A harmless Goodbye.

16 March 2013.

Have you ever wished Life had a Pause button? Something that would help you prolong the moment, savour the minutes passing by until it is time to say Goodbye?

It is that time of the year yet again, when summer kicks off and thus begins the journey of constant Goodbyes and Welcome Backs. A myriad collection of adventures and sightings, photographs and rare moments. Excitement of visiting new places and joy of returning to familiar ones……2 months encompass it all. The anxiety, the contagious happiness; it’s all a part of this whirlwind called Summer. An almost addiction of sorts sets in and I cannot stop smiling. The tremor of excitement is felt here….as strong as ever.

I am counting off the hours too. But a part of me wishes I could put off saying Goodbye for a few more hours…

You leave, only to come back and yet today it feels hard. (As hard as it feels every single summer 😉 )6f2c2c192152556f348f1038ffe182c6

Saying this harmless Goodbye…

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Dreams do hurt.

14 March 2013.

I walked faster as the sun continued to beat down on me. After 2 days of snow and torturous cold, this sunshine was welcome. But right now, I wasn’t as focused on the sweat rolling down my back. I was concentrating on finding an address- The Hove Museum and Art Gallery. Quite surprisingly, most locals had no clue where it was situated. Moreover, they were curious to know why a University Student who did not look like she studied Art would want to find the place. Finally an old lady at the Post Office could answer my query and set me off on a long walk, right to the end of the town.

The place didn’t appear in sight for a long time and yet with every step I took, the anticipation in me rose higher. I was heading to see an exhibition put up in honour of the famous children’s author- Jacqueline Wilson. As I walk towards the place, in my mind’s eye I see a tiny me in the British Council Library…scouting the shelves for her books only. Reading them over and over again, even when the entire collection had been devoured by me. I remember the thrill I used to experience while the book was being issued on my name. And I remember the excitement of curling up on the sofa to read it. Losing myself for hours, hating the times when I had to put aside the book for mundane tasks like eating and sleeping. The characters came alive and no longer was I myself. I was there, in the story, experiencing the trials and tribulations of the characters, a silent spectator and yet trying to impersonate the British accent as I read each line.

My musings are suddenly cut short as I finally enter the gates of the Art Gallery. It is clear the exhibition is meant for kids. There are huge cut-outs of characters and animated clips playing on screens all around. There are little drawing tasks arranged on tables all around to make this walk-through exhibition more interactive. Little children not higher than my knee are running around, enjoying the larger-than-life characters towering over them. I am momentarily distracted by the children, but then my eyes go up and I drink in the scene. And that is when something inside me crumbles..!! I am shocked to see my childhood hit me in my face; that same thrill from years ago creeping over me, taking hold of my senses, causing me to lose myself yet again to the author’s magic. As wide-eyed as the children around, I wander through the exhibition…taking my time over each section, reverently touching it, relishing it all. Almost towards the end of the exhibition, there is a little table set aside for a few illustrations. The illustrator of all her books- Nick Sharatt- has lent a few of his drawings and explained the technique he uses to illustrate these books. Children are encouraged to try the technique for themselves- placing thin tracing sheets over a light box and reproducing the drawing that lies beneath. A tiny pencil-holder is filled with thick crayons and little pencils. Yet again a reminder that this exhibition is aimed for the hands that find these pencils huge, despite their miniature size. But before I know it, I have grabbed my favourite illustration and am furiously scribbling away….tracing the illustration, creating my own unique souvenir. It fills me with deep pleasure, a satisfaction of finally having lived the storybook life.

There are these glorious times when dreams are actually fulfilled. And today, sitting in England-studying my favourite subject- dreams cross over to meet reality. Out from the exhibition, the cold wind catches me on my face and only one thought predominates my mind.

“It feels so good, it hurts…”

Jacqueline Wilson

Full to the brim.

