Tag Archives: beginning

Mohali Skies

All know that the drop merges into the ocean, but few know that the ocean merges into the drop – Kabir

For the first time in almost 3 years, I sat in a classroom today.

It was hours past noon and my eyelids were fighting gravity, my hands periodically jotting down sentences I barely managed to hear to completion. From across the room, a friend would pass a sly smile in my direction every time the instructor made an attempt at a joke.

It wasn’t so different from sixth grade after all.

We were just studying scarier things from friendlier people, finding comfort in the midst of strangers, united by anxiety, fear, ambition, and luckily, a sense of humour.

Just till a few days back, the previous class was still here. Guiding, supporting, frightening us for the year to come. We learned forty five new names a day, twenty one new background profiles, maybe one odd fun fact. And then next day, we all had the same questions – What’s your name? How old are you? Where are you from? Gathering information on demographics, as if it mattered.

This is why we forget people – we don’t ask the real questions. Ask a person how old they were in their earliest memory. Ask a person what fuels their midnight lamp. Ask a person if hot chocolate and Ed Sheeran give them the same feeling. Sing a song with someone. Run a race against someone.

Then try forgetting them.

All of a sudden we’re walking on grass at four in the morning, fuelled by wine and the need to let out our ideas, pausing for breath now and then because we’re overwhelmed by the pace of this time machine we’ve volunteered to ride in. We let ourselves into each others minds, too much too soon, for better or for worse.

We learn. We had been waiting only to realise we shouldn’t have waited to create the things we wish existed. We learn that almost everyone is just skin, bones and questions, and that’s okay. We learn that we have more patience for others than we do for ourselves, and that’s not okay. We attempt to walk down a path with it’s jarringly new topography with someone who can’t adapt to our pace. We learn from what people say. We learn from what people don’t say.

“Averaging reduces variation,” I scribble onto my notebook as I look out the classroom window. The sun is setting in colours I can’t name. Blues merging into pinks, oranges emerging from yellows. It takes an uninterrupted sky to realise the horizon is infinite. Luckily, we all start as strangers.

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When Life Gives You Lemons

Nobody tells you that when you wish upon a star, you’re actually a few million years late. That star is already dead. Bummer, eh?

I turn twenty three in two days. I’m kind of in between moods right now. You know how it feels to be pissed off and ladylike? Utterly confusing. I suck at it. Of course I don’t know how to act my age. I’ve never been this age before. I’m usually a calm person but some situations really test my giveashitometer. Like when I see fresh bird droppings on my car and I go out  and eat devilled eggs by the window just so they know who they’re messing with.

I wish men could be dealt with the same way. You get over the bunch of them and you meet someone tall with a crooked smile and there comes that feeling you thought you’d forgotten. But sooner or later you find out that he’s the same old dal-chawal sold to you on the menu as well steamed long grain fine white rice from the brilliant yellow fields of Punjab, a golden lentil broth on the side, garnished with pixie dust.

And then the inevitable happens. Khichdi.

I’m feeling a little over-worked and under-intoxicated. Break ups usually leave me feeling a tad bit wild, I think. I start booking tickets to all corners of the world and getting new piercings and not waxing because lulz, lemons.
Nowadays I just get home and get the cheese and crackers out and think Screw you, recommended serving size. You don’t know my story.

I don’t know what happened. It’s sad and hilarious at the same time. But I think I learned things from my time with him that one should eventually learn. People love differently. Silence, I discovered, is something you can actually hear. And you can tell so much about a person by how they leave you. It’s sad how Wile E. Coyote is remembered for his barbarity, and not for his insanely realistic paintings of tunnels. People never forget how you make them feel. And be careful, sometimes what’s left unsaid says it all.

Then, of course, there’s the mommy angle. From what I’ve heard, parenting is mostly about telling your kid how many minutes of something they have left. Moms, spurring their offsprings to go forth and conquer the world and also get a mani pedi and find a suitable boy and HAIYO RABBA IS THAT A TATTOO AB SHAADI KAUN KAREGA.

So when life gives you lemons, contrary to popular belief and one too many T-shirt quotes, there’s not much you can do. You don’t even get to ask why. And some part of you doesn’t even want to know. Sure explanations can be helpful, but so can ignorance, paychecks and new senior recruits at the office.
So helpful.

