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Bittersweet

20 Aug

Some places are gone forever.

The best part about moving on is that which is yet to come – the busy-ness of it, the sense of purpose, the future that awaits, the anticipation builds. You see a door and you don’t know what lies behind it. A whole another world to explore. A new house with new neighbors and new idiosyncrasies to learn; a new room with new shadows that wait to make friends with your old dreams and forgotten nightmares; new sounds that announce themselves in drips and creaks. A new life with new possibilities.

The worst part about moving on is that which is past – the sadness of it, the sense of loss, the memories that fade into a sepia tint despite promises of forever. You look over your shoulder and you see all that you’re leaving behind. You grieve because you know you’ve said goodbye even though you pretend it’s au revoir. The old house with its worn knowledge, its mysteries exposed; the shadows you know by name; the sounds you’ve investigated a million times; the walls pitted with your deeds. It is home.

Sometimes a song, the music of horns, snatches of conversation, the sound of someone’s laughter, wind rustling through leaves along an endless line of defiant trees, the smell of tobacco warming the morning air, squirrels at play, the squeaky tones of an adventurous toddler’s sneakers, mustachioed men at gates, the milky warm smell of a happy puppy, aged stone warmed by sunlight, the smooth grain of polished wood, bright red blood welling from a cut – and there you are again. In that place with no address; that space you carry within you. Fold by fold it opens to envelope you, until you stand there, just as it used to be.

Nothing has changed. But you don’t live there anymore. Nothing has changed, but these streets don’t look the way they used to. The trees have been cut down. The flowers aren’t the ones you love. It was the people who made it real but where have they gone? Nothing has changed except you.

The monster ate them. The bulldozer got them. The man bought them. They lost the directions. It’s a bittersweet realization, but some places are gone forever.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2010 in Personal

 

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9 responses to “Bittersweet

  1. sitaji

    August 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Lovely. The only thing constant is change, hai na?

     
  2. jan

    August 21, 2010 at 12:56 am

    omg amrita, this made me a little sad :( beauteously said, though (per your usual).

     
  3. sachita

    August 21, 2010 at 1:20 am

    which is why I would like an exact – time and people everything replica else heading back to the same place only worsens the nostlagia.

     
  4. sangs

    August 21, 2010 at 4:28 am

    “It’s a bittersweet realization, but some places are gone forever.”-its so true. and i know it really well.

     
  5. Gradwolf

    August 21, 2010 at 7:00 am

    Wow when was the last time we read something like this over here? Nostalgia is bittersweet.

     
  6. Fixing the (Un)fixable

    August 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Yeah, moving on can be a bitch.

    Your post reminds me of (many things but am going to stick with this one thing for now, which is) what Gwynn O’Gara (Sonoma County poet laureate) wrote of a fellow norcal poet’s work that “explores childhood’s maze to find the self at the center, only to lose that center, as we must, to love. Along with a mother’s gift of the courage, dolls, ghosts and night fears blossom into adult passions and longing, celebrating two of the greatest tools we have for ‘fixing the unfixable’– love and language.”

     
  7. eclat

    August 22, 2010 at 12:28 am

    So true, Amrita. To one who’s lost many loved elders, ancestral homes, trees beneath which countless childhood dreams were woven, this rings so true.

     
  8. BVN

    August 22, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Beautiful. Rather not make a perfect piece of writing muddled with a comment. Couldn’t feel it better than “The old house with its worn knowledge, its mysteries exposed; the shadows you know by name”. Nicely done. Happy Onam :)

     
  9. Amrita

    August 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    @ Sitaji – true :)

    @ Jan – awww :( sorry. I was feeling a little low when I wrote it.

    @ Sachita – Inception has more uses!

    @ Sangs / Eclat – at some point, I think we all do. Adulthood. Somebody else can have it!

    @ Adithya – a while :) I’ve been keeping these kind of things private for a bit for some reason.

    @ FtU – that is absolutely fucking beautiful. And it’s exactly that, you know?

    @ BVN – Happy Onam to you too! :)

     
 
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