Why do I always decide to write when I have far more important things to do?
Today is legitimately the first day I had minimal conversation with my parents.
Reading that sentence makes me feel like a horrible human being. You need context. Let’s provide some.
I’ve spoken to my parents every single day after moving to college. This isn’t some nonsense pangs of separation type of thing. It’s more about what they mean to me, type of thing. We’ve had a very open relationship as a family, over the years. I reckon, especially closer to boards, I spoke to my parents more than I spoke to any of my friends. To surmise, I got closer to my parents than ever before, the month before I left home for college.
Minimal, is hence defined as a call lasting sub-one minute & a few messages.
Life gets tough sometimes. I went through a painful examination schedule in the 12th, with board examinations & entrance examinations in the same month, back-to-back. It was a horrid time, because I grappled with my fear of the unknown (What college? What marks? What studies? What city? What life?) every single day.I woke up knowing that there existed an uncertainty in my life. This was compounded by the fact that my friends’ lives gained clarity day by day, in terms of answers to the above questions. Which is why I relied on my parents very heavily. I must add, however, that I rejected any explanation/solution they had to offer me. I was the stubbornest in the month of May, because the uncertainty was too much for me to bear.
This begins the first of three (maybe four?) apologies this blog post has.
You don’t know what your support meant to me & words cannot explain the same. I will, however, try providing something for the audience of this blog (currently, 3 identifiable souls – hey, Ajji!) to understand. Let’s take the India v. West Indies match. Just the first innings (no trauma, please). If I consider my entire work toward colleges to be the Indian batting line-up, I was initially the opening batsmen. I got good starts & failed to capitalize. At one stage I became Yuvraj Singh, who played well, but got a little carried away & began to take risks. You guys nailed it though. You were MS Dhoni (not Virat Kohli). Here’s why. You calmed me down & made me sprint at the right time. You made me run the singles, the twos, only to keep the scoreboard ticking. You told me my hard work would pay off. I could become Virat Kohli blitzkrieg-ing toward the end because you were MS Dhoni.You even took strike, covering for me when I needed to be sheltered, because you understood me so well. You guys were pivotal to the entire innings, the entire project.
Which is what made it tough to leave home, like MS Dhoni retiring from Test Cricket. It came all of a sudden, out of nowhere & it hit me pretty hard. I was the captain of my own ship, the captain of my own cause. I remember calling you guys numerous times over the first semester for the pettiest of things, like Virat calling up Dhoni to understand when to take the new ball. I called you to figure out whether to buy something, whether to go out for lunch. I even remember calling you to ask if I could bunk. My friends at college give me hell for it, but I couldn’t make that decision. I didn’t fully understand any of it, and needed your help and you were there. A call at 10 AM, during one of your meetings, or between some of your presentations. It didn’t matter. You saw “Tejas” flash across your caller ID and picked up instantly.
You replied to my messages faster than Gangnam Style confused people (Info slide/link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0).
Because you missed me too.
Then I came home. Relived every memory from first semester.
And came back to college.
Suddenly I had experience.
I began to take decisions independently. I started being more confident, inspired by this experience.
I stopped calling Home for small things.
But I spoke to you everyday, without fail. Because I missed you and I needed to know I still had your support. It was like Virat Kohli bowing down to Sachin after hitting that 50. It felt good to hear your thoughts and remember I had your support, after I made a particular decision.
Today, I failed to message after classes, or tell you I’d be busy post-dinner.
That may have worried you. I know it worried you, because I got two calls in the span of five minutes (unnatural, in our household; denotes urgency). I even missed calls from family (again, hello, Ajji!), which may have led to some panic.
Again, Sorry guys.
I picked up the second call and told you I’d call back. Dad had an excellent day and I was looking forward to hearing all about it, but I got busy and I forgot to call back.
I wanted to hear everything about Dad’s day and everything about yours, because I loved the photos you sent me of the food you had made and the experience you had had. I thought about the last time I had received such awesome photos from both of you and figured I’d call you back when I got to my room. Again, without intimating you.
Half an hour passed.
I can imagine you waited, as you always do, for a message, from me. To reply, to speak.
And yet, I felt I was busy.
I finished my work and got to my room. Opened my phone, and read:
Amma: Tejas – crashing now, we will speak tomorrow, good night
And then it hit me, like a wave, all at once.
I missed an important day. I missed the one day where you wanted to tell me things, and I can hear you, even now, at 2:10 AM, telling me about them. About how wonderful your day was, and the marvelous things you did. I can hear myself passing a comment and making Dad giggle, definitely at the expense of Amma. I can feel the happiness floating through the telecommunication device I hold to my left ear, as I listen to you both talk about your day. I can feel the comfort returning to my system, as I live in a place far from my comfort zone.
And I feel sad. I feel sad because I don’t want to miss these days, these days which are so incredible, which we experience once in a while.
I missed a day that was more ‘happening’ for you, than it was for me. A rare day where I had less to tell you and more to hear. More, that trust me, I really wanted to hear.
It was like I had caused MS Dhoni to be run out.
For the third time, I’m sorry.
And I can hear your reactions, your thoughts as you read this.
‘Why are you apologizing, Tejas?’, you will ask.
‘We were just worried’, you will say.
I’m sorry because I messed up.
I had had a good day, too. I ate chola puri, I ate fruit custard. I did things I know you would have asked me questions about. Things I would have loved answering.
‘How do they serve the fruit custard?’, I know, you’ll ask.
And for these things, passed by, unsaid, and all these unasked questions, left unanswered,
Shall call you in the morning.
Happy Ugadi, folks!
Curd rice, out.