I came to Bangalore as a newly married, all excited and eager to start a new life together with my husband. Those initial days, I yearned to go back to Trivandrum to settle down. Each chance I got, I took the next bus/flight to Trivandrum, even if it was for a day. Trivandrum was home. Bangalore was a temporary place, our place for work, where we were residing just for the time being.
Then things changed. After the little boy was born, we shifted from the city centre to what you could call 'outskirts' as per Bangalore standards. We shifted our home to almost one corner of Bangalore, far away from the traffic. It was here that my life changed. I found friends right when I thought I wouldn't be making any new friends. To prove me wrong, life gifted me friends in abundance. Friends who held my hand and accompanied me to doctors when my little boy fell sick every single month, friends who brought me food when I was lazy to cook, friends with whom I went for household shopping, friends who checked on me if I was back home safe when the husband was not in town, friends who dropped and picked my little boy when I had to attend meetings. Friends who pampered and spoilt me. Friends around whom my life revolved. Friends who became family.
In the last 4 years Bangalore became home to me, without me realising, thanks to these friends who became my support system. I was at my happiest. I rediscovered the beauty of friendship, perhaps after my school days. I felt connected with my inner self. My perspectives and outlook changed for the better. I found a job that I love with all my heart. I felt settled. Which is why, perhaps, when the little boy said bye to his teachers and friends on the last day of his previous academic year along with a "I am not coming back here, I am going to study in Trivandrum", all of us had a hearty laugh. We shrugged it off as a joke. But again, life threw the biggest surprise at me. The husband got an opportunity to come back to Trivandrum and he grabbed it without a second thought.
As the two boys jumped with joy and excitement, I struggled with my emotions. On one hand, all of a sudden Bangalore felt home and this meant leaving home and friends and on the other, I was going back to my family. Weirdly, I felt more upset than happy, and to top it, I felt guilty for feeling upset when I was 'supposed' to be feeling elated to be shifting to near my parents'. I snapped at everyone around me, I cribbed, I fought for random, silly reasons, and I cried for absolutely no reason. I got weird looks when I didn't show any excitement for the move and when I replied "but I had a support system in Bangalore too' to people telling me how now I would have a support system.
Nobody understood that Bangalore made me fall in love with it, despite its shortcomings. Nobody knew that Bangalore gave me a life where I had people who knew me for the person I am and not for who I was related to. Nobody realised I had found my tribe in Bangalore. My tribe! ❤
I left Bangalore on the 29th of July, 2018. It took every energy in my body to not cry when I hugged my friends tight and said right from my heart, "see you soon". It broke my heart when the little kiddos hugged and kissed each other and promised to come to Trivandrum to visit us. It took all my will to take one final look at the house I called my home and walk out knowing that I might not step into this beautiful space of mine ever again. And then, as I left my favourite place and, along with the little boy, said 'bye-bye Bangalore' I broke down and cried.
Despite living in two other cities other than Trivandrum, it was only Bangalore that gifted me a sense of belonging, a beautiful life that I had only dreamt of until I experienced it. A happiness that arise out of being home. I felt loved. The only place that left me with a sense of loss while leaving.
From being Atheetha, now I would be going back to being known as Raghu's daughter most times. From leading an invisible life where nobody knew me or my family, I would be going back to a life where everybody knew everybody. It is going to be difficult for me. Very difficult. But more than my luggage, I've brought back lots of love, warmth and well-wishes with me. And I know when the going gets tough, I have a bunch of people to reach out to, hear me out and even run off to for a short break. Like I proudly told my family, if earlier I had one home in Bangalore, now when I go for a visit I have many! ❤
Never ever in my wildest dreams did I dream of leaving Bangalore too soon. Yet, it happened. Now, it's time for the next phase in my life. You better be good to me, Trivandrum!