Relocating, as it is normally understood, really started for me only from 1973. Before that, my late wife and I had once set up home in Delhi in a barsati and had furnished it with hired furniture and some basic kitchen utensils. When we had to leave that we simply gave back the hired furniture and gave away the utensils to the help that we had hired for the few months that we were there. Before that, I had lived off a suitcase for well nigh six years as a bachelor and two of those were spent in a hostel while studying for my Masters in Business Management.
After the Delhi posting I was deputed to coordinate an all India Market Research project for eight months of near non stop touring including working during weekends. Urmeela went to stay with her mother during those months and after I finished my project I was posted in Mumbai where we set up our first real home and bought furniture, utensils, etc in 1970. After three and a half years of stay there while our son Ranjan was born, we moved to Kolkata in 1973 which was the first relocation.
That relocation was followed by six relocations before we finally put down roots in Pune in 1990. A total of eight relocations after marriage.
I set up home on two other occasions in South again though the home in Pune continued to be operational as Ranjan was there and had to be provided with a home. Since neither Urmeela nor Ranjan was comfortable with Tamil, the local language where I set up home, I ran a bachelor’s home with periodic visits from my late mother and Urmeela and on two occasions by Ranjan. There was no relocation involved as on both occasions I simply moved into fully furnished and equipped homes and simply had to pack my suitcase to get back to Pune.
I can therefore claim to be quite a veteran of relocation and can vouch for its advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest disadvantage is the havoc it can play with one’s children’s education. We solved it by sending Ranjan to a boarding school which luckily for us was not too difficult due to having access to one of India’s best with fairly easy admission. Others have not been so lucky and I have seen a lot of frustration in families due to this aspect of relocating.
The other disadvantages are local languages, a major problem in India with multiple languages, cuisine and climate changes. In retrospect however, these usually turn out to be advantages for having exposed one to these influences and in the process making one more cosmopolitan.
Advantages are in the friends one makes in the new places and in our case, these have turned out to be long term relationships, exposure to places that one would normally not see otherwise and also to cultures, festivals and cuisine that are different from one’s normal. Overriding these advantages was the inevitable junking of stuff accumulated during the stay there to become lighter for the packing and unpacking!
And for a marketing man like me, the different locales were priceless experiences when I eventually took charge as India head.
Today, my WhatsApp and FaceBook activity is governed by communications from all over India thanks to my various postings. I am richer for that and grateful that I was given the opportunities.
Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the same topic.