Yesterday, I joined the working class again. The first of September. I like starting a job or resuming work, on the first of a month. It feels new and fresh. Young, one might say. Jaunty, in fact. Like reading a book where the first chapter begins on page 1. Or writing an impeccable essay on the first, fresh, white sheet of a notebook and getting an A plus.
My day at work was good. I had expected to flail about a whole lot given my workload. It was fine, though. I actually exhaled within fifteen minutes of getting in. And as good signs go, that one’s solid gold.
However, I worked a little late. Not out of design. I had stepped out of office early, but it was raining. Lovely, beautiful, friendly rain. Unfortunately, I wasn’t carrying an umbrella, I had just recovered from malaria, and I was wearing a very, light baby-pink shirt that would get really transparent when wet. (I wouldn’t have minded that too much, if it would have helped me get an auto. But I knew it wouldn’t…so, why take chances?) I retreated to office and did a smidgeon of work. Then, I caught a rick back to Bandra. I’d be seeing my home after a week.
Throughout the rick-ride, I kept thinking of Vashi. I missed it. My mom would be alone this week as my dad’s travelling. Not that she minds being alone. I think she prefers it. But I felt bad that when I was weak and sickly, I was at Vashi with my parents…and now that I’m healthy and make better company, I scamper off to work and my life. Sometimes I wonder if it is fair that my parents get to be with the weaker side of me, while my more capable self is reserved for the rest of the world.
I reached home and found it dark. My cousin wasn’t there. My mind was still a bit woolly from all that thinking. So, I did the only thing I know that’s certain to calm me and sort my head; I made a cup of tea. I opened up the windows and pulled back the curtains. Switched off all the lights, held my cup close to my cheek, and breathed deeply. I love my Bandra home for this reason…for affording me such consummate comfort and safety in simple and wonderful things – like watching rain with a cup of tea in my hands. My Bandra place feels like a womb.
Later, I switched on the lights, curled up on the sofa and read a magazine. Suddenly, I noticed that the air was getting more chilly. I went to close the windows, but stopped. Outside, conspicuously, with impeccable nonchalance, covering the whole, mighty world was a phenomenal sky. It was dark, but with a strong, unmistakable misty, white glow shining through it. It looked like a perfect pearl caught under heavy folds of black cashmere. Genteel, playful, poetic.
I looked at the sky for a long while until I felt the residue fatigue take over. That’s the thing about malarial recovery. You never know when you’ll be taken hostage to weakness. But illness aside, I slept happily.
The next day, I had planned to resume my yoga class. Yet, when the alarm rang, I shut my eyes tighter, still intoxicated with the image of the night sky earlier. My body, though, seemed to have a mind of its own. It was ready for the stretching and breathing, and far be it for the rest of me to come in its way. As it happens, my body is usually never really gung-ho about exercise.
I got up and stood by the window, getting by bearings to face the world. The world, it seemed, sighed deeply in comfort. The breeze was cool, the trees were fresh and calm, the cobbled lanes were splotched with wet leaves and bright pink flowers. The day was as nourishing and comforting as jasmine tea.
Two days into the month, and I’ve seen such exquisiteness already. September has such etiquette. The month comes across as one that will shake your hands with a velvet glove. If September were an artist, I’d think it’s on its way to producing a masterpiece.
And I bet it’ll be a portrait of a lady.