Monday, August 25, 2014

Sometimes a stranger can bring you back home..or where it is that you want to go...

I met a young, Scandinavian girl today who was asking me for directions to the nearest TJ maxx. I gave her directions and asked her if she was able to follow. She gave me a helpless ‘no’ because she had just gotten to the town the day before. Curious, I asked her if her first day in town was any interesting. She first went to see the big, Hollywood cemetery. I felt embarrassed to admit I had lived here for five years and not been there yet. We gradually slipped into some chit chatting and I learnt she was from Texas where she lived with her boyfriend and was visiting the east coast for a month. She started with Florida and had covered the islands of South Carolina and had gone farther up to the outer banks. And she is halting in Richmond just so she can visit the Montecello and drive down to Williamsburg because there is nothing more in this world that excited her as much as history. Now, these are two places I go to when they have a sale happening on denim or Egyptian cotton. Later, she plans to cover Rhode Island, New York and the little town of Concord in Massachusetts. That was her itinerary. Three weeks of connecting the dots between her favorite places from the east coast. I stood there unable to help the feeling of wanting to be in her shoes, just travelling to the places of my choices, at a time of my choice. A few minutes into the conversation, I must admit I was blown over in utter amazement at the kind of passion she had for life. She was about ten years younger than I was and was choosing places to go to, that she was fascinated by as a child or read about in her favorite stories or simply heard about from other people and once she was done with it – here is the thing that knocked me over my heels – she was gonna go all the way to Dubai to work as a flight crew member in Emirates. I mean – she had a life here in Texas. She had never been to Dubai before. And she knew nothing about servicing or stewarding. This is one of the things about human stories. You can never predict the kind of inspiration anyone carries with them. Here she was looking, in her shorts and a cotton T shirt, worn out from her travels, telling me she had decided to dive into a world because she just felt like doing it. And I on this side of the conversation was trying to remember the last time I didn’t have to get confused about what to wear to work. I couldn’t let this person just turn around and walk into her plans. She might be possibly the most inspiring soul I had come across. Ever. So risking the probability that she might just shrug off saying, ‘That’s a little personal,’ I went ahead and begged her to tell me a little about her history – where she was from (clearly, she didn’t look American), her family and the like. She was born in Sweden (those pretty Swedish freckles around her baby pink skin, literally spoke for her descent) and lived with her grandmother until she was ten as her parents were part of Christian ministry that travelled a lot. And moved to Britain to live with her parents through her teenage years and eventually ended up in Texas and met her boyfriend who was a sushi chef. She had quit her job a few months earlier and was now taking the time to travel. I was so blown by her persona and her story that I can’t now remember what brought her to the US. But I’m sure she gave a reason. I told her I was originally from India and that I moved here with my husband and found a job. Never ever have I felt before in my entire history of life that my biography could be a one-liner. I couldn’t believe it. But that’s all I had to my life…born in India, travelled to the US, now living here. Period. Oh ! And became a mom in the course of things. I decided to skip the –who-is-back-in-India-still part and gave her my favorite places to visit from the east coast. She listened to it all with the same kind of excitement I had had when she was telling me about her life, and said “Well, I have always wanted to visit India. It’s one of my favorite places. I want to go see the Taj.” Later, I gave her a hug and wished her well for the adventures that were awaiting. She giggled and wished me the same. And we turned around and went our ways: she to get a Platypus water bag that she could carry while hiking and I to a Christmas Tree shop to look for construction paper…

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What is one thing..

.. in the world other than love that's so simple, so small, so pure, so quiet and so very beautiful it can fill the holes inside of you?
    - Snow :)