Friday, November 6, 2009

Things I Don't want to Forget..

I went on a long vacation recently, and took a lot of photographs - approximately 400 or so. These photographs were not so great in terms of composition or even clarity, but they captured the essence of the time.

A couple of days ago, on my way back from my extremely long holiday, I lost my camera.

This is my attempt to recapture those moments which were, for me, the highlights of my trip.

1) "Wow... what was that?"
The Artist known as James. Using spare parts of automobiles, James has made a profession out of creating massive pieces of pop culture in all their detail. On Venice beach, he had exhibited pieces of the Predator, Terminator, Alien as well as Wall.E...

In fact, Venice beach will have to be a highlight in itself. The street art, the medical store that prescribes and supplies medical marijuana, the young boy in front of the clinic with a sign that says, "The doctor is in", massive flaggons of sangria, the cold soft sand, the lifeguard's outpost whose metal parts are picked out by the fading sunlight and then the bright moonlight... and through it all, discovering a new friendship.

And then later, when Meg, despite the ravages that chemotherapy has inflicted on her body, completely lost her temper, i was thrilled to hear in her furious voice that the spirit of the girl i loved was intact. She was on her way back, and i was there to see it.

2) "That looks like a UFO.. right?"
The day after i reached, jetlagged and exhausted and completely disoriented, i helped my friends move home. It was surreal in a very fun kind of way. That night, completely shattered and wired, having been refused a drink at the local tavern (because i wasn't carrying ID!), but starting the evening with stolen sips of a leftover stash of tequila, my friends and i made the night a memorable one. Helped along by copious amounts of wine, tequila, weed, etc, the three of us decided to explore the new place. Somehow this involved racing each other in torn footwear, staring at a mist-covered building (the UFO), and laughing... Oh, how much we laughed! Enough to get two warnings from the community security to "keep it down.. or else.." :)

3) "Meet the Folks"
My family, who decided to show me a bit of LA, were wonderful. They're kind, and funny (anyone with tax problems? My aunt's in the IRS! Talk about useful connections!) and young at heart. This very nature allowed them to give me a trip to Universal Studios - the theme park for the movie lovers. Getting up close and personal with the Jaws, the Mummy, the Terminator, Shrek (4D!!! Who needs good seats when the movie is happening around you, huh?), the Jurassic era, the War of the Worlds, the Psycho... absolutely fantastic!

4) "Oh look, naked lady!"
Entry into a strip club - $20
A pint of beer while some pretty semi-naked woman chats you up - $5
A private lap dance - $20
The expression on the faces of my two male friends who look as if they've been allowed into heaven's candy store - priceless
And the life lesson that maybe i really am not into women. Sigh.

5) Welcome to Hollywood!

A movie premier. the walk of fame. Strolling along santa monica blvd. People dressed as Superman, batman, Captain Jack Sparrow, Napoleon Dynamite. All good. But my favorite part will have to be being introduced to sake at a small japanese dive. Yumm! Oh, and bumping into some celebrity,that no one could really place, but whom my friend almost had an orgasm while trying to point out (Ben Stein, the sleepy professor in the Wonder Years). That was funny.

6) "So long and thanks for all the fish."

A day spent by myself, exploring the further ends of London. Late October. Bright sunny day. And i walked through Hampstead Gardens, upto HighGate Cemetary, to sit beside a simple stone plaque. This stone plaque had a small golden dolphin, a robot and a few other curios. On the plaque was written "Douglas Adams". I sat beside it, ate a sandwich and somehow felt good after a really long time.

7) "Oh! Hello Stranger!"

There are people i met at almost every step of the way with whom i shared a few moments. The watercolor artist, who wasn't certain her art would be seen by anyone other than herself and maybe a few passersby within Hampstead Gardens, the ex-military octogenarian who loved Bombay almost as much as i did and thought that i was "like sunlight" (*blush*), the bartender at Venice Beach who fixed ginormous drinks and is one of the chief reasons i got completely plastered on one of my most fun evenings... oh! and the very cute guy who stepped off the subway just as i was getting on... I'm going to tell myself there was a moment there... so cute!

8) History Lessons

Speed walking through Washington DC, past the monuments to achievement, great loss and political and financial power, thinking of petitioning the US Government to allow for auto-rickshaw ferries in between the tourist hot-spots, I remember the awkward way my father held me when i burst into tears in front of him for the first time in 20 years. I remember missing my mom. I missed having my family.

9) "Home sweet home"

Landing in Bombay, walking into my silent home, falling down on my perfect bed, finally feeling comfortable about who i was. Through my journey, i'd felt censored - i couldn't talk to my friends about my family (because they didn't really know much), couldn't speak to my father about mom, couldn't speak to my aunt about my father, couldn't speak to my cousins about London Boy, couldn't speak to London Boy about anything... and that was just the tip of the iceberg. And then, i was home. And around 3 am in the morning, two of my friends dropped in on me. And i couldn't talk to them about any of it - because... well, they're not those kind of friends.

I remember thinking that i'd travelled the world, met my entire family, and friends - and i still felt so very alone.

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