Monday, 5 May 2014

(Food for thoughts: Identity)

"It takes miles of footsteps, food of different tastes, mix of culture and all those different individuals to figure out who you really are,"

The pieces slowly form into shapes inside my head as the images in my vision is inhaled thoroughly.
They become translucent as the copies are filed into my head.
I am at peace.
It's neither the illuminating lights nor the bustling noise of the city.

It's the emptiness.
The calm wind brushing past my cheeks momentarily,

The slow scene, just 12 trains stops away is in an entire different dimension. (Only four stops away while riding the express train).
As soon as I step out,  the noise fades and it becomes lively in my head.

I walk along the bicycle lane as bicycles whisk past me, as children's voice trail off in front of me.
Runners slowly taking over my pace and leaving me behind in less than few seconds.
At times, I play a game- walking within the long white lines painted on the edge of the lane.
(That if I fall out of the line, then it's world apocalypse)

 It's a miracle for someone with a shoe size of 39cm that my feet are perfectly inside the white lines.

I stop by to admire the tiny white home, newly built. The scene has changed from labor workers in their large go-go pants, (just a month ago slamming nails into the walls), to men in dark suits standing outside the entrance as they point upwards to the roof (their voice barely audible) and now, to windows with white lace curtains and laundries hanging from the windows of second floor.

Then few meters ahead an old man sits in front of the gate of his house, reading a newspaper. On a pile of planks, surrounded by his treasure of stacks of books bound tightly in plastic strings, empty brown flower pots and bottles who haven't seen garbage day as far as they can remember. At times, another old man joins him.

Soon few blocks away from my destination, beside the children's park- the lady is there again.
In a white hat and a camo trench coat, she has a white opaque bag in her hand. The chubby stray cats (who could be well mistaken for being owned) rub themselves against her leg and purr warmly.
They crowd over her as she bends down and give them whatever is in the bag.

Our eyes meet-
"Ah, Konnichiwa."
She bows.

After weeks of anticipation, a chance has finally presented itself.  I bow back and try to reply, only to find my voice barely audible behind my hygiene mask desperately hoping that she heard my greeting. However the chance for a reintroduction is gone as my feet have taken steps I can't undo.  I quietly note to myself- "to have a a longer conversation next time."

And then I turn right and slip through the brown gate and before long, I am in front of my apartment as the sight of cars stopping at the red light comes into view and a train crosses the road.

It's then I realize, I am fine without the bright city lights. Yes, at times there is this craving caused by this age for the loud unrecognizable noises and the strange unfamiliar faces but then the green scenery and the quietness that inspires me hits closer to the definition of 'home' more than a city that has a price tag to its kindness.

Gummy Sonam

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