The second innings


It has been over two weeks since I moved in to this city. I was initially anxious about how my mind would perceive my second innings in this city, but as the days go by, I can see my mind growing happier…

New leaves sprouting off a plant that had almost withered away. I can finally sense new life sprouting within me.

I started out with simple things to keep me going. Getting into a routine. Cooking and cleaning. I am surprised by the motivation I derive from these simple things. My apartment is small, comfortable, sunny and airy. I don’t have much furniture. So it is easy to maintain. I only have to cross the street to get my daily supply of grocery and vegetables. I buy small quantities and use them up. And thanks to the dry and cold climate, things stay fresh here for a longer time. So I have not really felt the need for a refrigerator. Cooking my own food has been fun, especially since I never feel lazy or tired here. I am surprised that I haven’t eaten out at all, except for the day I had moved in. That is quite something!

Though I have many friends here and I do want to visit all of them, I don’t want to do it at this stage. I want to give myself time to get used to being on my own. My main network at this point is the bunch of friends I have in class. I am glad I took up this course because it gives me a platform to engage with the city and integrate into its scheme. I can’t help celebrating the women I meet here, because most of them are true to their nature. It comes from being comfortable with their own selves. And that in turn, comes from being raised in a society where there is no gender bias. Here, I often forget I am a woman. I feel like a human being, without being gender conscious. In Kerala, it used to be very difficult to interact with women because their personalities were largely shaped by their insecurities- the outcome of having been raised in a society with gender bias. I celebrate my interactions with people here, much like I celebrate the climate- the two greatest highs in Bangalore.


Stories of livelihood. While the lady was deeply absorbed in her work, the child found ample sources of entertainment. On the streets, are the real stories. Of rugged hands and tanned faces. But something still throbs within. Sometimes, appearing as a gleam in the eyes. Sometimes, breaking out as a smile. 

The other achievement is that I am slowly learning the bus routes and locations. Bangalore is a maze for someone like me because it is full of Mains and Crosses, flyovers and underpasses. And I find all the cross roads similar! Google has been of great help.

I take the bus to my institute. I like losing myself into a sea of people- that is where one feels the pulse of the city. Today, as I boarded the bus, I couldn’t help feeling the joy of this anonymity- this feeling of going about my life quietly, with the simplest dreams. This dream of being able to manage a house without the luxury of my mother’s care and attention, this dream of being able to find my way about the city, this dream of travelling with the ordinary dwellers of this city, without the luxury of my own car or Uber, this dream of making a livelihood. This whole dream of finding my niche in this city. I enjoy this kind of struggle- struggle that is not damaging, but rewarding. In Kerala, my struggle was characterized by physical limitations and health issues imposed by the climate, and of course, the chronic oppression that was taking its toll on my ability to endure. Here, I walk a lot. I take every opportunity to walk. It feels good because the weather is cold. Besides, it is when I walk that I see the beauty of the city- the beautiful houses, gardens, pavements, trees, vendors, and all the street stories that catch my eye. The optimism and its mellow beauty just seeps into me. This always keeps me in high spirits. In Bangalore, a walk is my solution to gloom.

Old, magnanimous trees stand by the road and quietly watch the city pass by. The pedestrians, the motorists, the vendors. The changing scenes through the passage of time. Their overpowering presence makes me pause in my footsteps, marvel at their magnanimity, and wonder what has caused them to survive the odds in a fast paced city.


You see, anonymity is beautiful. It is bliss. When I watch a Lohithadas movie or read a short story by O. Henry, it is not Lohithadas or O. Henry that I aspire to be. I aspire to be those soulful characters that these great artists portrayed in their art. I don’t wish to be the Creator; I would rather be the creation. A little firefly that finds bliss in its tiny halo of light. Life quietly throbbing within me as I allow myself to be enchanted by the aura, mystery and deep darkness of a melancholic night.



The graph of my life

People think they know me but they don’t. Not really. Actually, I am one of the loneliest people on this earth. I cry sometimes, because it hurts. It does. To be honest, I guess you could say that it hurts to be me.

