“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss
It’s time to leave.
I leave behind Mumbai and India, arriving in the United States on Christmas Day. That’s my Christmas gift this year – getting back home.
For the last few days, it seems like all I did was work and pack. That much packing for someone who merely made a temporary home here! One of these days, I swear I will listen to Leo Babauta who writes in his Zen Habits blog about the ideal life – about simplicity and minimalist living.
It sounds superb. But I just can’t seem to get there from here. And I’ve never wanted to get there more than during the last few days of packing!
Underlying all this busy work though, this time has been especially sad and hard – so much more than I expected. When you start thinking that you will miss the smell, grime, and chaotic traffic of Mumbai, you know it’s bad!
Endings always do this to me. It’s not that I am not looking forward to the next chapter. Of course, I am!
But I find that once I am part of a new beginning, it begins to take over rapidly and there’s usually no looking back.
Maybe that’s what it is about this situation that makes me morose. Chapter closed. No looking back.
Yes, I believe that what’s really gnawing at me and at the bottom of this feeling it’s all about people – old relationships that were strengthened and new ones that were forged. Just because I happened to live here for two years. That’s who I will miss the most.
Get over it, I’m telling myself, even as I write this.
Imagine if I had been so unlucky that the connections and adventures of these past two years had not even occurred? Now that would be something to cry about! Instead, I got to immerse myself in new experiences and new places for a short but rewarding time.
And what exactly did I get in return? Ah yes, the yin and yang of life in India.
Okay, so I’m over my gloom now. I’m happy.
“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
“Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would, I’d never leave.”
― A.A. Milne
What on earth just happened??!
My head is still spinning.
Before I could say “boo”, my time here is up. Done. Gone. Finis.
Here’s the twist – with a couple of months still remaining on my commitment, I received a sweet offer (very sweet) to head back home and do my thing there instead.
Carpe diem (Sorry, I just watched that wonderful movie, Dead Poet’s Society).
Sieze the day! What else could I do? What would you do? When the choice is heading home or not, and it’s presented with a flourish of new incentives? Exactly.
It’s just that it was totally unexpected and sudden, and I was quite unprepared. In fact, I was under pressure to extend my commitment to stay on in Bombay (by a few years!), making me grapple with all that it means to do so. I had finally come to terms with this, ready to compromise and lengthen my stay for the right ‘fine print’.
But as I went in to discuss the details, lo and behold, the situation got turned all upside down and topsy turvy!
Could I take on a totally different (and exciting, blah, blah, blah) assignment for the company… based over there?
And, before I knew it, just like that, it was over.
Things are happening so rapidly that I will be packing up and saying my goodbyes over the next couple of weeks. And then, it’ll be off and away for me. So quickly!
The time’s right to reflect a bit on my stay in India. Sadness is setting in. Because whatever good, bad or ugly I experienced here – only the good stands out for me now. [Aah, the mysterious workings of the human brain!]
I feel so lucky to have spent this time living and experiencing India – very different from a visit every now and then.
I feel so fortunate to have met all those wonderful people, many who have now turned into life long friends.
And I know that while I will still be racking up tons of frequent flier miles flying back and forth, it will never be quite the same as living here.
And of the city that became my home for almost two years…whatever can I say?
I love this city in all its smelly and chaotic glory. I love its vibrance. I love the warmth – not of the weather so much as of its people. I love the shopping. I love the theater. I love the yoga I pursued here. I love the best pani puri in the world. I love…so many things here.
[But I do hate the sight of all that roadside garbage nor will I miss the traffic and crazy commutes].
The sweet and sour experience of living in India is looking mostly sweet – in retrospect and when it’s getting time to say goodbye. Isn’t that always the case?
So, I head back to the US with all the eagerness of going home, but it’s mixed in with the sadness of leaving the new nest that I had created for myself in my native land.
Aaah, the yin and yang.
My time here has flown by! Almost two years that feel like the blink of an eye.
I am heading to a place where the news I will be reading is not about Sonia Gandhi, Kejriwal or corruption and scams. Instead it will be about Obama (yes!), Boehner, job creation and the fiscal cliff.
As I get ready to return home, I’m glad to say that I’m not alone. Nor will I ever be. Because accompanying me will be big buckets full of memories that will never go anywhere.
Yep. I consider myself very lucky indeed.
“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
P.S. And what of my blog??! I haven’t had the time to figure that out yet. I have loved every minute of creating it, even when the number of readers was at zero because it was never about how many would read it, rather about what thoughts were pouring through my head that just had to get written somewhere.
Now, what? Perhaps I just morph it to The Yin and Yang of Life…whaddya think?