New City, New Life

Sometimes, the things we lose, such as confidence in ourselves, are hiding in plain sight, waiting to be retrieved by us.

Sometimes, the things we lose, such as confidence in ourselves, are hiding in plain sight, waiting to be retrieved by us.

One of the top 5 entries for February’s muse of the month writing cue, “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” (from Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, J.K.Rowling).

Romila describes herself as a writer and editor, and an early user of the internet from 1997. She is a writer of short stories and has translated some of the works of well-known Hindi literary personalities into English. 

I checked my diary as I departed the teacher’s room; I have only one student for the day.

“I’m not really sure what to do here? I’ve never had a specialized talk with you.”

“Why don’t you start with your name?”

“My name is Ayushi…”

“Your full name.”

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“Ayushi Khera.”

“And why are you here, Ayushi?”

“I’m frightened.”

“What are you frightened of?”

“My Life.”

“What of life is so frightening?”

“Everything, the college, the money, my career, being a real adult and my mother”.

“What are you studying?”


“You want to be a Chemist?”

“Yes, a professor of Chemistry to be precise”.

“Is there anything else you want to do?”

“Write a book.”

“It sounds interesting, but why are you scared?”

“I’m scared what if I fail in my subject. Everyone in the family is highly qualified and educated. I don’t want to be the first person to fail.”

“Anything else?”

“I’m scared of moving away from home.”

“Are any of your friends going to the same university for their masters?”

“I wanted my best friend Aamer to join me but I’m afraid he’s going to find someone better than me and cheat on me. I’m fearful that nobody’s going to like me.”

“Please continue Ayushi.”

“I’m scared something bad is going to happen while I’m at college. And even if I make it through college, I know the economy keeps troubling. What if I can’t find a job? I don’t know how to pay for my university. What if I don’t have enough money for my fees? What is something happens to me!?”

Tears streamed down Ayushi’s face as she covered her mouth with her hand. I offered her a tissue from the box on the coffee table between us.

“Thank you,” she said.

“Take your time.”

“I’m fine.” She blew her nose badly.

I asked Ayushi “Do you want my personal opinion or my professional judgment?”

“Professional Analysis”

I shook my head slightly. “You’re not foolish. You’re a college student. Would you like my individual opinion too?”

She nodded, obviously relieved that she was not a psychological case.

“I think it’s good to feel these feelings. It means that you care about your life. I think that if you use these feelings to drive you, to make sure you do your very best in your studies, you will be a better student. As far as your best friend Aamer goes, things will work themselves out, for better or worse”.

“I hope so”, replied Ayushi.

“I know. Life after college is not something you need to worry about right now. Just take things one step at a time. You’ve already been accepted, just worry about getting there, getting to class on time, and trying out for the team. I’ve got a feeling that once you get there, you’ll learn that it’s not as terrible as you thought. They say it’s the best years of your life.”

That brought a smile to Ayushi’s face.

“Do you feel better?”


Together, we rose from the chairs. She collected her backpack and walked towards the closed door and before she reached the door, she turned and smiled at me.

“Thanks Maa, Sorry for misunderstanding you, I love you and you are the best.”

I smiled at her.

Ayushi opened the door and vanished in the group of students.

I sighed as I sat on the chair, with pride at the possibly life-changing mother-daughter heart-to-heart tête-à-tête. Being a college counsellor had its own advantages.

A new job in a new city. A rented flat in the suburbs, where the streets are greased with litter and cold winds blow endlessly, seemingly out of nowhere bought me close to my daughter who I had thought I lost but things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.

Pic credit: Inspiredhomefitness (Used under a Creative Commons license)


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