Category Archives: World peace

Yes, I am a Pakistani

Are you a Pakistani?”
The first time I overheard this question, my daughter was five years old. We were attending a pre-wedding function at a friend’s home. It was 28 November 2008, and 10 terrorists from Pakistan had laid siege to the city of Mumbai with a series of coordinated shootings and bombings. Staff and guests of the Taj hotel were still trapped in a hostage crisis and rescue operations were being covered live on all news channels in India. Almost everyone at the wedding function was talking about the news. Besides the hundreds of injured, 166 people would die in this attack.
“What is your name?” an older child asked my daughter.
“Sahar,” she answered.
“Are you a Pakistani?” asked the child.
I gasped involuntarily but I was able to stop myself from jumping into their conversation.
“No,” said my daughter. “Aiman is a Pakistani. I am from Greater Noida.”
I didn’t need to rescue my child from this “slur” just yet. It was just a misunderstanding she was clearing. Aiman is her older cousin, who lives in Karachi and visits regularly. Aiman is my children’s heroine. They write school essays on her.
“Aiman is my best friend. She wears jeans and T-shirts and doesn’t like wearing skirts. My mother says I learnt to eat potato chips from her. Aiman loves to cycle very fast in her colony and has many pet animals. She has rabbits, a cat, and fish in an aquarium. She has to keep the rabbits and fish safe from the cat.”
Aiman’s mother is my husband’s sister. It is summer vacation on both sides of the India-Pakistan border these days and Aiman is visiting us with her mother.







My parents-in-law are hosting all their children and grandchildren in their home in a village in east Uttar Pradesh. The adults scan newspapers and check the news on their smartphones. A new government has taken charge in New Delhi. Heinous crimes against women are being reported from across the state. My father-in-law reads editorials in three newspapers, one in English, one in Hindi and a third in Urdu. He highlights passages for me to read and discuss with him.
Litchis, mangoes and melons are peeled and cut. Children run around us, playing hide and seek in the long afternoons, when they are forbidden from going out in the sun. Someone gets hurt. They are thirsty.
They settle down to choose a film from a USB drive an older cousin happens to be carrying. For some reason, the film they want to watch today, The Road To El Dorado, doesn’t play on the DVD player. I suggest Sholay.
“It has too much fighting and Amitabh Bachchan dies,” protests my daughter. Sholay doesn’t play either, it is in the wrong format.
The only other film available this afternoon is Gandhi. Richard Attenborough’s 1982 biopic on Mahatma Gandhi. It is just a coincidence, but here are a group of children from Karachi, New Delhi and Lucknow watching Gandhi together on a hot afternoon in 2014. I sit down with the children. It has been years since I have watched this film.
I explain events and scenes to the children.
“That’s Nehru, that’s Patel and that is Jinnah,” I say, the first time they appear after Gandhi returns to India from South Africa.
“Jinnah!” exclaims Aiman. “Quaid-e-Azam.”
The afternoon has come alive for Aiman. She notices Jinnah in every scene he appears. Sahar is too tense to be able to watch the violence. She runs off to reread one of the Harry Potter books. Another child runs off as troops led by General Dyer begin to march into Jallianwallah Bagh in the film. The rest of the children watch the scene of the massacre in stunned silence. Hundreds of bodies pile up as soldiers shoot relentlessly at unarmed people gathered for a protest meeting on Baisakhi.
“I have been to Amritsar many times,” Aiman says. She is 12 years old.
The film draws towards its end.
“After this, they will launch the Quit India Movement and then India will become independent,” I say to the children, preparing them for scenes of more bloodshed. “But, there will be the partition of India also. India and Pakistan will become two separate countries.”
Aiman claps her hands. “Pakistan!”
I am startled at first and then I realize that this is where this child recognizes her part of the story. I knock my moroseness out of me and celebrate with her. My mother was 4 years old when her family came to Amritsar as refugees from Lahore.
“When Aiman visits during her school holidays, she gets her holiday homework along with her. Her English books are just like mine. She studies Urdu and not Hindi like us. In her holiday homework, she writes about the things we do together. So do I.”
As I type this column on the roof of my parents-in-law’s home, it is close to midnight. This is the last night that the cousins are together. They have permission to stay awake as long as they want. I can hear them discussing stars in the sky. Hopping on barefoot toes, my eight-year-old comes to me and asks me if it is possible that some stars blink in the sky.
“We see something red that is blinking,” she says.
“Maybe it’s a shooting star,” I say, quite sure I am giving her the wrong answer.
She returns to break the news to her cousins.
“Mamma, in this world there are many different worlds like India, America, Pakistan, but everywhere there is the same sky,” my youngest child informs me.


