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.
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.
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?
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.
Have you walked over the bridge across Thames with Westminster on one side and the London Eye (lit up in blue), on a cold night?
It is breathtakingly beautiful and timeless.
I walked by yesterday.
This time I stopped and took time to take in the sight – without taking a picture.
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.
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.
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.