He sniffed everyone passing by.
Their scents, their dangling handbags,
And looked up at them, with pleading eyes…
The heartless drove him away, kids pelted stones at him,
Out of disgust, of fear or rage, scaring him to death.
Away he ran and stood staring at their backs as they walked on…
They looked at him, but didn’t bother to acknowledge his gaze.
The bones poking out of his skin went unnoticed.
Dying of hunger he was, but when has the rich understood that…
It was getting dark and for hours he had stood restless,
Hoping if someone would throw a few biscuits or dried rotis,
Or just some unusable rotting trash that he would devour with pleasure.
At last, when people thinned out of the street,
An old man dragged his feet who looked toward him.
A few seconds of eye meeting the eye, and he shyly wagged his tail…
Slowly, the old man went down the street turning around a corner to his hut,
That the dog had followed him, he had known.
But before stepping in, the old man turned to look at him.
With a slight glimmer of hope, the dog wagged his tail, a bit vigorously this time…
Having spent days thirsty and starved himself,
The old man knew that look on the dog’s face all too well.
In a crooked plate, he fetched all that was left – dried pieces of bread,
And a coconut shell that held salt water just taken off the flame.
One by one, dipping the bread in the water,
He threw them all in the dog’s direction.
With such haste he swallowed them down.
His eyes met the old man’s once again as he rested at the hut’s doorway…
Kindness doesn’t cost much you would think.
But tell you what, Kindness comes for a price.
One ate to his stomach’s content,
Hardly aware of the old man’s plight.
The other would sleep with hunger
now clinging onto his back…
Just as it had traveled on the dog’s,
for days, restless and concealed.
For as long as there’s negligence,
satiated, it never will be.
You shouldn’t care what I write. It’s my blog. It’s my thought. And it’s nobody’s business.
I snap, I am bad at people when they try to tell me that an idea about my post is bad. Or that the ending I chose for a story was wrong. If I could, I would swallow them alive. I mean, seriously, it is one thing to say that you don’t agree with a thought, but that you think it was totally wrong… hello?
I love my readers and followers; they are the reason I am here. They motivate me enough to go on, despite my writing being downright shitty sometimes. I know I mess it up at times and I’m okay with that. But readers who think they could do a better job with my post than me – go grab a pen and write your own stuff if you really think you’re so good.
This has never happened until now in the past 3 years. A random reader (who doesn’t even write) read an old blog post – Writing Simple – and had the nerve to say that,
The options suggested in the post for newbie bloggers seems ridiculous as they won’t help anyone go much far if they are aiming high such as to be an author or be a professional writer. And it is absolutely beyond me as to how the post managed 55 odd likes. It really needs a second thought.
Again, as writers and readers of our own blog posts, we know that the thoughts mentioned in our posts are born from personal experiences, struggles, mistakes and follies and not a result of some laborious survey. It is what we’ve learnt while on the road. I strongly feel that if we wish to share it with the world for the greater good, unless it misleads or leaves the reader with a dystopian effect, it is nobody’s business to be harsh or critical about it, or pass judgments. And it applies to you, to me or to anybody on the planet.
So here’s to all snobs, who hit my space or anyone else’s, just to throw dirt, once again – what I write is my word, and nobody’s business. If you liked what you read, come again. If you didn’t? Well, just don’t hit my space again, ‘cause it can survive without you.
On restless evenings, filled with utter hopelessness,
Lying sprawled under the ceiling, weaving mindless fantasies.
I wish for the hundredth time, that we crossed paths, someday.
And also curious, that if we ever met again, what would it be like?
A thousand memories lie scattered on the floor,
From that day, when it all ended.
Bleeding inside, aching right to the bone, I still am.
And yet, at the slightest thought of you, something inside stirs.
Eyes tired and sulky, looking for you, even now.
Hardly do I know how to convince them otherwise.
With every beat, each step inched towards you, all this time,
Who is to be blamed, and how?
I, I can live in the melancholy your memories bring,
But to stop myself from walking down the same lane,
To give up thinking about all that we had,
I am not sure, if I want to do that.
To coax myself, to breathe in a space devoid of you?
It suffocates me, even the thought so much as chokes me.
How is the heart to be tamed again?
When, at the slightest thought of you, it wants you right back.
And with every passing moment, I find myself asking.
If we ever met again, would you wait a second or walk away?
The yearning growing for months now, would it meet a dead end?
or will the moment resurrect lost opportunities?
Would you smile, acknowledging the longing?
Or just reflect another melancholy?
A silent passing of words,
And the little hope left in me, evaporating in thin air.
Or will it get the sea of my desires surging?
Wiping out the asphyxiation, that’s so drowning me,
Finally, breathing back life into me.
Mere 6 days ago, I saw this shocking update on twitter where Haryana Education Minister, at a school function, paid homage to the now Late Former President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. It was shocking and no matter what, it had to be joke. It had to be!
Within the matter of mere seconds, I brought the internet down hunting for any signs of the ‘Missile Man’s’ demise. Turned out, it was a rather ridiculous mistake. I could hardly stand the minister’s folly.
Yesterday, watching the news of his demise on national television, my heart sank. I could feel my insides go numb, with the reporter’s voice piercing my heart with every word he uttered. It was true. Very true. No follies this time. How I wished it was. For once, the minister’s folly didn’t seem as excruciatingly painful as the actual news.
Yes, Dr Kalam passed away last evening while delivering a lecture at IIM Shillong. A cardiac arrest and he could not be revived.
A heart stops beating. A nation suffers irreparably. The beacon of inspiration for crores left for heavenly abode.
My memories of Dr Kalam come a long way.
My grandfather who retired few years ago, after many years of service at BARC, Mumbai had worked closely with Dr Kalam on certain nuclear projects. I recollect an occasion from many years ago, when I was 4 or 5. A get-together had Dr Kalam under my grandfather’s roof when I had seen him for the first and only time.
It was my grandfather who introduced me to Dr Kalam’s books since he was himself personally very fond of his senior. As years passed by, I read almost all of the Former President’s books and there!
I grew to build a kind of bond with Dr Kalam. He became my role model, what with his consistent efforts towards the nation’s betterment and inspiring the youth to dream big.
He grew up in adversity and went on to become the ‘Missile man’ of India, more popularly named as ‘People’s President’ after serving his term in NDA’s regime. I guess, it’s when you know what a man has walked through, to lead himself to successful heights, is when you grow to love them. I imbibed his life-transforming way of thinking, secular approach, in my life too. And with time, I changed to a different person. I owe a lot to the man who transformed the nation, made us all feel proud Indians.
Ever felt like you suffered a poignant loss by the passing away of someone you never met? With Dr Kalam gone, that’s exactly how I feel. Tears wouldn’t stop, nor will the heart stop aching. I guess, it’s a very different feeling. The loss is here to stay and the void very large to be ever filled by anyone.
My dream of meeting the man who shaped me to a better individual will remain a dream forever. And it is in no one I see that inspirational figure who could stand as tall as him in my heart and mind.
Growing up watching the mindless melodramatic romance in Bollywood movies, I always thought love was something that got butterflies in your stomach when that one person looks at you and smiles. How it sends shivers when they so much as touch you. The tickling feeling that brushes your heart when he comes close to kiss you. Yes, all of this and a lot more.
Of late, however, I have a reason to believe differently.
What is love?
He wakes up at 6.45 so you don’t miss waking up at 7. When he stirs you a lemonade because you are feeling low, when he runs the tap for the bucket to fill just so you don’t get late to work when you are rushing off with the cooking, getting pills and a glass of water ready after dinner so you don’t miss them, he handfeeds you at night when you come home exhausted after having spent a day fasting, blows your food cold because you like it that way, sends you an ‘I love you’ text in the middle of the day, watches your favorite Harry Potter movies with you even though he least likes them, he brings home your favorite fruits, sends you your favorite ‘You’re my lobster’ FRIENDS quote picture knowing you’d smile wide the moment you see it, eats that dish you cooked with such fervor even when you’ve missed a thing or two, tells you ‘you’re beautiful’ when you damn well know you couldn’t have looked worse, he holds your hand tight climbing up and down the escalator because he knows your fear of heights.
It all sounds just too ticklish romantic to be true. Things you read in books. Things a girl dreams of.
Love, as I’ve come to believe, is not about flowers and chocolates, expensive gifts and candle-light dinners. Love is a lot of little things put together. It’s the start of a beautiful life in the most beautiful place possible; next to him.
And it takes just that one person to make you see what love is.
…and for once, I want to forget the sad memories,
and think of all the happier ones…
tonight, can I leave behind?
the heartaches caused by the impossible would-bes…
can I step aside?
and make way for the crippling afflictions to pass…
can I look past your cruel carelessness
that paralysed my affections…
…and, just this once, perhaps, just for tonight,
can I allow myself to fall in love with you again?
Yes, it’s all about who’s stood by your side when you needed them the most. But what about those who chose to leave despite their wish to not do so. They had to, because that was best for you. That was what they had to do in that moment of truth when you have to choose the right from the easy. Or maybe because it was best for them.
We are hasty in making decisions, especially when we are heartbroken. Ever thought about how frustrated we get when something doesn’t span out the way we wanted? Think about it. Speaks tonnes about our capacity as humans. What’s the difference, I ask? Rather introspect.
The right things feel wrong. There is always a second thought to the most thought-out solution. Our brain somersaults a hundred times over events, digging out thoughts from its deepest wells, from right the core of its cells, from the thousand cranial nerves. Draining us.
A recent event left me scarred. I’d rather not talk about it. But let me ponder out loud on the tailing thoughts. I’ve always believed that there’s a limit to how much a person can tolerate in a lifetime. Apparently, it’s quite the opposite. There’s no limit to pain or suffering.
A friend, a beloved one, vowed to stay close, forever. Things went haywire as was destined and he chose to leave. Hasty, he was. Hurt, was I. I so want to believe that what he did was probably out of sheer pressure of sorts or maybe the righteous cells in his body coaxed him to back out of a friendship that lasted a decade. Yes, more than a decade.
I’m being hard on myself right now beating myself to believe he did not deserve my friendship. That the times we spent together were mere illusions that are stuck in my head. That there’s nothing that can be done when someone chooses to leave but to accept their decision. But I also know none of it is true. I’ve cried myself to sleep. Starved myself to death. And yet I wish, things had not ended.
Forcing myself into doing things is something I suck at. Maybe that’s why it’s so tough for me. People come and go all the time, but friends don’t. And friends shouldn’t. Believing that someone who was an integral part of your life is now non-existent is effing hard. Moreover, that your friendship with them was a mistake is a gravest one at that.
You miss them all the time and they don’t. So then, was there a connection at all? And if there was, why was it so easily crushed to death?
I might be wrong, in all fairness. And I am ready to sort it out. Are you? Is what I wish to ask. But to whom? I have no idea. Maybe it’s another mistake that I’m yet thinking about sorting things out, when the other person has clearly moved on.
You crave for something for only so long,
and then you begin convincing yourself.
That certain blanks will remain unfilled forever,
certain meanings undeciphered forever,
some questions will forever seek answers
and gradually, you lose hope,
there’s no more faith left, no right or wrong.
