A few months ago, I made the best decision of my life: I bought a one way ticket to Bombay.
I packed up my cute little house in Bangalore, packed all my shirts and shorts into two big black suitcases, donated creams and clips and other silly things we accumulate to my friends, cleared out my cluttered office desk, said goodbye to my beloved balcony, threw a massive farewell party (jello shots, oh yes!) and left.
You see, I was going back home.
I still remember the goose bumps as I peered out of my window seat and looked at my beautiful city, twinkling below. And the absolutely unreal feeling of touching down in Bombay. I’d landed in the city thousands of times below, but this was just so special.
Photo Credit: Kunal Shah
I’d lived away for a while – spending five years in four cities and eight houses, first as an MBA student on campus, and then as a working woman finding her way in the corporate world. Sure I loved the thrill of living away. Life was different, and I was growing and evolving every day. The little things made me the happiest – withdrawing my own money from the ATM machine, fixing up pasta for the first (and last) time, changing light bulbs in the house. I met lots of new people, traveled a whole lot (and that’s how the wanderlust bug bit!), reveled in new experiences and got to know myself a little better. I found some wonderful friends who became as close as family, and I learned to survive outside of my little South Bombay bubble.
But something was still missing.
There was a certain void that no amount of close friends, office work, aimless chilling, craft beer, intense travel, good food (and everything I loved) could fill. I realised that for all my wanderlust, I was still happiest going back home. I craved to see the familiar faces of my favourite people – exotic locations be damned! My favourite days were the ones that ended on a flight back home, to Bombay.
Sometimes I’d see families happily dining together in a restaurant – and I’d be consumed by a wave of homesickness. Or I’d hear that mom had the flu, and all I wanted to do was be with her. Or I’d see my fiancé just a few days in the month, and spend the rest of the time waiting to see him.
And so I decided to come back home.
I was fortunate to have an organization that completely supported me, so I could move home and still keep my job. My parents were elated and I couldn’t quite believe it myself!
The past few months in Bombay have been an absolute dream. Sure, I miss my life living away, but just nothing beats being home. And again, it is the little things that make me the happiest. Eating home cooked meals with the family on the dining table (the little brother is missed muchly). Hot tomato soup when I’m sick. Laundry that gets magically done (god bless mom!). Running into old acquaintances at the neighbourhood grocery store. Carrying a carefully packed lunch tiffin to work. And falling asleep in my own bed, to the familiar sounds from the street.
There is so much joy in being surrounded by people who love me to bits, who’ve known me all my life and then some more (instead of friends of friends of friends). In not missing out on a single thing in the lives of the people I love most, and being there in person (phone calls never quite match up to an actual face to face conversation!)
And that’s when it hit me: You may travel the world, but all roads lead home eventually. True story.