So last December, I went to my hometown. The tickets were booked in, I don’t remember exactly, maybe August. Otherwise the seats all get filled up in the sleeper class. So, from August, I was really happy. Nothing wonderful was happening with me here: neither in college, nor at home. And I don’t spend my time anywhere else so that’s that. That’s how I am: simple. But anyway, there was this looking forward to the hometown visit. And boy, it was a three-week long visit. It had been ages since I spent so much time in my hometown. So that made me happy.
Now let me get this cleared right away. I am not a star or anything in my hometown. Nobody apart from my family knows me there. And even within the family, I am not a very talkative person. I am there like I am here: simple. And I don’t know, I don’t think of my hometown very fondly. Sure, we go there almost every year. I enjoy my time there. I like visiting family members. Yes. Yes. Yes. But I have always thought that I love going to my hometown because it means going away, away from work, away from the routine. And it means going on a train. I love trains. And it also means travelling to all my relatives’ places by bus. I love buses too. I am not under any impression that I am very close to my family there or anything. Sure, I love them, but that’s that. I don’t really keep in touch.
So getting back to August, I started looking forward to my hometown visit. College days went by like they always do, uneventfully. Okay, then, my exams are done and I am free. I started living in my home, back from the hostel. So I noticed that there wasn’t much to do in the vacations. My hometown visit was in the second half of the almost-two-month-long-vacation that I had. So December started then. And I took up some…activities. You couldn’t call them hobbies for I wasn’t really doing anything. I started reading, learning Italian (no, I don’t really know much of Italian even now), coding…oh wait, I thought I’d do coding, but I never actually started. Okay then, reading, Italian and yeah, writing. Again, days went by. The rolling stone (me) gathered no moss. I forgot whatever I read almost as soon as I had finished reading it. And very soon, it was time to leave.
Now I had been eagerly waiting to go to my hometown, for four months. But suddenly, on the day I was supposed to leave, it didn’t seem so appealing. My dad wasn’t going with us, he couldn’t get days off from work. So there was that. Hometown visits are always more fun with dad around. And now it was just me and mum. I didn’t know what I’d do for three weeks. And on top of that, there was a wedding to attend. But that’s good, isn’t it? Something to pass the time? Have fun? No. Not really. I am not cut out for flourishing in social occasions. But there’d be activity around, so it’d be easier to pass the time, or so I thought. I decided the reason I was less than enthusiastic about this trip was because I didn’t like change. I had settled into a groove at my home. And I didn’t want to make a new schedule again. And anyway, I could play with my cousin there, I said to myself. She is the cutest thing.
The three weeks didn’t exhaust me as much as I had thought. I went to a couple new places and enjoyed the sightseeing. Yes, there were a few moments when I felt bad about not being able to talk freely to people there. And yes, I didn’t make quite an impression at the wedding. I didn’t even speak once with my cousin’s bride. But that was okay. I didn’t really know all these people.
But now to the reason I started writing this post. As the time to return back home approached, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. I had enjoyed my time there. The travelling had been great. Funny because I had thought this time it wouldn’t happen. When I was in school, every time I returned home at the end of the vacations, I couldn’t stop myself from crying and telling mom I wanted to go back to my hometown. I had thought it wouldn’t happen this time. Well, it didn’t. I didn’t cry. But I did feel incredibly sad to leave my hometown. And I refused to believe it was because of the attachment I felt towards the people there. “Refused to believe, or refused to admit?” A little voice in my mind would always ask me, whenever I said that to myself. So I argued with myself, and both sides won…then.
As I said before, I was never very close to anybody from my hometown. Not my uncles, not my aunts, and not even my cousins. So that rules away the attachment thing. Now for the actual reason for the sadness. My reluctance to adapt to change! Yes, it could be as simple as that! You see, I had noticed that I hadn’t been too enthusiastic to go to my hometown either. And now that I was used to the schedule there, I was reluctant to leave. And another factor was the pressure here. Studying engineering isn’t easy. Okay, for some of you overachieving folks, it probably is. And you know what? YOU CAN GO FUCK…Okay, calm down. Calm down. Okay, so, studying engineering isn’t easy for me. Okay? I take too much pressure. And I’m not talking about just the studying and the giving exams and passing the year. No. I’m talking about actually surviving and going on from student life to great things. You have to do a lot of things, and do them well, to be ready for a good career. Okay, let me rewind a bit.
