Sunday, January 07, 2018

New Year 2018

New year is a time when many people make resolutions. One of my new year resolutions was to take one nice, well-framed picture of something every day. But in the first six hours of my new year, I learnt two important things. One, those resolutions do not matter (for me). And two, when it comes to basic survival, my crazy, weird, eccentric ways of being and doing things do not matter either.

I did not book my airplane ticket to Seattle until the very last minute. Even then, I made a deal with myself. I had a writing project I had delayed for more than a year now. If I did not finish that by December 31st, I will not take the plane on January 1st. I will sit at home and feel bad for missing my trip, but finish my project first. So I worked diligently for the past two weeks to finish it.

Looks like the flight was delayed by many hours. Rather than arriving close to midnight, it would now arrive very early in the morning. I was exhausted to the core from finishing work last-minute. I half-packed my bags, set the alarm at 4 am and fell asleep.

When I woke up, I was horrified to see that it was 5:45 am. Somehow shaking off a gripping, paralyzing fear, in 15 minutes, I had brushed, packed whatever I could, and left the house. In my mad rush to not miss the plane, I left without taking a shower, still wearing my sleeping pajamas and woolen socks, I had forgotten to pack many essentials, I had not taken a blanket or pillow, but I had miraculously managed to catch the plane just on time.

What is the big deal, you were able to take the plane after all, one would rightly say. Well, I am the OCD kind who reaches the airport two hours before required, diligently packs everything, checks the cooking stove and the heater twice before leaving home every day, packs enough dry food during travels to last any crisis for 24 hours, stores quarters (25 cent coins) at two different places in the bag, boards a bus with exact change in hand, and so on. I am quite mental that way, I like to have things figured out beforehand.

This time, I forgot my pillow and blanket and shivered through the long plane ride (and ended up with neck cramps too). I let people see me in mismatched pajama and blinding red woolen socks with a rip in one of the toes. I forgot my entire camera bag home, something that has never happened before (so much for my new year resolution!). I forgot to put things away in the freezer (but I checked the cooking stove and the heater, only once though). But it did not matter. My constant need to micromanage things around me and feel like I am in control of the environment did not matter. Taking those DSLR shots every day did not matter. What mattered is that I was able to hop onto the plane just in time, spend part of the new year with the kids, inhale deeply Seattle's warmer air when I arrived, eat pongal from Thiruvadarai pujo that G had cooked, eat mutton biryani, and leave behind all my work, worries, writing projects and new year resolutions for the time being. This house, my room, this bed has so many memories for me that spans over years.

Baby Kalyani (who is a baby no more) excitedly told me the names of all the country capitals that she has recently memorized rote (and I asked her to memorize all the countries that constituted former USSR before 1991). Her baby sister spotted me from afar and screamed in delight, squeezing some more toothpaste on the bathroom counter top. G taught me funny new Tamil words like Thiruttuthanam while I sat on the hardwood floor in the kitchen (my favorite place) and ate hungrily. And finally, I hopped onto my bed at the end of the day and slept peacefully without the worry of alarm clocks and missing airplanes.


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