Friday, 26 June 2009
Thursday, 25 June 2009
When I was in the fourth grade, I remember, there was this girl who carried a Bible in her hand telling everyone that she knew where paradise was. Where is it? we asked her, where? We could not wait to hear it. There weren't too many who could understand the Bible, and this girl was obviously way high up the stairway to heaven now because like , she knew stories like Samson and Delilah, and how they never had sex because it was a sin, etc. She was 12 years old that time, and 12 years was still very very senior because the rest of us were still in single digits.
Anyway, that night, when our matron had turned off the lights and put us to bed - (Yes. I went to a boarding school) we sneaked out and followed her to her cubicle in our PJ's and sat around her bed. 'So Jenny, where is paradise? Tell us.'
There were 6 other girls with me, and we were all like choking in excitement. Jenny closed her eyes, murmered something and pointed to the girl near me, ' Lil, close your eyes and tell me if you can see it'.
Then Lil closes her eyes, and does that weird murmuring thing again, and the next thing you know she does this fake passing-out act. WHOA. I mean seriously, that was soooo fake. When we shook her, she sat up and smiled, ' I saw it Jen, I saw it, it had so many lights'. And then all these other girls near me, they all start clapping and behaving like Lil and Jenny were like St. Peter and St. Mark. DUH. Lights? So I put up my hand when Jenny finished her second round of murmuring, 'I want to see Paradise. I go next'. Jenny then said hesitantly, ' Alright, close your eyes and tell me what you see'. Then I close my eyes, and guess what - I see nothing. For five minutes, I waited and waited and waited. Then I began getting frantic - but that was it, I saw nothing. When I opened my eyes, all seven of the girls were sitting on their beds staring at me with that expression on their faces.
'So, did you see anything?'
'Well, yeah,' I lied, ' I saw lights as well'. I looked at Lil and she was giving me that you-say-one-more-word-and-I'll-kill-you look.
Then Jenny stepped forward and said in the meanest tone, ' Don't be such a liar! I know you didn't see paradise, you aren't even a christian, no non-christian can see paradise.' I don't remember what exactly I did after that but I screamed and threw a pillow on her and ran out. I'd never felt that miserable in my life ever. So I closed my eyes and imagined my own paradise - you know something straight out of Enid Blyton - like someplace with wishing chairs, and all that.
Ah, but that was 1995.
Later, the whole deal about paradise changed. At 13, I couldn't care less. It was something old people had to worry about. All that mattered was life at school. Waking up every morning to see frost on the grass. Playing pranks on the boys we hated. Sending anonymous notes to the ones we had a crush on. Writing journals. Trying to catch hail when whenever it rained heavily. Running through fields.. till somewhere you stop and think, oh alright, I've got to grow up. I was attending math tutitions and sure as hell nowhere near Paradise.
Neither was I near it at 17. In Boy's arms. The feeling that nothing on earth really mattered. The one line emails that said 'Why aren't you here?'. The late night phone conversations about matters of great un-importance i.e. nothing. Wondering about the future. Talking endlessly about dreams..but then, college life eventually ended..and so if paradise were heading to, we'd lost our way long ago, and we certainly didn't want to go there together. DUH.
21 was nothing close to Paradise. Working part-time and blowing it all away on saturday nights at university. Late night cook-outs, and late mornings. Cleaning kitchens and laughing about it over breakfast. Coffee and newspapers, and intelligent talk. One night-stands seemed so passe' and long term relationships were no more as meaningful. It was the single life that mattered.. the best of the days yet to come.. but it wasn't anywhere near perfect.
I don't know.
But now, I'm shutting my journal at 9 because work is exhausting and I need a breather. Coffee is beginning to give me a headache, and the traffic makes me want to throw up. And I still haven't seen paradise. Life seems so blah - the monotony of an office routine is beginning weigh me down, and my diet has switched to anything-that-I-can-swallow-in-ten-minutes. It's now that I realise, when I shut my eyes, that all the happiest things I could think of were in the past. School, college, boyfriends, family outings, winter breaks.. and it strikes me that maybe there is a chance that paradise wasn't so far after all.
Maybe Paradise is not where we are going to, but what we are leaving behind.
Posted by Meera Vijayann at 00:23