What were we afraid of losing?

We spent our best years fighting
That was the best thing about them.

We began to live together when we began to fight
We began to fight when we became unafraid of losing.

What were we afraid of losing?
I know I was afraid of losing him.

I was afraid I would be hurt
Now I treat words like falling leaves, not a sharp knife.

When I have no words to counter the barrage from him
I leave the room.

Sometimes I stay and make faces at him
I let him fight with me.

Because that is love
Love slicing through silence like curtains pulled suddenly.

Too much sunlight makes us wince
Sometimes the view distracts us.

Why are you fighting with me, he says
You know why I am fighting with you, I say.

We fight because the silence stifles us
We fight to find out if we are still friends.

I fold some fights in the pages of time
Letting them mature over years.

By the time I bring them out between us
Some of them have become stories to tell.

Sometimes we start fighting as soon as we meet
As if we must accelerate everything.

There isn’t time for everything

So lets get straight to the point, lets fight to keep us together.


Love letter to my firstborn

My dear Sahar,
You were sitting in my lap in the front seat of our car. Your father was driving. I was crying. “My baby, my baby,” I whispered, holding you tight. We had just found out that we were going to have our second child.
My world with you, my perfect world with you, was going to come apart and I was not ready for it.
There’s a photo of you from that year. You are sitting on the floor with a newspaper, and you look up at me pointing a camera at you. The morning sun reflects in your face. I have captioned that photo in my album with these words: This photo was taken when Sahar and I were still one.
We talked to each other all the time. I would tell you what we would do next. I made up stories about everything we saw together. Someone would look at us and say, “You are talking to the baby like she understands you.”
“Of course she understands me.” There was no other possibility.
We both grew up really fast from that point. Now we are a family of five. You are the nine-year-old BIG sister. I am a BIG mamma. You are not so even-tempered any more. You get crabby, you snap at your sisters. You feel ill and tired and quite frustrated.
So do I.
I had a big brother too, when we were children. I don’t remember him ever being like a child when he was a child. He was always Bhaiya, the elder brother. I didn’t always like that about him. I look at you and realize that this is how we push the first born to grow up too soon.
“Don’t be such a child. You have grown up now.”
“Help me. I cannot help you. Hurry up, stop talking, finish your work.”
“Look, don’t cry. I cannot handle this right now.”
“I cannot believe you made this mistake. You know better, how could you do this?”
“Mamma,” you say sometimes, holding back your tears. “Just like you, I get irritable too.”
I need your rebellion, my little woman. It stops me in my tracks and reassures me. You stand up to me when I push you too far. You challenge your father. You tell him what you think, what you feel, what you want.
I also love your spelling mistakes, Sahar. You are a phonetic speller. You invent spellings. “Sichul,” you wrote, when you wanted to label your drawing of a cycle. “Dilicious,” you write, because that’s how you like your food. “Preety,” is what compliments sound like to you. I love your spellings because they are an expression of baby Sahar. They show me the working of a child’s mind. The child I so often forget you are.
I get unexpectedly lucky some days. You call me on the phone when I’m away. Sometimes you pick up your father’s phone when you read my name flashing on it.
“Hello Mamma,” a little girl’s voice says.
“How are you, jaaneman?” I ask.
“I’m fine, Mamma,” you say. “I have finished the drawing I started. We ate ice cream after lunch. It was A’s turn to choose a film today, so we are watching Balto. N has fallen asleep. When will you come home, Mamma?”
Your voice on the phone presses the reset button in my brain. You are so young, just a child, I am reminded. This is the baby whose diapers we changed at roadside dhabas. The baby I bathed in awkward hotel bathrooms. The one who held my hand at airports as we read signs together. I want my baby back.
Just like that, I figured out the formula one day. Sahar is the key. If Sahar is well and okay, we are all okay. When Papa asks what is the matter and Mamma says nothing is the matter, Sahar knows that something is definitely the matter. You get the sniffles and you have aches and allergies. You offer to tell us a joke from your repertoire of a nine-year-old’s jokes.
In a school essay on our family, you wrote, “One thing I don’t like about my mother is that when she is upset, she doesn’t tell me why she is upset.”
I’ll tell you, Sahar. To be able to tell you, I will tell myself first. When I neglect to pay attention to myself, I neglect you. When I hold my pieces together, stretching to be perfect for everyone else, you can see all those pieces of me separately. Like I could see my mother’s.
After a while, it is just a tedious hobby, this desire to be picture-perfect. There is nothing more perfect than stealing time from everyone and everything and running away with you. Our time together is here again. We’ll hold hands till our conversations come back. And listen to your jokes.
Love, Mamma.

