The train reached Missourie in the mist winter morning. I peered out of the window to admire the scenic view of foggy hills. It is a beautiful sight and I suddenly feel a tinge of jealously of the locals staying in this beautiful hill station, faraway from the hustle bustle of city. I was shivering as I got down at the railway station. I saw 60-year-old James and his beautiful, ever smiling Janice who waved to me, expressing their divine smiles.
I met the couple during my train journey, three years back, from Mumbai to Delhi, the time the wonderful American couple first moved to India. Lil’ did I know that they would settle in Missourie, a far cry from their home town in Los Angelas. Both James and Janice hugged me warmly. They insisted to take my luggage as we drove to their home.
I was led in a tiny dark room where a bonfire was lit. James made coffee for me. “So, finally, you are in Missourie. We were not sure you come to visit us and finally, we are meeting after we pestered you.”
I smiled. Janice said, “You have become quite a loner.”
“Not really. It’s just that I am happy doing my own little things in life.”
James asked, “You could have stayed in vibrant cities like Mumbai, Pune and Delhi that you love so much. I mean Dubai is also good and you never plan to settle back in India?’
I replied, “I plan to but not now. I am quite happy living my life in Sheikhland.”
The couple asked together, “Still in touch with your college pals and friends in Mumbai and Delhi?”
I replied nonchalantly, “Not really. I have moved on and there is a conscious effort to keep a distance. I mean, it’s been years now and am surprised how I’ve cut myself from people, whom I thought, I would not be able to live without.”
Janice asked, “Why? Did something happen?”
I smiled, “I mean, no. See with time, people have moved on, doing their own things and happily settled with spouse and kids. Moreover, they are well surrounded with people and they have their own space which I don’t want to break into. I don’t want to get into that space. I have my own life and they have their own. There is nothing to feel bad about One should delve into the heart to explore the self I know very little about. I am getting to know myself better and better .”
They looked at each other. I take a sip of the hot coffee. “You know. Two years back, I took a break from work and it’s the time I decided to move on with life. I decided to put order in my life, cleaning up my list of people and doing my own things. I am happy not being in touch with the whole world. Sometimes, I check their Facebook update, like their status, new pictures uploaded or places they visit. I have decided to turn the page and start life afresh.”
James tells, “Yeah! I can understand that. It looks you have changed quite a bit and it’s not really you.”
I intercepted,” It’s new and improved me. I keep improving myself every two years. There was a need to change myself and do things that makes me happy. I don’t find it necessary to keep in touch with the whole world. I cherish moments spent together but, at the end of the day, we need to see and do things that make us happy.”
They asked, “How difficult was it as a transition?”
“Things are not planned in life, yaa. You just do things when you reach a stage in life where you want to clean the mirror of life and keep a distance from people. I keep in touch with very few people. I love traveling on my own and love connecting with few good souls I met online.”
Thunder struck. Janice looked at her husband, “Oh my God! It’s gonna rain really bad.” James tells me, “Make yourself comfortable, young man, and don’t hesitate to call us if you need anything. We are off to sleep. Good night.” I wished them back.
I woke up at five a.m the next morning. The rain has stopped. I scribbled on a paper to thank my host. I left the paper on the table and sneaked out of their beautiful home. Sometimes, you don’t need to wish good bye in person. It was lovely meeting James and Janice. I treasure the people in my life. We shall meet again.