7 Things every NRI misses about India

If you’ve recently moved to a country abroad or have been living away from India then these are the things that you are most likely to miss about Bharat.
7 thing which every NRI misses the most about India7 thing which every NRI misses the most about India
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I am a newbie in shifting geographies. I moved to the USA a year back because of my husband. What I have been pursuing since then, is a ground that makes me feel settled. What makes one feel at home? Is it the people, the food, the familiarity? There is plenty to love here like there is plenty to love in any country I have been to. A new culture, food that tickles the taste buds and the people who you can learn from. And yet, when someone asks “where are you from”, the instinct is to answer “India”.


So I spoke to a few experienced folks settled here from India. What is it that still makes them answer “India”, when they are asked this question. What are the 7 things they miss the most about India:


Parents, siblings and my whole list of relatives

This one is a no brainer. Family tops the list. Sure having them over for a few weeks on a holiday is fun, but your interactions are limited to being with each other on holiday mode. Like Trupti Shetty from Fremont, CA puts it, “My parents and in-laws have been here a few times and each time we go on a trip. It doesn’t hurt to go to the same places twice (or even thrice) with a different set of people but I do miss the day to day events with them. Just being with them, spending a weekend or unwind after a day’s work. I have a huge family and am close to my cousins as well. In Mumbai,  we were all a train/cab ride away, but here we can’t even imagine being together all at once. I miss that.” Like Trupti, we miss the luxury of meeting/talking to our family (and extended) when we want to. If it is not the distance, it is the time difference that plays spoilsport. 



Friends that go way back!

As we grow older, we want to hold onto things that are comforting. And a huge part of that comfort is the friends we have grown up with from school and colleges. We may be all busy in our lives but I remember my friend telling me (when I moved) that I miss the fact that I can’t call you at 3 am as I please or even drive to your place if I want to unwind. Karthick Kolishetty from Sunnyvale tells us, “When you live anywhere for a long time, you develop your circle. Acquaintances and even friends if you are lucky. But no one comes close to the friends you have grown up with. We used to go on a 1 am ice cream drive-in Hyderabad after a long day of work without a prior plan in place. That is what I miss. Having friends you don’t have to plan things with and it happens organically.”


Street side food, Indian snacks, Cutting Chai and Lassi

There is no denying the fact that Indian food is one of the richest in the world. With as many ways of making food as there are cultures in India, we sure are a delicious hot-pot! Hailing from Delhi, I sure do miss the Moong dal laddoo from Lajpat Nagar, the creamy lassi from Chandni Chowk and the delicious Chole Bhature from Sharma Ji. I have not found the same flavour anywhere here in any Indian restaurant. Also, the concept of a “thela” or the roadside food as we know, is a journey of self-discovery in India. As Abhishek Pati from LA shares, “You do not find the same taste anywhere. And what you shell out for something that is remotely close is insane! I remember when my parents visited and they were shocked to pay $11, about Rs.800 for a plate of momos they didn’t even like.”



Kirana shops and Indian bazaars

Most of us are here because of better opportunities and a better lifestyle that comes with it. We are all on saving mode too but it doesn’t stop us from enjoying things. We would want to save on our daily expenses too. Things that we perhaps took for granted (weekly shopping for instance) is something we have started to dread perhaps. For a long time, we could not find the atypical Indian items in our grocery list. And even if we did find them, they were exorbitant. A small comparison is that of a Garam Masala. What would cost not more than Rs.40 in India, costs Rs.500 here. And hey, don’t forget the extra discount that you would get because it is your family’s go-to store. 


Festivities, fun and more!

Indian festivals are an epitome of fun. More so because your entire family and group of friends gather to bring it in. It is great to have Diwali, Holi bashes here, but it is not like you are celebrating with your family. You also miss out on family weddings and have to prioritise your visits and attendance as per your schedule. Getting on a 22-25 hour flight to attend a cousin’s wedding is too much hard work. You may make the choice, but that doesn’t mean you are happy with it. “When would I wear a million sarees I have the many suits I bought? It is all sleeping soundly in my cupboard in Delhi!”, shares Sanyukta Ghosh, studying at Stanford University.


Growing up

Our childhood has memories that come from the fact that we grew up in India. My grandmother’s lap being my story hour or the aroma of the bakshanam (festival snacks) made by my mother still add flavour to my memory. Our kids, on the other hand, miss out on that. It is also easier to leave the kids to a family member than to a daycare service centre because we trust family. Kirti Iyer shares, “Daycare and a nanny was not cheap when my child was growing up. Most of my salary just went into that! One of us couldn’t afford to not work and take care of the child because it is all so expensive here. You do make a good amount of money. But what you make is spent just as easily. Now my child is grown up and he is used to the life here. It is not easy when we travel to India to meet our family. He feels completely disconnected and it takes a lot out of me to explain why familiarity with our roots is important.”



Simple pleasures

Life can sometimes be defined by simple pleasures that now are a part of our memory. As small as drying clothes in the sun (because that is healthier for us and the clothes too, than to use automated drying machines) or just letting our kids stomp freely about without the fear of neighbours, some of us miss that too. Malay Tripathi puts it, “We have a huge courtyard in our house in India and every winter morning Dad and I would sit outside reading a newspaper, sipping on a cup of tea and eating homemade Kachoris. Ahh, what bliss!”


You can take a man out of their country but you can’t take the country out of the man. And not because a geographical boundary is all it takes to love our country. It is because the memories we make and cherish with our loved ones or even the people that have passed us in life. We may miss these things but they always will make us smile when we reminisce. Here’s to making fond memories anywhere you are! 

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