Joys and Blessings

A friend of mine was asking me to confirm over email that my phone number she had was the one I was still using. Replying something to the effect of “yes, indeed”, I was glad yet curious both for the same reason: I had heard from an old friend after lUntitledong! As us dreamers often do, I immediately took off on a jolly ride down the memory lane. She and I had met on the day we were both leaving the firm we worked for and had decided to keep in touch (which we effortlessly did). The years that followed were laced with conversations and more of them over cups of coffee (tea, once, and a memorable painting party). Braving the peak hour traffic, we would always land up finding a comfortable little place to catch up on the happenings and the non-happenings in our lives. Even after four hours, we would be far from being “done” conversing. And between our meets were our continuous one-liner email exchanges (sheer convenience over everything else!) that would often brighten an otherwise dull day.

Suddenly, life took a turn for the two of us, taking us to two different cities. Once I moved, we managed to overcome the time difference and keep in touch. But gradually, the rigors of adjusting to new cities and the changes in our lives took a toll, leaving us deprived of each other’s company. This continued until I saw an email from her one Saturday morning. I was hoping she was fine and had connected with me to share some happy news. It was only the following morning that I awoke to learn that she had been offered a job in this part of the world and after all of two years, we would finally be only 8 hours apart! Now here’s where I believe that I am blessed. Not the always-manage-to-stick-to-the-timetable kind of blessed, but the meeting-an-old friend-in-a-new country kind. After all, what is a glimmer of familiarity amid a sea of changes if not a blessing (and a joy!)?

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Glimpses of Home

A sense of belonging is beginning to appear on the horizon, a feeling that has eluded me for almost a year now. The newness of this place refused to wane for much too long, leaving me in a bittersweet spot. I have been up and about town in the metaphorical gypsy garb, thoroughly savoring the sights and sounds that are local to this land. Yet, if you cared enough to take a closer look, you could spot a glimmer of yearning even in the brightest and  the earnest of my smiles. Yearning for a place called home. Or merely a sense of belonging.

Being less a go-getter and more a “let’s-see-er”, I have done little to quell this longing. This was partly because chasing the evasive feeling meant that I turn cold towards the alluring beauty of where I was. And the place is too beautiful for me to afford ignoring it. It was also because my hopeful heart vainly believed that time alone would bring the sense of belonging to my doorstep. And so I watched the seasons change. Cherry blossoms lent their pink hues to spring and summer wrapped the little city (village, actually) in its warmth. Fall opened a mesmerizing palette of colors, painting a breathtaking, awe-inspiring picture. Underneath the cold, barren robe of winter was a beauty you would have to see to believe.

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I reveled every moment of every season but my much-awaited “guest” was no where in sight. Life went on until one day…

On a certain Thursday, life in our little town (village, really) was interrupted by some unexpected water-supply related issues. I grabbed the opportunity and decided to visit a tad bigger neighboring town. Armed with a plan, I dragged my reluctant hubby to a much-talked-about arty coffee shop there. That place took me back home in Mumbai, where I frequented several coffee shops, one of which was just as arty. I felt less of a tourist for probably the first time since April 2016. But more importantly, it suddenly dawned upon me that pieces of what I define as home may just be around, waiting to be discovered by many a home-sick soul. As I entered my house that evening, both tired and elated at the end of a fruitful excursion, I heard the pressure cooker whistle from the apartment above mine. Home is not very far I thought.