I leave for India tomorrow, to meet family and friends and attend the launch of my book. This is the first time in perhaps 15 years that I'll be in India for Christmas and New Year. Oh yes, and also Bakr-Eid which is essentially an orgy of blood, the bleating of terrified animals and people trying to outshine each other. Far removed from the spirit of sacrifice that the festival is supposed to be about.
Bringing in the new year, 2007, in India is strange. This coming year bisects my life in two. I will be exactly double the age I was when I arrived in the US. I was young, scared and excited and so desperately missing India. It's not like it is for newcomers now, with the Internet and cheap phone calls. To those of us who arrived in the late 80's and early 90's it was a complete shift. We wrote letters and awaited them eagerly. Phone calls were still too expensive to make regularly, especially on TA salaries.
So much has changed. Not just with communication but with me. I'm married, have a home and a family very different from the one I grew up in. My nieces are young women and my nephew is no longer a baby but a guitar toting member of a band.
I have mixed feelings. In some ways I feel my life is waning but in others the next 20 years are replete with promise and newness. It's not been bad so far. In the balance of all things....I've had a good life. I am loved and I love...and that's not too shabby.
But yes, as a new year and another birthday...a seminal birthday...approach I am also filled with regret for things I could have done, things I could have been. Regret is like autumn leaves drifting inexorably to the ground. There is not much I can do about the past. But perhaps I can work towards what is yet to come.
I will try and blog while I am in India but if I am not able to....Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings and a Very Happy New Year.
Hope it's a good one.