Being the gullible victim of inspiration through personal upheaval and transitions, it is only fitting that I have broken a long streak of writer’s block with a piece about the most recent milestone of my life. In a rare departure from tradition, however, this one did not come swarmed by existential crises and eternal puzzlements about lofty dilemmas. This milestone was never a mirage, and its approach was clear and welcome.

A product of roots that refused to be entrenched, I found myself shuttling between Delhi, Noida and Sonipat for the better part of a decade – the longest stretch of time I have ever spent steadily in one place. Voluntary retirement from service had settled my father near his parents, in the city where my mother grew up. But familiar routines of rides on the Delhi metro, evenings at the Delhi Gymkhana and the ultimate comfort of family and home still never erased the sentiment of alienation in a city to which I never felt like I could belong.

I could bury myself in the romance of living surrounded by the depth of history, and the profound philosophy that Delhi is home to. Absorbing the peace of Hauz Khas village with its hipsters and its foliage, exploring the repositories of history littered around the city in the form of monuments spanning across centuries, driving through the strangely uniform beauty of Lutyens’ Delhi; it could only dull the evident unevenness between the city’s heartbeats and mine.

Less than two months ago, with a corporate law job in one hand and a suitcase in another, I left all that I had known for the preceding seven years, and marched into the orchestra of blaring car horns, the mingling bouquet of smells of the sea and the city, and the enveloping warmth of the moisture in the air. I could hear my hair frizzing with every second, in tandem with the rapid pulse of excitement running through my veins. I have spent every day in Bombay wondering what makes a city this crowded, fast-paced and individualistic feel so warm, but I can never comprehend my affection for this city of contradictions.

Where geographical relocation was mercifully free of the affliction of over-analysis and anxiety, the plague set in with the gravity of leaving home for the first time to stand on my own two feet. Whatever the circumstances of the move, the familiarity with the city and the comfort of living, each step towards D-day was heavier than the last. Booking my ticket to Bombay left me cold with fear but shivering with excitement. Change was welcome after the daily drudgery of law school. But I couldn’t imagine coping with not having a mother’s arms to run into on a bad day or a father to patiently listening to my endless ramblings, or the reluctant affection of the puppy who loves to hate me.

I felt like a building at the final stage of construction, waiting for the scaffolding to be pulled away to see if I’m going to stand or crumble to the ground. And much like that building, I didn’t have the hands to hold on to that support and say I’m not yet ready.

Borderline panic and anxiety aside, the last few days at home taught me a few integral things. I learnt to appreciate the beauty of uncertainty. The unknown can be terrifying, but it is the ultimate harbinger of hope. Being unable to imagine how things can go wrong also means that it is beyond your imagination to know how things can go so wonderfully right. Fingertips trembled with equal measures of fear and the electricity of days to come, pregnant with potential adventures. I also saw and felt love that had been buried under the layers of everyday life, unearthed by the sudden jolt of imminent change.

Surrounded by wishes of luck, success, love and joy, I could not imagine how there had ever been days in my life when I allowed the darkness to swallow their brightness. It taught me to be so grateful for the things that had slipped from my conscious thoughts, like finding hidden childhood treasures while cleaning out the attic. Impending upheaval forced me to flex muscles of optimism I had forgotten I ever possessed.

I always thought that growing up was a myth. But I’ve found that the reality and nuance of this phenomenon is only evident when you look over your shoulder and realise the distance you’ve covered. Each second that has passed me by made an imperceptible impression on the person I see in the mirror today.

We are only rocks on the bed of the stream of time, and with each current we are softly moulded into different shapes.

Not shapes to fit into any given mould, but a freehand creation of our trials and tribulations. It is true that we are not growing up, we are merely changing. To accept transience is to find peace in existence. To embrace it is to thrive. The trajectory of the path we take is not linear, but it is singular. This realisation also accentuates the importance of empathy, and a celebration of difference.

The freedom to form perspective is imperative to our happiness, and infringing on the freedom of others to create their own metric of interpretation of the world around them is to deprive them of defining and attaining their own happiness.

Standing where I am now, corporate life balanced by the romance of the sea breeze caressing a heartbeat still erratic with excitement, I know that I have a long way to go. For a change though, I am also cognizant of what a long way I have come.

My roots are finding the right grooves in the ground, and my steps are a little unsteady searching for direction. But they are still firm and they are still moving, and I know I will find the path I am looking for.