Before I start, I want to say I am sorry – it’s been a very long time since I last blogged. Nothing particularly bad had happened (except for maybe exams, which became the bane of my life) I just got super busy and then I was away in India!
As some of you know, I am of Indian origin and I go to see my maternal family every few years. Before this trip the last time I was there was 2015, so it had been a while. I was very excited to go back as I always love going to India; it’s different to Scotland in so many ways and I always learn something new when I got there, be it about family or the country itself.
This time, however, was a particular eye-opener. The city where some of my family reside, Chennai (also known as Madras) has changed a lot. Pollution is worse than ever before, the city has become less clean and population is getting to a point where vehicles on the road cannot even move. Not to mention the major water issue, where there is a shortage of water to drink and for bathing.
Of course, my family are among the more luckier ones compared to other people – my aunt has a house in a nicer area where these issues are not so prevalent. However my uncle is more central in the city and often runs into these problems, including not having running water – it just goes to show how a middle class family like mine can still struggle, never mind a working class one.
To be honest, this is all I really know of the issue, and I could go on about how the Central Indian Government need to start paying attention to this issue, or even the local authorities in Chennai itself should, but what really hit home for me was how lucky I was to be in the UK. Water never was and never would be an issue for me or my family as long as we were in Scotland. It doesn’t take me two hours to get from one place in Edinburgh to another. Most shockingly, the population of Chennai was the population of my entire country of birth.
It’s one thing watching something like this on the news and another seeing it for yourself, that too in your own family. It put into perspective all the ‘problems’ I had – some of which, of course, were still problems. Yet I felt almost grateful for having the problem of not having a charger for your mobile or having to do University work instead of wondering if I could have a proper shower tonight or a drink of water.
On a lighter note, I also made some great memories – I went to a completely new part of India called Hyderabad, where the traffic was even worse than Chennai; I had lots and lots of food (as per usual), I bought lots of new clothes and my cousins and I made a group chat (may come to regret this later). Most of all, I got to see my family which is always great.
I returned to Scotland feeling incredibly jetlagged and cold, but grateful. It made me want to try harder at everything, give everything a real go, not just a half hearted one. Living on my own definitely gave me a similar epiphany, but this felt different. I had never run into the issues I had run into in India when living alone here in Scotland.
So I guess the take away from this is, whenever you’re feeling down or low, just remember there is someone out there – maybe even someone really close to you – that is having a harder if not harder time than you. It sounds cliché, but I feel simultaneously its equally true. It’s not always the most reassuring thing to think about, but I believe it’s better than nothing.
I’m sorry it’s not been the most cheery blogpost for making a return, but I hope you find the good in this article! I’m planning to make a return for writing once a week and will increase it from there.
You can check out my last article here.