A few days into 2017 and we’ve all finally recovered from the hangovers of 2016. The Christmas celebrations and New Year’s Eve parties are ancient history and it’ll be an entire year before we see them again. Amidst all this hubbub, one sometimes fails to see one of the main reasons behind the excitement over these two weeks.
It’s that time of the year, at least in India, where parents who are generally halfway across the earth on a business deal or children who are studying abroad for higher education are finally together. December is the one month where children fly home and spend time with their families after months of being apart.
I have an older brother who studies in California. I see him for about fifteen to thirty days in a year and I’m sure I speak for all younger siblings out there when I say that knowing that he’s going to be at home for Christmas and New Year’s (even if he spends half the night partying with his friends), makes me more excited than another revolution of the earth ever could.
Those few days of removing an extra plate while laying the table for dinner, booking a table for four instead of three at a restaurant, buying one more movie ticket and having one more person to play cards or fight for the TV remote with are days that families cherish and these are the days that keep them going till next December.
But why am I writing about this now? Because those days are almost ending. The rush to pack the bag for a new year at college or a short trip to London for a business deal has begun. Airports are crowded with passengers and tears. Everywhere, mothers hugging their children goodbye and fathers promising to get their children something when they come back can be seen. Promises to Skype are made as the holiday cheer wears off and the responsibilities of education and livelihood are remembered.
But this is not to be taken negatively. Long distance families are difficult, even more than long distance relationships but this often makes few of the strongest families. The little time spent all together is cherished and not taken for granted. So, as I bade my brother goodbye at the airport yesterday, my eyes were filled with tears but my heart was filled with memories and pride, pride in him and my family to have the will to be apart but remain as strong, as loving and as caring as ever, like all other long distance families.
Hang in there, it’s only another year.
(Written by Niyoshi Parekh)