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. I think it is I who will have a much tougher time though, yet again!
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