Tag Archives: change

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.

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The Peril in Being Cool

He said “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– The Velveteen Rabbit.

You ever go a string of days feeling a feeling you’re no stranger to, and then wake up one morning to decide you never want to feel like that again?
I think I’m about to. I’m about to never feel like that again. And I’ll tell you exactly how.

I’ve been in this situation before and I’ve been this person before and let’s just say the situation got the better of me. I argued with myself first. This is me. This is me at my rawest and purest and it’s who I am. If something doesn’t fit me, I discard it. As a rule.
I can’t change who I am at the very base.

Oh… but I can.

People can be complicated, yes, but I am people too. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s intoxicating when somebody is so unapologetically who they are. It’s not about changing yourself so much as changing perspective, which is just a pretty way of saying growing up. I could spend my life shutting my windows to every thunderstorm that comes my way in fear, or I could wake up one day and use its roar to comfort myself with the thought that even nature needs to scream sometimes.
Perspective.

I’d say I’d like to stop thinking, for light hinders sight as much as it helps. But the world knows that’s easier said than done.
So I’ll say I’d like to feel more. Just feel, and if it feels like home, follow its path. Trust the vibes that you get. Energy doesn’t lie. Stop the moment the path feels unfamiliar. Explore it from a distance. Turn back the moment the path feels resistive. Of all the things you allow on this path, be it pain or loss or intolerable passion, the one thing you shouldn’t allow is mediocrity.

I enjoy controlled loneliness. I like wandering around the city alone. I’m not afraid of coming back to an empty house and lying down in an empty bed. What I am afraid of is having no one to miss. Nobody who stirs me up inside; the thought of whom puts everything else on hold. And with time and age and experience and heartbreak and all the maturity that comes with these, I’ve realized no one’s ‘the one’ unless you make them the one.

Can I promise to never get upset or show signs of neediness? No, I can’t. I wouldn’t call this love if that was something I could promise. I will melt inside when it’s called for and I will get bat-shit crazy when it’s uncalled for because what I choose to feel is all-consuming or nothing at all. It’s my definition of real. Real emotions and real people. With nothing to hide, only perspectives to change.

I feel younger today. Like time actually gave me time. I feel like I have the time it takes. And even if by the time I am Real, most of my hair has been loved off, and I get loose in the joints and very shabby, it won’t matter because once I’m Real, I can’t be ugly. Except to people who don’t understand.

And that’s precisely the peril in being cool. You won’t understand.

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?

We All Start As Strangers

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew – Pocahontas


At what point does a stranger stop being a stranger?

Is it when the stare lingers on one moment too long? Or when your hands brush and then don’t pull away? Is it when they voice out your thoughts for the first time?

We all have two kinds of songs we love. The first kind, you want to share with the world and sing out loud from rooftops. But there’s always the other kind, the kind you want to keep to yourself, with tender greed, extracting all the joy from it as if to feed your soul and your soul alone; as if any other soul extracting joy from it would mean less for you. With the right music, you either forget or remember everything. People can be like that too.

And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter – they are so rusty, so feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. And the silence is warm and the conversation is intoxicating and there’s one part of you that’s holding you back because you know the sparks never last but there’s the other part of you that makes you realise that he’s a favourite song of the second kind, and so there’s nothing to worry about.
For once, the sparks aren’t the best part.

I don’t know when I became such a sucker for familiarity. I don’t know how it is that he is so familiar to me, or why it feels less like I’m getting to know him and more like I’m remembering who he is. How every smile, every touch brings me closer to the impossible conclusion that I’ve known him before, kissed him before, in some other existence.

You can always get to know someone by asking them straight forward questions. Where do you work? How tall are you? What did you study and where did you grow up? Grown up questions about things that grown-ups think matter. If you only ask the questions everyone else is asking, you’ll only get to know what everyone else knows.

What if I have different questions? I’m not interested in who he thinks he is. I’m not interested in who other people think he is. I don’t care what car he drives or what brands he wears. I refuse to fall in love with anything but the words that flutter from the crevices of his mind people failed to explore. I want to know what colour he likes his sunset. I want to know what he thinks of when he drives alone. I want to know what makes him sigh. These aren’t questions you can ask people, simply because these aren’t things most people know about themselves. The only answers we have ready are the ones we think matter.

I think that’s when someone stops being a stranger. When you ask them a question that makes them think and they answer it honestly, smiling as they talk, their eyes wandering, knowing they’ve never answered it before, oblivious to the part of their soul leaving through their words.

