I don’t know how to be the person you knew me as two years ago. I’m not quite sure if you liked her more, or if you’re proud of the fact that I chopped off my hair impulsively a month ago. They held too much unnecessary history, and you always told me that forgetting was the easier job. Each year, it is harder living away from you, because of how easy it is becoming. My phone memories have started recognising Sonipat as ‘home’, I am angry about that and I am afraid that you will ask me about the cracks on my tempered glass.
I have so much to tell you – almost too much, Ma. So much that I simply don’t know where to start, my vocabulary runs out each time I sit down to write you a text about how my day went. I hope it’s okay if I sit in silence and smile when you ask me how college is going. The next half of the semester will flow smoothly if I get to see you ramble about how Sambhav’s exams are getting too much, and you don’t know if you should indulge in purchasing another saree. And oh, if work choked you tonight, that’s okay too. Just come sit next to me, and I can play our Warm Hug playlist on shuffle while you take a break. It’s always been enough – silence, and you.
It’s colder outside, isn’t it? Even the sea salt in the wind is playing along with the illusion of winter our city fancies. So our sweatshirts are seeing the light of day, you decided to air them for our evening walk. I don’t know how to break it to you, but it’s 24 degrees outside. So I put my favourite crop top back inside, I guess I’ll sweat a little today. I won’t break it to you.
At Least it’s warmer inside – sitting on the kitchen table seat with my legs swinging because they’re too short to touch the ground. It’s the same as it was fifteen years ago. The lights outside are brighter around this season, and they almost lull me to sleep each time you rhythmically chop veggies for supper. It’s that time of the year again, you cook all of my favourite dishes and laugh at the same jokes I told you a year ago. The chimes from everyone else playing cards in the living room sound like routine. Of course I know I’m home. You smile and say that no matter how many lights you put up at home, nothing lights it up like I do. It’s funny. Your smile is the sun.
Today the market was bustling, more than usual. Getting groceries back home was almost war. But I think I ticked everything off your list. And oh, I got you oranges! It has always been your favourite fruit. It has also become mine. Also because it’s oranges. Come on.
I heard that sharing fruit is the same as telling someone you love them. We have been doing this since I was three. I am almost twenty one. You have loved me all my life.
The other day I couldn’t tell a boy I fell in love with him, so I did what you do for me every time I come back home. I fed him an orange segment, and I heard him talk about everything he cares for. I think I loved him more after.
Thank you for teaching me that love can be quiet.
It’s the most powerful love language I have ever learned.
It makes so much sense to me now. You would stock up on fruit when exam season was nearing, and you would cut an apple for me every time I neared a breakdown. I have told you about my first crush and my first fight with my best friend over sharing fruit. I will never be able to dissociate it from love.
So of course, oranges at 8A.M. college breakfast make me smile profusely. They make it much easier to process the days I don’t have it in me to call you up and cry.
So of course, I want to tell you a semester’s worth of gossip. I have come home after so long. I have to tell you about the cool new essay I read for my class last week, and the sprinklers that get me wet each time I try to run to my room. There are so many mosquitoes on campus. I hate the cold. I am tired of feeling lonely. I bought a new kurti that reminded me of you! Do you have a saree I can borrow for Diwali? I cannot tell you how profoundly you flow inside of me. I cannot tell you how close it makes me feel to you when you’re farther than I can imagine. So I will peel you an orange, and I will wait for you at the kitchen table. Come soon.