Happy New Year

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I stand by the window, the chill from the outside permeating its surface as I lean in to catch a clearer view of Ammu and Pattu as they walk down the pavement to their bus stop. The sky is a clear blue with streaks of white as if a giant broom was used to clear the murky grey cobwebs that covered it all of last week. They remind me of my childhood home and the freshly washed concrete courtyard. I hear the rumble of the bus in the distance. Children scurry along the opposite side of the road. Some run, some walk with poise, a steady stride and confidence. I strain and catch Ammu and Pattu running around the stop sign with the rest of their friends. The bus screeches as it turns the bend in front of my house and trundles to a stop five homes down.

Laddu and I watch the bus till the children are on board and it leaves our view. She runs off upstairs searching for Appa while I move slowly toward the front door. The smell of dosa batter and ghee hang in the trapped air. I crack the front door open and sense the cold before it hits me. It feels invigorating. I stand, letting my nose turn red before I walk back in.

As I close the door, the heavy wreath hanging on the door reminds me of Christmas decor that needs to be taken down. I linger enough to trace the artificial berries on the wreath before I close the door. The wreath in itself is a symbol of eternity but to me it is yet another way to integrate into this new world. One that comprises us and our children who are part of another heritage. I mark a mental note to take down the tree, take off the lights and pack away the wreath.

With the kids off to school and Saathi ready to leave, it is feeling like the new year. A new beginning. A clean slate. A year waiting for me to fill the pages with mistakes not committed so far. A year to make forays into places I have not explored hitherto. I am filled with hope and promise.

The phone rings and talk meanders to illness, loss of family members and distances that have crept into relationships. I realize the past year has changed me in more ways than one. I shrug it off and tell my Amma to do the same. Getting to this point has not been easy. The angst and the feels were excruciating while they lasted. They have given way to some kind of zen.

I put Laddu down for her nap and sit with yet another blank page before me. My manuscript needs attention. There is just so much to do that I ignore it. I know there is so much to fix. I balk at the how and where to start. I pick up random chapters. I weed out unnecessary words. I scan looking for oft repeated words. My mind wanders. At some point, I believed this story needed telling. Now I am not sure. All of what I wanted to say is not trapped in the 50K odd words I put down on paper. The missing pieces float around in my head looking for a home. I feel weary.

I have taken a long enough break from writing and I know if I do not do this now, the digital bits will be archived in some external hard drive, never to see light of day. I repurpose and tell myself I will do it one chapter at a time. One paragraph. One sentence.

A part of the morning is gone. I close the laptop and walk around the house. An article I read yesterday on leading a moderately successful life echoes in my head. I smile. I let go of the anxiety and trust that things will fall in place. It *will* be a happy new year I tell myself. Only because I will make it so.

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