In 2014, I was a very troubled man. My exam results weren’t very good. And I had done my best in the exams. So was my best just not good enough? Look, I was accustomed to scoring above ninety percent in each of my school exams, alright? So an eight pointer was bad for me. Then around July (I guess), another set of results came in and I topped my division. This was great. But only for a few days before I started feeling it was a fluke. And this was in no way helped by a classmate of mine who chose to compare his marks to mine and commented that we had scored almost the same. My performance in the unit tests had probably given me the upper hand. So that was that. I had just lucked out and stood first. And there was also the fact that I did nothing apart from studying and appearing exams, nothing worthwhile that is. And if I was going to suck at the one worthwhile thing I did, what good was I, right? Then, by December, another semester was up and I hadn’t done too well in the exams. I was officially a good-for-nothing. It was under these circumstances that I went on a hometown visit that year. And I was relieved to be going there, you know, away from all the pressure and the constantly arising self-doubt. Alas, that was not to be. There, I was introduced to two cousins, both of them doing well at great jobs, and one of them living in America. You see, ever since I was little, it was my example that intimidated my cousins (probably, I never asked any of my uncles or aunts about this). And now, I was getting intimidated. It was bad. And in January of 2015, it was time to come back. And all the pressures and pandemonium of college life were going to be back again. And there wasn’t one single thing I was good at. All of my classmates had something to do. But me? Nope. By mid-2015, another not-so-good set of results came out and I was convinced I sucked at scoring in exams. The grades weren’t bad. But they weren’t outstanding either, and this was the one thing that I was supposed to be taking seriously. So now I had to find something that I was good at and pursue it seriously. This was in addition to doing well at college. There was never really going to be an alternative to that.
There were a couple of things I liked to do. Writing, reading, singing, stuff like that. But I had never thought about these in a serious manner. And now I could write here about how I started with some hobby and how I started actually doing something about it. But no. I’ll just say it in short: I didn’t do shit. I may have started, I may have had thoughts about starting, but no, I didn’t do shit eventually. In the second half of 2015, I took up a project at college, which we didn’t really finish. But that’s a long story, a story for another time. I joined a placement training course at the start of 2016 and started looking for an internship. I did an internship for two months. But no, I never really achieved anything. I never really learnt anything. I could never say, “Yes, I know this” about anything. All these projects, internships, writing; everything was just like a curtain pulled over something to hide it, that something being my lack of achievement. There was nothing I could say was my work. I wasn’t doing anything that others weren’t already into, and others were doing it much better. And it wasn’t like I didn’t have any interests, or I didn’t know what to invest my time in. Well, I didn’t, but I could have found out with a little effort. I was just plain lazy. I am lazy. That sense of non-achievement has stayed with me all this while. I am still lazy. Well, I did bag a good placement in the latter half of 2016, so that’s kind of an achievement. But that should have spurred me on to take interest in coding and learn new things. It didn’t. So I still have that complaint against myself of being hopelessly lazy. And going away on vacation takes my mind off these…issues. This self-doubt. And that is why I hate coming back from my hometown. Here, I have to be constantly reprimanding myself for not being productive, whereas there, I don’t need to, for I am on vacation. Yes, this was the whole argument about why I get sad when returning from my hometown. This was one side of it.
Now the other side is, maybe I am attached to the people over there in my hometown. So what if I am not in touch with them? I already said I love them. You don’t have to talk a lot to a person to care about them and love them. They are family, so naturally I am fond of them. Maybe I am just afraid to admit that I am going to miss those people. For I have always “missed” people here. I have never been able to make friends with all the people I wanted to. I’m not complaining. I have some amazing friends. I don’t know what I’d do had I not met them. But then again, I am an impersonal kind of guy. I am shy, I am an introvert and I am impersonal. And I have come to embrace it. And maybe I have also come to eschew any personal gestures. Look, I am not depressed that I don’t have a lot of friends. An introvert doesn’t need a lot of friends. But there are some people I’d have liked to make friends with, who are not my friends. And I can’t pretend it doesn’t make me sad. And that has always affected how I behave, how I perceive things. And maybe that’s why I am averse to showing any kind of emotional bonding towards my extended family. For even with my parents and friends, I am not a very talkative person. So talkativeness is not a measure of how much I like someone. So that’s that. Maybe I was going to miss those people. And it was a little sad they weren’t going to miss me. Because me not being very talkative means they have never really bonded with me. And although they always ask after me when my parents call them, it doesn’t mean I am always in their thoughts. And this was the other argument that won…then.
But then a few days passed and I realised, I don’t really keep them in my thoughts around the year. It is only when going to my hometown and coming back from there that I think of those people. I might love and like a lot of people, but I don’t really care. And it’s not like I am too self-absorbed all the time. I suppose I am just not capable of being there for people. But this is just speculation, and even if it’s true, it’s a story for another time.
So this sorrow and frustration about my hometown was both the complaints of a lazy mind and the sufferings of an emotional one, it seemed. At least, then. But now…
So, a few days ago, I came to know I am going to my hometown again in June this year. And I am feeling happy. And I am really looking forward to it. I suppose I didn’t fall in love with the people over there, I fell in love with the place. Everything about that place is lovable. At least, that’s what I am going to keep thinking till I start thinking something else.
Oh, in what words do I describe the glory of my hometown?