I had always yearned to stay in Delhi. Quite magically, my wish came true. As a student in the heart of my motherland, I finally became one among the crowds. I stayed in Delhi for 5 and a half months this time. Sans family for the last 2 and a half . The only thought that enveloped my heart and brains and kept me sane during the latter months was that with each passing day 15 December came nearer – the day I’d fly back to Doha and into the warmth of my home.
Never had I thought that I’d ever be this joyous to leave Delhi.
On the 15th , I had to leave for the airport at an ungodly hour of 6 am when the winter fog had wrapped the city into its chilly arms. I woke up at 3:30 am. Infact , I don’t remember sleeping at all. I don’t know if it was my jittery nerves appalled at the thought of travelling alone for the first time or if it was my heart beating in tune with my level of excitment thumping inside . It was definitely a beautiful feeling.
The immigration check ,baggage scan -everything happened so quick that the only thing I am aware of is how fast I reached Doha and standing at the baggage claim , I did what I had promised myself to do : I took a long whiff of the Arab cologne – a smell that always felt alien to me suddenly substituted for “mitti ki khusboo” and I realised how well Qatar had taken the place of home in my heart.
I remember seeing my mom and trust me the waterworks on both our ends were quite the sight.
My grandpa greeted me at the gate. He was visiting for the first time and boy, would I have loved it if we were in the stead of each other .
Doha was suddenly “my city”. My school, my friend’s house , my favourite hangout place … the dull concrete city had become a place brimming with colourful memories.
The familiar comfort of my apartment greeted me. The cool tiles, the aroma of home , the smoothness of the wooden furniture , the warmth of my mother standing beside me whilst I poured out the saga of my 5 month long mini – adventure.
The days of my stay whizzed by with the speed of light. The sands and the cars , the malls and the friends – if I could , I would definitely have packed all of it in the chocolate dabbas my mum packed for me on my way back.
And as I leave for the airport , twenty-five days later, all I remember is taking home in- one glance at a time. The corners of my bedroom , the aroma of the kitchen, the paintings hanging in my living room. I take all of it in while, some portable memories like the birthday card that my friends made for me on my 17th birthday, my journal et al went into my bag. I remember when I had left Qatar the previous time, I hadn’t realised the gravity of the moment . The fact that Qatar was no longer going to be ‘the place where I live’ hadn’t crossed my mind then. I did know how important enjoying every second of my stay in Doha was now. So, I made sure that this time round, I lingered a little longer at my doorstep- absorbing the moment and letting the surge of emotions wash over me as I willed for the time to stop.
As I landed in Delhi, in the cold morning hours of January, I was hit with the strong smell of bonfire-smoke and I could almost feel the wave of homesickness that would envelope me for few weeks to come.
I reach my hostel room, curl into my blanket and sleep the jet lag away. The taste of mom’s food, my mother’s sarcasm, the endless gossips my sister would relay to me, my dad taking it upon himself to make sure that I take as many amazing memories of the place as I could, my friends and the friday prayers overlapping from five of the mosques nearby and creating a symphony of sorts- I sleep all of it away. And I let myself fit back into the mould of a person who doesn’t know where her real home lies , again.
However, the unpredictability of tomorrow and the assurance that no matter what, I have a yesterday full of crazy memories to help me out during the gloomier days – how much better can my life get ?