Tag Archives: emotion

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.

Love and Other Verbs

Love at first sight is rather easy to understand, don’t you think? What really grinds your gears? Grey eyes? Intelligent conversation? The way a person handles their fourth whiskey and the words they utter once it’s vanished?

Either way, love at first sight is ridiculously simple. People get it. They make movies about it. They write novels about it. It’s the ‘cool’ kind of love, I guess. The concept is easy to grasp because most people have an idea about what they want and when they see something similar to their idea of what they want, they usually decide they love it. And believe it or not, love is a decision. It all sounds very romantic and poetic to say you had no choice in the matter and that you weren’t accountable for your feelings; but while you’re out there being poignant about your life, you’re also being ignorant. Love takes time and effort, love takes dedication and decision, it takes work and it takes patience and sooner or later you realize that love in itself is a verb.

Sometimes in life we find love we aren’t looking for. What does one do with love they weren’t looking for? Some people discard it. ‘We’re not ready,’ they say. And it’s true, they aren’t, they’re simply just not ready. The trouble with even the most brilliant meal when one isn’t hungry is just that – they’re not hungry. And hunger and readiness for love are just among the long list of things one can’t force in life.

Some people, however, take it in their stride. They take the love they’re given and use it to warm themselves. They take the love and use it to smile. They take the love and use it to feel, because in this era of fashionably silent heart and constant distractions, feeling feelings requires the aid of something.

I was lost. I was happy, ridiculously so, but lost nonetheless. I had an agenda, a definite plan, and you came unannounced and charmed me into this life without an exit strategy. And the problem with your love is that it makes me content. I had plans, sweetheart, I had a blueprint and a paintbrush and a quill and a pot of ink and I thought I had the gourmet recipe for happiness. And suddenly, there I was, standing with my artillery and all your love, with no war to fight. Lost in the right direction, but lost all the same. Smiling, but lost. Warm, but lost. Using your love, but not to find directions.

Did I scare you while I was lost? I think all the weightlessness scared me.  I had lost touch with the girl I used to be and you kept bringing me so close to the brink of recollection, it was terrifying. It still is, it’s bloody petrifying, and it makes my toes numb from time to time. How could you take me, with all my madness? We’re the same on the surface, but within, we’re worlds apart. I want to breathe the air of new places and to feel every emotion there is to be felt in this mortal human life. I want to fall in love with the insides of things.  I want to taste colors and savor sunsets and listen to the sound of birds chirping make-belief conversations, because really understanding things is only so much fun.

And the reason its bloody petrifying is because I want to do it all with you. And I’m scared you’ll ask why, because I have no answer. I will find beauty in sadness and I will draw worlds from a single expression of yours and I can’t promise anything but constant emotion. But if you’ll have that and me with it, you’ll see there’s a beauty in that too.

I haven’t done a love before that wasn’t at first sight, so I don’t have a master plan here. I haven’t the faintest idea what grinds my gears here. I just know that your hands feel like home and your smiles feel as familiar as your sighs, so really how hard could it be?

There’s something beautiful about booking a one way ticket, isn’t there?

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?

I wonder if she feels fixed.

Once upon a time, a few mistakes ago, I fell for someone. I found our song today. He doesn’t know it’s our song, but the lyrics go something like…

Baby we both know
That the nights were mainly made for saying things you can’t say tomorrow day
Crawling back to you
Ever thought of calling when you’ve had a few?
‘Cause I always do
Maybe I’m too busy being yours to fall for somebody new

I hate that feeling; when you feel hungry, but you don’t want any food you see, and you can’t figure out what it is you’re craving.
Then you realise it’s not food you’re craving.

I’m not one to judge, I’m broken too. Life does that to you, it breaks you bit by bit. And just when you begin to feel like the damage is permanent, it sends along something. Sometimes it’s a drug, sometimes it’s a book; for me it was his hug. Every time he hugged me I felt all my broken pieces coming together. For just those few moments, I’d feel fixed.

There was something about his kisses too. I wish I’d kissed him more, so I’d have more of the memories to hold on to. They’d start soft, like petals playfully parting petals; that taste of cigarette getting me heady, and slowly turn into a storm of sighs and grabs, so intense that it was hard to tell who was breathing for whom.

