Tag Archives: loss

Leaving the Lighthouse

“The dip of the light meant that the island itself was always left in darkness. A lighthouse is for others; powerless to illuminate the space closest to it.” ― M.L. Steadman

I was young and foolish. Agreed, young is an arguably relative term, but then so is foolish. And yet, it’s all I’ve got to work with. I was young and foolish and in love. I wanted to be in love and he wanted to be happy; so that’s really where the trouble began.

Such a small word, and it means so many drastically different things to different people. To some it means stability. To some it means loyalty. Love to me then meant magic. It meant unpredictability and thrill and just a little bit of danger; enough to seek a lighthouse but not quite enough to seek harbour yet.

I think love for him meant peace. I think he was young and foolish too.

Do you know what lighthouses do? I don’t. But from all the stories, movies and legends, they seem to be both guiding lights and warnings signals for each and every ship at sea. Am I the only one who senses the irony in that? It must take everything in a lighthouse to look at a pretty little ship and say “You’re beautiful, but if you come any closer, you’ll get hurt. So go there.”

Some people are like that too. Selfless, you’d think. Strong and selfless and guiding lights to those who need them and those who don’t. But while we’re all applauding these lighthouse people for their maturity, we forget that it must take everything in an unbalanced ship to hear “You’re beautiful, but if you come any closer, you’ll get hurt. So go there.” The unhinged love stronger, you know. They run towards the light and seek warmth and love louder.

You were my lighthouse. I guess it was hard to see my hinges off from way up there. My ship wasn’t even in the midst of a storm, the sea and sky were clear and calm and I think that’s really what led me to you; the insufferable quiet of it all. I thought I’d dance in your light for a while and leave at day break, and so I did.

Once.

Felt like enough, until it didn’t.

It took me months to pass by you again. I even took a detour, for the heck of it. What harm is a lighthouse, I must have thought. What harm is another dance in the light, the light that’s shining for everyone to dance in anyway. And so I came, and danced a while in your warmth, and just as it was time to leave I noticed that the closer I got, the darker it became. You weren’t meant for me to embrace, you were meant for me to love from afar, for everyone to love from afar – little did I know then, it’s darkest where the light is being cast from.

The trouble with our tryst was that you never offered me safe harbour, you just told me the rocky island was secure. I nestled my head on your shoulders and asked if you were comfortable. “More than I should be,” you’d say, because you knew you had no room for my anchor. I was a universe too late and the spoils of the ship at the bottom of your island weren’t mine to keep.

How much we fools in love bite our wretched tongues until they begin to bleed. I loved you till I realised you were a warning sign for a menacing coastline. I loved you till I realised your light was meant to usher me, not warm me. I loved you till I realised you weren’t mine to love, till I realised that who I was wasn’t for you. A cage made of hopes is but still a cage.

“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” ―John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

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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.

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

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.

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.

 

Things We Tell Ourselves

I balanced myself on the lean parapet outside the office. It was raining, and there was a meeting going on inside the office, and cutting his call was simply not an option. So I balanced myself as he spoke, catching bits of raindrops on my eyelashes.

“… and you won’t believe what she said!” He sounded appalled. More amused than disturbed by whatever news he was going to give me, but appalled nonetheless. “She texted back saying ‘Stay out of my life!’ ”

Ouch. That’s a bit harsh. The only time I ever said that to someone was when I was sixteen and I caught my boyfriend texting another girl calling her ‘babe’. Turns out I was right asking him to stay out of my life though, but that’s a story for another day.

“… and this is what I get?” he continues. “Who reacts like that when their ex sends them a nice picture of them? I just thought she’d like to have it.”

It DID seem a little ridiculous. In fact, it seemed downright preposterous that someone would talk to him like that. I didn’t need to be blinded by how much I adored him to say “Oh, chill out, she’s just being paranoid.” (Textbook. Never sound paranoid when talking to the guy you like. Ever.)

My day went on and it rained and poured and I stayed back late at work and took a lift home in a friend’s car. As I saw rain mist up my window, I did what anyone with a decent childhood does on a misty window. I wrote my name and made a smiley face. I think I was really happy. We may not have been in love, we definitely weren’t dating each other, but we were so … connected.

He’d call when he woke up to tell me what he’d dreamt of, I’d call when I’d get bored at work, we’d call each other at night to recount our day and I’d always ALWAYS send him songs I liked and he’d always ALWAYS listen to them. It was comfortable and easy and it made me smile without realizing. I liked being the one he complained to, I think. Or the one he spoke to about his dreams and ambitions.
“I want to be a one mark answer in a history paper,” he’d say, stuffing his face in my pillow because that’s how he slept, all wrapped up in my blanket like a human burrito.

