[Column] A bird of passage

While students from all over the world try to settle in Delft these days, Padmini realises she is more comfortable with being on the move.

It is that time of year again, when a mass exodus of sorts is underway. The new school year is beginning and students from all around the world have come to a place of organised education, trying to settle in and get accustomed to the changes in their surroundings.

Change is something that I am very used to. My father has a transferable job and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been on the move; changing homes, leaving friends and making new ones; shifting schools. I have lived in five different houses and studied in as many schools. And never have I particularly felt any regret or discomfort. I know most people don’t like big changes but this is something that I’ve enjoyed and looked forward to for most of my life.

I guess there is just something about the ambiguous promises of a new place, about the surprises it presents, chancing on paths previously untrodden, discovering the quirks of the language, finding pretty spots to watch the sun set. It makes me feel heady, like I’m floating in a new found happiness. I believe there is always some part of me that seeks adventure; the ‘take me far away’ feeling would always be there vaguely at the back of my mind. It’s almost as if I live for the storm, not the calm.

I remember back home in Chennai, when I would become restless because I realised I had stayed in that place for far too long. Before that, I hadn’t lived in any city for more than five years. I would end up living there for eight long years. And I think it is that restlessness that brought me here.

It is a bit ironic that for someone who easily gets attached, I like to be on the move. It could be people, spaces or small inanimate objects. Over the past year I have amassed a box full of small trinkets and souvenirs, or memories as I like to call it. Something to remind me of my firsts, or just fleeting moments and feelings that I want to hold on to. Maybe it is a way to deal with all the change and or maybe it’s just an odd habit.

Perhaps it is this propensity for change and surprises that I have never settled into a calm. And maybe I like to make mountains out of molehills like some deranged story teller, but I wonder if I will ever be happy living in one place my entire life. I suppose only time will tell.

Padmini Manivannan / Columnist

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