The 15 Minutes

Those 15 mins every morning with my mother has come to become the best part of my day, life. The drop from home to her bus stop which is on the way to mine. Takes 15 minutes. Everyday.

She is with me. She talks. She shares. Stuff she wouldn’t otherwise at home. She talks about her work. She talks about her college get-together. She talks about her plans. She talks about her calls with her sisters. She talks.

Though a grown child that I am, I am still happy about the fact that, those 15 minutes she is completely with me. Her eyes for me her ears for me. Her thoughts for me. She is present around me. The lighter part of her day, when it has just begun is also shared with me.

Those 15 minutes that she gives me, is the most beautiful thing anyone can ever do for me.

Time.

Advertisements

Walking with the Differences

They were two individuals.

He loathed some things she loved.

She loathed some things he loved.

Emotionally, both would be on different planes. Always.

Yet, they co-existed and were the best of friends.

They accepted and walked with the their differences with their arms around each other.

Bread Samosa

I was on a vacation in Hong Kong. We had spent the day walking. It was a very good and satisfying day. It was so good, that I had found my old appetite rumbling in my stomach. And that appetite brought this strong craving on my tongue: a strong want to eat India Chat. I had traveled down from India to explore this place, and yet this thing in me wanted to eat desi street food. But, I kept mum. Thinking this isn’t what he would like to eat. And yet, this man, to my great surprise and happiness asked, “Would you like to eat dahi puri?” I was wondering if he could read my brain waves.

There in Hong Kong, when we were eating the dahi puris with some addition of samosa chat, I got hit by this strong wave of nostalgia:

I would wait eagerly for my parents to come back home from work. I would be in the garden with my pupper. Waiting for them to walk inside the green gate, just to run close to whoever comes home first and ask, “Can we have bread samosa for dinner?” The day we would have it was like a picnic at home, but at night. Would be noisy, cosy and fun. Like some kind of celebration. The walk with my father to the shop to buy fresh out of wok samosas. Holding his fingers. Walk back home to eagerly eat the hot samosas, flattened and pressed firmly between two breads. And the satisfaction once the first bite was savoured…

I missed it.

Then today happened. We were out, my father, sister and my niece. While each ran their errand, I entered a small shop. One place which came close to making samosas like the samosa shop in the place I grew up. And I had the question in my head again. I turned around to find that my father had followed me in the shop with his cup of coffee. I asked the same question, “Can we have bread samosa for dinner?”

He smiled. Maybe the nostalgia had hit him too. And he answered saying he was just going to ask if he should get some bread for the night.

It was a celebration again. This time it was for my new job. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate.

Somehow, the mood was better. Like we had grip on something and that it wasn’t lost. I saw the old me. The old, easy bond I had with my father came back. He was happy. Genuinely happy. Happy to do this. Let his grown up be a child.

We were excited.

My mother was excited when I told her. It made me happy. Somehow the atmosphere felt familiar. It was warm, cosy and celebratory again. Though it was disastrous: the samosas were too spicy for our taste, yet it was the emotions that mattered.

It was about the simple pleasures. Most of the time works like a charm.

Paranoia

A walk after dinner. The streets, strongly lit by neon and colourful lights, was beginning to slowly fill in with strangers. Her mind reeled. Thoughts raced past the reality: Strangers. Proximity breaches. Small bumps. Accidental touches. Loud noise. Disgusted looks over her appearance. Eyes over her flaws. Space, lack of space.

STOP!

One quick heartbeat. “Was it because of the climb?” she wondered.

Then there was the second heartbeat. Followed by third. Succession of rapid thuds. Hands on her chest, she tried to hold it back. Rubbing her fists in small circles over her heart, silently asking the red thing to slow down.

Breathe!

He looked at her.  “Are you ok?” he asked.

Silence. A nod.

They kept walking towards the brightly lit street.

The easy, comfortable silence between them let her mind wander. Her thoughts raced again: His disappointment when she says no. The decline of interest. The need to search for interesting communication for the lack of hers. Questions. Multiple questions. “Why is he with me? Would he rather spend time with someone else? Would he rather talk to strangers than watch me struggle vibrate my vocal chords?” Lack of knowledge. Lack of interest in common topics. Ignorance in politics. Ignorance in music. Ignorance in movies. Ignorance. Lowering self-esteem. Feeling ordinary. Wondering if he is there next to her out of obligation of friendship. Repeated nos. Repeated denials to him to do that one thing he wants to do together. Unable to fit in, again. Frustration. Questioning the very existing thread of friendship. “Why friends with me?”

STOP!

