The bags are packed.
Everything I would need stuffed into two medium sized travel bags.
Tomorrow, as I board my flight, I will be leaving behind a relationship built up over 21 years. I will be leaving home.
4 years ago, when my brother left, I could only feel the excitement. New places. New people. New adventures. I always believed, as most people acknowledged, that the hard part would be settling in wherever we are headed. No one ever told me that was the easy part. No one ever told me that the hardest part would be leaving.
The excitement is still there. In fact a part of me feels like a 5 year old about to open a present. Yet a part of me feels like a 5 year old whose favourite toy just broke.
It’s not about leaving behind friends. We’ll always stay in touch. We’ll always meet up. Although less frequently. It’s about randomly texting everyone on a lazy summer day and deciding to go somewhere. Anywhere. Without any plans.
It’s about meeting up for snacks at the bakery on the corner of the road. About talking endlessly about random subjects sitting in random places.
It’s about the train ride back home everyday and convincing friends to walk with me to the station. It’s about running across the street when u hear the train’s horn. It’s about that split-second decision whether to buy tickets or not.
It’s about all night long gaming. It’s about being so preoccupied doing nothing with a bunch of friends that we all forget to eat.
It’s about waking up at 7 am and then moving on to sleep on the couch till 11 am. It’s about being in a city where u cannot get lost.
It’s about asking for a coffee as if you have woken up at 5 am. It’s about getting that coffee.
It’s about fighting over that last bite of food. It’s about being woken up on a Sunday morning by the bhajans from next door.
The conversations over a red signal. The schemes on bored evenings. The debates about cinema, music, laws, regulations, roads, actors, actresses and what not. The auto rides that almost got you killed. The rushing to movies hoping we don’t miss anything.
It’s about wondering if all these things are over.
It’s about looking back over 21 years. Looking back over every memory you have and wondering if you would ever make that many memories again.
Only as the last few days in chennai came did I realize that I have so many lose ends left. That 70-rupee debt at the bakery. The places I never visited. The friends I never made. The friends I never made up with.
The hardest part is not going somewhere unknown. It’s leaving the known. And everything that made it home.
It’s about leaving Chennai.