July 30, 2014

The road ahead...

29th July 2000

How should I describe today? A day of mixed emotions? Personal realizations? Life-changing moments? Or should I call it a plain rebirth? Sitting at the international airport lounge, with a family of strangers at my side and a hand-bag in my hand, I am amazed how my life has taken a sharp turn in the past 48 hours.   

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For 16 years I have stayed here. Abroad. In the Middle East. With my family. My parents who love me immensely. A mischievous baby bro who plays my side-kick and partner-in-crime for most pranks. Education in a sophisticated Indian school. Extra-curricular activities, competitions, regular concerts and outings to keep us busy. We had an almost perfect life.

Life was good. On one hand, I had just completed my Class 10 final exams with flying colors. The new year in Class 11 had begun in full swing - something I was still coping with thanks to the elongated vacation to India after the Class 10 exams and a sudden leg surgery in India. But nevertheless I was confident of catching up during the summer vacations (July and August) and be right on track in September before the Half Yearly exams. 

Major career options can take a back seat for now. These only need to be decided in Class 12 and that's still a good 1 year later. So why bother about it now?

On the other hand, fate was busy making other plans for me. 

As the first month of the vacation period creeped towards it's end, sudden changes at dad's workplace forced him and mom to rethink options for the future and our life abroad. And the first casualty was me.

I was at a crucial stage of my education. Any chance of a sudden job loss for my dad would mean losing an entire academic year since the admissions in India close well before the end of July. Thus began discussions and decisions to get me admitted to a good junior college in India before the admissions close.

I was told 2 days ago that I need to move to India alone. My mother and brother would join me 20 days later. It took only 48 hours to book my ticket and pack my belongings from a country where I spent living and studying for 16 years. I'll tell you what I felt when I was told I would be shifting base to Mumbai to a new college to study with new friends who speak a new language? 

Fear. Sadness. Doubt. 

Not to forget the fact that I had never traveled alone by a bus, let alone an entire 4-hour flight journey.

My parents charted out a new life for me and I wasn't skeptical how I was going to adjust to it. At first it sounded exciting to share the breaking news with friends about the quick decision. On the day of my travel at 6 PM just as we were about to leave home for the airport, the feeling finally sunk in. 

I am never going to live in the Middle East anymore. I was being uprooted to a new location. 

I wanted time to pause. So I could breathe. So I could absorb my surroundings. So I could say good-bye. 

But time flew by like always and there I was at the airport looking clueless. My father requested a family, who were traveling to Mumbai like me, if I could accompany them on my maiden flight. They obliged. And thus the scene was set. 

Dad helped me check-in my bags and walked me till the immigration counter. When he kissed and hugged me, I felt a huge blow deep down in my heart. For the first time in 48 hours I realized I would be staying away from my dad for God-knows-how-long. 

So this is me now, on my maiden journey to India. Alone, in a flight, seated next to strangers, with a million emotions to share but no words to express. 

All thanks to the huge lump in my throat and the tight knot in my heart.

Dad - your loving hug choked me up. I wanted to say so much to you but I couldn't. Now all I can wish is I can tell you telepathically how much I will miss you. I wish I could tell you or mom how scared I am. That I am unaware of what this road beholds for me. 


P.S. - This was the flurry of thoughts running in my head as I moved out from one home to another to test the waters. Looking back at how the past 14 years have zoomed by, I feel nostalgic of that time. Life has changed so much post that journey. 

Today, I felt I should share with you what ran through my mind 14 years ago as I embarked on a new chapter in life. 

Do you remember your first journey away from home? What were your feelings?
Yours' truly,
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                          **Linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for July 2014 and BlogHer - NaBloPoMo**
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  1. That was a piece that spoke straight to my heart. I too left the Middle East when I was sixteen...(I'm back here again...but that's not the point...) Very well narrated. Enjoyed reading it immensely.

  2. Very poignant ! You have expressed your feelings so emotionally and vividly, that any one who reads this post will feel touched. Don't be upset, child, you will like your new surroundings and get used to new place.

  3. I'm now here at Sharjah, and I came here post wedding. This was a kind of uprooting, too. I can see straight through your heart. Good write up. !

  4. I can imagine how you are feeling, but don't worry all happens for good and wish the new surroundings bring in lot of good friends, good health and success to you. Happiness always :)