Gone Too Soon

14 Jun

It’s been 10 days since I landed at Sahar Airport, bumping my overflowing cabin baggage down a rickety ladder that led to the steaming tarmac. 10 days since I herded my clueless Aussie fellow passenger onto a state transport bus look-alike with screaming children, rattling windows and a general air of sardines that ferried us to our baggage and destination. 10 days since my face–burned and broken-out–has attempted to readjust to the humidity and grime with all the dignity of a two-year-old. (My mind hasn’t even made a pretence of fitting back in. It simply screams Leave.Me.Alone. Sigh. Puberty.)

Already, England is a mere wisp of the mists that hugged the Eynsford fields at dawn, shrouding rape flowers and the Darenth river valley and mazes of walking paths for doggie exercise. A feeling of alarm surges up from an unidentified place as I realize I’m losing that month already. Memories are being systematically archived in hidden folders, carefully hoarded peace is fraying at the edges and my life here, like a jealous lover, won’t let me gaze back longingly.

“Delisle Road,” I tell the cabbie, and shut my eyes to the world. Sharp aromas from the Maharashtra Masala-grinding Mill break my lavender-infused reverie.

I call my Uncle. He’s in Ireland to pick up my Aunt. The house is empty without you, he says. I nod sadly, not telling him there’s a reciprocal empty space where that house-on-the-river slid in.

The fridge magnets laugh at me. You’re clingier than we are, they say. Shut up, ingrates, I glare back. Would you have rather lived on in England? Never mind. Don’t answer that.

Is there a thing such as too much belonging, I wonder aloud. Hands gnaw at my flesh, my attention, my time. You haven’t come to see my son yet! Let’s catch up before I head back to Hong Kong. Oooh must meet, what’s the goss, tell me AAALLL about your trip!

The telephone is evil. It shatters my solitude and brings people to me. I’d rather ride the Tube all day. I’ll know exactly where I am, exactly where I’m going and no one can call me underground.

And on that note, I shut Adele, slide her into my new quilted laptop tote and get out the door. “Delisle Road,” I tell the cabbie, and shut my eyes to the world. Sadly, yeh zaalim duniya, it won’t return the favor.


Long overdue shout-outs to:


Ceej: For visiting from Geneva, the trip to Stratford-upon-Avon and non-stop giggles in the back of a bus. You set the bar so high for the rest of the populace when it comes to having fun.

Priya: For SATC2, warmth and being such a good, solid human being. Big love to you.

Shanbhag: For that loooong day of gadding about and yummy lunch at Wagamama. I’m much impressed and a little amused at how considerate and protective you’ve turned out since we last properly hung out 11 years ago.

Seema & Faabi: For old memories, all that pampering and butternut squash risotto. You guys are like old shoes. Reading should put you in its tour guide as the best thing the town has to offer.

Anant: For reminding me just how precious our collective time at Xavier’s was. It was wonderful seeing you after more than a decade!

The Boy:  Oh Boy. What the hell. I’ll tell you offline. :mrgreen:

Bloggers & Tweeters:

Anil:  For mojitos and fish cakes in the lovely Blues Kitchen.  I’m sorry I had to run out like that!

Mina: For the bandages and hot chocolate, hugs and compliments. Wish we’d had longer.

DewdropDream: For being such a sport, laughing with me and seeing me twice, despite the fact that I threw the wrong OJ your way.

Shuma: For that evening by the Thames and pretending to be me. Hyuk. You were a surprise—a very pleasant one!

Chips: For feeding me, arming me with biscotti, seeing me off on a bus and giving me change to spare. And changing your opinion about me! Ever considered the hospitality industry? You’re a star.

Big hugs to each of you. Thank you for sharing your time to make mine so, so special.

12 Responses to “Gone Too Soon”

  1. DewdropDream June 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm #

    Remember you asked what I’d expected? Now that I think of it, you were the anti-thesis of my imagined you. I’d expected to meet a calm and collected slightly older young lady who’d talk of vastly intellectual and serious things … What I had not expected was OJ turning out to be a minor prankster with whom I’d be able to laugh this much 🙂 Must say, I really appreciate the prank 😀 And next time you’re here, I hope I get to spend more time with you … I’d love to show you around my London! (Or you could show me around your Bombay)

  2. Chips June 14, 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    Awww OJ! Was a pleasure to meet you. Do come and visit again. I’m sure your guide book has plenty of places you haven’t visited. Big hugs right back. Oh, and giggle away!

  3. Orange Jammies June 16, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    DewdropDream: You’re not alone. Every blogger I’ve met so far (with the exception of Anil) has expected me to be the economics-spouting version of the angry young woman. And then they meet someone who sounds like a giggly teenager (another blogger’s words) and don’t know what to do with her. 😆

    Chips: Oh I totally plan to, I am sooooo hooked to the place. See you soon, right? 🙂

  4. dipali June 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    I want to meet and giggle with you, OJ!
    Kolkata has good old Inglis Rani, come visit her:)

  5. pri June 24, 2010 at 3:44 am #

    ” my life here, like a jealous lover, won’t let me gaze back longingly.” wow! keeps pulling u by the hand.

    uggh, happened to me when I left mumbai this time and returned to kolkata. It doesn’t feel like I was there at the beginning of this year – feels like a lifetime away. All I have are lots of clicks and memories I tried to quickly write down before they got lost. And I’ve decided not to complete my mumbai album, not right now – it’s just my personal superstition that if I don’t complete it, there’s a way back, someday. 🙂

  6. Aunty G June 25, 2010 at 3:06 pm #


  7. Orange Jammies July 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    dipali: Oh Dipali, I’d love that. Calcutta charmed me the only time I was there.

    pri: So come back! I’ll throw in a guided tour. Phor phree!

    Aunty G: *Hug*

  8. Meera Vijayann July 13, 2010 at 5:30 pm #

    Hey, wait a second. My friend Revathi knows you right? Jeez, what a small world! How’s the writing going? Ultra Violet has transformed so much and its heartening to know that people are sitting up and taking notice.. best, Meera 🙂

  9. Orange Jammies July 13, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    Meera: She knows me online, yes. 🙂 Thanks, I’ll let our editor know.


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