Currently, I am at a phase where I feel extremely content with my life. The intensity of that positive sentiment seems to be stronger now than ever before.
I can’t really ascertain the reason(s) why this is so. Perhaps it’s just that I am growing up, and with that has come the wisdom and maturity which leads to such peaceful state of being. Or that I’m finally reaping some benefits of the on-again-off-again practice of meditation. Maybe, it has to do with being back in Boston – the only city to which I’ve experienced a real connection, the only city that I can relate to as being Home, the only city where I get the sense of belonging. Of course it is possible that it’s a combination of all that and more.
Be what it may, I am immensely grateful for where I am – physically, emotionally and spiritually.
After hours of relentless spilling, the stormy clouds, finally, find a way to appease their tempestuousness. Everything outside is covered with a thick glaring white blanket of snow. The sun plays peek-a-boo; one second you can see it push away the anemic clouds surrounding it, while the next the clouds suddenly boast their dexterity. Wind takes control and gives way for the sun to shine brighter and brighter with all its might.
Droplets of melting snow glisten under the rays as they sway with the breeze.
You gaze into the beads that have now formed on the windowsill. You observe them all, one after the other. Humble and open, each one of them embraces the mysteries of the skies and the earth within. Spellbound, you look in curiously seeking to dissect its depths, yet find yourself unreservedly dwindling into its abyss.
Time scurries past and you drift in and out. These few hours, this afternoon, the few tiny globules of thawed snow become a sanctuary of sorts for your otherwise nomadic mind.
Yes, library! All these years it was bookshelves scattered all over the place with just a dream of having a dedicated space for a library. And now, we finally have one – one small room with wall to wall bookshelves to hold the woven pages that we’ve collected and cherished over the years.
While we were looking for a place to move into as we relocated to Boston, we walked through house after house, rejecting most of them because of not feeling a sense of home while there, among other factors. And this particular house was no exception; there were quite a few reasons to disregard the positives and keep on looking. But all that changed as we walked into that one room. As soon as our eyes caught a glimpse of what it comprised and what it could potentially be, we knew this was home.
A home with a library!
I make it a point to spend some time in there every day. It’s time devoted to practicing meditation of sorts… I sit there, calm and quiet, not being bothered by what happened or what is to come; I sit there as if time has stopped to let me take advantage of the beauty in the stillness and silence that surrounds; I sit there, lost in a million spattered thoughts, yet at the same time with a clear mind, one that’s free of it all… It’s time devoted to experiencing the poetic depth of solitude.
It’s my time in my happy place.
Let’s sail the vast oceans until we have found exactly where the sky meets the sea. Let’s hike the high mountains until we have reached the point from where we can touch the surface of the moon with our fingertips while we balance ourselves on the tips of our toes. Let’s tread the trails amidst the trees until we have explored every nook and cranny of the deepest of deep forests. Let’s travel the universe until we have tired our hearts and souls and minds trying to comprehend the mysteries buried in every star in every Galaxy.
And after all that, let’s still keep going!
Back in 2012 when the topic of moving out of the city, our home – a place that both K and I were extremely fond of – came about, the decision was kind of already made for us. There were several factors to consider, both positive and negative, but out of all those the main reason to leave was the visa situation. K’s job was moving and there was no way he could elect to stay back. Had he done that, he would’ve lost his job and by inference his work visa. So, like I said, the outcome was pretty clear even before we could sit down and discuss in length – we had to move.
And move we did.
We welcomed the new phase of life with open hearts, albeit a little reluctant in the beginning. We had our close friends just a stone’s throw away. We spent countless days and nights with them sharing meals, playing board games, discussing all sorts of topics under the sun, traveling together – all that fun stuff. We bought a home big enough to host a dozen people; so we sponsored visas, invited our family from India and had a blast when during their visit. We celebrated Holi and Diwali one of the years with a large gathering of friends.
All in all, things were going fine, but there was always that nagging feeling somewhere hiding deep in the shadows of our minds about how everything could be even better. And every now and then we kept revisiting the idea of someday returning to the one place where both of us felt at Home. Visa situation had changed, and slowly, but surely, the light at the end of the tunnel got brighter and brighter.
Late in 2014, K came home one evening with the news that there might a prospect of moving to a new position within the company and it would require transferring to exactly where we wanted to be. Without any second thoughts both of us agreed that it would be a great break. He liked the new job role, and both of us fancied what it brought with it in terms of relocation. He pursued it rigorously while we waited patiently for it to finally take shape.
We spent hours together deliberating whether it made sense to leave behind all that we’d built together in the past three years. We wrote down pros and cons, debating whether one evidently won over the other. The key point that made us sway from side to side was the enormous financial hit that we had to take with the move (the cost of living being the main culprit; it would be much higher here, but neither of us would got any sort of increment to compensate for that. Bummer, huh?). In the end, though, all things considered, we unequivocally decided that we had to do what our hearts desired without bringing money into the equation. Money might come and go, but opportunity like this might not knock on our doors again. Hence, the fact that we would both be immensely happier in every which way if we shifted made our decision for us.
Consequently, almost a year later, in October of 2015, we found ourselves back in Boston. And there has been looking back ever since.
