How quickly we settle in to places we’ve been before, or that are welcoming to strangers! JIWAR is a green oasis, hidden in Gracia’s network of streets and lanes. Still as I remember it: the market stalls bursting with ripe tomatoes, and the bars bustling with drinkers from lunchtime to way past my return here to continue my thoughts on paper – or read another chapter of Rodoreda’s marvellous novel, A Broken Mirror.
Away from England my mind hovers in a remembrance of the past, played out here in Gracia, of sun-filled and darker moments too. I remember late one night in the apartment in Carrer Martinez de la Rosa, the phone ringing: Dudu had died. Suddenly in the heat of Barcelona I was back in London, holding a Brixton night in my arms.
Being away refocuses thoughts, bringing into sharp focus things we might not see close up. Away from England, in the heat, I can see clearly through the mist of colder days, the minutiae of interaction. Not just the wheeling and dealing of politicians in the recent lead up to Brexit, but smaller, minuscule movements: individuals emboldened by the idle but lethal rhetoric.
Namita Elizabeth Chakrabarty