April 26, 2004

coming soon! a new beginning…

“why aren’t you writing anymore?”
what do i write about?
“why? is everything over?”

you can never hide anything from your own mother.

i tried to change the conversation (we were on yahoo chat). i tried laughing it off, told her about how the gobi parathas and channa-palak dal i’d made for lunch had turned out surprisingly yummy. but no matter what i said, amma came back to that dreaded question again: “are you very upset because of your backache?”

my three-month vacation in india will remain one trip i will never forget. li’l big sister‘s wedding, of course, reserves its place as the best part of all the 87 days. there were new babies in almost every home we visited. and then there were a few deaths too. amid all this rush across all the southern states of india, one ayurvedic treatment for my 11-year-old backpain went terribly wrong; another — which seemed to be going correct — never got to be complete. thankfully, at least praveen‘s sciatica was treated and cured, mostly.

it’s a month now since we returned. i lost my freelance job at the children’s publication to some full-time employee. the easter holiday came as a blessing though — praveen took me to north wales, a much-deserved and awaited four-day holiday on the lush green hills was just what i needed.
but i still didn’t feel like writing.

i guess i’m just tired sometimes, of these knives in my back. it makes me angry, helpless, and terribly terribly lonely. for no specific reason it makes me yell at praveen, who is so understanding, he just smiles and lets me be. thanks to him i still am holding on to my wits (i think), and most times i’m trying to be cheerful, thinking up new hobbies or recipes to keep me entertained. i was always so proud of the fact that in the past decade, i have tried my best to hide the pain. friends often would scold; they called me foolish, sometimes too stubborn, when i went to the extremes of a long-distance state-transport bus ride to hyderabad, or a strenuous trek to harishchandragadh. my argument? what if i am never able to visit places again? even while i was at school. i once spent an entire week trying all sorts of non-vegetarian food…just because i didn’t want to die one day with the thought that i hadn’t tasted chicken yet! (i’m an eggitarian, otherwise.)

i don’t like regrets. and this perhaps, will be the testing time for my attitude.

steadily for over a month now, my pain has been draining the patience out of me. it does not allow me to sit for long periods, nor can i walk a certain distance without significant discomfort. what is worse than the pain though, are the questions i have to deal with. questions in my head, or from loving friends or family. last week, a friend informed praveen about how i can get the nhs to pay me a weekly allowance — because my discomfort was affecting my everyday life, because the doctors could not find a cure, or the reason behind it.

not yet, i said politely. but i couldn’t sleep all night. was all the fight in vain then? even if i do apply for this allowance, would it mean the doctors never have to try anymore? would i then lose my right to hope?

well…coming back to the conversation with my mother, i just don’t know how she always manages to catch those tears i try so hard not to show or shed, even with me here in london, and she in mumbai. this time though, she spared me any further probing. in the little chat-window on my monitor, she slowly keyed in a simple old story.

…of a man who was shipwrecked and left alone on a huge island. of how he cried for help and none came. of how then, he looked around himself…collected bits and pieces of what he saw and built a house for himself. of how he began living in it and one day, it too caught fire. of how he was so devastated and then, how help came in the form of an helicopter — wanting to find out where all the smoke was coming from.

the story made me want to look inside and think. there must be a reason why i should not give up! (thanks momsidoo :-x)

suddenly, i am beginning to find so many notes i need to make, so much to do (stitch my quilt, complete my half-painted oil collage, get back to writing class, get a job, swim, read, learn to drive…). and then there are so many everyday things i enjoy and still need to share online! the pictures i take, the people i come across, the places i visit, the food i cook, the books i read…

why! there is SO much to talk about… it looks like i just might need a brand new journal!