Observer And The Observed


She arrived by the morning train early on Thursday carrying equipment that occupied more than two unwieldy bags. She filmed us setting up the Golu. She was there, a tangible presence as we squabbled, as we debated on the order of the Dasavatharam. She was that silent fly on the wall as we rehashed stories, relived memories and made snow from thermocol.

Over this past week, her camera has been a fixture in the living room, in the kitchen. It has watched dosas being flipped, kolams being made, homework being worked on, photo album reminiscences, driveway chalk art, the swish of silks and the tinkle of anklets.

In the one week since Golu started, I have morphed from the Observer to the Observed. I am cautious about what I say, how much I yell, how stained my tees are, how messy my hair is. Most of all I watch my words, inspecting them for heft and weft. I parse them for meanings. I let them lie on my tongue, feeling their textures and shapes as they give shape to my thoughts and my life.

In being observed, I have had time to think about what all this means, this chronicle of my life, living on in perpetuity. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me aware. It makes me think. I think about this blog. I think about the legacy I am leaving behind. I think of the hope that I represent to the many like me on the brink of treading the offbeat path. I think of the messages in my email folder, on my Facebook messages, all looking for help, solidarity, hope.

Most of all, I look at the woman behind the camera, slicing moments, weaving threads, spinning a story from fragments of our life. I see her and I see me. In weaving our stories, we draw from life. We paint stories of despair and hope. We watch and learn. We evolve. We hope that words and pictures will touch some person somewhere. In optimism, we carry on.

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