It’s very unlike me, but I wanted to escape the cold of Delaware. So I went to Dallas on the second day of 2019. But, as always, life is full of ironies. I was welcomed with a downpour, and low temperatures.
Anyway, I shook off the water from my flippers, and set straight to the artsy part of Dallas. The Downtown. I went inside the Holocaust Museum and wept seeing a reproduction of Anne Frank’s Diary. The real one is kept safe at Anne Frank’s House in Amsterdam, and taken out once in 10 years for study, I learnt.
To cheer myself up, I stepped into a world of 18th and 19th century European and American art and sculptures at Dallas Museum of Art. I couldn’t get enough of Renoir and Degas. But it was time to go.
The next day, it was relatively warmer, so I went out to Russel Creek Park for a stroll. And the following day to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. I had my fill of Indian food – vada paav, dabeli, and raj kachori. That and a drink called Lolita from Haywire had me dancing like my brother Happy Feet.
When out from food coma, we drove to Cowtown Coliseum at Fortworth Stockyards Historic District, and watched the Wild West Show. I squawked until my bill trembled; the cowboys and their tricks with whips and guns had me roll down the seat like a Telstar soccer ball.
Shaken up by the show, next day, I went to Plano Meditation Center, and sat in silence, visualizing a pure white sheet of ice to calm my nerves.
I am in the Capital of the United States. Here, everybody looks like me. Long black coats, snow white stiff shirts. But the gait… is that of a hunter. Stern, focused. Probably, I look that when I am off to bring back a fish or two. Probably not.
Today, for the first time, I had a cocktail of dry gin, orgeat and cilantro. It came with a thin spiral slice of cucumber swimming in it. Loved it – it got me warm enough for the chill outside.
Next stop was Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. After waiting in a long line, and paying a dollar for the museum floor map, we got in to see the rarest of gems, a whole lot of mummies, and the skeletons of Neanderthals.
Everything was going great, until I found a photo of those my kind.
This sent me down a wormhole of questions about existence. But then again, one look at the dry twig-like bones of a human ancestor; and words of late Chester Bennington calmed me. Because in the end, it doesn’t even matter.
I am back home, in Delaware. Outside, the snow is forming a thin blanket. On any other day, I would have jumped out the window and waddled on to the ice cold grass. But today, I am drenched in thoughts.
…of the time I lay on a wicker recliner with the cool breeze ruffling my feathers.
…of that bright evening, when I stood so close to a lamp, that I could see the wick slowly drinking up the oil.
…the sound of the ocean, the green of the coconut tree, and the smell of ginger tea and filter coffee that made mornings official.
These days, the dreams I have are of steaming hot idlis, rolled-up sweet paans, and pots of payasam (sweet porridge). In the deep quiet here, I imagine walking along the street-side stalls of Chennai, soaking in the smell of camphor and incense sticks, the sound of temple bells, and the feel of salty air from the sea.
Is there a cure for a holiday hangover? Maybe a plate of paneer tikka would help.