It's always nice to remember where you came from, even if you're not sure where you're going.
My lovely aunt sent me the sweetest e-mail greeting today. I mentioned her in a post I wrote after visiting India in 2008. She's in her mid-70's and still managed to find the perfect e-greeting for this random Saturday message. Her tech-savvy-ness is beyond impressive!
There was no purpose or special occasion for the greeting. She just wanted to say that she was thinking of me, and that she was proud of me. I was pretty taken aback, as I wasn't expecting to hear from her until my birthday. Her words were like sweet poetry -- something that I've always known comes very naturally to her. My aunt knows just what to say and when. I love listening to her and reading her letters.
In a few short sentences she reminded me of all that I've overcome in life, and of all that she hopes for my future. As I lay on my bed while the rain hit the pavement outside, I couldn't help but feel absolutely guilty. I think about her often and I miss her a lot. I'm not sure why I haven't stayed in touch. It's not like I don't have the time. I guess I just wasn't thinking. As soon as I'm done this post I will be writing to her. But before that, I should mention one thing that came up in the message.
"When will the experiences of your Goa trip materialize?" she asked.
I wasn't sure what she meant when I read the question at first. But after spending the afternoon thinking about it, I remembered something. During my short visit with her, she was keen on me writing a series of articles about a pressing issue in Goa at the moment -- a beautiful post-colonial state that's being exploited by tourists with a lot of money, and a government that's more keen on pleasing them, rather than preserving the rich culture and heritage that makes Goa so unique from the rest of India.
I never did end up writing those articles. But now I feel the need to do.... something.
I've been keeping updated on the changes, however I'm no longer a citizen of India. I haven't been for a very long time. Still, as you know, fragments of my heart are floating along the Arabian coast and memories of Goa cease to disappear with time. Though I'm not physically present, my roots extend from that small, coastal state. I'll always be tied to it, regardless of where I end up on this planet. I mean, here I am, in Seoul, Korea, thinking of a country I lived in as child. I only spent three weeks in the state as an adult, but I remember the distinct changes in the landscape, the priorities and most of all, in the environment.
My aunt is an active member in the community. Despite age and dwindling health, she still finds the strength to wake up each morning and trudge to the capital city and work for the causes she believes in. A critical one that she's involved in is empowering women in local villages to educate themselves and stand up for their rights. This is a big deal, as a lot of women in rural parts of the state still live with the old mindset that they simply go from being daughters and sisters to wives and mothers. And, should the unfortunate occur and their husbands pass away, they confine themselves to their houses and wait their turn to dive into the great abyss.
She really does amaze me. I'm grateful to her as she's the link to my roots. My aunt reminds me of where I came from -- of my ancestors and history. She sees purpose in my existence and believes that I can enforce change. I'm flattered, but I hope an idea or opportunity surfaces soon.
Looks like it's time to put on my thinking hat.
As Winnie the Pooh says, "Think, think, think..."
Love you, aunty M!
Image courtesy of Google Images