Monday, 30 June 2008

A Monsoon Dream...

When I was younger, I always found the monsoons to be a time when magic happened.
Sure, it rains torrentially for three months in a row, but the serenity and peace that comes with the rains, is something that I find unmatched even to this very day. Maybe it was the earthy smells -- the wet mud, fresh greens... wet everything. Maybe it was the scenery... the lush greens, reds, browns... everything as nature intended it to be. I remember sitting on the spiral staircase near our flat and just staring out into the world thinking, "This is where I come from ... this is who I am."

I have one distinct memory about the rainy season in Goa. My mum was driving us home from school one day, and it was raining uncontrollably. After we got home and she parked the bike, she went upstairs to get started on dinner. Instead of following her to our flat, I ran up to the terrace, in the rains, in my khaki school uniform and just stood there. Without my raincoat, without my shoes. I felt the water pour down on me, as I stood there, 6 storeys high. The water gushed over me like someone was pouring down buckets from the heavens. It soaked my clothes, making them cling to me... heavy. I still remember how my feet felt on the concrete. The water wasn't cold... but it wasn't warm either. I remember standing there and just breathing. I was 10. I was alive. I was one with the earth.

These days, I long for those feelings of being grounded. I long for days when I was forced to stay home on lazy afternoons and really appreciate life and beauty. Spring in Toronto cannot match the beauty of Goan monsoons. I remember literally going to bed one night and waking up the next morning to full blooms in the garden... dancing in the rain.

It's raining in Goa right now. I know this because I have the weather tuned to Toronto and Goa on my computer. Perhaps if I can make an even blend of the two temperatures, I can articulate how I feel at this very moment.

I still can't. I've been at a loss for words for about a week now. There's so much that I want to say and yet, I can't bring myself to do it.

Everyone can use some magic in their lives these days, you know?


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

A fish out of water

For the first time in a very long time... I'm struggling for words.

It's strange how certain events in my life can make me lose focus of what really matters. For years I have been dedicated to my studies, career, family and friends... trying never to miss a step along the way.

It's been an odd path, but it's also been worth it. Because here I am... on the brink of a field I have waited my entire life to be part of.

I can't undo the mistakes I've made... and as most of you know, there have been a handful. But I can learn from them... and I am...
It's strange, processing these emotions. Some go through so easily and others just don't make sense -- creeping in on you when you least expect it.

I made a decison today.

I should have made this decision a long time ago, but as the war between my head, heart and physical state move into phase 4... it's gotten a lot harder. But this time, I'm sticking to it.

The thing about being a writer (not a journalist...just a writer) is that it's hard to seperate emotions from words. Especially when the words are drawn from emotions.

But I'm working on it. I really am.


Thursday, 19 June 2008

Serendipity or a Cruel Joke?

A fortunate accident...

... Do any of you believe in it?

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason, in specific times and places in our lives? Or is it a result of something we've created on our own - situations and circumstances that we consciously place ourselves in?

Or do you think these incidents come as a result of something we have no control or power over? That they just sort of... happen - and in the aftermath, we are left changed, thinking about what transpired?

My mum told me to pray for love the other day... and cynical me told her that if that actually worked, then there would be no divorces and that everyone in the world would be with the person they were meant to be with, because EVERYONE prays for love.

Sooo... I guess I'm a bit jaded...

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

One of those afternoons...

Sometimes I wonder if absence does in fact make the heart grow fonder. I thought about this recently, after my visit to Goa. I'm not a fan of feeling so nostalgic, but I guess sometimes it can't be helped. I came back refreshed from the trip, but now all I can think about is finding a balance between my two worlds once again.

When I moved to Toronto, I always realized how much I missed my family and life when I was a child. However, it wasn’t until I came back for a visit, that I fully became aware of how much I longed to be back there.

When I left Goa for the second time this past May, I was taken back to my 10-year-old self. I don’t recall another day when I cried as much as I did then. I wasn’t sure where I was going or what was in store for me. It was exciting in a sense, but I also felt as though I was heading into uncertainty. All I knew was that I had packed everything that I “held near and dear” to me, in one little red suitcase. That was it. 10 years of my childhood in the smallest suitcase in the bunch.

After being back here for a month, I started to play around with thoughts of absence. What do I miss from my trip? What do I want to go back to? What did I want to bring with me? What did I leave behind?

I realize that whatever material things I left behind in Goa will continue to stay in the place I left them. Just like the pair of shorts I found from when I was eight, left sitting in my mother’s cupboard.

The cups and saucers will be as I left them – sitting in a rack by the kitchen sink. The books will be by my bed – as I left them in May 2008.

But what about the people? Will those who I hold so close to my heart be as I left them? Probably not. My family and friends have changed a lot over the past decade or so. People have died, and there have been many young additions. Loved ones have moved away while others have gone back to Goa in search of something they thought was missing in their lives.

I understand that change comes as a result of time. Still, there’s a part of me that hopes not much will change before my next visit or stay.

