When we decide to leave our homeland and settle in a foreign land, leaving our family, friends, and comfort zone behind, and embracing a new place and the environment is never easy. What do you miss the most about our homeland? First and foremost, the loved ones of our life, the people who are close to our hearts. Besides our the people who form our lifeline, we miss our food, festivals and religious or festive social gatherings like weddings, Ganeshotsav, and others. Just after six odd months of coming to Munich, I felt an emptiness even after having some wonderful friends to my rescue. I think I was yet to accept Munich’s house as my home! My husband sensed it and suggested a short trip of 2 weeks to India. Initially, I refused, for two reasons, as we had planned a trip in July-August in Aarav’s summer vacations and more importantly, Paresh suggested that I should not take Aarav as we are not allowed to miss his school. But my decision changed on meeting Priyanka, one of our dear friends who visited us after her trip to India, and she looked so refreshed and rejuvenated besides just being happy. That very moment I was convinced that I should agree and visit India as Paresh suggested.
It all started a couple of days back when I was talking to Swapna who was planning for her trip to India. My brother had recently shifted to Australia and he was planning his visit to India after a year. I casually spoke to Paresh, “I’m feeling sad that this year I won’t be able to meet Dada and Swapna, I wish we could also visit India in winter! I am missing everyone” My brother and I stayed in two different and far apart cities in India. But every year we use to spent our vacations together. Although we don’t call each other very often, I depend a lot on him. I am very fortunate that Paresh understands these nonvocal feelings. The next day Paresh called from office and asked me, ” Do you really want to visit India? Should I book tickets for Aarya and you?” I was speechless! I was trying but still, I had no words! I said,” “you come home, then we’ll talk.” Spellbound by his offer I found it strange! Going to India is never an inexpensive affair, and when he said this, I was very surprised. When he came home, I did not say anything about it, as I was not sure about my reply. After a while, he asked, “So, what have you thought?” My worry was Aarav, my elder son. However, Paresh assured me that I will take care of Aarav. He won me, all over again. I was on cloud nine, what he proposed was absolutely unexpected but very delightful. Then, I started planning my trip. My motive was that I should be able to meet few important people of my life, firstly, Dada and Swapna, as I won’t be able to meet them in my summer trip, when Aarav, has school vacations. Besides, I was very eager to meet my core family and some of my very close friends. On hearing the news my near and dear ones were as elated as I was giving the news but at the same time worried about Aarav. Aarav my elder son was going to stay back with Paresh. He is a very sensitive and introvert child, and I had never stayed away from him before. I was very worried about him as to how would he cope with this news and my absence. But to my surprise, my seven-year-old took it quite agreeably. In fact, he helped me in shopping for his cousins, knowing the fact that he won’t be able to meet them. I was surprised and confused! Has he suddenly matured or is he not expressing himself truly? This was something, I never expected. To some extent, his behaviour made me feel guilty, or maybe I was overthinking! So I tried avoiding it.
Finally, the day arrived, when I had to depart. With a heavy heart and wet eyes, I bid goodbye to Aarav. The flight took longer than usual and Aarya and I were completely bored and tired. Somehow, Aarya felt that after a day trip in an aeroplane, now we shall be back home where Aarav and baba are, but unfortunately, it wasn’t so. Shruti, a close friend came to her mother’s house in Mumbai to receive us, and the next morning, we were going to leave for Pune. But as soon as we reached her home, Aarya was very upset seeing her and cried out loudly saying “let’s go home!” that moment was very emotional for me. and it was also like an alarm for me which said, Aarya had already accepted Munich as his home. I could see that he’s missing his companion, his brother, but I was helpless and feeling numb.
The next day, on reaching Pune, Aarya was exhilarated on meeting his grandparents after six long months. Though, the feeling was mutual for all of us. Coming back to my home was an impassioned moment. The feeling home emotion had overpowered me so much that I felt I never parted. Honestly, the house might be a non-living thing, but as I entered, I felt, as if I should embrace my home, it was such a content feeling. Maybe because that non-living house welcomed me with the people I consider as my lifeline. Dada and Swapna were going to reach the next day. They were earlier coming for the upanayana sanskar of Swapna’s nephew but now they were also coming to meet me. I had fun and frolic with my girl gang a couple of times and some quality time with my mother, brother and Swapna and Pooja, Paresh’s sister in law. Ideally, we often talk to each other on the phone and video calls but now I experienced their presence and touch. The habit of coming back home to Aai, my mother in law was so fulfilling and amazing which I realised I missed a lot in Munich.
The next best thing about my trip was meeting Prishu, Shruti’s daughter and my Princess. The purest form of love is the one we receive from children. It is usually our children who love us like this, but her angelic love leaves me spellbound! Merging the lines of family and friendship was celebrating a birthday party together. Along with Prisha‘s birthday, we celebrated Aarya’s birthday too with our respective families. On one hand, I was exuberant that with my family and extended family I was having blissful time celebrating the birthday of two of my favourite children, on other hand the light of my life, my dear Aarav was missing the birthday party and it gave me a heartache. He was on a video call and I was clueless as to how to hide my tears and face him. Although, incredibly, he was neither upset nor angry seeing his friends and all the celebrations. I was overwhelmed with a number of emotions that words cannot describe, in just a moment’s time.
Life of a mother is never easy, sometimes we mothers make it complicated as well. Aarav was unwell for the very first time since we came to Munich and I was not there for him and with him, this feeling was not a pleasant one to deal with. I sometimes feel that once we become mother we feel it is our utmost and primary duty to bring up kids, and seeking self-care and happiness is all secondary. We forget that self-love and self-care are equally important for serving family and children. I also learnt that it’s not a crime to think about your own happiness, it doesn’t make you a selfish mother but a rejuvenated mother. Who is indeed better prepared to take care of her children. My two week trip to India was no less than an emotional roller coaster ride, sometimes high and sometimes low. The love I received from everyone was overwhelming. On our journey back to Munich, Aarya and I were happy and excited to meet Paresh and Aarav. We both unconsciously, conceived as going home, because, eventually the home is where the family resides. That was the moment that the house where we stay in Munich became my home. So I have two homes now, the Pune home and Munich home. And it is the people who bring that feeling of home in us. I had revived myself and was ready to face the challenges again, now with a smile!
The icing on the cake was still remaining. Just one week later my sweetest friend Kaveri flew to Munich from London to meet me over the long weekend. Kaveri was my neighbour in Pune, but recently she moved to London with her husband for an onsite project. My feeling of being at home was complete on receiving her as my guest or should I say, extended family? Kaveri is the purest soul I have ever met, and meeting her was truly blissful. I consider myself truly fortunate to be surrounded by some beautiful people whose presence give contentment and happiness.
Who knew the Pandemic, that was restricted to China when I returned to Munich, will become a global crisis in just a couple of months. And we soon realised that this year our trip to India in summer has to be postponed. Like me, many of you must have also cancelled our trip to India for same reasons. I felt very fortunate that I could visit my near and dear ones, but at the same time, I was feeling sad that Paresh and Aarav couldn’t visit India this year. I couldn’t imagine if I had refused this trip how difficult it would have been for me to continue to remain happy and sane during the lockdown period. The year 2020 always hunt us in coming time. This year has taken a lot from each one of us. But we also learnt to respect humanity and nature. We learnt to deal with virtual presence and physical absence. And I learnt that thinking about my happiness is not selfishness but self-love is as essential as fresh air for all living beings!