It's a subject that has begun to fascinate me more and more since the time I pondered on the change that was about to happen, as I entered the last days of my college life. Till then though I somehow only thought of it at a very individual level: change in environment, change in the people living around you, different routines. different hang out places. My visit to home this time (the first one as an employed son !) opened for me a new perspective.
There are certain things in life which you take for granted. Or at least I did. Things which to you are eternal. For me it was my hometown. No I am not talking about the physical appearance of the city of my childhood. I am talking about its feels. Its sounds and flavours so as to speak. As kids, Durga Puja was one of the most eagerly awaited events of the whole year and although the attractions changed from getting gas balloons and riding the merry-go-round as a 5 year old to checking out the prettiest girls in town all dressed up as 10th graders and roaming around the city in one's father's scooters (sadly the dad's in my hometown prefer a scooter over a bike), yet the charm stayed the same, unaffected by the growing years.
This time around, as I stood in the pandal with one of my friends, I realised (and this was something which had hit me a few years back also) that we no longer enjoyed it as we used to. The thrill was gone, we were too old for the merry-go-rounds and too young for enjoying the spiritual/religious aspect of it. There were almost no known faces and we were only going through the motions trying to recapitulate what thrilled us as schoolboys. I guess it's but natural that you outgrow your childhood joys and start enjoying newer more mature things but even then it sort of hit me hard.
At home as my father came to me to ask about the nittie-gritties of the latest Digi-Cam that I had brought for him, my mind went back to the days when the roles were reversed and my father would be unravelling for me the mysteries of the newest remote control car that he had brought from Calcutta. I met my grandmother after 6 years. For her mine was a transition straight from school to that of an employed youth. She was delighted and nostalgic at the same time and we spent a lot of moments reminiscing about the days when grandmothers and grandfathers were the most caring and the best humans on earth. As for me I could see that she had grown old. There were the usual joint pains and the daily dose of medicine. A far cry from the Nani who would make me stand on her feet while she sat down and then swing me for as long as I wanted.
When you go home on a vacation, it's mainly for the two things that matter a lot in your life: your family and your friends from the school days. And like family you always expect your friends to be there or at least their families to be there. This time around as I parted with one of my closest buddies I realised that I didnt know when I would meet him next. His father would be retiring on March next year and so his family is moving out. It was as if a defining principle of your existence was being challenged. I always expected home to be this way. Meet family , hang out with old friends, go to their houses irrespective of their being there or not at that moment to feast on the various dishes that their mothers would prepare once intimidated of my arrival! All that was slowly changing. And then I realised that my father would also be retiring in a few years and leaving for Kolkata where he has built a house.
I guess all the while the world around us is changing in its various forms. Sometimes the changes are shattering and sometimes too subtle to catch our imagination. It's only when we sit back and retrospect that we find the way things have changed: relations, perspectives, roles, everything. On a slightly different note, ever since I started maintaining a blog, I think I have become more aware of everything around me. Someone once said to me "The more you write, the more you will have things to write about..." . Now I can fully understand what he meant.