Raisin Rapture 892

mum-make-up-bag-high-resDear Mom,

Sorry I haven’t written in awhile. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about you. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve been holding a lot of guilt again over things that I think I didn’t do for you. And I’m finding it hard to let go of that.

I still say my daily morning prayer for you, and my “What should we do today?” questions during the day. I haven’t missed a day yet. It has become such a habit, that I could probably say it in my sleep now. And actually, I often do. Definitely the prayer part as I say it as soon as I get up.

But I’m trying to find other ways to connect with you and what you went through and even what I missed of you when you were here.

One of those was your daily routine- especially of getting ready and you know, brushing your teeth, and your hair. I know you liked putting on some hairspray, and doing a little back comb in your hair to give it a little body. I still actually have that hairspray of yours. It has lasted this long because I rarely use it. But I like that it’s in front of me, and I can spray a little here or there from time to time.

And I know that you loved putting on lipstick, and that you loved it when I had it on.

I always feel like my lips are so thin, and lipstick rarely stays on my lips. And when it does, I don’t even know if it can really be seen. But guess what I kept of yours? And am using very often? The last lipstick that you were using.

It’s such a beautiful colour, and I can just imagine it on you. It’s called Raisin Rapture. It’s colour number 892 in the L’Oreal Colour Riche collection, I guess. That’s what it says on the bottom of the canister it’s it.

The first time I put it on, I was nervous. I didn’t know if it was going to make me sad, or make me feel guilty, or make we wish that I had treasured or made more lipstick type moments happen with you more. I think I went through all of those feelings, and still do when I wear this colour. But I also imagine what you were doing, where you were going, and what you may have been thinking about when you would put on the lipstick.

Were you heading to an event at Khane? Were you coming out to meet us for a family gathering? Would you look at your face and think about how time has changed it? I know I do that sometimes. Or were you just seeing if the colour matched your outfit? Or trying to find what top would best match the lipstick?

I miss your features like your lips, and nose, and smooth skin and deep eyes. I miss the softness of your hair and the baby powder scent that came off of you even in your 70’s.

I miss the voice and words that fell from your lips, and the way your words, and even your silences, could touch me like no one else’s could nor every will.

I’m sorry I didn’t take more time to sit and listen to the words, or sit in silence with you. I am sorry that I didn’t ask you more questions about you, and take more notice of your lipstick colours, or find out what colours you loved the most- not just in make up, but in the world around you.

My mom made my world the most colourful that it could ever be. I didn’t know just how much that was true until she was gone.

I am always searching for your colours somehow. Not to replace you because that could never happen. But in hopes that you are bringing me signs that you are still here with me, in another way, in other forms. And that you are doing well where you are. That you are in utter joy and peace.
That’s what I want the most for you. For you to be surrounded by colour and caring and compassion like the kind you showered us with for so long.

I guess I keep your lipstick, and put it across my lips, to feel some of my mother’s colour and kiss touch my face. It’s like wearing a bit of you when I go out into the world.

I felt a little like you the first time I put on your lipstick. I hope it was you giving me a smile, blowing me a kiss, or a wink of approval.

Dear India

Hi Mom,

So I am  a bit behind on this 21 Days of Abundance thing now, but how can you really be behind when it comes to abundance right?

I’m on Day 18 and the theme is Live in Unity.

The Assignment is to write a letter to your country of origin. In this letter, I am to express all my feelings about the country, remembering that all of my feelings are valid and approrpriate. I am to write everything that arises, it says.

I thought I would share this with you, Mom for a few reasons:

  1. We never really talked about India in particular, and I know you wanted to go see it. And I have never seen it.
  2. For me, India was partly what I saw of our Indian culture through you- the sarees, the bangles, the languages, the skin tones, the accents, the food, the family values, the celebrations. But another part for me was what I imagine India to be. What I dream it to be. And I wonder what you thought of India. If we had totally different views shared some. I’m sure we shared a lot of views, but it was a shame I never asked you about your thoughts on it. Maybe I can tap into your thoughts by writing mine down to you.
  3. To be honest, I’m running out of pens that work. It is still the time of the Corona Virus, and we are staying in as much as we can. So when I do go out, which is so rarely, it’s only for food, or a walk, or toiletries and that kind of thing, even though there seems to be no toilet paper available anywhere I go. And where there might be, the lines are so long. So then I forget that I need more pens. Oh well. This might be more fun and interesting.

