There are people who are born to wander. Travel, see the world, live in different cities, always picking up and moving from place to place. They cant wait to get to the point where life gives them wings to fly. Being in a single place over a stipulated period results in severe ants-in-pants-syndrome.
Im home-bred. No matter where I wander, I return home. Whether it was after a long and tiring day, a weekend away form the city, a vacation at my grannys or a work trip. Life has given me opportunities to move out and discover the world outside, many times over. My parents are the coolest. They wanted me to move out, get my own place, my own life. And yet, I stayed on. And on. And on. Until I got married. Only to move from my own home into my husbands, which wasnt too drastic a change — in the sense that I had all my basic necessities covered, didnt have to do much, was very well looked after, and life didnt really change too much.
And so it suddenly became apparent, that Iv lived the last 27 years of my life, with people all around me. I have friends who moved on to college in another city. Kids who have just joined work, straight out of college, tell me how theyre used to living alone. Colleagues have stories to tell of the many cities they have hopped before choosing Goa. And I carry around the weight of this truth about myself, like a shameful secret. Iv never lived alone.
I cannot count the few instances when my parents travelled out of town, leaving me behind to fend for myself. Nor can I count the husbands business travel, which in recent times is never more than a single night at a time. When we were in Bangalore, his going away almost never bothered me. Because the rest of the family was always around and I had my friends. Even at night, the fear of the dark was allayed by the fact that there were people in the next room. I was technically never ever all alone.
So when VC informed me last week that his next trip to Bangalore was spread over 4 days, I knew my time of security was up. Thats 4 days, 4 nights of being alone. Over a weekend at that. Giving me all the time in the world to feel alone, scared of the dark, bored without the cant-live-without-you person in my life. Humm. Its true what they say, life has a funny way of throwing you into the situations you fear the most. This was another.
But 4 days and 3 nights in, Im pleased to say I have truly enjoyed my time alone. Iv had a beautiful weekend. Chilled out, relaxing and just so happy. Almost all by my lonesome. Where last year I feared being alone, locking myself indoors by about 9, having a restless night of no sleep, sometimes with the light on; today I am free to wander the streets of Panjim, with different sets of friends to keep me company, coming back home without that familiar knot of fear in my stomach. And the truth is, its no biggie. I went about doing my thing, breaking out of the rut that I have been stuck in for weeks now.
This weekend was just the break I needed. I was reminded of my pre-marriage life in Bangalore. When I had my own schedule to work by. No synching, no duties. Just free flowing. To think, be alone, live for myself, without worrying about the dark, about how safe/unsafe I am. No worries.
I didnt do anything out of the ordinary. It was a weekend like most others, chores, good old fun times, but with new people. But being all by myself didnt stop me from watching a late night movie and driving back alone. It didnt stop me from meeting a friend who has so far only been confined to email exchange. It didnt stop me from cooking for friends, calling them over, watching a movie and saying goodbye, only to crawl into bed alone. Like it used to be. Just the way I needed it to be this weekend. Its helped me snap out of the funk Iv been in. And that has made all the difference.
Feeling a tad retrospective last evening, I mulled over the tinge of regret that I felt, at realising that perhaps I have missed out on something most people do very early in life: Live on their own, find their individual space and learn things alone. But I very quickly felt a sense of overwhelming gratitude that life that has given me ample opportunities, and yet, when I chose to stick by the normal, has given me plenty of loving and caring family and friends, who always stuck around and made me feel at home, at home. Life was kind enough to only throw me into the deep end of being all alone, when I am truly ready for it. When I am in a space in life when I can enjoy it. Appreciate the liberty for what it is. And for that, I am so glad. As I snap out of my moment of contemplation, the husband calls. I tell him what an awesome weekend Iv had and how long its been since I felt so chilled out. He tells me he’s kind of homesick, and cant wait to be back in Goa. And Im at home again.
It takes missing several opportunities (because Id rather wait for the one thats just right), to really take flight and soar into a new place and make it your own. This is where I am now. And because it lets me be who I am, this is home.