Addressing my mind- One Anxiety at a Time.

Only after you’ve sat and mingled in a sea of complete strangers and tried to feel a little at place, only then will you realise that at times the most sinking, wounding and difficult question to answer is, ‘Hey, how are you?’

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Now I realise why I was thrust with the weight of blurry vision since childhood. Whoever runs the universe knew I was going to face things that’ll require me to cry. Cry frequently. Cry secretly. That’s why I was given glasses. To sob and unburden behind a thick veil of sheet. To snugly hide the swollen eyes and sit among people like nothing happened.

How I wish it also gave me fortitude to ferry past all the sorrow it so conveniently bestowed.

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Also, I have lately been brooding over the enormous burden of getting to know someone utterly new. Which thread, in a giant, tumbled heap of threads do you pick up, when they say they wish to unravel your depth. I sit tangled in a labyrinth of stories. Where do I begin?

*

But with you, I wish to first gently tap on the sheet of your freezing heart. Then maybe place my palms softly, to let some warmth seep through. Then wait, for years even, to let my warmth melt your cold. Even if my hands bruise blue. To slowly allow you to be soft again. To be warm again. To love again.

Cup Of Thoughts-III

A thought came knocking in my head at an odd hour, desperate to be shared. Here it is:

 

Always be extravagant in your declarations of love. Never shy away from using richer, deeper vocabulary.

Foster affection as much as you can.

Let it all out, one sigh at a time.

 

 

Love always,

Your blogger.

Cup of Thoughts- II

Lately, my tiny circle of friends (actually, triangle of friends since there’s only 3 of us) have been pondering over this crazy concept called ‘seeing the world from a third perspective’, in our very unpolished, non-fancy definition. The foundation of this idea was laid when the three of us, one morning at 2 am shared our mutual fear and panic over what is happening in our milieu.

Literally everybody is being thrown in the same pit of social, academic, professional, personal, filial pressure and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Millennial life has been reduced to apps. Right swipe for love, coupon codes for cheap junk food, educational gurus spewing with academic wisdom, cabs relocating you from one door to another. These concepts, initially built as ‘services’ now dictate our lives.

There is also a meditational app emulating ‘sounds of nature’; chirping of birds, rustling of trees, bubbling of waterfalls, to help people ‘calm down’ from their daily dose of subways and cabs.

How can anybody not see how terribly messed up is that?

There are people running to therapy from unendurable despair and stress, suicide rates continue scaling new heights, every possible nuance of humanity is beaten and whisked into a social media stunt, homeless are freezing in the cold while extravagance continues to flourish online. Celebrity weddings and all the glitter and glam circling it continues stripping the whole occasion of its true essence- everything reeks of pretence.

I feel like it has all been upscaled and taken on such massive levels, that performing those same tasks for ordinary folks (who cannot financially or socially match those levels) has become a source of crippling anxiety. The enormity of it scares them. One heartbreaking result of all this is that it is silencing middle class, no showbiz people into forced reticence.

So what seeing the world from a third perspective means is being painfully aware of all the above. To witness a civilization in shambles by mass consumerism, a world constantly deprioritizing values and putting pomp and show on a pedestal. To always feel like a spectator and a misfit. To not be able to relate to any recent ‘fad’ rounding the internet. To sort of stand in the middle of a giant mob, where everyone is rushing to some vague, momentary purpose, a state of total disorder and haste, where you are the only quiet, still, sinking entity around.

This idea, if sat and brooded over carefully, will make your soul turn inwards. It will make the voice in your head louder and unfortunately, your heart heavier.

What do you think?

 

Love always,

Your blogger.

 

Note: If you wish to read Cup of Thoughts- I, click here. 

Listen to this beautiful track by Luke Sital Singh here:

Coffee counter- behind the scenes

briskly she wakes up at 4
and shrugs off tiny remains of the dream that lingers from last night
it’s December
month of endings
giving way to beginnings

she scurries to the bathroom
and before the crisp morning air
could bite her lungs
and remind her she’s human

she’s behind the counter again
taking the morning shift
brewing coffee like she once
brewed her dreams

her eyes are of glass
smile is mechanical
‘thank you sir, please visit again’
like an encrypted code

the morning rush dies down
and she peers at the remains of
a coffee cup
once full of bubbling fuel
now only tiny specks of brown dirt

who could’ve guessed something
so coveted and longed for,
fresh and strong an hour ago
would reduce to nothing
in a few slurps

her eyes meet a mirror
she looks away
this metaphor is too much to endure

a bell rings
her thoughts break
and then a voice escapes out of her
without even trying
then a smile
like a mechanism
‘good morning sir, what can I get you today?’

Yet so far

In the math of two numbers
My life vacillates
11:10
So close to being lucky
So close to being loved
So close to being chosen
So close to 11:11
Almost
But never quite there.

