Tag Archives: midnight

Homesickness

Homesickness.

Everyone says it can happen quite frequently in the first couple of months that you live away from home. It’s almost a rite of passage when you move away. I guess, even more so when you leave the country. The better part of the past two years of my life have been spent in the UK. It’s been a marvelous experience but I haven’t really missed home. Apart from an initial bout of homesickness when I first moved here in 2013, I haven’t had this incomprehensible surge of irrationality that eviscerates all logical thought. Sure, I’ve missed home and my family and friends. But I haven’t wanted to just drop everything and run home. And now, when I’ve had this persistent feeling for two days…I don’t really know how to deal with it.

Nothing’s changed. And yet, I feel completely different.

I know that a huge part of this yearning is because I’m missing out on my annual feast of literature. Every January, as a new year present and a pre-birthday celebration, my city transforms from a historical and tourist destination to a destination for art, culture, language and most crucially…literature. For five days, people with a deep-seated love for language come together under one massively overpopulated roof and celebrate everything it can possibly convey. Within the stuffily overcrowded halls, we huddle together and converse on every aspect of languages. Literature, fiction, journalism, poetry, forklore and social commentary – we have it all. It’s like we take a hiatus from our preoccupation with existence and focus on living.

My yearning for the festival isn’t blinding me to the social drama that plays out simultaneously. Nor am I forgetting the bitching, author tantrums, political drama and the constant one-upping of the program coordinators. Even with the incessant commercialization of the festival and its transformation into a page 3 carnival, the Jaipur Literature Festival is essentially a celebration of knowledge and culture. It really did feed my soul and provide me sustenance. Not being able to attend it isn’t as excruciating as not being able to spare a few hours to catch up on what’s been discussed. Perhaps I’d be less wistful if I could take a moment and just listen to the speakers. Perhaps I could even be happy with the content and ignore the joy of experiencing the event.

I guess it doesn’t say anything appreciable about me when I feel more yearning towards a literature festival than the possibility of spending time with my family. But that is a demon for another day. Today, I have to contend with this ache.

And I don’t know how to do that.

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Filed under Introspective, Life at University, Things that confuse me

Old Tales

There’s this tale one of my grandmothers would often reiterate. She’d say that whenever we ask a question of life; the answer comes to us in our sleep and stays by our side till we figure it out. As a young girl who obsessed over fairy godmothers and guardian angels, I found it soothing. I embraced the idea of having a clearer line of communication with life than just hindsight. So none of this was new to me or surprising when my meditation teacher reinforced the same belief. She as well as my grandmother however, failed to inform me how annoying it could become when you don’t comprehend the message.

For a while now, there’s a song that will pop into my head completely unanounced. I could be completely immersed in whatever I’m doing and before I know it, I’m humming. I could be walking about aimlessly, and there it is; acting as my most faithful companion. There I am, talking to someone and it’s twirling around in my head. I hadn’t heard it in forever and then one day, when I wake up in the morning, it’s all I can think of. And I don’t remember having asked a question of life. So it’s akin to you seeing a big red circle around the date on the calendar and having no recollection of why you put it there. But you know it’s crucial…that’s what the red circles are for. So you think, really hard about everything that you possibly could have found urgent. And then you ask all the people who you think might have an inkling. When no answers come forth, your search becomes more frantic, less effective.

So before I became completely inefficient, I took a breath to ask for the message to come to me in another way. For life to atleast give me an additional clue. But I don’t see it coming, and I don’t know if the song will somehow abate. What I do know is that when I tell my young ones the story of how life communicates, I’m going to emphasize on how much of it feels like a puzzle. I’m going to reiterate that when you’re not completely ready for the answers you seek, they do come to you, but perhaps they’re in a language you are yet to learn to speak.

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Filed under Childhood, Introspective, The world around me, Things that confuse me

As I kissed you
while you were asleep;
you unraveled like a flower
submitting to the bees.

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Filed under Inspired by other creative works, Poetry, The world around me

Boxed, broken memories

Boxes littered in every space
half full of fragmented memories.
All stifled in bubble-wrap
to fade away in the attic.

Halved sets of china,
incomplete sets of cutlery
One from a pair of crystal flutes
One half of a wedding portrait
One quarter of a family
One lifetime of enduring stories.

Maybe someday, the trinkets will be lost
and perhaps, the shadow on my finger will fade
But what of the broken promises?
And of the heartache that does not fade?

Inspired by the childhood game of creating boxes on an empty piece of paper. 😀 Yes! The mind does work in crazy ways. 😀

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Filed under Introspective, Poetry

Yearning

Maybe letters
are better afterall.
In them,
I can touch
the words that
oozed out of you.

Maybe paper
is sentimental
for in your absence
I can touch
something
once of yours.

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Filed under Poetry, The world around me

Silence…

It’s torturous
to have a nightmare
when I can
turn to you no more.

Would you talk
if I finally called?

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Filed under Poetry, Uncategorized

Why School Means The World To Me

On wednesday, I’d gone back to school due to work. I met a few of my old teachers and it sent me on a spiral. I realized that for all the stories on this blog, a very prominent one was missing. That of me. How I came about to be. I’m going to start putting out my experiences as a pre-teen. And this is just a very raw, completely undedited start to it.

