“Will you come back next year?”
At this point, I already sensed that I would be unable to stay away from this haven of love and simplicity for long. But I tried not to make unstable promises.
“I hope so. I’ll try hard.”
He shook his head emphatically.
“No. Not try. Must you will come back.”
About a month ago, I met an Indian woman who was preparing to make a trip back to her home country to see friends from thirty years ago. She had no more family to return to, and all that remained was pilgrimage for the sake of pilgrimage.
“It is painful to be in your homeland as a tourist,” she told me.
Is there anyone who cannot relate to that longing for home, for your true country, whether your place of birth or your place of rebirth? Her words faintly echoed a line from the song that played as my first flight to Mumbai left the runway: “If you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born/ Then it’s time to go.”
That time has come. The next flight to India leaves tomorrow evening. Pavi was right: must I will come back.