A quick chat this morning made me think about why I choose to live away from my parents. I am from Azamgarh, a small city tucked in the far east in India, and away from the modern metros. Papa came to Azamgarh for his first job, got married and that’s how this city became our hometown. There were good schools and we had what we needed for the first 17 years of our life. But it did not have much to offer in terms of what I wanted to do, and the kind of exposure my parents wanted me to have.
To become an engineer, I had to take entrance tests and in those days, there were many exams and the best chances were via the state entrance tests or the national ones. There was B.Tech, then my interest in VLSI and then the first job in Bangalore. There was no looking back once I left.
I chose to live away from my parents and they wanted me to leave their nest and grow wings of my own.
Papa never picked me up and dropped me to Greater Noida when I was studying. I learned how to get a reservation and travel on my own. There were no online reservations back then and flights were out of question. With a seat or without one, I learned how to talk to other students, manage things, and safely come home for Diwali. Then I’d travel back to college.
Mum and Papa never came to my hostel to check and inspect the food that was being provided. Mum told me to keep a bottle of jam and have it with parathas if the curry was too spicy. They knew I would be able to manage.
They told me to save time and hire help to wash my clothes, so I did. I was able to invest time in teaching others. They taught me what to delegate and what to own.
They told me to take care of my health and eat well. I never cared if the other girls laughed at me when I walked into the kitchen with a five rupee coin to get a glass of milk after dinner. I learned to manage my expenses without missing my glass of milk.
When I applied for jobs, I failed. But my parents stood by me and let me handle it on my own. When I did get a job, I had to travel another 1000 kms. Again, they did not come to drop me and find a suitable paying guest accommodation. They knew I would be able to figure it out on my own. The wings that they wanted me have were there and I was able to fly on my own.
They did not ask where was I spending my salary, they just spoke of saving well.
I was a 17-year-old when I left home and if I hadn’t, I would not be the person I am today. I do miss my family. Who doesn’t want to come home to parents with the first salary of your life? Who wants to come back from work and not ring the bell? I celebrated success with friends and called my parents at every milestone.
Now being married, I have another home but I still miss my parents. I can’t visit them over weekends, walk over for a quick chat or dine with them when I want. This year I went back home after four years but I meet my parents every year. Their love and trust makes me strong.
I long for my family and the life many of my friends have but I chose to live away to make a life of my own. Longing for family has been my strength as that brings me closer to them. I don’t think or talk about this often because I want to stay strong and let my wings grow as much as they can.
Originally published on BlogHer