The distant nowhere

Someone loved you so much before you were born that she shed her inborn reticence to take a long journey through strange lands filled with unknown people to be with you. Tears were shed. Suitcases were lost. Flights were missed along the way. You will not remember.

I distinctly recall how your grandmother cradled you in her arms soon after you were born, her face glowing with an unmistakable fondness. She soothed you when you were inconsolable. She rocked you patiently in the middle of the night when your inexperienced parents voiced their frustration. She spoke to you and played with you and you smiled. You will not remember.

And as soon as she was here, it became time to go. While she packed the tiny outfits which you had outgrown, she deeply inhaled your lingering, faint smell. She packed the photos of you documenting moments from your first few months, but she did not need them: these were moments she had memorized.

“Do not look at me like that, my darling. I must go, though it tears my heart.”

I think of another woman, who had never traveled alone in her life, who decades before you were born, fearlessly took a train to New Delhi to be with her son and her expecting daughter-in-law. When the time came for her to be separated from her beloved grandson, she too had been heartbroken.

“The interest is more precious than the principal, my dear” she once told me. I intuitively comprehend what she meant even though she is gone from me forever now.

You and I do not remember. We occupy the other end of an impassable maze of reservation charts, passports, visas, waiting rooms, and boundaries at a distant nowhere.

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9 thoughts on “The distant nowhere

  1. Man that was so beautiful. We’ve had our MIL twice in the last year for 3 months and when it was time to go back, every time it has felt exactly how you write. Just beautiful writing this.

    • It is tough because they are part of the family and then they have to go away. I think you mentioned that your MIL had some travel problems while returning to India? This time was hell for mine: her first set of flights were missed and her bags were lost. We rebooked again for 4 days later on a different airlines and a different route and then she got stuck in Doha!

  2. Though we sometimes think about blacks and whites of life, finding the right words to communicate the right felling becomes so difficult . I could actually visualize the whole thing the way you’ve narrated it. This is just brilliant. My conclusion from this is , emotions don’t change with generations.

  3. Nice!! Very very well written…….. whether it is the US or two different states/cities in India .. the feelings are the same !

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