Originally posted on Medium.
I have stayed at my home for ten years. I have stayed out of home for sixteen years now.
When the parents decided that I should be sent to a boarding school, I was still in my primary school days. And that decision, am not sure the parents understood the depth of at that moment, changed it all. Maybe for good, maybe not.
School days were spent building upon the disciplined lifestyle that were summoned upon us by the authorities. We obeyed a few, broke much more, enjoyed life to the fullest. We waited for the Summer and the Rains so that we can play football in the muddy waters, we waited for the Winter so that marathon cricket matches could happen day in and day out. And in the middle of it all, we found out our friends for life, and did not realise when we grew up already. For the six years in middle school, I lived in four different places (read, hostels), and shared rooms (read, hostel rooms) with twenty-four different set of friends. Every six months, we were taught to move on in life, leave the group of friends we were already living with and start adjusting with the next set of room-mates. All in the name of adaptation!
High School was particularly the worst time — for many of us, for reasons varied and unspecific. After all the years of strict discipline, decent food and becoming a certified escapist from the real world, high school was like us being thrown out in the middle of the ocean without a life-jacket. Apparently, we could not afford the option of saying to ourselves, “Why me?” The only way to survive was to mutter under the breath, “Try me”. In those two years, I had to move on twice, and there were two set of friends to share the rooms with.
College happened next. All those four years of tumultuous, crazy, often out-of-control life, we learnt a few good lessons — about life as a whole. We broke more rules than obeyed, we broke few hearts and won more, we made late night parties look like routines, we skipped lectures like it was the norm, we took trips to the wilderness like we cared the least about life. Among all the four seasons of summer, monsoon, autumn and winter, we made new sets of friends. For few of us, friends became more than friends, with promises of a lifetime. For the others, they taught themselves that moving on was their only way out. In those four years, I did not have to move places much — and the same reflected in life as well. All those four years, I stayed in the same place (read, hostel) with almost the same group of friends.
As they say, you do not know what future has in store for you. Just when I thought I might have found some perspective about and against moving on and around in life, bigger things were bound to happen in life. Career happened. Real life happened. None of us could continue becoming the perpetual escapist which everyone already was, in some form or the other. I again had to move places, and this time, further away from home. The graphical plotting of the distance away from home to time has always been a steady upward rise. And this time was not an exception.
In the last two and a half years here in this city, I have lived in three different places — with two different sets of friends. Since growing up comes with its inherent complexities and disappointments of not-being-a-not-grown-up any more, these ‘moving on’s were considerably different (read, tougher) in its own merit than the previous ones. We all have our baggages, and seldom we learn how to leave them behind, with nerves of steel, without having to take a glance over the shoulders before going away, slowly and steadily.
Time has come to move on again. To a different place – this time with a set of strangers – strangers that I know will become friends soon. I don’t mind, as long as I am not forced to settle down for good.
The middle school did me some good. It taught me how to move on like a pro.