-Michael Jackson

It is sometimes interesting to see yourself through another’s perspective. For many who have known me since my childhood, the graph of my life would appear to have taken a downhill course. From being an unfaltering rank student, from being a stage figure and a public speaker, from a pedestal of popularity and fame, from being a role-model and reference, how is it that I am a ‘nobody’ today? This is a question that lingers in the minds of many of my school friends.

“It was you we aspired to be. But today, everybody who was a nobody then, is somebody. The graph of their life is on an uphill course, while yours is going in the opposite direction. It is a paradox. This is certainly not where you should have been!”, they say.

I suppress a smile. I can relate to what they mean. They painted my future in their minds a long time ago. A future, bright and promising. Like my friend pointed out to me, I never had to work hard. Where my friends put in their hundred percent, I only had to put in half that effort to succeed. For the rest of the time, I could afford to be mischievous and light-hearted, because success came so easily to me. How is it then that today, I am so far away from success? This intrigues them.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that I too had dreamt of such a future for myself. In those years, we were so young and naive that we were ignorant of the currents of life or of the hunger of the soul. Our definitions of success were based on conventional moulds. Like my friends, I too believed that I would become a doctor or engineer, travel the world, collect achievements, live a comfortable life, and earn the status of ‘elite’. Though disguised under degrees and lifestyles, these aspirations translated into money and power. But back then, I did not know that money and power could not buy happiness by themselves.

However, unlike my friends who only saw my external embellishments, I was aware of my limitations and failures. I was aware of those aspects of my personality that would interfere with success. I was aware of my emotional intensity, my inability to commit to paths that could not capture my interest or imagination, and my inclination towards fantasy. I was always lost in the magic of the world, and that interfered with my ability to focus. Perhaps this awareness helped me accept failures and enabled me to expect less from myself.

All through my medical college, I was an average student. My primary motivation came not from my scores, but from the magic that some of my textbooks and teachers fed into my mind. I could sense the extraordinary element in the ordinary, and this thrilled me. I am grateful to those teachers who made me feel that there was something extraordinary about my perceptions and thoughts. If not for that, my self-esteem might have suffered terribly. Likewise, when I worked abroad, I was lost to the stimulation and novelty of my world. I failed to travel along defined paths, and collected very little in terms of external embellishment. But internally, I could feel the transformation. My consciousness had finally awakened enough to connect to the hunger of my soul.

It had been difficult for me to leave London, but when I found myself in Kerala, it may have been this element of instinct and consciousness that steered me towards the true purpose of my life.

“Why do you build small towers in infinite places? Why can’t you build one tower, and then build upon that?”

It is a question of significance. Any day, it is easier to build one tower. Imagine if I were to do so now. It would be so easy. I would only have to continue with whatever I do now. Live in Kerala forever. Continue with the current job. Get promoted. Some day, I would be Professor and HOD. I might enhance my CV through ‘research’, publications and presentations. On paper, I might narrate the story of my ‘professional growth’ with pride. Internally, my soul might just die. A little every day.

You see, my heart is not in this image of perfection we create for the world to see, acknowledge and approve. I like the kind of research I do every day. I am addicted to the joy of toying with perceptions and thoughts. They come to me at the most unexpected moments, like when I am walking on the street. I like experimenting with them on a serious note, and finding the real answers. That is how my first book was conceived. It was a book that arose from the questions I had asked myself when I had found myself drawn to diversity of personality. There is more truth in that exploration than the research papers we publish in most institutions in India. I don’t want a high from a prize for a paper or poster; I want a high from the paths of discovery I take.

I watch the Bee Gees sing. I watch Michael Jackson perform. I read Sylvia Plath’s letters to her mother, Vincent van Gogh’s letters to his brother. I watch the humming bird drinking nectar from the flower. What I see in all of them is their ability to lose themselves to the moment. To the joy of perception.


I don’t care for long years; I care for richness of experience. How much of life penetrated us while we lived? That is the question that matters to me. I have to be in love. Every day, every moment. With the world. With myself. And I would do anything that it takes to be in love. This principle has been the driving force in my life. If I built one big tower, I would have fallen out of love with myself a long time ago.