Just you and your mindless musings,
for days, for years,
until you cease to breathe.
Some days, you may not feel like talking – accept it, and stay quiet.
You may not feel like moving out of the house – stay in, remain locked up in your room.
No desire to eat or drink – remain such, till your body starts to crave food.
Nor you may have appetite for anything that you ordinarily love to do.
But it’s quite okay.
Just be, wasted, spent, doing nothing, in oblivion.
Probably, your body is taking time to cope up with certain things that make you bleed inside.
This is recovery time. Let them heal; the scars that have been hurting.
You need to let your heart and mind grow. How will you otherwise ever let go?
She is, on the brink of adulthood, with much that life can give her. If only she gave it a second chance. But will she?
A friend’s cousin, yet to be 16, attempted ending her life. I’ve never met or spoken to her and yet, trapped is my mind, this morning, in her thoughts. The various emotions her conscience must have battled with, her body must have rebelled against her decision, and finally given in, and the mental conundrum she tortured herself through, are now twisting and turning, in my head.
It astonishes me that the country I live in has the highest number of suicides in the world. About a lac Indians attempt suicide each year and the figures are quite disturbing. Alarming. Imagine, every 40 seconds a person dies of suicide in some corner of the world. Moreover, an unsuccessful attempt should not lead one to presume that the person will not attempt a suicide again. 80% people who commit suicide have attempted it at least once previously. It’s creepy.
Beyond myself, I am pondering over things like – while you are going on with your day, someone somewhere is searching ways to end their life. It can be your next desk colleague, the person sitting next to you on the bus, the person at the traffic signal asking directions to somewhere, the lady standing ahead of you at the grocery shop till, someone in the family, or perhaps, a cousin, a close friend. It numbs me.
At times, it sure looks like the end of the tunnel is after all a blank dark void. Surviving thoughts as dark as pitch can need more courage than physically moving a boulder. In wake of mental distress, we lose the far-sightedness the intuitive human nature compels us to consider. There is no wrong or right. Nothing easy or tough. You lose the appetite for living through another day, let alone the rest of your life. Giving yourself a second chance, as a thought, is only as close as Mercury is to Neptune, tediously far apart.
After having done something similar with my life too, I now realize, that it doesn’t take much to peep beyond the fence. Even after 4 years, at the slightest strike of depression, I vacillate back and forth from positive direction to grim outlook. It is a struggle to continually remind myself – This is not the end. There’s always a second chance.
It’s not the last exam you failed at, there’s always a next chance
nor the last interview, as something better awaits
nor has the world reduced to just me to not find love in a second man
neither it is the last attempt if you’re first book, song, movie, dream or a goal did not take desired heights
heartaches and failures only make you stronger
and you do, have it in you to take second chances with life.
If all was to end at dusk, there wouldn’t have been another day.
Have you ever thought of that?
I have written this post hoping that it helps someone in the crux of time. Before it’s too late.
For the hundredth time, people, there’s no rule to writing unless your job depends on it.
I am an amateur writer. I have never followed any rules or guides so far. I just write whatever I want to, whichever way I want to. So when someone asks me what rules there are to writing, I ask them to consult Google and if you want it my way, then just write. Write till your mind is empty, totally empty with no more thoughts left. Write during the day or at midnight when the world’s asleep. Just write.
I moved to a new city and with it, came the freedom of being alone. I feel so liberated that it all feels like a dream to me; too good to be true. But it is true and awesome too. Consequently, I spend a lot of time writing, scribbling away frantically with my pen moving in a rhythmic fashion from one word to another. Sometimes the thoughts are pouring themselves out in such a rush that I eat up words, end up linking sentences that feel inappropriate later. But I write nonetheless.
I have learnt that the more I write, the more I have to write. There’s never an end. It’s like a craving that doesn’t cease to appease my appetite for words. Have you ever felt that way?
If you are not sure about the quality of your writing and are not yet ready to share them on public platforms, the mantra is one – write a diary. This way you can get enough practice before you are ready to publish your work on the web. Again, it doesn’t have to be gigantic technology or science or philosophy related content. You can just start by noting down your day to day experiences. Something good happened, write it down. You are angry, the diary is right there for you to vent it out. Put everything down there. A loss or tragedy, you are suffering in grief, what best than writing about how you feel at that moment?
I am one of those people who love to write diary entries. Sometimes I write as much as 5 entries in a day and sometimes for weeks there’s nothing on it. Sometimes, it is just a sentence or two and other times, I scribble down pages after ages until my finger-tips go numb and refuse to write another word. I started this practice years ago and follow it religiously. More than satisfying the crave to write, it is an over-flowing cauldron of thoughts that I keep running through in my spare time. A diary is the best way to keep memories stocked up.
Also, there’s only so much you can share with friends or family and certain things are way too personal to be shared. Don’t you agree? A diary comes very handy at such times. Plus you have the liberty to make as many blunders from criss-cross thoughts, while you write in a diary. Gradually, as your writing matures, you can think about blogging.
Now, while there are no rules to writing, it is needless to say that basic aspects like grammar, proper sentence construction, no confusing content, need to be in place. You do not want a shoddy picture at the end of the day. Rules, style guides and writing tips to polish your work are available in plenty on the web. You may refer them.
So there’s no rule, at least not one that I follow. Mostly because I am least bothered about that kind of thing. If it makes me happy, then that’s all there is to it.
…and for once, I want to forget the sad memories,
and think of all the happier ones…
tonight, can I leave behind?
the heartaches caused by the impossible would-bes…
can I step aside?
and make way for the crippling afflictions to pass…
can I look past your cruel carelessness
that paralysed my affections…
…and, just this once, perhaps, just for tonight,
can I allow myself to fall in love with you again?
Scarred you for the hundredth time
How can I expect you to forgive?
I was everything you ever wanted, you’d said
Now, you can’t stand even the sight of me
What was I supposed to do?
How was I supposed to choose? To tell you the truth and see you leave or mask it up and keep you close
What would you do, I asked but you never replied
Watching you from a distance, I know
I’d still have chosen you even if that was with a defaming lie
A hundred lies I weaved. A hundred tales I spun
Wondering always how could you love one?
So much, to not ever doubt them, suspect them
of acts so foolish, so cruel, so killing
Each time you looked into my eyes
I feared if you saw the damning truth
But what did you see?
Did your eyes ever give you away!
And hurting you, I know, I was
But to see you walk away is the last thing I want
And baby, that’s why, I kept the truth
But it was a treacherous thing to do
Watching you from a distance, I see how it’s torturing you
There you are,
Standing, perhaps waiting, at the other side of the street
The dark night keeps me cloaked through, hiding my entity
You look up from the book just for a moment, to right where I stay rooted
My heart skips a beat! Can you feel me, so close to you?
Your fingers fumble with the pages of your book
There’s nervousness, I see, in your moves
It’s dark and deserted for the two of us
But for you, it’s just you!
I‘ve always known you to walk the distances
Then what are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for?
I’m tempted to leave my hidden stance and walk upto you
Just then a cab pulls into the drive and there you are gone
From a distance,
I see what never happened
or in my mind, it did
I did walk upto you despite the rising beat
I see you staring at me, or are you staring right through me?
What I hadn’t noticed until then, however,
Is, the smeared mascara and the dried tears on your cheeks
You carefully avert my pleading gaze And beyond myself, I hear these words escape
I wanted to keep you close and how blind could I be? That with every lie, I was only pushing you away Baby, I never wanted to lose you and so I kept the truth But now I see the fool I’ve been, because I’ve lost you anyway
Watching us from a distance
I almost believe
that you hug me, that I kiss your lips
that you forgive me, with a solemn promise
A leaf, dried lifeless, falls at my feet
As I stand rooted at the spot, under the tree
And while I regret at the lost chances
I realize that’s how it’s always gonna be
Me, watching you from a distance You, walking away from a distance
“Is there a limit?” asked my friend who I happened to meet over the weekend. At 27, she is expecting her second baby.
We studied chemical science together. Missing lectures, attending practicals which were few and far spaced in the academic calendar, whiling away time in the college canteen, staying at each other’s places under the disguise of college submissions, wandering to unknown places, watching movies, we were more sisters than friends. Who said only blood relations come a long way? Upon graduation, while I turned the page to a professional start, she decided to get married to a man she knew for 2 years, then.
Half arranged, half in love, she stepped into a marriage I could’ve never braced at 21.
Her eyes twinkled with mirth as she narrated tales of her new life. Tales that did not stay longer to keep her happiness going. Soon, I found her smiles loaded with lies and her face a mask of hidden anguish and regrets, desperation for dead dreams so obvious that life seemed so cruel to me as an onlooker, while word by word each time she wrote the letter of resignation, resignation from hope, life, her dreams and herself, gradually inching toward closure.
My heart aches for her. Each time, every time. Every few months when we meet, sitting face to face, at either sides of the table, opposite to each other, makes me realize how really worlds apart we have gone, we are opposite in every sense, not just in that moment but in every page, every way, every phase of life.
“You’re the only one I ever had who never asked me why I did things I did. Maybe because you trusted me enough. Maybe because you never cared enough. And yet, I knew I always have you”. I watch her while she says this and also how she wished we were back in those days when missing lectures and defaulting attendance were the only regrets we had. I watch her, solemn, without a word, while she has her eyes focused on the table, her overgrown red-painted nails playing with the crumbs of bread left behind from the bagel sandwich we just finished.
She wouldn’t look at me. It was on purpose. I know she didn’t want to face me. She couldn’t face me. How would she? Wasn’t I the one who always chagrined about her marriage, her hasty decisions, persuading her to follow her dreams?
She finally looked up and large beads of tears travelled down her cheeks. Her big beautiful eyes I always teased her about were so numb, tired of the struggles of the life she accepted while least prepared. True, we can never predict nor be totally prepared to face what challenges lie ahead of us, but time teaches us a lot and of that I am sure. We need to give ourselves time. Sometimes, we make the mistake of deciding against it.
I hated her when she went ahead with her decisions. Getting married at an age one hardly even knows the responsibilities that lie ahead. I hated her when she battled against death in the dingy room of the hospital while she delivered her first baby. That she survived is only a miracle. I hated her when one after another she sliced each of her dreams for her family that hardly ever acknowledged her efforts.
And with time, she only reminded me of what she was and what she became. I can try and be nice and clap her back for all her sacrifices all those years. But, I cannot. Because I know they’ve come for a price. Dreams traded for disappointments.
Sitting with her, watching the words escape her lips in a deadpan voice, I barely know what to say. “Is there a limit?” she asks. “To what?” I’m tempted to ask back. “To madness, insanity, dumbness, imbecility? To what?” But I don’t because I don’t know a better way of doing this without hurting her. So I let her speak. After a moment, she asks again, “Is there a limit to pain, disappointments, sacrifices, regrets?”
I don’t know what to say.
I go back in time to that day, the year when we were 21. A month after graduation. I wanted to tell her about the new job I’d got. And she told me she was giving up her dream to be a Math teacher; she was getting married instead. I kept a tight lid on the overflowing cauldron of happiness in my heart and took back home the surging sea of despair that I could barely suppress.
