It will be a week tomorrow.
A week of the dogs and me getting accustomed to our own company and a timetable which suits my reluctance for long walks, Peppu’s desire for stone games and Mili’s habit of digging up holes and caves into the hillside.
Last week, the morning had found me pushing my daughter to complete her packing. It was a day of multitasking at its best— A chocolate cake in the oven, decluttered items piled on the carpet, dogs trying to figure out what suitcases and bags meant, friends dropping in to say farewell, and grey thick clouds covering the skies outside.
We drove down to the railway station next morning. A drive through familiar curves hugging the mountainside, with each jacaranda tree waving goodbye. We have done those 40 odd kms a zillion times, but the pleasure of driving on those winding roads, snacking on the pakodas-and-lemonsoda offering at Kainchi, commenting on the silvery sheet of water at Bhimtal and the final few miles through thick sal forest at Ranibagh…the pleasure of that trip just refuses to fade. Leaving Ranikhet for the plains becomes just a little bit harder after that trip down to the railway station.
My daughter has been in and out of home for the last year and more, and I had got accustomed to seeing her off and getting her back after a few days or weeks. But this time, she was leaving for good. A chance to do the work she wanted, a good opportunity for growth, and some valuable experience…it was all for the best, except that it meant leaving the mountains and this small town which is home.
As I drove back home alone through the quiet evening roads, the setting sun throwing shadows and the trees swaying with the wind, I realised how easily one can get accustomed to the calm beauty and the clean feel of the mountains. Over the past week, I have realised how difficult it can be to get accustomed to the noise and vigour of our cities, after living here. More than missing home comforts, or the dogs, or anything else, its the calmness and serenity which just drop out of life in the big city.
As for me, I am still settling down to being on my own again, having an entire Sunday to myself with no one to talk to ( if I so wish), planning a work schedule which cannot be dumped on some flimsy excuse like having a long chat, and just living for myself. Its a bitter sweet feeling. There is one Me who searches for little signs of her daughter all over the house and there is the other Me who is focussed on getting a schedule in place. I swing between these two poles, but yes, the swing is more towards the latter pole with each passing day.
In the end, the fact that each human being comes into this world alone, lives out their life and destiny in their own special way, and tries to fulfil their own individual dreams and ambitions, is a fundamental truth.
Much as I miss the presence of my girls on some days, I am so glad that they have their own lives, loves, passions, plans and ideas…and I am so glad that I have my own life, loves, passions, plans and ideas. and sometimes, when we meet in some common space, its magic.
Not just my daughters, this holds true for everyone else in my life… friends, family, the knitters, the dogs and the leopard who stalks the forest and preys on our dogs for food.
Don’t want to meet the leopard though, in any sort of common space!