It was a quiet October day. Afternoon. Jhili gathered her clothes from the top racks of the almirah into an air bag that she had bought on her way back from college. The spare pair of good sandals was wrapped up in newspaper and put in a polythene bag. There still remained another pair in the shoe stand which she wore no more. But she would rather leave it behind. Jhili wondered what would happen to anything she left behind. Nobody would have any fond memory of her anyway. She took some photo albums, some trinkets, a few books and pushed everything into that airbag. She didn't want to arouse the suspicion of the neighbors by carrying anymore luggage than one bag. She held her breath, but sweat oozed from her temples anyway. Her fingers and toes, shivered probably. In that hurry, she couldn't be sure. She had to walk down to the defunct marketplace where he would pick her up. Jhili always felt that her name had lost a second word. She could have have been Jhilmil, something that always shines. But she wasn't.
This was one tough call. Choosing to quit college in the prefinal year. Choosing to get married to a man who her father would never approve of. Choosing to leave all the gold jewelry her mother had had gotten made for her. They had wrecked her mind. Her soul had wailed for nights. She had suffered claustrophobic dreams and woken up screaming.
Somehow, among all this, longing for love felt like a solution. Like a closure to a rusty phase of life. Like the beginning of something she had long awaited, without knowing what it was that she was waiting for. It felt like a gamble, at times. But when all your hopes are bottled in one pot, you would rather uncork it. So she did.
Jhili stepped down the stairs. Suddenly her heels felt louder than ever in the time of sleepy siesta. She left the keys with the security guard downstairs, and left. Forever. Left no letter and walked to the defunct marketplace, where he would be waiting.
Nostomania: an irresistible temptation to return home