13 March 2013.

The sunlight streaming through the window envelopes me in warm soft glow. The clouds hide those sun rays from time to time and the sun almost flirts with me. I smile upon this thought and leave my comfortable chair to greet the sun at the window. Almost on cue, it pops out from behind a cloud and hits me straight in the face…

I love this warmth. It makes me feel safe; it embraces me and says Don’t worry I will always take care of you. After the brutal winter, sunshine is comforting. As I am lost in thought, the scene in front of my eyes undergoes a change. From fiery orange, the sun has dissolved into a hue of colours. The sky looks like a painting and I am enthralled. For the next couple of minutes, I am lost in rapture.

As the sun dips below the horizon, a peaceful kind of darkness takes its place. The cool evening breeze catches me on my face now and my hair blow in response. I tie them up tight but a few stubborn curls still escape…That’s how it is while dealing with Nature’s beauties. They leave you addicted even before you can catch yourself. One step forward and you can be lost forever…

In those perfect moments, I find pure happiness. The sun has long gone but I am still basking in his glow. The sunshine is now safely stored within…and it will go on to light up the rest of my day. At this particular point, I can ask for nothing more. I have everything I need and miraculously everything I need is exactly what I want.

Right now, it seems like the cup of my happiness is full.

Full to the brim.

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The voice on the line.

5 March 2013.

Right in the middle of a wonderful dream, the phone buzzed somewhere around me. Pitch darkness enveloped me and yet a shrill ring brought me to consciousness. Disgruntled and highly disoriented, I fumbled vaguely around the room.

‘This better be worth it!’ my mind warned me.

‘Hello?’ The voice down the line spoke. All of a sudden, sleep evaded me and a smile played on my lips. I know that voice, I don’t need the phone’s introduction to that voice. Warmth, happiness and laughter….that voice guarantees me all of this. And so much more….

Ever wondered how a handful of words down the line can make or break your entire day? How just via the voice, a connection is made across distances? The person smiles while talking to you and instinctively it’s contagious. All of a sudden, a picture is painted in front of your eyes….and you can see the person lying across the sofa, flicking the channels with the TV on Mute, checking stuff on the iPad and yet hanging on to every word of yours’. There is nothing ground-breaking in the information you exchange, banal talks…and yet every word seems to make you smile all the more. It feels good, it feels right…the ‘early’ phone call suddenly seems all justified.

Time just flies and yet so much remains unsaid. But the sun is streaming in here and the stomach is growling there. Even good things come to an end and not even a phone call is an exception. But there is a hint of Spring around and there is a definite ‘spring’ in my step today…

All because of the voice down the line…! 🙂Image

Holding on…

28 February 2013.

A email landed in my inbox today. ‘He is no more…’ For a second, the heart fluttered and the mind went numb. Images rushed past, names crept up…so many lives intertwined via that single person, who was no more in our midst. When the soul is satisfied with the life lived, there really is no better way to exit this mundane world…the end seems almost welcome, but for the ones left behind it is just the beginning…

It has been 6 years since the first time Death came knocking on my house’s door. The Grim Reaper walked in and took my grandfather away then. As simply as that, in the bat of an eyelid, in the midst of a breath. As his pain finally ebbed away, my journey with it just about began. For 15 entire years of my life, I was protected from it. That evening-still crystal clear in my mind- I was left with no choice but to face the reality. Square my shoulders and act his true grand daughter. Strong and ready to take on the world. Not wallow in the vale of tears but stand as a pillar of strength to everyone. It is ironic how you truly understand the person when he ceases to be. In the days that followed, his presence was greatly missed. The chair he sat on, the briefcase he couldn’t do without, the walking stick he hated to use…and the room where he reigned supreme. With time, the pain reduces in intensity. But in every occasion thereon, an absence is felt. There has been no admiring glance from him, no frowning face upon constant phone calls for 6 whole years. The chair opposite me on the dining table is no longer taken by its rightful owner, no taunts about us sitting opposite each other and yet finishing dinner at the two ends of a continuum. 6 whole years without all of that and so much more. And I have still not gotten used to not having him around.

In my mind, I am still holding on to him. A photo frame hangs  above his bed but his real memory stays alive in the hearts that loved him and still do. For all our lives have been richer; of being associated with him; of having been his family.

But I am still holding on…

Because I want to lay the table for five just once again. Four just feels incomplete, even after so many years…holding-hands