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The other day, I had an interesting conversation with my elder son. He is 11 years old now. And, he is already wondering how he would leave his parents and go in an alien place to study. Separation anxiety is already playing on his mind. I was explaining to him that initially it will hurt, but then he will go on to have a great set of friends and rich experiences. So much so, that he may even find it difficult to come home for vacation. He didn’t buy that. To him, what matters most is living with his family! And, I had no answers to his questions about why this has to happen? Apart from saying that this is the natural cycle of life.

It did take me back to my own MBA days when for the first time I lived away from the family. My father got transferred to Ahmedabad as soon as I began the course. For the first year, my sister and I stayed together in a rented place. She was working in a large company back then. But by the second year, she had got a transfer to Ahmedabad too, and I had to now live in a PG accommodation. I remember how dad flew down, made the arrangements in a place that was close to Vile Parle station and walking distance from my college. It was the smallest house I have ever lived in. The lady of the house was an old lady and a wonderful one at that. She was great to get along with and was very friendly though I was one-third her age.

She had a tiny bedroom and living room in her house. I got the bedroom with one small cupboard and a single bed. She lived in the hall. I remember that dad spoke with her, dropped my things off and left just like that. I remember fighting back tears, as for the first time I felt so totally alone. That moment when your loved ones walk away is the hardest. I am sure, it must be tough for him as well, but he did not show it and neither did I. But, yes one adapts. And, I had a fantastic set of friends. A nosy, jealous neighbor aunty, notwithstanding, that one year was a great experience for me. I opened my first bank account and operated it. I shopped and even cooked and washed clothes. There was only a landline in those days, so my conversations with my family were really sporadic and few. I spent most of my time in college even on weekends with friends and have beautiful memories that will last me a lifetime. It was a standing joke in my college that any vacation I got even for a couple of days, I was rushing off home.

Yes, we adapt! A part of us still yearns to get back to the family fold. I was on the moon when I got a job in Ahmedabad to finally reunite with my family. But, that day in the train when I was leaving Mumbai and my dear friends, I had tears in my eyes yet again. Leaving them behind, hurt too!

I am sure when the time comes my son will adjust beautifully as well. Β I think it is I who will have a much tougher time though, yet again!

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60 Thoughts on “Letting go!

  1. How true!. Children adapt, parents adapt, pangs of empty nest, loving them more , and worrying more about them, the list goes on. Another sad truth is , it is never the same again, that phase of early childhood and teens is over.
    Pattu recently posted…Progress after monsoon 2013My Profile

  2. Living in Bangalore your son can join several colleges in the city. But at some point they do fly away.
    My son had a choice between RV, BMS and BIT. I was very keen on RV . But he wanted to live in a hostel and pursue his favorite branch.
    It wont be easy Rachna. Overtime we all learn to adapt .

  3. Tough but not impossible. The situations teach us to adapt fast. For now, he’s too small and hence so much worried. Later on he’ll see the enormous opportunities that lie ahead and will leap for them without much difficulty. And yes, it is the parents that have a tougher time settling down without the children around.
    Rekha recently posted…The EngagementMy Profile

  4. This post took me back to July 2001 when I was dropped of at the hostel, and my parents were flying back home. I was to be all alone in India, and I think it took me a week of crying myself to sleep to actually realize things will be ok. But, when Dec 2001 came, I think I was so happy to get back home after the 1st semester. I believe I had booked my tickets in September itself to get myself home!
    Aathira recently posted…Sad but true…My Profile

  5. You sure will, Rachna. I remember how my mother would hide her face and cry behind. It never felt saddening to me, strangely, though I love visiting home. I hope you son is better than you in adapting to new situations πŸ™‚
    Diwakar Narayan recently posted…My Dream Asian Destination – Kuala LumpurMy Profile

  6. Beautifully written Rachna. I can imagine how our son is feeling and also the I imagined how the young Rachna was πŸ™‚ Yes, we adapt and we learn to enjoy the things we have adapted to πŸ™‚
    Poornima recently posted…Jungle magic hand sanitizer – a ReviewMy Profile

  7. It’s always the parents that find it harder to adjust, Rachna. I was only 15 when I agreed to complete the penultimate years of my schooling in a boarding school, a long way from home, even in another country. Being an only child, my parents wanted me to get some more exposure, and for my mother in particular, it was a really tough decision to make. But then we got through it. And I’m sure she did too. I’ve been away from home since then.

