Saturday, March 29, 2008

Longing for Anesthesia

My recent trip to India wasn't the best I could have asked for. To start with, it was short. Very much so. All of two weeks. And no matter how much I had prepared my mind before I even left for home, I felt the shortness. I felt the clock tick away fast. Immensely.

Secondly, the heat, and the pollution. Even if you have lived in Bombay all your life, spend fifteen months away in an essentially colder and cleaner place and come back. You are bound to take some time to acclimatize yourself to the change. Most of my time was spent preparing for a cousin's wedding, the reason I made this short trip in the middle of my semester. Shopping for gifts, clothes and attending elaborate pre-marital functions hardly left me any time to spend the way I would have wanted to. Calling it hectic would be a gross understatement. On top of that, I had to keep in touch with my classmates and colleagues at my university to keep pace with homeworks, projects, updates, announcements,instructions from my professors etc. that were taking place in my absence. Water and plumbing problems in my old, can-collapse-if-someone-kicks-a-wall-hard-enough building did not make my stay any more comfortable, and the less said about internet connectivity problems, the better. I couldn't spend enough time with my parents and with my best friends and couldn't even meet a few others. And all my pre-trip dreams of the desi goodies that I miss while I am in the US and was going to gorge on during my stay at home were brutally crushed by an upset stomach.

Yet, for all the above laments, did I wish to leave home and be back here? Heck, no! It is home! Home! The most underestimated word in the language. The place that has the power to attach its inhabitants to itself in a bond that neither Newton nor van der Waals can explain. One small, single place that means the world to most of us. One word that incorporates everything - parents, siblings, friends and childhood; school, college and education; gully cricket and exam fever; crushes, sweethearts, growing up and breakups; love, closeness, comfort...and life.

It might be your first trip home since you first left, or it might be your tenth. It might be a three-month long, comfortable stay, or a two-week long, hectic and bumpy one, as was mine. The pain of leaving at the end of it all, is unmitigated, intense and inescapable.

Yesterday, as I was trying to locate my Delta Airlines connecting flight from JFK on one of the electronic schedule charts at the terminal, my eyes inadvertently fell on the DL16 flight scheduled for Bombay at 10:05 pm, the one I had taken two weeks back. A crazy idea struck me. Could I somehow hoodwink the authorities into letting me on this flight? Having just arrived from Bombay, what if I took this next flight back to where I had just come from? Fourteen hours...just fourteen hours and I would be home again! What a pleasant surprise for Mom and Dad who must still be sad from having to see me leave! Alas! Sense prevailed and all I could do was longingly stare at the people gleefully making their way to Gate # 4 (that's where the said flight leaves from), wishing I could join them on their flight.

As I type this, I reminisce my first day in school. My very first day. Kindergarten. A two-and-a-half year old me being led away from my parents for the first time in my life, by complete strangers my parents told me were 'teachers'. As I was led into my classroom, I bawled loudly, not caring if my tears were seen, not caring if other kids laughed, arms outstretched, pleading to be united with my parents. Any moment now, my parents would come running and snatch me away from the evil teachers. But they just waved. My arms remained outstretched. Open.

I want to do the exact same thing right now. Cry. Bawl out loud with my arms in the air. It didn't work then. It might work now. I want to shut my eyes and sleep. Sleep. And open my eyes to find that it had all been a dream. That I am still on my bed at home. I wish to be anesthetized so I don't feel the pain of being away from home, don't feel the longing to fly back to where I belong, don't feel the envy when people I know here go back home in the near future. I wish to be anesthetized so I don't feel...anything.

14 comments:

Gentle Whispers said...

Interesting post. There's no city quite like Bombay, is there? And I can't imagine myself living anywhere else for a long period of time.

Longing for Anasthesia??? Home is where the heart is...I think that makes sense.. in my opinion at least.. :D

pandu said...

Hey Aseem!! Ajay here. I was never into blogging and I haven't gone through many. But this post of your's was very interesting and particularly moving...even I am away from home for almost two years.

I am impressed by your expression of thought...

Mynie said...

Awwwww! I can only imagine what you're going through and your expression helps me imagine with a lot of ease. Your post has a lot of bollywood drama to it. The part where you describe seeing the flight you took two weeks ago! Very filmy, I must say. It was a pleasant read all the same.

Mayuri said...

Hey aseem.....nice blog man....realy moving..i am going to experience this soon...:(

nissim said...

been there,done that. my homecoming is generally not that far apart.
the last 2 times I went home I too noticed that the air looked more smoggy. Ppl blamed it on the fact that I live in a jungle called IISc.
Anyway, the pain never really goes away. all we can do is experience the max of what we can in that short span of time.
if u find the anaesthetic, tell me.
We r all longing for the best place in the world...Home.

Harsha said...

Ditto!!

Harsha said...

Ditto!

zero-state said...

Nice one! But u'll be fine soon (baal [:D]). This realization that "home's The place" itself is the source for all the strength u need to face life and the warmth of our loved ones, back home, keeps assuring this, every moment when you need it the most!

Non_Blogger said...

gr8 post pal. almost had tears in my eyes reading it and remembering the last time i went home. man just wish ur post never ends... keep writing dude. look fwd to every new post of urs!!

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Athena said...

Very very nice!!! Could very well relate to everything you have written :-)

Keep writing (unlike me :p)

Prathamesh said...

hey dude... i now realise wat u, me and many others like us who have traveled far and away from hometo learn, work feel like.... i think mi jehva india varun parat yein thevha mala tuzha lihilela last paragraph athvel...

Absolute Chemystic said...

Hi!

Just chanced across your blog.. a very poignant post this one. its difficult to believe this when some one tells you, bt i know exactly how you feel. i have lived away from home for the past 4 yrs, and definitely, far enough, to NOT be able to go home, at the drop of a hat !
However I beg to differ with you on the anesthesia bit. The pain makes it real.. the longing reminds me of how much i love that place called home, all those memories that rush back when i think of that place are intertwined with the pain i feel when i am separated from it; it reminds me of who i am, where i come from.. after so long, it has become a part of my identity.. i would never want to numb it or freeze it away. what is surprising is the pain is the same, irrespective of whether i go back to india for 2 days or two months. it pains in all those places i did not even know existed within me ! i am not a sadist, bt its become a part of me now, a part of what i love about "home". anesthesia would not be able to do justice to it ;)

Lindsey said...

This is beautiful. Oddly, as I stumbled upon this, you are visiting "home" right now. I hope it is easier for you to come back this time. Home is and will always be comfort, but I hope you don't feel as much pain this time when you have to leave.