When I moved here at the start of the winter of 2007 I had no clue I would live here for 3 years. I didn’t know anyone really well. There were a bunch of classmates living around of whom I was in touch with just 2 and willing to get in touch with one more. So that makes 3 people I knew. I got disoriented by the crazy weather. It was rainy and cold. Work sucked. The buses did not run during weekends. Basic shops were far away.
To give you an idea, one morning I got out of my apartment wearing just one sweater over the usual jeans and t-shirt. I saw the bus was getting close and had to run a good 200m to get to the stop. I ran as fast as I could, not stopping to catch my breath and made it. I could feel my body heating up but the weather was so weird that there was no sweat. After a few minutes I felt like I wanted to lie down on the bus seats and my mind convinced itself that that was a great idea. So I did it. Soon I realised I was suffocating and wanted some natural air. When the bus came to a halt at a slightly more major bus stand I got down and went and sat in a bench.
The cool air was refreshing initially but soon I started feeling cold and wanted to lie down again. I lay down on the bench and felt the world swirling and swimming around me. One of those waiting at the stop asked if he should call 911. I had no clue what was happening to me and gave him the go ahead. He called, but his bus came and he got in after letting me know that an ambulance would be around soon. 10 minutes later nothing came, but I saw the same bus number am supposed to take stop by. I got in only to realise that it was headed back in the opposite direction. I decided to go home, put on another sweater and then headed back only to realise that there had been no need for me to run with the bus. There was a bus stop 10 feet away in the other direction!
Just an anectode to give you an idea of how things were the first few months. Over a period of time a routine followed, there was work for five days and then there were weekends which I just hoped got over soon. Sometimes friends dropped by, mostly Sundar or a cousin, but mostly was at home reading a book, watching something on netflix or writing blog posts. There was no furniture in the living room for the first few months, so pretty much holed up in my bedroom. At work, I just ambled along, no clear idea of what to do. The technology, the field, testing, all new and my confidence at its lowest. What kept me going was my education loan and my desperate run to close it out.
Somehow from that point I couldn’t imagine coming into my situation this year. Travelling out every few weeks, rest of the time booked playing cricket, a team which I worked with Mehkri and the captain to build over the last 2 years. Number of books read this year dropped down and so did the number of posts on my blog. Hikes, poker nights, casino outings, movies kept the weekends flowing to the point where I had to declare am not doing anything some weekends and stay at home.
Most importantly the last few weeks have shown me that more than a city I leave behind a lot of friends. And that’s what am going to miss the most I guess. Sometimes they are colleagues I have lunch with at work, not seeing them after work. But you hear one of them say it meant a lot those times when they could take time off work and talk about life or cricket and it kind of makes me feel happy. The whole year has been a goodbye America march for me ticking off places and things to see and do from my list, planning it all down to the moment when I announced my resignation to my manager.
The goodbyes that followed, I guess, I wasn’t prepared for. There was one moment where a colleague came up, gave me a couple of tight hugs and left with just “Stay in touch!”. A dear cousin gave me a box of chocolates and said “that’s got exactly the number of chocolates as the number of days left. Eat one every day and feel sad at least a bit that you are leaving us”. The captain kept the call up for keeping me here, saying there’s no one to bowl with him in the middle overs and to handle the team. Wanted to tell him that people move all the time, but then I figured I might as well enjoy it. On the work front my team manager (my manager’s manager) capped it with “Your biggest contribution was not that you left some tool or code, but that I see your work in everyone else’s. You’ve been a mentor for almost everyone in the whole team in different ways.”
I feel happy about going back, but then there is also this joy in knowing that there are so many people who’ll miss me one way or the other. Feel glad that I’ve meant something for so many in such a short time. Had absolutely no idea that was me.
To all those friends, cousins and ex-colleagues: Goodbye folks! You made this place great for me, I know for sure I’ll miss you all!