I see the shore every time
From the boat
In which I paddle alone
Grappling, sweating
I reach out
Almost
I almost reach the shore
But I don’t make it.
Just like the numbers
11:10

I’m running
I see the finish line
I see the ribbon fluttering in the wind
I see it between my labored breaths
It’s right there
Only if I could just stretch my hand and grab it
But I don’t. I can’t.
Almost.

In a sea of numbers
I’ll always be 11:10
Almost reaching what my heart desires
But just missing it
Almost
But never quite there.

Don’t take my hand

My palms were never soft. If you ever held my hand you’d feel they’ve been chiseled and worked with.

They’re not fleshy, they’re not silken. They don’t possess any generic mark of femininity.

They are flat and pale. Like a slab of colorless granite. Green veins pulsate beneath my cold, pasty skin.

The upper terrain is rigged and rough, with blotches of sun burns I try to hide.

My palms are so even, so toned. There is no plumpness to denote that they were ever fostered or caressed.

So when you hold them, you might flinch, but you’ll come to know what years of struggle does to a pair of hands.

Because unlike other women, I never had a chance to be soft.

An Evening at Coney Island

Picture captured by Robert Doyle at Coney Island, New York.

I can’t remember the last time I visited Coney Island. Probably because those were the brief happier days, the memories of which seem to be getting hazier now.
It’s unusually chilly today– should’ve brought my wind breaker. I sit on an empty, cold bench on the left, near the side walk. Partly because it is easier to observe all the life from here, partly because it is empty.

There is a sharp, cold drizzle imbued in the air as I watch the twilight melt slowly into the night and the clouds appear to be hanging threateningly low, heavy with moisture that’ll soon pour down as rain.

I finished my shift early today. There weren’t many people in the neighborhood looking for a drink to drown their grief in- so I was free.

After closing for the night I found myself standing at his doorstep, staring blankly at the wooden latch.  Uncertain about what may occur if it opened I left, with slow, hesitant steps and lumbered straight to Coney Island-  a place that made me happy since I was 14.

I made my way straight to the latte stall and grabbed a warm cup of coffee- keeps my head straight-and sat on this bench from where I’m talking to you.

There is something oddly beautiful about places that are always buzzing with people but are quieter at the moment. I’ve always looked at this place and seen poetry in every corner-even when I was young.

A few people linger around the empty stores, some stare at the brightly lit wonder wheel, leaning on each other. A woman lulls a drowsy baby in her arms, while fumbling with a half eaten hot dog and a bunch of blue and red balloons.

Sometimes nothing can make you feel more alone than watching a place getting emptied of life. The lights being turned off one by one. Shutters being pulled down as people are done for the day. Keys rattle in their fingers as they hum their way home.

The lights of all the stores are slowly dying out and the few people still lingering on the boardwalk are finally leaving, though reluctantly. I gaze at the wagon wheel, still so bright and quiet. Flashes of memories come rushing back- our first picture in the photo booth, our first shared cotton candy-the last left at the stall, the locket whose pendant I still carry with me, our first go at the sledgehammer and how I scored higher.

A smile crept my face.

Sometimes I think the easier the solution to a problem is, the harder it is to fix it. Because we cannot come in terms with the simplicity of it. The answer is right there, facing us, but we choose to look away. How can it be that easy? So we keep avoiding it, until one day, there’s nothing left to avoid.

And because we, as a specie have a habit of never trying hard enough, we hold on to things that are left- things that still connect the two. Like frail, cold ashes of a fire that once burnt bright. Something that once was a part of both of us.

Like our memories here at Coney Island. Maybe that’s why I come here often; in search of some happy memory that, at some juncture of life, was shared and cherished by us both.


Note- This post was in collaboration with the exceptionally talented photographer and my very good friend on WordPress, Robert Doyle. I never understood the practicalities of photography enough to appreciate the technical prowess behind them, until I saw his work. I’ve been a great admirer of his pictures, solely because they are poignant, deep and tend to speak to you in someway.

When Robert first uploaded this on Instagram, I couldn’t stop staring at it. I was immediately pulled inside the picture, melancholy and nostalgia oozing from it. When I write such fictional pieces, like the ones I’ve written in the past, I always picture them happening in a similar backdrop. A warm twilight caressed with cool gusts of wind and a bunch of lights twinkling somewhere in the distance. Pictures that can make you feel the weight of being human.

So when the opportunity arose, I decided to collaborate with Robert and write a small narrative inspired by this beautiful image.

The story you read above, is taking place inside this picture. Our protagonist is sitting on the bench you see on the left side. Hope you enjoyed it and please do visit my friend’s blog.

 

Love always,

your blogger.

Wayward

Only 15 minutes before, I was screaming. 

