No matter where in India you are from, the feeling is familiar and we all know it. Just when you think you’re having the time of your life walking down Broadway with a Starbucks in your hand, it hits you. And it hits hard. And you just want to take the first plane back. Except, you can’t. Because life. Also, we know tickets need to be booked way in advance if you want a good deal.
Here are some ways that I deal with the homesickness and bring a comforting dash of India back in my every day life.
1. Hotstar instead of Netflix and Chill.
Hotstar has the most amazing selection of current Indian tv shows and movies across almost all major languages. Putting up my feet with an episode of Koffee with Karan or the Maniratnam movie I missed makes all the difference.
2. Have a random conversation with another Indian. Preferably a complete stranger.
One thing that’s amazing about India is that you can develop long standing relationships with your sabziwala, the family you sat next to one time on a train journey, your mom’s tailor! I miss those conversations. Chatting non stop with another Indian that I randomly meet somewhere always makes me feel better.
3. Order in from an Indian restaurant.
This is a no brainer. But I’m quite picky about what I order when I’m specifically homesick. Gulab Jamun. Rasmalai. Basically, Indian sweets. Everyone has an Indian comfort food. What’s yours?
4. Call friends you don’t call that often.
Most of us call home and family regularly. But now and then, I have to make sure that I speak to some of my friends in India. They keep you rooted and they also let you know that all your favorite brands are now available back home so no big deal.
5. Take your Indian clothes for a walk in the sun.
Sometimes you just need to slip into your favorite Biba Kurti or even just wrap yourself in your favorite Razai to feel enveloped by home. I like to find ways to wear something Indian every day, even though I lived in Jeans back when I was home.
6. Find an Indian charity or non profit to donate to.
Sitting here, it’s easy to forget all the hardships that people go through back home. Finding causes, charities or even Individuals to give to through sites like Milaap or giveIndia make me feel a little more connected with my country. My personal favorite cause is wildlife sos, a non profit that works very hard to help animals in need in India.
7. Put on some music and dance the blues away.
My current favorite song to dance to is Lambhorgini. And I don’t even speak Punjabi. But it doesn’t matter. Put together a playlist of the songs that make you feel like you’re home in your room and dance like Prabhudeva. Don’t worry about the neighbors. Everyone understands. One tip: Do not play songs from Swades. You might cry like I do.
One other thing I’ve been doing recently is connecting with other Indians on Homeis. It’s nice to chat with and meet people going through the exact same things as you. Living in Manhattan makes it hard to meet other Indians and this is a really nice space to connect and hopefully, find new ways to be homesick together.