home n not just a house

If I like it, I can make a home outta any house. :)

//if that doesn't work, go where the chicks are hottest.

Excuse me??? That is SO not a consideration for me. :D

Hmmm... thoughts to ponder on...

Nahin re... it's nice to read what others think about this... :)

//2 years is a long time to make a decision.

Not really. By 2007 I have to decide so I can start doing the groundwork.

#Air deal,
Wah re! Tu kitne relevant post par aaya! :/

Sorry yaar, was busy at the book launch... didn't get much time to get online :)

//Bhai aaj se 20 yr baad jab aap apne past ko dekhoge to kya yaad rakhna chahoge

Tu zindagi mein pehli baar kaam ki baat bola! Shabash! Sab meri training ka asar hai. :D

Welcome back! Hehehe... I'm trying to catch up with my own blog, will get to yours soon! :P

The Inquisitive Akka said...

Well finally, i didn't go for the night safari:( went to sentosa, saw the aquarium and the magical fountain show, took a ride on the cable car, came back to orchard road, walked up and down and then went back to the hotel. It was nice. I'll go to the night safari next time I come here (whenever that is!:))

soumya said...

I guess everyone has the same dilemma at some point of time...I feel it all depends on how much of what u like ure ready to give up and how much of what u don't like ure ready to overlook...Just think of what would make u happy in the long run...
Good luck!!

Sayesha said...

#Girl next door,
Sorry I missed your comment. You must have commented when I was replying to the 44 before yours. :P

Yeah, I guess it really depends on how you define (or redefine) home. :)

Oh then you HAVE to visit again! :)

Hmm... problem is that I feel I can be happy anywhere... I mean pple just adapt, don't they? I may feel like India is too crowded and dirty and blah blah compared to Singapore but I'm sure if I live there for a year, I'll start loving it :P

Anand said...

Hey sayesha,
Lovely post! It brings out the dilemma that most of us NRI's so to stay have...where next?
I too have been in HK for last 1 yr and wonder that when I need to move outta HK...where next?

Duhita said...

Decisions, decisions, decisions! We never get it easy ever do we?:( Anyways, if you were to move, the most logical in my eyes is of course go where your sister is because I would go where I know I have family too:) But that's just me! Wow I can imagine thinking of migrating is tough business. I can't even make a decision to jump jobs! And why is it as we get older (oops-but hey thats reality) we tend to resist change so much?! Or is it just plain complacency.

Ekta said...

awww ur post touched a chord...indeed for me..home is where the heart is and no matter where I stay heart will always be in India..i miss that place and yup the lovely road side panipuri and wada pav and pav bhaji..yummm!!

Raj said...

That must be a tough decision. You need to think hard before you make it. Plus, Singapore might just get few good panipuri stalls soon. So don't base ur decision just on that :p

Abhay said...

Each place given an enriching experience ...well said . omg, i've read 4 posts of urs, in a matter of 15 minutes, i'm a damn fast reader ;)

Ravi said...

Sayesha, apart from your interesting posts, what I really like is your gesture of making sure you reply to all comments. Hats off to you (and keep it up). Yday when reading thru' these comments, I did not see your replies. But seeing today the huge list of comments, man was I impressed!

Regarding your post, I think each place has its pluses and minuses (sometimes atrociously skewed). But the greatness lies when you are able to accustom yourself and be happy to without really saying "Singapore was good in that...". And also give enough time for yourself to like (or get used) to a place and vice-versa for you know (wo)man is the best adaptive animal. Good Luck Sayesha!

soumya said...

Yes...Very true...Given enough time, u'll start loving any place ure in...It is a tough call...
All the best!! Who knows, one fine day, the answer may just come to u...
Really, good luck...I understand how difficult it must be...

Rishit Jain said...

I think I'll live in Ahmedabad all my life.

Sayesha said...

Sigh... where next? :)

True... perhaps it's the resistance to change that makes us so laid-back...

Yeah... my heart will always be in India too.. question is - will my body be there too? :P

No way! Singapore is too clean to have India ka roadside panipuri ka taste! :P

Welcome to Sayeshaz! :) Thanks for dropping by.

// i've read 4 posts of urs, in a matter of 15 minutes, i'm a damn fast reader ;)

Either that or I'm a damn bad blogger! ;)

Thanks! :)
And thanks! :)

Thanks dear! :)

Haha! A man with a plan! There aren't too many of you around! ;)

Harshi said...

Gosh Sash, u touch the heart :-) U write so well. Loved the way you concluded it. It's a dilemma I have been facing too. Well, it's already the 10th year here in the States. Is this my home? I don't know. Maybe not. It did take going away from India, to realize how much I was missing there, and how much I am missing here. The feeling of being closer to my roots. Yeah. I do feel very close to india, but won't I miss other things that are also very important to me? Can we ever have it all in one place? Sigh. And what about all the other places I am yet to live in and experience? Hmm....

Sometimes, I wish I get this opportunity to live in different countries in a sequence. It would be my choice to decide how long I want to live there. But this way, I would know exactly how each country feels and then get to decide in the end which one I miss the most... :-)) Easier said than done! :-))

Harshi said...

Wanted to add...
I think India will beckon whereever I go.


Sayesha said...

Thanks re :)

Yeah, the idea of living in a country for a few years and then moving on is really appealing, but I guess practical and logistical considerations may tone it down a few notches :)

Anonymous said...

Such decisions are sure difficult. We are also in such a dilemma,but weigh the benefits and losses in the future. Getting an answer is not so easy.