Good to be home

Finally, I am back in London. Another 10 days - in India, Sri Lanka, and Dubai - done. How I wanted to live this life when I was young? How much I wished, during those interminable train journeys I had to take from Calcutta to Bhawani Patna [in the famine-torn parts of Orissa, where I had the uneviable task of selling Computer Training], that, by some magic, I shall move from country to country? That was another time, but.

Do I sound smug, as if I have arrived. I am wrong, then. I am just a salesman, and will remain so. I travel with none of the pomp of a civil servant, with obiliging tax-payers paying for my first class. Unlike my colleagues in big-name corporates, I travel in cramped economy classes, with irritable seat mates and to uninviting airport lounges, always reminded of the constraints of the start-up business that I help to run. I allow myself no jetlag, anxiously check my hotel bills and carefully choose public taxis over hotel limousine, wherever possible. How aptly a colleague commented - those who say travel is glorious, never travelled!

Besides, I miss England. Not its government, which is as erratic and as full of themselves as one could bear. But, after all these four years, I have now come to love most of other things, even weather. England is my home. At least, for the moment. I know the streets and churches, I know which shop sells the best vegetable and where I can get the latest movie DVDs. It's habit - mother of comfort! How beautiful it is to walk on the streets, pick up a newspaper, pop into a supermarket and wait for a train. Almost makes me sing 'Home Sweet Home' when my train from Gatwick run past South Croydon, to another bigger station, where I must change the service.

I know what I am thinking. When I was performing the last rites of my mother, the sloka read - janani janmobhoomishcho sargadapi gariyashi [Mother and Motherland are more desirable than the paradise]. I almost thought - I would never meet my mother again, but I have my motherland - India - to which I shall give all my love, all my life. So, why think England as my home? Yes, indeed, because I got used to it. That's why I felt so relieved, getting back in Gatwick, from Calcutta! While I see the irony, I don't see a conflict, though. I would eventually leave England some day, all the trappings, all the comforts of Home, to go back to Calcutta. To do work! Our idea of paradise may be all about homely comfort, but life is to be lived for something better, isn't it?

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