Leaving later than usual, I rounded the bend at the end of our cul-de-sac noticing more greenery than I recalled seeing the day prior. It warmed my heart even if the sky looked mutinous and murky. With no one to bug on my ride into work, I tuned into the radio and half-listened even as part of my mind was cheered by the prospect of spring and warmer weather.
The phone let out a low ding indicating new mail. Waiting at the next light, I picked it up to see who emailed. It was a thread from my community organizing the easter egg roll. Skimming through the responses I wondered if we could join. I felt no compulsion though. Last year this time, Kay and Cee had a good time at the hostess’s house. One year later, how much had changed! They had relocated to India as had another family.
Thoughts of our recent trip to India swirled in my mind. The evening before we left, I was packing frantically trying to wedge mounds of clothes, steel vessels, packs of sambar powder, the stuffed toys, the books. It seemed like the amount of stuff we bought had multiplied exponentially. I heard the bell ring and wondered who it was. A loud voice boomed as the door opened. It was a lady from a floor below. Following her were a bunch of kids.
An hour later, I was done and ready to sink into a chair when K urged me to pay a reciprocal visit to our friends from the evening. I had not met her. You will like her he promised. Grudgingly I dragged my aching feet to a level below and rang the bell. The door opened to a woman about my age. There were six kids, all girls sitting in a circle along with two other women. It seemed like I had interrupted an impromptu chaat party. There was a pile of puris, a huge vessel containing the pani and cut onions and boiled channa and potatoes.
I said a quick hello, introduced myself and was about to leave when I was pulled into the circle. I sat cross-legged, eating gol gappa with total strangers, wondering if this was a dream. In under 10 mins, I got to see a glimpse of the sense of community and sharing that I longed for back home. Quickly exchanging email ids and promising to write, I left.
I wondered if I would ever create that cocoon of friendship for me here. A lot hinged on me I realized. Why is that it is so much harder to step out of my bubble here and actually forge new relationships when I could do it so easily there? I wonder if being new helped break some of that ice. Perhaps this is the season for change.
The promise of a new future stares me in the face. Will I actually go the distance?