The best thing about spending time alone is you get to know yourself better. I’d read somewhere that ‘The only person you should be better than is yourself‘. So that gives me a lot to think about. And therefore this ME post. I will talk incessantly about myself. Read on. Read till it does not get to your nerves. Please move on to other awesome posts out there once it starts to annoy you.
I’ve always believed in keeping my life less cluttered. Less cluttered with regards to people, places, incidents, secrets, expectations, dreams, etc. You can’t be certain of most of them, of course, but I always try to stick to things I can’t live without. Makes life a lot easier.
I’m amazed beyond measure when I think of the quintessential greatness and vastness of nature – the universe, massive oceans, endless stretches of forests, gigantic mountains, ferocious wildlife, beauty of flowers, wicked nature of darkness. The creator sure is an awesome artist!
I’ve also almost always made rules than following what everyone does. Helps me discipline myself in a manner I approve of and not be too unreasonably harsh at the same time. It’s needless to say that in the process I go offending a lot of people. But it’s inevitable. We are all born different after all.
Routine life gives us a lot to ponder about. But that is possible only if you allow yourself some time. It is as important as breathing for survival and eating for strength is. I allow myself that time by walking to destinations than opting transport. So, resultantly, I walk about 4kms each day and that, if you ask me, is a lot of time to absorb things happening around you.
Of late, I have come to think of habits, practices that I’ve indulged into.
I sing aloud when I have earphones plugged in and I realise only when people stare back at me. I bump into people or parked vehicles when I am reading a book walking down the road. I do not check myself in reflective surfaces. I always have a mass of messy disorganized bun for hairs. I stare at guys with broad rimmed glasses. When I enter a building, I notice the stairs; elevators go invisible. Most movies I’ve watched, I watched them alone. I love my mum so much that I’d have married her were she a man, and of course, not my mother. I frown at the mention of ‘GOD’. I adjust my glasses when I’m nervous. I hate color orange. I have a British accent and most times that confuses people. I argue on senseless bits. I can kill someone if I find them hurting animals.
And then I wonder at the things I have never done…
I have never written more than 2300 words at a stretch. I have never cried out loud. I have never lied to this man I so love. I have never danced at a party. I have never played basketball. I have never tasted carrot juice. I have never cheated anyone. I have never been able to hold my breath for more than 21 seconds. I have never planted a tree. I have never spoken ill of anybody to anyone other than themselves. I have never liked cats. I have never read a book in one sitting. I have never traveled atop a bus roof. I have never written in blue ink. I have never plotted against anyone. I have never believed in miracles. I have never worn stilettos. I have never been able to stick to my words. I have never been able to accept heartaches born out of love. I have never liked scotch.
And there are many more, I’m sure. Only, I’ll discover them in time. Getting to know yourself only gets better when you totally absolutely love yourself. Because you know, that no matter what, nothing can bring you to hate yourself. And most times, that’s enough to lead you through light and dark.
“Why eyes”, asked he suddenly not so curious. “Why ever not”, I enquired. Answering his less satisfied yet inquisitive look, “For the same reason as you may find lips or hair or general physique attractive”, I finished.
I find casual coffee talks quite stimulating. Especially, when you meet with old mates after a long haul. Conversations steer in all directions. Sometimes interesting, sometimes dull and well, sometimes shocking. My dear friend Julian has a queer habit of remarking about people around. He goes on about things he likes or doesn’t like about them, based purely on appearance. No one’s spared, mind you. Right from the waiter to the security guy in the parking lot, the woman at the cash till to the strangers on other tables.
Over a coffee catch-up the last weekend, we raved and ranted about everything under the sun. All the while that we spoke, I noticed that his eyes settled on a particular person before traveling through the room and back to me. I gave him a raised brow look to ask what was going on. Now, didn’t I tell you he’s weird in some manner. So here goes.
I stared at him for full minute when he said pointing at a girl in the far corner, “I like her, she’s quite brainy”. “How on earth, do you know, she’s brainy? You haven’t spoken a damn word to her?” I asked perplexed. “I can say from the way she talks”, he ended smartly. “Besides, I haven’t seen a face like that, in a while.” “What do you mean?” I interjected. “Ah, no! I mean her fine cut facial features; make her stand apart from the rest. She’s sure attractive.” Then he looked at me and acknowledging the envious look, he maneuvered, “So, what do you find most attractive in a person?”
I have always been a great admirer of eyes. And that much is known to those who know me well. Somehow the best of looks don’t get me that floored as much as someone with great eyes. You need not be as good-looking as Leonardo or Keanu Reeves, but if you got beautiful eyes, you sure got my attention.
People with beautiful eyes attract me, eternally, at that. I feel eyes are the ultimate holders of deep and dark secrets. They give you a glance in the person’s soul. No, wait, not the soul. That’d be a little too much. In the heart and mind, yes, that, just a brief glance, when they are being pretentious.
Eyes, I believe, are always, always beautiful. Never merely beautiful, ugly or anything in between. You may find blue eyes captivating or may find brown eyes sensually attractive, but I think, dark black eyes are the most beautiful. Yes, being quite the hypocrite compared to what I just said. But that’s that.
But the bottom line remains, if I met you for the first time, the first thing I am to get fixated with is your eyes. Because eyes always have a story to tell, secrets to divulge, things you keep clutched to your heart, eyes reveal them.
Isn’t it amazing how easily eyes give you up especially when you are trying to conceal things up? Ever tried looking into the eyes when someone tries denying something, camouflage something? Especially, during moments when you are trying to suppress an upsurge of disappointment or desperation, fear or frenzy?
Of late, what leave me in surmounting state of curiosity are the queer looks given by my 3 year old dog. He’s got huge brown crystals for eyes, a wonderful mélange of the myriad emotions he experiences at an instant. I’d read somewhere that unlike us, humans, dogs are capable of expressing a whole bunch of emotions at a given point. Isn’t that totally stunning?
Naughty as he is, there are times, when he looks up at me, with mind full of some petty prank. He stares right through without as much as a blink. I start laboring my mind; all the cells go active at once, trying to decipher what he must be thinking at that moment. Whether he’s asking for his chew bone, or wants to head down for a quick stroll or quietly saying it’s time for a round of throw and catch or just simply to rub the back of his ears. It’s like that moment at school when the teacher gives you a math puzzle and then stands towering right above you, seeing you squirm in your seat while you struggle to solve it, and she knows full well that you have no clue what to do. Yeah, I feel like that kid again. Only, in school, the teacher eventually shifts to other kids, while he, is still sitting on all fours, looking right at me, enjoying the show of my incompetence.
As for humans, I guess there’s certain amount of predictability, to what a person may or may not be thinking backed with the possibility of just asking them right out, in case you totally fail. In this case, however, there’s none. So, my poor little Alfey is left to accept what my best opinion of that moment is. Whether he does it happily or dismally, I’m yet to know.
Here’s one such moment. Can your brains comprehend what the eyes speak?
Been word-stalking her for past 2 years, I wonder if she knows!
You meet new people all the time, and with time, you forget most. Today, I am again thinking about this woman who I’ve known for some time now. We never were friends. I would have loved to believe we were, at some point in life, but no we weren’t.
Then, I didn’t particularly like her for reasons known alone to me. And the last time I saw her which was about 3 years ago; I thought I was done with her for good.
As life has it, I had to meet her again. I had never thought I would, let alone through writing. That was common between us; I was yet to discover this. When I started to blog about 2 years ago, I stumbled across her space.
She writes with life in her words. It’s like getting to know her with an occasional peek into her life and know that we have so much in common which would make room for so much fun conversations. Only if I had allowed myself to know her then, we’d be such great friends.
It makes me happy when she stops by mine and her words, when she scatters few, fill me with hope and positivity. And ever since, I have met her again, I long for her to know how much I regret not giving us a chance. We’ll be friends, maybe not. Only time knows.
And I wonder if she knows, I always wait until she comes by around, again, next time….
Quite often, I wonder if life could be any better or worse than what it is right now. Could it be any different than what it actually is? Perhaps, a little more happier. And what if it was gloomier?
When I am absorbed deep in thoughts, I find myself running back in time, in my past. And the wheels of my mindless imagination set to work all over again. Thinking. Dreaming. What would it be like, if life was like I had imagined it to be? If my nascent dreams had had a chance to grow into reality? If hopes that got shattered, were not shattered at all? If everything I ever lost, were not lost at all? Would I be happier, had the decisions that went wrong been right? What would it be like if the person I loved and longed for, had loved me back and longed for me…
Apparently, manners and I don’t get along well.
Don’t look so surprised. Not yet. Save it up for what comes next.
If you’ve been following this blog you’d already know
that I have never been the best kid in the world.
Blame the generation gap, blame me, and blame whoever you like. But that’s that.
For one, I love to be left alone by which I mean
I am the last person who would willingly invite or visit people, let alone be hospitable.
And my parents have never been able to understand why.
Usually, when I am supposed to meet visitors at home (which, by the way, I hate most),
I do it for the sake of my parents and yeah, also because who later wants to go
through endless hours of exhausting verbal tyranny of sorts.
All the smiles, the greetings, if only the visitors knew how fake all of it was,
they’d never again show up.
Yeah, go ahead, call me an antisocial shrew.
Now, the biggest problem of being 27 is that not a single day passes without you
being cornered by your parents and being pestered for marriage.
This is one area I’m lucky because my parents don’t much believe in talks but actions.
So when I say my parents don’t much believe in talks but actions, what I really mean is that
they ensure they accept and attend every get-together, marriage and reception party,
they are invited to, like traditional Indian families do.
Don’t these opportunities serve as the ultimate match-making grounds?
So, as you can see, the tactics to keep me engaged involves a lot of things,
let alone all the keeping up with friends, relatives, distant cousins,
which I am only always surprised how they manage.
I mean, don’t you get tired of meeting people?
Now the best part about being a working woman is,
firstly, you are never ever free because you always have office work to do
and secondly, that you hardly have time to catch up with your parents.
So, no room for talks; except for the dreadful weekends.
Not getting off the track, I recall this incident from few months ago when
I was made to visit a friend of my father’s. This bloke bagged a huge
promotion at work and was throwing up a party to show it off.
Few families were invited to be a part of the so-not-their-business fun.
My family was one.
The almost thousand excuse wall I’d erected was knocked down
by a single swipe of the sledgehammer coated with my
agitated father’s resignation when he muttered,
“You are going with us and that’s the end of the story”.
Although fuming, I made it to the party alright
but guess who I didn’t forget to bring along?
The constant cause of frustration for my parents – My book.
I never once have gone wrong of my opinion of parties
– that they can bore you to the core.
So to occupy myself, I make sure I have a book
just in case the party starts to get boring.
So, I found myself a nice cozy corner; the kid’s room and
had finished reading few pages when my paranoid mother finally found me.
What followed is now a practice we both are experts at. Or maybe just she is.
My usual bickering and her exhausted retorts that make me give up, each time.
And that look again was all that got me to my feet and I dragged myself to the party,
to socialize with people who have absolutely nothing to do
with me, my career, or my life, in general.
