I spent the first 17 years of my life calling one place home. (Well technically 2 neighbouring flats, a 1BHK and a 2BHK, although only 1BHK is habitable the 2BHK was initially a home-office and then a glorified storage where we occasionally entertain guests.) I’ve had friends that have transferred from and to places, but my life has always been rooted, so to say, to one house, one locality, one city.
I could go on, but you get the general picture. My childhood was spent sticking to a routine, surrounded by familiarity. There was the odd break when we travelled but a basic rhythm remained. I developed attachments to people. (Not just friends, even friendly shopkeepers, barbers, security guards and the odd doctor.) This did have its benefits, besides the money saved on transport, it freed up a lot of time to spend on my extra-curriculars, but even otherwise, everything we needed was at arm’s length.
As a child, I never understood the value of this localisation of my life. Reading about the Famous Five going to boarding school, or Harry Potter attending Hogwarts filled my head with fantasies of the adventures and chances they had to offer. After the portrayal of boarding school and hostel life in stories and in anecdotes from seniors, I was extremely enthusiastic about leaving home.
A while back, I began college. It is in Mumbai, the city where I was born and raised, so I skipped the part about familiarising oneself to a new locale, yet studying at a residential campus meant moving out and that is what I did. Now, I can’t say I took to it like a fish to water (I fell badly ill in my first week there! I blame mess food, but I know it was because I stayed up till 4am watching Game Of Thrones) but I must confess I am a tad bit ashamed that I didn’t get homesick at all. Other friends of mine who also began college, although elsewhere complained about missing home and family, but I didn’t really make much of a fuss (As my homesick friends constantly remind me, a sample statement being: “You won’t understand the pain we feel. Like a tree being uprooted. Or a giraffe in the arctic. Or a fish out of water. Or a flower amongst thorns.” They overdid it, right? And isn’t the last one just a rose?) I believe that a part of the reason is because I am still in the same city and that I do meet my parents atleast once every month, but then again I have classmates who rush off home as soon as the last lesson for the week is done, spending the weekend at home and showing up on Monday morning. So why don’t I want to do that? I love my parents and home is infinitely more comfortable than my hostel room.
Is it because all my friends are here? Is it because there is cool stuff happening all around me and I get to take part? Is it that I now have a taste of utter freedom and I’m addicted? Is it because I’m too busy with college work?
Well it is all of these in part. Yet none of these feel strong enough to counter the reasons I wish to go home: of family, comfort, good food, cleanliness (boy, do I miss that) and a good night’s sleep. I’m still struggling with the why part to be honest. I’ll tell you when I figure it out.
Do I make it sound like there is nothing about my leaving home that nags me? Ha. Ha. No. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But the issue that does trouble me may seem a bit frivolous, even hilarious to you. I shall try my best to explain it.
Since I was born, for the last 17 years, I was the centre of the family. The household revolved about my routine, be it to do with school or with extra curricular activities. My parents, especially my mom spent almost all day with me: my study, my playtime, my meals, random conversations, catnaps in the afternoon or visiting a friend in the evening. I didn’t realise how used I was to their attention till I didn’t have it anymore. Now that I’m in college, my parents have a life of their own! They do all sorts of cool stuff like going to art galleries, watching plays, visiting street art and graffiti hubs, watching movies, meeting family or friends, dining out and taking trips together: all things that we used to do together. Of course I didn’t expect them to stop doing all this, (Yeah, right.) but I do kinda feel left out. It is literally like my two oldest friends hanging out without inviting me. I know how childish, selfish and spoilt I sound, but the hardest part for me is seeing my parents not as “my Parents”, but as individuals, adults with their own battles and victories that I am not always party to. In a way, it wasn’t just me flying the nest, but them too, moving on to a new phase in their lives as I did the same in mine.
Why do you think I don’t get as homesick as some of my friends? Did you ever also have a realisation about your parents similar to mine? Is my attitude as selfish as it sounds in my head? Or maybe is it more common than I think? Comment below! I’m up for a chat about this.
Until next time.