holi-festival-of-colors-india-girlDear India,

You aren’t forgotten, I just want you to know that. I know that’s where I originated from. I know that my grandfather was born in India. I believe in a little town called Purbandar where Gandhi grew up, in Gujerat. But to be honest, I haven’t taken the time to really learn more about the different regions or history. I find that I learn more about a place when I get an authentic feel for it and that usually means going there myself. Being surrounded by it and the culture and the smells and the food and the voices, accents, and languages.

I imagine India to be so full of colour, and depth. Like the celebration of Holi, but not always so cheerful. In fact, I feel the heaviness of India when I think about it. Not because I think it is a poor country, or that the people are poor or have less than or are less than, but I imagine so many people there, and not enough rescources for them.

I know not everywhere in India is like that, but I think that it is true for some parts. And that I would feel overwhelmed by what I would see on the streets- beggars, kids, crippled bodies. Again, it’s not that I think that’s all that it’s about, but that’s what we hear about a lot, and not just from media. I read books by authors who were born and brough up in India, and they describe the conditions there. It is hard for me to even read, let alone imagine witnessing in person, and then to actually have lived that, I don’t know how people do that. The human spirit is amazing. I think India would be a testament to that.

And to be honest, I would feel ashamed in some ways if I was there. Not to be Indian. But ashamed to be living such a good life here in the west while the sons and daughters of my ancestors, the aunts and uncles of my culture of origin, could be living in such dire conditions. It humbles me. It makes me wonder how that gets chosen- where we live and grow up, what conditions we have surrounding us from a young age.

I think India must have such a depth of character and wisdom that is beyond most people here in the west. I imagine that like in Buenos Aires, the streets and walls ooze out secrets and stories of centuries ago. It is not something we could see, but sense in the air, and feel under our feet when we walk. I think we could breathe it in, without knowing what exactly it is, but knowing the taste is different. And swallowing that could change us inside forever, even though we might not be able to put a word to what it is exactly.

I know that visiting you India would be more than a visit. I know it would be a profound jounrey for me, even if I wasn’t there for a long time. I think it would be a mixture of feeling like coming back home, and also feeling so lost and out of place because of the kind of lifestyle I am not used to.

I feel we are spoiled here in the west That everything is so clean and proper and safe and cut and dry. I am not complaining. Not at all. I am so grateful for my life. But I think going to India would shake that normal life up for me a lot, probably in a good way, but it would still be overwhelming.

I imagine lots of flowing colours- silks and sarees, and bangles and gold and henna like artwork on bodies, on skin, on streets, and in the air and clouds. Like the country would be streaked of something deep and dark and red that would seep into our own skin whether we were getting a tattoo or not.

I think the different smells from the food- all the spices and curries – would mix together and confuse my nose at first, until maybe a few days in when I think I would be able to learn to decipher between different scents. I might not be able to name them all. But I would know that one is different from the other, or that I had spelled on yesterday in one market that I now smell on a completely different street corner or off of a person who walked by in a different amount than yesterday’s.

I think the foods would take some getting used to on my taste buds. I think I would want to try some, and want to stay away from others because the richness might seem too much for me or my stomach.

I would like to watch people eat with their families and speak in different languages, and laugh and love and hug and cry just as we would, knowing that we are all the same, even though we are so far from each other and call each other strangers at first.

I don’t know if you would take me in as one of you, India. Maybe you would, I think you would. But I might not fit in there fully. But in Canada, I don’t just think of myself as Canadian. And it’s okay. I don’t want to fit in in either one spot exactly. I like being a part of both, and the rest of me just being me.

I don’t know if I will make it to see you this lifetime around. I have trouble traveling just to places that aren’t as exotic or hot, or “different” as you. Walking is sometimes tough for me, especially in the heat. And my health has been so up and down. Just really sensitive to foods and weather and change of anything really, even flying long distances. But you are at the top of my list of places to see. Actually, I don’t have many places left anymore on my list. I used to love traveling and want to do it so much before.