Getting back home sane was one hell of a task.
I realized I was under the misconception that my parents
had enjoyed right the whole time.
I wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that they were secretly
planning on how best to grill me on the ‘manners’ part.
The one hour ride back home and yet few hours after reaching
was more exhausting than the party itself.
So, here it is, let me summarise the conversation for you:
Refusing to be with people you don’t know makes one low on manners
Again, you are low on manners, if you wish to do things you like than indulge in senseless gossip
You are absolutely totally mannerless, if you argue and put forth your reasons
You really need to learn some socializing manners if you want people to have good opinion of you
You must, always must, leave your books behind because they make you appear a snob
Disregarding people’s presence and not making them feel welcomed is being low-mannered
And the list is endless. Phew!!
Quite honestly, manners can kill, if you are someone like me.
So, these sound like life-threatening rules to me. And I have no intention of following them.
In the meanwhile, I am planning to employ tactics to make my parents less social.
Maybe, then they will understand me better.
Now, now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my parents
but there has to be a common ground of satisfaction for both the parties, right?
So, yes, let the battle begin. All smart-ass suggestions are most welcome.
Insanely perfect, she said, not looking at me. I couldn’t make out if she was serious or just funny. Just then, she turned to look at me and with a slight smile playing on her lips, she added,It feels special.
My mother always says, when you try to make someone happy some of it sticks to you. I have ever since tried to keep people around me happy and I realised it’s one of the easiest things to do. The upside is, there’s immense satisfaction. The downside, you become The People Pleaser, for outsiders, on-watchers, whatever you call them. But it hardly matters, right?
I sometimes wonder what the world must be like for those who do not have a best friend. Just like Sarah Dessen said in her book Someone Like You,
“Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.”
Because one of the best things in the world is having a crazy awesome friend who walks the way with you, no matter the pits and potholes.
I and Shreya come a long way. Long enough to care what the world thinks about what we do. We come from a time when the world was not engulfed with the social media madness. There weren’t so many mobile phones around the time we graduated from college unlike now, when even school going kids can’t make through a day without the damn thing.
New friendships require lot of nurturing. A relationship, like ours, that has stood the test of time, needs a lot more than just that. Although, I never miss a chance to tell her how much she means to me, I knew it wasn’t enough. So, with her wedding just around the corner and her mind boggled with the forth-marching changes, when I told her that I wanted to take her out on a date, she could barely suppress her grin.
Now, as crazy as it may sound, I was doing this for the first time. Planning a date, I mean. I am not someone who goes out on dates, so this was hell lot of organizing as I realised.
A checklist of things to do, places to take her, listing down things she likes and hates. And trust me, even after more than a decade of us being together, I was surprised that there were so many things I yet did not know about her. This only got me shitty nervous and suddenly I wasn’t sure if it was such a good idea after all. I may end up screwing everything. I mean it’s one thing if things don’t turn out well when you are going out with someone for the first time, someone you are only just starting to know. I did not want to jeopardize a most treasured relation.
Yeah, tell me that I was overthinking, fretting unnecessarily. But really, when nervousness creeps into your system, the fear of failure, somehow, is amplified tenfold.
So, then I made up my mind, Let’s keep it heck simple and sweet. It doesn’t have to be grand to be great, right? A stupid hilarious movie that got your stomach hurting due to laughing hard, dinner at a cozy place with exactly the kind of taste she prefers, chrysanthemums white, exactly what she loves with dives in the past and tales to recount which filled the evening with sparkles of fun.
I am not sure if people really plan dates for their best friends.
I am not sure if I stood true to what she probably had expected out of our evening together or if she had expected anything at all.
I am also not sure if I could see her as much happy had I gone on with my initial plans coated with magnificence and dripping with lavishness.
But I know one thing – I wouldn’t have been as happier had I stumbled across a magic lamp. I knew I was successful at making the evening memorable, if not perfect. There are really countable few who, I would stake my life for, and this girl who’s stood tall right by my side even at my ugliest is one of the few. Seeing her smile knowing she is really happy, is one of those magical moments that I can’t begin to describe.
Marriage, for a girl, is the time, when she is happy and sad. Happy for new beginnings, sad for what she has now to leave behind her; people, routines, fun, freedom that defined life until that age.
While she was looking to take her mind off of the eminent mayhem, I decided I wanted to make it easier, simpler, add some fun and bring a wave of unanticipated excitement and happiness. And somehow, all my insecurities and apprehensions were wiped off when she quite simply said,it feels special.
Another year has passed… And it still feels like a new beginning.
With two years gone, there’s much that has changed.
Two years ago this time, after much thought; the wheels were set to roll.
Like the almost negligible crunching of pebbles that is heard on the ground
when a cart starts to move,
words were scarce, ideas shallow and scattered few and far between.
Gradually, just like the cart speeding across the road, crushing the bigger stones,
burying them further deep inside the earth,
more concrete ideas were born, hurling behind the fears of failure,
burying them in sands of time,
walking the route walked by many, the same road, the same land.
And another year has passed… And new acquaintances, leading where, no one knows, were formed.
So many people met, so many more forgotten and many not yet known.
New friends, equally passionate about walking the same road with you,
maybe not hand-in-hand, but word-by-word, kept clutched to the heart.
Some others perceived as more, chose to walk away.
Yet, learning, growing by conquering boulders in the path that once made you to stop, divulge; almost quit,
are no longer boulders, but a part of what is left behind, just traces.
And another year has passed…
Living through everything you face and feel, transforming them into words, is not easy.
But a pinch of inspiration peppered with confidence and bounty of love, is all you need to keep you going!
Nothing is as hard, nothing as difficult as taking that first step when you began.
But nothing gets as wonderful as the memories you make, once you’ve begun.
Phase of uncertainities will leave; what made you live through those times, will live.
Times will test, but sticking by what you desire is all that makes the difference.
And this is still just a bit from the pot of gains you’ve treasured through time.
Because although another year has passed,
it has left behind marks.
It only reminds of all the good times that are yet to come and
so will follow more love, more happiness and more worded treasures.
Turned around the corner and my blog is another year old.
This is a dedication post to all those bloggers out there who have helped me make it big.
Someone passed away recently. A school mate. Someone I didn’t know well. And yet he appears in my thoughts. A silhouette. As crazy as it may sound but I think about him. Every so often. He gave in to cancer. I’d heard from friends. After three years of tiresome battle. A battle to live. A fight against death. If only he’d won…
Visiting his family was one of the toughest things I’ve done in my life. I have never been one to take departures subtly. Well, I guess no one does. But I’m talking about even those whom I’ve never known and they yet tend to stir some feelings deep inside, just knowing that they are gone.
Somehow I’ve always believed that people who leave us, don’t actually ever leave. They are still around. Only invisible. Looking for us. Protecting us. Around us. As a child, dad made me believe this. It was meant to pacify the state of hysteria funerals caused me. But the idea only caused towering fear. Having someone invisible around. All the time. Well, it can get scary. It still does.
Traveling for three hours through trains and buses, wasn’t as distressing as the atmosphere in his house. I hadn’t seen him beyond school and a picture on the mantel shelf from his graduation day caught my attention. This is what he must have looked like. A face I could barely recognize, let alone remember. He looked happy with his mother at his side. Unaware of the evil thing inside him, living there and killing him.
Sitting with his mother, surrounded by solitude, I realized it’s so hard for words to come out when you actually want them to. She sensed it and forced a smile, dripping with the pain of loss. Her eyes were moist. I could tell she had hurriedly wiped off the tears when she received me at the door. She asked me how I knew her son, an attempt to end the dragging silence. I knew him from school was all I could muster.
We sat forcing words out, in bits and pieces. About family and work. Things that meant nothing to her. Not anymore. After her world had shrinked to herself alone. I knew she had lost her husband. Her bare hands missing the bangles and the partition of her hair missing the vermilion weren’t hard to notice.
It was since the moment that I had sat down next to her, holding her hands, I knew she wanted to say something. Something she was fearful about, that if kept inside it would die away, the silence would kill it forever. That maybe repeating it to anyone and everyone, would keep it alive, in her heart, in her mind. Had I known, what was coming, I would have prepared myself well. I would have practiced what to say; only to lift up a mother’s sinking heart.
Eyes focused on the floor, on her fidgety toes, she whispered that the memories of his final moments are the ones that will remain truer than anything else. She said, he’d known. He’d known that the next morning would never come. Never for him.
And the last night, when she was retiring from his hospital room, he’d called her. He’d asked her when the last time he’d kissed her good night was. To which she’d replied, just the other night and he’d smiled. Knowing she was lying because it had been ages. And through dried lips, he’d kissed her on the cheek. The warmth emanating from his body had burned against her skin. She’d cried since she’d known there weren’t many days he’d able to do just that.
I saw she was reliving the moment, her eyes shining with large beads of tears. She admitted something that broke my heart in a thousand pieces. She said she hadn’t slept since her son had passed away because he’ll never kiss her good night again.
I was tearful too while I hugged her. Hugged her long, believing, it’d help force out some of her grief. I held her till her breath stopped racing, till her tears dried. Some more minutes passed and I decided it was time to leave. I looked at the watch and it showed merely 40 minutes had passed. But in those 40 minutes, I’d lived another age.
At the door, I gave her the only thing I could bring. A photo album I had put together since school days; a collection of class photographs taken every year. I don’t know if I needed it more than her. And I gave it to her. She opened it and following her scanning eyes, I realized she’d found the one face she was looking for. Then another page and another.
I don’t think she heard when I said the final goodbye. I don’t think she saw when I turned and walked down the street.
It was only later while traveling back home; I pondered over all that I’d learnt about that silhouette from my thoughts. I could now replace the shadowed figure with an image. The image from the photo on the mantel shelf.
Looking in your eyes, I know, there’s nowhere else I want to be.
I know there’s nowhere else I want us to be.
There’s nothing else I want to do this moment but be lost in your eyes.
Every dream I ever dreamt somehow seems possible, and I want to realize those with you.
For I see those thousand dreams come to life, the minute I look into your eyes.
Being in your arms, I want to hold you like this forever.
Your face so close to mine, your breath mingling with mine,
Difficult to distinguish, the place and the time.
A solemn moment passes before I feel your fingers pressing on my waist.
And looking into your eyes, it’s hard to negate what I see.
Glazed with longing, written in bold letters is what your racing heartbeats scream about.
The desire to hold on like this forever, the want to never let go.
I can feel it as that’s exactly what I’ve wanted too.
But before I know, you blink it away.
Denying me the comfort by erecting that wall.
Retreating to that space I so wish you had not.
I don’t know what’s right. I gave up thinking what’s wrong.
Because looking in your eyes I know you are all I’ll ever want.
That you see your plans irrefutable is a vague impression to me,
because when I look in your eyes, I see the possibility impending, a possibility; you and me.
You’ve never admitted, always denied when asked.
Looking into your eyes, I see that’s false.
I see the hidden regrets, I see the melancholy smiles.
Your eyes; sometimes too chirpy, sometimes as dry as flame.
Looking into them, I see they are tired too of playing the games.
All these years, you’ve masked it too well, too perfect to be true.
