Home: A place your feet may leave, but your heart never does.
Leaving home was hard. Staying at a place for 18 years and then one day you need to leave, and not just next door, but miles away. The exhilarating sense of breaking free and finding my own way around was overwhelming but threatening all the same. I did hear a lot of stories about how people missed their family and the familiar streets so much that they’d leave everything and end up coming back.
I never thought I’d come back and thankfully I never did. Not that I didn’t miss home, that was inevitable. But because I would’ve regretted flushing down an opportunity to learn and grow. It wasn’t easy, though. There were a lot of things I learnt the hard way. I was ‘kept’ all these years. I had to do the ‘keeping’ now. Many would call me stupid and naive but sometimes you don’t want the worldly conventions about your new city to govern your experience and taste of it. That’s kinda what happened to me.
One of the crucial things I realised is how “free” I am. I could be partying till late and not attend a single lecture and still, no one would question me. There’s no one clocking me or continuously pestering me for one thing or the other. But along with it came a whole new sense of responsibility. Yes, this is one of the first things your parents say, but you don’t realise it until you’re actually sitting in your room and staring into all the notes you missed and an empty wallet. I didn’t know how to budget properly, and although it’s not wrong to explore a new city, but wanderlust can cause you serious problems if you don’t spend cautiously. Also, if you are missing your lectures, it is you who will suffer when internals roll in. Forget exams. You just have to take the reigns in your hands otherwise everything will fall off the cart.
You also get the wind of how you need to be friends with yourself and do your thing even if there is no one to come along. It’s not every time that someone or the other would agree to be there with you. You have to be on your own at some point of time. Maybe there’s an event you’d like to go to and your friend doesn’t. Or maybe there’s a place your friend went to without asking you to be their chaperone. There would be times when you’d be eating alone in the cafeteria or listening to old songs sitting in the sun with no one to talk to. There’ll be weekends when there’ll be no party going on and you’ll be forced to complete that assignment out of boredom. You’ll also talk to a lot of strangers and make friends in other courses of your college. Maybe you discover a quiet corner for a nap or turn it into your reading nook. Remember that this is not school where it was your moral duty to go along a friend to the loo. You only have to know, don’t hold grudges. It’s fine if they’re not willing to tag along. You have to be okay with it and respect people’s choices.
On the same train of thought, you learn something else too. It is the importance of “No”. Again, this is basic A level and we are taught to say no when we don’t feel like it. But if you’re someone like me, there is no “no” in your vocabulary. You’ll say yes at the oddest of times to the oddest of requests. You’ll know that it’s something that you don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable but you’d do, because the other person shouldn’t feel bad about it. What if you need their help one day? But, please, don’t do this to yourself. Remember, you come first, no matter what. Why do it when you simply don’t want to? It’s OKAY. Draw your boundaries and stick to them. Hold your privacy. Don’t let someone else’s idea of ‘cool’ define who you are. This is the time you look into what your culture and value system says about it. Don’t explain yourself when there is no need to. Don’t expect them to understand it either. Don’t fear the fact that you’ll be stranded if they throw you off their group. It’s okay to be a loner. You don’t have to stand up to everyone’s expectations and please them. Say no. End of conversation.
One of the things that gave me a hard time was that if you won’t ask for it the answer will always be no. It could be anything from asking the grocer for a discount to asking your PG owners for a facility. You will have to ask. If there’s someone who needs it, it’s you. It could be anything. From asking your seniors for help in studies to asking a society President to teach you a skill when you aren’t capable enough to join the society. Just do it. You want it, go get it. Otherwise, sit in a corner and suffer in silence. It’s up to you.
College is a time when you have myriad of experiences. And if you leave your city, there’s a whole new hue of life waiting to be unveiled. Although, some moments make you forget home, there are times when you’d wish you never came. I won’t sugarcoat things, but there are things you just need to do. It could be following your passion yourself because there’ll be no one pushing you. It could be finding your calling and knowing where your heart truly lies.You will have to discover yourself on your own. Develop yourself. You will have to face the reality and leave the romanticising to Bollywood.
Everything that you require to succeed lies within you. You just have to go out there, and grab it!