But nowadays, I am happy to be home and build my strength and self up here. I do want to see you though. Forgive me if I haven’t yet or if it is still up in the air if I ever will be able to. I want you to know that I am grateful for you. For giving me culture, for bringing up my ancestors, for giving me colour and dimension and intrigue and language and depth. I feel you. I might not know you in and out, not even close. I might not know your street or city names or maps, but I trust you to take me where I need to within you, to get a sense of the you you want me to know.

I am so grateful for you being my family tree, and leading to my grandma and grandpa getting together and having my mom come from your roots, even though she was born in another country. Thank you for letting her still be Indian in Africa, and for letting her be Indian in Canada. And for giving us roots and magic and natural healing and spices that take me back to a home that I have never been, but long to return to just to see and feel it again.

Thank you, India.

Thank you, Mom.

Thank you, Mama, Bapa, and all my ancestors especially from India.

I still feel you.

Love Tas

 

 

…Something That Is Red

Dear Mom,

A couple of days ago, I was walking home near my place. And this cutest little child’s voice caught my attention.  I looked over saw this little girl, with kind of a bowl haircut, walking with her mom. They were holding hands at first.  It always melts and then almost stops my heart when I see mother daughter pairs, especially when they are younger. It makes me wonder what we were like together, when I was just a little kid.  And I wish I could go back to those times to really soak them in and savor every moment of them.

First, I could hear the girl counting things. Trees? Cars? And her counting would go up to ten and then her mother would say, “Are there only ten? Are you sure?” And so the girl would start again, her mother obviously trying to get her to practise counting past ten.

The girl started saying, “eleven, sixteen, seventeen, twenty!” and skipping numbers. It was adorable. I couldn’t stop laughing but they were behind me so they couldn’t see my facial expression

The mother was pointing out some things for the little girl to look at. It was so cute, the way the girl would react.  But I was almost in tears, wishing that I could get those moments back with you.  Wishing that I could just hold my mom’s hand again, whether as a child or adult. It didn’t matter.

When they got to another corner, the girl put out her hands and asked her mom to carry her.  Her mother lifted her up and started saying, “I see something that is…”  And I realized it was the same game you would play with us a lot. You know the one where you would call out a colour or a shape or a word, and say you saw it somewhere, and we would have to point to what it is that you were referring to?  Kind of like a parent-child version of Eye Spy. Yeah, they were playing that game.

I don’t even know if I remember actually playing it with you. All my childhood memories seem like such a fog. Sometimes, I think they are memories, and other times, I am not sure if they come from my own imaginings, or from photos, or from stories that other people tell me.

But this game in particular stands out, because I know that even just a few years ago, you would remind R and I about the game. I think you said that you would play it a lot with us, or especially with him, when you were in car.

So this woman said, “I see something that is red”, while she was holding her daughter in her arms and walking down the street. And her daughter was pointing out things that were’t red at all.  So her mother started laughing. She seemed to be pointing to all the parked cars, but they were black and blue. Until her mom said, “Oh yes, the headlights are red.”  I think it taught both of us something.  We both needed to look a little closer.

And finally, it turned out that a red car and the fire hydrant up ahead were what the mother was actually trying to get her to see. But I guess the daughter made her see some other things she didn’t notice at first too.

Thank you, Mom, for playing games with us, for pointing out new colours and signs to us, and getting us to notice our surroundings more.  I know maybe it was a game to keep us distracted an not bored during car rides or while we were waiting somewhere that was not within reach of other toys.  But those games planted good memories, good feelings, and a closeness between us that lives on in me still to this day.

I could be so sad about seeing other mothers and daughters play such games around me.  Missing you and knowing that that I could never bring that back.  Or, I could pretend that maybe you planted that mother and daughter to play that specific game around me, just because you might not physically be able to do it with me right now.  But you still wanted me to notice the red around me, the beauty, the child like freedom and the never ending love between a mother and daughter.

Love you, Mom.

Can you find more ways to play the game with me again?

Choose another colour or letter, or shape next time. And I will try to see what you are seeing.  It will be like you are right there with me.

Thank you, Mom.