Peppermint is chasing the pumpkins off. Minter is coming.
Finally started watching the Star Wars saga. After a brush with the storyline when the 3D film had hit the theatres, I had vague plans to see the entire set one day soon. I am glad that I have made a start now. I had been looking forward to the slave costume, but this was not the one that contained that tidbit. I will wait (im)patiently.
Received my birthday card from my parents. Very happy and very irritated. Happy, since I have it. Irritated, since it is nearly a month after my birthday that it is here.
Received a long email from the hyacinth. She spoke of an acquaintance we have in common, and of a strange little tale involving men and drugs. It was sad. She spoke of other matters, of our shared past. A hundred little things that are yet unchanged in me by time and tide still yearn to return to glades green and canals riddled with hyacinths choking the life out of other plants. She spoke of my previous post and offered me solace in her words without effort. I wrote to her of nuclear fission today, and of two suns. Perhaps, she wrote back, one yet remained in her keeping safe and young. The noon is bright and unfettered above her. Here, though, it is clouded and grim, and the sun hidden under steel-grey clouds. I rest easier knowing that she at least is under a warmer sun.
Sibelius, meanwhile, is being bitten hard by karmic forces. His forward nature on the steps of the Hertz stage is now rebounding upon him as undergrads at Harvard ask him out for the Christmas party. He is none too happy about their forward nature, he says. The man in the corner office asks me to advice him to make the best of it while it lasts. Youth and beauty, after all, are no man’s province for eternity. Remember Dorian.
Went out to Midtown to celebrate Yoda’s search engine success. We ran into someone I hadn’t expected to run into. It was genuinely nice to meet him nevertheless. Reminded me of a hundred warm acts of kindness all unasked for. Silence feeds upon itself, and it was glad to have spoken.
I have a new cap. It is black and gold. Yoda, who gifted it, said I look very Christmassy in it. It is so close to Christmas. I am not sure yet what I will be doing for Christmas day. It would be different to just rest, and watch the day pass, perhaps even to heal. In the middle of a tumultuous conversation with Yoda yesterday, this came up. Perhaps it is time to heal. Perhaps it is even necessary to just be. It has been a long while since I have done anything for myself. I cannot remember the last time I have spent a penny on myself, barring buying mediocre coffee in bulk from the Starbucks chains here. I am not sure I’ll know what I would like to do with time for myself. I have books I have wanted to read, but never have found the time to. I have stories to write I haven’t had the time for. I have people I yearn to speak to and haven’t found the time for. Life has been so hunky dory (and black) for the last ten years that I have forgotten what it is without garish drama and tragic intermissions. Perhaps I should listen less to others’s tales of love and life, and listen more to my own – it has been neglected by others, and has been neglected by me. The second tale of neglect is more unforgivable than the first. Perhaps it is time to finally put into practice what Erfan had told me years ago when I had been all of nineteen – and have time for myself without guilt.
It promises to be a different Christmas.
The joy of craftsmanship, of art, and of mathematics – the fullness of self that comes when it is what I do for a living and the contentment I take in it – it must be the only reason why I continue.
First there were men and women who spoke of how a female could not aspire to any of this. Then there were cruel young girls who taught it fit to teach a lesson to someone who was socially less privileged. Then there was the oppressing, pointless grind of the education system that has become endemic to my homeland. There was California and blood and tears many shed on that soil. There was Babylon and ruin. There was so much and there was so little to live on. I gave up what mattered the most, left with only a ring, and I find that I still am on that uphill climb (or is it a local minimum from which there is no escape?).
It is not daily existence that I worry about, but there is only disillusionment waiting to ensnare me in its maws as I look at the future.
I am tired.
I am tired of having aspired to and fought for so much, for so long, and now finding that those slivers of fulfillment are yet forbidden to me. Art is a cruel mistress. As is Science. My love for you has endured the loss of what loved me without question, wanderings in a strange land, tears and blood and broken bone, poverty and loss of faith in all I held true, and I still continue in circles as you remain walled off. I am tired. I will still have you. As long as I can hold pen to paper, as long as I can craft metal and circuit to my will, I will not cease. I’ll have had you, and I promise you it will be sooner than later.
I am tired. I am tired of people telling me that it is a distant dream. I am tired of people teasing me about unicorns and gold. I am tired of people telling me about my unwillingness to compromise, about how I end up somewhere usually because of sheer, dumb luck and about how much more pragmatic their choices were.
I’m tired. I’ll probably die tired one day. But I’ll have lived so vibrantly and fully that, in mourners (if any mourn) grief would be overcome by jealousy.
For now, there is the prospect of Atlanta in Spring again.
