Njaan Varaam, Assalamu Alaikum (I will be back, Peace Be Upon You). I felt myself choking as those words escaped my mouth. And as I reached the gate and took my first step out, I heard my mother say Wa Alaikum Assalaam (Peace Be Upon You, too). And then I felt the straps of the laptop bag sink into my shoulders, and it felt so heavy. It should not be. It still had the same stuff as it did when I set on my journey home on the Friday evening. In fact, it should feel lighter, as I had moved some stuff into another bag, which I was holding in my right hand. Sigh! I knew why I choked and the bag felt heavier.

I had been performing this almost teary-eyed, choking Good Bye scene endless number of times, ever since I was 12. The first, if I remember correctly, was when I set on my journey to be part of the residential school which would end up as my world for the subsequent seven years. I remember being sad, and being happy and excited with anticipation at living at the school. My good bye was not drenched in tears, nor were I choking.

The choking and the tears happened when I was about to return to the school after my first trip back home. I had seen the school, experienced it and quickly had realized that it was not what I wanted. But, I went back, and ever since saying Good Bye to my mother at the gate is an experience that makes me deeply emotional. Even these days, when I know that going back home is as easy as jumping onto a bus. But still, somewhere deep inside me, I can still hear that boy telling me ‘Dude, you wont be back till the next vacation, and you know what? The next vacation is in next May. That is five months!’. Those of you who know about my school would understand the significance of those words. For others, this would give some idea.

Post school, I went to college at Trivandrum. During the first year, I used to find silly excuses to come home almost every other weekend. I didn’t mind bunking classes, just to go home. And after all these trips, I still lived those moments of choking, all over again. I knew, I could be back here the next day, if I wanted to. I knew I was no longer in a ‘jail’. Still, it hurt.

These days, when I know that nothing would prevent me from getting back home the next weekend, I still feel that choking. I am too old to cry, but it would be a lie if I said that there were no tears lingering in the depths of my eyes. You see, however silly it might seem,for me, saying Good Bye is a big deal and it hurts.

If you have questions or comments about this blog post, you can get in touch with me on Twitter @sdqali.