I don’t know how it is in nuclear families, but in large ones relationships shift over time. You might be best friends with your one cousin, and then one year later it might be some other cousin. Then it tends to change again, and again after that. It doesn’t mean that your life has fallen out with the person it used to feel closest to but that it has merged into someone else’s road, or had his or hers merge into yours. Thus a team of quartet morphs into quintets, and then splits again, before morphing into a trio. The beauty of such relationship is that it’s always evolving.
Every year during Christmas, I feel little lost. It’s the euphoria of entering into a new year, the sadness of losing another year, growing newer strands of grays, with a little anxiety about holiday food that I cannot escape. The rainfall with gloomy weather plays a role too. Or maybe the checklists and dilemmas add spices to my cynicism:
Nothing will change,
only memories will grow old on my large white wall.
And those dates on the calendar
will keep adding certain reminders.
Past will always be that mirage to my tiring eyes,
present a metaphor,
and future, that broken dream of early morning
that I will try to reenact for the rest of my life.
Sometimes life is just like walking through the narrow grocery aisle, while each compartment( the soaps, coffees, cake mixes, spices, ice-creams, cookies, things that I couldn’t buy) bursts into fireworks of memories.
I like to observe people in shopping malls in December. A family humming the song playing in the background at Macy’s. A grandma trying a vest and asking the granddaughter to skip the pink one. A mother holding piles of children’s clothes on sale. A couple returning a bagful of good things. An aunt buying tons of cookie mixes and assorted sprinkles. A father and son posing for the camera before the Christmas tree. Everyone is thinking about loved ones, and finding something thoughtful to exchange. It’s a carnival time when every human relationship looks sparkly and every human should be home.
My life is home-bound these days and I love it. I love being still in a place where time follows my rules and I can call 9 AM early morning, and pick a book from my shelf while boiling tea leaves. My husband has different definition for home- his is where his heart belongs. Mine is definitely where the wifi connects automatically, as unlike my wifi password my heart doesn’t belong to a single place. But every time a rose blooms, every time I water my plants, cut their dead leaves, every time the kettle whistles, and a new moon emerges on the front sky- the regularity makes me feel at home, in comfort, in belonging, in love.
I was not that fond of regularity. I always escaped the boredom it generated in life. Same gossips, same circle, same beliefs- that obviousness always made me claustrophobic. I wondered how people could live happily forever in a small neighborhood without looking out. But as I grew, I understood that happiness didn’t depend on regularity or the lack of it.
Then the Sun sets again
on a gloomy evening.
The easel is asked to
hold another blank paper,
and the flat calendar
never stops spinning to
repeat its routine.
So every year during Christmas holidays, when people travel to new places, buy new clothes, renew old relationships, call that sister who chose to remain distant during difficult times, I kind of break the regularity by getting a hair-cut. Some years a long hair-do brings me joy. Some years, a shorter one.
The good thing about hair-cut is – it survives trials and errors, and grows back. Just like every broken heart. Just like every evolving relationship.