Tiny drops of baarish pitter patter on the floor beside me. The wind picks up and the trees rustle as if to sing a little chan chanaa chan chan ditty. The birds chirp on the windowsill while cars honk their way through the crowded streets. The beginnings of a perfectly staged Bollywood movie.
I’m sick. My body hurts and my head screams with anger and frustration when I swallow or move too suddenly. I packed my bags and jumped on a plane three days ago, and already I’m sick. I thought I wanted to be here. Does my body feel otherwise? I thought this was where my heart and soul were at peace. But now, in this haze of delirium and pain, I question my impulsively calculated decisions.
I can hear a maid chattering with her friend, the roar of a motorcycle coming to life and speeding away, bhajaans filling the air with soft reminders that others occupy the tiny space around me. I can smell a combination of dust, cleaning supplies, and chai leaves whirled together in a lovely way only India can manage.
I tried leaving her, twice. We met 2 years ago and every time I’ve left she’s pulled me back with a force I’ve never felt before, a force as strong as or maybe stronger than the one of my niece asking me, “Bua, when are you gonna come play with me again?” A force stronger than what I’ve ever felt for a man or a job or a place.
It’s not like we have a perfect relationship either. She puts me in my place often and I have little to retort with. She reminds me how lacking I am in communication skills, how obviously incapable I am at navigating her mood swings, how unlikely it is that she’ll ever give me the upper hand. She flips my body inside out, my mind and my emotions, she takes me for a ride and when we come home I’ve forgotten who I once was while she laughs and feeds me delicious food with her hands.
But then I realize she’s helped me grow. She’s offered her hand to me and shown me the places and the people she knows. She’s shoved me into an oblivion of situations in which I’ve been helpless and enraptured and beguiled. I want to tell her to leave me alone, to let me be, to let me go and try and be happy elsewhere, but she refuses. Even when I’m tired and home sick and sweaty and feeling ugly, she keeps me with her. She tells me I have more to learn, more to see, more to understand.
So I bow my head and I listen. I take her word for it and allow her to guide my decisions. Even though we have an unhealthy relationship, even though I wonder if she knows that she’s the cause of rushed friendships, stifled conversations, aborted relationships, I let my wall down to her and wait to see where this will go.
I guess some loves make no sense at all, but they are worth every minute you’ve spent lost and trying to understand why they’re perfect.