But looking in your eyes, I see a web of self-tormenting lies.
You’ve held too long the pain, the untold secrets, that have nothing but killed you inside.
And they stop you; they still do, from accepting what’s waiting this side.
You refuse to stir, you have your reasons.
But for once, I want you to know, I’d do anything for us.
Because, looking in your eyes, I see how it’s supposed to be, how it’s meant to be.
I get a glimpse into the future, a still of you beside me.
And I wonder if you can see it through mine. The many memories I wish to make.
Drawing a long breath, you slowly pull away.
Still holding my gaze, ‘We aren’t meant to be, we are worlds apart’, you say.
I am shattered by that ungiven chance. Broken by the unlived medley of odds.
My heart missed a beat, my eyes began to burn.
And I’m sure you wouldn’t have said this.
You’d have known you want to be with me too,
Had you, for once, looked into your eyes.
How do you hold on to faith when your world is falling apart? Know what I mean? When you are almost always pushed at that edge where you start questioning everything you’ve ever believed. How do you stop yourself from losing faith?
Kevin and I, did our schooling together while we attended same classes in ninth and tenth grade, we always spearheaded academic and curricular activities, whether it was the science club or the volleyball team or a debate meet or a skit performance. Over the years, we lost touch and happened to meet only recently when I learnt that he had left the country right after school. We agreed to meet over coffee one evening. An evening that will leave a lot to think about!
Meeting old friends after what seems like ages, unearthing the past is a usual affair. But filling the gaps, closing the distance is all well and good only as long as the talk is on pleasant grounds. And then there are those moments when you opt mute smiles. There are certain grounds where you reach a dead end even before you’ve reached the turn.
The conversation over coffee drifted to the past, from work to college to school, and from colleagues to friends to family. I was greatly delighted to learn the heights Kevin has scaled in all these years that he was away. He is not only employed with a reputed and an all-desired firm but has been equally successful in acuminating his talent in painting which was his hobby since before I’ve known him.
The casual talks led me to realize that he had not forgotten what I would otherwise term ‘little things’ and that he remembered my habits and interests with such definitude all too perfect to be true.
Surprisingly, touching over the surface of talks, I gathered he isn’t much of a religious person which I don’t know if he ever was. The fact that he is an agnostic did not disturb me as much as the fact that he is an acute atheist. That also was not the end of my disappointment. It was rather the manner in which he almost mocked about how I always was an ‘overly’ religious person. Right since those early school years. He jeered with utter travesty at the religious practices that I followed and was flippant enough in mentioning how he thought that my observing fasts was beyond a certain point of ridicule and proved only how much more weak it portrays us. Besides, there’s nothing ever like pleasing the Gods.
Slowly, the conversation ambled from one point of religion-mockery to another and I started to believe that it might never end.
You must be wondering why did not just cut him short if I am a person of God, why did I not argue and make him see how wrong he was, or why did I not just walk away?
But amidst the rather grim conversation, I had had a glimpse of something else. A lurking question that I needed an explanation for. Kevin’s words although coated with deepest contempt convinced me that there was an underlying reason. What I saw on the surface was only half the story. There was more than what met my eye. And only digging further into the ground he’d dug, I could find the answers. And I had to do it his own way. Not mine. Debate. Arguments. Convictions. Explanations wouldn’t help me. And pretty soon I discovered what it was that had made my dear friend so loathsome at even the mention of God.
Kevin had had a rather troubled upbringing as a child. With highly ambitious parents, none willing to sacrifice their ambitions or successful careers, Kevin grew up in the supervision of his sometimes present old grandma and an always present nanny.
He hardly ever saw his parents as they lived in separate towns, traveling the globe more than half the year, the percentage of their attendance in his life was much lower than the very many board meetings and presentations they attended. Finally, it reached a point when there wasn’t one day when he could see both of them together. Attending school plays and report days with his good old granny became a routine and gradually, the fading bonds between his parents resulted into a dissolved marriage. Today, while his father runs a successful business with wealthy clients overseas, his mother is the dean of a reputed university in another country.
Until that day, each living moment of his life was spent struggling to get his family back together. He frequented churches and prayed that they come back. It was neither the fortunes they were making nor their growing careers that stirred any interest in him. It was only the family he so wanted, the love he so missed that he had begged for on bent knees. He held onto his drifting faith that they will come back, that they will see how much he needs them. But he realized it was too late. That he was mistaken all these years. It was not their careers that were meddling with the family but the family meddling with their careers. This not only tore his family apart but shed to bits every tiny thread of faith he ever had. It just became too easy for him to believe that what is not there cannot give you what you ever ask for.
Well, what could I have said that would have lessened his pain? Were there enough words to unburden his heart? Actions to restore the lost faith? I mean, you reach that point when you learn there is a lot of shit than what you see, shit that kills. Especially, when its killing people you deeply care about.
How do you keep yourself from losing faith then?
True, I got my beliefs. True, I got my faith. I also have my own share of challenges and disappointments which make me apprehensive. But had I been in Kevin’s shoes, after having fought with every ounce of my energy and hope left, and yet watching my world fall apart, would I be able to stick by my faith? Not sure!
It doesn’t take a scientist’s brain to comprehend basic conversations. Yes, sure! But when it comes to sarcasm, I guess it takes way more than that, especially if you are someone like me. Well, it is not that I am a dim-wit or anything but I have a penchant to dig for goodness even with sarcastic spears. So, with me, most times, efforts employed on sarcastic grounds pass unnoticed.
Yes, go ahead, call me WEIRD!! That’s not the point though.
Now, my less-than-smart brain has discovered that people have the tendency to say the weirdest things exactly when you least expect them. And all you can do at times like such, is remaining seated with pursed lips and may be at the most add some nods, because you do not know what would a justifiable response be.
A spare weekend took me and my friend to an orphanage to spend some time with little orphan girls raised by a married couple. These girls are taken in at the age of eight and are raised with every possible facility that can be provided. We were astonished at the efforts the happy couple is investing in doing the great job that too with least assistance from independent parties or government. The girls are well-mannered and are being raised with high standards under personal supervision and observation of the couple.
In the few hours that we spent talking and chatting with the girls, I became overly fond of most of them since they are all so polite and pleasant. However, I noticed one girl of about 15 who was aloof from the gang of girls. She would barely talk and was on her own since I time we were there. I was surprised that the other girls who were otherwise so close to each other never once checked on her.
I had learnt this from the caretaker lady that new girls who joined the house took some time to mix up with the other girls and I convinced myself that she must be trying to adjust with the new surroundings. Very soon, I learnt that she was staying with the family from the age of 8 and had been different from the family ever since.
Now, she did appeal to the best of my curiosities and in no time, I was sitting next to her, trying to strike a conversation. It was clearly evident that she was least interested. She not only made me repeat everything at least a few times before I could extract a reply from her but she made it even more difficult with her single-word replies. Surprisingly, in 20 minutes time, she had uttered only few countable number of words whereas as I had almost constructed a mountain of loose talks!
After about 5 or so minutes of awkward silence, she asked me, “do you count your blessings?” Now, this totally threw me off-balance. While I was happy that she was finally opening up with me, I was clueless as to what I should say to that.
I don’t remember her name, for she never helped me with it, but I so wish I had forgotten what she had brought up. Now, this is why I always prefer books over people. Books tell you things only when you are ready to take them unlike people who will bring up things at most awkward moments.
She kept looking away so I could not figure if she was being sarcastic or plain rude. She asked again. Well, now, we sure do, don’t we? Count our blessings, I mean. Appreciate what life is despite the hardships and challenges it brings. Thank God for his mercy and love. But then it is not the first thing we talk about!!
Sure, I do, I replied. Just what you mean when you ask me this, I asked her.
Not all do, she said. Maybe. Maybe not, I said. Why do you ask anyway? I asked. And what she replied was bizarrely sad and left a void in my heart, that I doubt will ever be filled.
You should count your blessings because you have everything that I don’t. You’ll never know what that feels like. I was still searching for a reply and she went on. With that far away look, she said, I hate to come back to a family that isn’t my own. I hate to accept someone as mum and dad when there are 30 other kids your age calling them the same. I hate that I cannot seek the affection that I would get from my own parents and that I cannot be the one child that I would’ve otherwise been, she paused.
I hate that no one cares enough to come and talk to me. That I have to think so many times before asking for anything, maybe a dress, maybe something for school, maybe a chocolate. Anything for that matter. Because then they will have to bring the same for every other girl here. I hate to talk to these girls here and I absolutely hate of being reminded every time that I am supposed to consider them my sisters and behave like one.
I totally hate that I cannot ever feel normal among people like you. I hate when my teacher asks me twice but asks others only once before moving on to next topic. I have lost my parents, I am not mentally retarded. I hate to be treated like one, she added dejectedly.
I hate all the sympathy. That you’ve come to talk to me while I lament. That you get everything that I too deserve. I hate that you will go back to a family that is your own. I hate that you have friends, normal ones whereas all I have is these girls to talk to, she said enviously. I hate my life and I hate everything about it. And most of all, I hate God, if there is anything like that, to have let me suffer like this, she finished.
It was like a flood of emotions that had unleashed itself after years of self-agony. Like a tornado of pain that hits you so bad that you stumble without control. I do not remember how many seconds had passed before I could utter a word again. She didn’t bother disturbing my thoughts. It’s like I was transported to a different world. A world where there was only misery and loads of anguish, an ocean of pain.
Coming back to the present, I failed to understand if the other girls were right in accepting their lives the way it was or this girl was right in lamenting over her life. Was I even the right person to judge?
Something about her sullen outburst turned my senses numb. I wanted to talk to her. I wanted to say something that would make her feel better but didn’t she say that she hated sympathies? I wanted to be angry with her for abusing everything God had blessed her life with, no matter the past. I wanted to make her see sense, to drive out the negativity, to see a solution, find one. Most of all, I wanted her to look at the other side of the coin which was begging for her attention. And that thing was happiness. I so wanted to talk to her. But all I did was get up and walk away.
At the door, I turned just once to look at her and she did too. In all those 20 minutes of being together, that was the only moment our eyes met. I saw she was crying all this time while I thought that her words were quavering with anger. The tears now dried had left her eyes moist and cheeks pink. Her face emotionless.
Although, I had no words left to justify her arguments and accusations, I am sure; my eyes conveyed what I was thinking at that moment. And that was although I do count my blessings, I was not sure if she did!
I asked again, you again denied. And there was silence, all over again.
Why do you do this each time, asking me what’s going on? You’d said. I didn’t know what to say.
I am tired of this, you said, almost angry. I failed to understand what that meant.
Tired of what? Was it me or was it us? Say it. Oh, I so wanted you to accept rather than killing me each day.
Sitting next to you, on the cliff there, with feet dangling off the edge.
Watching your hair blowing in the wind. It seemed almost romantic.
And yet, everything was hollow, just like my heart. Turned upside down.
The last traces of something that used to be there, was dripping away. Was love there or it wasn’t anymore?
I was sure once, but right then, I was not so sure.
You looked at me suddenly. Like nothing was ever wrong. Like everything was just the same.
