It is Father's day and my Facebook feed is a stream of people putting up sepia tinted pictures of their fathers.
I cannot relate. I love my father, and I wish I could see him more often, but I am unable to channel all of this on Father's Day.
At the moment I am trying to get him to send me the phone number of my grandaunt so I can call and check on her. He is in Bangalore and I am in the U.S- the time difference matters and if he doesn't get on this within the next ten minutes or so I will have missed my window to make this call for yet another day. He is in the middle of dealing with his own mother, who has Alzheimer's and has of late been hitting the young girl we have hired to help care for her. I doubt my father can relate to the way we think of Mother's Day. Loving and caring for his mother have changed him, just as her illness has changed her.
Every day we try to hold on a little bit more to the memory of who she used to be, so that we can handle who she has become now. Doing that hurts too, because things are so different, and we wonder how we became this way. Old age is horrible. Let no one say otherwise.
On Father's Day I think to myself, I hope I can be as present for my parents as they were for their own. I am all the way across the world, and have a decade or so to make it possible for them to live here, or convince myself that life would be better if I moved back.
What this means is that in my father's best years, and my mother's, which are now, I will be far far away. We are missing out on having fun with each other but there isn't a way in the world you could get me to move back to Bangalore at this point. I am so happy to have grown up there, but it now it makes me sad. Landing there and not being at the little airport near Indiranagar makes me sad. The long long road back to Koramangala makes me sad, as does the visible evidence of the corruption linked to the new airport. The air is impossible to breathe, and I feel the grime coating me- settling on me as I settle into the city. All the bisibelebhath and lunch thalis in the world cannot make up for the loss of the city I grew up in.
Landing in Delhi or Mumbai do not have the same effect. No matter how unbearably hot, or noisy Delhi is it will always have my heart. Delhi was ever uncomfortable- you just accept it and move on. Mumbai I have no feelings for- so landing there or not landing there have no meaning to me. Bangalore was my home, and I am having trouble accepting that it has changed so much, and become so very unlivable.