I am not saying this out of experience because I have never lived outside India long enough to crave for the sights and sounds and smells of my city -- even the traffic smoke and the noise. That way, India has unique sights, sounds and smells -- you can never mistake it for another country. Surfing channels, when you come across a Hindi or Tamil movie, you can instantly tell -- from the look of the screen -- whether it is from the 70's/80's or the present day. Similarly, if you catch a glimpse of India on a BBC documentary, you will never for a moment confuse it with Brazil or Pakistan even though the people look alike. That's the magic of India.
Anyway, back to the yearning. You can see it all over blogosphere. People living abroad -- in the US, in the UK, in the Southeast -- for months, for years, for decades, for generations, and yet in their private, non-working moments they are like the poet pining for his love. They are the people who, I think, love India with their heart and not their lips. And they do so because you can truly appreciate the value of something once you are away from it. That is why they get more agitated -- and active -- every time something hits India. People who aroused public opinion online in the aftermath of the Mumbai blasts were people living abroad. Indians living here, on the other hand, do nothing but to whine and blame 'the government' for every single thing except, maybe, erectile dysfunction.
It is heartening to see the interest NRI bloggers show in their roots: looked at from their eyes, India is not a bad country at all. And it isn't, believe me. But what is most heartening is to see the writings of Tamil NRI bloggers: it is as if they were never away. They are the electrons; while Madras is the nucleus. The electron always wants to merge with the nucleus and that's why it keeps rotating around the nucleus. And so the Tamilian, even if 13 hours away in time zone, keeps hovering around Madras. Culture is the invisible umbilical cord that is never snapped.
One doesn't have to cross oceans to feel the pull of the nucleus. I grew up by the Ganges in Kanpur, where I spent the initial 23 years of my life. In those 23 years, I must have been to the Ganga (as the river is popularly known) not even 23 times! -- even though the river flows just two kilometres away from my house. But now, sitting in Madras, I hear the call of the Ganga time and again. That's where I belong to, and I shall go there again, and again.