Aside from the ache I have to see my family and friends again I miss the silliest things about America.
I miss driving my own car; I miss 24-hour supermarkets. I miss the security of American sidewalks where I don’t worry I might plunge into a giant hole in the sidewalk and end up in an open sewer. I miss grilled cheese sandwiches with real cheese and the beauty of a taco on a homemade tortilla from a taco truck. I miss the culture, by which of course I mean hot dogs and apple pie. (Not actually these foods but the culture these foods have somehow come to represent). I miss a level of gender equity that while far from perfect is far beyond that which I’ve seen and experienced in India. I miss the familiarity that comes from growing up in a place and knowing how things work without a second thought. I miss speaking the same language as those around me and I miss bars being open past 1am. I miss karaoke and I miss wearing socks. I miss the strangest things about home.
But perhaps what has come as a bigger surprise than the randomness of the things I miss is the intensity with which I have fallen in love with India. I thought I would look forward to leaving; I thought I would need a break and want to go home. And indeed I could use a break from the daily challenges of bad infrastructure and the chaos of this country and I do indeed miss my people back home desperately. But I found a home here in a way I never expected I would. I built a community here. I got comfortable and familiar. I will miss the India I have gotten to know and I will be sad to leave it behind when I return to the US at the end of June.
I will miss the spots that make Bombay, Bombay. By which of course I mean the peace you find standing on Carter Road or Marine Drive after a long day’s work and watching the sun sink into the polluted sky and light up the city in an orange glow. I will miss Juhu beach, packed with people in the evening time. I will miss being in the same country and time zone as my cousins. I will miss talking to them so often and weekend trips to Kerala. I will miss how every ally and gully is packed with kids, laughing an playing cricket despite the interruptions of autos that race through their cricket pitch. I will miss commuting my local train. I will miss the chaat of India. The jalebi, samosa, the pani puri, because when you crave pani puri there simply is no substitute. I will miss the constant stream of festivals and the random late night dance parties. But mostly I will miss the people. I will miss the amazing friends I have made here in India and will be blessed to keep even after I leave.
The best part about my time is India has not been any one thing I was able to do or any one person I met it has been the massive shift in perspective. The awakening to the world outside the country I call home. The perspective gained from seeing through a new lens, from living in a different country. A blessing that I know will continue to give even after I fly home to the States.