Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Going Home

19th August 2010

Dear Journal,

It takes a lot to be someone different. Someone special. Someone worthy….and someone responsible. But it takes little, to be someone happy. I’m happy today, amongst the clouds, flying—with both my heart and all the rest of me. And it feels like I’m too light for anything to matter. Anything to matter at all. They do that to you sometimes, the clouds….don’t they? Poets write so much of them for nothing, you know. They are worthy of emulation. Of imagination, of utter wonder.

The clouds.

And they’re clouding my mind…as they traverse, moving all around and into me, punishing clarity as they weave into my dreams, thread into the fabric of my stories causing such an extraordinary magnification of a sunny mood. They leave space for only one thought—that I am going home. The idea that I am going home, that I am going to be seeing my friends, that I will get to talk to them, that I will get to belong, and glancing upon all those people I hold close, that I love, that I would wish to meet, all the rest of my family….this time, I’ll be there. Among them. Belonging.

It brings back a warmth, the sort of half-forgotten warmth akin to the reminding love in old grandpa’s oversized sweater or the delight in finding loose change that you never knew was there in a pocket. Accomplishments have come and gone. I’ve worked harder, tapping motivation in the most bizarre ways, and surprisingly found that I do foster an incredible amount of self-contentment for everything that occupies my life. I’ve moved from eighteen to nineteen, I’ve trained my legs to be more nimble, learnt to endure the hot sun of California knowing of hidden respites and new possibilities, to leave estrangements behind to laugh like everything is just a joke. Despite every occasional tantrum I throw and my unkindly longish whines…I am satisfied here. Happy, loved and striving. There is so much to find, so many new things. There is cheer, there is hope, there is the passion for working hard for my dreams….but it doesn’t mask the fact that I’ve missed them. They’re a part of me that I could never quite leave behind.

Every time I talk to them from behind a screen, or through mute pictures, or in the pages of a diary…..I feel that I am just skimming the skin, just a little bite of the other side of the globe. Although I have tried, with painful consistency, to reach out and bother myself with what happens in their day to day lives—to live both here and there…it has been difficult. Sometimes, I have done this at a cost of forgetting my beautiful present, sometimes even at the cost of my time and patience. But I have still held onto them. Adapting to a new place, to new people, to new ways, doesn’t mean that you have to forget all that life was, all the people who were there and all the people who still are--All those who have tried to push you through, to be your shoulder, to help, to advice, or yell at you through a headphone when you’re doing something wrong….all those who are deserving of your gratitude.

And today, everything seems to fit in so well. Everything feels right. Flying home again, to where I know that I can feel the monsoons moist my skin and invade me with a favorite glee, where I can barge into a darshini and savor a filter coffee for an affordable price, where I don’t need fancy chairs to sit on, when there’s that old Jamakhana on which I could stretch my legs, where I can scoot into random bazaars and side lanes in search of fancy earrings, where I can travel the polluted and jam packed roads, back seated and talking to a cousin, not really minding on all the jams and the honking, where I can hear my name pronounced correctly, , where some relatives try to approach me in English instead of in Kannada assuming that I would have forgotten, where I can bustle about at important marriages feeling the weight of many eyes on me, where midnight dreams come alive as the coconuts sway to august winds outside the window next to which I grew up, building more dreams and staring at those very same trees, where all my childhood books stay intact and reachable, where illusions are flesh and blood, where I know that I will be absolutely surrounded, sleep-deprived, pampered, pinched, overwhelmed…..and still be very very happy.

I feel like somebody happy.

Like somebody among the clouds.

I can see that silver lining—both outside my window and within grasp of an invisible future. New Horizons are emerging.

Something tells me this is going to be an adventure.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


The day had dismissed me, of both work and of much speculation. Up above the eagles circled, regarding the convoluted valleys below with a superior disdain. I didn’t take lightly to their mockery, but there was little I could do now, so I trudged on, towards the bus stand, towards the end of another day.

A hand that held loose change waited, impatient to appease luck to take her home. As it is in these long summer months, all lingered drunk below the sun’s intoxication, drooping like my tired shoulders. A perfect stillness—inanimate and fevered.

