As Charles Dickens once said, to start at the beginning is to start with, “I was born.”
I was born – born to a place with titan jungles still oozing out of Greek mythology, a plot of land on the edge of the world’s lungs. A living, breathing prehistoria nestled into the northern coast of South America, Guyana: a post colonial, third world, forgotten about by most and remembered only by those seeking its wilderness adventures.
But I must admit that that hardly feels like my beginning. It has been coiffed within me – a belief that to be born cannot be the beginning any more than to die can be the end. Instead I consider that before me there was my mother, there was my father. Before them there were their mothers and fathers, and before them there were others.
My beginnings stretch across oceans and places I have never lived, places to which my mother was born and longs to return, only to find herself unsuited now after years of separation. My beginnings sprung out of the red dirt and incense of her childhood. My beginnings spoke other tongues. They are buried under the packed earth of rickshaw-wallas’ feet. They are mixed with abir and grated coconut flesh. My beginnings ate puchkas and gulab jamun in the streets on the way home from school. My beginnings are Buddhism, Hinduism and Mathematics. My beginnings built the Taj Mahal for love and the Red Temple for respect.
You see, I think that we begin long before ourselves, before our existence. We begin to flow through time one generation after another, meandering through history, leaving new beginnings in our wake, so that even after we are gone, we never really end, for our beginning flows on.
All of that boils down to: My mother was born in India. My Father was born in Guyana, as was I. Now I live in Trinidad and Tobago, a small and beautiful pair of islands in the Caribbean. And these places and histories are but the tip of the iceberg of things that influence me. I’m thirty three years old and still a little girl at heart, in many ways and one day, if all the stars in the Universe align just right, I’ll pour that story that I have in me into a published book of my own. One day, very soon, I suspect. Until then, I hope you enjoy my blog.