It was a pleasant surprise, my colleagues (who are more like an extended family) took me out to lunch today...it was more like a farewell party... yes, it is time to pack up and go...go home..I am not sure if that is a correct statement, but I am going..to India..for good.
It has been a a little over an year here, and when I came in, I didn't really like it. But as the weeks went by, I would shirk aside the dislikes and move on.. And that is the real crux of it. I don't know what the real America is;, is it the chaos of Manhattan, or the easy going folks around here in New Hampshire. The first impression of this land of opportunity (loo for short) was that it was so different from Europe, and it still holds. I obviously refer to the people. And I guess it has a lot to do with the volume of immigrant population here. But that's just an explanation, and it is not going to change how I view this land. Here are my initial thoughts about this place, just in case you were wondering.
The packing is tiring. There is a ton of stuff that I need to dispose off, but just recalling the price I paid for some of them makes me cringe. How does one pack up effects amounting to an year's worth of life in a couple of 30" x 20" x 14" bags? But that is a digression, and I am a little too happy to crib right now.
Homecoming has always been a happy affair. When we were about to leave for vacations (for those who don't know, I went to a boarding school), a classic way to start small talk on the dinner table was that this was the n'th last time we were having this kind of food. When we were served fish (on Wed'days for dinner) that no one would like, we would say I am eating this for the third last time this year. I still remember the menu - each day of the week and every meal of the day still seems a recent memory. Back then, packing used to be fun. You wanted to leave almost every item of clothing behind, secretly hoping your parents would buy you new ones. And of course you wouldn't have to carry heavy bags. The last day invariably had an exam, and we would fight tooth and nail to schedule the easiest (like Civics or 'Work Experience') or the craziest (like Sanskrit) for the last day. And we would race to run out of the hall to meet our parents who would have come to take us home. Some of the lucky ones had an 'authority letter' from their parents that would allow them to go home by themselves. I never had such an opportunity, until I appeared for my last exams, and I would always be jealous of those who were going home 'alone'. I guess my parents never realized I had grown up, and I am not sure if that has changed. Back then, being alone meant so much fun. You could trek all the way down to Rajpur with a backpack and take a local bus to the station instead of the boring one and half hours on the regular bus, or could have poori chhole instead of the mundane rajma chawal, and also grab a thums up with it (If you are thinking what's the big deal, let me tell you that our vacations began december 1st, we were in Dehradun and it used to be really cold; no sane Indian parent would allow a child to have a cold drink in that temperature). Some would skip the dinner altogether, and squueze out a movie at Prabhat, Krishna or Natraj or a rasmalai at the kumar sweets at Ghantaghar. Just before the vacations, as the classes remained suspended for the exams, we would wander around the school, in an area that we called the peninsula and the front pitch. Here is a link in case you were interested. The peninsula would offer a great view of the doon valley (it was like u were on the edge of a cliff which faced the valley and had rocks on the other 3 sides, hence the name). Another name for the same area was 'sinhaasan battisi' as the rocks flattened in the center in the form of a seat with a not-so-convenient backrest and if you sat there, you could see the shivaliks giving way to the plains of north india. But that was one place where we grew up, came to know each other and make friends for life.
Coming back to the present, there has been some excitement (a saner mind may call it relief) that is all-pervasive. There has been some shopping (mostly online) and some futile gift searches have not helped my planning. Hopefully things will fall in place in the next couple of days, before I take off.
P.S. I wonder how I have not managed a post till date about my school. Perhaps, there hasn't been a compelling reason. I hope to find one soon!