Yesterday, not wanting to fall into a funk at being back I impulsively got into the car and went to the mall — wanted to get myself a sweat suit, comfort in clothing being far more important than looks and appearance now. My first drive in our ten year old Infinity after over 7 months felt so damn smooth! Our Indian Scorpio, though comfortable enough, felt like a bullock cart in comparison. I tuned the radio to my favorite Jazz station (Jazz 88) and pushed the peddle. I thought as I drove that malls are America’s cathedrals, serving a highly, if I may say, spiritual function. They give one a place to go when the walls of your house feel like they are “eating” you (an expression from Panjabi: khar deeyaan diwaraan khaan noon andiyaan jai) and you need to get out, be engaged, be in that space where an activity leaves no room for thought. A meditation. The absolute concentration of hunting for that particular thing.

Undoubtedly I’m back in America: America that takes away family, connections, relatedness, and gives you shopping in its stead. It is no substitute, but for the nonce, it works.

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