Hang-on or let-go

B and I love having friends over. We discovered this similarity of ours within the first few months of our marriage and it was of course a welcome surprise. During our 5 years of stay at Hyderabad, we met and befriended a terrific set of like minded people and we all got along like a house on fire.  We all could talk about anything under the sun, laugh our hearts out, whine together, basically let our hair down (quite literally, taking into account some of the head banging sessions we’ve had with a few of them!). Our friends made sure that the decision to leave Hyderabad and move to Panama was anything but easy. We went through our share of drama with welled up eyes and long hugs over a few farewell parties before we left the city we had so much fallen in love with.

The first few months in Panama were all about coping up. Coping up with an alien land, alien language and a bunch of strangers. After the years of having a comfortable ecosystem and dealing with a set of known faces, I was bewildered with the amount of newness this place had brought along. It was way too overwhelming even for someone like me who likes change. At least that’s what I thought till sometime back. The newly acquired postal address brings along a series of errands to be dealt with. It started with getting acquainted with the nearest Indian grocery store, fresh produce market, a good school,  the bookshop with  the best coffee  and moved on to the initial sessions of introduction and redundant conversations with the security guard, maintainence staff, cleaner and the school bus driver. And all this was done while helplessly groping through the pages of  ‘Quick & Easy way to learn Spanish’. During these few months, I stuck to the basic needs like deciding on my daughter’s school, enrolling B and I for Spanish classes and procuring a domestic help (Yes..that’s the  bestest thing about this place!). Beyond these, I just refused to demonstrate or practice any of my social skills. I was happy with having my big bunch of friends in my head, heart and of course in the virtual spaces. Gmail, facebook, orkut…you name it ..I made my presence felt everywhere like never before. I kept myself updated with the news back in Hyderabad. What’s the plan over the weekend, who is hosting the first diwali taash party, who’s booking the movie tickets, what’s the menu for the potluck et al. The more I kept myself plugged in, the more I wallowed with a sense of loss. Blame it on my love for drama, I just could not let go. I still haven’t. I jump up and whine at each group mail that I’ve made sure I still get copied on. But I must admit that I secretly did hope to rekindle my interest and inclination towards socializing beyond the world wide web. 

After quite a long time, B and I got a glimpse of the social ‘us’. Yesterday evening, we decided to have our newly acquired set of friends over for some drinks and chit chat. Over some homemade bhel and spiked lemonade, the chit chat turned into a series of interesting conversations and the chatterbox in me felt gratefully indulged. After a marathon pour out session and some serious dose of asian fusion music in the living room of our home, we decided to get some fresh air and drove to causeway,a sea side area of the city lined with trees and plenty of  interesting places to unwind. We were thrilled to find an alfresco that matched beautifully with our liberated mood last evening. It was a quaint little place with just the right amount of lighting, neither too bright to shake us off from the languorous feeling nor too dim to leave us yawning. The restaurant overlooked the placid sea lined with yachts. Some fuss free wooden benches and chairs added to the charm. A one pager menu reduced the conflict in decision making and the waiters dressed in bright red further reduced the stress of looking out for them for ordering. A nice breeze blew with just the right amount of chill and intensity to make us comfortable but not interfere with the overall warm feeling. Sitting there, staring into the sea with familiar voices and laughter in the background, I felt a certain connection with this alien land. It led to a new but known feeling that I could not quite put a finger on. A feeling that can be compared to the one that we get after meeting a close friend after a very long gap. A feeling tinged with certain amount of initial awkwardness followed by connections deeper than the last time. The setting was a promising start to the rest of our evening by the bay and I wasn’t disappointed. Now, I’m secretly hoping for a carry over that outlasts the hangover!

 

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9 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Vivek said,

    Like the new layout of your blog.

  2. 2

    lilmorethanamommy said,

    Thanks! 🙂

  3. 3

    Raiv said,

    Ahhhhh.. the eloquence in ur words!!
    All ur blogs end too quickly.. Do me a favor.. Please write a novel..

  4. 5

    Joe Pinto said,

    My dear Aditi,

    I am so happy for you. That you are beginning to shed the nostalgic feelings for the India you have left behind and you are coping with the Panama that welcomes you with open arms.

    I have re-written the last few sentences of your piece by putting myself in your shoes. Tell me whether I have put my finger on your feelings.

    “Sitting there with my newly-acquired set of friends, staring into the sea, with their familiar voices and laughter in the background, I began to feel connected with this alien land of Panama — in a new but at the same time known way. I felt as if I had met a close friend from Hyderabd after a very long gap. My feelings were initially tinged with awkwardness, followed by connections deeper than I sensed the last time. The fresh setting was a promising start to the rest of our evening by the bay. I wasn’t disappointed. Now, I’m secretly hoping for a carry-over that out-lasts the hang-over!”

    Welcome to Panama!! At last!!

    Peace and love,
    – Joe.

    • 6

      lilmorethanamommy said,

      Thank you sir for taking time to critique my piece. Your words certainly capture my feelings well.

  5. 7

    KG said,

    lovely. good to know u are settling down. the sooner we do this the better. I am slowly getting around there too..ofcourse there are times when i miss india dearly. but yes, making an emotional connect is so important a begining to like a place. liked the flow in this post dearie.

  6. 8

    lilmorethanamommy said,

    Thanks Appu! good to know you settling down too. Yess..I finally do feel a bit anchored out here though missing India has become a habit!

  7. 9

    Namas said,

    hey babal,

    an excellent piece of writing as usual..am sure u wud find ur cotre of friends wherever u go…u have always been very social n who wudnt love to have a friend like u..i still rember a comment of my friend in MH (Miranda House) who had met u there,,”‘She is somebody u can proudly call ur friend”.


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