Tag Archives: end

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.

It’s Almost The End Of The Year

“I have shed my skin so many times.
The graveyards must be full of all the people I used to be”

It’s almost the end of the year. Can you feel it yet?

The tip of my nose goes pink sometimes and my eyebrows are so frozen I can’t even be surprised. Literally. Everyone’s getting their red and shimmer out. Buble’s singing out of every nook and cranny, his fondue voice making you mentally sway as you make your way to yet another get-together. Every house has a Christmas tree outside, its plastic branches decorated with leftover disco balls and little figurines collected by children too young to have memories. Everyone’s slacking just a bit more at work; eating just a bit more dessert, drinking just a bit more wine, feeling just a bit more in love or just a whole lot more alone. It’s almost the end of the year. Can you feel it yet?

It’s nearly time to decide who the new you will be. Walls are coming down and being built everywhere; some more quietly than others. People are talking to people, eager to rewrite beginnings or endings, looking for peace of mind like it was promised. We sit with our bundles of painful memories, not letting them roll out of our eyes and onto our cheeks, ready to learn from them and dispose them off like soiled items, only to realize that we barely even remember the things we never thought we’d forget. As someone famously said, the future is really that forgiving. Can you feel it yet?

There’s suddenly more cookies and rum cake and adipose tissue in life than there is intent. We all have these plan-less goals for ourselves, neatly tucked away in corners of our subservient minds, waiting for a fresh calendar to fix ourselves top down because right now we’re too busy treating our hearts as metaphors. When’s the last time you actually put your hand to your chest and felt your heartbeat? It’s a powerful thing. It makes you so aware of every passing second, so awake to the urgency of accomplishment. You begin to wonder what it was that made you think you had time. Can you feel it yet?

You think back to the times you used to think back to those moments. From another time, another place. It doesn’t make you smile and it doesn’t make you sad. It just makes you look away now. Love left your body, momentarily, yet long enough for you to realize that you need to leave some people behind in this year. We’ve spent too much time decorating our lives with leftover disco balls and little figurines, collected over time in more ways than one, as day by day we grow a bit more envious of those children too young to have memories. Can you feel it yet?

It’s almost the end of the year and you’re praying that by the end of the next you’ll have that job. That waistline. That girl. It’s what you prayed for the last year and the year before last. It’s what you’ll pray for the next year and the year after that. A different job. A smaller waistline. Another girl. Another cliché.

This year, I want to read a bucket list through. I want to really understand the colour purple. I want to cook pad thai and a mean little key lime pie. I want to swim in a new sea. I want to be an art parasite. I want to be everyone I used to be and more. There’s just so much room, now that it’s empty. I want to be the people I wanted to be with, because I always believed in forever.

I wish all of you peace and so much love. I hope you bask in happy vibes and drink mellow dreams and if you must break, I pray his kisses gave you butterflies as they came and strong art as they left.

Zen. 2015.

In Staccato Rhythm

It’s a rainy day in a college by the road, and my two corridor mates are introducing me to a blend of guitars and endlessness they call classic rock. I’ve heard its kind before, but never when steeped in someone else’s enthusiasm.

It’s yet another rainy day, in an apartment by a different road. Four years of my steadfast indifference has done nothing to dampen their enthusiasm. There’s new songs blended in now. One of them now hunts and gathers new music from the scuzzy underbelly of the city. The other has rekindled loves from his past. I still don’t understand it. I’m beginning to suspect I don’t understand music at all.

It’s the wee hours of the morning, and I’m sitting in a shared cab back from work, listening to my borrowed tastes. It fills the silence better than inflicting conversation on my fellow corporate drone. His stop is before mine. I come home to a girl who is no longer here.

It’s been ages since college when we set out to ride back to it. The road is the same, it’s sweltering hot, though. We’ve forgotten most of our CDs. This was before we, as a country, could afford streaming. There’s no classic rock. There’s the corridormate-turned-flatmate’s newest find. He goes on about how we should support the local music scene. For the first three hours of the drive, he insists it’s all alright that we can now recite the lyrics in our sleep.

I’m at the beach by the college by the road. The breeze brings back memories. They say music brings back memories. Places do, too. Smells, sounds, the feel of a place is stronger in my mind than notes in the ether. I’m convinced. It’s not music that I’ll miss.

It’s Sunday and we’re all staring at each other across a wooden table. This used to be a bar for Sunday afternoons, it’s now one for Friday nights. It plays every song you know, smeared into one explosion of sound. It reminds me of clubs, not in a bad way. New people are at the table. They remind me of clubs, not in a bad way. New people bring new music.

It’s a lazy Sunday in a new house, and the rain has obliged. I’m sipping tea with a girl I’ll hurt. She’s talking to me about electronic music. That can’t be good, I tell myself. I profess my borrowed inclinations, scoffing at the idea of anything new being good. Funny that the corridormate-turned-flatmate, in his final months in the city, would wax endlessly about how the goodness of anything new.

It’s the same early morning on another day. There’s no one in the cab today, no one waiting at home. I stumble in sleepily to soundtracks seeping through my flatmate’s locked door. Soundtracks, I understand. I begin to wonder if I’m overthinking this. One of the classic rockers left long ago, the other left less long ago. The guitars are no longer endless where I live.

