Last week was chaotic. Too many things happened in a span of seven days that at one point of time, I felt my head almost reeling out of control, thanks to the multitude of emotions that sprinted through me seamlessly. Those wonderful readers who have been frequenting this space would remember how I have been travelling dizzyingly and how it has been acting as a double-edged, bitter-sweet sword for me. You may also remember how I contemplated on moving to a rented house near the hospital where I worked, so that I would be more productive, with lesser amounts of work time and less frequent hours of travelling. Well, the hours of contemplation bore fruit over the last two weeks, when the raucous thoughts inside my mind gave way to heated discussions in our living room, which eventually led to renting the upper storey of my father’s friend who resided at a kilometer distance from the hospital.
I moved in last week and what more can I say, the stay has found the naive, amateur me cooking for my survival. I find the cooking part easy and hassle-free, but the work that comes with it and the cleaning afterwards are harrowing. Perhaps, I think so because I haven’t cooked anything further than a few dishes out of egg, noodles, pasta, tea and similar tiny bits of acts that harbour around the wide precincts of the giant that is cooking and haven’t had to cook the ‘real’ dishes ever before in my life. But I have a feeling that I am slowly reaching there, although I do have mile to cross before I could happily serve my food to those who are brave enough to experiment it.
I didn’t sleep properly the first day I stayed there, and again it was the first time that I was living in a place alone. For my MB.B.S course, we were accomodated in a hostel where I shared rooms with three other girls. After graduation, I had to do rural service as part of my one year bond and for that too I stayed in a hostel, a YWCA, and those few months saw some of the most memorable and beautiful days of my life. I had three friends who were extremely jovial and fun to be with and we had the best of times, mostly during the dinner hour and during the hour long walk we had through the hostel premises after dinner till the time came for us to retire to our respective rooms. I remain friends with two of those girl, and I haven’t been in contact with the third one, since she got married and moved to Chennai. I lost her number and anyway she would have changed her number too. Sadly, I couldn’t trace her on Facebook too! She was sweet, amiable and used to talk a lot, which indirectly drained the home-sickness out of me more often than not. I hope our paths cross a second time and maybe if I keep trying, I would be able to track her down someday.
The second half of the past week saw us packing our bags and going on an impromptu pilgrimage of sorts to a temple in Tamil nadu.The plan had been peeking in and out of our talks for a long time and I now realise the best way to make such plans work is to let it rest, when one day you are shaken out of your sleep, panic driven by the same plan and you decide to do it finally for fear of not being able to sleep, owing to a sudden feel of urgency. Is it what people call destiny?
We had a three day long trip, which saw us hiring a cab and going all the way to the temple, an arduous ten hour drive. Now, the particular way with this temple is that the seekers could par-take in ‘Giri valam’, where you walk a long, hard 14kilometers around the hill where the temple resides , so that you are freed from your sins of a life time. We went ahead and performed the ritual. We started at 4 0’clock in the morning and finished it by 9 0’clock, when we walked for five long hours, with few scattered two minute long breaks in between to catch our breaths. We reached back the hotel and slept through the day and revisited the temple again in the evening. We felt pacified and calm after the ritual and to this moment we find it hard to believe how my grand mother, who accompanied us, could walk the endless sinewy path with almost the same agility as us at the age of 82. ‘She used to work hard as a young lady’, my mother’s comment set my grand mother nostalgic and she sat recollecting those years, around 60 years back, when she used to walk for miles to reach her school and after graduation, to the place where she worked. I sat listening to her awed by her sheer diligence, patience and resilience.
We returned the next day itself and as usual, the pain that ineviably follows while wrapping up a trip started to bother me. A trip undertaken with the family is special in more ways than one. It brushes the rusty corners of the relationship, lending them bright and resplendent again; it brings the members closer, consolidating the treasured bond that binds them together.
Owing to the trip, I didn’t have to stay at my new home for more than two days. I will be going back in a day or two and that is when the real trial starts. Will I survive the month or not? My hunch is that I am going to return a much better cook. What do you say?