I live in a secluded place that is all for myself away from the nasty kids that ruin my peace. I’m turning seventy this Winter. Having a dear dog of some woofy breed that takes good care of me, you see, I’m blind and hence the dog, but I hate them too. The place I live is across a busy road yet in a secluded place, I barely hear, you know and people at the church exclaim when I tell life as the only hell on earth. Home is where I would find peace and I was barely at peace.
“Oh Granma Peas, you need to be grateful for you have a life and the sun is shining his warm rays on you. The sun wakes up for you. Pray and he will be there, the Lord”
Well, I barely heard her after that, I meddled with my hearing aid, that sister in the church is way too chirpy. She believes in nonsense. The sun rises for the earth rotates not for me. I’m no love of the fine hues! I love a pastry or two though. And I live alone in my house, not home, with no one to bake around albeit the lady two-blocks away always comes home with some holy water and some poorly baked pie.
The pie tastes like rotten cake or perhaps my taste buds are dying, either way, I would still like a cup of hot coffee and some nice baked pastry with fresh cream. Oh, my younger days were full of them.
“Granma peas, can we borrow your fake teeth, we are playing you today” The little kid screamed outside of her tiny accommodation, merely the house that people live in.
“Ward off, you little mice, stay away from my place and my teeth, they are real”
They wouldn’t listen, they pester me everyday, on my way to the church and back from it, on my way to my deep slumber and the unwanted screams from the little boys. Everything was bad, way far bad than I had imagined. I like my dog though, he stinks but I still like him. I don’t feel lonely. It would have been better if my dog could speak instead of bark or rather if I could understand his barks.
This night, I take off my hearing aid, and stagger my way to my bed, for eternity, make me sleep is what I ask of the Lord above. I had to get home, away from all the uncertainties here. I wonder if he would hear me. I slept with a heart to let go of this crumpled body and slowly I drifted to sleep.
It was morning again and I was still alive, the lord doesn’t want me home. I put on my hearing aid and instantly hear the doorbell. I find my dog whose name is dog to help me to the door.
“hello Grandma, I found this place to be only accommodated by you, I go to the college 5 miles from here and so I wanted a place to stay. I can pay rent, just a few dollars if you could negotiate” the young girl was a pleasant surprise, she was full of energy and common sense, so like me.
“Can you bake pastries?” I ask her with a smile.
“Well, I can buy you one and I’ll learn if you could teach me that” She giggles and opened a packet that was stuffed with pastries. She loved them.
“Yes, you can stay, few dollars you say, how much ever you can save from your pocket money girl!” I tried to reach her and feel her face.
I could feel her smile and she held me in a bear hug.
I was finally home.
Home was the place where I was loved and where I belonged.I am finally home.
The winds blew past me, whispering a tone of forlorn. Across the nations I walk, bereft of the reason to set things right, everything is bureaucratic and everyone is watching over me or so I feel. On my next flight back to India, I wait for my daughter to return from the ballerina classes she is attending, she might love our way back. After-all London, Manhattan and Jeju islands threw in a lot of perspective to what I have lost.
I miss my country, yes everybody told me to go abroad and settle down but what is the happiness with people so busy enough to never spare a smile, I spoke to the pigeons often, there are lot of them here, the sky is brighter and clearer, the clouds are cottony fluffy just as in the paintings. They are all beautiful yet I find my hometown more nearer to my heart. Stella disagrees with me albeit she hasn’t yet been to India, ever.
“Mom, Let’s not go back” Stella sounds hysterical from other end of the telephone.
“Stella,dear, It’s just for a month or two, it’s your vacation here and I really need to go back to the place I belong to” I try to reason out with her.
“Ok mom, you go then, I’ll stay back at my friend’s place.” Her voice has a tint of hidden excitement.
“And which is this friend that you are talking about?”
“Stop being so judgmental and Indian, Mom! and I don’t think so I would want you to know every single thing I do” Her tantrum isn’t new to me.
“Stella, that is not how you speak to your mother.” My voice quivers and I’m at the verge of crying.
And that was the sound of disconnected line, the tears in my eyes were the symbol of disconnected hearts.
In my country, there is respect that is given to all relationships, there is an emotion of being Grateful for the relationships that guide us and there are emotions of queer happiness at somebody’s success and an emotion of care, concern and pride to be amidst our people.
I’m not grateful for much today, I deliberately miss my flight, I get an awkward stare from my daughter when I reached her classes to pick her up, she was going to a party upstate, She swore never to speak to me again when I stopped her. We drive back home with acute silence and a heavy heart for not making it home. My mother would be upset.
But on the brighter side, our car broke down and I spent the next two hours looking for a ways to repair that disaster and it rained today, it’s wasn’t eh season yet I got to spend time with Stella, we licked ice-creams taking cover from our overcoats, had a long walk in the rain. I shared my teen years while she slowly opened up about her friends and her career choice of becoming a lecturer like me. I felt proud. I spoke to her about my hometown and how we chased squirrels and butterflies and the fact that the town is the same even after all these years.
She made an effort to speak genuinely with my mother and I genuinely accepted her friends whom I don’t approve of.
So, was today beautiful, ugly, heart-broken, crashed, understanding? Yes, they were all, today is feeling grateful for the mother-daughter bond that was barely intact.
Oh and I booked a ticket to India for three weeks and my daughter, not so excited but still willing to share my happiness. So I’m grateful for today, for the moments for the bad circumstances that sets everything right:)