“Exposure”, they said, when asked about the reason for leaving their hometowns in search of a better life in the city.
Every year, thousands of millennials from India’s small towns and villages make their way to big cities for better education or job opportunities, understandably so. Did you know that more than 70% of rural households earn less than Rs 5,000 a month? Lack of education and industries, and sometimes even harsh weather conditions and government apathy—there are many reasons why the chances of personal growth and progress are low in rural India. Things are certainly changing for the better in tier-2 cities and towns; however, opportunities shine brighter in metropolitan cities.
Cities—where the grass is always greener. The charm and payout of city life is such that the migrated youth decides to settle there (in most cases, anyway). At the same time, their hometowns long for their return. Life moves on but the predicament stays constant. Some return home, and probably regret giving up on the attractive opportunities. Others decide to stay back to enjoy the perks of growth and success, cringing all the while in their emotional dissatisfaction.
The exact issue here, is not the pick between the two lifestyle choices, but the unhappiness caused by letting go of either one. It is not what we have that we are happy about, but what we don’t have that makes us feel upset.
Another reason for the dilemma can be attributed to social pressure. The mindset of a lot of people today is such that anyone who goes back to the hometown for work is designated to be a failure.
Mohd Ali Abassi, 24-year-old disaster management project trainer from Kargil, Ladakh, who left his hometown to get better education at a very young age, shares his views on the matter, “I miss my family a lot. There’s no good food available at times. I can’t even express my feelings to anyone. There are not many good opportunities in my hometown for earning but there is no way that I will live (in the city) forever. I will go back one day.”
Karan Singh, network engineer at Orange hails from Shimla, but lives and works in Gurgaon. His perspective on this entire quandary is very relatable when he says, “Ye zindagi ki jadojahad hai. Rehna apne town mein chahte hain, but luxury of sheher bhi chahte hain. Necessity aur greed mein hum decide nahi kar pate, that’s the problem”. (We want to live in our hometown but also seek the luxury of city life. We can’t choose between necessity and greed, that’s the problem).
Cities offer so much, from high salaries to a carefree and open-minded culture. There is hard work involved but it comes with fun, sophistication and freedom in its buzzing environment. Not to forget, the exposure to new people and society, on a wider scale, that it brings on our platter.
A flower remains beautiful only for a couple of days after it is cut from its roots. Considering this rule of nature, the importance of hometowns cannot be ignored. We owe our existence to them. They safeguard our families, our own culture and our emotional attachments in our absence. Our presence could never be less joyous for them.
Whatever be our choice among the two, the subconscious dilemma is inescapable and will remain the same. There is a game that our hearts and minds play with each other all the time. It’s called ‘the game of life’.
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