Friday, February 10, 2012
I don't want you to be misled by this title. I am not going anywhere and nor are we moving. This title is about what we (A and I) went through a couple of months back. I said bye to Columbus, Ohio first in August, and finally in December, 2011. A bid his farewell to the city, close to New Years Eve. When I flew out of Columbus the last time, I was reflecting on how saying bye feels and the various times we have done this. All of us have gone through this similar phase - at some point or the other.
I remember three distinct farewells now. One was when I left India in 2006 to come here, the other when A and I left Connecticut to move to Columbus and now when left Columbus to settle in Washington, DC. If there is one common thread between the three, then it is that that your association with a place lasts longer than you think. When I was leaving Bombay, my friend K told me not to be sad that I was going away. She said that we will continue to be in touch. And we are. After six years, I find myself connecting with K often, or speaking to her when I am super elated or confused or….
Your ties with a place are not simply restricted till the time you live there. What I learned - you will keep in touch with the people you want to. You will miss them, yes, but, if you really want to, you will maintain contact. And that's the good thing. This is not because we have Facebook, which has made things easier. You will be in touch via other ways also. I had emailed someone from my work place in Columbus last week. And she said, I am doing a good job of keeping in touch. I feel as if some things don’t require a lot of time and effort. I have seen some of the busiest people reply every so quickly to emails. There is always time to send a two-sentence email to people who you think about.
You may move on from one place. But memories from there remain. A and I still miss a lot of things about Connecticut. Most of all, we miss the people and our friends. Other than that, we miss the parks and other things we take for granted. There used to be an Asian restaurant that we really liked. It still lingers on in our minds. The first time we went back to Connecticut, A and I wanted to go to all our favorite restaurants and visit some parks that we really liked.
We all get emotionally attached and associate one place with a particular event, which makes it more special. For instance, it was Connecticut where I first landed after we were married and I first came to this country. Although I didn't have much of an adjustment period, everything that I knew about the United States was first through New Britain, Connecticut. It is the place from where A got his PhD. Bombay was where I began working, and made some really close friends. Columbus, Ohio is where I went to school. That too, was huge for me, considering several things. So you may bid adieu to a place, but the emotions and sentiments remain.
It is for the same reason that after all these years, we hear our parents recount that, "When we lived in Nairobi or when we lived in Calcutta, we went for a safari every Sunday or peanuts cost X rupees." They talk ever so fondly about their time there, the weather and how the place was. Who knows, someday, after twenty years, we will recount to our children or friends of how life was when we were in our 20s and 30s.