” Give me the waters of Lethe that numb the heart, if they exist, I will still not have the power to forget you”.
~Publius Ovidius Naso, Roman poet destroyed.
Homesickness has been defined as “a negative emotional state primarily due to separation from home and attachment persons, characterized by longing for and preoccupation with home, and often with difficulties adjusting to a new place”.
Homesickness often feels like unrequited love because we have such a connection with places, we are fond of. We build this perfect image of the person or place we are missing. We remember the best-case scenario as the everyday occurrence. Our brains filter out the bad bits, focusing on the day everything was perfect. To think of not being there, or not being with the person, any more makes us feel so helpless.
The gap between what we want to be happening, and what we are actually feeling, is a huge aspect of homesickness. This tension between expectations and reality is one of the most important things to be aware of while acclimating to living abroad. The frustrations caused when expectations are not in line with reality can quickly make us forget that part of the reason, we came abroad in the first place was to challenge ourselves. On the contrary, when reality outdoes expectations, we are left feeling ecstatic. It’s a minefield of emotions! Part of the challenge is taking the rough with the smooth, and above all making sure that overall, your expectations have been met or exceeded, making it easier to deal with the instances where you may have felt short-changed.
Saraf Ali Bhat, a computer science engineering student from Pampore town of Jammu and Kashmir compiled his second short novel, Triggered Sorrows in the year 2019 which was published by Educreation publishing. Saraf Ali Bhat bagged the first place in self-help category of The Global Reader’s choice awards 2019 for this book and later made it to the India book of records. His debut novel, A smile worth a billion poems was published in 2017.
The book is about the story of a teenage student, who leaves home for his further studies and later experiences the issues of homesickness. We see the same happening with Saraf, who in his book highlights the problems students face when they are out of home, by his own real-life experience. The sharpness of the characters of the book reminds us of someone similar we all have seen in our lives. It’s a nostalgic ride into Saraf’s journey full of sorrows. It gives a reader an ease to read and an ability to imagine the struggles and miseries and even adventures that a person faces while being away from his home, where he is brought up and where he’s made capable of doing all the things that he wishes to do. From accepting the challenge of staying away from home to losing the same challenge, it’s a story of dreams, expectations, realisations and setbacks.
“My Father had insisted that he would come with me to Jammu and help me settle. No way! I am not a kid anymore, I can do it by my own, don’t you worry father, I pointed. Moreover, the family needed him because it was my grandma and my mother along with my two little sisters in the house whom he had to leave and come along with me. At that time, I realised how aggressive I was in my childhood. I would always make sure that dad dropped me far from a quiet distance to the school gate, so no one could see that my parents had come to drop me”.
Saraf’s writing is thoughtful, poignant, and insightful. It gives an insight of what a person, especially a student feels while being away from home and family. An insight of how many ups and downs are experienced by him right after making the decision of studying away from home. The excitement of going to an altogether different and new place which gets soon replaced by the feeling of loneliness and despondency. And this feeling of remoteness gives rise to unwanted anxiety and apprehension, which in no way gets beneficial to the student, rather makes his condition more miserable.
Saraf Ali Bhat beautifully portrays the different scenarios from his experience of leaving home and perfectly puts them into his writing which definitely feels like emotions of a teenage boy have been poured out and the reader feels so full of emotions and fascinations. Starting off his journey with full excitement and later facing the turbulence of staying away from home.
Saraf Ali Bhat sets an inspiration for those hundreds and thousands of Kashmiris who want to write. Those who have fallen in love and want to write about it and spread the sacredness of love. Those who have achieved in their lives and want to inspire more people through these achievements.