Andretta is a small village in the foothills of the Himalayas. It has been calling to us for the past five years. We’ve been working towards becoming able to take it up on its invitation and finally, we are here.
I return to my country, a stranger. I am not that young lady who left and this land is different from what it was when she left twenty-three years ago. It is noisier, busier and dirtier. People and houses everywhere. The national highways used to run through wide expanses of green and yellow fields but now they are lined with messy shops, workshops and warehouses. Overweight people used to be a rarity but now obesity is commonplace, even in kids and village folk. The forests are thinner and the weather full of surprises. The number of extreme rain events has risen three-fold since the beginning of the last century, possibly due to a warmer Arabian Sea.
It was in the last century that I ventured abroad. The dreams that lived in my eyes then, are a mere story now. Those dreams had to be dashed, so I could wake up. My heart had to be shattered before it could learn to be full. I had to be completely humiliated, before I could be truly humble.
Maybe it was necessary.
Fifty-four days ago, my father walked into a hospital for an operation that he believed would improve his quality of life. He has been unable to leave his hospital bed since. Every time I turn from one side to another in my sleep, I am aware that my father can’t do that. He needs help with nearly every activity of life. He’s aware of his predicament and we all are helpless. This helplessness is an old friend from a few years back. Looking back, it might have been better if he’d not had the operation but we don’t know for sure and it’s too late now. It could be worse. I could be better. It could be different.
I wonder why things happen as and when they do? Is this a question worth asking or is it completely pointless? Some questions are unanswerable no matter how frantically the logical mind looks for answers. There are none.
This is how it is. For no reason at all.