Saturday, April 21, 2012

So long...

"If I were another on the road, I would have
hidden my emotions in the suitcase, so my poem
would be of water, diaphanous, white,
abstract, and lightweight ... stronger than memory,
and weaker than dewdrops, and I would have said:
My identity is this expanse!"

~ Mahmoud Darwish, If I Were Another

These lines have often come to me in different times over the years, but mostly when I'm the most unsure about things. There is a certain flimsiness about them, the kind that stirs you but still somehow keeps the cascade of emotions from tumbling out in the open. And hopefully they will pull me through the painfully long, fourteen-hour flight to Mumbai tonight as well (I'm not even counting the six-hour misery from here to Newark!). The time has come at last and being the lost soul that I am, I never understood what is the good in goodbyes. Nevertheless, I'll have a go at it, however feeble and halfhearted it sounds.

I will miss Seattle, a city that I've been madly in love with from then to now and forever will, despite its notorious reputation of the nine-months-a-year rains. What I have for this place is a very first love sort of fixation, for this is where I had first come, after crossing the proverbial seven seas. This is where I had first felt that acute, empty moment of being a foreigner once and quite ironically three years later, this is where I felt the most at home. There'll always, always be bits and pieces of our life spent here that I'll be rambling on about now and then, no matter how repetitive and annoying it gets.

I will also miss being a regular here for sometime, the blog-land camaraderie in particular. Howsoever virtual it is, my fellow bloggers have been a very integral part of my life for the last couple of years. Here I've found joy, compassion and comfort from sharing and being shared, and I wouldn't let anything in the world change this. Not even change, the big old bully.
So this is not really a goodbye, for as soon as I find myself rested and revived on the other side of the globe, I shall definitely try to sneak in a post or two about our 'Incredible India' or whatever it is the cliches say.

So long then!

P.S. As a befitting resolution to my Seattle diaries, the azaleas did bloom and how! They now flourish in the foster care of a very good, equally plant-loving friend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence."

~ Ansel Adams

When Downton Abbey and The Big Bang Theory weren't diversions enough, to the tulip fields we fled. The annual festival at Tulip Town has always been a much awaited one, where the plump mountain air mingles with the faint, lingering smell of the tulips, a combination potent enough to numb the worldly worries for a while. As we neared the valley, it became cloudy and somewhat unexpectedly cold, but then the fields emerged like the unfurling of a hundred multicoloured flags. Row after row, wave after wave of breathtaking colours - fat yellow, feisty red, shy pink, seducing violet, rusty orange - all ending in a stunning kaleidoscopic blur, inching towards each other in a strange unison, till the eye could not say which is which. 
To tulips then, the invincible, undisputed queen of spring.

Friday, April 13, 2012


"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."

~ Anatole France

I wish I could frame and structure my emotions better than what the great poet has already said, and how beautifully. Achingly beautiful, actually. How very ironic it all seems - when the whole world around me is undergoing a spring makeover and getting dressed in the splendor of a newly sprouted green, inside, I am groping for ways to embrace this whole other kind of change.

Change, however insignificant or huge, has never been my forte. An annoyingly stubborn creature of habit, I can crack and burst under the slightest of pressures, a trait I have continually loathed. Last week saw the beginning of the much dreaded goodbyes - bittersweet dinners and parting gifts - and as much as I would wish this all away, I know it's out there lurking around the corner.
However this time, I'm still in one piece and that is quite unusually strong for someone like me. The feeling is yet to sink in, although the countdown has certainly begun knocking at the back of my head. I don't know if this is good or bad but trudge on I must, belting my emotions for a proper unleashing, for some day quiet and befitting. Whether this is being brave or just wallowing in denial, let it just be. It's only a handful of days anyway.

The sparrows have come back in flocks and broods. The bird-feeder, never left a moment alone, swings in joy from the dance of their communal meal. Jostling for space while eyeing that next precious morsel, the patio fills in with their noisy chatter. The furry little guy has returned too from his long winter sleep, scurrying up and down the mossy branches, sometimes even hanging upside down in the most precarious of positions. Plump, promising buds on my potted azalea stir to burst open, the full-bodied May bloom of which I won't be here to see. Unfamiliar birds grace the berry tree, just like new future residents will inhabit this apartment. Chocolate-pecan scones, the last of the homemade goodies to come out of my oven here. And thus, the temperamental baker signs off. Of course, for the time being only. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A little bout of self-love

What do you do when you are happy? I cook. Yes, and pretend as if I'm the queen of the world, more so when it is the least expected of times for anything worth celebrating. I am finally done with the Creative Writing course that I have been doing for the past few months and to be honest, I could not be more pleased with myself. Off late the course was getting too much to live with and let's face it - how could one be even remotely creative while chalking out one's cross continent relocating plans. But I trudged through it all somehow, all thanks to our ever patient and understanding tutor.
Now to hop on to the actual reason of the celebration (I do meander a lot, don't I?!) - the result of the final assignment, a short story, came in last week and ever since then I've been floating on cloud nine. Fortunately, I had a plot tossing and turning in my mind, the rough draft of which was lying abandoned from a couple of months. Despite half the work done which made the final draft a tad simpler, I remember I had submitted it halfheartedly. Of course, my routine procrastination played some role in that too. But with the feedback including chunks and bits like "skilled and stylish piece of writing" and "polished and confident handling of dialogue and narrative", I can't help but be a show-off. Well, for the time being at least!

Fanning my amour propre was the sudden rise in temperature to an early summery 72 degree Fahrenheit. Cool evening breeze, a long walk down the old lake trail, counting the cackling geese on the newly leafed trees, a very late sunset followed by a simple homemade dinner of pea and basil pasta - one roaring weekend it was.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cherry blossoms

"What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms."

~ Kobayashi Issa

For the past few days, I have seen them grow and mature from tight pink buds to shy white blossoms. Entangled in the mossy labyrinth of twigs and boughs, they emerged suddenly one day like blessings from heaven. I walked closer to the trees and touched the tiny throb of life in the petals. The late afternoon sky, a perfect blue against their quivering pearly bodies. Some strewn on the black twigs like giant pearls, while the others in plump, star-like clusters clung to the wet green boughs.
As the day stretched towards its end, the daylight outside the pearly grove faded into a waxy twilight and there - they changed, and just like that. It was a surreal moment in an altogether different world. A perfect, pastel hued world. Enraptured by their overwhelming presence, it sure felt strange to be alive beneath cherry blossoms.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


"April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

~ T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

Although we here, where the mountains are just a sneak peek away, continue to see flashes of unpredictable weather, it sure feels like it. A quick walk and some hurried shots in the nearby park told me that. And spring rain is what we are blessed with for the weekend - one of the many reasons why I couldn't resist this Eliot piece. There's a lot that could be captured both in words and sights, but as much as I would like to, I hardly have the time for longer ruminations these days. Despite the brooding intertwining of 'memory and desire' at the back of my mind, life's banalities demand the chunk of my time now.
We are already past the first quarter of the year and it only seems like yesterday when I was getting all slathered and choked up on emotions regarding our move back home. Strange, how time flies, and even stranger how it continuously fortifies you till you are left with not even so much as a whimper.

To time and blossoms galore then. Happy April.

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