Saturday, September 2, 2017

All for one, one for all

The image of the three of you.

Standing barefoot on Candolim beach; clouds gathering over the horizon. The sky a stormy shade of grey. The breeze in your hair. The ecstasy in your hearts. The silent bonds of love all around and within. The sea swelling and roaring in its full glory.

The image of the three of you.

Sprawled on one of the beds of B-204. Shoving and pushing and making and giving way. In order to accommodate four adults in a space meant for two.

The image of the three of you.

Poring over a sheet of paper. Blank as a bare wall. Motifs and messages shaping up in all eyes, waiting to be drawn. Glitters, water colors, paint brushes, round chips of mirrors, ribbon, balloons, bustings reading HAPPY BIRTHDAY – all Itsy Bitsy branded – strewn over the place. Like a riot of colours. And then, the perfect idea strikes. Thoughts start taking shape on paper. In cards that will become most cherished possessions of life. Achingly beautiful patterns. Soulful messages.

The image of the three of you.

Sitting around the dining table. Laughing hysterically over yet another banal matter. Comments and wise-cracks adding pitch and length to the laughter. Like camphor to fire. The droning fan, the puffed red heart over the kitchen wall, the teddy-family on the TV table, the small hearts in the living room, and the wood of the very table itself: all standing witness to days & months & years of pure bakar. Of friendships that start off without a purpose, and turn into, a purpose itself.

The image of the three of you.

Under the forceful jet of Munnar waterfall; gasping for breath. Holding on to each other like children to mothers. Of dancing away to glory in cool Bangalore nights. Of sharing food and all things good, each person faking being-too-sated, to let another have more. Of gentle touches and soft kisses packed with most potent medicinal properties. Of antaakshri in sleeper buses. Of meditation. Of chores. Of feigned annoyance. Of endless teasing. Of innumerable memories, moments & conversations – all enshrined within the deepest recesses of the heart. Locked safe. Keys thrown away to the winds.

Of Baby – my Queen. Her child like honesty. Her unveiled swagger. Her ability to conclude with a finality even pope wouldn’t dare question. Her staggering intelligence. Her sheer honesty. Her apolitical viewpoint. Her bargaining style of ‘don’t-say-no-to-someone-as-cute-as-me’ suddenly transform into ‘do-the-hell-as-I-say.’ Her cunning at cards. Her forceful charity. Her confident lies and even more confident confessions. Basically, her confidence. Her undisguised affection (or the lack of it). Her eloquent eyes. Her sexy goddess body. Her being born to rule. Her call of ‘Sonal didiiiiiiiiiii’…pure music to my ears.

Of Telugu Auntie – my gorgeous. Her heightened olfactory powers. Her accented English. Her calibrated Hindi. Her lady-like grace in public. Her child-like insanity in private. Her waterfall like layered laughter. Her winking as she does that. Her deep sense of purpose. The weight of her personality.  Her irresistible tresses. Her dreams and her power. Her unquestioned professionalism. Her self-enamored throws at the mirror. Her simple heart, coupled with a logical mind, making her vulnerable and terrific at the same time. Her poise and self-esteem. Her being vehemently strong.

Of Nani-dadi. My sanskari babe. Her need to organize. Her selfless giving. Her absorbing attitude. Her endless ability to assimilate. Her relapses into tradition. Her being ‘traditional with a modern outlook’. Her hung-up habits. Her powerless protests. Her unfathomable contradictions. Her boundless energy. Her frugal living. Her maniacal sense of responsibility. Her talent for small talk. Her monumental simplicity. Her enormous world-view.  Her prompt helpfulness. Her self-effacing humor. Her lateral, naughty mind.

The image of the three of you. Of each one of you. These million montages…they’ve segued into  the fabric of my life. I have invested myself in you, without knowing, or trying to. Standing transformed beyond imagination. From a self-sufficient person, to one in need of counsel and care. From being happily-fiercely alone, to being from you. From seeing myself from my eyes, to seeing myself as you would want to. From being completely independent, to luxuriating in the joy of surrender.

The image of the three of you pulls together parts vital to me, hitherto scattered, forgotten, or ignored; and makes me whole again.