And the last time he left, it felt like he slammed a door in my face, and I realised, men lie, and they lie to themselves worst of all. The door slam is meant to be symbolic, one last “take that!” to close the argument. But that door never did fit right in the frame, so it swings back and forth, slyly revealing things I shouldn’t know – little things he says and does, how he feels like I’ve always been this wonderful possibility for him.
I feel his eyes apologizing, asking me to believe that I’m the girl he wanted to want, but just not today. Today, he didn’t want to be happy.
Or sad.
Or anything.

Did I make it that easy to walk in and out of my life?

It kills me that he let his walls come down for somebody else. It’s not like there aren’t other men in the world. They’re all there, pretty and waiting, buying me drinks and telling me how wonderful they think my smile is; marinated in cologne and talking and talking. And a few drinks down, after going through my phone and realizing I’ve deleted his number, I begin to talk to these men too. But there’s this gut feeling, that feeling in the pit of my stomach screaming HE’S NOT THE ONE, STOP PRETENDING, ABORT MISSION!

I want to call him and yell. I want to scream, and tell him I decided on him. Doesn’t he get it? I decided on him and I don’t want to go around flirting with other people and then walking around feeling thrilled and then empty or whatever. I like the feel of his arms around me, I like the sound of his voice in my ear, and I goddamn decided on him.

What do you do when the only thing that was fixing you starts breaking you?  While he’s wrapping his arms around her, at that.

I wonder if she feels fixed.

 

 

 

Feature Image Courtesy: Kelsey Heinrichs | Society6

Of Graduation and Vodka

I had butterflies in my stomach right from the moment I booked my ticket to Goa, somehow managing to shut the laptop slowly because the sand stuck in it between the screen and keyboard still crunches from all the times I set out to the library and ended up bag and baggage at the beach.

As I slept though the flight I dreamed about my years there. I remember seeing the world through the bottom of a Smirnoff quarter. Peace was a permanent state. We lost phones so easily because we didn’t really need them. We spent our afternoons looking up the Wikipedia pages of our idols to see where they were at our age. We stayed away from the boys who smelled too good because anyone who smells that good for an 8 am class is obviously marinated in perfume for lack of baths. Every pizza was a personal pizza if you tried hard enough and believed in yourself. Facebook needed a relationship status called, “Man, I don’t know… Ask her…”
We could lie around in the sand, drinking vodka (because we soon learned that if you drink enough vodka it tastes like love) and looking at the stars and talking to anyone about how we missed being the age when we thought we would have our shit together by now. If they weren’t interested, they’d pass out right next to us or throw up on us.
You win some, you lose some.

I reached Goa and within a day I met everyone. Like, everyone. My best friends, my corridor-mates, the girl who helped me pass Quantum Chemistry, the boy who made me listen to Arctic Monkeys for the first time; I didn’t remember all their names but I knew them because they were all part of me in one way or another. And we took rooms in a filthy motel halfway between the college and the beach and I felt like I was in the insides or a burrito, warm and safe and filthy and whole.

I’d spent years watching these people. Borrowing food, notes, sometimes smiles. I don’t think we knew it then, but we grew up together. In humor, in ambition, in purpose, in vocabulary. We fed off each other’s energy and grew and if anyone, and I mean anyone, had been missing from the equation we’d all be a tad bit different. They’re all people I’ll never stop looking for in a crowded place. I watched them through the evening, talking to each other about their lives then and now.

He told her about his new music venture and how he was so excited to work at the studio, and when she whined about being a corporate slave and how much she hated it, he hugged her tight and said it was all going to be okay. I’d seen that hug before. I’d seen it three years back, when he’d missed a passing grade in a subject that she’d aced. She’d hugged him tight and told him it was all going to be okay.

I think that’s what college was. It was a lot of everyone telling everyone that it’s all going to be okay.

The drunken texts one received and the words one scribbled on the last pages of notebooks were really all the love and knowledge one needed to get through.
And now I hope we all make it in this big bad world, away from each other. I hope one day we all have our own Wiki pages and 7 am showers and reasonable relationship statuses. And yet, some part of me hopes we’re not all people who define ‘making it’ as having our own Wiki pages and 7 am showers and reasonable relationship statuses.
I hope we’re all people who still define ‘making it’ as belting that entire pizza.
Try hard and believe in yourself.

