Words Rashida M.
Illustration Fatema A. (cosmicweavers)
In India, when the monsoons came along, my father who loved long drives, more often than not, said, “Well, how about Galiakot?” “Burhanpur,” my mother would reply. And between their arguments we might end up going to Hasanpeer or Mandvi, or three out of four.
On the other hand, in the US last week, in a land with relatively less Bohra history, (unless as Houstonians will insist, Houston counts,) my son-in-law could easily open a large map of America and say, “Well, pick a place,” and journey to wherever my finger landed.
It was interesting since three out of four passengers tended to be car-sick and one (me) had no insurance to drive in America.
We took all of two days to get out of Texas, and into Colorado, and beautiful it was.
There were layers of mountains, green in the summer, even if they turned to ski slopes in winter – changing into a tiny modern town in the foothills with private jets dropping in from Beverly Hills above our heads. There were ski lifts you could ride up into the peaks to find gentians that believe it or not, bloomed only in their eightieth year, before they turned into a twig and left the planet.
Best of all, I loved the lake in the Maroon Bells. Like a Monet, it was liquid beauty, reflecting the red of the mountains and the green of the foliage in limpid shades of moving water. You expected the dyes to run into each other – I set a time-lapse on my camera – but of course, the colours were as permanent as the peaks they reflected and the trees that grew there, even if as soft as only water could be. I dipped my fingers in incredulously, wondering even, if the colour was from mud suspended in the water or leaves that floated beneath. But it ran clean, and fresh, and sparkling.
In contrast, a few miles below hot volcanic springs gurgled out of the rocks with precious minerals. And an hour or so later, a giant rainbow spanned the sky, so large that we had to turn our heads 180 degrees, just to see it from one end to the other, and so bright that it appeared as if in digital colour.
There’s no doubt we found Pokemon among the Aspen trees my daughter fell in love with, as elusive as the colour in the water or the colours in the sky that I wondered if I would hold and remember.
Memories are no less elusive. Like the memories of my dad and my mum to the mazaars of the Duat Mutlaqeen that made up our summers in India, everything that one cherishes may only be a reflection in one’s heart but of such moving water are our lives made.