Edited by: Mohan Rajagopal
Using fervent emotions and words, this essay is a humble attempt to express the desire to go home, experience familial love and affection, and recognize the modest actions of our loved ones that intuitively affect our lives, despite being geographically sequestered.
Call me, maybe
There’s so much I need to say,
So much I need to share,
So much to express.
Call me, maybe
I await your call,
Beyond the mundane conversations,
I long to know how you are.
Last night, I got off the phone with my father and sighed. My family had attended our local fest, held annually. Clearly, I had missed it. In college, my father and I made it a point to call daily at 8 pm. I am his older daughter, and this was my first time away from home. Setting an alarm each night on his slightly dysfunctional ‘One-plus’ phone, he did not miss a single chance to talk. The first week passed and our calls were filled with enthusiasm. I excitedly shared every instance of my fresh college experience, right from tasting ‘Wai Wai’ for the first time, to the newly discovered delicacies of the Dhaba. He patiently listened. The next week passed, and it all felt the same. Unchanged was the enthusiasm, unchanged was the patience. But we forgot to talk one night. No one spoke about it. I suppose we thought it unnecessary to address the one (or was it a few?) missed call and carried on, without paying much attention. Gradually, and unfortunately, the frequency of our calls reduced.
Lately, I have noticed that my conversations are limited to banal narrations of my day. “How was your day?”, my dad asks. “It was good, I guess,” I’d reply without much consideration. I feel painfully distant from home. I miss seeing my younger adolescent sister blossom into an admirable woman. I miss having my mother’s guidance at my convenience. I miss visiting my grandparents while going on evening walks. But alas, here I am, a thousand kilometers away from home. Waiting for a call, maybe. Every time I visit home, I feel displaced. There are some things in my room that would never make it back. The memories spent on campus, which my school friends just won’t understand. Or a snow globe given by a dear college friend, which would make its way home, only after a good four years, along with my undergraduate degree.
I feel displaced, because it feels like I am at home away from home. My room has now become my sacred space. A place where I can read at peace, hug my soft toy ‘Chochu’, or bawl while listening to sad tunes. Why does the same home which nurtured me, make me feel aloof? Why is it that every time I go home, my sister’s grown a few inches taller, my toddler cousin’s starting school, and my grandparents are getting older? Is it not unfair for me to miss out on these transitions? It all starts with one missed call, and ends with a breakdown over feeling secluded from familial warmth. Setting a reminder on Google Calendar to call home does not suffice anymore. Some days, I am too ‘busy’, and some days I simply forget. The reminder remains unchecked, elapsed to the next day until I have a backlog of calls to be made to my father. Where did my enthusiasm go? Where is the excitement? There is so much I wish to share. My first boyfriend, my first heartbreak, my overwhelming course load, pour my heart out on a call. But, will I call? Maybe, maybe not.
Having my feet in two worlds is devastating, it crushes me. Balancing college and missing home simultaneously, has put me in a tough position. On one hand, it seems as though the balance will endure and I will get through it. And at times, it appears to be insufferable. All I yearn for is one long call with my loved ones, checking up and re-assuring myself of their active existence in my life. Indeed, a cherished call is all you deserve. And that can have a boundless impact. Call them, not maybe, but definitely. Talk to them, not maybe, but certainly. Share the most diminutive accounts of your day, not maybe, but unequivocally.