I wouldn't have posted this at all if I hadn't received the most beautiful e-mail a few evenings ago. A dear friend described, in aching and evocative simplicity, how she missed the dusk in Bombay. She spoke of the dusk in London where she has lived for about six years now. Describing the alienating and bleak twilight, she wrote that I would understand only once I'd experienced it.
But I did quite understand what she meant anyway.
I spent a month in Madras where the dusk was a blur outside an unfamiliar window, shaded in brown and grey, murmuring in a language that I did not understand... the streets were a darkness that seemed to roar and confuse me. The air was indifferent, the shadows hostile almost; the birds silent in their appraisal of me... the silence in the evenings an endless continuation of white mornings.
But I am digressing… I am disguising resentment in melancholy.
Madras was, by no stretch of the imagination, easy. If you asked me if I liked the city, I do not think I could give you an answer. Of course I met a few really nice people and had some good times with them. Yes, I went to a lot of concerts and drank with some very nice colleagues. I went shopping with some others, I ate out some, bought some great books, music, and clothes. I did a lot of these things on company money and time. I even went to Pondicherry for a few hours. But through it all, I do not think I ever felt at ease in Madras.
Forgive the cryptic abruptness but since I refrained from imposing on your kindness and posting a high-pitched, frenzied whine through all the days that I was in Madras, I'm just going to continue to refrain, yes?
I've been back ten days and every time I'm asked how Madras was, I smile and say "Good fun!" but I know inside that it wasn't all good fun. I wonder if it was simply me over-reacting as I am so wont to do especially since the elder sibling seemed to find my trials and tribulations vastly amusing. Perhaps, retrospect will show me the difference. Until then, I'm just going to get on with it and post about the sea and silence, about the music and photos, about the books and customers.