And this is a journey too…

The year doesn’t matter. This is about the age and the time and the year doesn’t have much to do with a specific point in time. If we must talk about the year, it was an year around the cusp of when teenage and a peek into the life beyond hopscotch squares and giggling over bike rides around the mango orchards was scary, intangible and exhilarating. Being an adult is not something you can grasp when you are firmly ensconced in the no-man’s land between a childhood fast receding like a summer shadow and a teenage that sullenly walks with you but refuses to say much.

 

Summer breezes and the slivers of the sparkling, shimmering Indian ocean on a school trip is how this memory unravels itself. Sun and sand and laughter and shy smiles. Like any walk down memory lane, this one too meanders, mind you. Much like a set of footprints at a beach that will inevitably get wiped away after the bounty of the next tide. Crowded dorms and “thali meals”, sunsets and building castles at the beach and collecting starfish and shells and racing the tide are what this time was all about. The first real trip as a teenager, away from home. The same faces that surround you in school every day but suddenly by the sea-side these are the faces of people – real people –  and not just the usual contingent swathed in the bottle green and chequered school uniforms.  It is an era of discovering that your hair looks nicer if you wear it a particular way. That the boy who sits two rows away from you, is _actually_ staring at you as you navigate the dorms to get your meal. It is wishing for the first time that you had swankier clothes to wear even when though you have no clue how to dress up better.  And so you borrow the “know-all” girl’s lipstick and hurriedly wipe way the remnants of the gloss from your lips almost as if the red tinges on your lips speak openly of your longing to grow up overnight.

 

Sometimes you don’t even know when love shares your seat on a journey. You think the seat next to you is vacant and there is love in all its regalia, wondering if you will acknowledge its presence and yet your eyes are on the destination and you don’t realize that sometimes love gets off several stops earlier, sulking because it is unacknowledged. And then you get to the destination and there is no one waiting for you underneath the crowded bus- shelter and you wonder if this is where you were supposed to get off. And all this while, all this while, love has been ruing the incomplete journey as much as you have. And you both go your ways wondering if the journey was never meant to be which is often an easier thing to accept than the sad truth that you parted with your co-traveller when you didn’t need to.

 

And there you have it, a shimmering ocean, a vacant seat on the journey, the young lad from across the second row staring at you, and the same song playing endlessly on the battered tape deck of the hired bus. You haven’t heard the song in the past and you don’t know that in the future whenever you hear this song, time will skip backwards with a twirl and raise a suppressed murmur of unsaid words in your heart. You listen to the song and the pledge of endless love and you think “endless like till you are grown-ups” and you would be right in a way because being adults in some strange way does include spring cleaning your heart and your memories and your baggage and throwing out a favoured pebble, a dried rose and an old card smelling of glue.

 

You don’t know it then but love doesn’t get easier when you grow up, what gets easier is knowing when to get off at the crowded bus shelter even when there is no one waiting for you. But the thought of endless love is giddy at that age and you smile back at the boy who smiles back at you. And you wonder if this is love, even as you wonder if he has noticed the new shoes and the borrowed sunglasses and the traces of makeup and that you are singing along to the song hoping your words and his meet somewhere mid way.

 

The boy is shy and you are too and you would rather giggle with your best friend about the hapless waiter who messed up your order again. And so you never get around to talking to him much. You stare in awe at the other “couples” who are actually talking and walking along the expanse of the waters and you hum the song to yourself. There is a tiny but defiant storm in your heart, where you have no words to articulate how you feel about everything – the boy, the ocean and the song. Years later, you identify this as the season of the heart getting to know itself but that afternoon by the beach, you realize that life, the real “this can and this will hurt and you can and you will survive this” life is about to happen.

 

Perhaps it is a premonition, a prediction or perhaps you have listened to what the heart has been trying to tell you all along – life doesn’t have a plan, always. That is all you need to know when you are travelling. This is about a meandering memory like I said. This is about a snippet of time, complete in its lack of conclusions. The trip ends, normalcy and high-school resumes and you never see the boy again after year 10.

 

You read his obituary in the local paper, he killed himself a few years to the day you stared at each other across a sand castle. There are no answers and there are no questions and you didn’t even know he didn’t live round the corner anymore. By the time you realized that he had moved away, he really wasn’t around the corner anymore.  

 

This is not about the year like I said.  This is about the age and the time –  the age and the time that you leave behind. When love and life and age terminate their voyage abruptly; a snippet of a song, a flash of the ocean and an old school photo tell you that sometimes the only way to make peace with life’s plans is to travel backward in time, when all else fails. And that is a journey too….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awarded…

Brillante Weblog Award

Ano, the dear lovely Ano Ma, from the golden days of yore on the DSS shoutbox has just awarded me my first blogging award, so to speak. The award is special enough because it comes from dear Ano, someone whose blog presence I greatly admire – but also because Ano is a writer that has always charmed and awed me and made me go “Wow, I would have liked to have written that”. So THANK YOU  dear Ano, Scary Scarlett is very pleased and honoured. Sincerely.

Now, I am supposed to pass the award on (this whole thing about good karma, I tells ya).

 The Brilliante Weblog Award’s is given to sites and blogs that are smart and brilliant both in their content and their design. The purpose of the prize is to promote as many blogs as possible in the blogsphere.

The rules to be followed are:

1. When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link back to them.

2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in content or design.

3. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing them that they have been awarded with the ‘Brilliant Weblog’ award.

4. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize to (optional) .

And I pass this award on to:

1. Asuph – Because I admire his passion for creating good literature, because I appreciate the critic in him and because he writes brilliant stuff. Because he is so committed to the written word and that is a trait I respect.

2. IW – Because the man may be too modest about his writing but there is no denying that it has an impeccable sense of timing. Because it is not easy to write “Laugh out Aloud” stuff and he does this with easy aplomb every single time. And because he is my dear, dysfunctional brother from the DSS days and us siblings encourage each other.

 3. Aria – Because she is brilliant. Because her poetry leaves me awed. Because I lurk her at the blog silently but rarely have the right words to compliment her vast and flawless poetic musing or short pieces. Because I always come away from her site feeling that I read something awesome.

4. Priya – Because this is what dignified and graceful writing is all about. Because she can make the mess and the flaws and the challenges of life look so easy with her infinite grace and wise attitude. Because her posts touch the heart and because her raw honesty and patient outlook make you sit up and applaud for her.

5. Altoid – Because she makes me smile (yes, Altoid, I lurk and read your posts – commenting aint one of my strengths) with her observations on life. Because I like her honesty and because I like what I read on her blogs. Because there is the minty freshness with all her posts that I adore.

6. Enig – Because she weaves images with her words. Because she says so much between the lines that I walk away with fresh perspectives. And because she needs to come out of her dormant status now 🙂

I am going to stop the list here (yes, Scarlett can count, hard as that may be to believe) because I would loved to include Ano but that would be like returning a gift and Scary has wonderful manners as all those who know her, will vouch. The Ano Ma has taught the twins well. So I will stop at 6 and thank Ano once again…

 All those that have been awarded (yes, thank me first people, tis the right thing to do) please do pass on the award. I would love to read your nominations.

 -A very delighted Scarlett