This morning, Ma woke me up to show me something. She'd bought two plants with the sweetest white flowers ever! I love white flowers! I don't know what these plants are called, though. The floweres have creased petals like carnations but are much softer. They look really wispy and fragille, as if they are made of spun sugar and glazed with butter and wax. The flowers have a lovely fragrance - deep and lush! The vendor who sold the plants told Ma that they needed to be given extra water.
These plants are heavy with buds too. They look so innocent - these buds, like sleeping children. There's something about the way a flower is so folded into itself in a bud-like state that resembles a baby. I think of tiny curled fists when I see them.
Now, I have seven pots of glorious plants in the kitchen balcony! Each with its own story. I love them!
...this innate mechanism of the human mind or heart to forget - at least for the time being. I woke up with a heavy heart today. Yet, as I watered the plants, I felt excited because I'd get to work on an exciting project this week. The weather was cool and it's a Friday. So even though I tried to fight back tears as I listened to my maid's chatter, I wondered what I'd wear to work. I'd got a cute black tee from Sarojini Nagar yesterday. It's got the Friends logo in it. I wore that with a wrap-around skirt.
Usually when I am really sad, I start feeling nauseous. It was the same today. When I stepped out of the house, my tummy seemed to squelch with unset jelly. I reached office with a really heavy heart. Yet I smiled and had a conversation - and it wasn't fake either. I genuinely was interested in a colleague's weekend plans and her mother-in-law's recipe of upma with carrots. I emailed someone else and quoted a little from Hemingway's 'Old Man and the Sea'.
Work came my way. I was deep into it for a while. Then something else came up and although, welts of pain seemed to mark my mind, I remember getting exasperated with MS Word. I attended a friend's call, planned a few things, made a promise to eat less (when I caught a reflection in the mirror).
I stayed back late in office and then came back home. Ma is here for the weekend and when I reached, she excitedly told me of a new recipe for aloo-gobi. It was pretty fabulous and I ate a lot of rice and daal. And then I got on to Facebook and laughed at somebody's update.
It's really a pretty awesome thing - this framework of existence. It seems to be so interconnected and all, yet...when I am going through possibly the crappiest time of my life, my 'life' so to speak doesn't quite know it.
I get the feeling that to actually tackle one day at a time - it's not really important to be positive or feel greatly uplifted. I think it's sufficient to stay curious, to just ask, "How will this turn out?"
It's the 9th of July, 2012 in Delhi. It's hot, humid, and any hint of rain seems to have evaporated from the face of the North Indian earth. I'm in the family court. It's freshly painted and completely air conditioned. The waiting room outside the 'court room' is small and is crawling around with people. Many of them are lawyers and the rest are people they represent. I scan around for faces of the people who are looking blankly at walls. Guys who are fiddling around on their Blackberries, women who are flipping through the files once again. Lawyers who are going over some documents efficiently, mechanically - admonishing their clients -'Why haven't you signed here?' or trying to calm them down - 'Don't worry, it will be okay.'
Since I am there for a divorce, I think that everyone is there for a divorce. (It's not true, of course. I'm at the family court and people there are looking to settle family disputes - divorce being just one of them. While I imagine the splintering of my own marriage, I wonder if someone out there had actually come for restitution. "No, your Lordship - I don't believe it’s over. Please sentence us to be together.") And since I am sad, I assume that everyone else is sad too.
Now, I've heard a lot of people say that people get divorced to take the easy way out. I can absolutely guarantee that the people who say that have never been divorced. In fact, my own experience has been fairly a dream run. There was no mud slinging, there was no child to fight over, no blame games (or not too many, at least), and no parental pressure at all. And yet, I can safely say that this is the most painful experience of my life. More painful than being in an accident and more painful than seeing my parents in the hospital and more painful than seeing my beloved city under siege. Yes, there is a certain peace at knowing that this is the right thing to happen. Or possibly, the most inevitable thing to happen. But that peace seems to scamper away fairly quickly.
In fact, I read about a research cited in 'Committed' by Elizabeth Gilbert (it's a wonderful book). According to the research, the number one hardest thing a person goes through emotionally is the death of a spouse. (Please note - a spouse. Not parent, not child, not even lover. Spouse.) And the number two reason is - yep, divorce. Divorce outranks the death of a parent, illness, bankruptcy, being homeless, etc. Number three, though, is interesting. The number three reason for gut-wrenching pain is a marriage almost heading to a divorce and then getting saved. That’s a remarkable find. (There are some astute inferences in the book.)
Anyway, back to the court. A and I enter with our respective lawyers. There's an Edvard Munch type of painting hanging behind the judge - a family portrait with silhouettes of a man, a woman, and a small child. The man and the woman are holding the child's hands. I keep looking at the painting and before I know it, the judge says 'Okay' and closes the file. The divorce has come through.
As I’m hustled here and there by the lawyers to sign here and put my finger prints there – I suddenly remember that it’s 9th of July. I had gotten married on the 9th of February and July is the month when I had been proposed to. These dates mean nothing to no-one and they must mean nothing to me as of this moment on. And I wish that, when the force of loneliness and helplessness hit me then – I wish I’d remembered that I’d taken the easy way out.
The weather in Pune now is soul-stirringly beautiful. Trees are green and pretty ferns are climbing every sort of rocky surface - interestingly, something so hard surrenders to something so fragile. The rain itself is another muse by itself - lovely, fresh, lilting. It falls like a mellow euphoric haze. Heck, even the water from taps flows almost bard-like.
It's a gorgeous, peaceful grey all around.
A little girl comes out skipping in the balcony below me. She sees a bird in a nearby tree - a majestic creature with deep purple and red plumes - shake off water from its feathers. The child starts singing something and hopping from one leg to another. The bird doesn't notice, though.
Suddenly, from inside, a voice calls out (I think it's her mother): "Do you want to see a rainbow? If the sun comes out, we'll see one."
A long purple feather with red tips has floated on to the beige tiles of the balcony. The girl stops skipping and picks it up. It's plush and luxurious and 'grown-up' in her small hands.
She turns to her mother, all the while fingering the feather gently. "I don't need the sun and I don't want the rainbow."