9 September 2013.

England is at its gloomiest best today. The rains are back to grace the country after quite a ‘scary’ heat wave. It is exactly that kind of an evening when all you want to do is curl up on the sofa, look out of the window and think thoughts. Happy thoughts, sad thoughts, any and every kind of thoughts. But today, as the sun sets on the English horizon for the last time for me, a single thought dominates my mind.

In between settling in and making a habit of England, a year just flew past. As Brighton turned from being a random coastal town to my home city; and as London became more than just a Bollywood location, a number of memories created a patchwork of a year.

Today I sit and wonder, what would be my answer when people back home would ask me about my year abroad.

And in that case, would there be a single answer possible?

Because for me, each day and each hour has been an experience in itself. I wonder how I could fit all of those classroom discussions, those beach walks, those travels around the continent and cross-country, those sweet nothings and those deliberate everythings…into words, let alone a sole statement. Tonight I am vaguely conscious that each breath of fresh air that goes in and comes out, is the last of England.

For now.

And tonight I am also conscious of the fact that words, which usually rush to my mind, are evading me tonight. Terrified of taking shape lest this reality sinks in sooner than it should. On the other end of this journey, lies family. Stand friends. Loved ones who’ve been physically far away for a year and whose thoughts pull me closer by the minute. And yet, the journey here has not come to an end. As it slowly dwindles to a close, I have a number of Goodbyes to get through. All of which are going to be mentally exhausting, even in this age of technology. Because it’s not just friends and newer families that I must bid farewell to, but also to a fulfilling life provided to me by the Queen’s land.

As I quietly trod through the pebbles of Brighton and rolled down the grasses of Falmer, took in the grandeur of the London cityscape, my last stroll must occur in Croydon. A place of weekend getaways with a family where I found loads of love and laughter.

And yet, each time through this year that I took the train from Croydon back to campus, I was aware of a delicious feeling spreading through me at one mere thought. The fact that I was going ‘home’.

But this time round when I leave Croydon, a different thought comes to mind and for a minute, something within me flutters.

I’m not going home. Not this time.

This time, I am coming home… 🙂