I have captured enough magic from this world within me. Enough to touch others with its spell. Every soul who crosses my path, carries a little bit of this magic in his heart when he leaves. That has been my highest high. I can make anybody fall in love with themselves. With the world. And for this reason, I am loved the most.

Beautiful moments with my mother, savouring the uniqueness of the relationship we share. Beautiful moments with all the people in my life, strangers included, breathing life into those moments. Beautiful moments in the lap of nature, cherishing this joy of being alive. Beautiful moments of endless conversations with myself, through which I discover the world and fall in love with it. Beautiful moments of exploring myself through work, reveling in what I discover of myself. This perpetual romance has been my greatest achievement.

Invisible to the world, but very much palpable…

God’s work of art

As I drove to Anjarakandy today, there was a song in my heart. I deliberately opted for the narrow lanes that led me to the rear entrance of the college for then I could treat myself to stills from peasant life- a life where my heart is.

The sight of a farmer tilling the earth. Of the paddy in the fields, basking in the golden rays of the winter sun. Of egrets gracefully patrolling the fields, like an army of grim soldiers in white uniforms. Of women in sober clothes, gaily marching across the fields with sickles and baskets in their hand, the wind carrying with it the sound of their banter and laughter. Of cows tethered to trees, grazing lazily in the tempered rays of the sun. Of little children clad in school uniforms, pausing to pluck wild flowers as they zealously march to school. Of smoke rising from the hearth of homes. I could hear the wind whispering across the lanes, bringing with it the fragrance of a village- the fragrance of my childhood. This imagery of harmony, of oneness- this was my earliest perception of paradise. This canvas of fields that changed its character in response to the journey of the sun in the sky, and to the play of seasons, now bronze, now gold, now green silk- this was the first work of art I was exposed to. God’s work of art. However long I looked at it, however deep I looked into it, I could never have enough of it. It was a dynamic canvas that was as bottomless as the insatiability of my mind. I could go on digging, and there would still be more to dig. And in that work of art, everything seemed to blend in so perfectly. I still remember the joy I felt when I spotted the reflection of the setting sun in the still waters of the pond that stood in the middle of the fields, like a mirror sewed on to a green robe of earth. As the little pond gracefully embodied the setting sun that ruled the world, something awakened within me. I awakened to this joy of oneness. Everything in my life was subsequently inspired by this perception of paradise. This was the very first perception of beauty I was exposed to.

Today, I could find myself integrating into this picture of oneness, unlike the last one year when I was working here. The ways of the mind are strange. It sometimes takes a certain detachment to attach oneself to a perception all over again. As I have left behind all the ugliness that had coloured my life here in the last one year, I am able to connect to my old perception all over again. To those early years here. Those sacred years. Those beautiful years. Those years when Anjarakandy was like a melancholic story from Basheer’s novel and I was the central character of this novel. Those years when a certain silence had seeped into my life and that I shared with nature. Those paths from my old house to Anjarakandy- they are sacred paths. They took with them a little bit of me. When I visit those paths now, I hear the old voices, the old conversations. They bring back the old times, those perceptions, those memories, those silences. The stillness and silence of solitary nights, lit up only by the warm glow of oil lamps and the melancholic song of a wayfarer. They reflect all that I used to be at that point in time. And there is something so loveable about that phase of ‘me’. I fall in love with myself all over again.

Anjarakandy will always be special to me. It is not so much a place, as much as a perception- a precious fragment of my life. I don’t ever want to lose the purity of this perception again. Kerala, per se, is a perception whose oneness and beauty comes to me only when I detach myself from this land- when I walk its streets as a stranger; when I am shielded by anonymity.

Today, I met Fousiya. There is something so precious about our interactions. I am suddenly reminded of the warmth of a human-to-human interaction. She held my hand and said to me, “No matter where you go, don’t ever forget me. Keep in touch. It is only when you come that I feel something is alive within me again. I feel the magic of life, I feel its beauty.” I told her today that I had finally written her story. And I told her that though I wrote it, the wisdom of the words were all hers. Only because she wasn’t writing it, I was. It takes so little to make her happy. There is something I want to do for her. I have a plan for her. She has no expectations at all. There is so little she asks of life, so little she asks of people. Give her emotions, and she will cherish them, never asking for more. Grateful for the warmth. Grateful for the human connection. She bares life with her words, until life stares at you, raw and naked, and you begin to see it with your inner wisdom. For her, these words are matter-of-fact. She doesn’t realize their magnanimity. But when she sees me basking in the richness of these words, her eyes light up momentarily.

