Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

18 Oct 2002, 0:06 a.m.

My parents are moving back to India. I wish…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

My parents are moving back to India. I wish them well, and have actually helped them do moving-related things over these past few days, such as putting lots of their belongings into a shipping container (Leonard: "Yay! Shipping containers!") and moving lots of stuff from my parents' house to my and Nandini's places. No longer will we have a far-off Storagistan where our parents live, as most of our contemporaries have. All of a sudden, wherever I am is where all my stuff will be, a situation I find disorientingly coherent.

I'm listening to Lucky Diaz and the High Rollers, an eponymous ska CD that I got because the drummer, Ben Kolber, was a guy in my high school. The opening blares youthful vitality, and I didn't even know I felt old.

I learned about my parents when I shredded bags and bags of old papers -- six copies of each, my father being the duplication freak that he is. (We once invited the Office Depot copy clerk to have dinner with the fam.) Example: my mother's impassioned plea to a landlord to make the upstairs tenants turn down their music. "They can have music in their house, they need not distribute to us." I found more stuff of interest, but you'll have to ask me in person.

Kind neighbors lent their truck and moving services to take furniture and miscellany to Berkeley. They met working security for a Target or a WalMart, and later married. They arrested a murderer together! A good story.

Upon mention of polygamy in Saudi Arabia, the husband cracked, "I thought I was gonna get 16 wives! Y'know, 4 richer, 4 poorer, 4 better, 4 worse." Also, when we spun the dial on the radio, and came across some rap (which I found myself tentatively liking), he punned, "You hear about that new music that's a cross between country and rap? It's called crap."

The other nice turn of phrase Rudy made referred to his evangelical Christian sister. "She's in one of those homemade churches, you know? New Harvest or something."

After two exhausting days of moving, I got to relax with Leonard over some salad and Zatarain's Garlic Butter Rice. Some rice dish and a salad comprise our usual Wednesday night fare, and we eat it while watching The West Wing (i.e. "Touched by a Liberal") and Enterprise (i.e. "We Write the Slash So You Don't Have To"). I get fiendishly content during such rituals. Wow, maturity might be nice.

But Wednesday night I experienced worse-than-usual delays BARTing to San Francisco. Only midway through my trip did I find out that someone had died on the tracks at West Oakland station. (The Thursday SF Chronicle paper edition implies that she was trying to cross from the eastbound to the westbound platform at the time of the accident.) On my way back, I transferred at West Oakland. She died right there, on some spot on the tracks that I have passed a hundred times. It's sacred ground, and our machines have to keep grinding over it, the grit in their backwash sandblasting the blood away, so that I can get to my sweetie and hold him tight, as often as I can. I'm sorry.