Friday, October 21, 2005

I'm back home... but what about them?

As I give one last look with my forehead pressed to the Plexiglas of the United Airlines window, I see the grayish waters below that claimed possession to land that was never meant to be in the first place. I also see bits and pieces of green land that was altered by humans just to get re-altered by nature. We cannot blame nature when we have been just as unpredictable and intervening. Building a home where there ought to be water by building a levee system, pumping water out of your man-made bathtub, adding a feet of dirt and hoping you are safe is not a great idea. Katrina thought us that.

I close the shutter, but can’t seem to shut my mind. I was standing in that green land just a few hours ago feeling happy that I’m finally going back home. Now that I am actually on my way home, I can’t help but feel a strange void. The fact that I am going to the privacy and comfort of my home while there are tens and thousands who are hoping to get back to theirs at least before Christmas. The fact that I spoke to so many of them and made promises that I could not keep makes me sick in the stomach. I will miss those hugs that say –‘Thank you for hearing me out.’ The folks I worked/interacted with were such awesome people that I got attached to in such a short period of time. I will miss them. This is not an experience I can forget in a long time to come, nor do I want to.

For the first time in a month, I am actually sitting down with nothing to do. I don’t think I can stand it any longer. Everything else around me trivializes its cause by just being there. Like my friends who desperately seek to buy a house and have criteria like ‘black granite counter tops in the kitchen and off-white carpet in the bedrooms and nothing less.’ I am in a trance and I will surely get back to being my old selfish self and everything in the world will have a purpose…even black granite counter tops.

Right now it’s odd not to see damaged buildings, fallen electric poles, sign boards ripped off, stores looted or people flocking at a Walmart at 4 am so that they can get supplies before they run out of it by noon. I keep holding myself back from calling up my team and finding out what’s going on down there. Did Debra get her trailer? Did Don Craft sign the lease? I can’t seem to get these people off my head.

Meanwhile, I must insist that I am OK, as Ok as I can be under circumstances. It’s indeed strange for a person like me to be bogged down, and I can fully understand people’s concern. As I was relating the things I saw and felt in New Orleans, one of my colleagues just happened to relay my thoughts to the upper management in a dinner meeting few days ago. And unknowingly he set me up with a corporate counselor!! Yikes!

‘Do you want to talk?’ said the guy.

‘Only if I can bring up my marital issues.’

No seriously, Pi has been enjoying himself for a whole month and it’s my fault. As soon as I landed in Chicago, he performed some mandatory husband duties. Got me a gift, hugged and kissed me… took me to dinner to friend’s house (strange, I know) and then asked me if I was planning on going back again.

Secondly, he has completely forgotten the nagging protocol, my different eye gestures and that I can get things done by crying and making a scene. We go to a friend’s place for dinner and when it’s time to leave I would normally look at his direction and raise my eyebrows. That means, ‘I am ready to go. Get your ass out of here NOW.’ It doesn’t mean, ‘Whatsup?’ like he thought it meant the other day. He mumbled something like, “ I am doing great sweets’ and continued to sit in the couch watching baseball with the beer, not even showing signs of I-might-get-up-in-the-next-ten-minutes. Aggggrrrh! I have to start the training from scratch.


pingoo said...

Few people have the willingness and the guts to go out on the field and do the job, help people out and be a good samaritan. From what you wrote, you are one.I am humbled by your MT quotient(MT for Mother I am not being funny ..I didn't know what else to say). Anyways welcome back. Takes time to get back in the groove .. to being your "old selfish self" ;-). You have total control on Pi kya :).

alpha said...

Thanks for those kind words Pingoo! I am hardly a good samaritan compared to so many people who do it unconditionally. MT quotient? hahaha! MT would tranlate to Mata Tortureshwari for Pi. Anyway, I have lost whatever little control I had.

GratisGab said...

You're home but never at work!!! Called you thrice yesterday saali...kya, shamed the bosses into never asking you to work again huh???

You call Mr.G but not me!!!!

Hope the beautifying is going well and you have 2 eyebrows again :)

(Tried to link your threading post but can't find)

alpha said...

You even forgot my phone number???haaay! I never got any three calls from you saali...and when I call, mommy dear is conviniently sleeping. Now you know, this pregnancy bahana won't work with me. I know you guys can dial phone numnbers. Ghar pe hu..abhi call kar..or you'll miss me again. I have appointments to keep. You'll be pleased to know I did get my eyebrows done hook or by crook.

Patrix said...

That must have been quite a humbling experience. Incidentally, I too have been studying the New Orleans experience a lot lately but I guess, nothing seems more real than actually being there.

But I can see that you haven't lost your funny bone whilst there. Nice!

Ash said...

Glad to have you back, safe and sound, and better for the experience. I worried about you when Rita came around ... was the area you were in affected again ?

I'm sure you'll settle down and get back to 'normal' life soon, na ? And besides, it'll soon be time to get ready for good ol' India :)

shub said...

at the end of the you gotta feel a lil better cos you were there and did you part, however tiny you might it might feel in the bigger perspective.
lol@ Mata totureshwari!! =))

anantha said...

Good to know you are back. And I can understand how it feels. Probably not in the same level, but at least some of it.

Hmmm, training... hmmm... What about all the talk about letting Pi maintain this blog in your absence. I thought we'd see Pi post something here ;)

:-) said...

alpha: Sigh. Glad to see alpha back. Yeah, one month is too long a time baby. You not only need to start all over again but you also need to start all over again. Poor Pi. Cant have a beer in peace. :-)

alpha said...

ash: I'll tell you all about it if you are willing to go thru my ramblings for days to come.:)

anti: Pi is not going to oblige..I tried blackmailing...nothing worked. such a spoilsport.

Shub: Thanks girl!

Smiley:Poor pi? Arrgh..

anantha said...

Alpha: He would have probably upstaged you by telling us all the *stories* ;)
You wouldn't want that, would you? Guess he was being nice and there you go, calling him a spoilsport :p