Today is the 1st of January. And I am travelling. For the last 8 years, this has been my routine on the first day of a new year – say goodbye to mamma whom I had come visiting during the tail-end of last year, and go back to the city where I work. In the last 8 years, a lot has changed – my work, my house, my appearance, my palate, my friends, my perspective to name a few – but what hasn’t changed is this yearly hello and goodbye on the same day with my mamma.

Perhaps, in this changing world, where even the air I breathe undergoes change everyday, there is a desire to hold on to something constant. This is not necessarily because I am afraid of change; it is because this unchanging, unwavering thing is my bridge to the past that has shaped me. This constant is not constant because the people at either side of the bridge are the same; no, I hold no vanity of that magnitude. But there is a familiar pool of love and trust over which this bridge is built and which assimilates the changes, making good the journey, yet again.

As I look out and see the expansive tarmac from this airport cafeteria , I realize that this constant may vanish someday. Some unexpected turn might render the bridge vulnerable and the hinges may corrode to an irreparable extent. I am aware.

But that day is away for now. And till then, I shall walk on this bridge.

I shall see my mamma and bore her with my work stories. I shall place my head on her lap and regale her with my dreams. I shall refuse to wear her earring stating it doesn’t suit my style. I shall diligently nod to her recounting of politics in her club. I shall buy her different tea blends because she prides in being a true-blue cha drinker. I shall slurp the crab curries every third day she cooks with enviable panache. I shall look at her at night long after she has slept. I shall let her look at me in morning long before I have woken up. I shall hold her tight when she misses baba. I shall let her hold me tight when I miss baba.

Because aren’t we mere slippery sand if not for the water of love turning us rock solid? Because aren’t we listless seeds of pollen if not for the memories directing us to live? Because aren’t we just another face in this worldly milieu if not for the eyes of a dear one turning us identifiable? Because aren’t we lost wanderers if not for a sentiment turning us purposeful?

So, I shall travel, on this day, till as long as I can. I shall mark the bridge with my footprints and not worry if they shall live long. I shall see my reflection in mamma’s eyes and won’t fret on the light wrinkles kissing my eyes. I shall find a way to live in those moments, physically, vicariously, perennially.

May 2020 be no different.

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