14 September, 2013

Unaccustomed earth, Siberian husky and others

 I petted a Siberian husky the other day. Named Lizzie. Glacial blue eyes and a coat that reminded me of Jack London's White Fang. I told her owner as much, leaning in through a car window to scratch Lizzie and a labrador (Beth) behind the ears.

 She responds with their names and that yes, Lizzie is really pretty. I walk on, trudging off home from the Computer Science building. Then it struck me: knew her dogs' names but not her's. Haha. Typical.

 There is a campus pond which I frequent. Especially on the weekend afternoons. The path that leads away from it slopes up to an old chapel, a flagstoned square and the imposing Du Bois library. At that time, when I make sure to walk up it, the "sun shines down like honey." Sometimes a friend would come along, when we would talk of Calcutta, life, the universe and everything in between.

 I am gradually liking this country, this home so far away from home. And at every other step, a small part of me finds everything poignant, somehow remarkable, something to be noted with more than a passing casual howdy.

 At times, on an overdose of nostalgia (generally due to others hailing from my state), I can be found reciting Tagore or Shokti into the eventide. At other times its Dylan Thomas sonorously disturbing the carpeted somnolence of my sometimes-empty apartment.

 This is where I wanted to be. This. Not the specific coordinates really, but in general. In the US of A. Getting a PhD that lends a stamp of legitimacy to the childhood habit of tinkering with technology. After close to half a decade of working towards it.

  The motives? Quite a motley bunch, I dare say. A remnant of a cavalier promise made to old, old friends in the heady days of high school - those days when the world really is your oyster (or so you think). Some part a desire maybe to seek, to strive and not to yield. 
   Later on, much later, the reasons that should have been - work, academia, the vast scope of research, the places where the frontiers of computer science are being constantly expanded. But doesn't that sound so trite, so grown-up, so ... so out-of-place? Here in this mausoleum of mad mumbles and muttered musings. So perhaps I came here simply because I could.

 Amherst has a Robert Frost trail and an Emily Dickinson House. The local bar has a poster of Brando as Vito Corleone (and a delectable barmaid - boots, cowboy hat, blonde tresses, the package!). Amherst Cinema was having a Scorcese festival. Yes, this is a place I could be. Once one can get over the sheer emptiness of it, after hailing from a city of teeming 5 millions.

 I take long rambling walks, wrapped up in either thoughts of research or of songs. Two others from Bengal and I do get together at times and talk. Then there are parties, at times, where I try curious mixes and forget for a while those that don't walk beside me as I head home. Mostly at a steady pace.

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