Yeah, one of those days, Mi. Funny thing is, when I go to bed, I lay there making grand plans, adding things to my before 10 am list–most of which is kitchen-fridge. With summer here, the fridge is groaning with the juices and fruits and […]
Memories from another day . . .
Even temporary goodbyes are weird, Mi. This time we were imagining all the things you might have done if you’d been around, each time Vidur visited. Of course we know the mid-sem break is super short. Technically a week that includes one arrival day and one departure day – so that’s minus two days, really.
Of course it is always wonderful when he’s home. And it is always surreal when we return home after dropping him at the airport. After he walked into the airport I waited, intending to hang around until he crossed security and reached the boarding gate. And while I walked up and down–you know I cannot stand in one place–I spotted athai and athimber. I was just walking along when I saw them and thought they looked familiar. I guess I didn’t place them right there, you know. Also haven’t seen them for a while. It is crazy to see people getting old. Their son was arranging wheelchairs to take them through. While we waited, we caught up a bit. They were eager to see Vidur, who had already gone in, so made do with a pic. I think they last saw him when he was three or four.
I remember when athai’s son and dil visited for Vidur’s naming ceremony she was enthralled by the play of colors in his eyes from the reflection of the sea through our living room windows. They looked green and when he turned away, seemed to become more brown. When I mentioned it to her she was stunned I would remember something like that. Ha, if only she knew what went on in those memory cells of mine!
Then I treated myself to a cup of coffee and made my way back home. My eyes always fill up when I walk into the emptiness and silence. Sigh.
Lunch time was around the corner and since we’d left home at 9.30 we had only had breakfast. So I wondered if I should make myself a sandwich when I decided to check the fridge. And oh boy, the bits and pieces of leftovers from yesterday turned out to be a veritable feast.
Remember how we used to literally relish leftover meals? I recall how you once said – now I know how the super-rich have so much variety on their dining tables! We would see films and TV shows where the tables were laden with a large variety of foods – idlis, dosas, rotis, rice, gravies, curries and a number of side dishes with fruits, juices and whatnot. Now every other day we are rich people!
And so my lunch was yum. Leftover brinjal slices, palak paneer and rotis. I followed it up with a cold glass of buttermilk and felt a contentment of sorts–thinking of Vidur also enjoying his lunch on the flight. I packed him a variety too.
Funny memory — how Vidur always thought our fridge produced food when he was little. He thought it was magically fully stocked at all times and assumed that all we had to do was open the door to find whatever we wanted. How wonderful is a child’s world–unlimited in imagination but limited in many ways–because her exposure is limited to what we show and tell her for a while, until she grows up and listens and hears and reads and sees.
Hmm. I will postpone the coffee to later. The weather is already super warm and I think it is time to bring out the “eera thundu” By the way on the way back from the airport when we stopped at a traffic light, I saw a guy selling hand towels in cotton. Just vaguely rectangular pieces with the edges sewn. I bought 6 because i felt compassion for the guy sweltering in the heat. I’ve bought a set before from a lady at the same location and they’re really nice.
Okay. Let me take stock of what to do in the coming week. Loads on the list. I am grateful for the week gone by. I miss you, Mi.
So I went and met Gopumama, Mi. Sury had a talk in Chennai and on impulse, I accompanied him, thinking it would be nice to see mama. I spoke to him a couple of weeks earlier. Finally I feel he’s getting old—he’ll be 80 this year, can you believe it? When I told him I am thinking of visiting he said okay and hung up on me. For a moment I felt a little bad, but then knowing him, shrugged it off.
We arrived in Chennai to be embraced by the humid heat. Went and saw mama. Bevy of “chols.” When we got up to leave after almost three hours, he said I should come during the weekend and stay over so we can keep on talking. How sweet. It was a nice visit.
I can’t help saying though, that people have selective memories, Mi. Of course, I did my “good listener” thing. It was amusing how certain things were conveniently forgotten. There were one or two moments when I literally had to force myself to shut up and stop myself from arguing because what’s the point? Also, I decided–no, realized–it didn’t matter.
I remembered how you often advised me to exhale the past. At this point, I am thinking, if you could do that, anyone can!
But no matter what, one thing is for sure. I can never repay the debt of his presence during my childhood. How lovingly he spent time with me, right from walking to the milk booth in the morning as I recited my poems hurriedly, to the constant yada yada yada he patiently listened to to the ongoing bedtime stories. The wonderful life lessons he taught me, the fantastic books and authors he encouraged me to read… and his patience. The most important thing he taught me was to take initiative, be proactive, be curious.
Do you remember how, before an exam when he quizzed me, he would give me hints? His idea of a hint was “The….” And I’d take off from there. Feels so funny to think about it now. And how we fought over who’d read the book from the library first!
So, no matter what he says or does now, none of it matters as it pales in comparison to his support during my growing years. Nothing can touch that.
Before we left, mama said he plans to celebrate his 80th and I should be there. I said yes, of course. I must confess that I hate the thought that everyone’s getting old!
I must also confess that I felt a bit bad that they did not mention you or reminisce about you. It hurt a bit, considering everything.
We also visited Appa. Amma is there now. We had a most pleasant visit there, as well, considering all the stuff simmering under the surface. Both were looking well, I am happy to say. Amma is how old you would have been now. Appa, of course you know.
The meeting triggered a lot of memories that played around inside my head during the long ride back to where we were staying.
The trip brought home to me the fact that for all I know, I probably have just fifteen years left—and that scares me a bit. It tells me I should live my life meaningfully. Not new advice, but felt like a punch you know. As in reminding me that I should only focus on what matters. Also, miles to go before I sleep.
I wish you were here to walk with me.
I wish you were here to help me exhale the past.