Now I’m making patterns in the moist, fragrant sand. Some of it is sandwiched between my fingers, slowly oozing out of the gaps as I tighten my grip. Occasionally, I take a quick glance of the ginormous turquoise body of water in front of me.

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It rises sporadically, antagonized by the frantic wind, it rises and rises until all I see is a huge film of translucent water, racing violently towards me. Until, with a defeated cry, it crashes down, sending cold splashes my way.

I cower a little, to save my shirt from drenching, but all in vain. Drops of salt water drip from my lips. Don’t worry, the sun is warm enough today. In one great leap the wave gulped my pattern and washed it away; leaving trails of sodden sand behind. I scrunch my face. Not fair.

My eyes light up instantly. I remember why I was here in the first place. I remember why I was screaming. Hesitating, I turn around to take a glance.

They’re still fighting.

I shake my head and turn to the waters, ‘Will this ever stop?’ 

Zoning out the sound of the ocean, I hear them having a war of words. They’re yelling and cursing each other. Their voice is rough and beaten. One of them has welled up, the voice has become heavy.

I smile. I know exactly who that is. 

The other, however, won’t be subdued. Like always, it is powerful. It stands tall and condescending. It wants to win. It wants to be right. It is bleeding, it is in pain and somewhere inside, a voice asks it to stop, yet it won’t be appeased. Never will it surrender. It keeps on screaming, until it leaps forward and throttles the other. They stagger, fidget and grapple.

One is going to win today.

The brawl continues and I’m about to scream again when I hear the snap of a neck. I turn around instantly only to witness a scene that sends waves of felicity through me. In a war between my heart and ego, heart stood there, bruised, but victorious.

Solemnly, I take out my cell phone, and I dial the abandoned number.

Encapsulating 2016

Reader,

How are you today? I hope you’re merry and healthy as we descend to the end of a rather bleak 2016. I’m aware this year has been rather morbid, hasn’t it? Or is it just I who feels that way?
I only hope next year brings some light along with it. I think we all need it.

I’m not going to write about anything today. I’ll just talk (or write?)aurora-1185877_960_720

I had made a point to read as many books as possible this year and fortunately, I did it. I’ve read various kinds of literature and I’m just one book away from finishing every book ever written by Jane Austen.
How cool is that?

And the best thing I read this year was this book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. It’s called Into the Wild. I’m sure many of you must have seen its movie version. I watched it in 9th grade. If you’re even vaguely familiar with the plot, you can imagine the kind of impact it had on me.

Reader, I watched it thrice. I  take the liberty to say that this movie helped me go through that phase, it really did. And now, 5 years later, the book has done it too; helped me wade through this wretched year.

(If you haven’t seen it yet, you should. Personal recommendation.)

Yesterday I finished reading Jane Eyre. Literature enthusiasts would know how popular that book is. In fact, it is the reason I’m particularly sulky right now. The story is so dark and bleak; painfully gripping.

If any of you is interested in reading my book reviews, since I’ve been reading like a mad man these days, you can find me on Goodreads. They’re not very good though, I’m warning you. If you want me to recommend you some books, ping me an email. I’m right here!

I’m a firm believer that every event in your life has a reason attached to it. There are no co-incidences. You go through a phase, or you meet certain people, or you ‘stumble’ upon some particular thing, because you were meant to. There is no stopping that. And however difficult situations get, I’ll never stop believing this.
The fact that the last couple of years have been hard only reaffirms this theory. They were difficult, but they were worth learning from. There was a reason they were difficult.
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Also, you will not believe something I’m going to tell you. A couple of months back, there was a moment when I found myself staring at the, ‘Delete Blog‘ button of WordPress. That’s right. I was one click away from saying goodbye to this place. If it wasn’t for this life-savior friend God gave me, I would’ve bidden you all farewell.
But she reminded how much effort it took me to build this page.
So I stayed. (Like the Kygo song. :P)

Perhaps the most trying part of this year was around October. That’s when my dad got really sick. That was the toughest, I swear. Staring at your father in a hospital bed at 3:00 in the morning as his hands are all pierced in needles and just praying he gets well soon is a terrible and devastating feeling. I pray you never have to go through it.

And here’s a tip- Never roam around in hospital galleries after midnight. It’s lonelier than you think. Overall, this year has been weird. I’ve had some heart swelling, delirious days. Most of them have been darker. I hope 2017 is slightly kinder to me and not like a battlefield.

Anyway, I’ll close this preposterous rant now.

This will be my last post for 2016. I hope you all had a great Christmas and I hope you have the most exhilarating year, full of new experiences, new people and more love.

Sending a silent prayer for the world to heal a little in 2017. Love each other people, we all need it.

Cheers.

Here is a fantastic song I’ve listening lately. Enjoy!

