I always wonder if there is an age, when we start trusting ourselves to make big decisions, without freaking out. The myriad of answers that I have received to this question ranged from, ‘become ageless’ to ‘ignore the problem till it goes away’. As you can see, I have the most brilliant friends.
The reason for the preface is I am dealing with one such decision. Current state of affairs is such, that I am trying to understand the need for man to be near his roots. More specifically, spending his later life in the place where he grew up. My father has always maintained that when we reach middle age, the need to be at home increases and if not satisfied, may destroy even the strongest of people. Its an emotional need and one that you cannot really suppress. I am young, so I will not understand it till I get there. Now he is twice my age and has seen a lot more of the world, than I have. So I want to listen to this logic and shut up. But the truth is, I want to know why. Why do we feel this need? I mean even in my 7 years away, India has become a totally different place than I knew it to be. The friends that I used to have, have moved away or are no longer in touch. Family has been dispersed. The work culture has changed, the social pattern and lifestyle has changed. Today even in India, you need to call up people if you want to visit them. If someone says, ‘leave me alone’, you leave them alone. You no longer hang out at the ‘katta’ on your bikes, chatting..you go to malls. So what I know to be ‘home’, is now a very different place, with which, I am not acquainted at all. And I will need to actually ‘adjust’ to living there again. But not withstanding these reasons, I will apparently feel that I should be going back.
And I am not disagreeing to this. I have seen it. Even a lot of people here in the US, after going through their careers, go back home to their small towns or big cities or wherever. My cousin who has been here for more than 15 years and is extremely successful has started feeling the need to return to India. And frankly, even I know that, I will be back there soon.
But no one has an answer to the why.. Why the willingness to give up a settled and sometimes even prosperous life and start a new life all over again in a place you hardly recognize anymore?
What is it, that ties man to his roots?