No one leaves home unless
Home is the mouth of a shark
You only run for the border
When you see the whole city running as well
Delhi was, and always will be, home to me. It was a city that I grew up in for the most part and that I loved. While I may have travelled, worked and lived abroad, it was the one city that beckoned me back time and time again until finally my husband and I decided to return to it. Our beautiful son arrived soon after our return and our cheeky monkey of a daughter followed a few years later.
My childhood was full of long lazy days spent outdoors – my weekends were for climbing hills and swimming in the sea. My love of nature has been the bedrock of who I am and I wanted to pass this on to my children. An ideal childhood for me meant long lazy hours of the day spent outdoors and weekends at Lodhi Garden. We did this for as long as we could till I finally accepted (or realised) that being outdoors was doing my little ones more harm than good.
Last year, we made a difficult decision – to leave home so that our children could breathe a little easier. Delhi is ranked as one of the most polluted cities in the world and the number of times my children fell frighteningly ill was too difficult for me to bear. So we moved to a place with cleaner air so that they could live a healthier life with lungs that let them dive down to explore corals and meet obscure fish. Or those that let them run marathons.
We left behind our families, our friends, our local sabjiwallahs and kirana stores, the comfort of grandparents, uncles and aunties and our favourite haunts to rebuild our family and roots in a different part of the world. On some days, I look across the sky of this new city I love and am overwhelmed by what I have left behind. I have to remind myself to take a deep breath. To breathe in. Breathe out. And smell the freshness of the air. To know that we have made the right decision for our family. We continue from afar to try and do our bit to improve Delhi's air. My husband is a member for Care for Air, and our daughter was one of the three young petitioners of
the Supreme Court seeking a ban on firecrackers.
I live in hope that the air quality in Delhi will improve over time and that one day it will
be safer to come home again. Till then, I discover new ways of helping from afar, falling in love with the city I am currently in and spending the entire weekend playing outdoors.
Gauri relocated away from India mainly in the pursuit of clean air. When she isn't getting praise from the Legal500™ for her work as a Securities attorney at one of the world’s leading law firms, she is a doting mother to Aveer (6) and Zoya (2), hoping she can come home soon once the air is better for them.
Tell us your personal stories on how you battle air pollution in your daily life and in your community.