 

 

Love always,

Your blogger.

Some Great Elysium

I need you to be in a specific mood before reading this post. It’s important. So before you go on reading, I want you to watch this video and listen to this song. Then we’ll talk.

I hope you liked the song. I’ve listened to it 14 times already.

For a long while, I’ve harbored this notion that everybody, in some phase of their life, has a ‘turning point.’ A day, or maybe a month or maybe a year in which things happened that changed you. For better or for worse.

My best friend and I have a code name for this, we like to call it the ‘year.’ Mostly because for both of us it was this one particular year that changed us, completely. So whenever we see somebody in  a ‘pre-year’ phase, we shake our heads and say, ‘Oh he just hasn’t had his ‘year’ yet.’ 

Most of the time, these changes are permanent. This is what hones us as we grow up. This is what gives us our unique personality. This is what makes each one of us different. Anything could trigger this change- One particular incident, a series of incidents, a heavy loss, some serious betrayal, a miracle, serendipity?  Like I said- for better or for worse.

Nevertheless, these changes are important. To some they might be heartbreaking and they might miss the person they were before the change. To some, it would almost seem magical.

These are certain periods in your life that are specifically designed for you to learn from. You might not see it on the surface but they’re here to provide answers to some questions you’ve buried too long. They’re here to give you the absolute truth. They’re here to give you your perspective of things.

This phase is what blurs the wall between  crudity and maturity. Don’t get me wrong, you’re the still the same person, you still enjoy the things you love, it is just your view that changes. It is your way of calibrating the life around you that transforms.

And I’m going to say it again- it is important. This change, if understood and not resisted, might become your greatest teacher. There is no timeline for the ‘year’ to happen. It can happen at any age.

Some people are lucky enough to have it soon. Most of us have it multiple times in our life. I myself have had it twice. But I’m glad every single day it did. It made me the person I am today. Stronger, more empathetic and more headstrong.

Reflect on your life for once, go back and think about the day that changed you.

You did find something, didn’t you?

P.s- As for the song, I don’t exactly know why I shared it particularly with this post. But maybe because in the video you can see the death of their friend transforming all the friends. Just maybe. 

Love always,

Your blogger.

Anne’s Last Letter

A couple of months back, I read ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ without the slightest notion of how deeply it is going to move me. Had I even an ounce of idea of the deep impact Anne’s words would have on me, I’d have prepared myself better. Nonetheless, I’m glad I read it. Some of you might have a hint of who she was.

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Anne Frank

 

Anne was the youngest daughter of Otto Frank, a Jewish man who fled Germany along with his family and went into hiding after the rising oppression against the Jews in the 1940s. Anne spent two years underground in what she called, ‘The Secret Annexe’ and wrote about her experience in a diary her father gave her on her 13th birthday.

There are certain entries in her diary so hauntingly beautiful, that I was nothing short of bewildered after reading them. Although all her entries are a proof of how mentally strong and capable she was, along with displaying her out of the world writing skills. But there is one particular diary entry, her very last before she was captured by the Nazis, the one that she wrote on Tuesday, August 1st, 1944.

I literally held my breath while reading it. No song, lyric or poem, has ever succeeded in describing so precisely,this disposition of mine, that I find so hard to make sense of, at times. Every single word she wrote in her last entry was directly describing who I am as a person. And because this 15 year old did a far better job than I ever could, in writing about a personality that is strikingly similar to mine, I chose to share it here. This is was she wrote:

Dearest Kitty,
“A bundle of contradictions” was the end of my previous letter and is the beginning of this one. Can you please tell me exactly what “a bundle of contradictions” is? What does “contradiction” mean? Like so many words, it can be interpreted in two ways: a contradiction imposed from without and one imposed from within.
The former means not accepting other people’s opinions, always knowing best, having the last word; in short, all those unpleasant traits for which I’m known. The latter, for which I’m not known, is my own secret.

As I’ve told you many times, I’m split in two. One side contains my exuberant cheerfulness, my flippancy, my joy in life and, above all, my ability to appreciate the lighter side of things. By that I mean not finding anything wrong with flirtations, a kiss, an embrace, an off-colour joke. This side of me is usually lying in wait to ambush the other one, which is much purer, deeper and finer. No one knows Anne’s better side.
I hate having to tell you this, but why shouldn’t I admit it when I know it’s true?

My lighter, more superficial side will always steal a march on the deeper side and therefore always win. You can’t imagine how often I’ve tried to push away this Anne, which is only half of what is known as Anne-to beat her down, hide her. But it doesn’t work, and I know why.

