Monday, January 11, 2010

Before coming home ("Bari Ashar Age")

The day we decide to leave our country, our home, we get divided into two entities, one always active in searching new life in the host country and other still dwelling lazily at home land. No matter how hard we try to find a niche for ourselves in the new found land, our dual state of mind remains forever and after many years we end up creating an imaginary world for us in the host country which consists of several threads we have brought from our own country. Time to time we also try to reconnect with the images of the hazy homeland we have left. This happens specially at the month of December. In this month many of us camouflage the festive mood of west and utilise the Christmas holidays to visit our own country. This luxury is very difficult to afford for most of us every year but we try our best. After being able to buy the air tickets and informing our immediate boss about our intended leave the days passes like a dream full of images which are very dear to us. I am also no exception. Every time I make a plan to visit my country, plethora of discrete images arises and vanishes in my mind. These images never make a complete story but are like snapshots of several moments or incidents jumbled up into a slideshow. Like the thin stream of river I saw last time from the train, the staircase of the house I lived before, or the tree in front of the pond of my small village where I don't know when I will be able to go next, my mother bidding good bye last time when I left, my father buying vegetables in the daily fresh market, my brother and sister laughing or watching T.V., street foods of India or special dishes made by my mother, my brother and sisters smiling and waiting faces, my father standing with and eager look in front of the gate of airport, my mother loosening the soil in her beloved garden and planting a new sapling. Mixed with these there are the rushes of childhood memories, my growing up years, images of different schools and friends, summer vacations in grandparents house, wrinkled faces of grandparents whom I loved very much but could not meet for last many years for my self made busy schedule and then suddenly I lost them forever from my life. With all these in my mind I keep phoning home, make plans about my visits, spend several weekends shopping for gifts, I keep thinking of buying some gifts for all the cousins and friends who were so close to me but then end up buying chocolates or deo-sprays due to my limited pocket size. I feel bewildered when I go for buying something for my younger sister and brother who were school kids last time I saw them but now they are confident college goers. I keep searching for blood pressure measuring machine or electrical teeth brush or sweater or water cooker for my parents and try to make up for my absence in their daily routine. Each time I buy something I put them in suitcases and weigh them carefully not to exceed the weight limit from airlines. This is also the time when I don't get stressed out from normal work pressures as I see them from little distance. Just before coming home I feel a continuous smile inside me. And then the day comes when I find my self sitting inside a plane with fastened seat belt and finally I call home to tell them that I am reaching there in few hours!

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