The Longing


I was about 8 years old then and till date it is one of the best family photos. My dad is holding me up

When I was a kid, my father used to work in Kolhapur 8 hour train ride away. He used to come once every month and usually on a Friday as it was the day when he had off. Before my birthday, on 8th November we didn’t receive any phone call from him. I think I was worried as he would call everyday at a fixed time. My mom wasn’t worried and that should have given me the hint. Next day on my birthday my dad surprised me by coming home in the middle of the week. The memory is still blurry but I remember getting really happy and my dad’s belly laugh.

I am doing the same thing now.

My manager/company CEO Warren told me a month ago about the company Christmas break. Other than the 5 public holidays, the company doesn’t shell out a 3 week break like every other company. The first thing that came to my mind was I can go home now.

I acted on the impulse without thinking much and within two hours I had booked my flights. I rapidlyy fire messages to all my friends in India telling I am coming home. I was two seconds shy of posting it on Facebook as I realized that my parents would see it. My trip is a surprise for them, it is exactly as I have always pictured my first trip home would be.

I would ring the bell in the morning and my mom would gasp when I say hi. My dad would probably be eating his breakfast and ready for work. My brother would be too sleepy to bother but I know he would be really happy as well. My dog, Jimmy would be the one who is visibly the happiest.

I won’t be landing in the morning but I still expect a similar reaction. If anyone ever tells you a month is not long then introduce them to me.

More than a year ago, prior to me getting an admitted to AUT or getting a visa, I was having dinner with my dad and brother. We were talking about my future and how I was innocently saying that doing Masters’ would be easy or something like that. He was always reluctant with the idea and I always thought it was because of the money involved. He admitted his reason that night.

He said that he was worried that I will leave them and eventually forget about them. I blame Baghban movie for that kind of thinking. His statement was the equivalent of a sucker punch to my gut. Suffice to say that night was a very emotional night for us. My brother wasn’t much emotional though, he was laughing about it eventually.

I did my best over the last 15 months to not forget about them. His sentence would always be in my head.

“How long have you been here for?” a friend asked me.

“15 months”  I replied. I didn’t like rounding off the number or saying more than a year.

“That’s not very long”

“It feels longer”

I have never lived without my family. As a kid, my parents used to scare me that if I didn’t behave they would send me off to boarding school. I think every parent used that line to, sigh, get their children in line.

If I had I would have some experience with living with myself. I would have some taste of the freedom. I would have known how to cook better and how to deal with my finances better.

Today, I don’t have to answer to anyone about where I am going or when I will be back. I can come back at 6pm after work or I can come back at 2am after a party. I could eat whatever I want and I can even sleep hungry. I can keep a stack of clothes on my rooms’ chair instead of hanging them on hooks.

This freedom brings along with itself loneliness. Regardless of when I come home, my room will be quiet. There will not be my angry sulking dad or my chattering mom. There is no dog wagging his tail at the door for me.

I am by no means saying one life is better than the other. Neither am I saying I wanna go back forever. I could enjoy my life as much as I want here and at the same time miss the life that I had back in India.

I can be happy with my life in Auckland and still long for my life back.

For the next three weeks I intend to enjoy my home, my mom’s cooked food. I intend to enjoy meeting old friends and share a laugh or two. I missed them all.


12 thoughts on “The Longing

  1. Thank you for your story. I think it is normal that you miss your family when you leave the parental home. (If you love your family). If you remain alone it is not nice for many people. I know this from my brother, who also suffers from beeing alone. I keep my fingers crossed that you find a partner who can give you the same feeling when you come home.
    Your family was certainly very pleased with your surprise visit.
    This was a nice idea!
    I surprised my father once for his birthday. I’ve flown home with my daughter. I have put a carton in front of the door in which my little daughter was hidden with her plush cat.
    ( The plush cat could meow like a real cat …:) My parents love dogs. Since they are already old and love to travel a lot, they decided not to take a dog out of the animal shelter anymore. My mother always banterss him, that one day there will be a little dog-surprise for him.)

    I rang at the door and hid myself. When my father saw the carton and the noise inside he had a very funny, horrified face. And then he was twice delighted when he had unpacked his granddaughter and no cat! Such surprises are never forgotten and are much more valuable than any purchased birthday present.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all, this doesn’t sound anything like the text you sent me.

    Second, that picture is cute. And what is with Sub continent parents and Bhagban? My mom treats me like the four brats in Bhagban whereas in actual I am actually Salman Khan. I can’t believe I said that.

    And it is funny how you and i have this “freedom” in similar but I feel totally opposite. I don’t feel lonely and I love not having to give an explanation of where I was or who I was with everyday. It’s strange because we are from the almost same culture!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well firstly, I sent you this text after I reached home and I wrote this before I got on a plane to Mumbai.

      Second, don’t be Salman Khan. If you wanna be him then don’t drive (google that)

      Lastly, I don’t feel lonely everyday or something like that. When I am out I am enjoying life and all the freedom but it is when I reach home then the realization sticks.


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