It’s raining as I bid them farewell, the first time. My flatmates, neighbors, collegemates and the girl. Raining. Rain is a place by itself. I wait for my flight at the airport, watching the drops race down the glass. Drinking seems inappropriate, like I’m tarnishing the memory of the past years with more of the same. I plug in, and listen to more of the same, taking my mind off the last things I’d seen.

It’s a different early morning. I’m in a different cab. It’s driven back from the airport by two grim chauffeurs. I reach home to utter silence. The entire flight here, I’ve drowned anxiety in simple mash seasoned with the occasional weird taste. There’s no filling a silence. That phrase shouldn’t exist. Silence breaks. You can only break a silence.

My second farewell is less charged, if more permanent. I’m back across the oceans. I move from the job with the late night cab and find another one. I move from the city with the job with the late night cab and find a new one. With new people. There is a bookshop under my house. I almost never go. My little portable speaker is still in my boxes. I’ve forgotten the playlist on my phone.

It’s a cold winter’s day as I trot from the bus into work. I rummage about in my backpack, looking for a mouse. I find earphones instead. I plug in. It’s the playlist I’ve built over these years of growing up. It’s every rainy day, on every road, in every house, in every cab, for every farewell. It’s everything silence isn’t. I’m still unconvinced I understand it, but it’s getting harder to believe that.

It’s the same day’s evening. I call the corridor mate. He’s crossed the same oceans as well. We talk like it’s all one day, seven years wide. He has new songs, of course. So do I, now. I hear the new ones, while I finally listen to the old.


This post was originally written by Abhijeet Sathe.
All rights remain with the author.

The Loneliest Day

On a lonely day,
through the grim glass of my bathroom window,
I see the faint outline of a pigeon every day.
It slowly blends in with the dusk.

Every night when I am alone,
I can hear her grunt as I settle in.
There’s something comforting about recurrences.

She must be asleep when I go to the balcony
to watch the haze of lights
racing along the road in the dead of night.
I like these ripples through silence.

It gets a bit cold and there’s a slow drizzle,
the clouds drowning the waning moon.
There aren’t any stars to fade away tonight,
I find solace in their irrelevance.

I shun the cold breeze and go inside,
Turn on the TV for some more noise.
Flip through books, look for a cigarette,
And finally decide to dim the light.

When my eyes close and the conscious fades,
I recall the pigeon wasn’t alone tonight.
Suddenly I realize with a little dismay,
She brought a mate on my loneliest day.


This poem was anonymously submitted for a guest post. 
All rights remain with the poet.

QUESTIONS THAT MATTER

They asked me where I came from
I said I wasn’t sure
they asked again, it mattered I think
Where I was bred and born

They asked me whom I pray to
I said I didn’t pray;
They persisted for it worried them
whom I believe turns night to day

They enquired about my schooling
and the wages I collect
I said I studied experiences
and wrote of love and regret

I know where I belong, I think
My faith lies in good vibes
I know the thoughts I pen down
touch people till they smile

And you could have a God
and be surrounded with riches too;
but if you were truly happy
mine wouldn’t matter to you

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 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?

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?

You Are All Stardust

Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics.
You are all stardust.
–  Lawrence Krauss, American theoretical physicist and cosmologist

As a kid I was told that when people die, they become stars. I had my own theories derived from this, of course, for the imagination of a child is infinite. I thought the brighter stars were the dead celebrities. The dimmer ones were common people. And the ones we couldn’t see were the bad people. People who had wronged society in one way or another and perished, never to shine again. (Of course at that age you think common folk, celebrities and bad people are three mutually exclusive sets.) It all made perfect sense. Every near death experience was described as seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the star that the soul turns into.

I lay sprawled over my terrace floor gazing into darkness full of nothing and yet inconspicuously everything. The sky was so tragically beautiful that night; a graveyard of stars, illuminated by a reluctant half moon. Dead in our memory not because they aimed too high and they missed, but because they aimed too low and they reached.

I wondered what type of star I’d be once I died. I wanted to be a small star. Not dim, just small. I didn’t want to be too noticeable, but when noticed, I wanted to be able to entrance the onlooker.  Like a small celebrity star, with its own loyal group of fans. It’s funny how once we start to think about death the problems of the world all begin to seem rather miniscule. Relationships and materialistic worries, how much we weigh and how much we earn. I think of what would make me want to end everything and then I realize life is so much bigger than that. It’s bigger than the last thing you think about when you sleep at night and the first thing you think about when you wake up. It’s bigger than a cheating boyfriend and a shoddy bank balance. It’s bigger than failed exams and missed opportunities. Don’t let your soul be defined by its shell, for a star will twinkle in ways the sun couldn’t begin to imagine.

Be picky with who you invest your time in. It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are just either charming or tedious. There isn’t a person you wouldn’t love if you could read their story, though, so give everyone a chance. Eat what’s good for your soul and not your body. Read books with stories and not formulae. Fall in love with moments and not people. Be someone’s shot of tequila and not everyone’s cup of tea. Feed your soul so it shines the brightest in the night sky.

After all, we’re all stardust.