For the families like us, with a sole earning member and a fixed salary every month……planning, prioritising, compromising, budgeting and reallocating is very much a part of routine. So, planning an expensive abroad trip is an overwhelming luxury and risk in managing our funds. And on top of that…a trip to America, a country much costlier in smallest of things than my precious India, is definitely a very bold decision…
I had expected an overflow of excitement when the days would near for a vacation to the America. But, I am surprised at myself because I am quite subdued! Is it because I suppressed my excitement long enough so that it doesn’t jinx the trip ? Or an unknown place, the only exposure of the lifestyle there being through Hollywood movies or books, intimidate me already? Or the long planning of what to do , what to pack, how to best use the vacation with every dollar spent to its full, exhausts my mind? Or is it that the little voice in my heart which always insists on patriotism is afraid, that I would fall in love for all the material things and the small freedoms which at times are not available here?
I am afraid too….. of behaving like a wide-eyed kid in the Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, or Alice in wonderland, of wanting the vacation to never end, of desires that would take birth after biting the forbidden fruit…..
I know what all good values my country has to offer but I am also aware where all there is much to be desired……small issues which lead to a crib against neighbors, politicians, public facilities, double standards in relationships …. I don’t want to come back and start feeling more antagonised towards the way of life, here in our country!!
There is much too love within the families here….which though results in melodramatic outbursts, emotional blackmail, unsolicited advices, unnecessary heartaches and verbal castigation to prove that one has failed to do duties towards family……..Yet this same dependency on each other, quality to stick together, reverence towards parents and unquestioning attitude to follow orders from elders of family is what, has prevented our families from disintegration…from frustrated gun toting kids….from runaway teenagers…..from loss in faith in the institution of marriage….
Times have changed much and many people are breaking away from the typical set up of tradition, culture not because they have lost interest in the traditions etc but because they want a little more freedom within the traditional set up….
I love our traditions, the festivities, the small arguments and the subsequent make-ups but I value my freedom to choose, to agree or disagree, to relate or to simply keep quiet…. And I have been termed a rebel……. So that makes me little afraid of myself…. Afraid that my views will become stronger….afraid that I will advocate more freedom for women to dress as they want and to choose who they want…..afraid that I will defy my parents and keep relations with only select few whose thought process is similar to mine….afraid that I will change!!