In this unbearable summer heat where people are falling sick, my grandma, who is in her seventies now, goes down five flights of stairs without an elevator, gets out of the house with a folding chair, a paper fan, and some water, stands in line, and casts her vote. Whereas I spend a freezing weekend at my home in Germany reflecting on my life choices. Where I live, I cannot vote and where I can vote, I do not live anymore. It seems like I have voluntarily chosen the life of a visitor. I travel to the US on a visitor visa, I live in Germany as a visitor, and every time I visit Calcutta, I feel like a visitor as well. Sure, I can wake up in the morning, hop on a train, and I will be in Switzerland by evening. But my way of living comes with the condition of never belonging anywhere. Jhumpa Lahiri might have even written a novel or two out of it and won prizes. I don't even know how to do that.
Everything in life comes at a price. Living the noisy, action-packed life in Calcutta where there is never a dull moment, where the smell of your neighbor's cooking suffuses the air when you wake up and there are always people visiting home unannounced, this huge social cushion comes at a price. Just like there is also a price I am paying for cleaner air, beautiful views, space, privacy, safety, and a whole lot of silence.