I remember this one time, I sneaked out my younger brother and took him to the beach. It would be his first true time to be on the beach, closer to the waves. I saw him run free, happy and with laughter that I had never seen before. I realised, he is just like me. An ocean baby. When I watch him next to dad, sleeping just like him or hear myself have the exact tone of my mom, I see reflections. We are all reflections of the people close to us, of people we are born to or people we choose to grow with. The family that we are born into or the chosen family.
I am a believer in the idea that nothing in the universe is random. Every single thing in the Universe is connected to the other. The snowflake right now falling in Ontario on the balcony of the kid to the breeze that just cooled the warm early summers of Mumbai. When the cosmos is so well connected, who are we but just the minuscule alphabets of a single line? Bound together in one story. Simply just like that, you stranger, we’re in this together.
As I address the global family, I would like to say that we’re blessed to have people. Families of blood, of love or even of a simple fluke of meeting. We need that with us, to be us. For me, I was always a family person, before I even realised what it meant to be one. I guess I was a writer before I learnt words. I remember memories like a montage of a well-scripted story. For the forgetful person that I am, I remember the sunlight in my old home sneaking through the windows. It would lay on the diaries of grandpa. He had diaries of all sorts. For me, they were just colourful books of aazoba. In those books were these postcards that he collected. I loved to play with them all. Never knew what they meant. 20 years later, every morning sun graces my diaries that are named based on their colours. Along with a special box full of postcards from around the world. Most times they remind me of him and not the destination.
I remember the exact sound of the green bangles on my mom’s wrist. I could differentiate it from any other lady’s bangles because the chimes of mom’s bangles meant she is coming home. I would wait for her to return and knew exactly when my wait was over, 5 mins before she reached the door. I remember the nurturing wrinkled hands of grandma. They would touch anything and fill them with love: her people, plants or even food. I remember how every birthday, my dad would bring these exceptionally elaborate cakes. I was too little to notice yet I remember his excitement for the reveal seemed more than mine always. Most of what I remember are genuine smiles, maybe that’s what fuels mine. So much more stored in this genetic memory of mine. Maybe centuries later in future if humans make it and we build a memory visual bank, someone will watch these montages stored only with me, for the first time. Maybe they will find answers to questions they never knew they had.
As the Ocean flows along with the seas, I belong to thee,
A part of you became me,
Your laughter, scars and stories, all define me.
How transcending it truly is,
that we all carry something beyond what we see.
Beyond the people we know who made us and those we’ll be.
by Priyanka Tawde
I am glad I am a writer, for you can vaguely imagine the memories of people you never knew. For those few minutes, you stepped into my world. Every passing day, we step into the worlds of the other. And trust me it is nothing more than honour. I know someday somehow in ways that we can’t comprehend yet, I will step into yours. I will walk in with all the stories that made me & witness the glorious other stories. Little by little, we’re completing a sentence of a bigger story. Maybe this sentence is what will change the story, or maybe, just maybe, define it completely. Do you see it now? With all our individual independent stories we are all still a family. And before we learn to cherish the sentence or understand the whole book, we start with a word. And that word is family. It’s on you how you define it.