And what a life I left behind! Friends, fun, frolic. For what? To save my family from poverty? Or for the glamour of going abroad. For the lure of the unknown world out there. For sheer peer pressure. Everyone was going abroad. So I had to. I guess a little bit of all.
But whatever it was, it was unnecessary to accept that hardship for the little gain I got in return. Yes I saved some money, yes I saw the world, yes I learned to speak good English. But I could achieve all of these without leaving Kolkata permanently. Seven years I spent abroad was a waste. I do not have a single fond moment of those seven years. Only good thing that happened was I got a good education during my MSc and that experience really enriched my life. I would not be the same person had I not studied abroad.
I remember the Kolkata I left behind so vividly. The exciting years of pagers and cell phones and the first personal computers. Telephone booths everywhere. We had some disposable income to spend on us, a beautiful city that we could call home, a few devoted friends that were madly in love with each other. It was just the life to look for. The job was fun, the leisure even more fun. Weekdays passed by quickly absorbed in fun work. Weekends flew by even faster with food, drinks, movies and long walks with friends.
There were book fairs in Maidan and office tours to Maithon and weekend getaways in Bardhaman. There was love from Anjan, rebellion from Nachiketa and sadness from Suman. There were big eyed, baby faced, compliant girls like Shilpa Shetty and Urmila Matondkar. There were movies like Bombay, Raja and Rangeela. And we had our whole life ahead of us.
Did I live it well? I guess I tried.