My first day in Trivandrum

Sticky air on my skin. The green has taken over walls, doors and open grounds. My aunt who smiles exactly like my dad cuts our lunch plates from the foliage over her wall. The afternoon is ringed with stories and laughter as I try to follow the cadence of a language not quite my own. These stories of tragedies, intrigue, and disastrous haircuts are made rich with frothy embellishments as I watch my family exchange the currency of their memory. As the afternoon comes to a close, amidst hot cups of tea and crunchy tapioca, I begin to see how families can sometimes help us escape our inexplicable loneliness. And why we return to the complicated familiar like the salmon moving inevitably towards their spawning grounds.

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