Saturday, August 20, 2005

Stubborn little junglee

I admit I’m obstinate. And demanding. I’m a patient listener but I’m easily bored. I have few friends that I can really call friends.
I’m restless. A bit of a recluse.
Yes, I’m an only child. No, I’m not selfish.
And I can’t really be bothered to explain the choices I’ve made. It’s tiresome. And I refuse to get used to it.

When I go home, when I travel, when I’m introduced to someone new.
We sit at a café sipping ridiculously overpriced brew, inhaling passive smoke and vehicular fumes. Talk steers towards work and I stare at traffic. Once I’m roped in, I’m quickly reeled out once again.
'Oh. That must be interesting.'
'Why, yes it is. Tremendously.'
Back to traffic.

Nobody asked me to leave home, to forfeit a mainstream career and regular pay. I needn’t walk around in a medication-induced stupor as a job requirement. There was no compulsion to live in relative poverty for a year.
I wanted to.
It’s who I am now and will shape the person I become later.

Of course, this sort of behaviour has earned me the distinction of being the family junglee.
So, what’s your daughter doing these days? They ask.
Oh. How um…interesting. They say.

And the family has been more than supportive.
Ma and Baba check on me every night when I happen to be in a mobile network zone. To find out what’s for dinner, when’s my next field trip and whether they missed anything significant in the last twenty-four hours. Didi and dadu ask about my bank account balance and when I’m planning to go to Cal next. L pishi and uncle J e-mail editorials while they travel the world. T pishi will send a surprise sms telling me she’s heard about a recent ‘episode’ in my life.
All of them dropping hints that it’s never too late to stop running around in the forest.

Sometimes Ma will call from the club, chomping into the phone, announcing in accurate detail what’s on her plate. And then what’s on Baba’s plate. And what I would have particularly enjoyed had I been with them, reading aloud from the menu.
Z will send me a hurried sms from her car in the middle of a night out, mentioning what certain people are wearing and who’s most likely to get drunk and humiliate themselves later on. B will call, say that he misses me and then head towards beer and hard rock.
It’s all very comforting, even though I feign exasperation.

And now I’ve grown rather fond of my muesli mornings, my long walks to work and all the share-autos in between.
Skipping to trance. Reading to lounge. Cooking to Floyd.

Of course I miss home.
But I’m a stubborn little junglee.