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.

This snapshot from Google Maps represents 80% of my childhood. Almost everything we needed was and still is within this. Younger me yearned to explore and familiarise himself with the “outside”. It is only recently that I have begun to appreciate my parents foresight.

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.

My poster wall! Yes, its exclusively fandoms and yes that is a lot of Dragon Ball. I have spent quite some time personalizing my room, it is a reflection of who I am. A random snapshot of my room on any given day would most definitely also give you an insight to my frame of mind at that moment.

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.

An image from one of my parents’ most recent trips. This is so confusing for me. I am partly thrilled and partly exasperated at the fact that their lives are so much cooler than mine. (Not to mention the fact that I’m stuck here eating mess slop while you’ll gallivant about eating Filo Parcels! (No fair!)) (Did I just use a bracket within a bracket? Yes I did ;))

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.


18 thoughts on “FLYING THE NEST

  1. Nice post. I can relate to it somewhat, but since I am at a different stage of life (add 17 years to your age), I can see both sides of it. I live away from my parents, and I am a parent. You’d think everyone that old lives away anyway. But no, I only recently moved out to live my life in mountains (or at least 3 more years), and I miss being around them. Having said that I enjoy the independence, and peacefulness here so much that I rarely want to go back. I feel guilty too. Be happy for your parents freedom. I know what it feels like to be taking care of a child all day, guiltily dreaming of a lone time. Have a great life!!

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  2. I guess sharing my parents with my lil brother saved me from being my parents’ apple of the eye. Homesickness does prevail but I enjoy knowing that they are finally leading and planning their own lives without me.( But ya mess food is terrible and I often dream about home-cooked food). And this is a well written post. Good luck and keep writing😊

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  3. Loved this post!
    The best part of you being at IIT Powai is the fact that we can come and see you anytime!!
    I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a single day I haven’t missed having you around😟
    Our identities are defined by the roles we play in our lives. You have been and will remain the most significant part of my identity as a mother. Butnow that I’m not physically required 24×7 it’s time to explore possibilities of aspects that will meaningfully and significantly add a new dimension to my life.
    This is the phase of your life where you taste freedom, stumble, take complete responsibility for your actions and figure things out for yourself and build on the small successes that are entirely your own.
    We are now merely spectators in your everyday life with absolutely no control. ( believe me it’s taken a long time to come to terms with this)
    Your life will be filled with fresh experiences. and as your parents I’m sure you will be happy to know that we’re pushing ourselves out of the comfort zone and trying to make a difference in the larger context one day at a time.
    The three of us will end up widening our circle of conversations and experiences in the broader context. Ending up with more interesting things to share and talk about. Here’s to many more memories that we will cherish forever.
    Lots of love always!

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  4. You ought to miss Home food Especially “food like that” 😋!!!
    It so well put together.. love the map !! And localization is something that I could relate to totally… even I had my childhood routine set around My own locality.. so many familiar faces. When I still walk these lanes.. i Wave at almost every 100mtrs to someone I know ( compared to a 👋 on every 10th step earlier) Nothing like Home but nothing like your own way of life too.. I am glad you got your space early on than I did. The fact that you aren’t home sick makes me happy ‘cause there is a difference in “being home sick” and “missing home” that I feel comes from being responsible for your own self. Looking forward to more such refreshing reads!! Keep blogging 😊

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  5. An emotional connect with a lot of positivity in this post. A son on his part of exploring his life further through new ventures yet wanting to be in the envelope of the ‘family’ & a mother missing his presence yet comforting her son with the idea that the information collected in the new ventures of both ends could be the topic that recreates that magical lost ‘oneness’ everytime the family reunites. Glorified storage’, ‘odd doctor’ r such wonderful terms used. 🙂 Keep writing!

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  6. Very interesting take on Flying the Nest. Must have prompted many to go back in memory and examine why they felt that sense of freedom, that push n pull between comforting security of home amd loving parents and a world of adventure minus parents. Very well written, the words and thoughts just flow seamlessly and I felt as if you were talking to me. Like the lingo, esp. words like localisation took on a new dimension. Excellent piece. Keep blogging.

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  7. That you are articulate and resolved is very obvious, comes from your parents. I saw two sides of a coin (proximity to your mum). Time and again, our identities are first defined, then woven and finally consumed by our relationships. But we are much more than that, just like areas beyond the intersecting circles. Rather than viewing it as freedom, I think its a exciting time for your parents. For they can now explore new places, restore old pleasures and discover new ones. And in the process, understand to be better individuals. Now isnt that wonderful…..

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  8. I loved reading the post . Often when I see Shradhha’s pics, I feel that’s the best she is doing to overcome the empty nest syndrome, and today when I met her , I told her so . As much as you as young adults look forward to enriching your lives with new experiences and learning some life lessons , we as parents feel good that the life’s lessons that we have given you are well adapted . Missing home is natural but taking it in your stride is positive .As you have flown the nest , it’s time for the parents to rediscover themselves .And as Shraddha rightly mentioned , it means more scope of conversations and a wider knowledge base .
    Best wishes always .


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