THANK YOU, MR. UBER DRIVER

I held my cup of long black in front of me, its warmth added a sense of comfort. “I need to go home”, I said; the words came out of my lips undeliberately, lightly, naturally.

“You should be proud of yourself.”

I stared blankly at the passing traffic, observing nothing to be exact.

“Not everyone has the guts to go all the way back home after spending a long nine years in another country. You’re really brave. I wish I could be like you”, he said while passing me some tissue.

“I’m sorry, I’m just getting a bit emotional”, I smiled at my Uber driver, wiping my tears.

He chuckled, said it was all A-OK.

Dramatic? Yes. But that was literally what happened on my very last day in Melbourne.*

A lot of people asked me how I felt weeks coming to my one-way flight. Honestly, I felt excited and relieved. It’s been too long since I had that nudging voice inside my head. I wasn’t sure if going home was what I wanted – or, more importantly, needed. The epiphany finally came after four years of indecisiveness. It was a cold morning in June last year and I was having an impromptu breakfast with my closest friend in one of the inner suburbs of Melbourne. We were talking about what possibility lies ahead for us, what we craved for, what were missing in our lives and what we wanted to do for our future.

I held my cup of long black in front of me, its warmth added a sense of comfort. “I need to go home“, I said; the words came out of my lips undeliberately, lightly, naturally. My dear friend (bless her) was shocked to hear that apparently, her jaw dropped and eyes widened (yes you know who you are, my dear). Even I, myself, was surprised. This person, this woman, who used to despise her home country so much for all the obvious reasons, wanted to go home. We started laughing; she joked about recording our conversation for a future reminder just in case I changed my mind (yet again). My friend smiled understandingly. I guess deep down we were both relieved about the fact that I finally decided to go back for good. If the words were uttered ever so naturally, that could only mean one thing, eh? ;)

And one thing it meant. That I finally came to terms with my life. I’ve finally found my purpose. It felt so liberating, re-assuring. Contentment, that elusive word that I’ve been searching for these past five or so years, finally fits in the sentence. I am now ready to do what I was borne to do. Some of the seniors that I talked to said that I have a heavy task ahead of me. My plough needs to be as sharp and sturdy as it could be, my being as strong as it could be, my faith as solid as it could be. And one important thing, I must share my burden, “because you won’t be able to do everything by yourself”, they’d said.

I have faith in kindness. I believe that everyone is born with goodness in them and we have all the freedom to choose which seeds we sow to eventually reap in the future.

“So why didn’t you go and do it?”, I asked my Uber driver, after he told me how he wanted to go back home and do something about India, for India.

“I can’t. My wife doesn’t want to. We just finished building our home and bought a Pizza Hut franchise in Footscray recently. A lot are happening at the moment”, he answered. I could see him smiling through the rearview mirror.

I guess each and everyone has their own paths and purposes in life. How they cross or intertwine with ours is a mystery unbeknownst throughout the universe. You just have to try to look closer to get a sense of it, by genuinely caring more about others, about your surroundings. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, simple gestures like words of encouragement will do, like what my Uber driver did that evening.

The comfortable Ford Fortuner made its turn and arrived in front of the black-fenced property.

“I wish you all the best. You’ll be fine and you’ll do great”, he offered his hand.

“Thanks”, I said shaking his hand, “I’ll visit your Pizza Hut joint next time I come down to Melbourne”.

*P.S. Dramatic is my middle name.