In The Ramayana, Sita sees a golden deer and she desires it more than she's ever desired anything. She turns to her husband Ram and asks him to capture it for her.
Ram, ever cautious, ever prudent, tells Sita that it could be a trap set by a demon.
"I'm spending the next fourteen years of my life with you in this damn forest because I love you," replies Sita. "And you're kicking up a fuss about one measly golden deer?"
So Ram sighs a sigh, probably wishes he'd left Sita back in the palace and sets off in search of the golden deer. After a while, Sita hears him call for help.
"Laxman," she calls and Ram's dutiful younger brother trots up. "Laxman, Ram's in trouble. I can hear him shouting,"
"Ram's a great warrior," is the reply. "We must be careful because it could be a trap. This forest is full of demons you know,"
"I know, and one of them is probably killing my husband. Will you save him or not?"
Laxman sighs a sigh, probably wishes Ram had left Sita back in the palace and sets off. But before he does, he draws a circle, a magic circle, and tells Sita to stay inside it. As long as she does, she'll be safe.
But Ravana comes along a while later, disguised as a beggar, and tricks Sita into stepping outside the circle. One step which leads to thirteen years of despair and desperate search and war.
We all have our magic circles. And no one knows who drew them for us. But we know why they're there- as long as we stay inside, we're safe. Untouched by evil. To step out- even one tiny little step- would be to throw ourselves into all the misery and despair and hopelessness that's waiting, waiting, waiting, with black tendrils ready to curl around us and hold us, perhaps forever.
But what The Ramayana doesn't tell us is that wonderful things lie beyond the circle too. New friendships and new adventures and new reasons to laugh everyday.
After all, if Sita hadn't stepped outside that circle, there wouldn't have been a story in the first place.
So I haven't updated for a while, mainly because I have a life again. A happy life. This is because of the following:
1. Cars: Most importantly, my car, which has airconditioning. When my car is out of commission, taxis come a close second since there is very little danger of the cab drivers here raping/murdering you. They're too busy smoking ganja and thinking of their next cup of tea. I haven't stepped foot on the Metro in two weeks. Bliss.
2. Meat: There are no words that will do justice to this. It simply isn't possible for mere words to highlight the beauty of a steak or a couple of slices of roast beef. I haven't eaten chicken though- chicken doesn't count. It's vegetarian meat.
3. Friends: It's strange but if I'm bored now, I can pick up my mobile and call someone and actually go and hang out with them. My weekends in Delhi were spent glued to the computer, obsessively reading pathetic sites about pathetic people, secure in the knowledge that I was united with them in patheticness. My only contact with the outside world was facebook and skype. Although I still do switch on my laptop occasionally to fb, skype and chat, I don't actually spend most of my day on it. This is because most of my day is spend having face to face conversations with people. People I like. People I really like. Friends. It's fun.
4. My bed: The sheer joy of cuddling down amidst a pile of pillows and pulling (clean) sheets over me. The familiar mattress which feels as soft as heather (not that I've ever actually slept on heather but I'm assuming the Famous Five knew what they were talking about) after the three inch platform of ground brick I sleep on in Delhi.
5. Privacy: Nothing beats having my own room again. Not to mention an attached bathroom all to myself. I don't have to lug my shampoo back and forth- it stands on a shelf in the showerplace and it looks very happy to be there. I don't have to keep a towel wrapped around me while changing because there's no one to be horrified by a glimpse of my butt. In fact, I make it a point to wander around my room naked before and after my shower. It is seriously one of the best feelings in the world.
6. Air conditioning: If I'm at home and I feel hot, I press a little green button and hey presto- I don't feel hot anymore. I think that speaks for itself.
7. Laundry: I don't have to wash my clothes, I don't have to iron my clothes, I don't have to fold my clothes. I can leave them on the floor when I go to sleep and by the next evening, they are back in my cupboard- washed and pressed and folded. And it's absolutely okay to be this spoiled because this is, after all, only a temporary privelege. So I don't even have to feel guilty.
8. The city: When I first came home, it didn't feel like home. That feeling's passed away now though, because after a few days, I realised that everything's still the same. And even if it isn't- because okay, it's not completely the same- it doesn't matter, because this is still my home.
9. My mother: She's as annoying as ever- actually a little more annoying because she's gone and got herself an iPhone while I'm stuck using my pink monstrosity- but I have to admit, being able to hug her whenever I want is a sort of nice feeling.
The best thing of all is that sitting here, feeling warm and loved and home again, makes me look at Delhi with a new perspective.
When I first came back here, to be honest, it didn't feel like home. It felt different- and Delhi didn't feel like home either. So I fondly imagined myself as a homeless hitchhiker, roaming from place to place, belonging nowhere. But I have a couple of wonderful friends who refused to let me sink into my much loved misery.
So I'm just going to settle on having two homes. Here and in, ugh, Delhi. Because let's face it, the thought of going back doesn't make me want to jump off my terrace. In fact, I think a small part of me is actually looking forward to it. Delhi has its own charm. But more on that later.