This city has always been (and will forever be) Home to me. And now that I’m back here, I have a feeling I’m going to embrace it closer to my heart than ever, never wanting to even consider the thought of moving elsewhere.
To be able to wake up at a decent hour so as to not rush in the mornings is a boon in itself. I haven’t done that in years. For me mornings typically entail only of going from a half-sleepy state to an I’m-running-late-I-have-to-hurry state within half hour of opening my eyes. I’ve wanted to change this time and again, and make it a custom of relishing the whole waking up and starting a whole new day experience. I kept putting that task off to the proverbial ‘tomorrow’, however, to get those few extra minutes of sleep bestowed upon my nightly slumber accomplishment slate that sometimes ran into the double digit hours.
You see, it’s not that I am incapable of doing that for whatever reason; it’s merely that I am extremely lazy. Even this morning I woke up at 430. Yes, that early – without forcing myself, without any alarms, without anyone trying their best to get me out of bed, without any pressing work to be completed – I opened my eyes and felt fresh as a daisy even before the sun kissed the city’s skyline. It happens, rarely. Nonetheless, it was futile because I ended up spending the next few hours in bed tossing and turning contemplating how to best utilize the extra hours. And, before I knew it, there went the said extra hours bidding me goodbye. Frustrated with myself for neither dozing off nor spending the time wisely, I went back to sleep after I spotted sun’s magical rays win its sweet quarrel with the window shades. Heights of laziness, no?
What I want, though, is to be able to wake up at a reasonable hour, maybe make my breakfast, maybe meditate a bit, maybe spend a little time reading to get my mind into a calm state, maybe just sit by the window and watch the rain or snow fall, maybe do some low intensity exercise, maybe listen to some soft music, maybe this, maybe that – basically do whatever my whims are at that particular instant before I earmark the last half hour for showering and priming. I’ve realized when I do this I am much less cranky than if I were to madly go about getting ready robotically.
And to head towards that path, I think I have taken the first baby step.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been trying to assimilate some of the above mentioned acts to my otherwise mundane morning routine. The caveat here is that I get out of bed at my regular hour, not a minute early, and do all that I fancy before heading into work. Of course that means I end up at the office later than most people. Thankfully, work hours are flexible enough and I login in the mornings, along with fulfilling my other impromptu wishes, to finish up anything that may require immediate attention.
While this takes me one step closer to my goal, I don’t want to set the tone this way.
Next, I want to slightly tweak this pattern to accommodate an early-to-rise practice. I want to be active an hour or two before my current schedule and go around doing whatever I’ve been doing the last few weeks. Is this too much to ask? Why does my heart fervently desire it while my mind/body puts up a fierce battle every morning as if it’s starved of sleep? How much time before this gratuitous scuffle settles? Hopefully, not long…
Page after page you turn the stained corners to delve deeper and deeper into the world that the book is gradually unfolding for you. It’s delightful, to say the least. It’s all that you’d hoped it would be, and some more. The people, the places, the situations – everything so colorful, so intense. The more you read, the more you want to read. The words, each and every one of them, woven so ingeniously into a story genuinely resonate with you. It puts you in an intense meditative state every time you immerse yourself into it.
But suddenly, something changes…
You stop abruptly, forgetting the story, the characters, as if somebody, out of the blue, questioned you about the dwindling appearance of the book in your hand. And you wonder why it doesn’t look minty fresh as it probably should.
Memories of the past dance in your mind’s eye as you take upon yourself the endeavor to pursue the story behind the story.
You remember – not a day or a specific date – but a vague picture of yourself walking out of a bookstore in your beloved city with this treasure in hand. There were other ones too, you recall, but this one… this one was somehow special. Because while the others calmly gathered around in your bag patiently waiting their turn to be dotingly picked up to be read (days, months or even years from now, who knows when), this one was an instant winner.
You remember opening the book so you could get started with reading this new found piece of word art during your commute home. As the train chugged along, you daringly dove into a sea of newness. You were blissfully unaware at that moment in time though about other plans that the universe was putting in place for you. After only a few pages in the train stopped and you closed the book.
You remember walking home that evening with this book in hand. The sky was pouring down, yet somehow, you seemed to have lacked the sense to put the book in a safer place. Perhaps under your jacket; perhaps in your bag. In hindsight, you are able to come up with ample ideas as to what you could’ve done, but back then idiocy had prevailed. Hence, every page, every corner got drenched in the rain.
You remember reaching home and religiously trying to dry the pages back to life. After spending a lot of time near the heater and after soaking in the afternoon sun sitting by the window for days in row, the book was somewhat fine. Alas, by then, though, you’d moved on to the next one only to put this on some seemingly invisible shelf of the over flowing bookshelf.
And it had been forgotten for years to come, until one day you finally set your eye on it.
Now, along with the story behind the written words, every page, every corner of this book has a story of its own to tell. Of the handful of minutes that it triumphed over the others by being chosen first. Of the once in lifetime experience of lashing clouds. Of being drenched. Of being stained. Of, finally, being rediscovered and relished, after years. Of being remembered as the pregnant book.