“Welcome to the Heat and Dust” said everyone. It’s been 9 long holiday days. 9 days of viewing pleasure, where the cold and the kindness and the good food came to us in drifts. It’s very much like these people with their hands tucked inside their pherans- if you let your vision blur a little it’s like watching a drift of people floating around limbless in their colourful cloak-like pherans- it’s a disturbing, beautiful picture that will stay with me when I close my eyes and try to stave off nightmares. They’ll protect me- these people with their kind brown eyes and rugged sharp features. I have never seen more beautiful faces.
In Kolkata we are greeted by a flood of boiling anger. A fight erupts on our way out from the airport. People are shoving fistfuls of hot words down each other’s neck. They transform into sticky sweat rolling down our spines, stifling our movements, languor is omnipotent– 8 degrees to 45 degrees- Geography is a funny thing.
We met gypsies- moving from one roughly constructed hut to another. Their horses are decorated from head to rump with color. They have huge dogs protecting their sheep. The sheep are marked red on the forehead- a weird mark of betrothal to a commune? Their entourage is of considerable length.A tiny puppy peeps out of a satchel that one of the women carry carelessly. Watching them go by, we are tempted to walk with them. Forget everything and just move forward and onwards, attachments be damned. A simple smile adorns their weather beaten faces- they laugh at civilization and I want to laugh with them too.
I wake up from a dread of deadlines and a nudge from the phone vibrating from the weight of innumerable unanswered mails reminding me of responsibilities that have been so blissfully ignored. How am I even getting these notifications, my sleepy head wonders, I haven’t switched on mobile data yet. I peer at the phantom phone and ah..wifi. Right. Wifi. Damn you. There’s so much to do that the only way to go about it is to pretend nothing of vital significance will be started till much later…and then you creep into the mess with baby steps-the dirty comb is cleaned, the unwashed hair is washed, the plants are watered- and maybe a few hours later, home is home again.
My blog tells me that April has been a blank month. Nothing for you sweet April – Gretchen Wieners be put to shame. But April is humble that way because April knows she’s been a really important month for me. She knows how much I’ve changed through the shedding of her tears- one tear for each day passed- till she must pass and remember to resurface same time, next year, with her basket of memories that I will buy and wear like battle scars that have already been paid for.