Last year on Christmas Eve, we were at J’s house, and that was the first time we heard the news that S would probably get married. There was the French-Loaf-cake and the candles that wouldn’t stop burning. Now, a year later, S is married but is in Kolkata, I am in the capital thinking of amazing ways to avoid getting stuck with an ostentatious Bengali family on a picnic where little that matters and little that will make sense will be discussed. What would I like to do? Of course be in my city, with both of them, have a rocking time roaming around somewhere, quiet fun lunch, loads of coffee and gossip. But that’s not happening. A career is what should be happening. But even over that a big question mark looms. Sigh.
Having spent almost a month in this amazing city, I don’t know what I feel. The opportunities here are unmistakable. There is the promise of a career, independence, warm people (some at least!) but at the end of the day it’s not home. But then without a career, even home ceases to be home. It becomes a cauldron of unfulfilled expectations and frustrated aspirations. One just has to move out and suffer, or stay and suffer. Since if you stay you’ll have more leisure, the suffering is more acute and prolonged. But when you are here, submerged in a million worries--- job,house,rent,food,safety---it is easy to forget the pain. During the day of course. At night it’s a different story. The pillows hear the saddest thoughts. Faces of parents, worries, and the pangs of separation. Separation from parents who nagged, from the room inhabited for years, separation from friends, from the streets, sights, sounds and smells that meant ‘home’.
Anyway, Christmas was spent rather happily. Thirty minutes of standing in the balcony and staring at trees, a park and a lethargic security guard, talking with friends who were having their own adventure in Park Street (read lost phones, police stations etc), huge mug of coffee, bread eggs, a book, and a blanket. Who needs Santa!