Magdalena’s Earthy Nirvana

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Lucinda Palme

Magdalena’s Earthy Nirvana

Magdalena’s home is the house of her parents. Her home is empty: her mother is shifted to an old-age home, and her father had died a year ago. The fact that she could not live with her mother in the house – the home – and nurse her mother dispirited her. She wished to care for her mother for she is edging towards death due to dotage.

Her mother is dear to her. Magdalena’s father’s parting words to the daughter were ‘whenever you get time, please, visit your mother’.  Her father had left their world: he was almost an octogenarian.

She has an option to live in that house. Her parents never thought to cash it and spend it for themselves though the house would have fetched an astronomical price by the market standards.

They loved Magdalena more than the parents love their biological children. They had adopted Magdalena when she was three years of age. They travelled to Sri Lanka during the first of four Eelam Wars, and to the interiors of north-eastern Sri Lanka where the government forces battled against the LTTE. It was fighting for a separate statehood within the island of Sri Lanka – Eelam: an independent homeland for Tamil-speaking Sri Lankans of Hindu, Christian and Muslim backgrounds. They met the biological parents of Magdalena in a village near Jaffna. They assured the biological parents of Magdalena what they will do, and what they can do, and thus they parted from that country with would-be Magdalena.

When Magdalena’s adopted father was alive, he consistently raised his wish to travel to Sri Lanka with Magdalena. He wanted to show his daughter the village she was born, and if possible to locate her parents, siblings, family members. But Magdalena had other issues at her disposal to attend to, other concerns to combat, other interesting things to immerse, and other aspects of life beyond her world did not draw her.

Her Swedish parents nourished her constantly with care, pampered her instantly to satiate her instant wishes, and disciplined her divinely to make her feel at home in the world. She is a Swedish citizen. She speaks Swedish at par with anyone who claims s/he is Swedish. Her values are Swedish. Her outlook is Swedish. Her boyfriend is Swedish without a trace of foreign background even Finnish and Norwegian. Her name is Swedish: Magdalena Johansson. Only her physical appearance is not Swedish if you count the colour as a prerequisite to be or become Swedish. Her parents were aware of the colour and that awareness obsessed them to shield her from every prejudice and judgements of humans around. They ordained themselves to love her more than they would have had loved their biological children. Magdalena never missed parental love for her parents showered her with dollop after dollop after dollop of care and concern laced in love.

Magdalena’s home is the house of her parents located in the satellite town of Gothenburg: Torslanda.

Magdalena waits in a park at Redbergsplatsen to meet her boyfriend, collect their children from schools and then go together to their house. She adored her boyfriend. She trusted him. For him, and for her, she bore three children. They are making up, and shaping up, as a family. In the recess of her mind, yet, there sat a fear like in the mind of many couples across Scandinavia: will it last or will it split?

A squirrel sprints towards her. Resting on its hind legs, it raises its head towards Magdalena. Their eyes met. They tease each other with their heads: moving to and fro, to and fro.

Magdalena’s memories of her family in Sri Lanka were few: blurred images of her mother and grandmother, the foliage around the hutment, the sound of the wind in the backyard from a coconut grove and squirrels.

Squirrels in Sri Lanka have three white lines on their bodies, and their colour ranged from greyish white to light brown.

The sight of the squirrel nudges her mind to Sri Lanka.

As the squirrel and Magdalena tease each other, her boyfriend arrives. They exchange gestures and inquiries. He feels her melancholia. He loved her. He felt comforted in her presence. He loved her with each passing day as she matured as the mother. He pleads, “Will you marry me?”

“You are a considerate soul. I cannot say no to you. We and our children…,” she replies.

They hug.

Tears of joy wells in their eyes.

“Can I look after my mother, at my home, I can commute,” she wishes.

“We shall, with joy,” he assures.

The bell chimes at nearby St Paul’s …: tung, tung, tung…

—Lucinda Palme