Pushing the luggage trolley slowly and carefully, I looked back one last time. It was 6th of September 2008 .It was my birthday. I just had the most amazing birthday party the previous night. And now I was leaving Baroda. The city I had called home for 21 years. I was leaving home.
I looked back at my father. He was his usual smiling self. I controlled my tears with the greatest force ever. I had promised myself not to cry. The voice in my head was saying “I am a grown up now. I am getting into the “corporate” world. I am not going to some boarding school. I mustn’t cry”. Well, I did not. Not in public anyway.
I pushed my trolley some more. My mother was already in the check-in queue. I looked at my father … Saw him waving with all his might at his grown-up daughter. I could see the pain in his eyes from the distance. He could not hide it. I choked. I wanted to run back and hug him. I wanted to tell him I loved him. I realized it would be the first time I would have done that. I never had said i-love-u to my parents. I cursed myself for not doing it in 21 whole years. And then, I turned back.
Looking down from the flight window I saw my favourite city in the World. A deluge of memories drowned me. The day I learned how to ride a cycle. My sister had painstakingly taught me. I need to mention that my sister is the best teacher ever. I have learned more from her than anybody in this world. Then I remembered the day a swimming coach threw me on the deepest water level. I was dead scared. I had just recently learned how to swim. But I swam my way back to one of the corners. From that day onwards I was never afraid of water. I smiled while I remembered how I thought getting a low score in Mathematics in standard 9 would ruin my career. It did not. I remembered all the friends I had left behind and I promised to myself I would keep in touch. I could not.
I then remembered some random things – my worst viva exam ever, the day I tasted rum and almost puked, the garba days, the pani puri outings, the crushes, the gossips. All of this and more . This city has been a witness to the best days of my life. And as I looked down, all that looked so long back, so far away. In three and a half hours, I was at the Bengaluru airport. Still drowned in my thoughts. Still visualizing my dad’s smile. Still Thinking of Baroda…………………
—– Demented Dreamer