Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Red, I thought would be a good name at first, but I grew tired of it soon. I had almost a year in my dark closet to ponder and still I could not settle on a good name.
Snow was still on the ground when I was brought up into the light. My family moved around as they packed for another trip. I found myself lugged to an airport, stuffed in a tiny, congested compartment for yet another long journey across the ocean to India. Only mother and daughter accompanied me on this trip.
Delhi-Gurgaon was the same as we had left it with honking cars, cud chewing cows on the roads and warm air. A few days later, after our bodies were adjusted to the new time zone, a group of us loaded up in a van and drove up north into the Himalayas. We drove through farmland, small towns and sprawling cities outside the Capital, up into the mountains. Through winding roads we observed the dried up river beds, monkeys perched up on milestones and the panoramic expanse of the majestic mountains, until we reached the bustling valley city of Dehra Dun.
Equally bustling was the ancestral home we stayed in where the extended family congregated all the days we were there. They shared stories of distant and recent past, talked over each other and listened to absorb or correct details. While the daughter in my family appeared lost, fascinated, and beguiled with the lively and boisterous atmosphere, the mother and grandmother listened with interest and nostalgia as they blinked away welled tears. Their faces reflected reminiscence of younger years and older times, memories of those gone but ever present in their hearts and a smile to a touching moment or story that had been recounted several times through generations.
The drive back out of the valley, through the mountainous, winding roads, across the towns and cities into Delhi sped by in blur. A vision of this journey representing many journeys sat heavily on the passengers’ hearts. Even I reflected on my treks from the Swiss mountains to the snow and lakes of Minnesota to this valley city in India. My life had just begun and I had many miles in me yet. A whole world spread out before me to discover and conquer.
Barely had I settled into the house in Gurgaon that we were off again, this time in a smaller plane towards the port city of Mumbai. Another family welcomed us there with warmth and vitality. Great-grandmother lighted up with delight and found the energy to sit up, walk out and join the family as they assembled in the sitting room. Four generations mingled, bonded, healed as they shared stories separated by time and space. They played the card game passed down generations, making more memories.
Mumbai visit also ended as fleetingly as Dehra Dun and ultimately the entire vacation was over and we were back in Minnesota. Within a week of returning to this side of the Pacific, we learned of great-grandmother’s departure from this world. A sad goodbye but with closure and passing down of memories spanning four generations.
I went back to my nook, empty, sagging and reflecting on my life’s journey.to be continued...