Like almost everything else in life since I was around 2 years old, I remember these also in vivid detail - the houses as well as the shifts. The weeks of sifting, discarding, discovering long-forgotten things, packing, labeling and the far too many goodbye lunches and dinners. The way a home suddenly just looked like a house on the mornings the stuff moved - stripped bare of the life and order. The way each of us would walk around the house slowly to see our private places, memorize some hidden stories or make the last dash to say goodbyes to friends (my mom has stories of me hugging a few trees and pillars). Leaving behind mornings, days and nights of your life that you had spent there - loving, laughing, fighting, growing, living.
I also remember and in brighter colors, is how different the energy and sound levels would be at the new house. The pace at which the same people, who were dragging their feet some time back, would rush about from room to room already visualizing how each place should look, what should go where, what needs to be done, who needs to be called in etc. As the big pieces would fit in and the kitchen would be set up, there would be a semblance of order again, with the numerous boxes to be unpacked in order of priority over days, at a more leisurely pace. Mostly as the day ended and all of us would sit down on the dinner table, it would be the beginning of a life in a new place and it would be the beginning of a new home. There was a strange enthusiasm and hope in that day.
The longest I lived in a house is 9 years and that was 15 years ago, I still dream of that place (a very 'last night I dreamt I went to Mandarlay again') and when I wake up in deep sleep my hand looks for the door latch at a level where it used to be in my room in that house. May be its also has to do with the fact that J went to boarding house from there and we've only spent long months of vacations at home over years. STILL, every home after that has its own precious stories and moments. Every home hurt as much to leave. From the teenager chaos of the Jaipur home and the crazy revelry of the Hudson Lines house near DU campus where J and I stayed with friends. Though I have to say that the home my dad built us in Jaipur about 10 years back (which is another post) has been an anchor through all the wandering and now with our home here in Bombay, I've known a kind of stability which is calming and (if you know me) distressing in turns.
So what I have to say to you is something I suspect you already know but it helps to hear it being said. The thing about moving is not just the pain of leaving behind a thousand memories, growing-up stories and a part of yourself with them; its also the hope of what is to come and what the new home can be. Its about the memories you are already creating as you buy a switch for this home and laugh at the silliness of expecting the newspaper, milk and cable connection to materialize on their own. Once you've shed your tears for the house you grew up in, it can only get easier. Or so they say.