and the stars grew old

As the flight made to land at Kochi, after nearly thirty hours of travel, despite the dull pain in my old fracture, I could not help a sigh as I looked down upon the green lands cradled by the sea, kissed by the sheen of rain and the bright sun, and the yellow-whiteness of a full moon that still clung proud to the dawn, and crested with puffy clouds above through which was streaked a rainbow.

Kurunkante kalyanam, as I have heard it called in my childhood, had not been remarkable in Kerala where the sighting had been regular. It was remarkable to me after five years, and I held the view as much as I could as I walked wearily to the luggage carousels. There were porters in uniforms, dragging away on cigarettes, reading newspapers, and mixing it all with political debates over hot tea. They didn’t prove to be of much use in locating my luggage, but then again, I hadn’t expected it of them.

I am not someone who longs to return, most of the time. There are so many things that I dislike here, after all. There are so many things about myself that are socially condemned here, and nobody wants to be spat upon when they can avoid it. Yet I find it impossible to draw a curtain and often long for what I won’t have, for what I can’t have.

My brother is tall and has managed to net two extra inches by virtue of his curly hair. My parents remain as I remember. Perhaps I have selective memory when it comes to certain subjects. I chatter on about the events of last week, and life continues in various states of denial, as it had from my teenage years. It could be worse.

My mother has kept my room nearly as it was, and the sight of my books, old friends that I clung to in more sorrowful times, makes me want to go and read them all again. A window is open and I remember that it is the same window through which I had watched greedily, feasting my eyes on what I could not have. It was all so long ago but I feel overwhelmed by happiness and unhappiness both, in unequal measures.

Later, I open a chatbox eagerly, only to find my fingers hesitating over the keyboard. The stars are familiar too, the placement of them on clear skies outside, and they look on as I type away, as they have looked on me when I had been burning midnight oil desperately, as they have looked on me when I had written feverishly to keep myself intact.

Anything I want to type seems trite. There were so many reasons why I had been unhappy then, and many of them continue; I often feel the press of sorrow now as I go about daily mundanities. Yet, there had been only one reason why I had been happy then.

I am a lifetime away from the young girl who had stood in the same room, trying not to cry, trying to study as hard as she could in a bid to leave everything behind. She had been hunted by the fear of failure, by what it would have wrought on her life. I find myself today still wanting in many virtues I’d prefer to possess, still guilty of fears and crutches I’d rather have left behind, still haunted by the sorrows of my younger days, but more wholesome and happier than the young girl had been.

The chat box is still empty of words and I linger. Relationships forged in terribly unhappy times have a cost all their own.

“Believe,” I had been told when I had broken down in this very room, after a harrowing week.

“In love? In family? In God?” I had shouted then. Perhaps I shouldn’t have, for was it not fortunate that at least one of us found happiness enough in love, family and God to want to believe in all three?

“In you.”

My fingers move over the keyboard, purposeful and knowing.