Sunday, November 22, 2009

The hardest part is saying goodbye

This post has pieces paragraphs moments from different periods in time. It is not supposed to be linear. Think of it as a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Siddhant is headed back to Mumbai. Even asked me if I wanted him to bring me something back from India.
"Can't think of anything"
Soumitra is also flying back to Bangalore for the break. His arrangements were pretty last minute and his itinerary is very fucked up! Flying from Savannah to New York, 6 hours between the next flight. He has to catch the next flight from NewArk New Jersey. After he lands in Delhi, he has to wait another six hours for his flight to Bangalore. As much as I mock him for this, I would kill to be on the same journey as him.

I'm flying to Columbus Ohio today and then going to Mansfield. Where I will spend the rest of my winter break. With naniji, nanaji, Mamaji and Mausiji—among family. I should be looking forward to the good food, leisure and other comforts of being in a home versus a dorm. But my mind is preoccupied with something.

I called up Naniji first thing in the morning today to let her know the timing of my flight and ask her what I should pack. I wanted to make sure I was only taking what was necessary. I was also intending to be able to bring back as many of my books as possible.

Somewhere in the conversation I must have dropped that my friends are going back to India.
Soumitra is also flying to Bangalore.
Naniji sounded sympathetic when she said "Since all your friends are going So you must be feeling like going too, right?"
Should I lie and pretend to still be as detached and emotionless as I was a month ago; or should I suck it up and admit that saying "NO!" to mom was a mistake?
*Inhale* "Yeah, a little bit." *exhale*
"Don't worry, you can go in the summer. Mausi is coming for thanksgiving. And you'll have fun here."
She always knows the right thing to say.
His arrangements were pretty last minute
"Yeah I know. I'm not too worried. Neil is also going to be there. I will have things to do."

I have only felt this way when I was last flying from India to Canada. I couldn't even eat any of the awesome sushi at Sushi-Go at Heathrow terminal. I let Soumitra and Shekinah go find something to eat for themselves while I sit down on a random bench. They can't make up their minds so they come back and sit down with me. We hang out, crack some jokes. I'm not going to see these guys for about another month. I feel the longer I am with them at the airport the harder saying goodbye will be. So I tell them "I better start going through the security."

But Shekinah won't let me. She wants me to "Say something profound before you leave." I can never come up with anything when put on the spot like this. But I did come up with something. Now, the more i think about it, the less sense it makes. I was thinking about how I can call someone up once these guys left. And I was thinking that I can't tell anyone I was thinking that. 

Sitting at the airport all alone, waiting for my flight to take off, I am trying to put these feelings into words. But I fail. So I pop my sketchbook out and start sketching the image of a figure—myself a few minutes ago in time—the past me, sitting alone in a row of seats, looking at the ceiling… at nothing in particular, just at the general nothingness… the plain white color and the abstract geometric pattern that the architecture makes when looked at from this angle. Before I knew it, I was deeply engrossed in my storyboard. Drawing the face as a simple geometric form with no features except tears streaming down from what are supposed to be eyes.
I would kill to be on the same journey as him.

The weariness and hunger put me to sleep in the flight. I woke up in time for the refreshments. And not long after, the flight landed in Columbus. Getting off the plane was surprisingly quick as I wasn't trapped in the back of the plane. Naniji had gotten my earlier messages and was almost at the airport. Getting my checked bag at the carousel took forever. But as soon as I stepped outside, and felt the not-as-cold-as-i-expected wind in my face and saw Naniji, all was well in the world again. I forgot about all my butterflies and was craving for some food, finally! And Naniji was—as all good nanijis are—ready; with delicious food for me right there in the back seat of the car.

And stupid Soumitra will be flying all that way for something I'm getting right here. The feeling of finally being home.

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