Monsoon of Memories: You Miss Home the most Right after your Return
There’s a certain charm about planning a trip back home. The excitement sets in the day you apply for leave from work, start checking the ticket prices, and drop messages to family and friends to let them know about the dates. After all, who doesn’t love returning to a place peppered with warm hugs and a feeling of belonging and togetherness! However, the eerie truth is that the most you miss home is not when you are unable to visit it for long, but when you get back from just visiting it.
Think about it. For a few days after coming back, you forget everything that was your routine and find yourself mirroring the routine back home. You wake up at the same time your parents do back home, and you don’t mind if it’s too early in the day. Your breakfast choices too start to match theirs—you realize that nothing can beat the charm of dunking a crusty wheat rusk into a hot cup of chai or coffee over a shared newspaper. You start to solve Sudoku on paper and forget Wordle for a while.
You may have come back, but your thoughts are still back home. You realize the discipline with which your father remembers to switch on the water motor—at eight a.m. every day—without fail and without an alarm clock. You think of your mother getting occupied with repotting the plants and wonder what new herbs you can add to the kitchen garden. The urge and passion with which your father plans his visit to the bank to get a passbook updated. Or the guesswork that everyone at home indulges in to come up with options for what’s for lunch, just by the sound and number of whistles of the pressure cooker. The dropping in of the dhobi bhaiyya to collect clothes at noon, but linger-ing on until he’s checked on your health, job, and kids. The giggles over every doorbell with you asking who has come now, and mum and dad laughing and remarking it must be another of your Amazon deliveries. When you sit on the staircase for hours just so you don’t miss what mum and the aunt in the neighborhood are conversing about.
The first few days of returning from home are the hardest to get through. Perhaps it is the freshness and awareness of what you’ve left behind that makes it so. It’s knowing when mum changes the sheets on the beds and realizing that it has not been even a week since you got back, so it’s not time for it yet. It’s connecting with them on a video call after returning and knowing that it would soon be time for them to have lunch and take a nap. It’s attending meetings at work but recalling that this would be the time when the sabziwala would come home with fresh coriander, mint, and chilies to ensure there’s chutney ready for the evening.
It’s knowing that while life goes on, and everyone would soon get used to the newer routine, you would still be missing them, thinking of the emptiness in the home. That you would get used to, once again, the work-home drill of eating meals alone and not with everyone gathered at the table. It’s knowing that there is still an option to catch a flight and be home again, but also accepting that returning from it would still be as tough.
Purva Grover is an author, journalist, poet, playwright, and stage director. A postgraduate in mass communication and literature, she is the founder-editor of The Indian Trumpet, a digital magazine for Indian expats in the UAE. She can be reached at email@example.com. To comment on this article, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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