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Document this………………

September 29, 2009

During the past two weeks, I have nearly used up my 15 minutes of fame. First, auditioning for a movie and then meeting with a lady who films documentaries.

Chances are very good that I will not appear in either film. But both opportunities have really been “life experiences” that I will not forget. In fact, I will probably bore you to tears by telling you these two stories over and over again.

The woman who is producing the documentary is Yasmin Kidwai. She found my blog and sent me an email. She is filming a documentary called “Indian by Choice.”

Here is what she wrote:

I just came across your blog. Very interesting. I am making a film-a documentary on Indians by Choice-People who have chosen to live in India-I could not find any information about you on your blog. If you think you fit into this film and would like to  share your experience with me  pls call me. Thanks…i look forward to hearing from you.

Yes, I heard that collective gasp – no, I don’t really “fit” the theme of the film because we absolutely plan to return home. Yasmin is really looking for people who have chosen to make India their home and not just people who have come here for work. (If that is you, please let me know – I can put you in contact with Yasmin.)

When I called Yasmin back, she realized that I might not be the right person and she ended our conversation by telling me if I could find a compelling reason to include us in the film, I should email her. Honestly, what she said offended me a little – what did she mean, compelling reasons? So, I wrote back to her – then I edited it and sent this:

This is me from A Reason To Write – India (a blog about our life in India). I called you this morning in response to your email about my blog.

You asked me to write to you if I could find compelling reasons to include us in your documentary. Please forgive me for saying so, but that comment took me by surprise. It almost came across as though we could not be sincere global citizens if we came here merely for employment.

It sounds like you are looking for people who have chosen to live here for reasons other than work. My husband found a job that afforded him the opportunity to bring our family to India. He has worked with Indian people in the U.S. for many years and has tremendous respect for the Indian culture and ways of  life. He wanted us to be able to experience life in India first hand for so many reasons. He could have simply brought us to visit – but he knew that was not the same as living here. Immersing ourselves in a life so foreign to what we had been used to.

Mainly, it is good to see the world outside the bubble you are used to – wherever that bubble is. And India could not be more different from the U.S. in tremendous ways – some good, some not so great. It is important to understand that the world is not the same everywhere for everyone. I think by living in India our family has found more gratitude and more grace and has become more willing to reach out to those around us. We are coming to appreciate the world in new ways and embrace the differences. And where we do not have the understanding to embrace the differences, we are working to at least accept them.

My husband also came for the experience of working in the outsourcing industry – to understand how it is changing the world economy. India is changing the way America operates and the best way to understand that is to be here living it everyday.

You also asked about my writing. India has opened that door for me. It was our decision to move here that inspired me to follow my passion of writing. Moving to India has given me “A Reason To Write.” It has been amazing to chronicle our experiences here. To journal memories I do not want to escape me when we leave here. To relight my joy of the written word.

And, yes, we do plan to leave here. Our home is in the U.S. because our life long friends and our family are there. But India will never leave us. It is shaping who were are and how we want to interact with the world. You cannot live here and remain unchanged. And that is why my husband wanted us to come.

Best wishes on a very successful documentary. Please do not discount those of us who have come to live in India thru a job opportunity. Our appreciation of India should not be dampened by the means we used to get here. Thanks again.

Yasmin wrote back and invited me for an interview. I still don’t really fit the theme of her film but it was a real treat to meet her. She is a mother and a woman and a person trying to understand how foreigners come to love India and never leave it. I can appreciate all of that.

If you have been following this blog for a while you might already appreciate the irony in this post. Just in case you are new – here it is. When my husband asked me if I wanted to move our family to India, I asked him if that was a new street in our neighborhood. I could barely fathom it. Although I knew from the very moment he asked me that we would be moving, I just had a hard time accepting it. And now, well now, I am defending my right to be here, embracing all that India has given us, and absorbing the changes we are seeing in ourselves and in our kids. I guess that is just about as full circle as it gets.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2009 11:01 am

    Oh my god loved reading this article. I added your feed to my blogreader.

  2. September 30, 2009 11:18 pm

    I’ve been following you for a couple of weeks, but wasn’t sure why you are in India, and this post helped. You made some excellent points–and have given me lots to think about. I love the idea of global citizen. I am in a similar situation, ex-pat by choice for work. We are on our second country in 6 years. Though not in the immediate future, we do plan to return some day to the US. I think that sometimes since I come from the USA people think they know all about me, we can thank the media for that, and they can’t see that while we immerse ourselves in a new culture, we also bring a huge learning experience for those around us.
    Thanks for sharing your excellent written document with us.

  3. Maggie permalink
    September 30, 2009 10:56 am

    A beautiful post, I love this one!

  4. Bee permalink
    September 30, 2009 10:16 am


  5. September 30, 2009 9:34 am

    I always, always enjoy your posts.
    If we are living in a foreign country for a job, isn’t it still a choice we made? We could have made another choice for our career if we wanted to! I think “choice” has a different definition for different people. I am in US, for past 10 years, away from India and my family, and ys we moved here for work, but this is what we chose, its not that we couldn’t find work in India or you could not have found work in US! we just chose to get along with what life presented to us, we very well could have not chosen it!

    • September 30, 2009 10:41 am

      What I should have added to this post is that she was delightful. She did not mean to be insulting in any way. I simply felt defensive as to why not us. We gave up a lot to be here – I miss my family and friends and home terribly. As I know you can appreciate, it is hard to be away from home. But we are gaining a lot too – and that is the point – we make tremendous sacrifices to grow and learn and stretch ourselves – in my eyes, it should not matter how we got here – just that we got here at all. Blah, blah, blah…………

  6. September 29, 2009 10:45 pm

    Good for you for telling her your story! I think it’s compelling, if that matters.

    • September 30, 2009 10:39 am

      Thanks you – I just caught up on your blog – you have been busy writing! And I would rather clean your closet thank you very much. 😎

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