“Sayli ahe ka ghari?” ‘Is Sayli home?’
These simple words spoken to my MIL by my friend Ashwini touched my soul so deeply in that moment! What was so exciting about hearing something so common?
To give a little background – we were in India and I was actually going to be leaving for America later that night. I had already seen my friends the night before for dinner, and that same morning I had seen Ashwini and her husband Mrugank again at the COVID testing lab. After our tests, I had said my goodbyes to Mrugank since he had to go to work after. Ashwini had mentioned she would stop by later, but somehow in that moment the way she did it, took me back to a younger time!
The last time someone came knocking to ask a parental figure if I was at home and/or free was when I was 9 years old and my friends wanted me to come out and play. That way of checking in person to see if a friend was in was so sweet! In recent times, it’s usually a text or a call announcing that someone plans to head over followed by a long wait until they finally arrive. Of course, that’s always more convenient but there are emotions tied to old memories okay! Ashwini’s arrival and hearing her voice ask my MIL the question before I could see her took me back to that childhood memory.
I had a similar feeling earlier that day as well. As I was sitting in the balcony chatting with my cousin who I hadn’t seen in years, our other friends (Abhinav and Neha) pulled up on their bike downstairs. I was filled with delight seeing the two as my husband asked them what they were up to. “We’re stopping by to say bye to Sayli!”. Once again I was caught by surprise because people were showing up places in India… looking for me!
Of course our friend’s actions were completely natural and even expected perhaps! But the fact is, I think our life and social practices in America are so different that these things don’t really happen. I wasn’t expecting anyone to come in person and say goodbye, maybe shoot a text, but certainly not stop by! The truth is I’m that weird person who attaches an emotion to everyone’s actions, and notices every small little nice thing people do for me. Heck, I’m that weird person that becomes delightfully sentimental about everything!
But in this case why shouldn’t I be?
It may have taken 31 years… but for the first time, these people, these friends… my extended family…. Made me feel truly at home on the opposite side of the world ❤️