The Return of the Native

There is not a slightest intention to plagiarise Thomas Hardy’s characters or plots through my column. It’s just a name of his work that I have borrowed otherwise the entire content is but a narrowed version of my own views about returning home after several years of a self-imposed exile.

Well, many of us know not the reason(s) why we are not reluctant to decide on something that has a close connection with our heart. We just make the decision sans any second thought about how or what its impact would be. I did make one such decision — to return home, leaving many lucrative career opportunities and amenities of the capital city. Many ask me if I have found a decent job back in Imphal; many also ask me if I am finally tying the knots. I find it funny yet appreciate their intention to know my relocation plan at home.

Life in a metropolitan city like Delhi is perhaps something that many people, especially from small towns, fancy about. When you have time and money you can buy ‘fun’ in a big city. Yes I mean it. I am not sure about happiness but fun comes at an affordable rate. The night life or day life, there is always something for someone in this city. From the gardens to the various historical monuments, from a gamut of eating outlets to clubs and pubs, one has a plethora of choices when it comes to unwinding a good time. And if that’s not enough, fairs and festivals are frequently held throughout the year. People can choose and select their own menu of having fun. I must admit that people lead a vibrant lifestyle here.

The twist of the entire tale is in the irony of staying here. Despite all the facilities and technologies we are availed of, most of us end up with an empty feeling at the end of the day in the metro. We feel as if we are on a paid-exile that only accentuates the nostalgia of home. It is also a matter of luck to find good friends or companions in the city. People whom you have known for quite a long time change their colour like chameleons. And mind me, telling this, that it is true that if you have the dough, friends swarm around you. Let me put it this way: ‘Feeraal mamai chumlingei marup waatey meeramlenda (khoiradi khangde)”.

The scenario back in our state is a complete contrast to the one in Delhi. Life starts at 4 AM and ends almost at 4 PM. During weekends or on special occasions, there is hardly any place where friends and families can have a good time. Besides the special premiere shows at BOAT, for example, there isn’t any nice movie theatre that screens evening shows. We know clearly, for there are only a few ways, how we can plan to spend quality time, such as feasting, sightseeing and visits to the new-fangled eco-parks; otherwise, there isn’t a life back in our hometown.

Compare and contrast the life in a metropolitan city and the life in Manipur. Even if there are glaring issues that make life so dull, the latter has got the better edge for the time being and that’s why I am relocating away from Delhi. However, I am not really sure how long this decision is going to last. I may get pestered by my own plans and may head for some other city or country in the near future. I may get used to everything and even become immune to the ennui or brouhaha, which marks our life at home. It’s like a test drive of a new vehicle. If I like the test drive, I will plan to stay forever. If not, I will pack my bags and leave for some other destination.

Come rain or shine, I am mentally prepared for everything in store for me in Kangleipak that includes load shedding, long queues at petrol pumps, the accident-prone potholes, untimely flood, cheap bomb blasts etc. As I earlier mentioned, I don’t know why I am no more reluctant to be a part of the ennui or dismantled sense of happiness at home. I am, at times, tempted to give up the relocation plan. But my temptation has been conquered; I have already packed my bags. My last word for Delhi (in a typical manner) is that I have miles to go before I sleep.

PS: Adios Delhi and Hola Kangleipak!

This article was published on 30 September 2012
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