But tell you what? I didn’t tell you. I didn’t tell you that it was too late.
That I knew now what you’d kept from me. That I knew where you went.
Each time, I’d believed when you’d said, you couldn’t come. I’d believed when you’d said, please.
I was a fool to not see it then. But how could I have when it was so perfectly concealed.
I saw the look that said something, eyes not so betraying as your words.
I saw what he meant to you, and I saw it right through you.
I wanted to know, if it was me you were thinking of or him, while you were sitting next to me.
But those smiles always mislead me and it deceived me once again.
Your fingers were placed just inches away yet so distant they seemed to me.
I reached out my fingers to feel yours but somehow you knew because that’s what we always did.
And I couldn’t stop but watch how you slowly curled your fingers away.
Taking away what little was left of me.
I wish, I could hold them for the last time, in that moment, that day.
You looked at my face then studying those features as though you’d never seen me before.
Your gaze halted a little too long on my lips before returning to my eyes.
In that moment, I swear, I so wanted you, to kiss you, hold you and make you stay.
But you turned away just the instant when I moved a bit close.
I could feel the pain of losing, in that moment and so I cried.
It was not just you that you took away, but a part of me that you ripped apart.
Sitting there, sitting right next to you. I was thinking for the hundredth time what could’ve gone wrong.
We were so in love. But I guess it was just me, holding onto something that was long gone.
We were together, for twelve years, and for a hundred and twelve I’d dreamt.
Right then, a matter of twelve minutes seemed like ages to bear.
Without looking at me, you’d said there was another, I couldn’t see if you were happy or sad.
The words had not a pinch of pain while my eyes almost flooded with tears.
I’d watched you get up and walk away, leaving me angry and mad.
Not a reason, no explanation was given, none that I could ask for.
I’d lived a million memories in that moment and I knew that was all left.
And no matter what you’d said or done, but, in that moment, I swear I wanted you back.
Sometime last year, around this time, it was a new beginning. It was a time, after much thought; the wheels were set to roll.
Like the almost negligible crunching of pebbles that is heard on the grounds when a cart starts to move,
the words were scarce and the ideas shallow and scattered, least to be noticed.
Gradually, just like the cart speeding across the road, crushing the bigger stones,
burying them further deep inside the earth,
more concrete ideas were born from hurling behind the fears of failure,
burying them in sands of time,
walking the route walked by many, the same roads, the same land.
And a year passes by…just like that!
A sea of acquaintanceship, leading where, no one knows.
So many people met, so many more forgotten and yet many not yet known.
New friends, equally passionate about walking the same road with you,
maybe not hand-in-hand, but word-by-word, are kept clutched to the heart.
Some others perceived as more, chose to walk away.
Yet, learning, growing by conquering boulders in the path that once made you to stop, divulge, quit
are no longer boulders, but a part of what is the sands of time.
And a year passes by…just like that!
Living through everything you face and feel and transforming them into words, is not an easy task.
But you also have learnt what wonders a pinch of inspiration and a bounty of love can do!
Nothing is as hard, nothing as difficult as taking that first step when you began.
But nothing gets as wonderful once you’ve begun.
Period of troubles will leave; what made you live through that period, will live.
Times will test, but sticking by what you desire is all that makes the difference.
And this is just a bit from the pot of gains that you’ve treasured because although a year has passed by,
it has left behind marks.
It only reminds of all the good times that are yet to come and so will follow
more love, more happiness and more worded treasures.
Sometime around the end of the month of July, I, as a blogger, turned a year old. Unfortunately, I do not remember the precise date to celebrate it. So I thought it better to do a random post this month.
This is a dedication post to all those bloggers out there who have helped me make it big.
“What do you see?” probed my mother with a worried look on her face, a look she failed to hide.
It’s been weeks and I have grown tired of seeing things in the day time. Yes, day-time. The remnants from my nightmares born from fragmented pieces of sleep, becoming nightmares in the day. And I drag myself through the day just like I have been doing for so many nights. The withering pictures linger in my mind every minute during the day and I catch myself lost in the ensnaring nightmare.
As a child, I used to have nightmares, memories of which I could never forget.
After a period of time, the nightmares stopped. I guess that’s what bothered my mother. “What do you see?” she asked again with a look of concern. I pressed hard not to remember anything from the faded pool of memories that start haunting me as night slowly walks in. I looked at her and realized I had to make up a story soon. I had seen that troubled look many times.
Quick! Quick! I told myself. So I recounted a totally different dream to her. A lie. That I saw shabby houses and screams all round, of little girls and women being tortured, of men being violently hit, furious mobs around and things being burned down.
There! She seemed satisfied if not really happy.
Guess she expected the same old story.
About a woman. In a dark brown saree. Falling, from a height what must have been about 15 meters. From a building. First slowly, then faster and then being thumped on the ground. Chest on the ground. Face sideways. Hair still the bun dangling over her face. But all she is now is a mass of scattered flesh, a pool of blood. She’s dead. There’s no doubt about it. I stand watching this as though she was someone I know. Horrified and tear-stricken at the same time. Suddenly, she raises her blood-stained face, her hair obscuring most of it. Looking me in the eye. Her eyes, I notice, are darker, empty, nothing but wearing a heart-tearing pained look.
And then before I can understand, her lips move. I am horror-struck. Tears that were flowing in full-force until now have slowed down. Did she say something or did I just imagine? And before I can even blink my eye, they are taking her away. I try to stop them. Hoping she is still alive, hanging onto the last bits of her dear life. But I am pushed away, ushered in a corner. “She’s dead” someone says and I yell “No, not yet”. And I would end up screaming in my sleep and waking up half of my family.
But I wouldn’t tell my mom that. I couldn’t tell my mom that.
For a very long period of time what must have been years, I used to conjure up things that the lady from my dream was trying to say, coming up with self-made stories and filling my parents with dread of something that wasn’t there.
That’s when I guess they made it a practice to make me recite prayers, certain anti-evil religious spells that gradually filled up the void in my mind that had housed that nightmare. They made sure I slept with an object of iron under my pillow, mostly a key.
“You still say your prayers at night, don’t you?” She inquired. Sometimes I wonder how parents know exactly which nerve to press and make you feel even worse. To be honest, no I wasn’t. But I didn’t say as much to her. My silence answered it for her. “It was easier to make you understand what we thought was right when you younger. You would listen. Now. Well now, we expect you to understand and not being made to.” I didn’t know what to say just then. “I hope you haven’t -“ started my mother when I had to cut her short. I knew what was coming like those numerous other times. “No mum, I haven’t given up faith. I do believe in God”, I completed. She waited for more but I chose to remain quiet.
“You were three and a little more then” told my mother without meeting my eye, “when it started. You would wake up screaming and sweating in bed at nights”, she continued. She kept her eyes fixed at a point on the knife she was chopping the carrots with.
For a long time, she did not look up. She was afraid I would see the fear that had been a permanent tenant in her mind back from those years of my life. I gathered, whatever memories she had of me from back then, must be real terrible. I was still wondering how she knew I was spending sleepless nights, lying awake upto five or six when she threw something really unexpected and maybe, weird.
“Is it because of the books you read at bed-time?” and before I could defend myself she concluded, “Yes, that is it. How many times have I asked you to not read those sick murder and crime stories at night?” That’s when I realised that maybe she was trying to convince herself more than convincing me. I intervened. “Mum, I have just been busy and too exhausted lately. Nothing more. It’s not the books, I know. I will begin to pray. I sure, will”, I promised her. Now, I have never been an anti-God person. I do believe there is THE ALMIGHTY sitting up there. I do pray – Thanking God for everything gained. Mourning a little on every little loss. But lately, I haven’t been the-pray-before-you-go-to-sleep girl. But I will try. I assured her.
It was only later I would learn that my mother had found my diary on the bed-side table while I had slept over it. Only later I will find that the mad scribbling I have been doing for days, filling pages with the gory details of the nightmare were already read by her while I constructed a lie when she asked.
It made a lot of things clear.
Why I couldn’t find my diary as though it had disappeared in thin air?
Why did it have to appear in my bag when I left it at the bed-side table?
Why did mum have to come and sit with me at nights since the past week?
Why had she adopted a standard coming-home greeting – “How was your day? What did you do?”
Why did she have to come to check on me at nights when I pretended to be asleep?
Why did she call me on my phone frequently these days while at work?
and Why did she almost force me to tell her I was spending disturbed days and nights?
It explained to me the dreadful look in her eyes, the creases of concern on her face.
Such a rush of shame engulfed me for having lied to her. But I was quickly taken-over by rage for having my privacy breached.
I didn’t know what to do. Should she have done what she did? Was she right in invading my little space like that? And was I the right person to decide that? Didn’t I lie to her?
I spent days of avoiding any possibility of the slightest conversation with her.
I avoided looking her in the eye for whatever brief moments our eyes met. She knew and I could see it etched on her face. It only made me feel worse. For not having control over myself, my emotions. For being tactless in handling my issues and concerns. For making my worries, hers.
But in the meanwhile I had also learnt that I had to mask my expressions well. I still don’t know what caused the nightmares to return but I promised myself of not letting her know about the growing panic and the constant state of dread.
Not showing the weariness in my eyes, the darkness caused by the limp figure covered in red while I struggle to live with the nightmares in the day.
Often, days seem long and my patience starts to wear off. It’s never like this the days when you are home. I keep myself engaged in chores and leave your thoughts at bay. Attending to them only when they seem restless. Hours seem like minutes and the hands of the clock are ticking away. Slowly, I drift into thoughts of you again.
I find myself sneaking out the window. Just one last time I say. And the wait prolongs as I see no movement, no progress other than the day speeding away. Through the creeks of the wooden doors, I look for signs. But I only see the entering rays of the sun getting thicker, denser with the hour reminding me that the day is about to end. And I peer down the street, and then back up the arch and through the dense shrubs for
a letter in the mailbox.
Getting back to work seems difficult due to the continuous distractedness of my heart. It is a condition that is bound to stay. Today again, the post doesn’t arrive, I know it won’t. It is a week more before the post will come, bringing your whereabouts and my lost smile too. I collect my scattered thoughts just like I collect the clothes you’ve left scattered on the floor. One by one, imagining and feeling your presence in them. I smile to myself as though it is some deep secret that only we share. There is a rush of memories, a nostalgic feeling follows. I leave the pile of your clothes and things on the floor and rush to the bed-side table. I open the drawer which is a collection of letters from you in all these years.
I open one of those letters and stare at curled words just a little longer. The world comes to a halt and time gradually stops. I read while I let each word sink. Myriad emotions take hold of me and I reminisce about us. The words feel like a whisper. And I let it soothe the urge in me. The urge to see you, feel you, hold you. I read them, all of them, again. And that’s what I do each time while you are gone.
Keeping your letters back; I resume work, counting in my mind; the days remaining before I will see you walk home again from the front door. Until then, I wait. I wait for another week for the post to come. And I glance out the door once more while I wait for a letter in the mailbox.