And as I move a day closer to the first time in life I’m not excited about my birthday, I ponder over the idea of possibly not letting life happen to me again. It’s time I owned this shit. With abs and stilettos and calculated risk and my own little business because heaven knows I make one hell of a difficult employee.
Those shooting stars are long dead, and I’m feeling more alive than ever.

I’m in a really good place spiritually.

Please fuck off, lemons.

Namaste.

The Hedgehog’s Dilemma

A number of hedgehogs huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another.

It’s a theory called the Hedgehog’s Dilemma. Freud used this as an analogy for human intimacy. Apparently you can only get so close to someone without unintentionally hurting them as well as yourself.

Ah well.

What do we, as humans, run away from? Intimacy is a relative term. For you, intimacy maybe the laughter during sex. For me, intimacy maybe the comfortable quiet during a stroll in the park.
I’ll tell you what intimacy isn’t, though.
Intimacy isn’t ordinary.

Why, you might ask, would someone write a poem that doesn’t rhyme? Maybe it’s because putting too much thought into something kills the essence. If we’re too careful, we’ll turn out ordinary.
I can turn you into poetry, dear, but I can’t make you stay. There’s a difference between somebody who loves you and somebody who would do anything to keep you. It’s the difference between want and need, I think.

I’m looking at the November sunset and thinking, if day must turn to night, this is a beautiful way. Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what it needs to. And we could think of all the ways things fall out but so little of what could happen does indeed happen. There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. I’m no expert on relationships, but I know that if I’ve loved you, I’ll paint our sunset your color.

If people just lived off promises and guarantees, this world would be a broken place. People live off hope, that’s why it’s still warm, you know? Because people live off hope and try in the best way they know how. And they make their quills blunt together, so they can stay warm longer.

I can be mature and I can be poised and I can be an elegant dream, if you’d like that.
I like it some days too.

But don’t love me for that.

Most days, I’m lost. I write to find myself and I paint to get lost again. Science can’t excite me like a paradox can. I’ll forget things you say and do, but I’ll never forget the way you make me feel. I’ll forget your birthday but I won’t forget the way you smelled on our first date. I’ll stay close to anything that makes me glad I’m alive. Make me glad I’m alive.
Most days, I’m chaos.

And this chaos could be the quills that push you away or the warmth that pulls you close.
That’s for you to decide.

Who’s to say your quills won’t be sharper than mine?

The Green In My Autumn

Some people bring out the best in you, some bring out the worst. And then there are those remarkably rare addictive ones who just bring out the most. Of everything. They make you feel so alive you’d follow them straight into hell, just to keep getting your fix.
– Karen Marie Moning


It’s just that time of the year. October, with its purpling skies and orange backdrop. With its smell of bonfires and warm vanilla sugar. There’s this nip in the air that makes it a bit harder to get out of bed every morning. I push my foot out from under the covers and quickly pull it back in. No. This can wait.

Whatever it is, it can wait.

The trees are busy showing the world how lovely it is to let go of the inert. I walk on pavements, occasionally smiling with these lips more scar tissue than skin as I saunter out of my way to step on a crisp leaf, brown from having lost its soul, still making me smile in its afterlife, and I think to myself how  this fallen leaf can be dead and still dance like it does on a windy day.

It’s so easy to be completely wrong about people. To see one tiny part of them and confuse it for the whole. What if we only notice the unfamiliar parts later? Sometimes we see something perfect and we fall in love. Sometimes we get lessons and sometimes we get lucky. In time we see the imperfections, and we either get scared or we fall in love even more. Or both. People can be adventurous these days and souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand the notion of time or distance. They only know it feels right to be with one another.

I could write a dictionary on all the words I have used to describe how it feels to have finally, finally found him. But ask a painter and he’ll tell you, there are olive green, bottle green, peacock green and sea green, but not a green in the world can capture the image in the painter’s mind.
Well, I think I found my green. Is there a word for that?

No one can tell you what goes on in between the person you were and the person you became. There is no conversation, no overlap in time or space. There’s just a feeling. The kind of feeling people write novels about. It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you ask someone their name and the next, you can’t imagine a time when that name wasn’t set on your tongue like stone, repeated over and over again through the day in every tone and decibel level possible because he makes you happy and sad and crazy and excited and furious all at the same time. You feel your walls coming down like dried leaves, and you smile even though you’re terrified, because intuition says you should.