I was given a small taste of something that means the world to me. But for now, reality shows that that is all it can be ... a taste.

I wonder... if I play around with destiny and go with the flow, will my reality eventually be what I’d like it to be?

Perhaps in this case, only time will tell.


Saturday, 14 June 2008

An Open Letter to My Girlfriends

Over the past few months, I have come to realize and truly value the relationships I have formed with my various girlfriends. I've gotten to a point in my life where I feel that the friendships which stemmed from different moments in my life, may be a reflection of who I am at this moment.
So I figured, in the spirit of all these emotions, that I better dedicate a good ol' blog post to the women who matter the most to me, in this crazy, unstable world!

Let me start off with my gals in Europe. Ladies, I know you're reading this because you're two of the only people who ever comment on everything that I write here. I hope you're having an amazing time, because I know how hard you two worked to achieve this well deserved break. I hope you come home with an arsenal of stories, photos, mementos and 2 amazing tans! I'll be measuring you up to my own skin. Thank you for finding me, no matter where you are in the world. I don't think you realize how much I appreciate you taking the time out of your itinerary to read my work. I love you and I hope you're staying safe. The thought of my posts reaching Italy, Croatia or Greece mean the world to me... literally!

I know that this trip will add to the wonderful women you already are. It will set you on the bigger canvas, making you into global citizens. Few people have that privilege, and I know it will do wonders to who you already are... I will be living vicariously through both of you... if only for now!

To the ones at home... well, you know who you are. You are the women who have steadied me when I couldn't find my legs... the ones who were my mouth-pieces when I couldn't speak and the ones who listened, when I was full of words and words and words and words.... (and repeat!)

I've come to value you in a way unlike ever before. I realize that a handful of girlfriends who know the way you function can be more deadly and lethal to troublemakers.... than pepper-spray, high heeled shoes, or even a big bad bouncer.

You are the ones who aren't afraid to point out reality when I get lost in the clouds.... and you're the ones who encourage me to dream, when I become weighed down with life.

I want you all to know how much I love you. Every word, every hug, every smile... everything!


Tuesday, 10 June 2008


Almost a month after my visit to Goa, I am left feeling as though I'm standing with a foot on either side of the world.

My visit to Goa was long overdue, to say the least. Although the trip to Goa itself was quite uneventful, (aside from the minor customs mishap, the nine-hour transit in Mumbai, the sketchy porters from the international airport to the domestic airport, and the questionable food on the domestic flight) the three-week experience is something I could write an entire novel on.

As our pilot announced our arrival into India over the intercom, I couldn't help but think of one of my favourite lines from Elizabeth Gilbert's book, Eat, Pray, Love... "People always arrive and leave India under the cloak of night."

It wasn't until the end of my trip that I realized how true that statement was. our transcontinental flight arrived in India around 8 p.m., touching down in Mumbai at 9:30 p.m. It wasn't until 6:30 a.m. the following morning that we were able to catch our connecting flight to Goa.

Now you have to understand, Goa is a 45 minute plane ride from Mumbai. So the idea of staying over at an airport for over six hours for a 45 minute plane ride is something a lot of people won't even hear of. However, short of going to a hotel for 3 hours, this was our only option. Goa only has flights from 6:30 a.m to about 8 p.m.

We arrived in Goa at about 7 a.m the next day, to no fuss at all. Although I should mention that I had left Toronto in a jean jacket, scarf and jeans... all of which came off by the time I found my suitcases in Mumbai... In a speed unknown to me, I fished out a pair of shorts and a thin t-shirt, that I subconsciously packed. Something told me this was going to happen. It was close to 40 degrees overnight when we landed.

At the Goa airport, we walked from our 50-seater flight to the terminal that overlooked the belt, which carried our luggage.

While I stood at the belt, waiting for what seemed like eternity, I glanced to the waiting area and passenger pick-up area, to see if any of my family had come.

With one look, I saw the only person that mattered at that moment. My aunt. The lady who was the source of all things wisdom and beauty to me. It was at that point I realized, that the exhausting 48-hour journey meant nothing at all, because it had led up to this single moment.

My aunt... 72, strong, beautiful and poised stood at the doorway to the airport all by herself - despite sickness and age, because she wanted to see my mother and me.

I can't even begin to describe the emotions that passed through me in those few moments. I took it all in... her frailty, her shinning eyes, my mother's sadness/joy, my aching back... everything.

Aunt was holding flowers that looked like they were clearly plucked from a garden.

"These are for you," she said. "St. Anthony's flowers - the smell of Goa."

My aunt later explained that she was looking for something significant to give me, when she first saw me after over a decade. Then, being true to herself, she realized that the best way to touch on anyone's emotions was to play with the senses.

I remembered the first time I inhaled the heady scent of these simple white flowers (I was 4)... I remembered the feasts where we adorned the altars with these flowers (every year)... I remembered the garden in my grandmother's house where there was one bush of St. Anthony's flowers, strategically placed in the centre...

And it was in that moment that I realized... I had actually come home.
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