[This was first published here: Love letter to the firstborn http://bit.ly/UOHmv2 ]

Do you know where the tears come from?

When I died that day,
I didn’t die.
I broke many parts but I survived.
All of me didn’t live either.
I carried the dead weight with me for years.

That’s also why I cry.

At funerals where everyone else is dry-eyed.
At weddings,
When the bride begins to walk away.
In school, when children get on stage,
Unmasked.
Crying brings me back from my dead.

I cry for grandmothers who didn’t stop to mourn.
For people who were gone before I was born.

I cry for children silenced by abuse.
I close my eyes not knowing where the tears come from.
I cry because no one else did.


Parents who hate and try to pass it off as love.
Learning to be indifferent because feeling hurts too much.
Because we are strong.
We must move on.
We must get up and dust our hands.

I cry because it is an ocean inside.
I didn’t know it.
It surprises me.
Tears come in waves.
I struggle to remember the faces for whom I cry.

I cry because he never did.
I cry because he learned to laugh when he wanted to cry.
I cry because I want to stop him but I cannot.
I cry because it bothers him.
It jolts him.

It might make him cry one day.

I was born to write this.

There is a song in Chak De! India that has a very unexpected effect on me.
It happened first during a car journey. I was travelling to the Tees Hazari District courts with my 3-year-old daughter by my side. We were going to provide company to a friend who was fighting a bitter custody case for her daughter in the family court. I was already feeling very emotional. Both parents have been my friends and I have loved them dearly. Now I was being forced to choose a side in public. It was terrible to watch my friend, the father of the child, helplessly from a distance without being able to reach out.
The songs from Chak De! India were playing in the car as we drove from Noida towards north Delhi.
teeja tera rang tha main toh – 2
jiyaan tere dhang se main toh,
tu hi tha maula tu hi aan,

