Sunday, 21 September 2014

Under the Indian sun

Funny how as I sit here writing this, raindrops are racing across my window pane against the darkest sky there could be at midday. Yes, that’s the closest I can get to describing England. The sun comes as a luxury here, and we seemingly can’t afford it. And hence, with other reasons of course, the escape, the getaway to a land where the sun may seem to oblige a little too much - to my homeland India.

Typically, an Indian’s ideal summer would boast of the scenic Swiss Alps, hill station stays and getaways to any destination that offers a promising dip in temperature. But here I was, against all there could be, counting my days down to be there under the aptly put – ‘scorching’ Indian sun. After a first few days of ‘Oh at least it’s better than the British weather’, I cannot deny that the heat gets to you. Yet the last thing I wanted to do was run away from it. I was not getting used to it, I was liking it, the heat with all its might; had become a feeling which suddenly had little to do with the temperature.

Warmth is perhaps what I am talking about. Sheer warmth; that of being at home, revisiting the same old lanes that have seen me grow up playing hopscotch, now as if the faded concrete was apologising for the knee scratches it gave when I was learning how to bike. It was the warmth, of living once again in a strongly fabricated residential society, where it is okay to not only smile at your neighbours but also let them in for some chai. And there is arguably nothing under the sun that is comparable to the warmth of laying in your Grandma’s lap, with her stroking your hair as she effortlessly wipes out all worries there shouldn’t be and constantly urging you to have five more parathas dipped in ghee because that’s the key to a happy life.

I have learnt that solitude is a beautiful thing as long as it is your choice. You don’t have the time to get lonely here, or stare blank out of the window at grey skies praying for it to not thunder anymore (pretty much my daily free-time activity). There is promisingly always something to keep you occupied, be it coordinating when the house help arrives to do the dishes or getting the electrician to fix a fuse that nobody cares about but it should be done because what otherwise are they there for or best, having to attend your Grandma’s friend’s daughter’s son’s ceremony/function because amongst one thousand other guests, it’s your attendance that matters (!). But you get to see people around, from all segments of the society, carrying a frustrated yet mild smile, busily up to something or the other, and ever ready to narrate their own story to you, only if you show you care enough to listen.

And with the invincible feeling of being in the warmth of your loved one/s, while having your crazy ‘Omg street food!’ moments pampered, at any point in time, would you want more? Major part of my time this summer was spent in the beautiful company of people who helped me live a little more. Yes, each one of you. With a bagful of memories of not one but countless nights of sheer crazy moments, breezy drives with music at ear piercing volumes (which I thought only happened in movies), hogging on Maggie at 2 am because that’s a compulsory midnight ritual, dry-state house parties (let’s not go in details), sneaking out to watch late night movie shows (Sorry Mom!) and oh, what didn’t I live.

Some things in life are worth waiting every moment for. They come, touch you and never leave. The feeling these moments give, becomes synonymous to the term ‘home’. So maybe homesickness isn’t about a place, it’s everything but.

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