Well, being simple is most difficult, isn’t it? Being simple, living simple, thinking simple, writing simple. Especially, when it comes to writing, I feel, it’s furthermore difficult. Let me tell you about my writing experiences so far. Like every other person when I started to write, it wasn’t just the fear of rejection that clouded my brain. It had more to do with my quality of writing. Now, since I am not from a literature background academically, I find it difficult sometimes to write down my thoughts without changing the meaning of the script.
In school, at all levels, I was fairly good with English language. I always out-stood in essays, grammar, spell-bee contests, and speeches compared to other students. Thinking about it now, I guess, I used to be a lot like Hermione from Harry Potter movies. One who always had her hand shooting in the sky every time a teacher asked a challenge question. The only difference being I wasn’t ever an all-rounder like Hermione and consequently, you would find me overly active only in English classes. I was always either jumping in my seat for a class-reading chance or restless about solving a grammar challenge on the blackboard. Well, yes, let me admit it – I was quite a pain for certain peace-loving students of the class. It felt good then to always score the highest marks. English language was always my favorite subject.
My love for the language was a major reason to try my hand at writing. And before I knew, I had entered into the world of blogging. I found WordPress the most user-friendly and followed the instructions and started to write. I have encountered myriad challenges since that first day. Majorly, my writing skills based challenges as I found writing simple very difficult. I have always tried to develop my nascent writing and take it to the next step. The constant struggle with thoughts is one thing I need to master and this I very soon realized. There are things I’ve learnt with practice and close observations. Experience is the best teacher and it is 100 percent true. I learnt mostly by observing the style of fellow-writers. Their experience has been a kind teacher to me. I learnt that while writing is important, writing simple is utmost important. There are many of us who might have recently taken up writing; here is something I would like to share with you. Now again, while this has been a brilliant help in improving my writing skills, I cannot assure if these suggestions will prove to be of same help to you. Thank you for reading through anyway.
i) Avoid use of complex words –
Keep your script as simple as possible. Try and keep your writing free from complex words. This I learnt from Stephen King’s novel On Writing. For example, when you want to express a confused state, just simply use the word ‘confused’ rather than using words like bamboozled, bewildered, flummoxed etc. While using complex words might be easy to understand for proficient writers who have a fairly well knowledge of the language, it only plays on the feeling of being ignorant in writers like me who are yet only learning and starting to write. It also helps give a trimmed look to your writing making it effort-free from understanding what you’ve intended to share with your readers.
ii) Avoid long sentences –
Long sentences can be real killers sometimes. A personal experience on that front. Let me tell you this. When I started writing, my sentences would end up being very long with about 28-30 words and hell lot of commas and semi-colons. This made it difficult for me to retain the meaning of the sentence as by the time I would finish reading it I would forget what I started with. Worse even, sometimes, the former part of the sentence would be in no way related to the latter part. This is annoying from a reader’s perspective as one might have to re-read the particular sentence several times in order to know what was spoken about. Hence having short sentences helps keep your writing simple. If a sentence is too long, try to break it into 2 shorter ones taking care of the grammar, especially clauses.
iii) Use live examples –
If possible, always provide live examples to support your writing. It helps explain your point better as readers can easily relate to it. I, as a person, like to imagine situations when I read one and having personal experiences as examples in the text makes my chances of reading the complete script double irrespective of whether it is a 200 word or 1200 word content. Therefore, I feel its advisable to try to get into the habit of including live examples whenever and wherever possible.
iv) Keep it short –
As much as possible try to have your writing short and crisp. By this I don’t mean you need to end up your script in 150 or 200 words. No! But always make sure you write only what is of interest and importance. Unwanted content only degrades the quality of your writing. Also, I feel it is imperative to remember that not all like to read lengthy scripts unless it is some interesting story or matter of experience. Keeping it concise, short and precisely up to the point might help you get into the habit of writing simple.
v) Be the reader not the writer –
Last but not the least; be the reader not the writer when you write. I have learnt this and I try to bear this in mind each time I sit down with my pencil and notepad. I write only what I might like to read as a reader. As writing is just once, but reading the same thing happens a lot many times by a lot many people. Now, let us not over-rule the fact that when we write we do expect our readers to read what we’ve poured over the pages. Hence, blending our script with a pinch of wit and humor always does the trick for our readers to keep them glued right till the last written word. Think of it like this, would you like to get bored with reading what has been written? Would you like to abandon it half way? No! Then why would you want your readers to feel that way about your writing? So, always be the reader and not a writer when you write.
These are certain lessons in writing that I’ve learnt in my writing expedition so far that I wanted to share with you. And of course, all this will only come with practice. And that will happen only when you write and write a lot. I haven’t used any research material to support this post since I wanted to write it based purely on my personal experience. I’ll consider this worth the effort even if it helps just one person to write simple.
So, what are your writing experiences? Share your ideas as they are precious. Also, do share your thoughts and inputs on the above write-up. I’m sure you can help to make it hell of a lot better.
Isn’t that what all our religious scriptures ask us to do? Forgive and Forget.
Gita, Bible, Quran all of them lay emphasis on the divine act of forgiving. Right since childhood one is taught to be forgiving. That forgiving is an act of kindness.
One should forgive others for their wrong deeds, sinful acts. Forgive and forget is one learning that is etched in my memories right from the time I took from crawling to walking.
I still remember, as a kid, my good old grandpa always stressed upon imbibing the virtue of forgiveness. It was as he used to call it, the key to happiness, to which I always wondered what the lock was. It was not until later that I realized what he really meant. Everyone deserves to be forgiven no matter what.
The girl next seat in class abuses, do not counter-abuse, forgive.
Someone pokes a pencil in your skin, do not repeat the act but forgive.
Your lunched box is snatched away, do not cry but forgive.
Someone’s being beaten; forgive (even if it’s not you who is being beaten).
I mean, it had turned into quite a law. My grandpa, I must tell you, was a lot into the forgiveness thing, always. And what’s more, not just forgive but forget too. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.
Forgive and forget. Do not curse, do not retaliate, but forgive and forget.
Growing up to a certain age, I realized it did help. A lot. Trust me. To keep from getting into troubles. To avoid fights. Keeping silent does ward off a lot of things. I mean, when you are on the way to salvation with biggies like forgive and forget and all, you are considered something of a sage. People do not bother you much. Heck! They won’t even notice you much. For some, you are practically invisible, non-existing. For others, you are something between a coward and a spooked rat.
There, grandpa’s law did help me quite a bit. Atleast in earning a few names, ‘dumb’ being one of my favorites. So, I stopped bringing school issues at home. I mean, you wouldn’t want a sound forgive-full advice at home when actually you’re notebook pages were shred to pieces since you denied finishing fellow-student’s home assignment and you’re the one who ended up getting punished along with those others.
I always wondered if those students even knew that all that while I was graciously forgiving them for everything they did. Because that’s the last thing I’d want to live with if I am going to be around them for another decade and more.
Amidst being nice and dumb at school, I asked grandpa what good did the entire forgiving thing do to me? I was the one suffering, right?
On this he said,
“Don’t worry about the hurt they cause you, child. They don’t intend to, they are just kids. Besides, someday they’ll know what they did was wrong. And remember, God sees all.”
Well, it must have been too much advice to process in an age like that. He always said that it’s for everyone’s happiness that you should learn to forgive. And even when you’ve forgiven someone, forget that they ever wronged you. Do not ever hold grudges against them as it only poisons your soul with bad revengeful thoughts. Therefore, forgive and forget helps to keep negativity at bay and your heart at peace. And that’s what God wants too.
Yeah! Like, at that age, I really cared about what God wanted.
Grandpa’s gone. It’s been years. Sometimes, I feel those years were good. It was so easy then than now to stick by rules and laws made. As years have passed, I have only grown to realize how unrealistic it sounds – forgive and forget.
I’ve found myself to deviate numerous times from that one path grandpa had laid. And even now, I find it increasingly difficult to follow that one advice, to forgive and forget. I think it to be such waste of time and faith.
Okay, so I am not an anti-forgive person. I am not. I do forgive people. I almost do. But I can never forget what they did. Even at the slightest memory of them, every little detail surges back to me like a tide and I find myself cursing them inwardly. So then does that mean I did really forgive them? Sometimes, I don’t even want to forgive some people because I feel they don’t deserve to be forgiven. And that’s not because forgiving them is not going to do me any good but because I know they will still do the same thing. They will still hurt someone else. They did not care enough then, why should they now?
I know deep inside that my dear old grandpa would never approve of my attitude if he was around. But if he were still around, I’d like to ask him something.
And it’s this – Do I still forgive and forget when someone tries to hurt me in an irreparable manner? Do I still forgive and forget when they force themselves on me or on anyone I love in a way considered inhumane by nature? Do I still forgive and forget when someone, for their personal and material gains shreds humanity to pieces by their unlawful acts? Do I? And even if I do, will that not leave a destructive impression on my mind and heart forever? Even if I forgive and forget, will it help me live normal? Forgive and forget, will it help me restore my lost faith?
So my question for you today is this – How can you forgive if you can’t forget?
Do you sometimes feel that your head might burst dispersing thousands of words in the form of thoughts in the air around you? Do you come across this state when there is so much you want to write, so many things at once that you just don’t seem to be able to concentrate on other tasks at hand? Are there times when there is an eager urge to drop everything and set out to writing?
And when you finally manage to sit down
with a pen and your notepad, you hardly get past a couple of lines. Also, when you re-read the rough draft you realize that you not only did scrape something largely deviating from what you actually meant to write but you scripted a jumble of ideas which seems nothing but a sort of maze from the outside.
Well, I’m not certain about you but I’ve been doing this awfully lot lately. I sit down with a pack of ideas to be constructed in a train of thought but I end up filling pages after pages with random thoughts pouring out my mind. Sometimes, I don’t even spare the margin areas. I keep frantically scribbling until I feel my head is light and empty to house new thoughts. And I get a feeling that even the rashly scribbled pages stare back at me as though trying to make sense of things I scribble.
So while I am already doing so much of writing, you must be wondering why the title. The problem is I’m barely being able to concentrate on what I want to write. Time is one permanent issue. Dedication another. But it is not the lack of time but the lack of dedication that’s the real issue. Atleast that’s what I feel.
Now-a-days, I feel I do not anymore enthusiastically write the way I used to. I’ve noticed a change in the pattern I write. And it is this. I never cared much about what I am writing except that it should be grammatically correct with simple-to-understand content. Off-late, I am overly concerned about what my readers like to read or rather what my readers might like to read and that’s one of the major hurdles in my literary endeavors. Now you must be thinking why is that? It’s positively alright to be concerned about your readers likes and dislikes when you exact a work of literature. But I was never concerned about this side of writing earlier. I started writing because I liked to write not because I wanted what I wrote to be liked.
Now with this change in pattern, suddenly, I feel there is so much less to share and consequently so much less to write. A state of restlessness engulfed the blogger all the time.
I shared the same with Radhika, my colleague-turned-friend and a blogger herself. Radhika has been a real motivation in my literary journey so far. She’s been a never-ending flow of motivation and sound suggestions which I love her for. She said, “Maybe you are pushing yourself a lot to see perfection in what you do. Over-straining yourself to rise to best standards in writing. But perfection will come with time not with you trying to match the taste of your readers. Remember, there are a lot of able proficient writers out there. They’ve reached there with time. While you, You’ve just started.”