I’m afraid that people who know me as I usually am will discover I have another side, a better and finer side. I’m afraid they’ll mock me, think I’m ridiculous and sentimental and not take me seriously. I’m used to not being taken seriously, but only the “light-hearted” Anne is used to it and can put up with it; the “deeper” Anne is too weak. If I force the good Anne into the spotlight for even fifteen minutes, she shuts up like a clam the moment she’s called upon to speak, and lets Anne number one do the talking. Before I realize it, she’s disappeared.

So the nice Anne is never seen in company. She’s never made a single appearance, though she almost always takes the stage when I’m alone. I know exactly how I’d like to be, how I am… on the inside. But unfortunately I’m only like that with myself. And perhaps that’s why-no, I’m sure that’s the reason why I think of myself as happy on the inside and other people think I’m happy on the outside. I’m guided by the pure Anne within, but on the outside I’m nothing but a frolicsome little goat tugging at its tether.

The happy-go-lucky Anne laughs, gives a flippant reply, shrugs her shoulders and pretends she doesn’t give a darn. The quiet Anne reacts in just the opposite way. 

If I’m quiet and serious, everyone thinks I’m putting on a new act and I have to save myself with a joke.

Yours, Anne M. Frank


You notice the ‘deeper, more conscious, more serious and more fragile Anne she’s talking about? And how she prefers to keep her hidden, for the people around her are not ‘used’ to her brooding, vulnerable side?

How people have always seen her as a boisterous, chirpy girl who jokes and laughs? And how whenever she even tries to bring out her ‘inner’ Anne, people find it absurd and she’s afraid they might ridicule her silent and deeper side, so she quickly hides it and ‘escapes with a joke?’

I know so many people who’re exactly the same. Too afraid to lay themselves bare. For they fear their vulnerability might be ridiculed. Bringing out your inner depth only to have it derided and not taken seriously is a form of unaddressed humiliation. It doesn’t make me angry. It hurts. Which is even worse than anger.

And all this time I’ve been trying to find the right words to explain this behavior. And Anne did it at 15.

Why Modesty Matters

Honestly, this is the longest I’ve been away from my blog and I feel awful. I’ve lost touch with so many  bloggers and I can’t even calibrate how to catch up. I promise I’ll make it up to all of you.

Those who’ve been following this blog for long know why exactly I’ve decided to emerge out of the grey solitude I love so much. Yes, an issue is troubling me and I won’t be at peace until I’ve written about it. So bear with me, please?

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Those who are fond of standing behind the scenes and just plainly observing people and the massive rate at which we are morally declining would agree when I say that out of all the virtues that humans have so recklessly decided to abandon, one remains on the precipice of absolute extinction- modesty. 

Whether it’s people’s instagram posts, or their facebook check-ins, or just the way they talk and express themselves, I’ve more than often observed this abominable hint of excessive pride in their disposition. Maybe partly it’s the fault of those widely shared images of ‘Love yourself f*ck the rest’ people seem to follow religiously.

But seriously, I feel awful. Truly sad, disgusted and really really pained every time I sense this dark cloud of conceit and vanity looming over people in their 20s who have, if I may be so bold to claim, achieved absolutely NOTHING so far, are living off their parents’ income, fritter away the resources they are provided with and somehow due to some false sense of pride, consider themselves to be doing a favor to the world by existing.

Where did humbleness go? What about being modest? Where is humility?

Everybody I meet these days has this absurd stand-offish air that I fail to make any sense of. It’s like everyone believes themselves to be the messiah. They are the best. They don’t need valuable advice from people who have much more experience than them. They are the ‘star.’ All these titles are self proclaimed, if I may add. 

I’m not saying self-love isn’t important. Of course it is! But don’t you agree that too much self obsession is harmful? Don’t you think, that if you consider yourself to be the master of everything, you’re leaving no space for growth? How will you learn if you’re not even willing to accept that you NEED to learn? How is being meretricious of any use?

And to make matters worse, it’s often the dumbest people who are the most confident about themselves. This sounds incredibly rude, but these are not my words. I’m merely resonating what Bertrand Russell said, The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.’

It’s like after you reach a certain age, majority of your conversations have to revolve around, ‘how great you are doing’, ‘how much wealth you’ve accumulated,’ ‘how many countries you’ve traveled,’ ‘how hot & rich is the person you’re dating’ , ‘how happy you are and how badly you want to tell this to the world’ ‘who’s job is fancier’..

*sigh*

May I just appeal to anyone reading this to please, please be humble. Even if you’ve been blessed with fortune that you played no part in earning, or life has been enormously kind to you or maybe, in an exceptional case you have achieved everything on the dint of your hard work still, please be humble. Be kind. Be open to new ideas. Don’t close your doors to improvement, growth or advice. Don’t be condescending. Don’t be rude.

Everyone faces different storms of life. Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Stay kind.

Love always,

your blogger .


