I am currently at the Atlanta airport, waiting for, and dreading, the 12 hour flight home to Bombay. To say this journey has been eventful is an understatement... although this is still not the worst travel experience I've had. I left San Diego last morning (i.e. Tuesday, June 30th). I was to fly through Philadelphia and Franfurt, onto Bombay. My flight in San Diego was delayed about 2.5 hours because of weather conditions in Philadelphia. hunh?! But they told us not to worry about our connections because flights out of Philly were bound to be delayed too. Of course, once I got to Philly at 9.30PM, my flight to Frankfurt was well on its way. Thankfully, though, I wasn't the only one in this predicament. Unfortunately, I was one of 100s in the same situation. By the time I got my re-routed ticket through Atlanta onto Bombay, it was 12.45 PM. Of course, all the compensation I received for my pain was a $15 meal voucher and a discounted hotel room, for $80 a night. What a discount!
Thankfully though I'd struck up a conversation with an older lady who was also headed to Frankfurt, and we decide to share the room. So that didn't work too that badly. The funny thing though is that the reason I decided to speak to her was because I read her as Indian. In fact, the first time I saw her on the flight over to Philly she reminded me of a diva desi scholar, like Spivak or someone.
I thought my pain had ended after a few hours of sleep and a hot shower, but when I got to Altanta, I was informed that my bags had not made it on the plane with me. In fact, as I write, they are still siting pretty in Philly! I don't really care about much in those bags except for all of my books in there. If for some reason my bags are misplaced, I'm not sure if I'll be find them too easily in India. The person at a baggage services had the gall to ask me to "stop sweating it." I'm really hoping they'll be waiting for me in Bombay.
Perhaps this isn't as bad as it appears, but it feels pretty hellish...
And it's all adding to my distate for travel, my exhaustion and my sensitivity. It's pretty weird... I've been on the verge of tears multiple times but none of it has to be with my travel. There's a couple of hundred really young people here who are in the military or appear to be headed to some sort of boot camp. I'm really not exgaggerating about the number. When I see young... I mean really young - I saw a couple of them who looked like they could be 12 - it really makes me feel frustrated, angry, sad... They were lounging around at the airport... waiting for god knows what, going god knows where... like they were at some sort of picnic. I really, really wanted to burst into tears. Talk about projecting anger and frustration...
And then, tears welled up in my eyes when a Delta agent at my gate bust into Hindi. I'm sure I can rationalize that, but I'm too tired to attempt to analyze my thoughts and emotions.
Now that that's out of me... Wow! It's been two months since I last posted here?! So much has happened in the interim... First, my advisor suggested that I wait until the Fall to qualify. I was somewhat attempting the impossible by trying to qualify in one quarter, but there were financial pressures. But those are now lifted which means I can breathe a little easy and think a little more, and write a little smarter. Plus, I can apply for some fellowships now, which would decrease my financial stress even more. And, I also found that I will, finally, be T.A.ing in Ethnic Studies next year. Yay! I was so worried that I'd graduate from the program without ever having taught a class in it.
Also, a little over a month ago, I moved to a new place - my own little studio. I've been here for about a month and I think I'm going to enjoy it. But for now, I am a little sad/sobered. The place that I moved out from was where my ex-partner and I lived together, and although he's been back home in Guam for a year now, it still feels like home. I think it's the first place I've lived in in the States that has actually felt like home. So it was very bitter-sweet to move out. It was the final marker that a beautiful and very important phase in my life had finally come to a close. And, as my horoscopes keep telling me, I'm in, or headed towards, a phase in my life characterized by major change - a phase that will define the next couple of decades of my life. Exciting? Perhaps... But I feel like my life is a case-study of Lacanian psychoanalysis - I can see/feel my symbolic networks crumbling, but until new ones are concretized, I'll be feeling very lost and adrift. Ah, uncertainty, the bane of my existence.
I spent this past month with my ex in fact. I'm not sure if that was "rationally" a good idea. I don't know if it just enabled some illusion that we were still together, or whether it was some naive attempt at deferring the inevitable. I know that some people in my life disapprove especially because of the dramatic, painful circumstances surrounding out split. I may write more about that later, especially because all this - not just the break-up, but people's varied reactions to my situation - has made me think a lot about love and friendship, all of its possibilities. For now though, all I know is that the time I spent with my ex felt like the right thing to do, and it felt good. We've had a long, good relationship - and sometimes long goodbyes are necessary. We had a lot to work through, to figure out, to come to terms with... and now we can move forward to perhaps, someday, be able to be close friends again. And I owe no one, or perhaps very few folks, any explanations
And finally, this summer will be spent at home. It's been three year since I was last back. So I'm excited, but a bit apprehensive. But the timing of this trip is perhaps opportune... I need to go back in order to move forward - refresh myself, regain my footing, gear up for whatever's about to be thrown at me next. Like the rest of my current life, this experience also signifies the ultimate embodiment of all my theoretical understandings of home. Over the past few years, going home has always been bitter-sweet. Each time, it's like learning a new language, and in many cases quite literally. I have to learn to be a different person - someone's child again, the "baby" niece, the grandchild. I left home when I was 19. I think for most of my family back home, that's how old I still am. And just as some people talk about lost childhood, my parents I think feel a sense of lost parenthood, one that they try to recover on my visits back. Honestly, though, I can't blame them. It's tough all around. But then what isn't, right?
I need to board soon. Soon one last comment about Michael Jackson. I did of course enjoy his music, a lot, but I wasn't a die-hard fan. Even so, his passing did affect me. I remember a few years ago my dad feeling a little down about the death of some celebrity... I can't even remember who. But I do recall wondering back then who's death might affect me similarly. And the first person who came to mind was Michael Jackson. So his passing marked my crossing of some kind of age/historical/experiential threshold. And that... well, that was moving.
So, to finish up the post, here are a couple of videos of my favorite MJ songs. And finally a song for the other one in my life. To you both, a sweet goodbye.
More to come from Bombay....