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.
I had just begun to snooze, my barrel chest up, after watching On Chesil Beach and Tully. There came a thud, and the wheels of the airplane grazed the hard runway. I felt it. It reminded me of the coarse ice of Antarctica. En route Newark to Dubai, we made a halt at Athens. Everything was Greek and Latin, quite literally. I was carried into a lounge, where toilets were toualetas and airport was aerodromio. I saw rows and rows of honey bottles, chocolates and potato chips, all wrapped in Greek writing. My vocabulary was restricted to Yanni. So I gave up, rested by tuxedoed self on a chair and polished my bill before the next flight to Dubai.
A work by Korean artist Lee Dong Min
With a lineup of travel plans ahead, we decided to get a suitcase. A colorful one at that. So the search began. Amazon pages where scrolled up and down. Until something caught our eye. A waddle of colorful penguins. It was love at first sight. So the cash was transferred and the product was bought. It took two days for the penguins to raft to our door. Unpacked and stripped off polythene, the real thing seemed even more pleasing than the photos. With multiple zips, compartments, and small pockets, it’s more than just looks. So we let it rest on a wall, and add some aesthetic beauty to the living room. Amid the pile of stripped covers and the discarded package container was a slip that had information about the suitcase. In this case, about the artist who made the suitcase. Intrigued, we read on. And we learnt that the penguins that rested on our little suitcase were created by Lee Dong Min, a 20-year-old Korean artist with autism spectrum disorder — a condition that affects communication and behavior. The little setback that Min might have conveying his thoughts about penguins is more than compensated for the prodigious brilliance that he demonstrates painting them. Thank you, Min.