The honeysuckle is finally in bloom. It meanders over the wire mesh, sheathing those ungainly building pipes, and gracefully glides over to the sunshade, where it homes, and from where bunches of red and pink blossoms peep into my bedroom. Now they do. Now they don’t ... Ah joy! As I sit on my bed and look out: green waves.
Somewhere a pigeon in its midst, somewhere bits of a neighbouring building and then at some places my very own piece of that unattainable Bombay sky.
And yet… Why does my honeysuckle bloom now? Two monsoons too late. Now, when it’s time to move. Why does my bedroom finally yield the picture I’d conjured even as I made these walls home? It waited all this while — morning after morning I’d glance in anticipation: torrents of green leaping onto the mesh and into the sky, but no blooms. Today, it is but two days for us to move, Mr Honeysuckle and you choose to bestow on us your bounty? Why now, Mr Honeysuckle.
Are you blooming for you too are sad? We had all finally grown roots. Finally got a home to call our own. Finally felt settled. Finally felt… at home? Do you bloom in protest? Do you bloom and make my bedroom sweet smelling such that we somehow don’t go. We are attached to these walls. These ungainly (plain ugly) pipes. This bit of sky. This home. Why must we seek happiness elsewhere… Stay here, do you say?
And isn’t it natural to be attached? To objects as much as people — all relationships, tended to as children. And just as you get that sense of forever. Perhaps a sense of identity. Belonging? Reassurance? The affinity ends. You must shear it of all its glory and adornment. Empty walls again. A new home shall be made. You’re emotionally invested. Attached. Don’t want it to end. But it does, regardless.
Isn’t the cause of all pain attachment?
The Gita’s essence suddenly dawns. Detachment is not cold. Detachment does not say; don’t spend on a rented home for you must leave it some day. (The body too is “rented” then and we must leave it; why then Jiva Spa, Biguine nails, Forest Essentials’ baths?) Nor does it say, remain aloof. Cold. Un-invested. No. It says, let emotion be your strength and not weakness. The end of any relationship — and we come into life to work out our ongoing karmic accounts — need not be painful. Detachment is not the opposite of attachment. It is completeness in self. When your state of being is not dependent on the other.
And yet… when I made this address home, my happiness hinged on the honeysuckle growing. Climbing that wire mesh that I’d so painstakingly put up. Flanking the wall. Bursting across the sunshade. Blooming, falling in bunches over my window. I’d be happy if life unfolded such. I’d not be unhappy if it didn’t. But, I’d be happier. In control. The dots joined. Settled?
At 17, I thought I’d be settled when my braces come off. At 21, settled was that masters degree. The job? On the job, I was certain I’d settle when I excel. When I excelled I was sure I’d feel settled when promoted. Soon, I believed I’d be settled when he and I have a roof to call our own. Once we did, settled was making others feel settled at home. Correction; settled was getting a maid to settle in…
Nearly 20 years later. Braces gone, degree in hand; excelled, promoted, toasted. House warmed. Cooked and how. Am I not unsettled yet? Yet again Agarwal Movers and Packers pack my life in neatly titled Agarwal cartons. Gingerly, the boys carry me down and place me in that new address — a complete chaos. Once I settle in, I’ll feel settled. Right?
Conditional happiness. When the honeysuckle blooms, I’ll be happy. When I make that presentation, and they nod in delight, I’ll feel appreciated — thence happy. When he promises he’ll never leave me, and mean it, I’ll be happy… But I’m not happy now. The only moment I have control on. I live in anticipation of a future I have no control on. Losing now. Also making tomorrow’s joy conditional…
Truth is, I’ll never be settled. And yet, I must never feel unsettled.
At 5 am this morning, when I had this epiphany, at that very moment, Mr Honeysuckle broke his silence. “We bloom now so you leave having realised your dream. We bloom now so your new house feels home even as you settle in — and you feel happy. Settled.”
Nupur Mahajan is a sum of many parts. Ideas are her business even as her creative streak sees her straddle television, advertising, publishing, radio and brands. Reach her at email@example.com
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.