I was in Seattle this week, on a job-related trip to a conference. I went with people I got along with but I had been concerned about meeting people I had known in grad-school. I was looking forward to seeing some of them again. I was not looking forward to seeing some.
For the most part, it went without awkwardness or acrimony. Most of my old lab-mates were pleasantly surprised by how happy I was (they had rarely seen me happy in grad-school; academia really did not suit me). I was surprised by how things have changed for me. For the lack of a better word, I see that I have grown. Some are graduating and it will be interesting to see what they choose to do next. Some have graduated and I am surprised by their career choices.
There were professors who had taught me. I felt glad at having finally mended the deplorable lack of communication with a particular professor.
There were a few old class-mates and project-mates, whom I hadn’t been much acquainted with, but still knew the names of. It was good to see familiar faces.
There was a man who had made me tea often. He made tea again and we laughed as we realized how everything else had changed around us. He spoke of rains and I spoke of the unrelenting drought. He spoke of legged bots and I spoke of our wheeled companion. And then we eased into speaking of matters more important to us.
There was a man who is still Babylon. So much life and love has happened since the disaster that I can hardly begin to draw thoughts together enough to write of what I felt upon meeting him. All of that which followed him has been more important than all of that which involved him. Sometimes, I forget that. It doesn’t make anything that happened in the debacle worthless or painless or forgivable ( I had been so young and trusting).
We hardly have time to sort ourselves out, most of us. How then would we have time to make sense of all that has happened to us because of others in our lives?
Seattle was green. I have returned to the draught-ridden brownness of the valley. It was a painful transition to watch the green as the flight took off and stare at the brown when we landed. It reminds me of the border separating Kerala and Tamil Nadu, at Walayar.
There was heavy drinking, despite my best attempts to avoid that. It seems to be a big part of this group. I don’t think I am suited to drinking much. I enjoy the taste, but I don’t find much to like about having more than tasting quantities. At least, my tolerance seems as strong as of old. I had been afraid of headaches. I was spared that.
I got to see the view from the Space Needle at night. Quite a lovely view of the waters and the port.
I made many trips to the Starbucks reserve roasting salon. It was a lovely experience. They have such gorgeous, real machinery in place for the roasting. I love big machines and I cannot lie. It must be an imprint from all those days my uncle had carried me around as he worked with his tea-packing machines. I think I might have been a tad too excited as I dragged anyone I could to go see this wondrous machinery.