Human interactions fascinate me. I have no awards, but my life is lit up with the joy I have brought to numerous souls. Especially people less understood by the world, less valued, unfairly judged. Within the hearts of all such people, I have discovered the true nature of the human spirit, gleaming like gold. The true wisdom of our species is hidden in these hearts and they go about their lives, unrecognized, unnoticed. I have been most loved for these two reasons. One, because I can spot this treasure in them and make them feel their worth. Two, because I take them into their natural state- that world of pure perception that they are longing to share with somebody. I have often felt like a wayfarer, meant to give company to weary travellers who come from forbidden lands where most of us wouldn’t even dream to step in. There is so muc they have seen, there is so much that throbs within their hearts, and all they want is a listener who can listen to the throbbing of their heart. A companion for a small length of their journey.

I am grateful for this gift of life. I am grateful for this sensitivity. It enables me to feel so intensely. It enables me to allow life to pass through me, with all its richness and glory. This gift of perception is what I cherish the most. Now I understand that sadness too, is a tool to explore the magic of life, and that the possibility in sadness is so often greater than in happiness.

Dear life, I love you so….

The last leg of the journey?

I am so scared to hope! Is it likely that in a couple of months, I might be back in Bangalore? Is it likely that I might be back- to all that was familiar, all that was home? Is it likely that I can once again walk the streets freely, watching the setting sun, feeling the breeze against my face, smiling at passers by? I am too scared to hope!

For so long, I have been shut away. Like a prisoner who has resigned to his life in prison and does not dare to dream of freedom. Like a prisoner who can only cry when he is told that he will soon be free. I have missed so much. I have missed so many years of freedom. I have missed the company of people. I have missed feeling the outdoors. From my prison in Kerala, I can only watch the play of the seasons from behind the walls. I cannot run like how I used to, I cannot smell the roses, I cannot chase the butterflies, I cannot sing and dance. I have to be content watching it all from behind the walls.

It has been so long since I have dropped my defense, so long since I have lived free of fear. Life is so harsh here. Especially on women. Animals and women have no place in the scheme of life here; we are mere slaves. The women here are soft spoken and mellow on the outside, but their hearts are made of steel. Unlike urban women who create an impression of independence and strength, but are soft and vulnerable within. Women in these parts have resigned to the slavery. So they keep up an image of submissiveness, and find their own ways to safeguard their interests. Often manipulative ways. It is ingrained in them; it cannot be learned. After being treated with sensitivity and gentleness all through my life in Bangalore, it has been really hard coming to terms with the treatment meted out to women here. We deal with abuse on a daily basis- from the passers by, from the vendors, from the labourers, from colleagues, from neighbours. Of course, there are exceptions, but such encounters are lost in this ocean of brutality. All my energy is used up in freeing myself from the negativity meted out to me on a daily basis. Whatever little is left, is used to save myself from the harshness of the climate.

The climate is a calamity by itself. There are no dry days. All through the year, it is humid. Only the degree of humidity varies. Humidity is my greatest limitation. It makes me feel ill all the time; I can’t function normally. I feel like a youthful spirit trapped in an ageing body. My tolerance to exercise is zero. I hardly walk in Kerala. Simple household chores feel like a big burden. I struggle every day with migraine, restless leg syndrome, prickly heat, and sleepless nights. I manage only because of the AC in the bedroom and the AC in my car. The AC feels like a lifeline. It is not a commodity of luxury for me; it is a necessity for me here. This restricted pattern of  life is not me. I am driven by movement; walking and running and hopping and playing is integral to my spirit.

