Thursday, March 31, 2011

Staying home

There are only two stories in the world, I have heard. One is of the stranger who rides into town (and eventually leaves), and one is of the person who has a stranger visit his or her town.

I have always been the one who gets up and goes. It seems to me now that a large part of my time at home was spent packing for trips while my mum sat on the bed and watched me. I know how it feels to be be sad to be leaving, but to also be excited about the upcoming trip. I have had times when my mind was already at my destination even as my hands were packing my bag. I would talk excitedly about wherever it is that I was going to. I remember feeling defensive when my mum expressed regret that I am leaving. Be happy for me, I would say. Why aren't you happy for me? And all the time, she would sit there and try to summon up excitement about my plans. In an effort to cheer her up, I would emphasize how happy I was wherever I was going to. It would make her feel better,I would think, to know I was happy. And I would suppress my regret and tell her over and over how wonderful my destination was.

I feel sad now.

I feel sad that I rubbed in my excitement to be leaving. Did Mum feel that I was happy to leave her? Back then I didn't really have the empathy to understand the desolation of the one who is left behind. I couldn't see that while the one left behind IS happy for the traveller, she is also faced with the reality of an empty home. I didn't realise how difficult it is to bite back tears and join in the packing. I was also too dense and self-absorbed to understand insecurity, to understand the doubts that rise despite one's logical mind.

Back then, I say. Because now I know. As the fates would have it, my situation is now reversed. The one I love is more of a traveller than I am. And I am the one who thinks despite herself, "he just got here, and he is planning to leave." I know its not like that. I know exactly what it feels like to leave home. I try to always remember that.

I thought I do a good job of it. But today I realised that Mian senses my unhappiness. And worse, thinks it is directed at him. It's not. As I said, I do know both sides of the story. I can, and do, feel excitement about his travels. I am damn proud of his work and the life he has crafted for himself. But this is the man who selects the most intact chips in a crushed bag of Lays and keeps them aside for me. He left an hour ago, and I am already lonesome. How can I not be filled with dread at the thought of his being away for a week?


Unmana said...

Oh, darling. I know how you feel and yet I don't, because I have never been as generous or strong as you are.

And I know it's pretty poor consolation: but you know I'd love to get a call from you anytime.

You'll be happy again soon, I know.

Anonymous said...

Going and missing the left behind. Staying and missing the gone.

Two sides of the same half.

Just like you and Mian.

Be comforted.

Hugs from across the world,

nadi said...

When there is so much love , why should distances matter? And analyses of the feelings of the packer and feelings of the person who is staying behind (perhaps to go on journeys of her own)?
when there is so much love