Ramblings From Home Part II

Ramblings From Home Part II

Ramblings from Home Part 1

In a crowded café, with Bollywood beats in the background and the whirr of a fan droning on, I exchange notes with buddies I haven’t seen in ages. This is S’s café and I soak in the hospitality, the gentle urging to try out yet another delicacy from his kitchen and the insistence that I should stay back and have yet another cup of tea. I pay him another visit a couple of days later, this time with the whole family in tow and he is hospitality personified. As we move to our last course, he joins us for us a cup of tea. Maybe it’s the food, maybe it is the delight of being part of a cosy Friday night crowd, and maybe it is the fleeting feeling that nostalgia is very often an indulgence, but somehow I don’t want this evening to end. “Why don’t you migrate to Australia?” I ask him as we sit there reminiscing tales of happy times. “You could set up a place like this”, I go on. All I am trying to do really is try and take a slice of the night with me. He smiles his famous slow smile, “I would have, I really would have”, he says and then in a gentle voice tells me “But I am already home”.

And it strikes me then that the most magical journey you will ever make is the journey home. When you think of it, home is not where you start off from…it is the destination really………

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I can now say this with absolute conviction, some friends never change, some relationships never die and the world doesn’t change as fast your perceptions of things. I spend two lovely days with my best friend in Bangalore. Somewhere in the midst of exclaiming our indignation over outrageous prices, giggling helplessly and sharing a joke, a sunset and an ice-cream we also manage to exchange stories from the soul while waiting in line to pay the bill. Just like that, with no epilogues and prologues. No frills and fancies, no excuses or justifications and no explanations. She buys me an expensive dress. “You cant”, I say aghast at the price tag. For a moment her voice softens as she tells me that we don’t meet often enough and that she wants to gift me something as special as the meeting.

Maybe I am jetlagged, maybe I have just realized how much I have missed her but my voice falters too. “We just have to meet more often, for ourselves”, I tell her. For a minute, she stares at me and then puts the dress back on the rack and shakes her head. “If we are going to be meeting more often, I’ll buy you something cheaper”.

It feels good, this mixture of deep laughter, a squeeze of the hand, a pat on the back and the bonding. Two parts humour to one part emotion, the formula works each time…

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I pull out my old dog-eared phone book and call R. R is one of my closest friends. We have been friends since we were about 3 years old and we have been in the same class from Kindy to the last day of Engineering. We share a brutally honest friendship…a friendship that at the end of the day is like an old pair of well worn shoes, nothing fancy but extremely comfortable. After the initial squabbling about who was supposed to call up whom, quick updates and long talks, it is agreed that he will come down to meet me, and he does.

The day is spent haunting old spots, downing cups of coffee and my playing agony aunt to nearly all his remarks. We laugh endlessly about our college days and we make it a point to remind each other of the many embarrassing situations, our “gang” as we liked to call ourselves back then, got into. Perhaps time has a way of magnifying things, perhaps the only fragments that remain are the ones mirrored in our hearts. I laugh till I am blue in the face when he recollects how I drove H’s no-brakes-no petrol-no stand and no horn bike home against all of H’s protests one rainy day when my own bike spluttered and died on the highway. I walk that road again, I see myself frantically trying to find the horn to avoid an oncoming buffalo, I see R turn up from nowhere, ride beside me and yell at people to get out of the way and I see H doubling with laughter as tears of mirth rolled down his face.

Somewhere deep inside, I chide myself for what was obviously a dangerous thing to do and I realize with a pang that after some time youth becomes decaffeinated………it is young but with none of the reckless abandon that powered it a few years ago, young with but with one eye on the road and the other on the destination.

And as R’s laughter joins mine, I am convinced that at the end of the day, a fond memory is the best gift you can give yourself……

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I am not good at goodbyes, never have been. I clam up and later spend ages trying to think of the things I could have said and the goodbyes I could have uttered but I am usually too eager to get past the unpleasant and uncomfortable phase and as a result, I detach myself from the surroundings. And so when the time comes to turn back and wave, when people, memories and slices of time become distant blurred outlines, fast disappearing from a momentum gathering window, I struggle with all my unsaid words. I crane my neck for a last look, I try to take in one last picture and when the picture fades and the journey begins, I lean back, sift through my memories and start reliving all that was.

And I learn yet again that you can’t really complete any journey………all that changes is the path and the direction you take………the times spent become your baggage and continue travelling with you.

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Epilogue : On the way back to Adelaide, I had a stop over in Singapore and though I couldn’t catch up with Sal and IW, I spoke to them on the phone.

Sal and I talked, giggled, talked some more and pretty much discussed all DSSers (Well most of them anyway), the dysfunctional family and made promises to catch up the next time she was in RooLand or I was in Singland.

IW (surprise, surprise) called me up, (and no, he didn’t introduce himself as IW, and he didn’t ask for ScaryT ) and talked, talked some more and decided that I was sufficiently confused due to the jetlag (I didn’t correct him).

And while I was beginning to get homesick a bit and while I am not good at transition, talking to Twinny and IW just helped me re-iterate what I had been feeling along………in the unlikeliest of places and when you least expect it, some people help you to gather memories and establish bonds. A feeling that can be quite amazing…and then quite, quite comforting.

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  1. Trackback: Linked to a Tag.. « The Heart Monologues

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