Notes from the maple leaf country
September 2013–January 2014
Autumn, the season of parting, of letting go. The North American autumn is a spectacle, no doubt about that. For about a month I had been living in the particularly verdant neighbourhood of Perimeter Institute (PI), in love with the morning/midnight walks back and forth, along Laurel Trail, between my room and office. In the morning, I’d usually be running late for breakfast at what they call the ‘Black Hole Bistro’, often making it just in time before breakfast would end. This weekend, though, I have moved to a different apartment, one that’s closer but the walk to PI isn’t as lovely as it was from the last one, a University of Waterloo accommodation.
In any case, winter is here, and even as they celebrate Diwali back home, I am up rather early after accidentally dozing off while reading a paper last night. The view from the window, a starry winter sky, moved me enough to want to come back to this journal of sorts and make amends for the lack of any updates these past few months. Mostly, I’ve been occupied with work, and mostly I have abandoned the thought every time I have felt like writing something here. Impulse, and that other thing, perhaps wistfulness, move me to write and preserve something of the moment before letting it go.
PI has been fantastic so far, a stimulating feast of coffee and conversations over things quantum and otherwise, and a place I have come to like for its vibrancy. I had a chance to play with an original World War II German Enigma machine that James Grime had brought along and gave a talk about, a chance to mess with a ‘robothespian’ and play with arrangements of prisms that distort light enough to make objects invisible.
I have been in Waterloo for over three months now and in less than a month I’ll return from this wintry wonderland to the sunshine and the sea, to Chennai. It has been a gratifying visit in ways more than one.
August 2014–December 2014
Living as if you’re always leaving
I am reminded of a chance remark by a friend, Farbod, about his house that I heard on a winter night when a bunch of us were saying our goodbyes after having tea. He remarked that he lived as if he was always leaving, which explained the blank walls in the house, their lack of art.
[I forgot to make enough notes, or at least to transcribe them here. But this one sums up my current “living as if I am always leaving” phase too, as I am sure it does so for a lot of others out there.]
It’s a threepeat!
[I write this during a particularly long layover at Frankfurt, which made me return to drafts lying on this blog for months and years.]