Peace is not an infinite state. It exists in fleeting moments, silent more often than not. Eyes meet, fingers brush, sometimes there’s no contact at all. It’s just in the air. And you spend all your time with this person in silence, and try not to laugh at the days when you fought with people for space, not knowing that your space was a person. There’s no peace in the world like being in love with someone who wants to be loved. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

They fill up your glass with responsibility for their smiles and tears and you take it with open arms because this can’t wait.
Whatever it is, it’s the green in your autumn and it can’t wait.

I think I like who I’m becoming.

Grown Up Fonts

Hi.

It’s been a while I think. I used to write in Calibri 12, its Arial 10 on a 120% zoom now. It’s weird. Not bad weird. Just different weird. The kind of weird that takes getting used to but you’ll do it because you know it’s good for you.

Arial 10. I never would have imagined.

I’ve had this strange feeling inside of me for a while. Like while I was asleep, somebody disassembled me and then hurriedly put me back together. Like I’m made of the same pieces and the same experiences but there are air pockets from the haste in which they were put back together. Air pockets trapped in spaces that used to be filled with something I can’t quite remember.

These days sometimes go on for days. Some days I function on caffeine highs and praises transferred via email and some days I get my soul pureed and served to me in a melancholy cup of leftover tea. I feel people jump into the corporate whirlpool just to have an excuse to not think. About songs that get them nostalgic or places that get them dreamy. Sometimes one sees someone who looks like someone they used to love but luckily there’s so many floors to shuffle through and heels aren’t easy to walk around in and calls go on for hours at times and they forget. Sometimes a song hits them but then their playlist is on shuffle and they’re holding coffee in one hand and taking notes with the other and  probably already late for something and they’re just like ah well fuck it.
They start clocking the hourglass instead of wondering whether the sand comes from a special beach.

I think it was feelings, that held in those air pockets. I think it was superlatives too. Nobody ever warns you about the barrenness of a busy life. They say it’ll be difficult but it’ll be worth it. They say you’ll earn enough to eat whatever you want and live wherever you please and drive whatever you fancy. They don’t tell you about the spaces that stored the smell of his daily cologne and the feel of callouses on his palms, now lost in the 9278 tabs open in your brain. Work until your bank balance looks like a phone number, they say. Work until you don’t have to introduce yourself, they say. Funny thing is, we forget that we don’t have to do it all; we don’t have to prove ourselves to anybody.

And yet, life is short and good energy is contagious and the air pockets can only stay empty so long. So you stop waiting around for feelings and you try working with energy. Good vibes and new music that don’t violate your rhythm. It may have something to do with growing up. I think I like who I’m becoming. I’ve realized that people aren’t good or bad, they’re just either charming or tedious. And everyone is someone’s devil. I’ve learnt some stories don’t need endings and secrets are only safe in pillowcases. I want to be spoilt with loyalty and witty comebacks in the midst of food that feeds my soul and art my eyes can feast on. Everyone has a deep end, but people are so afraid to dive, busy worrying about tomorrow like it’s promised. I don’t care what you look like, just make me laugh.

Maybe it has something to do with growing up, but the air pockets now feel full. There’s a voice in the air that doesn’t use words. Listen. Some people are whiskey is a teacup. Taste. Eye contact is a dangerous thing, but oh so lovely. Look. Everyone’s in love with either a person or an idea. Feel. And at the end of it all, trust the timing of your life.

Maybe it has something to do with growing up, but 650 words through, Arial 10 feels just fine. It’s just not superlative enough, but then these days, what is?

Something to Forget Me By

Why was it that during the first ice-breaker in college, when the whole class had to go stand up and say their name and where they were from, I got so incredibly nervous? Like, I know my name, I know where I’m from; this shouldn’t be a problem.

Maybe it’s the pressure of first impressions that society’s created on us now terrified mortals. That’s probably why my best friends on campus include a girl I hated for the whole of my first semester just because she gave me the heebie jeebies and a boy with whom my first interaction included him running after a mini-football on the Bogmalo Beach shouting “Hey! Easy! Mommy told me not to get my ball wet!”

There was a time I’d complain about the freeze-dried fruit distribution in my Gelato. Now the post Sunday lunch Mother Dairy butterscotch ice cream makes me feel sexy. Like I’m eating a soft spoonful of an affair. With crunchies.

