Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Leaving Soatica

I smile, I hug, I nod emphatically, I feign the ecstasy and the relief. But my smile extends no further, no deeper than my lips' embrace.

I feel a strange sort of tiredness. My eyes are wide open, my senses alert, I'm quick on to console, to converse.
And yet something inside me slumps; tugging slowly and relentlessly at my attention.

What now?
I'm leaving soatica.

I studied at soas this year. And how feeble a word like studied can be.

the world has grown so much bigger and at times so much smaller, so scary and yet so promising, so dark and yet so blindingly and alarmingly light.
how else would it seem when your every sense , and every ounce of intellect is stimulated, challenged and consumed?

but now I finished. I was skating and I was soaring and I was gliding; and suddenly I stop. And the word stands before me, waiting for me to explore it myself.

I had left it at the door step as I hopped into the building, and sat listlessly at the SOAS bar, in an array of dim-lit color; surrounded by revolutionary fists, posters of Marx, dreadlocks, sweet smelling smoke, endless announcements and calls for rebels and revolutionaries, for all those who are armed for the plight 'to change'.
Listlessly waiting for the music that escapes the juke box and threads its way across the room, and across continents and decades to tickle me, to embrace me.

I left it at the door step as I hopped into my class room, and sat listening, hoping it would not end, or wishing it would so I would give my Brownian thoughts a chance to settle down, to stop bouncing off each other, and attempting to break through the limits of my mind.. For my brain to attempt to caress, caress, but never pacify them.

I left it at the door step as I raced to the library, to devour one book after the other, one article after another, shaking my head in wonder and disbelief as I grabbed a notebook in between and scribbled 'unbelievable ya alia!' as I scribbled myself some notes to remember. Where had I been as this happened through the world? How had I not known..

I came back to the door step and avoided the world; as I ran back home or went out to another world, one that was kinder but so much less real.

As I ran into comforting arms as I hated myself for failing me. why couldn't I seem to learn?
I left it at the door step as I walked out and around it... I would deal with it later, i'm only just starting to understand it.

London around soas, snowed on the brightest and shiniest days; you lifted ur face for a sun-kiss, and braced yourself as the snow flakes, tickled ur nose, caressed ur cheeks and wandered into ur unassuming ears.
London around SOAS bloomed in the most beautiful of scents and the brightest of colors in the spring, and the coldest and chilliest gusts of wind in the winter.

People in SOAS challenged the world. Colors do not match here. Hair meets the standards, colors, shades, textures of beauty as every spot on the world might see them. Skies come in colors. They also come in shapes, shades, layers, lengths and sizes.

Students fill the bottom of the steps, crowding the world I left behind, in protests at sit ins, when a librarian is threatened, when a fellow student mistreated, when a country is bombed.

the bulletin boards crowd with competing events. Every flier, poster, picture sprawls as widely as possible attempting to catch more of your attention than its neighbor, predecessor or child. Every event promising, challenging, angry, exciting, sad or exhilarating. And not an hour without one.

London in SOAS is Iran, Aceh, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Poland, Palestine, Germany, India, Tibet, Algeria, and Egypt, London in SOAS was home.

The library in SOAS overflows with riches from Faten 7amama, Empire, Marx, Gramsci, Fouccault, Toqueville, Sherine Ebadi, and so many many more..

A year now. How could so much have happened in a year?

When every concept, ideology, understanding is 'unpackaged', when after every lecture you emerge perplexed , with question marks, and after every reading, you ask yourself again; where was I? Why didn't I know? How could I not have seen it?

How much has happened in a year.
And then I realize, it has not even been one...

And so my intellect has grown; the sands, the fairy dust, the words and the drops of water, are still scattered in my mind, lifted in one breeze of thought after another, as they twirl in an array of color and sensation. Not a single one discernible from the other, each adding to the others depth, color, texture and frenzied motion. All emancipated and yet restricted to the limits of my mind at once.

They no longer bombard however, they blend, and they glide, shifting from one shape and one form to the next; more gracefully however, and I am at peace with their randomness.

The world still awaits at the doorstep.
And I flirt with it.
and I flit and fleet in and out of it.
I fear it, and I wish to embrace it.

But it's the gate to SOAS, and the gates and the windows that SOAS have build inside me that I don't want to leave behind.

And so I smile. I hug, and I nod emphatically. But my smile extends no further than my lips embrace. And something inside me tugs slowly and relentlessly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how one place can become the world to us. As I read I tried to sequeeze my memory to remember which place was the same for me. I am sure at one point I had that kind of place. However, I could not remember it anymore. I think since I left my own world and became scattered all over the globe. How much am I longing to re-find that place even in my memory to run to it even virtually and hide there from all the pain and agony in this world......