20 October 2016
For the first time in nearly two years, I find myself back at the computer, with time to reflect on where life has taken me and my family. And what a difference a year makes….
Our six and a half year adventure in India is over. Smoked out by the epic and dangerous levels of Delhi pollution… battered by the costs of living in a city with no infrastructure, where you paid top rupee for clean air, water, back up power, road safety and schools… we reluctantly decided to move back to the UK. It was not an easy decision. Each one of us loves India… each one of us had deep friendships we didn't want to disrupt… and yet, day after day, the physical cost of breathing dirty air… and having nowhere to run, play or exercise were becoming too damaging. My husband and I found our physical health deteriorating… and as a family, we were too often trying to subsist inside our brutalist concrete flat, rather than enjoying the simple daily pleasure of a walk or a play in the park.
It seems many of our friends had the same issues… I can think of only four families we 'grew up' with in Delhi who are still there, by choice or the lack of it… And the guilt of having that choice is something we grapple with everyday. Hundreds of millions of people in India's major cities have no other option.
So here we are now in Bath, an ancient Roman city west of London. The children walk to their free public school. We bicycle. We do our chores ourselves, which is actually a blessing, despite what many people feel (try being a madam for a few years and tell me if your joints don't deteriorate from the sheer inactivity)… And while we all miss India and our friends desperately, we know that we are lucky in the extreme to be able to live here and visit anytime.