I have been to Bangalore twice ever since I moved to the US about 4 years ago.The whole euphoria associated with a trip back home happened only during the first visit.The second visit of course was when my mother was unwell so I cannot classify it under any category.And now I have reached a point where I no longer get excited about the prospects of visiting good old Bangalore.It is almost like the need has been obliterated. M is in Bangalore for a couple weeks.Before he booked his ticket,he asked me repeatedly if I wanted to go along.And I said no every single time.
As far as I am concerned,the focal point of a visit back home is to be with my parents and spend as much time as I can with them.I do love visiting the extended family and the whole bunch of aunts and uncles and aunts-in-laws etc.I enjoy the get-togethers and the conversation and more importantly,the food!But its not like I would be disappointed or something if all of this did not happen.See the thing is I am the only child and I am quite close to my parents.Well, I don't know how to exactly define my closeness to them.When I was much younger and in school and college,I used to share everything with my parents,especially my mother.I would call her from the movie theater and tell her that I bunked class and I am here watching a movie and would hang up before she could even respond! I did not care about the scolding I would get once I reached home but as long as my guilt was allayed and my mother knew exactly where I was, I was ok.After I was out of college and started working,I slowly began to feel the need for some space of my own.I did not feel the need to tell my parents about everything that was happening with me.But I did not want to alarm them with a sudden change in behavior lest they start suspecting that I was doing drugs or something equally drastic!So I would still talk to them about a lot of things like work and office politics but just not everything under the sun.The long talks continue to date but again it is limited to everything that they have to share with me or bitching sessions about relatives or cricket conversations.
So when I was in Bangalore on both occasions,what I really cherished was the quality time that I spent with my folks.We talked and talked and sometimes we would be talking about the same thing over and over again.But that is the kind of family we are.We talk a lot.We are very physical people.We hug a lot.We playfully whack our mothers' bottoms and pinch our mothers' cheeks until they turn pink.But my in-laws on the other hand are not so much into talking and sharing thoughts and feelings.Whatever needs to be said is said.There is no unnecessary display of emotions.But they do make a sincere effort to talk and communicate with both their DILs.So when I visit them and spend the day with them,it is really nice because we have things to talk about.But the next day onwards,it is really difficult for me to get adjusted to their ways because there is hardly anything left to say.And so I try to make conversation to fill the silence and I end up saying something totally out of context and embarrassing myself and sometimes embarrassing them!
My parents were here recently for a couple of months and we had a wonderful time together.We did all the talking and bonding that we possibly could! And before that my MIL was here for a couple of weeks. So when M asked me if I wanted to go to Bangalore with them,I was inclined to decline.Apart from the food,I wasn't particularly interested in visiting my hometown for any other reason.I mean it is not like I don't ever want to go back or something.Given a chance,I would hop onto a plane anytime.But the trip itself would have to be devoid of any emotional baggage attached to it.It would be a short fun trip and I would be going to enjoy myself and to have a good time. And this realization is kind of alarming especially when I see my aunts who have been living in this country for more than 15 years get all hyper about their annual visit back home.
Its just that home now means the home that M and I have made for ourselves here.So it is our home and my parents house and his parents house.There is a clear distinction.
Edited to add:
I have nothing against Bangalore.I love the city and it will always be my first home.But a trip to Bangalore involves much more than just a visit to the city of Bangalore.There is a lot of emotional baggage attached and this is what I dislike.A lot of decisions have to be made about how to time slice between the parents and in-laws and the entire gamut of relatives.Everything one does is speculated and discussed.Oh it is not at all simple!In my aunts' case,a visit back home still means going to amma's place and get waited upon hand on foot.In my case,I refuse to let my mother slog in the kitchen all day long just because I am around and just because there is this inane need for her to feed me till my seams burst open.I would much rather prefer to take her out to dinner or lunch and be able to spend more time that way.Even when my parents visited us,I did not let her into the kitchen for several days until she declared war against me for doing so.My rationale was that she was on vacation and she deserved a break.But apparently she was feeling very left out because she wasn't in charge of the kitchen and that was her territory.I want my trips back home to be just about me going back to have a good time with my loved ones.But it usually entails a lot more that that.