[unedited] Today I go back to India after 25 years in Australia.
I left India in the late 80’s at the age of 17 and spent most of my adult life in Melbourne.
So I’m expecting a shock of sorts.
The India I left was sheltered from western culture and highly regulated in all aspects. I recall television was limited to a couple of hours each night with most of the programming being government-regulated news and farming programs.
Back then the alliance with Russia was reasonably strong and I remember watching a weekly dubbed soviet detective show. In terms of the US influence, it was Different Strokes and Wrestling. Hulk Hogan had a global audience back then.
After I left satellite, television spread across the nation and Indians were dealt a decent dose of western culture – taking away its innocence forever.
I still treasure the innocent childhood India afforded me – free from the pressures of adolescence. All I thought about was sport and getting through school doing as little as I could.
Girls did not exist for most of my teenage years as the adventures of outdoor activity were the priority.
It was a simple life too, with riding my bike, cricket on the road in front of our house, soccer and knocking mangoes from neighbours’ trees with a slingshot being the main attractions.
Today I return for my school’s 25th leavers re-union and whilst I have no family left back in India, I am looking forward to seeing my class mates and what a quarter of a century can do to a nation driven by the ambition to mimic the material world.