Friday, June 01, 2007

Adieu pals

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.
~Henry David Thoreau, Poet and Philosopher 1817-1862

I abhor saying Good Byes. It breaks my heart. I hate to tear myself away from the smells I love, the joyful volumes of familiarity I snort, the crisp buzz of good pals. But there are times in life when you have to. It goes on like a golden brocard. Everyone chooses a way.
And even though we find our own place in the world, we all know that when the tears fall or the smile spreads across our face, we'll come to each other because no matter where this crazy world takes us, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we're not all still chums.

I am taking a sabbatical. For a little over one week. I am off to Kashmir – the overrated little dell. Though the place is beautiful, I don’t quite relate to the chicanery about its natives. At least, most of them. At another level I know I can’t unbelong to the place. It is home. It is close to nature. Waking up to the fragrance of a million Hyacinths in bloom is -- any day -- a better idea than opening your eyes to a hot-as-an-oven day in Delhi. And looking out at the woody-stemmed, twining leaflets of the scented violet flowers called Wisteria is like watering your sapped-out soul. Hauntingly calming too. After an exacting journalistic rigour, I reckon it comes as a welcome interlude.

It is also time for the local farmers to sow their rice. Every time I watch them, I find it breathtaking -- neat rows of assiduous men and women, hunched back, strewing little rice plants. They sing songs of love, joy and bounty together. Trousers tucked. Aloud. Hip to hip. Religion can squat at home, or hinge upon mosque knobs. When it comes to survival, co-existence often takes precedence. Little pleasing things continually fascinate me back home. Like the blue-necked cuckoos that just don’t stop purling. Vincent van Gogh once said, Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.

Still I felt a deep lump in the throat as I packed my bags this evening. I don’t know why we feel attached to -- Situations. Things. Events. Cavort. Laughter. Intimacy. Gazes. Rides. Friends. My head is slightly reeling. That may be a joint I took tiny drags of. The smoke often makes funny, irregular shapes, which make no sense. One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever comes to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on the way. Vincent would agree, I know.

I shall see you soon, mates.


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