By Suhani Lotlikar
12:08 October 2nd 2018- “I got the visa, let’s book the ticket.”
5:30 we were in the car driving to the airport feeling both excited and anxious at the same time. Four months earlier I was given an unconditional offer letter to a university in Bournemouth, UK during a portfolio review session at my design school in Mumbai. In the haste of it all the 9.30 hours flight felt like the blink of an eye and here I was all by myself at the Heathrow airport. After a two-hour long bus ride I found myself standing on a bus station thinking a taxi ride from there to my accommodation would be too expensive.
Within a few months, I got myself a part time job to cover my living expenses and managed to grow out of packet food. I began cooking good meals and saving money. I was never scared of growing up so the change was not haunting. It was the thought of growing apart from my family that made me uncomfortable. Thanks to the convenience of video calling, I was able to call them at least once every day to try and keep updated.
Things have changed since I left. Actual things like the washing machine, the cracks on the wall, the size of our cat. Within these two weeks of being back at home, I realized how I am a very different person than the one who left. My mother still stands early in the kitchen every day to make us hot rotis but now I wash up the utensils. My father still wipes down surfaces every morning but now I already clean them before going to bed. They too in some ways are different people now. She has lost weight with a new diet and exercise during the lockdown and his box of sweets is no longer a disguise for his oral chemotherapy medicines. Well I myself graduated with an Honors in the lockdown and had a touch-and-go of the virus. While quarantining in my room for 14 days with my laptop, I managed to make the best of my final year project. We are all still extremely dedicated to our fields of work with big dreams and unimaginable dedication.
As for now, in the midst of the noise of Bombay we are enjoying Diwali sweets with laughters echoing in our two-bedroom apartment.
Suhani Lotlikar is a London & Mumbai-based Stylist, Creative Director and Writer working on digital and print projects. Founder of STARE– an Indian art, fashion and culture magazine; her work focused on realistic stories of South Asian youth culture.