Sunday, 18 November 2007

Snowy Sackville (a little late ...)

Me on the football field right outside Thornton. That is my first snowball. The first snowman that Kelly and I tried to make collapsed because my snowball was rather pathetic and didn't hold the weight of hers. It was awesome all the same ...

A little while later. The snowball was getting bigger but it was also becoming more like a sushi roll which is why it fell apart later.

Reveling in the snow. The first snow.

That's the field. It's a bit dark in this picture. It was actually kind of impressive.

That was me and my name written in the snow. It didn't come out all that well. My A's were tilting to the left in a slightly drunken way. Not quite sure how that happened, really.

The view of the parking lot from my room. Same night of the first snow.

The parking lot the next morning.

That's looking out of the second floor kitchen (right across the hall from my room) looking up towards the rest of campus. On the right is the East side of Thornton. The near left is the East side of Edwards. The on the left in the distance is Hunton and on the right in the distance is the new student center that's still being built. The football field is on the right in between Thornton and the new student center.

Same place zoomed in a bit.

The football field the same morning. Every morning, I walk up to this point and then stop and look across the field to see the sun rising over the field. It's always gorgeous. These days the sun isn't up till later but I did look forward to this view every morning.

The East side of Thornton that looks over the football field.

I went for a walk that morning. This is Owen's Art Gallery looking in the direction of Thornton with the new student center in between.

My snowy foot prints ...

The Swan Pond. Found your Monster yet?

The hill (kind of) behind Hart Hall. The sun had come out and it was bright and gorgeous.

Yours truly.

O Canada!

The University Quad

My Friday Flowers. Still hanging in there.

Pretty. I think.

View of the sunset from my room.

My Favourite Things ...

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels,
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles.
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings;
These are a few of my favourite things.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes,
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,
Silver white winters that melt into springs,
These are a few of my favourite things.

When the dog bites, when the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Every day we’re adding to the years between ourselves and our childhoods that, in some cases, we’ve left quite far behind. Every day people take us a little more seriously, we use a few more big words and we try and act a little more sensibly. Some people are running headlong into the future away from childhoods they hated, some people are miserable and wish that life was as simple as when they were kids and still others, like me, have found a happy medium between being all grown up and being able to appreciate something with pure, childish wonder and happiness; and I think we can all agree that there’s no joy quite as pure and fulfilling as childish joy.

I feel like I say this a lot, but I had a pretty rough week this week. Because of Remembrance Day we had a four-day weekend that I totally abused and made shockingly little of and so the two midterms on Wednesday (one of which I got back on Friday and was a bit sad about) were slightly brutal. And not just in terms of grades - emotionally too. I was definitely grateful this weekend was going to come quickly because I needed a second chance at getting some rest and I, wisely I think, sought comfort in one of my favourite things: Disney.

As a kid, there was nothing better than watching Disney movies with my brother and my parents. I would like to think that every child of my generation and so, by default, every parent of a child of my generation, has seen all the Disney classics. And I’m talking true classics here: Dumbo, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Jungle Book, Bambi, One Hundred and One Dalmatians ... the Classics. I would like to think that not only have these parents and children seen these movies, but that they’ve also seen them HUNDREDS of times to the point where they’re imprinted on the collective consciousness of each family. That’s how I always watched them, at least …

Last night while Saturday night was turning Thornton into the usual scene of ridiculous behaviour (some day, when his guilt has faded a bit, you must remind me to tell you the story of how I got dropped on my head by a friend of mine), two friends and I were huddled on a bed eating chocolate-covered almonds, watching Aladdin and being childishly happy. I don’t want to offend any of my readers by suggesting that ridiculous behaviour generated by the consumption of varying amounts of alcohol isn’t as good as Aladdin but I will say that Aladdin is a special kind of good.

For the two-odd hours that we spent watching the movie (and re-watching some of the songs), I was happy in a way that I haven’t been in a long time. I would guess that it’s been five or six years since I last watched Aladdin and I was amazed at how every scene was still absolutely familiar, every song still so clear in my mind, every second of the movie still so wonderful.

Last night I went back to my room with ‘A Whole New World’ delightfully stuck in my head, a huge, stupid grin on my face and an incredible amount of gratitude for knowing that no matter how old I am, Aladdin will still be one of my favourite things and childish joy will always be within my reach.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Sparkles and Snowflakes

Yesterday was Diwali in India and I wished I was there. Diwali at home means family, friends, food, dias, fireworks ... and here I am in Canada so incomprehensibly removed from home. I'm sad I missed it. For a few hours yesterday, I really, really didn’t want to be in Canada. I wanted to be at home with my parents and my brother having Diwali the way I've always had it.

In the end I think what I got – although it wasn’t home – was wonderful. An Indian professor and his wife invited me and other Indians at Mt A to their home for a Diwali dinner. I walked downtown, met a couple of friends who were also going and we walked to Dr Majithia’s house together. We were greeted at the door by their son wearing a kurta and the sound of people enjoying each other’s company. My Indian-ness failed me and I didn’t take anything for them. My mother would be ashamed (and now is, since she reads this. I’m sorry.). But everything else about that moment of stepping into a Diwali party was like it would have been at home. The next couple of hours were really nice. We chatted and ate food I didn’t realize how badly I missed until I was eating it.

Then we went outside to light fireworks. And I missed Arjun, my brother. Diwali at home is something I associate mostly with him. He’s the pyromaniac who spends Diwali cheating death (or at least the potential loss of limbs) while he tampers with rockets and bombs all day long. He’s the one who gets such unbridled joy out of lighting a fuse and watching something explode. He’s the one who I’ve spent almost every Diwali with. If he had been there, I wouldn’t have needed to be at home. He would have been enough. Last night, Kavish Chandra was doing what Arjun would have done if he was there. Kavish was the master of ceremonies as far as the fireworks-lighting went and the joy Kavish got out of it was the same joy that I would have seen in Arjun. Knowing that Arjun was in Florida somewhere missing Diwali and home as much as I was only made it worse. I tried to appreciate it twice as much – once for myself and once for him. I hoped our twin connection would let me transmit some of that to him across the thousands of miles via that connection we might have.

There weren’t hundreds of fireworks like we’d have had at home. They weren’t breathtaking. They weren’t even that loud. But they were beautiful. The cold darkness of the November night was lit by golden sparkles and bursts of red and yellow and green and blue light. Kavish bounced around loving every moment of it. All of us were crowded up next to each other sharing the time together. We were quiet except for the ooh-ing and aah-ing at appropriate moments. It would have been the same at home. When the show was over we went back inside and continued laughing and being happy.

And then do you know what happened? It snowed. For a brief but absolutely glorious five minutes, it snowed. It was my first time seeing snow and in those few minutes, I was completely happy. It might sound a little silly and there’s no way I could ever explain what it was that made me feel the way I did. But it was pure, unadulterated joy. I stood absolutely still and stared up into the sky watching the snow fall …

Happy Diwali, everyone. No matter where you are or where you wish to be, no matter who you’re with or who you want to be with, I hope, that in the end, your Diwali was as great as mine …

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Friday Flowers

A week ago I was walking past Owen's Art Gallery and, in a bare patch of ground, I saw a cluster of little purple flowers poking out of the dirt. They hadn't really opened yet or taken much shape, so I decided to keep an eye on them and see what they developed into. A week went by and I hadn't thought about them much and then on Friday evening, as I was heading home after yet another depressingly horrible Chem lab, I had to walk by them and I did stop and look. They'd grown up out of the ground and some of them had bloomed but they were completely trashed. We've had some brutally windy days and I guess they couldn't take it. It looked a bit like a battle ground after a war. They looked completely battered and defeated.

I figured that since they were already broken, I'd pick some up and take them home and see what I could do with them. When I got home I couldn't deal with the mess that had accumulated through the week so I dumped the flowers on my table and went for dinner. About 45 minutes later, I came back to my room to find that every single one of them had opened. They were beautiful: purple petals with streaks of white and stunningly bright, saffron-coloured stigmas. I think the flowers were cold and unhappy outside. As soon as I brought them in, the came alive again. I gave them a safe, comfortable place the be and it made all the difference.

I took some of the flowers I picked up and give a few to Kelly and a few to Madeleine – just to spread the joy a little bit. I called them my Friday Flowers. My little bit of sunshine after a long and hard week.

On Friday, I felt a bit like those flowers. I felt battered and defeated. The lack of sleep, the stress, the anxiety … it had all built up and I'd gotten to the point where all I really want to do was lie down and sleep; find a little corner to crawl into to heal my wounds.

So I did. This was my first totally sober weekend in a long time. That’s pathetic in itself. Who’d have thought I’d become one of those stupid college kids who’s out of control? Bah. Anyway. I’m feeling better. Not great … but better.

Waking up this morning was rather painful. I wasn't ready for the harsh reality of Sunday morning. Today had that typical Sunday feeling ... You know, the feeling that comes from knowing you haven't made the most of the weekend's potential for getting work done, knowing that it's Monday tomorrow and you really don't have any time left, and knowing you've got to get out of bed because if you don't, you're losing those precious minutes - the ones you really can't afford to lose ...

So here I am, blogging away. Picking up the pieces and starting again ... just like I do every Sunday. Hopefully I can end this weekend as nicely as I started it: with simple joy coming from a simple thing – my Friday Flowers ...