No winds stirred to ecstasy the Douglas firs, nor dimmed the relentless beat of the heat, so furious and burning. I hated waiting for busses. It was just another normal day. Just a lack of any new possibilities. Maybe I should be glad for that?

The wait turned weary as shadows grew longer, and the battery charge on an iPod began to move from a happy green to an alarming red. I yanked the earphones off to face the abandonment that I had screamed away and a fruitless hope, unrewarded by patience. “You are late. There are no more busses today,” said father over the phone, somewhere from a coast away, “What are you going to do?”

What are you going to do? 

His long lecture simmered with the panic and concern, even over the phone. Somehow, the alarm didn’t quite register into a numbed brain, so dazed by the maddening stillness. The sheer enthusiasm that had made me stay back in college today to watch some specimens in lab still stayed as a residual joy in my heart, amongst the dramatic turn of events.

The day had just changed. There were no more busses to take me back, nobody to travel with. No easy way home. Great, prayers answered, just great!!! Said the fury. I let a long sigh escape me, collapsing. This was just sad. Inevitable. Irritating. Troublesome. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Wait….she whispered back, the senseless dreamer in me. Wait and look she said. I turned to where the phantom voice pointed.

Clear blue skies. A long winding road. Stillness. A transient calm. Look.

What? I barked back, irritated. “It’s just a stupid long road.”

“No, it’s a possibility.”

The inevitability tried to force a mutter of curses like a dull incantation from me. No! she suppressed it adamantly, no, this is not a stupid long road. And this is not a stupid hot day. This was a possibility. A possibility to find something. A possibility, which was painfully distant and out of sight. Something out of reach, but something that existed, nonetheless.

The sweat built up steady and the road stayed long and winding. Consumed by passing thoughts and vehicles, the observer looked to the light blue skies. Maybe I would find the “best” of everything down the road. Maybe I wouldn’t. But I knew that I had to make this fun. Or else, it wouldn’t be a day lived fully. And today wouldn’t last forever.

I weaved in and out of the spruce lined lanes, forgetting about everything else but the present. Purposefully scuttling in and out of the shade, I played cat and mouse. The sun enjoyed my act. He filtered down from between the branches with determination, but I was fast in avoiding him. I smiled back from within the little shade-cover that was the oasis that I had managed to isolate myself in, and quickly darted to the next. Oh yes, this was quite a foolish adventure. But it didn’t lack the thrill I associate with an original one.

As my game grew tiring, I passed a fenced school play-ground. The summer crowd was around, kicking footballs and playing catch on the sprawling emerald on the grass, toppling, laughing and running about. From the newfound shade of the sparse maples that dotted the sides, I watched them play—a freedom so unbounded spoke back to me. I wanted to rewrite myself and belong there too—roaming about with nothing but whipping hair, scraped knees and living lives that were full of that nameless possibility. The sun was now behind me, and I realized how late it was. I signaled to them as I walked away, hoping that that their distant forms acknowledged my presence, hoping that they'd remember me.
The sun was thawing. I could feel him slink away, melting and sulking into the darker, sinister shades that now emerged, pouncing and crawling. A gurgle from faraway sneaked into my ear slyly, and unheard stories took shape within my head. I strayed towards the beckoning fountain in the twilight, infatuated.

My heart skipped a beat. "Aha, see, I told you!!" said the dreamer from within my head, " I told you you would discover a new possibility." She was right. I had discovered what beauty looked like!

The last of the fading sunlight sprinkled a shimmer on the pool, a perfect farewell. They were little beads that glowed and pulsed, in myriad hues and colors. The soft glimmer warmed my heart, and I felt the reverberations break. Barefooted, stayed by the pool, bathed in a surreal glow. Now, the possibility had become a reality. I felt the joy explode within me, as an infant gust of wind blew, seemingly elevating a raised head even higher. This felt like a whole new world.

                               Oh, how many times I had glanced at this park from my bus window!!! It never had meant much to me. But here, in the now, a lost opportunity….a possibility, came to be discovered. Another secret nook, another escape, another favorite place to hang out. I knew the dreamer in me had shown the way to happier possibilities. I walked away with a discovery-- homewards, and leaving home behind as the sun submerged himself, unfurling a creaseless velvet sky in his wake.