1st November 2018
The other day I telephoned my grandmother. Thinking about this conversation later, a profound confusion in my head got reasons to quieten down.
When I turned back, to grab a quick last glimpse of my home, and grandparents through the back window of the giant SUV, laden with my luggage that could come up to my own height if stacked one on top of the other, my searching eyes settled on the folded palms and worried eyes of my grandmother.
Moments before stepping out of home, I had held her close and reassured her that Germany is not that far away. I heard Grandfather stifle a nervous laughter, posed in his typical Ardh-padmasan on the Diwan behind her, and I winked at him. I had not meant to give her a false information, nor did I (wrongly) presume that she doesn’t know her geography. My motivation in telling my grandmother that this country on a different continent is not so far away, is double fold. One was to calm her down in this time of parting, when she is drowning under a deluge of uncertainty about the slightest daily activity that I would have to carry out on my own in a new country. Second, was to convince the idea to myself, by voicing it out loud, thus somehow establishing it forcefully. Grandpa knew of the first reason, but I doubt if he had any clue about the latter.
Anyway, I couldn’t be too wrong, in today’s era of superb virtual connectivity. Grandma is certainly better off now. We know what I do when situations pop up. We know how I get my groceries. We know how I get my food. We know I am managing.
Explaining these to her one day over the phone, I had a unique experience. She would laugh out loud at some of the weird adventures I had to share. And I would get a sudden thrill at having being able to make her laugh. Through the conversation, I paid attention to the pattern of what makes her laugh. It happened when I put, even the simplest of ideas, with some amount of witticism. When I used some odd, awfully literary Malayalam word, which generally don’t creep into everyday conversations. She was enjoying my narration of the story, even if the story was routine. And I was enjoying the notion that I am amusing her with the story, in particular, bringing her to laughter once in a while.
Later, I realised that these telephonic conversations were teaching me a very important deal. That love lies, perhaps, in laughter. Forever a romantic soul in search of a definition for love, trying to decide what to call love, I was, here, getting a new avenue to explore for answers. When you feel the delight of being the reason for another’s laughter, another’s happiness, perhaps it is love that is at work. If you are able to laugh because of another, truthfully, with abandon, perhaps that is love at work. Because in the moments when you laugh, you can’t be anything but happy. And in the moments of laughter, there hides love.
A twenty something feeling her way through life.