Have you ever heard of the term diaspora?
It refers to the physical displacement of people from their homeland.
The above phenomenon roughly sums up my feelings about moving out from home at the tender age of seventeen.
People tell you that venturing into the unknown is like the game of Choose Your Own Adventure. What no one told me was that in real life, your mom chooses yours and that unlike in the game, you cannot respawn if you were to die.
With whatever hopes, dreams and clothes I could fit into a suitcase, I travelled 548 miles to arrive in Kolkata, the City of Joy.
I was set to pursue English Honours in Scottish Church College, an age-old institution established in the early 19th century that boasted of eminent alumni like Swami Vivekananda, Subhas Chandra Bose and Manna Dey.
I felt honoured to be among the top 200 students who were selected to be a part of the course. After successfully clearing the second round of screening as well, I paved the way for a college life that I didn’t know would last for 3 days.
Hereafter, things took a turn for the worse.
The initial phase of my relocation to the new city was thwarted by the lack of proper planning beforehand as I had no place to stay. I commuted back and forth from my hotel to college for the brief period I spent living there.
Juggling between college and hunting for decent PG accommodation also wore us out as most of the dwellings looked like they were built for ants. Add to that torrential Calcutta rain and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.
College, on the other hand, gave me a brutal reality check as it was nothing close to what I had imagined. It was blander than a white man’s tastebuds.
Just as I was inching closer to a mental breakdown, I came across an advertisement for a flat near my college. Upon visiting it, I was taken aback by how lovely it seemed in contrast to the others we had explored so far.
Without any hesitation, we booked my room in advance. The end, right? Wrong.
Remember how I said that your mother chooses your adventure in real life? In the name of contemplating a few things, my family dragged me back to my hometown with the (empty) promise of bringing me back. That never happened.
To make matters worse, the landlady of the flat turned out to be a scammer who never returned us our advance.
Amongst all the disorderliness, I chose to stay back as I realized that I wasn’t mentally equipped to handle that kind of a drastic change, either.
Looking back now, though, it was probably for the best. I certainly was not ready to survive on my own in a foreign environment and perhaps, my burning desire to move out was simply driven by teen rebellion and not wilful determination.
On a different note, I took a year off which was both incredible and intolerable, but that’s a story for another time.
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