    I’m sure your son will adjust well. And you will too πŸ™‚
    iwrotethose recently posted…A time-honoured secretMy Profile

    • You know, we have broached the topic of boarding schools many times but my sons have shot it down vehemently. Wow, you must have been very brave and your parents as well to let their only son go so far away. I am sure when the time comes, the adjustment will happen albeit with loads of tears. Thanks for reading!
      Rachna recently posted…Letting go!My Profile

  8. I could so relate to this. I was so depressed when I first went to hostel for engineering. In my first year, I used to run off to my grandparents house in same city every Friday night. But come second year – grandparents hardly ever caught sight of me, parents heard from me so infrequently that if at all I communicate, first thing dad would ask is if I have run our of money.
    The Fool recently posted…Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy SeriesMy Profile

  9. You took me back to the day when my father left me in the hostel… It was in an engineering college in Gorakhpur… He stayed with me in the guest house a few days for registration and then the day came when he left me in the hostel.. I stood at the hostel gate and saw him walk away.. He didn’t look back, I knew he was very sad.. I knew it was hard for him too… He went to Lucknow that night and the very next day I got a parcel from him, he sent me a salwar suit with a letter… I can’t forget that day and I can’t forget what I felt.. Having said that hostel life was also good..It taught me so much… And I’m sure when the time comes Sid will adjust just fine… Ofcourse, he will still miss these times when he lives at home but what can one do.. ! That’s life!
    Nabanita recently posted…Till that smile reaches your eyes….My Profile

    • Awww That was such a lovely gesture on the part of your father. I can see that you miss them a lot even now. I feel so envious of people who can continue to live with their parents or at least close to them even after they have their own families. People like you and me just pine for those vacations to be with them. Yes, true! This is life. We have to go with the flow. Thanks for reading!
      Rachna recently posted…Letting go!My Profile

  10. Reminded me of m MBA days and the first few years of working :). Frankly I feel everyone should go through hostel life/living away from family for some time in life, it teaches a hell lot.. to adjust, to prioritize and most importantly .. to adapt to different situations that life throws back at you.
    Seeta Bodke recently posted…The Last Twenty Four HoursMy Profile

    • Totally agree with that, Seeta! That is why I am getting him ready to take this as a normal part of life. As a parent, it won’t be easy. But, we will all adjust just fine. Thanks for reading!
      Rachna recently posted…Letting go!My Profile

  11. I know the feeling of being alone far away from home as I was used so much to around my home. I feel the sooner ( at young age) they learn to adapt to a new place is a much better option than leaving home after marriage. All the best for your son!
    uma recently posted…Motherhood and AyurvedaMy Profile

    • Thanks Uma! My son is completely against even the idea of a boarding school. And somewhere in my heart, I want him to stay at least till his 12th. Beyond that, we will see as the need arises.
      Rachna recently posted…Letting go!My Profile

  12. It is the reality of life that one day we have to see our children leaving the parents for higher studies or to take up a job.Sid will also adjust.Dont worry and let him not know about your anxiety.It may disturb his tender mind.

  13. Nice poignant post which took most of us readers down a walk down our own memory lanes. Am sure both mother and son will find their own ways to adjust after the initial few days of separation. After all, this probably is one of the best ways to learn how to be independent of each other, right….
    Jairam Mohan recently posted…On duty, all these yearsMy Profile

  14. Like many of your readers, I too was reminded of the time when I left my family for the first time. But I had it easy. I left only when I got a job, hence was already a grown up.

    But yes, it does hurt. As you say, one adapts. One creates a new life and gets deeply engrossed in it.

    I have already had a child go away for studies. It never stops to hurt. I shamelessly keep looking for ways of extending her visit each time she comes home. When I tell you that she is still home after celebrating Diwali (she was to return on 6th Nov), you’ll know what I am saying. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    Mighty pleased I am about it. Took a bit of fast thinking for she knows most of my tricks. But she don’t know ’em all! πŸ˜€
    Dagny recently posted…Fragile LifeMy Profile

  15. Your post took me back to the time when I started my career and moved to Bangalore, Rachna. I hardly held back tears the day my parents left me in the PG and boarded the train. And just as you said, the day I got a transfer back to Chennai and bid farewell to my friends in Bangalore. However, the parents were the most affected, since as luck would have it, both my bro and me moved out during the same time, he for his college studies and me for job, and for the first time in many years, they were left truly alone. My mom still describes how lonely those few months were… A heart touching read, Rachna!
    Yamini Vijendran recently posted…To The Phoenix in YouMy Profile

    • Oh Yamini! I can imagine what your mom went through. It must be heartbreaking having an empty nest all of a sudden. I guess, what choice do we have? We all have to take this in our stride. Thanks so much for reading, Yamini!
      Rachna recently posted…Letting go!My Profile

  16. Moving on! It’s as scary as it is exciting. Your post brought back similar memories!
    Rickie recently posted…The First Diwali – The Untold Backstory Of What Transpired When Lord Rama Returned HomeMy Profile

  17. I am envious of all those who are blessed to continue staying with their parents! Thanks for reading!
    Rachna recently posted…Letting go!My Profile

  18. Took me on a nostalgia trip. The first time I went to a hostel I was super excited only to cry bucketfuls with roommates a week later.

