It's summer 2022. K has been travelling by herself. She's been travelling for a very long time. Years to be precise. 30 years. You know the secret to travelling long haul is to pack light. Pack only the essentials. Pack only as much you need, as much as you can carry without breaking a sweat; up to 4-6 stories (maybe?). Keep a few backup choices, just in case it rains, or you shit in your pants, or if there is impromptu sex, or in the most likely scenario, your mood doesn't go much with your pre-decided outfit from your capsule wardrobe. Count the number of items and keep that number in your head, because if you pack in a limited room, you can't afford to leave any of it behind. Keep a little room on top for some impulsive buying, just in case you decide to pick that whimsical souvenir magnet from that gallery in Siena. And that's it, that's all the emotional baggage you can carry. No more room or everything will overflow.
I visualise most of my life, like I'm sitting on a train. A lot of great views, a few dark tunnels. The train stops and your co-passengers leave at different destinations. A few to settle in the city and a few to get aboard some other trains.
No one ever gets late for these trains because there is always a train headed in your direction. There is no Raj, who you have to chase after. You can get on these trains and off whenever you please. And if you don't find the train you are looking for, you are probably looking at the incorrect platform.
Managing getting on a train is easier physically, but not too much emotionally. Sometimes, my co-passenger drops off a tad-bit sooner than I expected. And my heart feels like halting right there with them, but I have two more stops on this ticket. But even if I loved their company, I'm not sure if I'll feel the same way if I followed them as they get off in Chennai, and my suitcase is full of mountain clothes for Kashmir. Maybe, our journeys were meant to be to strangers who bumped across each other on a short train ride? Or what if there is a persona to them in their home estate, which was different from the one I saw? Who knows which phase of life triggers what unresolved psychological traumas?
And then sometimes, I'm not ready to leave for the station, even though my bags are packed, tickets are bought, and preparation is done. Something is always sinking inside of me. A part of me still lingering on the streets of my old apartment building, my balcony where I would have my daily morning chai, and mostly an ache of leaving the people to who I had gotten close Proximity allows room for candour and vulnerability.
But there is a fair need to move. "Better avenues", I tell myself. And the mindnumbing agitation when you've outgrown your initial expectations. I can feel it in my bones.
When that feeling sets in my bones, I subconsciously know I will move again and start to disassociate in my head already. Work and friends, the prospective lovers who could have had the potential, all are given short end of the stick of a passing stranger. I'm there in body, but not in mind, where I'm in more of the perpetual meh. Who is going to toil when you could visualize a siesta?! I know I'm not here anymore.
I'm moving countries next month, and I'm flooded with all these emotions, having to pack while my heart is scared.
Excitement— The Newness of the world has always been enchanting. New people, new cultures and a new me. The chance to view refresh and start over, and relook inside my head from the outside. The chance to venture into the new, bigger aspirations. In itself, I know this move is good for me, and soon I'll pat myself on the back for keeping heart through it. The emotion of contentment usually comes after I start reaping the rewards a few months in.
Loneliness — A fear I've known too well, lingers around the corners of my excitement. When the dust of the movement settles, familiarity sets in, and you start to wonder when will ‘belongingness’ set in as well.
Divergent— A strange feeling to see when all my friends slowly settle into their relationships which turn into marriages, and they build homes and fill them up with pets and children. I'm not there yet, and the possibilities are also not seen in near-futures. This dizzying speed of movement in paradox with my hearts desire to unpack.
Melancholy — The thought that maybe I would have stayed if something was strong enough to not just give signals but gravitational pulls. But because it doesn't, we must wrap. I try to keep my mind calm so that it doesn't get tangled from the "what-if's?" from yesterday, and ruin the wholesomeness of today.
I'm on the happyness treadmill, and that will keep me forever in transit.