By Aanchal Sheth ’23. Art by Alex Park ’23.
“My roommate’s mom got cookies, Mumma. And they were so good, I died!” is what I was telling my mother on Family Weekend over FaceTime. She was back in India lying on her bed, getting ready to sleep because it was late in the night there. I knew she wouldn’t sleep, though. She would often do this. She would get ready to sleep, tuck my brother and me in bed, try to sleep, and end up spending hours watching spiritual videos on YouTube while my father snored away beside her. There were nights when I couldn’t sleep either, and I would tiptoe out of my room to find my mother gaping at her screen. We would have hour long conversations on random topics, after which I would fall asleep with a content heart. She still wouldn’t sleep. I always told her that she had too much on her mind.
Somedays, I have too much on my mind. I feel restless in my dorm room. I have friends I could call up, but none of them could be my mother. None of them will give me that warm smile and that “You didn’t sleep yet?” look. None of them would forage the kitchen with me at that hour. As much as I try to avoid it, I miss my mother. Terribly, somedays. But I do not tell her that. I tell her that I am enjoying doing new things, meeting new people, learning new things about myself, and not missing home much- all of which are true except the last one.
Back home, she used to nag me day in and day out about how messy my cupboard was, how irresponsible I was while doing my chores, and about how much unhealthy food I ate. I FaceTime her sometimes when I’m doing my laundry or eating a fruit. No, not intentionally. Okay, maybe sometimes intentionally. And she always gets excited about how much I have grown as a person because her only measure for that is how responsible I am with my daily chores. But despite the nagging, she would also tell people in the house not to disturb me while I was asleep, appreciate me on the (rare) occasions that I cleaned my cupboard, and spoil me with my favorite flavored Indian Lays.
I say goodbye, cut the videocall, and walk to class. I see parents and their children walking hand in hand, some parents proudly wearing Brown hoodies, some beaming at their kids, hugging them. It was a beautiful scene. I didn’t even notice my eyes tearing up. I wish I wasn’t so far from home. But I tell myself that it’s okay. I bury my homesickness underneath my excitement to be back home in December. My mother has promised that she is going to arrive the airport hours before I do, even though I don’t see how that does any good. I can’t wait to be nagged and spoiled again.
A week after Family Weekend:
DoNotReply@brown.edu: You have received a package!
When I open the package, I find packets of Indian Lays sent by my mother via Amazon.
Maybe she isn’t that far after all.