From the window shield, I saw the scarlet dilating into the scattered blue just like our pupils did every time we saw our loved ones. What broke my meditation on the sky that was turning the color of irises at places where the crimson and the blue met to make love was the longitudinal waves created in air by the sound of three strong footsteps. I tore my gaze away from the skyscape to find a woman towering over me, standing in the corridor in her six-inch red strappy heels.
“Inappropriately dressed for a flight” I had muttered to myself and yet I could only bring myself to sympathize with her vanity. I could not blame her for her fixation on her looks.
I was heading home. The familiar sensations of home should feel like biting into a cheesecake but in my case the familiar sensations of home weren’t warm and fuzzy, they had never been, they were lukewarm, they were like coffee with no milk, no cream, no sugar. Something that was never really bitter but you couldn’t get a taste of, something you certainly didn’t enjoy, while home should have been palatable like a Christmas fruitcake or a Cabernet Sauvignon, we could only hide behind the counterfeit relationships forged by Biology or by the erroneous actions of nature for so long. Nature’s solecisms that had to be paid for by picayune humans, who themselves were of little to no importance. The falsifiability rate of biological relationships was so high that most of them were destined to fail in my eyes because they were built on the ideas of Fideism. Biology could not dictate what we felt or how we felt it, I had come to learn, from some of the closest associations in my life. I did not have any recollection of those associations or memories of a winter that was warm by the hearth.
Even though I hated the heat I had to face and the looks of distaste I would spawn from everyone because I was different from the people in my extended family in ways they would not allow their minds to comprehend, I’d keep going back there, to sit under the shade of the mango orchards, their scent diffused in the summer air that carried it in its lap. The weather there was far from salubrious, I hated the sun above my head, the people were tolerable, to say the least but most of all I abhorred the women of the house and their disrelishing looks, their eyes always looking at me with discretion and suspicion. I knew there was far more difference between us than could be covered in three strides, three strides are all it took to cover the physical space between us to go over to those women making rotis in a crowded kitchen inside which temperatures would shoot up like a blast furnace. I hated their guts and could only regard them with disgust as I’d see them move the rolling pin to and fro with a look of extreme dedication on their faces, preparing to feed generations of men. I would only eye those women with commiseration and resignation when I’d see the looks of folly and satisfaction on their faces as though they had actually believed for once that the hand that was in possession of the rolling pin could rule the world. That the sweat dripping down the side of their faces, making their scalp and forehead sparkle, collecting on their upper lips to shine bright like diamonds was salt and water that would not go to waste. That for a moment they actually believed that they had made a contribution to society and without discerning it I knew I had believed in them too.
Image source: Bride’s Toilet, 1937 by Amrita Sher-gil