Poet On a Motorbike...

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Sunday, 28 February 2010

Journey back into Nostalgia

After a long awaited wait the flight finally lands at the Cochin international airport. A sense of rush and excitement envelops me. I step out of the airport to see my mother after almost two years. I hug her and my brothers. I run over to greet my mates, the happiness is unparallel. My mate politely asks my mom if he could borrow me for an hour. She hesitantly agrees. My mom, she is the best. My mom and brothers retreat to my house, whereas me and my mates journey towards our favorite pub. My mates are thrilled after seeing me after such a long time. We talk into the night about the life I’ve lived, and soon its time to go home and rejoin my mother. Wishing I could talk more, the feeling unexplainable, really did miss my friends.

A new day, I wake up charged. It’s been long since I’ve had a drive in my favorite car. With no plan or agenda I take of in my car, the only aspiration is frontward. It suddenly hits me like a strong wave striking you. The traffic is horrendous, almost like an arcade game. No one waits for another, everyone busy and just moving towards ones destination. I slowly get back my rhythm. I realize that there is no point in driving appropriately; I revert back to my old driving shoes. I decide to visit my school, a place where I’ve spent more than half my life. A sense of nostalgia wipes me away. I slowly get out from the car and walk towards the school. I am greeted by the peon who still remembers me after so many years. I walk along the school corridors cherishing the sweet old memories. Many a pictures clout me as I walk past each classroom.
I realize that the place I’ve been bragging about, my hometown has changed itself so drastically, a place where I’ve vowed to live the rest of my life. Soon I hear myself cursing the place. Or is it me that has changed. The people will be as they’ve always been crude and resisting change. Soon I see myself being estranged from the place where I’ve lived all my life, a place where I learned to speak, walk, live, love.  I return home with mixed emotions, I finally realize why I’ve made this trip…..its a search, for happiness,  friends, family, love, hope, self realization and so many things devoid in my life.

The Gods can dance

The curtains came down, flowers fell from the heavens. With faces full of color and expression galore they set out.  A story was told with pomp and flair.  For the first time in my life I had witnessed a Kathakali( a traditional Indian art/dance form), and I loved it.
The place was Guruvayur(Cochin,India), two days before my departure for UK my parents forced me to join them on a temple visit, which they promised would only bring me good luck. After a tiring drive we had reached the sacred temple.  The function that was set to happen was in my honor.  They say that if you sponsor such an act, the gods will bless one with good luck. So I set upon this journey which I hoped would end soon. After praying to the gods we waited for the auspicious moment.
Out came two men with a curtain, they held it tight so that no would even have a glimpse of what was happening in the background.  Naturally curiosity rose, everyone wants to know what’s behind closed doors.  Tremors of anklets fill the temple; the audience can no longer hold their anxiety.  Two young girls rush to peek behind the curtain. Their innocent faces exemplify wonder and awe.  The sound of the drums fill the arena, each beat reverberating and leaving you pulsated.  Finally the curtain comes down, there are three major characters. One depicting a man, the other a women and finally a bird. As enthralling the show must be I have no idea what the story is about. I am finally put out my misery when my dad explains the plot, that it’s actually a play about Lord Krishnan, Radha and the eagle( Hindu Gods).  Now the story makes a lot more sense. After the early teasers the show gets going, the three are engrossed in their own acts. A show much less than spectacular with the colors, the music, the acting and the awesome dancing. The grace they portray was something I’d never seen especially me being an ardent follower of dance from salsa to bharatanatyam..But this was special.  They moved like they were floating on water. Everyone is hooked on to the play as the show gets moving; soon more characters enter the fray. The villain (The Bird) for example, he tries his best to get the better of Lord Krishna, but to no avail. The expressions they portray leave me awestruck. My favorite is of course the bird, the eagle, the long beak and the wings. As the nights get longer and the more I am pestered by cockroaches that inhabits the temple my restlessness to leave increases.  I raise my head from my mothers shoulder and tell her its time to go. 

The last two weeks have just been amazing, I’ve been thinking if my decision to prolong my stay was to bring good or evil, but this has truly answered it.  I was able to attend my mom and dads 25th wedding anniversary. Truly, a moment to savor. I met my aunt, she is just the sweetest. I remember staying over at her place when I was young, I used to have so much fun and she just cared the world for me. When I met her at my mom and dads anniversary she was well pissed for not calling her after I had landed. But this was only trivial, nothing my hug couldn’t solve. And right then all her anger had melted away. And then I gave my word that I would visit her and she would reciprocate by making my favorite dishes. When I was young I used to call her “bhabha”. This woman loved me so much, that, to this day everyone calls her that, because that’s the way I would call her.  Being the first born in the family sure has a lot of righteousness attached to it that way. One of my main agendas in this trip was to make for time for people that I cared the most. I still remember losing my granddad, all I could think was why I wasn’t with him during his last days and I missed him terribly. I was going to meet my grand mom after 2 years now. This was truly going to be special. I knocked at the door, in her frail voice she asked who it was, I replied by knocking again. Her eyes seemed to deceive her; she couldn’t really make out who it was. Then she smiled, I hugged her. Her eyes filled with tears, but she held it back still portraying the strong woman who she’d always been. We talked, shared moments, memoirs I’d give anything to live through again. Suddenly she apologizes for not treating me, and she runs to grab a few chocolates. With love she watches as I gobble it, her lonely soul is happy.  I bid goodbye, she kisses me with the same love and affection she always had. 
As the days get thinner, the place starts pulling me more towards itself. As promised I take out my best friend’s sister on a drive, we share jokes and the misadventure i.e. life over a beer. And suddenly it feels as if my best friend is sitting beside me, I thanked her and bid adieu to the little angel.  The one moment I’d like to revisit again and again would surely be sharing a beer with the person I love the most in this world, my mom. It all started with a pleasant surprise when she gleefully said yes to my having a beer.  It was only stranger when she asked me to pour her one. I couldn’t hide the happiness that beckoned.  Now I never wanted to leave the place, a place that felt so close to heaven. Had I found what I was searching for?? As the days for departure came close my distress was evident. Normally one of the safest drivers around, I forced me into more than a couple of close calls. Surely my mind was elsewhere.
The night before departure, all my close friends had come to dine at my place, we talk late into the night, the times we shared, the joy the laughter the pain …… I wake up slightly dizzy, predominantly due to the fact that I can’t wake up early, pray for luck and get ready to leave.  My mom gives her blessing and hugs me with eyes full of tears, I try to hold back the pain and force a smile. My heartbreaks when I move away from her embrace and start the journey towards uncertainty. One thing that stays fresh in my mind throughout the journey is my mom’s tears.

People say that the sweetest part always comes near the end. My trip has been something of those sorts. The trip began as an expedition towards life itself. The journey towards self realization, a journey in search of love, hope, faith and life itself. Though I haven't been able to find the answers to all those queries...   the trip in itself has been life changing.... maybe in retrospect ... the trip will grow on me and it will bring more memorable moments to my heart/mind.

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