You blink and suddenly the year is over. It’s hello 2005, we are at the halfway mark through this decade. But who remembers much of the past anyway. Or who cares to, I should say.
The year just past was a year that was witness to a slew of violent beginnings and endings. For me, 2004 is a year best packed up and stored carefully away.
2004 left me with a lot of what I like to call untenable spaces. Blackholes, if you please. These are gaps left by those who have gone on to other things, other places—anything but this, anywhere but here. It is futile to hold on to these spaces, the upkeep alone will cost you dearly. Some spaces are best left empty, for try as you might, they will not be filled. They refuse to be substituted with any form of diversion—not with wine, movies, awful fights, stolen kisses, free MP3s, new babies, tiramisu, brown paper packages, nor with hopeful plans for the future.
This year we slept away Christmas Eve. We did not bother putting up a tree, we were haphazard in giving gifts. We barely went through the motions. This year for the holidays I was practically an only child, with two kids of my own. Death and inexorable migrations hit us this year, leaving behind empty spaces that hum keenly, with a frequency only the heart can hear.
All throughout the year, I had my resiliency tested to the limit. Pulled and stretched taut over so many different directions, in such a range of intensities, it was all I could do not to break. Instead, I let my hair grow, listened a lot more instead of talking, smiled recklessly at strangers, hugged my boys tighter, bought another pretty skirt. I re-discovered old books, tracked down long-lost friends, whipped up fancy desserts, wrote furiously, as though life was running out on me. The human spirit, as they say is indomitable, in the best and the worst of circumstances, it finds ways to continue thriving. My birthsign, if you are a believer in astrology, says I am an optimist. And indeed I must be, for my heart has been laden with so much pain this year and yet look! it does not break. It remains whole and like a sidewalk crack addict, it lies there on the ground, silently quivering, dreaming of the next fix.
Just today, in an early morning telecon, a colleague who is American and who lives in a landlocked state bordered by horse fences asks me if I knew anybody in South Asia who was “there during the tsunami.” I was taken aback, because right in the middle of discussing problem tracking systems and technical reviews she casually asks me if the wave of grief resulting from over a hundred thousand people dead has touched me. I say no, thank God, nobody I know died there. What I do not tell her is that unfortunately, that fact hasn’t spared me.
Still, I cannot help but say it, Happy New Year.