“She loves the idea of traveling. When we would go out on our many walks she would peer into the metal grated barrier, on the overpass, not taking her eyes off the cars whizzing below on the highway that led to greater things, other places and people, and novelty.”
“When we would walk she would look into the sky, catch sight of a plane that was taking off or landing from JFK or La Guardia Airport, and would follow it with her eyes until it went out of sight. Hoping and praying that she too could travel.”
“When she came home from Penn during breaks she would tell us about her classmates and where they traveled to, as if the packing and ticket-acquiring processes were non-existent, so that they took off on a whim.”
Yesterday I went on a walk with my mother. Becoming increasingly anxious as the new academic year will be arriving next week and I will not be attending any type of school, I had to vent my pent up energy.
With that, I began to wade through the murkiness that had occupied my mornings, afternoons, and nights by talking, rather than conversing.
I was telling my mom and myself of my master plans that did not include back-ups, but instead, alternate routes.
I was the Map Quest and Hop Stop for my own mobility, navigating my own life.
My mom listened, or so I think she did. I tend to talk endlessly on our walks so it is not always a given that the she will be following along to the very end.
At one point I tell her that if I could pursue this one thought of mine it could set me apart and provide me with invaluable experience. I then confessed that I felt extremely uncomfortable just thinking about this thought because it included me living in another country for a period of time. Furthermore while I could understand the language spoken in the country, I was not at all comfortable speaking it.
My parents, I think, are used to my brother and I conquering a lot, but by no means conquering everything.
As a result, I think my mother was conditioned when she told me this:
“Reshmi. I told you to keep up with the language! Speak to your father at home, you’ll be able to speak it!”
In all of my 22 years, Dad and I have never conversed not even a single full sentence in any language other than English.
About to pique into an argument, the topic was dropped.
The next day:
This week is the beginning of my weaning process before I completely stop going to the gym.
I never had the intention of going to the gym, everyday, for the past 3.5 months. However, I felt obliged to go since I was not busying myself with any other task.
Not going to the gym has proven exactly as I thought it would: I have gained quite a bit more time to myself than I would otherwise have had, what with getting ready to go to the gym, exercising, traveling to and from the gym, and then freshening up.
I still needed to be active during the day though. So, I have resorted to my characteristic long walks.
Today, the most pleasant of days this entire week, I knew I had to get out of the house and walk. To where?
Upon my mom’s suggestion to walk to the large Barnes & Noble located near the campus of a private university that is attended overwhelmingly by locals who commute, (my attempt at not disclosing location), I refused to go.
Upon reconsideration, however, I realized that the walk was far, but by no means was it out of the spectrum of reality. I had walked much farther distances than this one.
The Barnes & Noble is one that I had passed numerous times while on the bus, or in the car. I never had actually walked along that route.
Determined to go today, I realized that I was anxious.
This was anxiety that I was familiar with. It was the kind of anxiety that I felt when I was about to leave home for Penn and I wanted to cherish my surroundings as much as I could before heading off.
I smiled to myself and then just as quickly as the smile had appeared, it had disappeared.
I smiled because I did not have to leave for Penn ever again in the foreseeable future. I would go on the walk along a route that was etched in my mind from five years ago. I would be returning home after.
Don’t worry your mind, Reshmi.
My smile went away as soon as it came because I knew that for my professional life and in order to know that I would love to travel, I had to stop feeling anxious and take in everything around me when I could. I had to learn from my college life and embrace the new, non-NY surroundings.
If I ever wanted to be that globetrotter I had to move past the college experience, which was not really traveling anyway, and embrace the opportunity to go out on my own.
This walk was remarkable. I felt like a determined adult with a destination and it is (still) absolutely beautiful outside.
I look down at my Blackberry and see the background photo that reminds me of my desires to see new places and people, to travel - it is a picture of a vintage book filled with photos of Kashmir that my parents brought back with them in the late 80’s. Here is where the Jhelum River flows from within the Potohar Plateau, the origins of the Oberoi.