‘Change is constant’ – It may sound like a cliché but it is an undeniable aspect of our lives. If anything, the pace of change has gotten noticeably more rapid even within our lifetimes. Every 10 years, the world seems to be a different place. If I think of my growing up years in India; 20 years ago, there was no cable TV; 15 years ago, there were no cell phones or internet; 10 years ago, there was no google and 5 years ago, social networking was not really the rage it is today. Each one of these have had a significant impact on the way we lead our lives. With the rapid change has come high degree of uncertainty. I joke with my friends that in 2000, I could never have predicted where I would be and what I would be doing in 2010. Forget prediction, even the area in which I worked in 2010 did not exist in 2000. Similarly, in 2010, I found myself unable to predict what I would be doing in 2020. For the last few years, I had been thinking of doing a phd. However, in a remarkable turn of events, here I am in 2011 going to a country, Liberia, which a few months ago I couldn’t even locate on a map. It always amazes me that most of the time we plan as if life would run in a smooth, straight line but the things which end up having the biggest impact on our lives are the ones which we have never even dreamed of. The only thing one can do in such an unpredictable world is to be flexible and to adapt as the world changes. In my opinion, the concept of settling down is dead and the sooner we accept it, the better it is.
My father had a transferable job and we moved almost every 3 years. That, and the many moves I have made, would make one think that moving must come easy to me. But, even after so many moves, it has not gotten any easier. Every place I live in and every community I associate with becomes home for me. When I leave, it feels as if I have left a part of me behind. The desire to revisit the people and places I once called home, never goes away. The relationships I left behind, live within me. Many times, I have gone back to reconnect with my previous homes. Most of the time, the people are long gone and it is only the walls of my former home which remind me of the times well spent. Sometimes, even the walls are no longer there and then the loss really hurts. Couple of days ago, I dreamt that I was in Karnal which was home from 1984-87. Once, me and my grandmother were carrying back freshly ground flour from the shop and I managed to spill all of it on the ground. In my dream, I was recalling that incident and pointing to someone the exact spot where it happened. I woke up with a start and it took me a while to realize where I was – in bed, with my wife in Tampa, Fl. I was reminded of the christmas song in which the soldier sings – ‘I will be home for christmas, if only in my dreams’. I realized that I had just visited my long lost home in my dreams.
I like to travel. Every opportunity to see new places, meet new people, build new relationships and experience new cultures fills me with excitement. Like a child, I expectantly look forward to the fresh beginnings and to the potential opportunities which lie ahead. But, I have also realized that a key aspect of the joy of travel is the part of going back and sharing with your loved ones all the wonders you have seen and the emotions you have felt. If there is no one to share the joy with, then travel loses a lot of it’s meaning. This blog, then, is also an attempt to share what I see and what I feel with all my loved ones who could not accompany me on my journey.
As the saying goes, ‘we meet to create memories and part to preserve them’, It’s time to preserve some memories and create some new ones. It’s the season of change; It’s time to move on.