Note- Sorry this turned out to be a rather long and angry rant, if you managed to read it this far I have a gift for you. Here is one of my favorite songs from the band ‘Chairlift.‘ Hope you like it. 🙂

Chairlift- Met Before

Brimful of Thoughts

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Do you ever, somewhere in your deep subconscious mind, feel the heat of tumult and conflict to such an extraordinary level that you long for nothing but a cool, silent wind; wind to blow softly through your mind and ease the burns arising from the constant conflict of thoughts?

To, only for a while, feel nothing but intense cold and then the comfort of a soft, cool rain extinguishing any remaining embers in the parched, torrid land. Have you ever, even briefly, longed for a moment of absolute placidity? Closing your eyes to make thoughts halt and opening them only to be revived again.

That the burden of wonder and curiosity at times becomes too much to bear. For you cannot afford to question everything alone? And answers are only found in stories, here in your mind, there is only a dispute. Constant debate, incessant squabble, shocking revelations, unnerving deductions mixed with a love for stars, nature, seasons and happy endings.

What do you do when there is no particular truth, but only a galaxy of perspectives? The scenery changing with every different camera angle. What do you do with these perspectives-for aren’t they a little selfish? Only acknowledging the mind from where they emanated?

Do you juggle with these flames of unsolved riddles? Or do you spend your life solving it piece by piece?

More importantly, in the process of figuring out this puzzle, do you ever stop and long for peace? If yes, then how do you find those gray showers of rain?

Love always,
Your blogger.

Chasing Life

Over the past couple of months a new form of concern has managed to make a home in my mind. I’m not allowing it to worry me, but since I observe various forms of it every single day it has caused me to brood for a considerable amount of time.

But what really sparked this natter and the anxious tapping of my keyboard was a recent post I read by one of my most beloved inspirations, Elizabeth Gilbert. I am short of the right words to describe how much I admire this woman and what she is doing for the society. I might go on a rant about my admiration for her, but let us preserve that for another post.

Everywhere I look around these days, I see people choking. Everyone toiling in the sun, anxious and worried about what is to come. Some are anxious about the future, some are stuck in stagnancy. The younger ones are only starting to get accustomed to societal pressure, the youth are worried about building for themselves a life that society approves, and the adults are worried about what is in store for their kids’.

I see people with tragic levels of anxiety and nervousness for life. Almost nobody these days has the courage to live for themselves. At this point I must state that I certainly do not exclude myself from the list.

In one post, Elizabeth (Liz) vividly recalled a story about her cousin. She reflected how her cousin left her secure and comfortable job and decided to start afresh in a new country. A country as beautiful and promising as New Zealand. She told how her cousin had reached that point of stagnancy in her life, where no matter what she did, dissatisfaction prevailed most of the time. So she decided to begin again. After reaching one saturation point, she garnered all her strength and moved away where everything worked out for her. Today, Elizabeth says, her cousin looks back and thinks that the only thing she needed to make herself incandescently happy was courage.

Courage to let go of everything that was pulling her down. This is what I see everyday. All the people I meet; everyone is being pulled down. Everyone is trying to find answers. Everyone is busy trying to please the world and present to it a facade of prosperity, wealth and happiness. It is shocking and it is grieving to see people having to go through so much just to fulfil their obligations to the world.
I see people fed up of their jobs, fed up of the people around them, fed up of their course of study, fed up of stress. Yet almost nobody has the courage to break the fetters. They spend their entire life in pursuit of happiness yet they never find it.

People continue chasing in the entire race not realizing to stop and breathe for a while, for the fear of being left behind is daunting, isn’t it? I fear we all make the same mistake. Choose survival over living. The fear grips us in its fists and we do everything to survive. Ignoring our passion and our inner calling and gearing up for the race.

But for some (like Elizabeth’s cousin) this becomes unbearable at one point. Some do manage to break the shackles, some do manage to tread the untread path. Some do manage to take the risk, give themselves a chance and just for a while, start living for themselves.
I ardently believe that it is never too late to start afresh. I do not encourage people to abandon their filial or any other responsibilities, but what I do urge and request from this post is, to please stop being your worst critic and start approving of the things you do.

Love yourself to the point that you would be able to garner the courage you need to let go. The key is satisfaction and it will unlock the door to happiness.
Make a plan in such a way that you seek and find happiness along with fulfilling your duties. Don’t ever feel that time has run out. As Elizabeth once stated, ‘If you’re not dead yet, you’re not done yet.

joie-de-vivre.

Love always,
Your blogger.

Highway

The wind is frantic tonight and the stars are unusually luminescent. I wish I had packed sincerely. But it’s not my fault, I didn’t plan for this to happen.
I stand amidst gushing noise of cars speeding past me, my hair flowing in their direction as I stare at their red tail-lights, until they drive off down the road.

