Tuesday, May 4, 2010

the amazon diaries

i LOVE the approach of summer and the happy-silly-crazy way we all emerge from our winter cocoons.

this year, i am persephone, feeling like flowers are bursting into bloom beneath my feet and friends are coming out of the wood(work) all around me.

oh! all you people!

i am so HAPPY to see you.

this weekend, the amazons and i socialized like mad. rara and i had dinner with a friend on friday night. we sat in the storefront and opened all the windows and ate takeaway sushi (me & tony) and fried chicken and chips (rara) and let passers-by look in and wonder what restaurant we were in.

saturday, our neighborhood teemed with people here for the tribeca family street fair and the united nations school was buzzing with children for the international book fair.

by the afternoon, the apartment was overflowing with teenagers hanging out, making macaroni-and-cheese (their favorite food, it seems) and watching tv.

saturday night, we went to dinner up in westchester - a parent in zarina's class had invited a handful of other parents along with our kids - and laid out a feast of pakistani food for the parents while the teenagers (along with poor rara) romped around in the garden and the tv room. (oh the pleasures of having a house in the suburbs!)

sunday, we had brunch with fernando and nadine estrada and their shockingly beautiful children at the plaza's newly re-opened palm court (great company, fab location, but average food and v v slow service). we celebrated their buying a pied a terre in nyc.

sunday afternoon, john demaio, my lawyer, his friend margaret and my painter friend, fareen, dropped in unexpectedly to photograph fareen's paintings which are in the storefront. we all sat around the table and drank iced water and lemonade as the ceiling fan whirred.

in the evening, we had dinner with brooke allen and peter aaron at edwards. we celebrated peter surviving a bizarre accident where a tow-truck dropped a car and it rolled onto the sidewalk and broke both his knees. despite recent history, noisy firetrucks and incredible humidity, we ate outside on the sidewalk, enjoying running into people we knew as they walked past.

heat awakens your senses, the sunlight gives you more energy and the desire to stay out longer. my mind is returning, too and everyone's stories seemed to wind around and through me and mine.

my friend marianne castier came over and we chatted far into the night.

i talked to more people (who were not medical staff) in 48 hours than i saw the entire month of february.

the chemo blunted my nerves - my hearing dulled, my vision clouded, my fingers lost sensation, nothing tasted very good and all i seemed to smell were medicinal products.

the dissipating drugs combined with the heat and sun (which makes everything sharper and brighter) makes me giddy.

add to that, the pleasure of conversation and engagement with others (when you are sick, you are distant - you sit or lie in a bed, while everyone else sits in chairs - you are trapped in the drama of your body) and i am immersed in LIFE.

spring is always delicious but this one is better, sunnier and more joyful than ever.

in my 20s, i used to joke that i could never be a good "spiritual" indian because i am a dialectical materialist.

now i am grateful for the way hedonism and the spirit run together.

n.b. thank you for the pictures, awa gueye. she is very good at capturing moments.