But time moves on and so does life and the fat get thin and the thin get fat and group dynamics change and re-change because nobody really likes fat people, and at the end of four years you’re left wondering how you ever got along without these people who are now more family than family itself.

And yet, forever’s not what it used to be.

He’ll finally get out there and become a standup comedian, flying for a show to Russia, flying business class, in fact, because that’s just how he rolls now. She’ll probably be the CEO of some company that you always thought was a bank’s name.
And you’ll read about them in the papers and wonder if you should call. But instead you’ll just post something on their Facebook wall and get on with your life. Damn shame.

And yet, they’ll be a part of you. In their own small way. Even the random people you interact with everyday. You might not remember their name or face ten years from now. But you’ll remember them as the person who introduced you to your now favorite music, or the guy who helped you pass that godforsaken subject, or the girl who saw you crying and said “If someone breaks your heart, just punch them in the face. Seriously just punch them in the face and go get some ice cream”.  Even if she was just quoting Wiz Khalifa.

And suddenly, after your college years, you’re not the same person anymore. You like sleeping because it’s like being dead, only without the commitment. You aren’t ‘weirded out’ by alcoholics and junkies because you realize they’re just humans with a different passion than yours. And you realize fat people are the nicest of them all.

In French, you don’t really say “I miss you”. You say “tu me manques” which, I am told, is closer to “you are missing from me”. I love that. It’s beautiful, really. Like you’re a part of me that I’m currently functioning without. I’ll miss everyone I leave behind. And when I do, I hope there’s a part of me in them. Something I left behind. Something to forget me by.

Strangers With Memories

I watched half the semi-final. Half the opera. Maybe two thirds of the movie at the theatre yesterday. I didn’t quite taste the mint in my pepperoni. We ordered mint pepperoni? When did that get on the menu? I burned my little finger on the stove too. And every time, there was no reply.

What do you tell yourself the hundredth time you check your phone?

You’ve taken a step you can’t take back and Cupid’s demanding back his arrow. You’ve given someone things you weren’t even sure you had and now text message notifications are a game of Russian roulette, and his name is the bullet. Well, sometimes your tank is fueled up, but the track just ends.

He smirks when I talk like this. You’re young and foolish, he says. You’ll get older and realize love isn’t like this. It’s not just a bunch of moments that make you melt in between those of electricity and magic.

Well what is it then, I ask? Is it a convenient place you find once you’re done chasing your career and living it up with your friends?

I guess, yeah.

Well, if you keep letting go of the magic and electricity, that’s what it’s going to come to eventually, isn’t it?

He doesn’t reply. He’s probably on a work call. I wonder what he’ll do with his fame and millions some day. He’ll probably come home to someone who married him for them. Or not. They do say it all works out in the end.

We all do that. Spend our lives building ourselves for our idea of perfection, leaving love behind when it comes without knocking, thinking we’ll find ‘the one’ when the time is right, trying to convince ourselves that it does not matter how the edges of us fit into the edges of others as long as, once smashed together, something that resembles a picture emerges.

How do people start something without the idea of infinity? I don’t want forever. It’s impractical and unreasonable and we’re all adults and mature and know better than to set expectations. And yet, I think the idea is beautiful and I want it. Is it so bad if I want him to want it? Don’t we all deserve that? Some kind of blazing love that sets your soul on fire; that you wish could last but you know it won’t and somehow that’s okay, as long as you both wish it.

And when he says he won’t forget me, I can tell you that’s untrue. Because every day since we parted ways I thought less and less of him. I called him, sometimes; I tried to keep it alive. But you know what the problem with a stream of feelings that run one way is?

You know you don’t have to feel anything at all. But somewhere, deep inside, you want to.

And here comes the feeling you thought you’d forgotten. And you forget to check your phone and you accidentally leave behind the book he gave you; and one day you wake up and you realize the two are you are just strangers with memories.

And you had so much love to give once, and you were so good at it. But maybe that’s not enough. Maybe you need to love someone who wants to be loved. And maybe that’s more difficult than it sounds.

This is the song that I stumbled upon and got inspired by to write the article. The feelings are genuine and the people are real, though. Any writer who tells you otherwise is lying.
We all love like fools.
There really is no other way to love.

Love is such a big word; it really ought to have more letters.
They barely put any mint in that pepperoni anyway.