I’m Over Here

Love and losing from somewhere else.

If you were to look into the ISD/STD phone booth in Park Street, when it was flooding in Kolkata one year, I was there. My heartbreak was metered: sixteen paisa per second. Whatever they were saying on the phone, I can’t remember. I just know it was raining and that the men were shouting very loudly outside on the street.

I was also there, in the little hut in Meghalaya, when you told me you cheated on me with my friend. My heartbreak was still 10 rupees per minute. What do you say to that? I’m sorry, I choose to chase my dreams even if it means being away from you for four months? I hope you liked it?

When I was still young and living at home I felt the sudden need to live with you. We made plans. We saw the house. We tried to pretend we were 17 and falling in love with each other again. I have the unfortunate luck to only be able to make money or anything of value five thousand miles away. Like some old Bollywood movie on loop, it happened again. Phone booth. Rain in an Indian city. Unsure if the person I loved was fading away, or if the phone line was. Whatever it was, it always cost 600 rupees.

I am always somewhere else and never here.

From Madras to Hong Kong, I sipped whiskies furiously, and sadly.

Today I sat in a car travelling through the mountains of Java, hurtling into the unknown. I was worried about the state of the global capital markets, and about my heart.

It’s been 11 years since Park Street. I now have a world of communication gadgets and connectivity devices in my pocket. Every sim card, every operator, every spectrum. But my heart is still where it’s always been: firmly on my sleeve. This time it was (almost) free, but it felt just as broken. I have never learned how to reconcile my life on the road with my heart. Turns out nobody likes it when you are away from home 300 days in a year. But I don’t know how else to live. The stock markets tanked, as did my heart.

The mountains of West Java were a welcome change. I’m happy to never have to step into a phone booth again. One day, just to mix things up, I’d like to be here, not there. But I don’t know where here is.

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