maula mere le le meri jaan…
Just like that tears started rolling down my eyes. I didn’t understand why. We reached the court and spent the day trying to negotiate the bewildering and aggressive justice system. Later in the day, the song played on the car stereo again. I felt the pangs again. Tears came again.
I have lived my life coated in your colours 
I have lived my life in the way you wanted me to,
You were my God, you were my pride.
Oh my God, take my life, if you want,
Oh my Maula, take my life if you want.
What we have with each other, no one else can understand,
It is with you that I fight, It is with you that I want to make peace. 
(tujhse hi roothna, tujhe hi manana).
Who is this person, I thought? What memory were these words stirring? Who is it that I feel misunderstood by? Who do I want to make peace with? It took a while for the answers to emerge in my mind.
My parents are Punjabis. My mother was born in Lahore, a few years before Partition. She grew up in Amritsar, living close to the Golden Temple. For her, going to the temple means going to a gurdwara. Her Hanuman Chalisa lies next to her Sukhmani Sahib. There’s plenty of space.
When we would travel from our childhood home in Ranchi to visit family in Delhi and Punjab, we were called Biharis. “Here come the rice-eating Biharis with their ek tho, do tho, teen tho”, my mami would say. So we were Hindu-Sikh-Biharis.
When I grew up and first visited Lahore, I tried to prepare for a visit to a “Muslim” culture. I was amazed to find myself in a vibrant Punjab, where I discovered my own urban Punjabi identity for the first time. Everyone spoke like my Mamajis. But of course! My uncles had been Lahoris. I became a Hindu-Sikh-Bihari-Punjabi.
In Lahore, we had a taxi driver called Javed. He would pick us up from The Pearl Continental, admire our TV equipment and watch us interview very important people. He took me to the best eateries, told me about his romances and of course shared his political insight on the state of the subcontinent. When it was time for us to return, Javed gave me some advice for my future.
“Be careful who you marry”, he said to me, “most men who woo you will probably do it for your money. Besides, I hear those Indian men beat their wives. Take care of yourself.”
I laughed out loud. The shock of this statement stayed with me for a long time. Especially because it coughed up the latent bias that I had grown up with: that most Muslim men ill-treat their wives. We think we know it all till we discover that most of our knowledge is just a truckload of biases. Just another way of hating the “other” to avoid focus on the trouble within.
My husband is a Muslim from Uttar Pradesh and our children are Hindu-Muslim-Punjabi-UP Delhi kids. My grandfather speaks Punjabi with an Urdu accent. He reads the Gita in Urdu everyday. My father-in-law recites Persian poetry. My father speaks Hindi with a Punjabi accent and our children speak English with a Walt Disney accent. In an individual way this feels unique, but actually there is nothing extraordinary about it.
Our syncretic roots combined with the choices we make give all of us a multi-dimensional identity that is an everyday fact of our lives. To lead a creative life, we often make the critical choice to not belong. To not conform to the dominant value system.
Being singled out and facing discrimination for one or many of these identities is an equally common experience. Some of us deal with it by denying it, others choose to express and share. Some confront it, others hide till it is safe to come out. One doesn’t need to be uprooted to know what homelessness feels like.
Of course, there is always the inevitable longing to belong. To belong in equal sum both to our private world – and to the public one, outside.
In a recently published essay on his life, Shah Rukh Khan, the superstar-actor has written:
“I sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make me a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India. I have been accused of bearing allegiance to our neighbouring nation rather than my own country. This, even though I am an Indian whose father fought for the freedom of India.”
In the same essay he writes about the Pathan identity he has inherited from his parents, his marriage to Gauri, who is a Hindu and how he answers the questions his children ask him about their identity. He sings them a song that at its core means “Be a good human being, the rest will sort itself out”.
The abusive backlash on him started with one article where the writer, Venky Vembu, accused him of being ungrateful and thankless. He uses words like mediocre and boorish to describe the actor. “So, grow up, Shah Rukh, and learn to take it on the chin like a man”, he writes. “Don’t bite the hand that fed you – and made you who you are – by running off to an overseas publication and crying your heart out, thereby providing the space for low-life terrorists like Hafiz Saeed to take potshots at India.”
In essence, he implies, if you talk openly about being a Muslim in India, we will mock you and show you up as a traitor. Instead of dismissing and standing up to terrorists who don’t need a valid excuse to take pot-shots, we will turn our venom towards our own. We are clearly not man enough to allow for differences to be expressed.
This shockingly boorish analysis brought back the song from Chak De! India to my mind. My brain strained itself to understand my emotional response to it. Who is this person in my life whose approval was so important to me? Who was I willing to die for?
“I have lived my life coated in your colours 
I have lived my life in the way you wanted me to…”
The answers came together like pieces of a puzzle. The words evoke the struggle to belong to one’s homeland. To one’s society and culture. To authority figures who may have rejected us for the choices we make. For being who we are.
We demand to be independent and we insist on being accepted. This is how it works in the best relationships. We adapt to the way of life around us, yet often we are painfully singled out and ridiculed for that which makes us unique.
In the film, Chak De! India, Shah Rukh Khan plays Kabir Khan, the captain of the Indian hockey team. When he fails to score a goal with a penalty stroke, he is accused of having sold out to Pakistan to deliberately make India lose in the World Cup final against them. In the film, the media uses a photograph of Kabir Khan accepting a handshake from the captain of the Pakistan hockey team to label him a traitor to the country. The captain’s hockey career is over and he is forced by his neighbours to move out of his ancestral home. Singled out for being a Khan.
In a statement to the press clarifying what he had written for Outlook’s Turning Point, Shah Rukh Khan has said, “I am an actor and maybe I should just stick to stuff that all of you expect me to have a viewpoint on. The rest of it…maybe I don’t have the right kind of media atmosphere to comment on. So I will refrain from it”.
That’s not fair at all. Come on, Shah Rukh Khan, tell us more stories. Speak from your heart. Bullies are cowards, their words are empty shells.
When confronted on a show called The Social Network on NDTV, the opinion writer, Venky Vembu, has admitted that when he had written his opinion on Shah Rukh Khan’s essay, he had not even read the entire piece written by him. He says it as if to defend himself, but it shows him up as worse than before. When and how did these spaces get created in the media? Commenting before reading?
Life is complex. Stories are multi-faceted. The movies try to simplify narratives, but real life doesn’t need that treatment. Each of us has the power to resurrect the lost parts of ourselves with our imagination. We also have the power to redeem ourselves and undo some of the hurt we cause. Start by saying “Sorry”.



