Monday, January 09, 2006

The Reason

For the longest time, I have not been able to understand why I came back to madras this winter. There had to be a reason for leaving my comforter-lined new-found fishbowl behind so soon-- Come on, 7 months doesn't warrant a teary-eyed return to ma and pa. It wasn't like I was homesick. In fact, as late as october, my plans for the season were meant to include at least two of the following:

i)working with Maya in the global studies office in Bristol

2) Going back to Portland and seeing Laura and Ryan and Kansei and Aman and Mike and Mary and Linda.

3)Ayush, Maya, Abdel Khader and myself together yelling in Timesquare when the ball would fall on 31st night.

And till yesterday, I did not know the reason why all that didn't happen. Being with mum and setting up the tree is all very well. Meeting old friends and new, driving to the coast and plane-ing it to delhi is quite alright. But that didnt explain a certain pattern to my actions-- ensuring I met the people I had been with last year around the same time. Laughing with them, grateful that I exist now outside their lives. Grateful too, that the few I count as close, still are. Driving past certain places-- an ex-college, a fishing village, a mofussil bus terminus, a temple, a beach, a chinese restaurant, a bridge. My room that carries no scent or smell of me, anymore. Throwing out old papers, old books. Climbing up to my water tank, relieved to find that the dragon spirit that used to live there has now gone.

It took a little book to tell me that I returned due to the second of the two greatest instincts known to human kind. The first one is fear.

"Then she turned, moved closer to Pedro Cantos, and did what she had lived for.

She curled up behind him: she pulled her knees up to her chest; aligned her feet until she felt her legs perfectly paired, the two thighs softly joined, the knees like two cups balanced one on the other, the calves separated by nothing; she shrugged her shoulders slightly and slid her hands, joined, between her legs. She looked at herself. She saw an old doll.

She smiled. Shell and animal.

Then she thought that however incomprehensible life is, probably we move through it with the single desire to return to the hell that created us, to live beside whoever, once, saved us from the inferno. She tried to ask herself where this absurd faithfulness to horror came from but found that she had no answers. She understod only that nothing is stronger than the instinct to return, to where they broke us, and to replicate that moment forever. Only thinking that the one who saved us once can do it forever. In a long hell identical to the one from which we came. But suddenly merciful and without blood"
- Baricco, Alessandro. 'Without Blood', Trans. by Ann Goldstein.

I returned due to the second of the two greatest instincts known to human kind--

The need for

Merry christmas, darfur. Happy new year, baghdad.


david raphael israel said...

wow Priyanka. A moving reflection.
And thanks for demonstrating why (or what in, as example) you like [of] this Baricco dude of yours.

local-color inquiry: what's that about the dragon?

warmest wishes in the coldest season,