Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In letting go...

To leave and be left behind are perhaps the two ruthless wheels on which the world strides. We have all left someone or have been left by someone at various unfortunate phases of our lives. What is it with me that keeps pushing me to the boundaries till I break? Years after a much cherished bond, one day it just falls out. Just like that. For a bunch of stupid misunderstandings, for reasons so trivial that they were able to toss years of love and laughter into a puzzled silence. It feels so supremely foolish to have had trusted someone with your life and its every little worthless detail. Sure I have lived through times when I would hang on to things that at some point would have hurt me or angered me. But the resentment would not last forever. Somehow things would patch up and the differences would be stocked up for a good nostalgic laugh. This time it is different and much more difficult, probably because we are adults now and the carefree air of childhood that shielded our blunders is no more there. We are all caught in an inescapable domestic quagmire of our own. There are so many new worlds in which we try to fit in and fail miserably. There are people whom you just don't understand, whose remorseless deeds tear you to shreds every time and in spite of all this life has to go on. Therefore this time I have not been able to pick up the shattered pieces and glue them together. May be because I can still see the fractured portions which are too loud to be ignored. Or may be it lacked the togetherness that such timeless relationships stand for. Or may be I am just plain tired.

Since I could neither forgive nor forget, the only other way left was a difficult but wise one. To let go of what is eating you, to get over the lingering gloom. I had never been able to understand the art of letting go because I loved wallowing in self pity. I was, and perhaps still am, obsessed with glorifying my grief. The free spirited child in me could never appreciate the subtle and uninvolved state of stoicism. Sure, I have quit wearing rose-tinted glasses long, long back but still I am a romantic at heart. But perhaps things are changing, and definitely for the better. The wide chasm of the deep rooted sorrow seems to be melting away. When something is just not meant to be perhaps it should be left that way. Although it is difficult to erase attachments that have gone strong for decades, I do feel healed of the anger and the hurt. May be this is a momentary feeling but it does feel light headed and wholesome. Whatever this feeling is, I want it to stay and nourish my weary mind. Because in spite of lugging the emotional baggage people do move on and so must I. After all the world has no time for clingy souls.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The gupchup diaries

Gupchup, puchka, golgappa, paanipuri... Call it by any of these names, the taste remains the same - irresistible. Gupchup, as we Oriyas call it, has very much been a part of my growing up and from the time I could understand the ways of my taste buds, it has remained a steady favourite. It's time I chronicled its meaning and memories during the various phases of my life so far.

1. Summers at Puri, which happens to be my maternal grandparents' home, were the best times of my childhood. Being the only grandchild/niece then, I was quite pampered and often had my own ways. Every evening Ma and my mausis would take me to the beach where I had the time of my life romping in the sand, collecting sea shells. We wouldn't leave before having our share of soggy gupchup and jhaal muri from the beach vendors. None of the brackish winds or the prickling sands dared kill that fun.

2. Probably it was the distractions of teenage or mostly my hatred for the branch of Sciences, but it wouldn't be a lie if I said nothing interested me in those days. After school hours, we would go for afternoon tuitions which would go on for two agonising hours. The only comfort that would keep me sane in these otherwise horrid afternoons were the gupchup sessions that were held regularly after the tuitions. How we friends would circle the vendor and wait patiently for our turns when he would toss the savoury delight into our leaf bowls!

3. I left the secured walls of home for my graduation in Bhubaneswar. In the initial days I found it rather difficult to adjust to the novelties of an independent student life. The only comforting, familiar feel was that of the rows of gupchup stalls right in front of our campus premises. Like every hostel, ours too had one common problem - unpalatable mess food. So the evenings, after a day of longish lectures, meant regular calls to the attractively decorated blue stalls.

4. After graduation I moved to Hyderabad, the mecca for biryani and kabab lovers. Not being a keen non-vegetarian, I would miss the simpler fares that my home state offered. No matter what, my cravings were such that I would go for the relatively bland paani puris and wouldn't notice the vendor's mean stare when asked, "Bhaiya, thoda extra pyaaz dena" (some more chopped onions please).

We have reached the rather sad end of my gupchup diaries. Life in the States can mean so many things to an Indian, culturally and emotionally. Mine is a long list of stubborn yearnings, right out of a Jhumpa Lahiri story. I have tried the tricky but extremely simple recipe at home from the ready-made gupchup pockets that are available in the Indian grocery stores. It turns out fine by home standards, but that nostalgic aroma of belongingness is always missing. Now all hopes are pinned on that once-a-year vacation, the most beautiful dream of every immigrant. Home beckons...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Flashback II

Remember the moon that night?
Burning with all its might and beauty,
with a strange neighbourly expression.
Like she was your confidante,
who could peep into your heart anytime
and play that nostalgic game of hide-n-seek.
I could never fathom these smirks and hushed exchanges.
They were cryptic, probably hieroglyphic.
To be so unmindful and foolish,
when the air was swollen with prophecies,
like the proverbial lull before the storm.
And I oblivious of the lurking fate,
marveled at the swaying gulmohars
and the pristine, ethereal moon!
The moon...ha!

Where was my insight?
My sixth sense, which I was once so proud of?
Where was my heart...
Surely I had it tucked in somewhere safe,
and not just strewn morsels of it on the deserted road
to be trampled on by known and unknown prejudices.
Sure, there it was.

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