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Monday, March 16, 2009

A Life Spent In Transit

Can you believe it? I have spent my entire life in transit. Yes, I really don't know how many houses I must have shifted in and out of by now. How's that, you ask?

My father served in the Indian Navy and so since the time I was born and can remember, we have been moving houses many times. His transfers would force us to move places and everywhere we went we had to change houses at least two or three times. Since we were just kids, it really didn't bother us much at that time. In fact, we felt excited at the prospect of a change. Yes, a new place, new house, new surroundings, new school, new friends was all very thrilling and we took everything in our stride and adjusted very well to whatever situation we were put in.

My father continued his services for the full tenure till retirement age and even took two years of extension so that we could all get admissions into colleges. He then retired and my parents then moved into a house that he had built for themselves. In the meantime, I got admission into a college in Goa and moved into the hostel as my father had just got his last transfer to Mumbai.

I spent four years in the hostel and then came back home to try and get a job. I stayed with my parents for 3 years while doing my residency before I got married and moved to Mumbai where my husband was posted. My husband is also an officer in the Indian Navy and so my life stayed just the same. It was the same things all over again...transfers (pretty much to the same places) and shifting houses (same houses that I had spent my childhood in) mostly, except for a few new places where I had never been before.

While life has been interesting on the move and I have managed to see many new places in India, there are certain things that I crave for now as I am growing older. The feeling of "stability" in life is not there. I never feel "at home" anywhere. Even when I go to our own house for a vacation, I've never had that feeling that I am "home"! I am craving to have a "house" that I can call my own and feel "at home". I am now desperately looking forward to "settling" down in one place where I can open all my stuff from the boxes and not have to pack them ever again. I feel the need to "belong" somewhere.

I no longer want to move anywhere. I want to stay in one place and have familiar faces around me that I can see everyday around me, in my neighborhood. Staying in one place for a long time has its own advantages, like building contacts and becoming a familiar face for your shopkeeper, bank manager, milkman, etc...I have started envying all those people who have a stable life and a stable job.

My husband having now completed pensionable years of service has decided to take voluntary retirement. But, my worries are not over as yet. There is a recession going on at present and the corporate job sector looks bleak. Will that mean getting out of this service only to join another "Government" job? The feelings of being "unsettled" are only becoming stronger with each passing day. Where will we go? Will he get a suitable job? Where will we stay? Will we have a house of our own?

So many questions and no answers in sight...

I just wish I could "settle" down quickly and be able to feel "stable and secure" and also feel "at home" most of all!

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