Somehow, I have survived ten years of my life here. But as freedom becomes a possibility, I cannot bear to think of spending a single day here after my release is sanctioned. I do not know how I survived ten years. There is much that I have lost to these ten years. But I do know that I have grown- in ways I couldn’t have grown otherwise. But, growth cannot be a reason to extend your stay in prison, can it?

I promise to put to good use the lessons I learned here. I only want to go back to being what I truly am- a child. When I am not writing, when I am not teaching, when I am not mentoring, when I am not into the roles that were carved out from the experience of life, I want to be that naive child I have always been, with not a care in the world 🙂

Dearest Bangalore, I hope you are not far away…



Chase possibilities, not outcomes!


This blog is my world. Private, solitary and uncelebrated. Like those ordinary, tumbledown houses that passers-by overlook because there is nothing unusual or extraordinary about them. Behind its walls, unseen to the world, I live. Celebrating the richness and splendour of this life in quietude. The world does not see me, but there is so much that I see and feel. So much that I am in constant conversation with myself. I write to myself. And that keeps me going.

Occasionally, there is a visitor. When the doorbell rings, my heart soars because there is somebody at the door! Perhaps somebody who needs to warm themselves, somebody who has a story to narrate. There is nothing that I would like more than to usher them in, make them comfortable and listen to their story. There is nothing that I would like more than to see them leave with a full heart, happy and content.

This is how I feel whenever there is a new reader on my blog. The reader is a possibility. My words are only tools to explore their minds- the aesthetic potential of their minds. I like to explore the aesthetic dimension of this ‘writer-reader’ relationship to its fullest. And that is what excites me about my blog. My blog, in itself, is a possibility. I can never predict what it might bring at my doorstep! That is how I feel about my book too. Writing is a beautiful means of engagement with the world. It makes inroads into the minds of people, and I think it is through writing that I met some of the most beautiful people in my life.

That sets me thinking on how I have always been driven by possibility, and not by outcomes. I like the mystery, the suspense, the uncertainty and the excitement that surrounds a possibility. ‘You never know what you may find’ is my guiding factor in all my engagements with the world. The more emphasis there is on a specific outcome, the more rules there are to abide me, the more compelled I feel to step out.

The exploration of possibility is at the heart of my personality. When I was in kindergarten (the earliest illustration of my personality, in my mother’s words), the other children would be in class and I would be missing. Where was I? I was at the far end of the campus, waiting eagerly to catch sight of the train as it passed by the bridge, chugging along to some unknown destination, the fleeting glimpse of faces peering out of the windows creating a lasting impression on my young mind. While my teachers were looking for me all over the place, I was lost to this perception. I couldn’t get over the emotion that the train had evoked in me. There was something inexplicable I had felt- a certain magic in it. There were unspoken questions in my mind about this mysterious, overpowering structure that appeared out of nowhere, and that disappeared into the unknown after having briefly touched me with its magic. There was endless possibility in the magic of this perception.

At other times, when the school peon arrived to take me on his bicycle to my mother’s school, I would be missing. Where was I? I had gone off with a friend to her house, oblivious to the fact that people would worry about me and panic. I was perpetually lost, exploring the new. That earned me the reputation of being the ‘most mischievous and restless student’ in school- a teacher’s nightmare. A parent’s nightmare too.

Then there were my vacations in Kerala. Kerala was a land of endless possibility. Nature and culture offered infinite scope for possibility, and so, it was a child’s paradise. Besides, there were no teachers to stop me from exploring and there was no studying to do. Every day, I would wander endlessly, not knowing what I might find. I would run through lanes fragrant with the scent of flowers new to me- the pala and the chembakam. I would sit by the pond, watching turtles and crabs crawling out of it or an occasional big fish diving on its surface, or sometimes, young boys fishing. There were tiny offshoots of the pond and I would watch rows of guppies swimming on the surface of the water. In Kerala, every little patch of earth teemed with life. I would watch mangoes ripening on the trees, milkweeds floating in the breeze, water lilies blossoming in the fields, caterpillars hiding in the barn and woodpeckers drilling into coconut palms. Every morning, I only had one dream. To wander, to uncover and unearth every possibility. I turned every leaf, moved every pebble. And so, nature let me into her private world- into her secrets that she whispered only to those who promised not to break her reverie.