I miss Marcel. Grief is a strange thing, prone to gnaw more when spirits are at their lowest. A dead lover is more potent than a living one, as said a man of dubious wisdom once.
yoda’s kurtas remind me of the old mundum chattayum worn by relatives still clumped and fading into the past in the tharavadus of Thrissur.
I received a most surprising, dear, welcome gift today – an email from someone beloved after the longest of times. It has been a year, I can see, as I look through my email archives. Days like this are nearly enough to make me believe in a providence benevolent.
Friendships are not cherished less when they are made in the virtual world. The suffocation of having to rely on communication media and the feeling of failure that accompanies bad tidings as you find yourself unable to rush to a friend’s aid, or worse, no tidings at all, are what make them more complicated than geographically blessed relationships.
Normalcy, perhaps, is not near. It will take time. It will take more time than I wish it would. I hope time is all that it will take. Now, though, it is the time to be grateful for recovery.
Sibelius, deposited in the form of a rain-drenched, cold pile of miserable man yesterday, was aglow with good cheer as we celebrated Thanksgiving and Hanukkah at his family home today. With the candles and the feast, with tales of little Rachel’s latest scrapes and Elisabeth’s lace exploits, it was a wonderful evening. I was glad to be a part of their gathering – few things are as warm as family. Sibelius seems to have taken to that idea himself, seeing how obsessed he was with making sure that everything went well and that everyone was taken care of. When told to relax a bit and enjoy the evening, he said something about the importance of family and the rarity of such gatherings. I suppose living alone might have brought home to him the realisation, as it does for many.
Little Rachel, while the table was being set, played Scrabble with me. She lost thrice and was very infuriarted. I proposed that the penalty be walking on me (hard). She agreed cheerfully. Oh, dear God, after two months of chronic back ache brought on by that fracture, it was a relief to have a free massage provided by her as she did a trampoline gig on my back. Strangely, some of the gathering looked disapproving when I asked her to go harder. Be that as it may, today is the first day after that much bemoaned about fracture that my spine feels straightened out and proper. Bless the girl!
Family is a special, strange thing. For me, it has been often a source of great pain, distress and misery. As a girl growing up in a family that favoured chauvinism to an unhealthy degree, it was a new black world that opened up for me when I reached puberty and made the transition from sweet innocent to young woman. The consequences for me, when it came to family, were disastrous in terms of self-confidence. Support for educating a female was non-existent and made worse by the crass terms in which they spoke of an attempt by my parents to ensure I was educated.
Today, when sipping white wine and lying sprawled on the old, worn, brown carpet before their fireplace, speaking with Sibelius who sat primly on the sofa nearby, suffering Rachel trying to tame my hair into shape, declining Elisabeth’s orders to eat more dessert, I thought of family. I resented deeply those in the family who had cost me much in terms of opportunity, confidence and the right to exist as an individual, as opposed to existing as a doll as all the dolls on the marriage market exist.
Today, though, I am thankful for those in the family who gave me the chances when I was too young to find my own. I am thankful for the love that carried me through for years. I am thankful for the love that carries me through now. I am most thankful to myself, though, for having taken the few chances I had, for not having given up despite much misery, for having treated myself as well as I could, given the little I had.
I still lack pennies. The future is uncertain as I try to transition from one stage into another this year. The trees are bare but for empty nests holding on tenaciously despite the wind, the days are cold and I must soon leave.
Today, I am thankful.
Every year, on this day, I look back at the roads I’ve walked, at the people I’ve kissed and mourned, at the places I’ve left, at the scars on my body, at the stories I wrote, and at what I haven’t made peace with yet. Every year, I resolve to make peace with all that I have been and all that I have seen.
This year, I’ve decided to do something different. Under this winter sun, watching the leaves form a carpet of red and yellow under my feet, warming my fingers over a cup of fresh-brewed jasmine tea, I have decided to go on without looking back. It is new to me. Nostalgia (retrospection and introspection) has been stock-in-trade for years. All my stories have a faint thread of truth ported directly from my life. My life has been more eventful than it could have been. I have known women and men, and they have stamped their marks fiercely on my existence. Yet, at the core, I find now that the essence of what I am remains the same. It took me a long time to separate ‘I’ from ‘We’. The separation, when it eventually made sense to me, was a beautiful epiphany. What am I that we are not?
Perhaps it is time to write new stories. Perhaps it is time to let loose the imagination wild and stop trying to make sense of all that I haven’t made sense of in my life. It will all make sense when it chooses to.
The winter sun is bright and cold. It is beautiful.
It is time to walk forward and to say hello to this new season. It is time to speak French, sketch caricatures, drink jasmine tea, tinker with wood, make love, write new stories and laugh.