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Death

I’m not afraid of dying, but I don’t want to die anonymously, where no one knows I’m dead, and my family just assume I’ve run out of charge on my phone or playing uncharacteristically truant.

I don’t want to be a roadkill or fall off the train, or just disappear without a trace. I don’t want to go unnoticed, without a farewell, without a chance to make amends. I don’t want a mausoleum, but I don’t want to just fade away either, a cruel hope in a loved one’s eye, a lament and a prayer.

As I sit several thousand kilometres away from Bombay, the news of a terrible fire near VT reaches me. The photos are horrendous and scary. I could have been around, as could my friends and family.  Every blast, each calamity later we do a strange headcount. Facebook marks you safe. People text, call and we all are momentarily relieved that we are safe. This pressure-cooker existence makes me contemplate death more often than I’d like to. Of course, things are worse in many parts of the world, where you don’t know if you’ll come home, and there will be no way to find out.

We’re all going to die, but I hope it is not anonymously.

Frank

Each time I lose something I think of you, Frank, and the little prayer books you’d pull out. Sitting behind the IMG desk, you’d crack jokes and give me some grief, but you’d help me find whatever it was I was searching. Frank and Thomas, an unlikely pair, attending concerts, being kind and cheerful in ways that only Xavierite folks can be.

You aren’t around anymore, and there’s no one to call at the IMG. Familiar faces disappear, places change, you move out to strange countries. But in the middle of a busy working day, you suddenly think of old friends, and voices you heard years ago.

Thank You Facetime!

Days fly by, and life is a blur of new experiences. But there are moments when things come to a complete standstill. Innocuous incidents drive you to tears, and the chilly rain doesn’t make things easier. Dark at four-thirty, not a familiar face in sight, loads to do, but there’s very little fight. You want to be home, YOUR home, surrounded by your things, and most of your folks. I’m so grateful for Facetime, and for technology that brings us closer.

When five and a half hours time difference doesn’t mean much, and tears and laughter flow. When caustic comments are exchanged, and stories swapped. When we hang out. To feel like you’re home again. On the couch, in your home, with your mom. Even if it’s in a box. Sometimes you make do with little things.

Losing Things

It hurts to lose things. It hurts to know you’ve been callous, unmindful, unheeding of inner voices and premonitions.

Lost things, unlike feelings, are irreplaceable. You can’t talk to them, fight, or ignore them. There is no satisfaction of winning a point, only sadness and complete lack of agency. Of knowing there’s nothing you can do, but HOPE and PRAY with all your heart that the lost earring will turn up somewhere.

 

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.