    Since then I have always cried bucketfuls wherever I went. It is only recently that I have stopped crying when I return after vacation. After all this is home now
    Bhagyashree recently posted…The person with the scarMy Profile

    • haha So proud of you for doing that, Bhagya! I miss them when I come back from vacation but like you pointed this is my home now. Yet, one always wishes that one could spend more time with family. Uff!

  19. Life is strange, to otpimise happiness better to adapt πŸ™‚ Nice read TFS !

  20. You reminded me of my first day in engineering when my dad started after leaving me at the hostel. I saw him fighting back tears. You are right. Yours would be a tougher challenge

    • Yes Jaish, somehow I feel that it will be tougher for me. All the comments have made me realize that each one of us has gone through it! Thanks for reading!

  21. Ah, I never left home until 25 and hence was waiting to live on my own and I went away to teach in a boarding school, Rishi Valley and I was there for two years – The best two years of my life, I must say. I enjoyed the independent life and time and tide were by my side. I decided deadlines and what to eat and when. It was bliss, I say. Those years seem hazy and completely strange now. It was wonderful and sometimes I yearn for those days for I think that marriage has softened me and I have become quite clingy and emotional.

    Sid will love the time he spends in a completely different place and I’m sure coming home will be another experience then. There is still a lot of time, isn’t it.

    Love and joy,
    Susan

    • I loved your musings, Susan! I cherish those memories for the utter independence and delight of it all. No worries about earning a living or keeping a house. That was amazing! Yes, marriage and subsequently kids has made me more emotional and sensitive as well. Yes, you are right! Sid has many years to go. But, it feels like just yesterday when he was a toddler. How time flies! And now he will be on his own in just a few years. The thought of it overwhelms me. No, we are not stressing over it but it just came about in a conversation :). Love to you too!

  22. We think that we would never be able to live away from our family but like you said, we adapt and sometimes I am astonished how well we carryon with our lives. Your son also will adapt. My son wrote SAT at 19 years and left home to Boston. He had never flown in a plane before that! I used to cry often thinking about him and used to write long long letters to him every week….this has improved my writing skill, I think! Now, the younger one also was away for 4 years and has come back. We take life as it comes!

    Nicely written post, Rachna!
    Sandhya Kumar recently posted…Celebrations! 300 posts Mark Crossed, Thanks To All My Friends!My Profile

    • Ah, it was encouraging hearing about your experience with your kids, Sandhya. Really! Now that I am on the other side of the fence, it makes me a wee bit jittery. Of course life will make us adapt when the need arises. Thanks for reading!

  23. Letting go is the hardest thing to do yet one learns with time. If we didn’t, we’ll only be making things worse for us.

  24. Ya, I remember my first time away from home. Dad dropped me off at my PG and I cried the whole day. I just had two days off in the same week and off I went to my parent’s place which was an 8 hour journey. Circle of life…
    Jas recently posted…To the Rising SonMy Profile

  25. My first stay away from home was in my fifth grade when I went to a boarding school. And I still remember Dad going away after dropping me. But by the time I reached 9th I doesn’t even used to go home for weekends and even now I miss my boarding days. Living away from home at a small age is a wonderful experience.
    Sheethal recently posted…A small footstepMy Profile

  26. Muses of the Heart on November 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm said:

    Aww…this brings back my own memory of living away from my family owing to my studies and job. Getting adapted to the new environment and new responsibilities and making some amazing friends on the way also brings a whole lot of happiness though πŸ™‚ Nice read!!!

    • Yes, the two sides of this coin are bittersweet. There is the hurt in going away from parents and the happiness in being free and finding new friends and avenues. Tough initially when it unfolds. Eventually everyone figures a way out!

  27. Life is really all about balancing holding on and letting go, isn’t it? πŸ™‚
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  28. I already learned the parting lessons quite early in life…don’t know how it will be when Rushi finishes high school..I am quite a nagger πŸ˜› donno if I will go and clean up his dorm and come….trying to imagine myself ..lol
    latha recently posted…Learned to let it go…My Profile

  29. When dad left me at the hostel, I wanted to run back home. and 2 years later, I found it difficult to leave all my friends in the hostel. It does not talk time for ‘new’ to become ‘regular’ but it depends a lot on the people that surround you.
    Amit recently posted…Boiling Water – IIIMy Profile

  30. oh, for sure, it is us who will have a tough time; and then perhaps we will truly understand what our parents went through!
    Roshni recently posted…Our Diwali tradition continues!My Profile

  31. Madan Chavan on December 8, 2013 at 5:55 pm said:

    yes madam

    You have truly molded contents of staying away from loved one, I not only liked it but brought back memory of College days.

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