While in Thailand, my aunt spoke of the days when she would go to the beach to dig for clams, which would be used for soup stock. We decided to drive down to Bang Saen the next day.
We started with lunch, buying from the hawkers that walked by our seats. Crabs, crab egg salad, oysters, sweet sticky rice, fried noodles, soda, quail eggs, fresh guava. Cappuccino from across the street. Hazelnut, raspberry, pistachio gelato.
We started digging a little later on in the day, when the tide slightly receded.
He said, “Surely winter is the season of my discontent”. I returned to India from Thailand weary and worn from a long journey, thrust first into the rain of Mumbai then the sweltering heat of Kolkata and Guwahati. Driving eastward to Shillong, the sun turned into a faint memory, and by nightfall it was all too clear that the seasons had changed during my brief absence.
My return cast my experience in Thailand in a different light; a shifting of homes, and a recalibration of familial sentiments in my heart. I spent the earlier half of October in Bangkok to get a few things done, which afforded me the opportunity to be with my family and friends for my 24th birthday. And, in what is quickly becoming tradition, we ate at the same German restaurant as we did for my 21st.
The journey back to the Northeast was more arduous than I had anticipated. The stale airports, the glaring lights, the sleepless overnight stay at the gate, the continual chaos, the herding of passengers, the delays, the mistakes. This time I found myself translating French to English for this French couple to their Indian porter at Mumbai. Never underestimate the value and power of language. Never take for granted our dependency on each other.
Now, back in India, cold and alone, I can’t help but think that nothing is more important in this earthly world to me than my family – and that thought never gets old. A certain melancholy falls in tandem with this cough and cold, in what I take to be an oppressive season. But something tells me that winter is not the season of my discontent, but rather that the season of discontent is my winter.
Music: nina simone – I get along without you very well