Coming Out Of Shell

It gets very lonely here sometimes – a cousin in another city of US told me once. Hang on to whatever friends you have or can get.

US is another world. In order to be happy here, I need to unlearn what I knew and was in my past life and pick up things here. That’s the only way one can enjoy this life. So if I go to a New Year party and don’t drink or dance, I will be labelled mad (this actually happened with me). I need to sit with a drink in hand at gatherings. I need to shop and eat out keeping in mind deals and discounts. I need to be more social, open and extrovert; being the introvert that I am will not help.

The initial few days were very difficult here for an extreme independent, self centred person like me. Of course, girls would want to have a husband who does most work, takes big-small decisions and drives her around for shopping but that didn’t make me happy. It was difficult for me to be a prolonged guest. It pricked to be sitting around doing nothing – in someone else’s house – while he did everything. I kept questioning myself – What is your contribution? What is your worth?

While elders advised me to ‘build my own home’ and focus on new relationship, transform from Me to Us, I am struggling to make my identity in this new country full of strangers. Who am I here now? An insignificant nothing? How can Us be complete if one I is incomplete? And I will feel complete when I feel well achieved. When I feel something.

In the last few days, I experimented with cooking. No world cuisines or delicacies. Simple ghar ka khana. Some were ok, some were inadequate. But I felt happy for achieving something. I gave myself a challenge and fulfilled it. The next target is to be better at it. This new challenge has been driving my days. Every day I look forward to cooking a new sabzi.

The other day, I ventured out into the neighbourhood on my own. That was a big step. I don’t know what was stopping me from walking out and getting lost? Isn’t that the only way of discovering?

Of course, there is the marriage. With a person who is on a totally different plane than me. That does take away half of my energy. Still, to feel content, I try to make the most of my me-time. I talk to old friends, try connecting with new friends, try cooking, read and write.

Between all the keeping-busy, there are moments of nothingness. That’s when I realize life is lonely. When I am wide awake during the day, every one else in India is fast asleep. I have been used to having people around me all the time – colleagues, neighbours, friends, family. Suddenly, there is no one.

It does get lonely here.

Sometimes I wonder if I should even think of my past life. Yeah, I have begun to call it past life. There is no point mixing it up with new life. The two can’t merge. The components of my past life need not find their way in here. This world is different from the other. And to be happy here, I need to forget the other one.

* * * *

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4 thoughts on “Coming Out Of Shell

  1. It’s interesting to hear your point of view. I am an introvert, and I think that’s why love it here. Cz no one judges me, nobody expects anything from me and I can just be myself. I can choose my friends and activities. And I love how I can be in my shell and no one will bother me! I really enjoy it. I have been told that I am very westernized, but hey, when in Greece do as the Greeks do. Trust me you will get used to the lifestyle before you know it 🙂 Good luck!

  2. Thanks for going through. Yup, I was told people here are non-judgemental and you are allowed to be ur own self easily. I am facing this issue with existing Indian groups / friend circle. Perhaps they tend to judge and access how you will be able to become a part of the existing bunch. So my husband and I have decided that I should just make neutral friends outside..

    • That’s a great idea! I would highly recommend making friends outside of the Indian community as well. Some Indians don’t adapt even after years, and they tend to spoil the fun for others as well. I am sure with time you and your husband will find people you get along with and you will have a great time!

  3. Hi Neha, I liked this post, liked you being honest about yourself. I agree with Sowm here there is no one who knows you so no one to judge you. Wear what you always wanted to wear, do things you always wanted to do, no one will criticize. Get out of the house, walk around, feel your neighbourhood, make acquaintances, you never know your best friend might be out there waiting for you. When I was new in HK I used to take different buses heading out of my familiar territory do the whole circuit and come back. It gives you a great feeling of independence.

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