Quite suddenly, life seemed to be vibrating on every blade of grass. As I walked bare feet on the damp earth and looked up at darkening blue skies, unexpected drops of cool blessings dropped down on my parched soul. Sometimes the most ordinary days just turn around and become special.
I was at mum’s place for a week and her relentless chatter drowned out the clamor plaguing my overactive mind. We cooked simple meals; the food satiating and filling me with a strange energy. Mum ate a lot more than she usually does and there was a kind of abandon to the way she ate. I did most of the cooking in exchange for a cup of tea in bed every morning. That, to me, is pure luxury. I will do anything for that one indulgence.
Then there was my little nephew, Ethan, the best mind-declutterer one could ever ask for. His perkiness and charm is unparalleled. We drew masterpieces on old writing pads, he animatedly narrated stories in a language that mum had to translate to me, we giggled for silly reasons, kicked a ball around until I collapsed and in doing all that he reminded me of how unpretentious and beautiful life is. And when he put his head on my shoulder and drifted off to sleep, it felt like there is nothing to complain about, nothing to overcome.
One evening, I arranged an epic meeting of old school friends. Faces I hadn’t seen in 27 years. I had wondered if it would be awkward, but the years just melted away in the hugs and banter that followed. We harked back, laughed at the memories, kidded around. Reshma played host and very graciously put out a generous spread on the table. Savouries, sweets, steaming tea and cool drinks….and as we sat cross-legged around the low table, it was like we were in pig tails and uniforms once again.
My time at mum’s coincided with the festival of lights, Diwali. The houses, the streets, the trees, everything was lit up. As I stepped out for a walk in the park every evening, the glow from those lights used to warm my heart. I craved to hang on to that radiance for as long as possible. There’s a need within me. A need to hold warmth, feel it and spread it to anyone who seeks it. It’s a need that wasn’t there before, but now that is the thing that drives me. I want to replace the darkness with beautiful, gleaming orbs.
All this might sound very dreamy and whimsical. So here’s a little truth. Despite all the best intentions, my mind does slip into gloom and shadows. Out of the blue, a piercing sadness hits me. I stray into dark alleys and lose my way. My body aches and my heart feels heavy. I want to be alone and undisturbed. But then there are days when I’m light as a feather; when I feel like I want to hug everyone, when I smile at strangers on the streets.
It is absolutely fascinating how light and darkness fuses at every point. Even in dismal moments, life sends reminders of hope, like bread crumbs along the way; in tinkling laughter, twinkling lights, the banter of old friends, mum’s loving nurture. All we have to do is follow the trail and meet the light.