This was first published on Newslaundry here: 
Say Sorry to Shahrukh Khan

On Sexual Harassment

I have not watched the viral video from Guwahati. Not even a glance.When I first read about it online, I took my hands off the keyboard. I walked out of the room.
I’m not going to see this, I thought to myself. I’ve seen this before, and I don’t need to see it again.
The next morning, I woke up from a nightmare. In my dream, there was a dead body in my room. I knew whose body it was, I hadn’t killed her, and yet it had become a nightmare. I was trapped. What will I say to the police? Who will believe that I am innocent? I’m so badly stuck in this mess.Events began to come back to me. The reason I didn’t want to watch the video of a schoolgirl being groped and molested by a group of men on a street was clear to me now.
The line was crystal clear in my head. I don’t need to see this because this has happened to me too.

They were a group of boys in school uniform. I was an MA student. 5pm in the evening, broad daylight, a main road in New Friends Colony, Delhi. The evening shift of a boy’s school had just got over. I didn’t perceive any danger as I walked past.They surrounded me so tightly, I must have vanished from view for a while. After a while I stopped trying to get the hands off me. There were too many, too close and too violent. I looked for guards outside the closed gates of homes. There were layers of boys between them and me. I could not reach out. Why didn’t they see me?

I couldn’t go home later. In a daze, I called a friend from a PCO. He wasn’t home. I tried another friend. I had never been to her home before, but I found my way to it. We talked. She told me about growing up in Kerala.

The only person I spoke to at home was my younger brother. I don’t remember what I told him. He listened to me, somehow I slept.

Those boys. Some of them were shorter than me.
The horror didn’t fade for years. Schoolboys, I kept screaming in my head. You are children. What are you doing? What, how…STOP IT!

I wrote these words as the headline of this column before I started typing it: You are okay to be you. You have the right to exist. You are lovely, wonderful, beloved, valued. You, my child, you.
This is not just a message from a parent to a child. This is a message from me to me. A message that my children often give me.

Why does an act of sexual violence shatter one’s self-esteem so badly?
What did you do to cause this? What were you wearing? Why were you alone? It was stupid of you to take the risk. Why does it happen to you only? Where did they touch you? Why don’t you wear, walk, live, study safer. Why do you EXIST?

I knew one thing clearly. People who want to know the details are soon enough going to tell you not to make a big deal out of it. It was nothing, far worse happens, they will say.
Back off, I say to them. Back off or I will break your arms and sock your face.
Don’t tell me what to feel or what not to feel. It destroys my faith in my own responses. My pain is not my shame. Don’t tell me I am lucky nothing worse happened. Don’t tell me to hide it. And don’t put it on display for your convenience.

I was afraid of hurting my parents. I thought they would be confused and helpless. They would be angry and not know what to do with that anger. They would be afraid.
Something had died, I had not killed it and yet I knew I was going to have to defend myself. I would have to hide the body, hide my pain and deal with an unaccountable guilt. Quite like the dream I woke up from last week. I stayed silent.

There was nothing extraordinary about that young woman on the street that evening. I was ambitious, zestful, innocent and happy in my own way. I had lived the usual eventful life of a girl in the city. Like everyone else, I had been groped, pinched, rubbed, hurt, mauled, chased and abused in public spaces since the age of 12. I had changed routes and hidden in stairways on my way home from college, waiting for car-bound men to lose me and look for a different victim. I had known fear and dread. Once in a while I had used my elbows and voice well enough to be proud of myself. I had friends who had slapped their aggressors and dragged them to the Police Station.
It never occurred to us that staying at home might make our life safer. You know why? Because it doesn’t.

