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When you live alone, the toughest thing to do is to wake up. Not on time, just to wake up. There is no one to greet, no one to make coffee for, no one to judge as you lie in bed, reading, scrolling through Instagram, or watching Seinfeld on your phone.

There are things to do: thyroxine, coffee, brekkie, lunch, getting ready and making it to work on time. There is the freedom to follow your own routine, to find yourself, to meditate, exercise (haha!), and to not be in any one’s way. But the quiet is a blanket, a heavy, difficult blanket when there isn’t anyone to yank it off you.

The loneliest time is not when you tuck yourself in, it is waking up to an empty home.

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An Ode to Ice Cream

Oh, the joy of cruising around a sleepy city in a big car to get ice cream. Late in the evening, surrounded by cheerful, sugar-high faces, the cold tender coconut working its magic. Things are good now. It’s okay to giggle. There’s scope to shrug the day (or week) off your shoulders, and lose yourself in ice-cream.

Ice-cream only demands focussed attention, a complete devotion. The heat of the city keeps it fragile, evanescent,  and you must concentrate on the waffle cone in your hands. You must slurp, lick, bite yourself into a brain-freeze. An ice-cream is occasionally a frenzy, sometimes it is meditative, but most of all, it is fun.

It adds a new page in my diary– dairy to diary, if you will! It is delighted reactions to a old new Merc, wry amusement over unlikely / unexpected acts of generosity, but most of all, it is a welcome cool evening in the Provinces.

Spirited Away

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…

I don’t know if Anu Atya had ever read any Dylan Thomas but go gently she did not. A firebrand, she was free-spirited, fiercely independent, curious, and had terrible hair colour choices. She laughed as freely as she sang. Argued with passion, but listened, really listened. She made choices that worked for her, she lived on her own terms, with dignity, and a twinkle in her eye.

She died quietly. Far away from those who loved her, typical of Anu Atya, to keep even the end solitary. Loneliness and being alone are two different things, and neither makes you weak nor vulnerable. The body gives way, but the spirit, that spirit lives on. There were no goodbyes, no prayers, no rituals. There was only a short phone call, conflicted feelings, and unanswered questions. And profound grief.

 

Pumpkin Patch

Punks is well taken care of. She’s unwell, but Munna Doctor is only a phone call away, and DM is a stellar caregiver. There will be yummy (but healthy) food– khichadi, soups, something soothing, always very nice, every few hours. She’s reasonably well-entertained, although I hope my aunt has turned the wifi off.

I can see her propped up in her little white bed, rolling her eyes at my sentimentality. At work, a thousand odd kilometres away, I can’t concentrate. It’s only a low-grade fever, and she’ll be fine, but I worry. There is a lump in my throat, I’m a heartbeat away from tears, and utterly helpless. Not that I’d be much help, even if I were next to her. I’d read a story out, stroke her head, and hope there is more where that yummy khichadi came from. For now, I’m only worried.

Get well soon, Pumpkin, because when you’re ill, this Punkin is too!

Ageing

I had forgotten to drape a saree. To wear it effortlessly, elegantly. I remember wearing it with more ease, with the confidence of a young woman, on whom most things look reasonably good.

I’m older now. My face has changed, so have my eyebrows (ARGH). There are laugh-lines and grey hair. Doesn’t help that I’m turning 32 in exactly 11 days. I thought ageing was only about vanity, but looking at old photographs, I understand why people endure immeasurable pain and spend so much money to recapture youth.

I was 6 when my mom turned 32. So much more grown up then I am at 32, and definitely more graceful, much lovelier.

Tu Me Manques

You are missing from me is the literal translation of tu me manques. The turn of phrase hits home rather hard and makes all those (and that) you love a part of you. People, places, things that are the building blocks of personality and sheer existence.

Terry says I miss you when I see you. Meeting an old friend over breakfast, another for dinner, and a few more sprinkled in between made me realise how alone I am in this beautiful but rather loony city. I don’t mind being here, leading a quiet life, there is much to amuse me, but it has been a year and three months of being away. It’s not a long time, but it is enough to miss people.

A Sense of Unease

Premonitions are helpful but should come with subtitles. I have a sense of unease and I don’t know why I feel like that. Is it the binge bakarwadi-eating of the weekend that is making me anxious? Or is it emails I’m expecting?

There is a storm brewing somewhere, but I don’t know where, and I don’t know how to prepare for it.