Even two years back I had desperately wanted to leave; to escape from the chains binding me tight to a place I had grown to despise more than anything else. Little did I know however, that my longing to leave would one day grow so strong and dominant that I would forget staying.
Make no mistake, by leaving I mean not only leaving the place but also the people. I had outgrown attachments almost the same time I had begun wishing for an escape. It’s not the people, it’s never them. They are not faulty or cruel. It’s the attachments and the caring and the emotions involved that I wanted to leave behind. They hurt. Always. The stronger the bond the greater the risk. Some way or the other, the attachment sneaks up your back and wraps itself around your neck like a noose, slowly strangling you.
But what I never realised in my eternal struggle to lead a different life devoid of permanent attachments is how easy it had become for me to leave everyone behind. Each person I had called my friend and my family – I have left them all behind without a trace of sorrow on my cheeks. I never realised that it would be easy to even leave behind the person I thought I called my best friend. It’s only recently that I was confronted with the truth; the truth that I’m not fit for people or attachments; the truth that I can leave too easily to care.
Yes, I have perhaps that one person whom I cannot leave. It is because I need that one person in my life. The one reason I still stay sane; the one reason I still see the beacon of the lighthouse when amidst rising tides. I care for him. More than anybody else, yes. And that shall remain unchanged until the Fates decide to play any cruel trick they can muster. But others, I am bound to leave. Because when the North Wind calls, I have to answer.
It would be a lie if I say I don’t care for the people I call my friends now. Or for the three people I still call my family. I do. Even though eyes have turned accusingly at me because I didn’t cry at a relative’s death, I do care. But just as much as I deem necessary and not an ounce more. I’m not the emotional kind nor the kind to romanticize family and friends. I have known the bitter sides of both and learnt everything the hard way just a little too early for anybody to comprehend.
While they were still stuck at caring about if they can have more than one best friend, I moved on and stopped myself from caring. While they were still stuck blindly respecting their family because that’s what you should do, I whizzed past in a blur and landed a little further inside to look into a different kind of reality. And hence as I moved too fast for them to catch up, I had to sever all the strings attached. I have not cared since. Not more than necessary.
I realised the more I move, the more I’ll leave. I still reminisce about my school days and the people I used to call my friends. Perhaps they have caught up to where I stand by now. But I had already left them way too early to mend fences now. I cared about them as long as we were close. As lives and cities changed, I had to leave them behind. Because that’s how I am. I leave. I’m not meant to stay. I’ll stay as long as my wandering heart allows. And when the last bit of sand has trickled down and the hourglass declares my time to leave, I shall leave.
I’ll still remember you, though. I will. You, who are reading this now; you, who are presently among my closest friends – know that I shall leave. Someday or the other. But on nights like these, when the wind is strong and the storm is raging high, I shall remember you all fondly. As beautiful memories.