And then there were my maternal uncles and cousins. Ours was a world of fun, laughter, mischief, games, adventure and music. They were unpredictable. They would abruptly make up their minds about taking us all out to the beach or to their friends’ places where we had lots of fun. Or they would play badminton and chess with us. As for music, it was a constant presence in the house. We were all either singing or listening to music. We even had a keyboard that they used to play. Music bound us into one; in those moments, I experienced the aesthetic potential of perception and of oneness. They instilled in me a deep love for music; they were my gateway to the power of music as an inroad into the world. Into the infinite possibility of music.

Back in Bangalore, I was high on books and play. The books we read as children and the cartoons we watched- they helped me see the infinite possibility in life. To this day, I can pick up and Enid Blyton and awaken the child in me- the child that sees infinite possibility in the world, and does not know what it feels like to be depressed.

When I grew into adolescence, there was a sudden constriction of my world- a sudden self-consciousness overtook me. I was high on friendships and relationships for the most part of my adolescence and early adulthood. I was in awe of the dimensions, layers and the aesthetic potential of human relationships. It was of utmost importance to me to explore every human interaction to its utmost potential, and to revel in what unfolded. In all my formative years, I never really had the opportunity to ‘know’ my mother because she was always so busy- busy making our lives. It was only after my dad passed away that she could afford to spend that kind of time with me. It had always been my deep desire to explore our relationship, and I am grateful to God for all these years he has given me with her. My mother surprises me. She has grown so much as a person, merely in order to be able to understand what ticks me and why I am different. She would read books and revel in the realization that I was different for a reason- that my inability to conform to systems had a reason. Today, we have built layers on top of the fundamental layer that forms the mother-daughter relationship, and I am truly content. It has been likewise with my brother. For so long, he was away and distant. But over the last several years, I have had the opportunity to know him too, and to breathe life into our relationship. It is only my father who has disappointed me. I love him the most because I know I mirror him. But on account of the suppressed personality and the illness, he was unable to emotionally indulge with the world. He never gave me an opportunity to build on the father-daughter relationship; never let me build inroads into him. And yet, I know every ounce of his mind through me. But while we were together, he was distant and inaccessible to the people in his life. And there was no possibility in our relationship- he was indrawn and withdrawn into some deep abyss from which nobody could rescue him. Yet, those few moments of limited emotional display are immortal in my mind. I love my mother, but I am indebted to my father. For the beautiful mind he gave me. The beautiful mind through which I am able to see and feel this world.

Over the years, I have realized that the human mind is God’s masterpiece for it has the highest aesthetic potential. Its possibilities are infinite, though not obviously visible. And so, every engagement that brings its potential to visibility has been enriching. That is the reason I love teaching, writing, reading, healing.

I am sure life has been happy with me in the last six months, after I quit my regular job. The possibilities suddenly opened up, and I am living every one of them, justifying my life in totality.

So create possibilities- inroads into the universe. Our motivation is rooted in these possibilities, not in their outcomes. Open the doors to possibility- in your living spaces, in your work spaces, in your relationships. Don’t mould them towards outcomes. Keep them open. Surprise people. Make somebody’s day. Write letters to children for them to read at different points in their lives. Take walks. Sit in a park. Talk to nature. Tend to animals. Watch the sky. Feed the birds. And the possibilities just open out….

Set me free

Yes, I am capable of being in love,

But do not harness me to marriage.

Yes, I am wonderful with children,

But do not ask me to be a mother.

Yes, I can write my heart out,

But do not ask me to be an author.

You see, I am in love-

With people, with children…

With the animals and the birds,

The bees and the butterflies.

I am in love

With the dead and the living,

With nature, with earth…

With minds.

With poems, lyrics and stories

With melodies and songs.

With light and with darkness,

With shadows and reflections.

With cities and villages,

With fields and forests,

With rivers and monuments.

I am in love with seasons,

With the wind whispering across mountains,

And the trees soaked in rain.

I am in love 

With fact and fantasy,

With Science and History.

I feel so full of love…

And there is so little time.

