Ah, that feeling of coming home for the first time after college. Entering my home and being reminded of what it smells like; the same smell that was once craved in the hostel room. I looked around, just wanting to take it all in. Engraving every corner of the house into my mind as if I was seeing it for the first time.
I rushed to the fridge, opened it, and just stood before it, taking in all the cool air. The next stop was the washing machine; the sound of it tumbling clothes around was nothing less than music to my ears. My beloved bed had to be the next visit, my bed away from the exam stress, the anxiety surrounding assignments, and the boredom of being stuck in the room after curfew. My bed looked at me full of promises of naps without interruption and dreams without restrictions.
Home-cooked food awaked my taste buds; anything my mom cooks tastes like the best thing on the planet. The hostel food is pretty good, but we all have to agree that home-cooked food can transport you places. The same vegetables I hated before going to college are now the ones I can’t wait to eat again. Spending my vacations in Hyderabad meant I also got to eat the flavourful Biryani. Honestly, I needed a moment of silence after the first bite.
Not having to wash clothes or even worry about coming to the hostel late and missing laundry aunty is a relief I didn’t even know I needed. Going to the hostel and having to wash clothes again is going to be a battle, but it’s one I’ll deal with when I have to.
Some nights a random thought comes, “Oh no, I forgot to punch in today.” ( For those not familiar with hostel lingo, “Punching in” is the process of checking into the hostel for the night with biometrics) But then I remember I’m at home and there is no curfew. No rigid timings whatsoever. I wake up at 11 am and still get breakfast because, thankfully, the kitchen at home doesn’t close, unlike the mess.
Spending time with family has by far been the most rewarding experience. There’s so much to fill them up on. During my time at college, I wished to have some familiarity with myself. The new place and the new people were exciting, but that also meant that every page of this new book was blank. Coming home and being around people who have known me for longer than three months meant that I got to be around people who have read older chapters of me and know me better.
Coming home sure feels nice, but a part of me also misses college life. As tiring as it might have been, I did have some of the best months of my life at Manipal. The stark contrast between the fast-paced days and the slow-paced nights kept things exciting but not exhausting.
I was lucky to meet people who gave me a sense of home even when I was hundreds of miles away. They gave me peace, endless laughter, an improved taste in music, and a newfound appreciation for hugs. They have become the familiarity I once craved.
As happy as I was in college, I longed to be home, and as happy as I am at home, a part of me wants to return to college. I have made peace that no matter where I am, I’ll always want to be in the other place. Since going to college, my heart now lives in two places: the home I’ve known since I was little and the home I have created for myself in Manipal. Both loved, both cherished.