Saying Goodbye - Part 1

Location: Burger King, 2nd Level, Stuttgart Airport, Germany.
Time: 1.15 pm.
Date: August 23rd, 2011.

The raised skin on my palms hurt. Clutching the large coke with both my hands provides a little relief. I rather not do it often. It’s already half full and I need it to last for three hours.

I wonder what precisely about novelty excites me. Is it merely the fact that it is the causative agent to ‘change’? That would definitely not explain my random bouts of love for laziness. On that note, I think I would love pottery. The more clay you add, the better you can mold, the better it can transform, hence, the more choices you have to make your creation even more beautiful. I find the metamorphosis of the human mind similar. As a staunch believer of man being an eternal student, I completely agree with Darwin when he said that only those organisms most adaptive to change, survive. Yes, only those pots most inclined to change, to withhold the new clay, make it out into the market for sale. Now that I think of it, I probably took it upon myself to start loving change. The human mind is a mysteriously vulnerable organ. It can be misled into believing almost anything that one deems right. I made my mind believe that change was good, always. Isn’t experience the best teacher? Any change that works to our disadvantage always comes with a hidden lesson which can be learnt to prevent the occurrence of a similar change in the future. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for these actions which relate to the future.

She is back again today. She reminds me of my co-traveller on my way from Krakow to Berlin. I wish she would speak in her classy English accent again, but all of her clients till now knew German. I wonder if she would recognize me. After all, I’m wearing the same clothes.

There is a default network in the brain which has received much of the gung-ho lately from neuroscientists around the world. It is believed that the brain doesn’t rest even when it is believed to not be performing any neural actions. In simple terms, the default mode activity of the brain is at its peak when we get bored. The restless person that I am, I’m sure my brain is as averse to the default network as a touch-me-not plant to pressure. That also explains why I love staying out of the default mode by being more responsive to change and hence love this change/novelty.

I smile after writing this last part. I love what science has done to me.

I remember walking west through Wishnick Hall back in November 2010, looking at the multitudinous posters on the bulletin board to my right. One stood out clearly: the map of Germany with the German tricolor. The DAAD Rise program sounded very coveted then. A change of location for the summer would definitely be welcoming. I would get a unique opportunity to immerse myself in the plethora of novelty that would surround me in a foreign land.

She looked at me and smiled back, a tinge of recognition in her eyes. Why does that make me happy?

I took the chance and applied. My parents are firm believers of the power of experience. If I didn’t get accepted, I would at least stand a better chance the next time I apply. I could relate to that easily. Maybe it was just genes. Regardless, it definitely sparks a good nature v/s nurture debate. Debattieren. I didn’t realize debating would stay with me for so long. I wish my university had a debating club. On retrospect, I guess I started debating in high school only because all the top students did it; and it became fun along the way - to the extent, that I was actually considering law school. This year I will be a part of the Student Government Judicial Board in our university - my first tryst with law. I also hear there might be a possible vacancy in the Finance Board. That appeals more to my mathematical brain. Love for mathematics will definitely be a pre-requisite in my choice for a potential partner years later. Love. I remember the seventeen year old sister of my flat mate ask me what love is when sitting below the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. How would I even know? It is a word I’ve used to describe my emotions for my family. I know I would do anything for them. Is that love? On the other hand, I wouldn’t do anything for chocolate but I do love chocolate. Hmm…paradox. Oh, what a feeling it is to be in love when you are in the city of love. I was in love with life. I embraced change with open arms and appreciated even the smallest cobwebs that adorned the Pere Lachaise Cemetery; after all, they were the nouveauté in my life. Contrary to one’s belief, this Parisian cemetery was not at all eerie. It was just like the rest of Paris – beautiful, gorgeous and fashionable. Yes, it took me some time to digest the fact that a cemetery could be beautiful. It took me two hours after having set out from the Louvre Museum, to find Oscar Wilde’s grave. The note in front of his grave pleaded tourists to respect the author by not defacing his gravestone. The number of lipstick kisses on the stone was yet another rather artistic display of how mankind absolutely enjoys thwarting rules. I thought of the Happy Prince, I thought of the Nightingale and the Rose, I thought of the Picture of Dorian Gray. I wished my brother was there with me.  All three days in Paris, I looked at the brother – sister duo who accompanied me to Paris and missed my brother a lot. We stopped going on adventurous family trips ten years back when my brother started high school and education became priority #1. My father always made us notice sweepers when we were young. He would say, “If you don’t study, you will become like him. Look at his clothes, look at his appearance. He will keep sweeping the floor all day throughout the year but will steal not earn as much.” I remember the countless number of times my father clasped my hand tightly when he said this. I miss the warmth. I miss the feeling of security. It wasn’t as much about the lack of luxury that interested me when I saw those laborers, but more so the lack of luster in their faces. Browner than the standard Indian brown, tired, helpless, monotonous yet driven by the hunger in their stomachs, these people believed that the show must go on always. I always looked up at my father and noticed the stark contrast. The crisp ironed shirt, well groomed beard, sauna-scrubbed face, smiling worriless down at me. Of course the comparison wasn’t completely legitimate as it was during one of my father’s relaxed moments while it was the laborer’s workplace but I was young then and didn’t understand this fallacy.

My left knee has begun hurting again. The tight skinny jeans are not doing my scalded knee any good. Half an hour more.

As we crossed the light, the peak of the tower was visible. It was golden. The contrasting black night sky increased the illumination. My pupils dilated, lips slightly parted. As we continued walking, I remembered it was another 150 meters till I would be able to see the entire Eiffel Tower which was covered by some residential buildings currently. I grew impatient with each step.  I could see my destination but my short legs could speed up walking only to a certain limit. I told the brother – sister, “Ugh, I can’t wait!” and sprinted the 100 meters. I was back in grade 5. I had to run the fastest. No thought in mind, except that I had to complete these 100 meters as fast as I can. I felt the familiar whiff of wind gush past my hair. Only, this was the Parisian wind. And then, I saw the 2 pizza boxes I was holding, fly into the air. My dash was interrupted by a chain which camouflaged itself against the darkness of the night. I felt scratches on my knees, shins and palms as I found myself face down on the ground. I looked up. Fortunately, our pizza slices didn’t fly out of their boxes. I looked beyond them. My destination was still a couple of meters away. I got up, picked up the boxes and ran again only to be halted by my sharp intake of breath. It was there. Complete. In all of its glory. The Eiffel Tower. My mouth opened wide enough to make flies happy. I went numb. I looked to my right to find my co-travellers a long way ahead. I decided to wait for them. I looked down at my murky dress and the thin stream of blood running down my left leg. My dream lay in front of me. Nothing else really mattered. I was finally there.  It looked just like the pictures, yet was better than anything I could ever imagine. And then, my mind stopped thinking. It was one of those rare moments in my life when no thought polluted my mind. Not even a simple, ‘This is so beautiful’. I waited.

I see a BA personnel. I need to go. I might be back soon. 


Pearl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pearl said...

hey nice writing...
write some more...waiting for next gingers...

chefspeaks said...

thank you!