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Of New Friends And Gifts

There are few gifts as precious as those made by hand. Today, my friend of less than three months gave me my first Christmas present: a pair of beautiful green socks. She spent two weeks knitting them and they are perfect!

From time and undivided attention, long conversations, delicious meals, and thoughtfully made tea, there are many ways to show fondness and concern. We bridge gaps of age, of race, of politics and of experience when we make new friends and today has been about many friends old and new showing support, solidarity, grace, good humour, and newly-forged bonds. Whoever said you can’t make new friends as you got older, didn’t go to university at thirty.

Black Friday inundates my inbox, and all the shops are screaming themselves hoarse over the holiday season. I want to buy out the Christmas market. In all the glamourous commercialisation of John Lewis and gang, this pair of green socks is the most special. You can buy expensive gifts, and you can buy peace, but the love you weave through what you make by hand, well, that’s priceless!

Rains lashing at my window isn’t a new experience, but the cold is. My phone says it’s six degrees outside, but feels like one. I am warm and safe in my room, trying to write an essay but the chill creeps in, just like a non-negotiable deadline. Hoodies, warm Gryffindor mittens, layers on layers, I tell myself we carry our warmth with us, just like we have our own songs. Walking to class won’t be fun tomorrow but I’ll survive, I’m sure.

Fairy lights reflect on the window, my three cacti huddle, as Hariharan croons in this unfamiliar yet comfortable setting, and I sip tea, with some honey in it.

Travels

Missing happens suddenly, unexpectedly. Someone talks about Venice, and I think of our trip there. Memory fades a little, but I remember the walk on the beach,  long rides on the boats, the silent climb down in the wee hours of the morning, as we moved to the next city. I’m happy, as I sit in class, knowing the landscape of these places, and wish I could go back– to Rome, to the Vatican, to Istanbul (well, Constantinople), to Al Andalous, and to same many more places where we’ve been before. There are places to see, there are treks to make, there are travels to plan and nature to see.

For now, I make do with memories, pictures and narratives.

Kojagiri

It was always a special night. The autumn moon shined bright, doctors got together on the terrace and sang old songs– sometimes out of tune, but it didn’t matter– there was laughter, and milk. Spiced to perfection when my mom made it, we drank out of silver bowls, relishing every sweet sip.

I didn’t know it was Kojagiri tonight, and suddenly, as I gazed at the moon from a friend’s balcony, I felt so far away from home. No aukshwan, no money from baba, no culinary innovation from mumma, no gossiping or laughing, no reminiscing about Mora, Chhoutu, and UMA.

So I walked by myself, watching the moon,  humming Rafi songs softly to myself, missing my parents, my home, and the immortality-promising masala milk.

NEW

I’m a new person in an old city. I walk these cobbled streets and I can feel history around me, wrapping me up, just like the cool breeze on this autumn afternoon. I walk the halls that have been home to many people I look up to, and I touch the walls, hoping to absorb some of that energy, to make it a part of me. I’m used to wandering around old buildings, having worked and studied in spaces constructed over a century ago. Here, just like at Xavier’s, the magic is tangible.

In this new city, where I arrived exactly two weeks ago, and where I’ll be for the next year, I’ve found home. I’ve fallen in love with the quaint streets, the vibrant halls, the mad weather.

I’m not a stranger in this city where I know nobody. I am only new.

Waiting

For the rains, for a bunch of emails, for a phone call, for people to arrive, waiting for a song, waiting for the right time, just waiting. 

Never one to be blessed with patience, this waiting game is driving me crazy. 

13

My little Pumpkin is 13 today and almost as tall as I am. I couldn’t lift her, even if I tried my best– but she lifts my spirits, with the twinkle of her eyes and thejokes on her lips.

Sure she amuses, amazes, and (very rarely) annoys but Pumpkin,  Pumpkin is precious.