It's one of those days that reminds me of the onset of the rains back home. You know how the day feels, it's dusk through the day and yet hot. It tends to be cool here when the day is like that but it was hot. And I don't mean warm, I mean the heavy hotness, it's palpable, rising up from the concrete below you and on every side, from the people, from the frenetic pace, the impatient people in line at the Starbucks playing recycled music of the flavor of the month.
The air is thick with wetness, the kind of air that you don't breathe, the kind that seems thick across your teeth and you bite through it with every stem.
The wetness settles on your upper lip, not the sweat from working out but from the outside, the air leaving a bit more with each step.
I am reading the Reluctant Fundamentalist which does echo what I feel. But it does it eloquently, simply and in the way I like most -- a conversation. It's a single voice that doesn't waver, a story that doesn't require passive description, a voice that reads to you when you were a kid.
It had a line that described not a childhood poverty, but a poverty like longing. I remember sitting in the front of a Maruti Esteem when I was 13, a rare treat. I remember telling my father how much leg room there was in front, trying to speak over the Kenwood music system, but not loud enough for the driver to think that I was unused to it. I don't think he acknowledged what I said but when I said it a third time, he laughed and said that there was indeed a lot of leg room, in a way that made me feel he got my sense of longing which honestly, wasn't there.
I remember some of them laughing about the fact that I wore a t-shirt that was out of style
"Hey! The 80's wants its clothes back"
Of course, these were hand-me-downs from my first set of cousins, there being 7 ahead of me so they had seen a fair share of wear.
I remember being 12 or 13, trying to sleep in the balcony because the power had gone and I had to be up at 5:30am for school, being unable to sleep thanks to the heat, the mosquitoes but the loudest being the sound of the generators everyone else seemed to have.
I remember making friends with the truck driver who made deliveries at 4pm on Wednesday to the store. Then the older stuff gets pulled forward, the new stuff has to be put behind. Then count the total number of each item and keep tally. Then flatten the boxes and walk 20 minutes back and forth to throw them in the recycle bin. Or I remember serving the drunk kids on a Saturday night, praying no one spilled anything because that meant cleaning up after the store shut and getting out at 1am, instead of 12:30pm, waking up at 8:45am the next day to open the store again, carrying my books, hoping everyone would be too hung over to stop me from studying.
True, other kids worked there as well, but I am myopic and that's that.
But yes, I did try and work 20 hours a week so I had more money to spend when I went out.
And yes, I do remember waiting every Wednesday to get my weekly test results all through school to buy a new book or cassette.
So why should one assume that that feeling should have left me now? It manifests as drive which is a polite way of saying hungry.
And it's still there. I don't know why it carries on but it's there. I get more tired days when I do monkey work than today where I was busy but doing something concrete and having something I can sign off as my own.
Any how, the book describes the Upper East Side. While the people with their tiny dogs no longer seem unfamiliar or foreign, they are part of the wood work. And a fast moving piece of scenery it is.
Yes, I recognize this as part nostalgia, part the book, part romanticism but I know I look forward to going home. Apart from the promise of what I hope can be a beautiful relationship, I also want something more real than this City.
Oh and I am crazy about this girl which is the reason why I haven't written in so long. I guess the angst is gone (to her dismay I would suspect). But there is a whole set of new things to know and learn. It isn't just getting used to a new person, but unlearning what you knew. The Ex hates it when I make fun of her, this One uses every opportunity to get my goat (wonder where that expression came from); the Ex had a sense of needing me, this One understands my need for space, makes me laugh, talks to me, and just *is* with me.
Oh dear, I am being vague.
She makes me laugh. I can see her tower over (in a good way, in the independent sense with feet firmly planted) and yet be a girl. I find her sexy, cute, charming, blunt, confident, girlish. Someone interesting.
Now, do I wax eloquent about her and give her a little buzz?
I have fun with her, love her laugh, her pleasure in being a bit *ghat* at times, at how comfortable I feel when she is around me. And I love her.
Okay fine, I *am* smiling and here, here's a garbage can if you want to puke at this uncharacteristic outburst of mush. And if you do hurl, don't tell me.
Ach, I am writing for an audience. No no, coming back to point, there are things that I have carried forth from the last time -- the fear of the other person bolting, the fear the other person thinking and coming to a decision and informing me, the fear of being misunderstood, the demanding need to be the one with the answers. But yes, it has taken time and a few arguments for me cut through and just be. And I am happy