I’m not even sure I’ll edit any of it. I still don’t have the slight detachment needed.

Word Count: 1200.

 

I still remember my first few days in school vividly. I’d shifted from the hustle and bustle that was Calcutta to a laid-back place like Jaipur. At the age of 12, I’d seen the insides of more hospitals than I cared to count and I’d spent less time with my mother than with every other member of my household. I hadn’t been fond of communicating. I always talked nineteen to the dozen but, I never communicated my needs, wants or fears. I’d learnt to accept that mum and dad needed to take care of my ailing brother and that being a baby about it wasn’t an option.

My parents loved me dearly. In hindsight, I can now understand their pain in having to leave me with my grnadparents and aunts because their lives revolved around hospitals. But back then, I wasn’t so understanding. I wasn’t very accommodating either. In my eyes, they’d left me coz I wasn’t important enough. And now, for their personal reasons, they were uprooting me. As a result, I didn’t want anything to do here. I didn’t want to go to school or even try to be nice.

My first few days in school were intimidating. I’d joined mid-session and friendships had already been formed. I was the new girl from out of town with a strongly accented Hindi and really fluent English. I was the girl who couldn’t fathom the joys in visiting historical places every weekend. I was the girl with the strong opinions or the one who already knew most of the syllabus, coz she’d studied it last year. And pre-teen years, in an elitist school in a tradition rich city, can be harsh.

Back at the beginning of the new millenium, the city had very few children specific places. We didn’t have good eateries offering multi-cuisine food at all. I know Indo-Chinese is a different cuisine but Jaipur had its highly ketchup-ed and lemon juice version. From a city where we had computer classes and activity outlets at every corner, I had been shifted to a city where all I could see was tradition. Books became my solace. And yet, it was impossible to source good books.

At that point in time, I didn’t think my life was going to get better. I didn’t think I would ever learn to like any aspect of this city. But then, I went to school. I did make friends, but it wasn’t easy. It took my friends a long time to figure me out but, I’m glad they did. We’re still going strong so…I’m going to hazard a guess and say that we did good. But even before I made friends, I found loving, caring, kindred spirits.

If I’d met just one teacher who touched my life and made it bearable, I’d have a very short story. And my life wouldn’t be what it is. But I didn’t meet just one. I didn’t meet just two either. I met a hoard of them. Somehow, in that expansive school with a million students and unending classrooms, I found people willing to look into me.

I often found my librarians wondering why I’d always sneak into the library. I’d devour books like they were the only thing keeping me sane. I’d lug tomes off the shelves and sit with a dictionary and immerse myself in literature. And if I’d missed a class or two, they were kind enough to pretend to not notice. They offered me a sanctuary. Even today, everytime life seems to crumble around me, all I have to do is sit surrounded by books.

I had teachers from all departments, teaching all subjects, play a very pivotal role in shaping my life. Fortunately for me, I remember my first encounters with all of them. Right down to what I felt, what I was doing, which school building we were in and what they said to have carved a place in a very stony heart.

I don’t think I was a very easy student to deal with. I was naughty, really talkative, outspoken, opinionated, extremely irritable and with a very very short temper. If I was really ticked off, I was completely capable of excusing myself with an excuse and not returning to class. I was also extremely inquisitive. It didn’t have to be on the subject matter being taught. If it was of the topic, I’d ask it. And surprisingly, my teachers didn’t end up making me stand outside the class all day. You see, it was surprising because everytime I’d been unable to do my homework or was late to school, it was because I’d been running around a hospital and hence, I was itching for a fight. I was itching for someone to tell my parents that I was horrible and needed to be sent home.
They never did that you know. They didn’t even know about my ailing brother or anything till I was in senior school. So I know that when they overlooked my behaviour and focussed on something only they could explain, it didn’t come from an understanding of my issues or pity. It came from them being them.

And that is why school has always been this place that I’m extremely sensitive about. Everything they ever tried to teach me runs around my head repeatedly. You know, everyone says teachers affect changes in futures and that they help you to evolve but I honestly cannot say that. For me, they created a future out of a very bleak present. They sculpted a person out of a glob of clay which hadn’t had a chance to be moulded by her parents. And so, whenever I go to school to pick up one of my cousins who is now a student there or to visit; I’m not just nostalgic about the times spent with my friends. I’m not just nostalgic about my pranks or my past. I’m overwhelmed by how much of an effort the teachers made with me. I miss classes and I miss extra classes where I’d carry poetry by Christina Rosetti or Tennyson and my teachers would patiently help me grasp their beauty. I miss the creation of me from absolute scratch. And nostalgia seeps in much after I’ve left school and returned home. For when I enter those hallways, I feel like the lost little 12 year old who had no clue what she was getting into.

Even today, when I walk into school and I see teachers I recognize and they recognize me, I don’t just feel happy that they remember me. I feel grateful that they took the time to look past a really prickly exterior to my angst.

They say that one shouldn’t crave for approval or being remembered. But somehow, I can’t seem to do that. When I meet my old teachers, I want to hug them and tell them exactly what they said to me that changed my life and then I want to gush and expound on all the circumstances where their teachings brought me accolades. But instead, I become the same 12 year old I was. Really talkative, barely communicative.

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Filed under Childhood, Introspective, Prose, Reminiscing