When Navdeep dropped me off at the airport at 1 a.m., I couldn’t help but be a bit teary. Not only was our trip over, but we weren’t even on the same flight back. And as much as I missed everyone, I really didn’t want to head back to reality.
India was definitely an adventure for us. We got to see and experience some of the most beautiful – and chaotic – places on the planet. We also got to spend more time with each other than we ever had before, nearly 24 hours a day. And surprisingly, that turned out to be a great thing. So to get on the plane and spend 18-hours alone, thinking about it all, it was like jumping into the deep end when you haven’t been swimming in years.
But when I saw my dad at the airport – and we made a pitstop at Mickey D’s on the way home! – things didn’t seem so bad. Then came the slice of Ciro’s pizza and some chai the way my mommy makes it. I was home. The next day, I went to go pick up Navdeep at the airport. Admittedly, we eased back into reality. We had three weeks off before we were skedded to return to Fresno, and it was party time. We’d come back just in time for Meena’s 30th birthday celebrations, so there were weeks of cake and merriment.
But while Navdeep couldn’t really work again till summer, I needed to start thinking about what I’d be doing to make money. We also faced a big decision – California or New York? And when? I dived headfirst into work. Within a few weeks, I ended up back at People, working on a book about child stars. (It’s on newsstands now – go pick up a copy!) And then, considering the fact that there was more work opportunity here for me, Navdeep and I decided that New York would be more practical. For now.
By June, we were settling into our first place together ever. It’s in Jersey City, and Navdeep’s ended up with a heavy fall course-load at local universities. I took another fulltime gig, only to realize that I didn’t really want to spend 12 hours a day in a windowless office. Who knew? So, in August, I took the leap into fulltime freelance work. So now I write for magazines from home, in my little office with the little balcony, sitting in my recliner with my laptop and a cup of chai.
Navdeep and I are settling into married life. For us, being on the same coast, in the same city, in the same apartment – that’s a new adventure. We’ve been married for nearly three years, but it’s the first time we’ve gotten to make a home together.
India sometimes feels like a favorite, cherished dream. And sometimes I long to be there again. Lazing on the beach in Goa, eating at side stalls, floating along in the backwaters of Kerala, and even with all the drama I even look back fondly on climbing 14 km up to the heights of Vaishno Devi.
I can’t wait to hit the road again. But in the meantime, reality isn’t so bad either.