I scramble through my bag and I only find a sweatshirt, my notebook and some useless currency. I wish I’d kept my iPod. At least I’d have a musical companion on my way.
I sigh as I glare at the night again, ‘What do I do?’ I ask the silver stars.

Disappointed I look down, half expecting a twinkle.

I feel oddly cool. My chest isn’t burning with uninvited anxiety, nobody’s around to question me, I’m not trying to find peace any more, probably because I’ve found it.
Right here.

On this highway.

Humanity has retired to slumber, but the magic has awoken. And I can feel it in the midnight mist.

I have tried and tried to understand all that is wrong in our massively sinister and decadent society. I even resorted to finding answers, answers to questions that trouble us till our deathbed and I have failed. I hinged on the universe to give me answers, but all I ever received were instructions to stop trying to fix things.

I guess not everything can be healed. The roots are too deep to exhume, understand, obliterate or mend. I tried to seek answers from pages of books. For pages are far too patient than anything I’ve known. But they hesitated, giving a sad smile as I stared at them blankly. They too, didn’t have the answers.

The past evening, I rummaged through my drawers in search of everything I could take with me. Sadly, nothing was important enough.

So I ran. I ran as fast as I could. My lips trembling, my heart beating through my chest and cold air piercing through my lungs. But it felt good. Dear God it felt good. The wind blew through every strand of my hair, untangling it, playing with it. Warm tears rolled down my cool cheeks, for the wind was too fierce to run against.
The city was sinking out of view and when I came to a halt, I could only see distant, yellow lights scintillating below the city’s skyline.

And now I stand alone on this endless road. With nothing but the low hum of cars rushing past me.

I wish I could say more and confide in you about my journey ahead. But I’m afraid you will come looking for me. And as much as I love you for it, I don’t want to be found.

For now, this highway is my home.

I turn around and take a wistful glance at the city that raised me. I  tighten my grip around my notebook. After all, it is the one who will tell my story.

Open your Heart

Emotions are hilarious. They have a knack for releasing a torrent of superfluous thoughts in our minds. They coax us into performing tasks we wouldn’t do in normal circumstances. Stuff which in the most crude form of normality, we’d never blurt from our mouths. Slowly shoveling out all the dirt we prefer buried. Each stroke releasing another intense wave of subdued words.

When inebriated with emotions, we’re barely ourselves. We lose the sense of right and wrong. They consume us; slowly empowering our rationality. They become the catalyst to our inner feelings. Our world starts to revolve around our object of attention. Like they are the only streak of light breaking through our humble darkness.

They are tricky, emotions. They play with us. We’re the puppets; they the puppeteer. We behave like children, overwhelmed by happiness and then consumed by sadness. We become addicts, aware of the harm being imposed upon us, yet somehow wallowing in the bittersweet emotion. Saying something we really wanted to, and then immediately experiencing a pang of regret.

We want them to go away, yet we want them to stay, so bad.
All the while we’re trying to balance between logic and emotional surrender, while still relishing the beautiful pain.

Why am I writing this, you wonder.
I just wrote about something that makes you human. This is just another aspect and you might pity yourself for feeling a little too much in this hopelessly void world, but I need you to know that making yourself vulnerable to the atrocities of the world, is in itself an act of valour.

Now if that doesn’t make you proud to be emotional and opening your heart to the world, I don’t know what else can.

Love and be loved.

-Your blogger.

Understanding an Introvert; Part-II

A year back, I happened to write a post on introversion, and so far it has been my most read and shared blog post. In case you’re new to my blog, you can read it here. I thought about writing a part-II for it, mostly because I tend to harbor strong views on this tragically ignored crisis.

I always find a sense of solidarity with anyone who is reticent and quiet. Not because they’re missing out on fun or anything, but because I understand how hard it is to be silent in the constant hubbub and buzz around you. When the whole world is ‘trying to get their voice out there.’ Everyone trying to out-scream the other, making sure the spotlight is on them. Finding a guilty pleasure in being the life of the party.

People see you differently, don’t they? Somehow, you’re always branded by an adjective. Quiet, rude, arrogant, supercilious these are mere examples. I’m qualified to say all this because I go through all this every time I enter a new domain.

I sit back and have a habit of astutely observing people, hence forming a brief profile and calculating who’s the best candidate to talk with. Of course these profiles are not permanent, they improve or degrade as and when I decipher a human. Yes, decipher.

From what I’ve noted, most of the introverts are brilliant judges of character. Not because they are mystics or augurs, but because they listen more. If you tend to listen and notice, not just their gibberish but also their body language, you are already way past their locked doors, deep within their private domain which they prefer to keep hidden. And very soon you have a brief idea of their character without them knowing it. It’s more like a super-power.

Being an introvert, may sound vapid initially, but it’s the exact contrary. Like the ocean they appear all calm and composed on the surface, but inside their mind, their is a different world entirely.