The clock ticks by,

And I have infinite letters to write.

To the Universe and to its children.

I must let this love flow out of me

Before I leave this temporary abode.

Allow me then,

To only love…

To pour this love into my words…

So I can leave them behind…

A dialogue between two cities

We moved to Kannur on an unfortunate day in August 2006. It had been raining relentlessly that year- the year there were floods in Mumbai. When we arrived at our new home in Kannur, I felt like a refugee in an alien land. An uncomfortable silence surrounded me, and the cold and hostile stares made me feel unwelcome. I truly felt I had been orphaned. I thought back to the beautiful life I had left behind in Bangalore- a life that had just been uprooted and here I was, unwillingly deported to a land where I couldn’t find the slightest vestige of familiarity or humanity.

Ten years have passed since. I have survived and I have evolved.

Kerala is a hard chapter to write about. It is very hard for me to describe my relationship with Kerala, unlike with Bangalore or London. The architecture of life in Kerala is very complex. It is impossible for me to reduce my relationship with Kerala to a simple ‘love’ or ‘hate’ relationship. Living in Kerala is like being in a marriage, and finding enough reasons to love the marriage, despite all the turbulence that it brings with it. Sometimes, you want to run away to preserve your sanity, you want to severe all bonds and break free, and yet, there is something that holds you back. Something whose worth and essence you cannot deny. But it also means you must be emotionally, intellectually and philosophically equipped to keep this relationship. It also means you must have undying energy within you. You have to somehow preserve the inspiration and motivation. You have to persistently remodel your mind in order to see the aesthetic potential of your journey here. In the absence of such fluidity and dynamism, you would only end up as the victim of a bad marriage. Life in Bangalore and London were more of a courtship. There is no oppression; the relationship with the environment is effortless. One doesn’t have to uncover the layers to find beauty; beauty is in the air. The city in itself is youthful, optimistic, zealous and romantic, and the city infects its inhabitants with these traits.

I had never wanted to settle down in Kerala. I had never really wanted to make it my home. I had always looked at it as transit. But that transit has stretched to ten years. Long enough to call this home. Kerala has slowly grown into me and though I still cannot call it home, I am unable to severe my bonds with it. When I leave, I shall surely leave a part of me here. And I shall carry a part of it with me.

In the past, there were always reasons to stay. At first, it was dad and all the issues surrounding his illness. Then, it was my post graduation. Though I was away in Mangalore, I was only 3 hours away. Never too far to feel the separation. When I completed my post graduation, it was the job that kept me here. It is only now that I am out of my job that I don’t find a reason to stay. It is only now that I feel the pain of separation from Bangalore. From all that was mine…from all that was me.

I can’t stop hoping that at least by next year, I shall be back in Bangalore. I miss my friends every single day. I miss their love, warmth, care and concern. To this day, they pamper me. I cannot wait to relive the old times with them. I miss the heart to heart conversations, the fun, the mischief, the laughter. Khushwanth Singh wrote about Delhi: It is nice to live among a people who have a sense of belonging and pride in their city. A city with a peripatetic citizenry who live in it without being emotionally involved with it are not worth knowing.” I think this was one important factor that connected all of us in Bangalore, and still does. We were so in love with the character of Bangalore that this love bound us into oneness. That is profoundly absent here in Kannur. People are in denial of their true identity. There is nothing that binds them into one. Yet another factor was the innocence. All my friends have retained their innocence. It is that innocence that enables us to feel the emotions that we felt all those years ago, and that makes our friendship so special. We genuinely feel for each other, we miss each other, we care for each other. Here in Kerala, there is nobody who would miss me when I leave. Be it my relatives, my colleagues, my students or my neighbours, they have always made me feel that I am only a dispenser. And once I have served their need, my role is through. Beyond that, there is no relationship. Despite the endless hours I have spent with them, I have failed to grow anything on their barren souls.

ONV’s ‘Oru vattam koodi yen ormakall’ lyrics come to my mind. I cannot wait to go back to all those sacred places that still hold my most precious memories in Bangalore. Back to those people who taught me the aesthetic potential of human relationships. I feel truly fortunate….