It did make sense. Hell lot of sense. It is practically impossible to suit to everyones tastes. For the past few weeks, I have wasted nearly all my time in just pondering, re-crafting, and correcting the few lines I manage to write down. I just want everything to be so damn perfect. Not a word, not a feeling amiss. But that has only narrowed my writing bandwidth. What to write, I constantly muse about.
Well, I guess for now, I’m just going to try to be less perfection-obsessed and write as much as I can. Just write. Hoping it helps to fade out this gloomy phase. But how about you? Do you ever go through similar writing obstructions? What do you do to tackle it? Or do you yet sometimes wonder, What to write?
Last night, you were angry. Mad at me again. Yes, I know that look in your eyes. One that means business. Damn serious one. ‘No fooling around‘, I say to myself. And then the cold stare. How bloody angry! And it wasn’t the first time. But it also wasn’t the first time I entered home late. Late enough for half the world to be asleep. I dreaded the moment. I knew I was at fault. The house was engulfed by creepy silence. All were sleeping but not you. The minute I saw you, a fear crept into my veins. My head yelled, ‘Now face the consequences‘. You looked at the clock. I followed your sight. Half past one. Oh God! Was it really that late?
“Where were you?“ Not a question that demanded answers. Calm but hostile. I couldn’t look up. Couldn’t muster the courage to reply. I stared at the floor. “Look at me“. I did. I don’t know what I saw there. Fear. Anger. Pain. Resignation. Hopelessness.
I dare not argue. Like I always do. It was just the other night. I can see that you’re growing tiresome with my stupid stubbornness. Endless arguments and debates that I commence. But tonite, it annoys me to know that you won’t give in. I fix my gaze on the floor again.
And then the endless stream of questions.
Where were you? Out with Friends. What friends? Silence. Why are you home this late again? We were partying. Kevin’s promotion bash. Dinner and Drinks. So you drink? No. Not me. And this is when you plan to return home – 1:30 in the morning? Silence, anger is building up. Did I not ask you to be back home by 10, everyday, no matter what? Angrier. Answer me? And then the outburst. Shouts. Yells. Back-answers.
I won’t stand this in my house. No, means NO late-night parties. But all my friends go. They all stay. Except me. Their fathers never restrict them. Why just me? No more questions. I shout, I don’t take it. You can’t do this to me. Then I’m forced to ground you. Noooooooo. I make rules around here, not you. And they are for your own good whether you like them or not. Slow heavy sobs. But I got a life too and I wish to live it my way, not anyone else’s. Silence. I’m your father. Silence. I tried getting you to understand the mellow way but you don’t seem to get it. Please. This is final. Anything else? Yes, I hate you. I so hate you for doing this. I never will talk to you again. I turned to go and looked at you. You looked, paralyzed. And there were tears pooling your eyes. Did I smile inside? Heartless, I thought. I walked away. Not realizing, it was me who was heartless not you.
You were the first I laid my eyes on when I first opened them. The first who held me in your arms. And I know I am your sweetheart, your little baby. Have always been. I know. I can see how much you love me. I can see it in your eyes. Even though you never say it in so many words.
So many years have passed and I’ve grown up before your eyes. With every passing year, your love for me has nothing but increased. When I was little, you held my tiny hands firm, tight within your grasp. After all these years, you still want to hold me secure, close to your heart, within your sight is where you always want me to be. When I’m gone, it makes you restless to not know when I’m going to be back. What with the cruel hideous crimes happening around. You keep worried like all fathers do. I continue being carefree like all daughters do. You’re being protective and I know that while I’m being resistive. After-all what father would want his daughter to have the fate the other unfortunate girl did. Abused. Tortured. Raped. Abandoned. Dead.
All I do is care. Yes, that was the look in your eyes last night. My self-defensive stubbornness made me see only your fallen face. The dejection in our eyes made me feel victorious. But how blind could I get? Thinking about it now, I know I’d pierced your heart with my harsh words. I’d left you bleeding inside. I’d said I hated you but do I really? I showed I didn’t care but do I really don’t care? How I wish I could take those words back!
I was angry too, dad. Thought you’re being unfair. Being suffocatingly over-protective. I pretended to not understand. Unwilling to accept your concerns. My doggedness didn’t let me see reason. I don’t hate you, dad, how can I ever?
And it was anger that made me say what I did. I did not mean it. What I didn’t say is, I know you care for me and so do I. I love you dad. I always have. But I didn’t say this. I said else instead.
– Asha Seth
Side Note: This is pure imagination with no element of reality. Readers might have distinct notions of the idea depicted in the work. With all due regards, respect is advanced towards sharing of personal views on the same.
A note of heartfelt thanks to Rachel and Dipesh for helping me craft it. You guys are treasured.
Happiness is short-lived…so was my definition. Something I always believed.
Until you made me see
what Happiness really is.
Happiness lies in little things
not always in king-size dreams.
You’d always say.
And my definition changed.
Not just for Happiness. But for my life too.
And ever so gently,
you gave life a new perspective.
A new meaning.
And I think of you,
every morning, I see the sun up high in the sky
as you made me see how it wins over nights.
A hope to see past dark times.
And I think of you, each time, a face smiles at me,
as you made me realize the miracles extending help can do.
And I think of you, every time, I see a look of contentment
when I feed a starving stomach.
And I think of you, while I remain true with all as you showed me
that God is where Truth is and so is peace and happiness.
And I think of you, as this is what you’ve taught me.
The jewels you’ve adorned my life with.
Your principles. My virtues. Dear Mum.
But did I tell you this?
And I think of you, each time,
I see a little girl walking down the lane
with her mother, holding hands.
And I think of you, when on the TV sets,
I see a mother adoringly kiss her daughter’s forehead.
And I think of you, when I see a mother hugging
her teenage kid on her first day at college.
And yes, I think of you,
when I wish I could come back home to you.
And I think of you,
when I unlock the door and wish that
I could walk into your warm hug,
not the cold lifeless door.
And I think of you, while my tears dry on my cheeks,
the ones you so tenderly kissed.
And I think of you,
each day, when I wish that I could kiss you,
not the photograph of you.
I think of you, I do.
And I think of you, even today.
When its been nearly a year.
a year that you’re gone.
But with every passing moment,
I still smile
And I think of you…..
Today. I walked and walked.
And never stopped.
Although, my legs hurt I didn’t slow down.
There was a need.
Not a sudden one.
One that has been building up.
All these years.
All these days.
All these hours.
Spent with thoughts of you.
I do not know why. But today, I just couldn’t stop myself.
From thinking. From wishing.
That I had you by my side.
That I walked next to you.
Measuring my steps with yours.
Linking my little finger with yours.
Staying close to you. Feeling the way I do.
In a world. Just Me & You.
Yes, so I am dreaming again.
And I know its not possible.
And there’s a weird hollowness. A painful sickness.
And I feel sorry for myself as I cannot even
tell you how I feel right now.
Because I know what you’d say.
Just like you’d said then. “Please don’t say that. We’re FRIENDS.
Just Friends. Nothing more”.
And I know what that means.
Bury your feelings deep inside.
Deep from where they cannot come back.
And I have done that once.
And I have struggled to live with it.
To move on.
Accepting what you meant when you’d said. “Just Friends, is what we are”.
And yes, I know what it means. Just like I knew then.
To keep longing for you.
But even after all these years.
I’ve always dreamt to be with you.
A dream that might never come true.
Can I ever tell you this? That I want to be with you.
Every minute of every day. Till I live.
But it breaks my heart to see that it is just a dream.
One of my vague dreams. Nothing more.
That day is still fresh in my mind.
I remember looking into your eyes when
I confessed how I felt about you.
A look I’ll always remember.
Your smile had faded by just a bit.
The gleam in your eyes faded by just a bit.
And you took half a step back. Just Half a Step Back.. Suddenly!
Creating a distance between us.
To get away from me.
And it hurt. It hurt like shit.
But had I known how much distant
you were going to get with that half a step?
And Yes, I’d merely stared when you’d said that.
Merely nodded. Yes, I did.
But I wanted you to see. And how could you not?
That I’d hummed a low agreement because
I didn’t want to see you go.
But you did!
Writer’s note: This work is based on pure imagination with no element of reality
It’s been 25 years. 25 years now that I am associated with this word – HOPE. A really long time if you ask me. The other day after my 25th birthday my mum said
“It’s hard to believe that you are now 25 years old. Seems it was just yesterday when I and your father celebrated your first birthday.”
Well, what can I say? Moments like such leave you wanting to say something. Anything. But what?
Over these 25 years, I’ve seen the world around me changing right before my eyes. I changed. People around me changed. Parents changed. Friends changed. Habits changed. Hobbies changed. But one thing did not change and never will. Something that will remain with me till my last breath. And that’s my name. ASHA.
It wasn’t long before I figured what my name ‘ASHA’ meant. It was in the earlier years of life. I do not recollect exactly but I must have been in kinder-garten. Or maybe 1st grade or 2nd. It was the first day at school and for homework, the teacher asked all the students to find out what their names meant. Somehow I am sure that at that age it must not have made much sense. Thinking about it now it seems as sensible as hell. It is imperative to know oneself before starting to learn life’s lessons. And our names have a life-long impact on us. On our personality. On our behavior.
Back in that year on that day, I learnt what my name meant.
Asha. A small four letter word. Simple. Sweet.
Hope. A small four letter word. Simple. Sweet.
Did you just notice a similarity in pattern there?
Asha means Hope. Hope means Asha(when translated in my national language – Hindi).
At times, when fate has been hard on me, when I have started to lose patience and feel that it’s the end now, my name itself has been a boost of faith and self-confidence. A vast supply of positive energy to face days ahead.
This little word has imparted a deep unmoving meaning to my life. The faith I hold. My beliefs. My courage. My strength. The HOPE for good times.
My name is like my natural refill of HOPE in life. Like my personal sanctuary of positivity that helps me live through myriad of tricky situations in life.
There are times when there is nothing left but HOPE. A thread of hope if held securely can lead you out of various unnerving difficulties. It doesn’t help lessen the trouble and pain but definitely makes them seem weaker. It makes you believe in having FAITH when the going gets tough. HOPE is all one should hope to have when everything else seems to have lost. Makes life much easier and simpler
Given a thought, I guess that’s all one needs. When everything else seems to end, there still is HOPE. Always.
So, the word ASHA is a word which is not just my name but a word linked to each and every one of us. In the form of HOPE.
One of the few topics of conversation that I do not like to enter is titled ‘Why do someone read books when you can do other useful things?’ I’m not a voracious reader but I pick up a book whenever I can. If and only if I get a good travelogue/fantasy fiction/history book that I convert myself into a full time reader, pushing everything else into a second place.
The thing that I dread the most is getting in to the company of those who doesn’t read anything at all but eager to get passed off as bookworms. I do not get the reason behind this awfully shameless act; because there’s always someone around who can crack these baseless, utterly hollow acts. Being from good institutions, I always had friends who used to read books though almost always not so ravenous in nature. But, everybody had a favorite author or…