There are wars going on in one corner, deductions and conclusions in the other, a story being dictated simultaneously in the background, questions and graphs calculating the complexities of the world, pictures of people they love stuck haphazardly on the wall, scribbled and re-written letters to someone unknown, a revolution of thoughts taking place against another set of thoughts, bundles of paper loaded with heavy thoughts they can never voice out, clusters of other people’s minds they found difficult to unravel, always formulating plans on how to observe things differently, confessions, observations, questions, love, heartbreak, family, their imaginary friends, and that voice! The one voice that always talks to them. Like their own version of Siri, it’s always counselling them. It is always helping them form an opinion, it is very confident in its decisions and somehow works as their alter ego. 

Remember, introverts are not shy, they are just not comfortable in taking the first step towards socializing. We do love our own company and would never hesitate in spending time alone. But understand, once you do manage to lower an introvert’s defenses, they will talk about almost everything and anything. From the most mundane to the most extravagant affair. You’ll be surprised at all the opinions they have over the smallest of things.

You’ll awe at the amount of activity going on in them. Like a whole universe trapped inside one mind. So much to listen and learn, like a riddle that gives you a sense of satisfaction once you start solving it.

It’ll be hard at first, but if you manage to understand their mind, you’ll be treading on an adventure. It won’t be easy of course, every adventure has its hitches, but I assure you, it’ll be worth it. You just have to be brave enough and set aside your ego, make them sit and allow them to talk. It’ll be slow and reluctant initially, but once they’re open, you better put your seat-belts on.

All it really takes is the right person to open the doors to an introvert’s mind.

And you thought being an Introvert was easy?

Show it like you mean it!

A couple of weeks back, I happened to attend this seminar on Body Language and its affects on our surroundings. It was undoubtedly pretty informative, like that lady said, non verbal communication is far more important than verbal.
She claimed, that sometimes what you speak doesn’t have any potential impact on people if they don’t get the right aura from you.
Your posture, gestures, eyes contact etc. etc.

Although, during her session I was also having a separate conference in my own mind on a round table with my various thoughts sitting across, facing each other, in grave seriousness and they were all initially skeptical of her claims.

Which means, I think sometimes, if you can master the art of using the right words, you do not need to rely on actions. If what you only need is to get your job done because of course if you groan and yell ‘I love you’ with froth bubbling in your mouth and bloodshot eyes, the listener would probably call the police rather than loving you back.

Anyway, apart from this, she talked about hugs. Yep. The most awkward gesture ever invented in the entire human history. I’m telling my personal opinion, I find hugs massively awkward and I’m almost terrified of them. I don’t even know why. It’s more like an innate thing. I mean of course if someone offers me a hug I graciously accept it and give it back. But I always thought they were unnecessary, like do you really need to rub your body with someone else’s body to feel fulfilled?

My friends grow really resentful when I justify myself. But they also kinda feel sorry for me, especially the ones with a boyfriend. They say it’s one of the most ‘re-assuring’ feelings. And then I start feeling sorry for myself too.

And the ‘God of Questions’ rises again with a notepad and asks,
“What if it really is a coveted comfort and somehow because you’re so cold, you’re deprived of it?”

“Go away ..stupid God of Questions.” I shrug.

It’s true. I have never experienced that ‘warm, fuzzy, protective, secure and loving feeling’ people claim they get when they hug. Maybe because I haven’t yet stood at the airport with tears sliding down my cheeks to bid farewell to my boyfriend who’s going abroad for studies/job and even though our destiny is tied together I still miss every inch of him and then everything goes into slow motion as we give ‘THE HUG.’
*sigh*

BUT, coming back to the point, she (the seminar lady) gave some fine points to prove the powers of a hug. (She must really love to hug.)

First, she said,
“Have you ever noticed how a baby, when he’s restless and anxious after getting into his mother or father’s arms, eventually stops crying? How he suddenly feels protected? Warm? At ease? Comforted?”
(Seriously, a baby knows better than me.)

Second, she says that sometimes when we see someone sitting cross armed, it signifies:
1) They’re either not open to any kind of conversation or arguments.
2) They’re insecure. Depending on the situation. That’s why that crossing of hands is a sort of hug for themselves, to feel protected. They don’t realise this, of course.

Now this rung a bell in me. Very interesting thought. I still wondered how completely aghast she would be if I told her my opinions about hugs. I can imagine her pinning me under her arms and yelling,
“Feel it! Feel it you foolish girl! Feel the love!”

Even though I still haven’t been completely able to be comfortable around this idea, I’ll try and dig a little more into this. See if it really works. See if I’m mentally handicapped to understand such high levels of emotion. Or I’m just not designed that way.

Meanwhile, has anyone had that ‘another world’ experience while hugging here? Let me know!