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Inspiration from Virginia Wolfe

“The compensation of growing older is that the passions remained as strong as ever, but one has gained – at last! the power which adds the supreme flavor to the existence –the power of taking hold of experience, and turning it round, slowly, in the light.”

That passage is taken from the novel Mrs Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf. I belong to a writing group that meets every second week, a group of women united in their love for the written word. We use interesting poems or short passages to kindle a creative spark. Here’s what I wrote about this excerpt by Virginia Woolf:

When my son Raman read Cloud Messenger, he said to me in his characteristic serious manner, “Mom, I never realized… you know… about how you and Papa met… and how you made that decision to leave Canada, move to India, and marry him. That really wasn’t a logical decision! You were taking a big risk.”

I laughed, and teased him about his firm commitment to living logically.

But it’s true enough - my decision to marry Pradeep was not a rational one. It was a leap of faith, a venture into the unknown. I often hold that moment in my heart, seeking to capture its flavor once more. It was the pivot point in my life, the moment when I set out on a path filled with adventure, with struggle, with mystery. Most of my naïve dreams about my destination on that path never came true, and at that time the shattering of those dreams was agonizing. But on that path, I learned to see the world through different eyes. My experience of cultural immersion led me to question my own assumptions and beliefs, forcing me to dismantle the scaffold of my cultural conditioning. Pradeep and I struggled to build a lasting foundation of shared values, a process both painful and fulfilling. Perhaps during that time of intense questioning we also built a solid foundation for our marriage. More than thirty years later, we still find joy in each other, in the exploration of ideas and the sharing of experience.

As I grow older, I think about that decision – that illogical decision – to leave Canada, move to India, and marry Pradeep. I contemplate that experience, turning it round, slowly, in the light. I marvel at its beauty.


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