Sunday, June 28, 2015

Of Rainbows, Solitude and Other Good Things

All people should be treated equally, irrespective of who they are or who they love - Barack Obama

With those lines and a momentous ruling, Obama created history on 26th June, 2015. Streets here in LA as well as all over the country have erupted with colors. Of joy and relief. Even Facebook is seven shades of rainbow now. It is nice to be around this kind of infectious happiness. 


Yet, this happiness is a reminder of what India is not capable of. At least, not yet. When we were struggling under the British rule, Tagore wrote - Where the mind is without fear and head is held high; Into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake. Now, we are free; yet mired by our own narrow minds. While the world marches ahead, India took a big step back into ignorance in December, 2013 when homosexuality was criminalized. My love for my country runs deep. The kind of love you can't let go of. Been less than a year in US, and I crave every day for the crowded streets, 'chai' in the rains and just the feeling of being home. Yet, yesterday, there was no pride. A sense of shame because my country has deprived people of an inalienable right. But, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things (yes, Shawshank Redemption!). This ruling in US is that silver lining which tells us that a real change is possible. Hopefully, soon.

Quite some time back, I had written that solitude and being alone are not synonymous. Moving to a new country on your own is tough. I still grapple with it. But life's lessons are best learnt in uncomfortable situations. Comfort just breeds complacency. I am surely and steadily getting better at this living alone bit. Of course, there are evenings when coming back home and cooking dinner seems monstrous. This country forces you to drive, and that's a good thing. I have been driving for three months now and it is liberating! The Pacific Coast Highway (better known as PCH) has become my happy place. The city has quaint bookshops and cafes, and when everything seems alien, turning pages in a book seems right. Surprisingly, work has been the constant that has kept me rooted. Good work can be a game changer. The last one year is a case in point. In spite of the insane hours, when we recently achieved what we had set out to, it was incredible. Someone very wise once said that it is never about the money. What matters is whether you changed something for the better. Right now, I am sitting in a cafe in Santa Monica, with a book, coffee, music and this post. And at this very moment, I am good just being here. Content with my own company. Like I said, I am getting better with the solitude bit. :)

Travel plans should start catching up soon. The three month backpacking trip to Eastern Europe is still high up on the list. So are the multitude of national parks around here. And South America. And India. :) If plans fall in place, should be headed to near and dear ones within a month. The thought of it warms me up like hot chocolate on a winter evening. 

The book beckons. Leaving you with thoughts of love, hope and equality today.

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