I want to talk to him, about his dreams and fears, and begin everything from the beginning. Taking time, if you think of it, is actually less time consuming. And only when the tide pulls back the sand from under your toes, you realize that you can’t hold onto something by holding on. Happiness doesn’t leave scars and peace is so difficult to remember. That’s why you need to keep it with you.

And that’s why I’d like him to stay. We all start as strangers.

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?

Voices.

 “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” 
― Kurt Vonnegut 

I found this at the back of a notebook yesterday. I don’t even remember writing it.
But the handwriting was mine and it seemed like the kind of quote I’d jot down. You know, just to revisit when I have those long introspective talks with myself.

You ever talk to yourself? I do. All the time. Some days I push and motivate myself. Some days I tell myself it is indeed okay to slack a little. Some days I talk to empty spaces that I wish somebody would fill. The sad truth is that we’re all missing someone and secretly hoping that wherever they are, they’re missing us too. It takes more than you can imagine admitting it, though.

They say it’s perfectly normal to talk to yourself; you’re only crazy if you talk back.

Now I’ve got a little hypothesis here. I feel the concept of geometric similarity is beautiful. I resonate with enthusiasm when people draw parallels to my life, when their perspective and angles match mine. And yet alone, I’m not just one person.

People always have a secret world inside them than the one they show; sometimes two, sometimes a hundred. One day you’re someone, the other day you’re someone else. And you can’t go back to yesterday because you were a different person then, with different parallels and different perspectives and angles.
But we’re all gluttons for co-incidence. So when our worlds collide with someone else’s on a particular day, we’re stoked; heady at the thought of someone to fill the empty spaces we talk to. And when they don’t, we seek the other worlds inside ourselves; trying on different identities like dresses to see which one fits best.
When your romanticism fails, you become a bit of a cynic.
When your poetry fails, you become a bit robotic.
When your boundaries fail, you put up walls.

I am made and remade continuously; different people draw different worlds from me. And every once in a while I feel like I’d make a better ghost than a human being. A better idea than an entity. I lay still on my bed, gazing out the window into darkness full of nothing and yet inconspicuously everything, wondering what it will be tomorrow morning that’ll convince me to climb out of bed and choose the person I will be for the day. Everyone has an abyss of their own, and as I sink deeper into mine, all my opposing worlds combine to become one. And they talk to me as one while my eyes get heavy, recalling incidents from years before, from lunch today, and from a past life – telling me in unison how exactly I feel; who exactly I am.

Sometimes I agree.
It’s perfectly normal to talk to yourself.

Sometimes I talk back.
We have to be careful who we pretend to be.

 

 

 

 

 

Feature Image by Akin Cetine

Bikini Season

So it’s almost the end of bikini season. Apart from the fact that I’m now in Delhi and if I show any skin I get roasted and tanned and sun-burnt and lectured by my mom and dad and grand-mom and the neighbor’s aunt’s mom’s childhood friend who will judge my upbringing while her driver salivates, another reason that bikini season doesn’t matter to me is because I don’t wear bikinis.

It’s not got anything to do with the morality issue. I just like the extra cheese pepperoni pizza.
A LOT.

If it wasn’t for my will power, I’d be exercising right now. I even joined this up-market gym once and after 20 minutes on the treadmill I turned it on. A few minutes running on it, I began to huff and puff and curse my stamina and bite my lip while this crazy cute pair of abs stared at me in the mirror as if to say ‘That’s not very Versace of you’. Then he lifted his 100 kg dumbell and went back to staring at himself, like Morgan Freeman was narrating his workout by the second. Soon a bunch of girls entered in shorts I thought were belts and waistlines that are the main reason feminists hate Barbie, and took control of all the remaining machines and I’m just like What are you even doing here? You’re done.

So I went home.

I tried again next day. Cute Abs continued staring at me in the mirror. Our eyes met and I think I gave him a really clear sign. Leave me alone. I’m spooning my boyfriend in my head. Out of his container. Okay… He’s ice cream.

Eventually I gave up. I got complacent and busy with coloring and falling in love with boys who didn’t want to be fallen in love with. I felt like I had a hangover. Without all the happy memories and mystery bruises. I even tripped and fell into some feelings. I’m okay now, I brushed that shit off.
And got myself registered at that gym again.

Cinderella didn’t ask for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress.