Skip to main content

Day 103: I'd walk to you if I had no other way.

She counts out sixty-nine cents in the backseat, before contorting her lower back to reach a semblance of reclining.

Now awake and at Starbucks, she orders her usual drink under the name "R." Today, the scruffy boy who is usually at the cash register asks, "anything else I can do for ya, Arrr?" apparently finding this abbreviation of her name funny. "That'll be three sixty-nine." She hands the girl her already-enumerated change before sitting as they prepare her drink. While she waits, she writes Laura yet another weakly veiled missive of morosity.

Next comes a call from a close friend anxious about the "collegiate verdict" fast approaching this week. "I just told myself I didn't care where I got in," she hears herself saying. She likes her voice. "But I can't brainwash myself, Ratna." "Well, yeah, maybe there's something to be said for expectation -- maybe that's enriching in itself, regardless of whether you're disappointed at the end of it." It'll be a long time before she allows herself to believe that again. Think like an optimist; act like a realist.

"I'm going to hop on the train now," is how she ends the conversation.

And what a train ride. Alack, the world's prettiest song is in one of her least favorite languages. The gentleman sitting in front of her must know the song, and has maybe even listened to it sitting next to someone about whom he cares a lot, because he turns his head not so slightly to have a better listen. French ballads transition into Spanish club music fairly smoothly today, and the thoughts evoked by the latter are somewhat embarrassing. I need to know how to speak Spanish. Not just know Spanish, but know how to speak it. She decides to write today's blog post in third person.

On her favorite street she meets a colleague: "Gee, Ratna, are you cold enough?" Freezing.

She arrives at the office in time for her laundry list of assignments. I want to be the world's personal assistant. Today promises to be the last day of the application for re-licensure that is almost finished, almost finished. If there's one thing she's learned from this job it's that sometimes to get things done, you need to just take them to the person who needs to do them. So she takes the file to the Executive Director herself.

Ms. Shore's office is breathtaking. On her second try, she finds the ED there, and presents the papers to the inspiring woman with the Ms. Deveneau-esque air.

She leaves work almost feverish and quickens her pace to reach the metro on time. Her favorite street is usually a dream, but today's arcade game of dodging homeless men pouring their life stories into the sidewalk is hardly dreamy.

And on the train: Why don't people ask me more questions? Don't they know I'll tell them anything? Well, at this point, almost anything.

Now the bus. "That's a jazzy haircut, Retna. It took me some getting used to, but that's a jazzy haircut." And a few minutes later, "Dee Dee, you look well-rested. You're probably not, but you look well-rested. And healthy."

Finally home, she prepares to teach herself to speak Spanish.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bygones -- by Marina Keegan

I had a dream the other night that I was checking my email.

That dream sucks.



And woke to woes of seniors writing

love songs for tomorrow and

Tomorrow and the melodies

That flirt us forward, whispering

the next thing and the next thing

and  – so we beat on

birds flocking south until we

circle round and realize maybe

maybe all that running wasn’t worth it.



Maybe we should build a cabin.

Or teach high school.

Or use our hands.

My palms are smooth as words –

Weak with fashion and double spaces.



I want everyone else’s club and job and class

The grass I sleep in always browner than

Than that around erasing dreams

To sit and breathe because you

Only bank for two years then it's over

And twenty two is nothing new

It’s just another chance to build

For when we’re twenty three

And twenty four

And time begins to sell for more than

Any 9 a.m. to never.



We’re not stuck.

That's the thing, we're not stuck.

We owe no one our nothings.

Yale will be what it was,

Gothic dreams of lucky, of…

Day 351: You can place your bets, world.

I started the day with a grave mistake -- eating butter chicken for breakfast. Those ten minutes of scream-inducing euphoria were hardly worth the sluggish pace and sessile nature of the rest of my day. I attempted to counteract the unfailing lethargy which results from consumption of Punjabi food by swallowing down some coffee ice cream, thereby only adding to my foods-that-should-not-be-eaten-for-breakfast list and exacerbating the problem.


We left home before noon for Shenandoah National Park, with hot air ballooning dreams for the day. We soon learned, however, that due to impending thunderstorms, this mission would not be successful. We instead spent the day exploring the side of the park we've never seen before.


We had a lunch of fried chicken at one of the park's rest stops before piling back in the car and driving around some more. At a lookout point, we met a park ranger who showed us the coat of a lynx found in the park and suggested a trail for us to hike. We fou…

My Move to Mumbai: Frequently Asked Questions

Hello, dear readers!

By now, you've probably heard the news: in Ratna's-gap-year fashion, I've taken a leap and moved to Mumbai for a one-year consultancy with Aangan Trust, a nonprofit that works to make sure that even the most vulnerable child has the right to a childhood free from trafficking, child marriage, child labor, and abuse.

Transitions are tough, and it turns out that this one is no different, even though it's one that I've chosen for myself and been very excited about for a while. It's one thing to pack up your bags from New York and move to a new place in Mumbai; it's quite another to adjust to the daily reminders of the little things you don't yet understand about where you live, and the small ways in which you don't fit in.

Part of what has made the transition tricky is a stream of (well-intentioned) questions that sometimes make me feel like I have to justify why I made the choice to be here. These can be hard for me because someti…