Stranger

We met some time ago – courtesy a common friend. Would you call that a meeting?  Inconsequential anyway – I did not remember what you were like a few hours later and you probably did not even notice my existence. But there was a spark – an instant connection.

I took the chance meeting in my stride and carried on – busy with everyday.  I noticed you here and there, but thought nothing of it. An occasional hello was plenty – not like there was anything more to it. But days passed and we met more often. Suddenly every corner I turned, I saw you – or something that reminded me of you.  Were you this ‘present’ in my life always or were you making subtle changes to your life – to include me? Questions I wanted to ask but never did, for the fear of appearing too needy.  Consciously I ignored your presence and moved on like nothing had changed. After all where could this lead? I stood my ground firmly – you followed me around.

I did not give in – You did not give up.

Within the matter of a few days, the tide turned. Appearing as un-interested as possible, I waited impatiently to hear from you – to meet you again. You did too – but you were more vocal about it.

We met each other more often and spent more time together. I told you much more about myself than I had ever told anyone else.  Could I trust you with so many stories – stories from my past, dreams for my future? You promised to stand with me through ups and downs – bore witness to my absurd thought threads.

How well did I know you?

I grew to like you – for your simplicity, your conviction, and your looks – None of these overdone.
You confided in me too – things no one else knew about you. We talked for hours on end about a zillion issues –  issues of no relevance to you or me – but talk we did.

Was it wrong to assume that you grew a fondness for me too?

And then it happened.
Cracks appeared in our ever so perfect relationship!

You hated the dependency but did not know what to do when left alone. As much as I enjoyed being with you and could not stay away, I had to find time for other activities. Insecurities crept in. I could no longer count on you when I needed you the most and you made clear your unhappiness about the situation. I longed for simpler times. Wanted to wind the clock back to when we had just met – to relive those moments – may be take a different route this time around.

But it was not meant to be. We were not meant to be.

The smell of rain

She walked back – the rain was much heavier now. Each drop fell with a purpose – her hair, restless in a make-shift knot, unwound itself and carelessly fell over her shoulders. On another day, she would not let her conservative, sleepy neighbourhood see her like this.. but today it did not matter.

She knew something that none of them did.

Something that put a spring in her step and a smile on her lips.

The smell of fresh rain, on scorched earth. For years to come, every time the first drop of rain fell on the earth, the smell would take her back to this day. this place.

Insignificant others

A bridge near Kaithamukku, in TVM – with a Pala tree on one side and a vendor who sold fried peanuts on the other. I must have been 5. My dad carried me and my mum fed me peanuts during our evening walks. Once in a few bites, I also got a small piece of banana. I loved the taste of the peanut, with the banana.
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The little restaurant called Nagarjuna in Ulsoor, Blore – walking with my parents and sister during a regular weekend outing. Narrow stairs that led up to to the modest place – we ate the most delicious Andhra Chicken fry, served on little banana leaves, on a steel plate.
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My bedroom upstairs in Richmond, VA – my son, just a few weeks old sleeping right next to me. I was reading Feeling Sorry for Celia, laughing away.
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My kitchen in Columbus, Ohio. My son stood there after a long day at school and me after a long day at work. He tried to tell me something that happened at his day care that day. He was just 2 and a half and struggled with forming full sentences. He put together words in all combinations with no success. He pulled me down to his eye level and asked me if I could tell him what he wanted to tell me. His expectation from me has never been steeper. My disappointment in myself has never been worse.
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Dreams…and failures

The only thing I have really felt jealous of – girls who can sing.

I am supposed to have a good voice and know that I can sing well. But my voice refuses to behave when I stand up in front of a crowd. I remember standing proudly in front of crowd long long ago and being horrified when I could not hold the tune or my breath, for that matter.

It has been my biggest failure.

It has been decades since the incident and the humiliation never left me. I have never again been able to be the subject of praises for my lovely voice or my soulful singing.

It is heart-wrenching to see girls who have the courage to stand up and sing like they don’t have a care in the world.

For now, in my newer social circles, I am the only one who knows that I can sing.

Do you know how hard it is to gather the courage, pick up yourself, time and again – only to be disappointed again?

Do you know how hard it is, when you have no one to blame but yourself?

Calm

Grey day in London today.

A smile on my lips as I think about the gorgeous days when I used to take a bus after work from my office in Irvine, California to the Laguna Beach – just to see the sunset!

I would buy my hot chocolate, walk along the beach and perch myself up on the best seat to watch the show – atleast 3 nights a week. I carried a book and my IPod with me initially – but found them distracting and not half as interesting as the live show that would open curtains, day after day without fail – with or without audience.

People would go about their lives – walking dogs, texting away on the phone, jogging/biking vigorously and I would watch.

The calm that came with being the spectator, the passenger and not the driver was unparalleled. For the few hours that I spent there each day, I did not have to make decisions or take responsibility for anything. And that got me ready for everything.

I would sit there and watch – two hours of my life go by.

Now as I run around with no stops in London, I wonder if those few hours that I took out of my life then, is what gives me the energy now.

On those days when you don’t seem to get a break from the noise around you, imagine yourself in the best seats of an open theatre, watching the best show on earth.

Blue skies, bluer water – Calm all around.

Now breathe.

A brief look back.

A busy busy day today..

Just in between work and home and everything else, I caught a whiff of that scented eraser, I used when I was in Primary school, somewhere in a hallway at home. In a second, I was reminded of my school corridors, teachers and homework.

Pleasant memories..

As I got through chores the rest of the day, I explored those memories closer. A girl I called my best friend (but never met after that), a boy who told me not to eat my sandwiches near the garden since ‘butter’ flies liked buttered sandwiches and a teacher who made me stand up all through her class hour, every day because I refused to stop talking.

Did I know then that I would be where I am today? Did I do my homework everyday and pass every exam carefully making my way to my present abode? Would I have been here, had I not done any of those? What happened to the rest of my friends who did those same things on those days? Why had their actions brought them different results?

I spent sometime on Facebook and Linked In trying to find at-least one of my classmates from that school. Saw a number of names that looked like it could be them. No luck yet.

Would finding them spoil their memories for me? Like the scent of the eraser, the memories I have of them were locked on that day and are rarely re-visited. When I catch a glimpse of something or someone somewhere, it takes me back to those days. Good or bad – I believe I want that memory held intact.

No more searches.

Long night ahead..exciting work, good music and later, much later – good sleep.

Goodnight!

Why Timbuktu? Why me?

Timbuktu is a fantasy.

In another life, I would love to live there unlisted, and un-found.

So far, days and nights, ups and downs have all been full of stories.. interesting ones, scary ones, ones I would like to remember and ones I would love to forget. Together they make me who I am, who I will be.

All of them – even the ones I would like to forget, I would love to share. Not with anyone in particular – just with the world for everyone/anyone.

No lessons, no aha moments, no ‘I told you so’ moments. Just my everyday.

Come. Be my witness.