While I was serving my notice period in my organisation, I was able to gather time to connect back with my old friends from school, university & my erstwhile organisations. All these were happening in the midst of the hustle & bustle of office, strategizing ways to dispose off my appliances, furniture and my car on OLX (this was before I discovered that my friends were already eyeing to grab my belongings) To add up, I was also prepping up for the much awaited trip to Singapore to spend the long weekend with my friends. This trip was planned much before “the impulse to resign” took over me. I was literally & figuratively above the ground.
However, I did manage to find some time to discuss my fluid travel plans with my childhood and a wanderer friend Kat, who suggested that I could bring some direction to my idea of aimless travel. There was a humongous amount of reluctance in the first instance as his idea was pushing me into something very uncomfortable. Never was that a part of my wildest dream. He suggested that I TEACH!! However, I thought I needed lessons!
After a fun-filled trip in Singapore, I had 20 days left to wind things up and most importantly follow up with the landlord to get the deposit refunded. 🙂 In the mean time Kat, got me connected with the head of a Village School in Majkhali, District Almora, Uttarakhand. This was to volunteer to teach the 2nd & the 3rd Graders in “The Himalayan Village School.” Yes, that is the name of the school.
My feelings were mixed to the power of infinity. On one hand I continued to pacify myself with the thought that teaching the 2nd & the 3rd Graders wouldn’t be that big a deal. On the other hand I would Google to get some refresher on my fundamentals to be fair to the village kids while dealing with their fertile minds. As I started to internalize the idea of teaching, the kids of the school appeared as cute Tibetans in my visualization. It didn’t occur to me that Uttarakhand is a Hindu state. This was my wisdom about the hills. I assumed that Budhhism was synonymous to Hills – courtesy LIMITED TOURISTY VACATIONS.
In the scorching heat of May, things were managed reasonably well amidst never ending actionable. The same included farewells with friends, office colleagues along with a 2nd round of an unofficial farewell. Such special gestures without an official tag could get quite moving and they did.
The day of the departure arrived. My gaze denied to look away from the crisp morning of Valmiki Nagar, Chennai. That’s where I lived right beside the Ocean. My heart contracted many times hearing the sound of the waves, seeing fisher women carrying the fresh catch of that day with fresh garlands of jasmine entangled in their jet black hair and the usual daily morning walkers. The thought of leaving the most level headed city after 26 years was heart wrenching. However, the decision was taken and there was no looking back.
Four suit cases were stuffed in the Cab which dropped me at the Chennai Central Station to catch the Coromandal express. A brief stop over at Rathna Cafe to have the last few sips of Madras Filter coffee in my beloved city lead to further emotional upheaval.
The re-location was uprooting in true sense – This was to start a new life in the City of Joy, Kolkata, my ancestral roots.