Mark Rocha - Official

On engineered fraternity

We shared a leaf between us both
Of us it made a kin;
And no one knew -
They knew of you,
Of me they’ll find out too.

Unwilling birds together shared
To bring us both at once;
For us they died -
Who died hath tied,
So blood could claim we lied.

We crushed a seed with borrowed hands
We both found in it calm;
Over it spill -
And spill at will,
Of times awaiting still.

The ages of 18 through 20, my college years, were particularly precious. It was a difficult time for me because I had left my hometown of Dubai, and relocated to Goa, India, which is where I'm supposedly from. It's difficult for a teenager to leave his entire world behind, and move to a whole new country. And not just any country - India. I did not feel like I was moving forward, I felt like I was moving backward. On my prom night, I was saying goodbye to friends who were moving to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand - or just staying in Dubai. I was the ONLY ONE moving to India - and I was gutted. My world was my colony where I grew up, my friends, my then girlfriend. It was everything I had ever known for 18 years of my life - and now it was being taken away. A day after prom I was on a plane to India with my family, that's how quickly the move happened. And on that plane, I thought about what was in store - which was nothing. As far as I was concerned, nothing was in store. I was not excited. This was not going to be a new adventure. I was not going to return to Dubai with tales from the land of the Kamasutra. As far as I knew, I was being punished, and I did not know why.

The first few months were torture. I missed everyone. I would scrounge for change to make ISD calls from phone booths. I would send 140 character SMS messages that cost a fortune. I even wrote letters. And received them. But at some point I realised that by doing that, I was just holding on to something that I didn't really have, and probably never would. Relationships that were bound to evolve, most probably without me - and there was nothing I could do about it, because life goes on. And so I started making new ones. If I was going to have to survive in this new place, whether I like it or not, I had to make new friends and new relationships. This poem is about one of those relationship. It was not a romantic relationship of any kind, but one that holds a very special place in my heart. The person I wrote this for was there for me in so many ways during those initial months. He was a mentor, a brother, and a friend with whom I had some rather strange, albeit interesting adventures. The kind I was convinced wold never happen to me in this strange land - and yet it did. In the almost 15 years since we first met, we've grown apart, fallen out, gotten back together, gotten married (to other people), added new relationships to the fold - grown the tribe, and through everything, made my life what it is today. Really what it is, is a testament to the fact that change really is inevitable in the world around you. You can choose to change with it, or you can choose to stay still. You can stop, or you can continue to move forward. But ask yourself, would you rather be the seed? Or the flower it becomes? The choice is yours.  

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