This past weekend, we had a Sunday lunch. A hearty, hearty one for more reasons than one. My sister had us over for lunch to her home that she has just moved to, sharing it with two other friends. It was a warm, delightful afternoon of food cooked entirely by them, of produce almost entirely grown in the kitchen garden in the home.
I love a crowded table — crowded with people and crowded with food. My parents, VC and I joined in the three of them who share a home, along with two others who were visiting. We sat around the long table, with extra chairs dragged in, digging in to the absolutely delicious spread that they’d cooked together, which included a 10-hour braised lamb stew (which they began cooking the previous evening!), multiple salads, stir fried veggies, a kickass platter of mushroom and spinach patties, and two dips to go with it.
So hearty. The afternoon left me so high and happy. This is a bunch of kids I’ve known since my sister was in grade 1. I’ve watched them grow, through various stages of development over the last two decades — not a number one actively keeps track of, no? Life gets ahead and the years roll by, until suddenly an event like this makes you stop and register how long it has been. Three of these “kids” running a bigass home on their own, cooking this bigass meal and having us over — it was so wonderful to witness.
I wondered about how if I felt so overwhelmed at the developments, the reality and weight of the passage of time is probably even more harsh and enunciated for my parents who have near two decades on us.
That afternoon, I realised that my parents are about the most resilient and giving people I have had the privilege of knowing. They truly live the live-and-let-live life by example, and have let us free to run amok, whenever we wished, and wished us well as we set off on our own.
There is a sense of liberation and satisfaction in watching your young ones grow and turn into adults, I’m sure. I’m not even a parent, but being the older sibling comes close. My heart brims over when I see my sister thrive, when her little fledgeling art education project goes places and when I see her satisfied and happy. Seeing her hit milestones like this — having her own place — makes me so happy. But to see my parents, as they’re able to be a part of this growing up, alongside us, let us go yet hold us close enough to sit at the same table and witness our joy and partake. To be a part of this evolution, close at hand. It’s made me very aware of what a special joy and a privilege it is. One that I have not acknowledged before.
This year, more than ever before, I’ve realised the importance of parents. And parenting. As I’ve dropped so much of my own baggage, judgement and misconstrued preconceived notions in this regard, I’ve had the humbling chance to see my parents as people first. It has been eye-opening and heart-filling and given me a very new and satisfying sense of family.
I had the unique chance of flying back right into the heart of the proverbial nest for the second time in my life. I returned to Bangalore, but in reality I returned to a state of mind that I had deferred abruptly, and unfinished phase of growing up that I severed before its time and ran away. Probably to fly out the nest too soon — before my time was done. Before I was ready for new grounds. And I realise it is that resilience about my parents that welcomed me. In many ways I have gone back to being the child. But in so many ways I have bloomed into an adult, who is still the child. In so many ways this feels like the completion of a previously unaccomplished chapter.
As I ready myself to fly out the nest once more, I realise how different everything looks from the way it did last year. And like sunlight streaming through this glass-tiled roof, illuminating all that needs to be seen, I’ve witnessed all the missing parts coming to light. Everything is so lush, and my heart is so full.
Two years ago: Day 242: A morning moment