sometimes, life just does it for you. So here I am, ten days before I fly back home, sipping a glass of wine and waiting for a fillet mignon at a restaurant I have found comfort over the last three months.
Milwaukee has been good to me… good food, better beer and fantastic people. The weather, well, it grows on you a bit I guess. I mean how many places have you heard of where a perfectly bright morning can be followed by a rainy afternoon..giving way to a balmy evening ! Folks here at Milwaukee never run out of things to talk about, if nothing else, weather is always there !
This trip has been different for me, in many more ways than one. I had a good time, a really good time. Enjoyed my work, and am returning home with a pretty satisfied outlook at life.
If only, she could have been around as well.
Anyway, perhaps the reason I appreciated this trip more … and this is going to get me killed when I come back to India, is perhaps that this was the longest period I have spent alone since I ceased being a single guy in an apartment in the middle of Hyderabad.
Being alone makes you look at yourself in ways that you would not have considered possible otherwise. Perhaps, with someone around to love you and indulge you, you overlook basic truths about yourself that glare at you when you are alone.
So did I have soul turning moments drinking beer at a rock concert by the river, or while walking down the promenades in downtown…. well yes , and no.
It was liberating to know that I could just walk out of the hotel room and be a new person every day. Meet absolute strangers and share times that make them friends for a lifetime. When I knew that all i had were the few clothes hanging in the closet and the money in my wallet to take care of. Not worry about parking a car or standing in a queue to buy petrol… so in big ways and small, being away from all that I hold dear back home, was liberating.
Back home, I carry the weight of my past wherever I go, for people know me, at least to some extent. At Milwuakee, when I walk into bars where the old mustachioed bartender swore that I was the first Indian he had served in thirty years, I need to start from scratch.
Isn’t this what so many of us crave for all the while. The chance to start all over, to be the man we always wanted to be when we read those books and saw that movie that made us cry private tears out of sheer joy…
and to think, we all have that chance in someway or the other, everytime we say hello to a stranger…
I have said a lot of hellos on this trip, and now that its time to say my goodbyes, I cannot help but feel, a bit sad… leaving this town , nestled along the folds of lake Michigan, full of people ready to smile, and make a Indian guy, feel wanted so far away from home. Au Revoir Milwaukee… until we meet again… the next time though, I will bring her with me…