Dear Friends Here is the piece I had written when my first son left for the US to pursue his MS in University of Michigan. Now my second son too left for Canada to do a course in Animation and Visual Effects at Vancouver Film School....I am planning to write about this painful phase of 'empty nest'.. Meanwhile, please read this and let me know your feelings... ambika ========================================== Pangs of parting... Strong emotions of love and deep affection poured out of my heart and strong sentimentality gripped me in the Airport. I remembered the episode in ' Ramayana' and empathised with King Dasaratha's pain and agony when lord Rama left for the forests. Though the situation was different, the emotion was the same-my dear son, my own extension, was going away to a country thousands of miles away. It was like a portion of my heart being severed. I was numb all over; but I did not cry. I remembered my cousin's word - "If the mother bird cries, it will clip the wings of the young fledglings trying to soar high into the skies". I didn't want my son to feel anxious and pained about leaving us, leaving his home. He was going on a purpose, to realise his dream- to one of the best universities of the world. His first day at the school came vividly to my mind - how unwillingly he had stepped into the class. He had fought back tears (the pride of being "a boy" had been fierce in him right from a tender age), yet they shone like little stars in his bright big eyes. The question was writ large in them "When are u coming Ma, to take me home?" Now the roles were reveresed and my brimming eyes were questioning him, "When are u coming back son? The lure of the West, the land of opportunity is strong no doubt, but don"t forget your roots. They are in me, your mother, and in India, your motherland. The void was too great for me to bear. My son and I are great bosom friends. We talk, share thoughts, beliefs, feelings.He has an unscanny ability to joke about my silly frustrations and make them vanish. He has this keen mind and eye to find the mistakes in my writings. He is a loveable critic, and a writer himself. He is my best friend. How could I stop my tears from flowing, though I knew that I could be in constant contact with him across the space? Before going he joked with a wink, "Ma I am getting you a bahu, a "phoren' one", expecting me to bring the roof down.. But I replied, "go ahead, Rajesh but ensure that she is not a phoney one . Love is, beyond cavil or question, the most important experience in the life of a human being. But the quality of love is very important. The fleeting, counterfeit and selfish love 'binds and blinds'. True love allows plenty of room for respect, privacy and independence. It allows one to breathe and grow. It is the primal rhythm of the universe". And when I ended my speech with a warning. "Dont cheat any girl or get cheated by any," he smiled an "I know that Ma ..he smiled and said, "It's not easy to have a writer as a mother, along with love she pours out words and words." He then hugged me warmly. I am sure he will learn to live life to the fullest, he will learn to pick himself up after stumbling, he will learn to create a solid ground under his feet to stand tall and mighty. I sent him with a blessing. "May God stand between you and the raw evil loose in this world/ Let not destructive emotions of anger and hatred overpower you. May your inner calm and composure reign over this age of stark pervasive fear and anxiety, may there be a healthy integration of your heart and your mind and may simple common sense precautions give you sure protection"