I’ve decided to make my home here, for now.
Or at least, I’ve docusigned the electronic contract, imported enough Pilot G-2’s to last more than a few months and joined Flat/Flatmates Khar/Bandra/Santacruz on Facebook.
I’ve gone to public events sure to attract young, hip people, wearing my ‘I’m cool’ hoop earrings that make me walk taller, paired with my friendly-open-but-definitely-not-needy-just-really-nice smile.
I’ve started sleeping in a room where I can choose the temperature, tried to start living outside of internalized expectations.
I’ve spent consecutive weekends in the city and joined more arts and culture mailing lists than I can remember, in a fit of needing the company of peers. I’ve taken (more) endless pictures of train travel and tested the taste limits of Vile Parle East with my bared shoulders or fitted t-shirts or unpadded bra. I’ve moved from disdain of coffee shops to seeking them as quiet solitary refuge.
I’ve made a line item budget to plan my finances, and I’ve eaten an average vada-pav-a-day in the name of science/training my bowels but really in the name of fried gold for 12 rupees. I’ve amassed a stash of cash and switched to a full size wallet, catching and losing 2 rupee coins daily. I’ve returned to the same medical store twice in one week, and bought paints at a stationary shop. I’ve started Hindi lessons / meine Hindi ki tuitions shuru ki hain.
I’ve read prose on solitude, I’ve tried to learn to breathe when my eyes well up in public — at my brothers’ college app essay, at a photo of my sleepy person’s face, at the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty before going to interview strangers in broken-but-mending Hindi, at wearing the ‘wrong’ thing and attracting attention from the ‘wrong’ people with my ‘wrong’ body in my ‘wrong’ solitude.
I’ve googled devnagri tattoos and laughed at myself, finding myself on white girl Pinterest. I’ve told a group of strangers that I’m not sure where home is, but it smells like an udbati burning and looks like grey cool skies, vacuumed caarpets, and sounds like shastriya sangeet. But it also feels like the hugs of a few young adults out in the worlds of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Salatiga, Palo Alto, Toronto, Vancouver, and so many more.
I’ve face-timed Liam. A lot. And hoped it wasn’t too much. We’ve made the best-laid plans and aren’t prepared if they fall through.
I’ve walked down Nehru road on my way to the train station, grumbling about expectations in my life and walked right past a lady sifting trash on a Sunday, so she can be paid. I’ve lost and found fire for my work. I’ve learned a new Sanskrit word that captures self-love and self-actualization. I’ve promised and renegaded on a family tree project for days. I’ve craved silence. I’ve felt out of place, young, naive, sure of myself, wise, and capable.
For now, I’ve decided to make it all home.