Why I Write What I Write

I still vaguely remember the first love letter I wrote. I was a few days short of twelve. The letter smelled of strawberry and Chanel No. 5, because I couldn’t decide whether I should use my own perfume or my grandmother’s, so I used both. My hand-writing was punctuated with curly ends and heart-topped ‘i’s, the kind of precision only seventh-grade girls in love had patience for. Hidden behind the words were indents and scratches, ghosts of words that weren’t quite right, rewrites on top of rewrites.

I don’t think I ever gave it to the intended. I just wrote the letter to feel it. It’s been ten years and it’s still the same reason I write things.
I write things to really feel them.

I’ve met and befriended an immodest number of people in life, and I’ve realised that even though people are different, they’re all enigmatic. They all have a secret world inside of themselves. Each and every person, no matter how dull or boring on the outside, has a world inside that’s wonderful, crazy, wild and awe-inspiring. And if you give them a chance, they’ll show it to you. Not just one world, hundreds, sometimes thousands. And the quietest ones, the over thinkers, are more afraid of being understood than being misunderstood. That’s why I write.
I write to really understand people.

Sometimes we love and sometimes we hate and there’s so much that goes on in our minds as we eat, work, play and sleep and think we’re living life. But life is what happens in the interstices, like when we manage to smile through our tears at a darling child or when we drift away into a daydream or when our memory asks us about someone we once loved. There are days that question and days that answer.
I write to relive the interstices.

Feelings are visitors, they come and go. So are people. And although people of the past should be forgotten, I don’t thing feelings should. Every thing I ever let go of has claw marks on it; held back in the hope of not making it stay but extracting all feeling I could from it. I want to allow beauty to shatter me regularly; I want to feel life while I’m in it. Sometimes I write down things people say, because they resonate with me so much. Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the people and stories we quote.
I write what should not be forgotten.

Our thoughts tend to sound better in songs we didn’t sing and books we didn’t write, and when I leave people speechless, or welled-up, or disturbed or a little dreamier, I feel like a part of their story. I feel closer to them and that’s why I share everything I feel.
I write so one day I won’t have to introduce myself.

Above everything else, it’s about leaving a mark that I existed. I was here. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a purpose. That’s why I made works of art. – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

I want to fill my life with experiences, not things.
And in the end, I want to have stories to tell, not stuff to show.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The Numb Ones Are Missing Out

Feelings are simple. We cry, we laugh, we get angry and we get scared. We get upset and we get sad. And that’s okay, because we’re wired that way. People keep saying, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. What is the journey, really, but an emotional rollercoaster? What is happiness when you don’t know what sorrow is? You need to experience the black and the white to really appreciate the beauty of both.

Picture4

It’s simple. When you’re going through a phase in life that overwhelms you with emotion and you take a nap just to take a break from it all, is it really a break? You dream. Your desires show up there too. Your disappointments. Everything you need and want and cannot have. And then you wake up and all those over whelming emotions are back again. All at once, like a tsunami hitting land for the very first time. It all comes back the very second you wake up, the dream first, the realization of your emotions in the dream, and then the happiness causing agent or the feeling of impending doom that lies ahead on the road you’re taking.

Okay, so, it’s a little difficult. Life isn’t supposed to be hard. Or complicated. It’s supposed to be easy. And it is. We just complicate it a lot in our heads to end up feeling what we’re feeling. We have grown to become a breed of over analysing over contemplating thinkers, just because it’s in our capacity to. The lucky ones just switch off. That’s mighty convenient, because they claim that they stop feeling anything and I’m not really sure how that works. You ever hear these lines? ‘I can’t let anyone in’ or ‘I’m emotionally numb’. It’s all in the head. And yet, that’s enough to protect them from the big bad world. It’s like saying, yeah I want to live, but I don’t want to live a lot. I want the experience of the journey but not the emotions that go with it. When you say you don’t want a trough in life you automatically cancel out the possibility of a crest as well. And so you stop feeling the black and white and live in grey for the rest of your days.

And that’s just too bad. Because you’re wired that way. And it makes you miss out on pretty much everything life is really about.