As I walked with pride, across the fancy sliding doors and into the world-class airport, I was in awe of the beauty and grandeur of the Indo-Western architecture. I heaved a sense of relief. Five years done and dusted I thought. I am moving forward to a new phase of my life. One that I am truly looking forward to, don’t we all look forward to new beginnings, hoping that it will be better than the last.
Little do we realise, it is in the journey that the beauty and grandeur lies, not in the destination. The sooner we come to that realisation, the sweeter the present will be, after all it is a gift in disguise.
I turned back towards the glass doors, looked into the five pairs of eyes, gave the longest wave I have had ever given. Tears rolled down their cheeks, I smiled, not noticing that my cheeks was damp with tears as well, they smiled back. “Thank you for everything”, I whispered, hoping they will get me and not wanting to draw the attention of hundreds of travellers. Never in my wildest imagination I would have even thought that five random individuals in the vibrant city of Mumbai, at a distance of 6, 600 km from where I was born and brought up will become my unsaid family. An air of melancholy surrounded my inner pits.
They were my pillars of strength, guiding me, picking me up when I fell, tolerating my nuisances and tantrums, all while the place, its people and various circumstances broke me, teased me and tested me. I can say it with confidence that I am what I am today because of everything that transpired in these five years. Like a butterfly breaking out of its cocoon, I was moulded to this individual I am proud of. We all have these angels in our lives. They come and they go, helping us in times of trials without expecting anything in return. Allowing us to reach our full potential as human beings.
I walked up to the check-in counter, handed my passport, checked my baggage in, in return for the boarding ticket that will bring me home. Ironic! Wasn’t I already at home? I then proceeded to the customs, standing in line of the long queue ahead. Flashed across my eyes was the moments from the first time I arrived in this very same airport. Young, scared and naïve, but with a valour vigour to slash through whatever that lays ahead. I walked out through sliding glass doors very similar to the ones I just walked across one floor above. I inhaled the humid Mumbai air. I didn’t know the language the people spoke, but I somehow managed to convey my destination to the cab driver. “Grant Medical College”, I uttered nervously as I got into the black and yellow cab.
I vividly remember the advice the cab driver gave me, maybe he sensed the fear boiling in me I suppose, he said in a broken English, “Be brave, always. Speak up and ask when you not sure. You are educated, so no afraid in life.” I got the essence of what he was trying to say. It became sort of my mantra. One that I still hold on tight to. Especially, during lectures, in the laboratory, in the operation theatre, and so on during my university journey, I always opened my mouth and asked when I didn’t know and wanted to know something. Even though, at times I was afraid of looking stupid, I still asked. This advice was pivotal in my growth.
As soon as I reached my destination, I quickly took my bags and walked towards the hostel. After asking around, I reached the room which was going to be my home for the next few years. I pushed the door open, a tall lanky fair guy greeted me, “Hello, I am Mohit. I am from Navi Mumbai.” “Hello, I am Rohan. I am from Malaysia”, I replied hesitantly, not ready to share a room with a total stranger. His talkativeness made me even more anxious, being the introvert I am. However, he tried constantly. Over the years, he made me feel comfortable with a home away from home, he taught me Hindi, made delicious Indian food for me, brought me back home to his place during the weekends. He was the brother from another mother. His family became my family, his parents became my parents. I never felt out of place whenever I went back to his place during the weekend.
All that I can say is I am thankful for everything life throws at me. As I retrospect, this journey, the people I had the chance to meet and the things in between were destined for my evolvement. Never do we get this while being in the situation. In this is where the beauty of life lies in.
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