A visiting uncle suddenly grabs you and you know IT IS NOT A HUG. Family weddings, festivals, vacations, my mother’s tailor, the X-ray technician, the physiotherapist, your Maths tutor, the neighbour, the home delivery man…you can be fondled, touched, flashed, anytime, anywhere. And we are. If I say, raise your hand if you haven’t been physically violated in a place where you were supposed to be safe, there will be NO HANDS RAISED.
The dead silence, the repeated breach of trust in our private spaces makes them more dangerous than the brutal world outside. Nothing happened to you, we are told. Don’t tell anyone. We are left hurting where the wounds don’t show, and sometimes those wounds never heal.
We have spent so much energy forgetting and then being rudely reminded that each one of us has been victimized. Each one of us has been hurt, isolated and confused. Men and women, growing up in a world of casual, unreported sexual violence.

What is the difference between the world that I grew up in and the world our children are growing up in?
It’s a one word answer.
I am the difference.
Parents, teachers, mentors. We will not always be able to prevent the violence, but we are in charge of healing. We are the firefighters. Speak, scream, stand by me, we wanted to say to our parents. Be ready to deal with your hurt because that’s what adults do. They challenge dysfunctional systems in everyday ways. They break down walls with their anger and their strategy. They rebuild.

All these years later, I still feel afraid before speaking up. I worry about hurting my father by writing these words. The difference between then and now is that I know that I will reach out despite the fear. I am in charge of the world my parents and my children live in. And I am going to protect them.
Because you know what, it isn’t the worst thing being born a woman in this skewed world. An early taste of injustice unleashes your power to fight back. A victim who speaks up ceases to be a victim, she threatens the entire system.

Stand up and speak up, we are all in this together.

****** (This was published here and has nearly a 100 reader comments)

Just because I make it look easy, doesn’t mean its not difficult


This conversation took place somewhere in the middle of the 25 day adventure trip that Afzal had gone for. From Benaras to Gangasagar on the Ganga: to cleanse, refresh, rejuvenate his exhausted and cluttered life.
Little women and I were adventuring on our own at home.

Madhab called. He wanted me to see and give feedback on the 3 minute trailor for his new film, Main bhi Kalam.

Ha ha ha, for a mother of three, you spend a lot of time on Facebook, he said

Maddy, sometimes I wake up in the morning and first thing, I feel like drinking half a bottle of whisky, neat.
Is it such a bad thing that I log on to facebook and check my notifications instead?

Ha ha ha, he said

Find a way to change the story, Mama

Radhika and I
Exhausted in the late afternoon heat
On a news shoot.
Can’t remember right away where we were
Not Banda, not Muzzafarpur, not Raipur
Seems somewhere in Rajasthan.

I remember the hut.
Long, not square like children draw.
Big shady tree outside
Men sitting on a charpai
Invite us to sit with them
A large open space
Our taxi nearby.

We walk into a dark, cool hut,
low door
Small children with pieces of dry roti in their hands
Big brown eyes.

Women offer us food
Roti and something wet to go with it.
No water, thank you, I say.
Even though my eyes are watering
Hot spicy food
For a hungry camera team.

I take a few shots afterwards,
A dramatic plough in the foreground
Famine
Others in the village
have gone
Migrant labour on city roadsides.
Silence all around

Our hosts, the amused, generous women

They are wearing the big ghera skirts
Just like the tribal women at Delhi intersections
With starving babies clutching them
A dirty empty milk bottle in their hand
Pleading, Begging

It hurts to look at them
To even think about them as I see them
I look away and
Try to shut my mind

Even though Mother Teresa
explained, Give to the poor,
Its better than giving to the rich
Any day.

The car moves again
The girls will say
Mum, you said you will tell us a story
after we take this turn.

In their village
They were gracious hosts
In my city
They are beggars
(Find a way to change that story, Mama)

World Peace



This is my world, I say.

This is my world, he says.

Two circles.

Sometimes they intersect and make a cosy little nook with a rainbow above and the gentle soundtrack of a gurgling brook in the background.

Sometimes, they just touch. We can reach out to each other and hold hands.
Happy.

Sometimes the circles float away, independent, but within sight.
I love you, A. I love you too, N.

Sometimes, collision.
Hurt.
The impact sends me off further. After a while, I have to stop, pull the brakes, float about in space for a while. Find my way back. At least to where we can see each other, even if from a distance.
(the melodrama of this journey….. my hurtling away and then returning, exhausted, but calmer…..I could be in one of those movies that I cannot watch anymore)

We are doing something very Important together.
I’ll tell you about it another day, when I find the words for it.