BREATHE!

Eyes closed. Fear gnawed at her hesitant heart.  She agreed to do it with him. She walked next to him in the middle of the street.

Mouth sealed. Words dead in her throat before they materialized. Discomfort ignored. Her sense and soul as empty as the emotions of the city.

Wild mess of paranoia threatened to burst out of the vein in her head.

Deep breathes. Control. Pause.

She walked on next to him, as he looked into his phone.

For acceptance.

For love.

That Happy Place

It was a big hunt, to find that one place of solace where I could find eternal peace. A place I can always run to everytime I felt down.

I first thought a beach called Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai. A place to let lose all the frustration with the strong night beachy breeze. I could see the stars twinkling if the weather was clear.

Then I moved.

It became impossible to touch those silky sands again and feel them slip between my toe. It became impossible to want to hear the waves at my whim and desire. I missed it.

I was in search again.

Then I was in Ha Long Bay. A visit. With people I liked being around. There was this boat ride. Being in middle of vast water body. Feeling peaceful in the midst of small islets. Sitting on the top of a big boat. Listening to the wind blow. Feeling tiny in midst of this huge, beautiful nature. Enjoying the silence I longed for. Leaving my sadness bit by bit. Because it could take it. Peaceful.

Then the trip came to an end.

I couldn’t travel across countries just to feel the serenity at my whim. It didn’t stay with me.

The search continued.

The next place was relatively closer. It was 3 hours drive away from the city. It was a lake in midst of a small city. It is called Kukkarahalli lake. A 4 kilometres stretch. A peaceful walk early in the morning. Walking around the water body which is surrounded by lushness. People co existing in peace. Doing their own thing. I had found a small corner in the middle of the stretch. A series of mini stairs which attempted to take me closer to the water. I could sit there, forever. Look at the calm water. Silent. Graceful. Emanating some strong positive energy. Making me feel refreshed. Renewed.

I had to return to the concrete jungle. Earn my livelihood. It wasn’t closer, again

The search continued.

When the heart is exhausted, relieved, in turmoil, the magnanimity of simple things stand out.

I had found my happy place at last. It was and is right here with me in my home. I discovered it while watching Charlie and Lola with my 2 year old niece. Her favourite cartoon currently. She either sits on me or next to me with her head leaning on my shoulder. Today, she sat on my lap resting her legs on my pillow. Her head resting on my chest. Snugly wrapped around in my arms as she sucked her thumb while she watched Lola create Lola land.

The search had ended.

There it was, everything and more than before. Right in my arms. Every single day.

My Happy Place in the world.

A Tiger’s Walk

The monsoon had just begun. The constant drizzle and patter of rain had made the forest lush and green. Sitting in the open safari jeep I could hear different sounds: the bark of a cheetal, the challenging hoot of a langoor and loud chirping of cricket, filling the silence of the jungle in perfect harmony.

The road was wet, muddy and slippery. The guide had just taken a turn in one of the narrow roads, hoping to spot something wild for his fellow passengers. Another jeep came back from the opposite direction and halted in front of us. Some communication was exchanged and before we could gather what had happened, the guide had swiveled the jeep around and sped in another direction. He hastily explained that he had gotten an intell on a spotting of something rare and exotic in the forest in the middle of monsoon season: a tiger.

We came to an halt in front of a man made lake,which was couple of meters away. And we waited. Silence ensued to prevent any startling. There was an occasional clicking sound of the DSLRs that every enthusiastic photographer had pointed at the ready. Everyone’s eyes and lenses were at the lake, waiting to spot the tiger. So were the passengers in the jeeps ahead of us.

But the tiger took its own sweet time. It did it’s own thing. It continued doing whatever it was doing. Unfazed by the onlookers. It was as if, the world ceased to exist after the lake where the jeeps stood waiting.

Mintues passed by.

The impatient city dwellers started clicking their tongues. The girl next to me zoomed her camera and started scanning the lake area, using her camera as a makeshift telescope. We were still unaware of the Tiger’s exact whereabout. So we waited. 

Suddenly there was a yelp. An indicator for everyone to look in the direction the finger was being pointed.

The tiger was on the move. This majestic beauty, in its grand splendor…

It walked slowly, in its own pace. Patient and in peace with itself.  Unruffled and unmoved by the countable eyes that were piercing on it, trying to look at it’s every single move. But, it just kept walking and crossed the road till it finally disappeared in the greens of the jungle. Unaffected. Peaceful. Content. Maybe these were the Tiger’s state of mind.

This was the majestic Tiger’s walk. Teaching me, silently. Answering me, subtly.