Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where are you from?


The Flowing Hair by Henri Matisse

[ The lady behind the restaurant counter asks me, without a comma:
"You look lovely this afternoon where are you from?"

As always, I fumble for a response to these four words:
Where are you from?

And then there is loveliness
Is loveliness and where I am from related?

I fumble for the first geographical wave that comes to mind, which it does depending on the season, time of the day and my mood.

For "Where am I from?"]

I.

I am from this ground I am standing on.
I am here now. I am from here.
I am from my blue bedroom
I am from my white kitchen
I am from the green study
I am from the lemon bathroom
I am from the white living room

I am from the side street
I am from the progressive county
I am from the green city
I am from the legendary state
I am from this greatest country on earth

But wait. This is my adopted home
I must belong where I came from.

So let's try again.

I am from that ancient country
I am from that mythical state
I am from that dusty city
I am from that revolutionary county
I am from that main road

I am from the plot where my parents house stands
I am from that tall building I called home before I grew my wings
I am from my parents house on the sixth floor
I am from the house number 64

I am from that brown living room
I am from that sea green bathroom
I am from that blue study
I am from my mother's grey kitchen
I am from my pink bedroom where my stuffed toys are still lined up
I am from that ground I stood on
I was there then. I was from there then.

But I am standing here now.
Here in a very precise space
Square footage taken by my blue shoes
So ask me again where I am from

I am from where my parents spent their childhood
Where my mother, as a little girl, played on a banyan tree swing
I am from the house from whose roof my father fell
as a three years old kid. Unharmed. From what the eyes can see atleast.

So ask me again where I am from

I am from where I am right now
Like a magical tree that
grows new roots wherever you may place it
I am from here

I am from everywhere I have been
From everywhere I will go
From the human ocean
The mammal ocean
The living ocean
The non living ocean
The star dust we all share

Yes. I am from the stars.

-Neha

Take 2: Where are you from? Read Take 1 here.

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