Leaving Berkeley Place

I do not know why physical objects weigh heavily on my mind.

I realized this only this month as I was getting rid of my furniture in an effort to downsize into a smaller apartment. Watching the furniture being carried out one by one, I could feel my heart lightening.

For the longest time I debated whether it would be smarter to sell my belongings over time. Some of the furniture, like the darkly wooded dresser, were in amazingly good condition and would have fetched a good amount. But soon I realized that in my pursuit of a home, a career, a family, and country, I have never had the time nor the inclination to help others.

Maybe this was why I decided to donate what I did not need instead of selling them.

At 37, through a combination of events and obstructions, I have not implanted myself permanently anywhere. However, with Mira growing up, I have given myself one year to come to a decision.

The USA dream is too stagnant and precarious to build a family. Canada seems to be an option if I can pull it off through some miracle. India is a likely backup. Whichever way I turn it in my mind I would be best served to be light and nimble to move.

That is how I find myself with boxes full of books, some clothes, and a few pots and pans at this juncture in life. Mira and Neha are safely ensconced in India temporarily, providing immense balance and support while we as a family figure out how to maneuver ourselves into the most comfortable position for the next 30 odd years.

Middle aged, with small savings and stripped down belongings, we are, I think, a typical upper-middle-class family in appearance and a middle-class family in reality. I also, personally, am at perfect neutral about whether I am happy or sad in life. I am reasonably healthy, reasonably wealthy and reasonably poised between bankruptcy and wealth.

What next?

Slowly my preferences are moving towards stability and surety to provide for my family while being connected to them. I do not envision a split family to be ideal. Already we as a couple agree that we trust only each other with Mira’s growth, values, and happiness.

Meanwhile, as I gear up for this year’s decisions to play out, this displacement again reacquainted me with my love for change.

Sitting in an empty house, with my belongings stored in another open house, sleeping on a yoga mat, not knowing where I would stay for the next month, I am amazed at how much this denuded state calms me.

In the house that I have stayed for the past 5 years, the house I am about to leave, there is a small landing that I can get to if I bend down and let myself out of the window in the kitchen. I have spent countless hours there watching the fenced off and secluded backyards while smoking a cigarette.

It is ironic that of all the spaces that I shall miss, the space I will miss the most is the one outside the house. Suspended like a ship’s crow nest, that, I am coming to realize, was my lookout point.

That was where I bent down and pulled myself onto to peer ahead.

A rusty, rickety fire escape, that was built for exits when all other exits are ablaze.

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