Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wallowing in Nostalgia

Nostalgia is such an old people’s word, something I used to associate with people over 70. And yet I seem to be wallowing in it most of the time. My blog seems to overflow with it and I compounded the error with a three day trip to Kerala that was pure nostalgia. It’s always funny to go back to once familiar places, to feel an awkward stranger in a place that you were once part of. This trip though was something I really enjoyed. Not the wild excitement of a rollercoaster ride. More like the warm contentment that comes from a long, quiet drive.
Arriving at Coimbatore was such a relief after the never ending vastness that Chennai always seems to me. It felt good to be back to a town I knew, whose length I could cross in half an hour, where an hour’s drive would take me to the next district and most importantly where people addressed me with respect.
And then, Kerala. I had forgotten how intensely green Kerala is, especially after Tamilnadu’s dry scrub. And how pretty most of the houses are. And the number churches that lined the highway. It felt good to be back.
A friends wedding in Palakkad, where we arrived just in time for lunch but got included in the family anyway. The endless rituals, the crowd, the laughter, the noise and the confusion. It seemed like some gala family function. Only on the bus back home did it actually sink in that she was married now and would be going far away. To another country and another life. We would be lucky just to hear her voice again.
The weekend in Cochin. There are some places I love and some places I hate. Cochin I remember with affection. It was a very short 8 months that I spent there. The memories rushed back as soon as I entered the city. Shopping expeditions to mg road, ice creams on marine drive, spices in Broadway, cooking together in the kitchen, giggling bus trips, packed lunches, movies, exhibitions, laughter sessions at midnight, surprise parties, late nights spent talking. All the good things that happen while living with friends.
The place doesn’t seem to have changed at all, in the one year I have been away. But our lives have. Veered off suddenly into completely different directions, so much that we may be lucky just to meet each other again. And it was lucky, this second chance to go back, even if it was just for 2 days. We spent almost the whole time remembering those 8 months. Laughing and talking. The future was there too but as little as possible.

It was a pleasant weekend. The inescapable saree shopping and ice cream eating on MG road, dinner at the house of some friends and some sight seeing along with two other bored and irritated guys who hadn’t really changed much in a year.
I returned, happily content. Nostalgia is not really such a bad thing I think.

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