And then it happened. What always happens. Life.
He helped me pack and move and dispose and sell things off and all the while, I felt it. I’d say it was chemistry but that’d be putting it in high school terms. So, for lack of a better word, I’ll say it was warmth. I felt it as he said goodbye and I moved to a new city and I felt it as he told me that just because he never said it doesn’t mean he didn’t show it or feel it and he was right. He did.

I didn’t shed a tear as I left, you know? I was so convinced things would work. We may not have been in love, we definitely weren’t dating each other, but we’d stay connected. Each other’s, at some plane.

Ah, Expectation, you filthy mistress!

I was in a new job. A new city. A new life, entirely. Of course I got busy.  I still called him. I think he got busy too. I think he may have gotten busier than he intended to. And somewhere between the unanswered calls and unread message, somewhere in the maze of new people and old family, somewhere in the spiral of Sylvia Plath quotations and different bed timings, I think I got used to not calling him.

I cut the line when he called today. It caught me by surprise and in all the excitement I cut the line. And I almost instantly called back when something in my head stopped me. I think I had nothing to say to him. I think I’d like to have asked him why he didn’t call or text anymore and heard him say he got busy, all the while knowing that’d be the answer. I know he got busy. I just thought I meant enough to him for that to not matter.

And I had nothing much to do so I opened a book and started reading it to distract myself. Calling him back was simply not an option. I guess that’s the only reason one could have asked him to stay out of their life. He was doing it anyway, might as well make it seem like your idea, right?
So I read my book and got involved in the story as the boy spoke about the girl he loved and I realized… in the end, in love, we all become stories.

And I hope he doesn’t end up just a one mark answer in a history paper.

Maybe I’m a Dark Star

“To know one’s own state is not a simple matter. One cannot look directly at one’s own face with one’s own eyes, for example. One has no choice but to look at one’s reflection in the mirror. Through experience, we come to believe that the image is correct, but that is all.”
― Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

I met all kinds of people this year; each one kind of left a bit of themselves behind. And the world that I’d created for myself, with my own ideas of black and white and acceptable grays, ultimately came crashing down. Things changed in the last one year. It’s funny how you realize you’ve changed by small simple things. A song doesn’t make you feel the way it used to. A fragrance doesn’t stir what it used to inside of you. One passive sense at a time, you realize, you’re a different person.

It gets harder every day; accepting that you kind of forgot color exists. People can be blue all their life, and for a fraction of a second they come in contact with someone yellow, and suddenly, just like that, they’re green. It’s nobody’s fault really, it’s a pigment thing. But that’s how long it takes for someone to change you. One look, one smile, one interaction; we’re all dynamic, ever changing. It scares me sometimes, how much I let people affect me.

And I can’t go back to yesterday, because I was a different person then. I believed in true love, I really did. I’m not so sure anymore. People seem to be living out of convenience more than anything else. I can’t love you because you’re too young, too old, too far away, and too inconvenient to love.

Oh, but I can. If only you’d let me.

So many people.  So many nonentities that now constitute my world. So many times I tried to keep myself to myself. So many cages put up and torn down. To what avail?
At the end of the day, we’re all just people, trying in ways we know how. The trouble is that we’re almost always on a different page. Haven’t you realized how your idea of a happy ending changes as you progress through a book? One can’t sit on page 7 thinking of all the hidden opportunities, new characters and plot twists that lay ahead and still hope for love to catch up.
It’s not something that catches up with you.
It sneaks into your life when you’re least expecting it, at the most inconvenient of times, and it makes you question things. And while you’re still contemplating and wondering, it begins to run away. And then it’s up to you to catch up with it.

But opportunity is an ill-mannered guest. And life goes faster than it comes to you.

I think I may have let it go once. I may have thought about it too long, and it may have slipped out from right between my fingers. I think that was the day I became a little evasive. I met a lot of broken people after that. We had chemistry, we had space and we had the capacity to love. And then I felt terrified because I realized that once people are broken in particular ways, they can never go back, and this is something no one ever tells you early enough and it never fails to astonish you to see people in your life break one by one. You wonder when it’s going to be your turn, or if it’s already happened.

Is that why it’s not working this time? Have I forgotten how to love right? Maybe I love differently because I’m a different person now. Maybe I love differently because even though that song doesn’t make me feel the way it did, I found another song that does.

And you can’t hear it, because it’s on the inconvenient end of your playlist.

Personal Morsels

Ever look at a familiar word for so long that it starts to look, and sound, completely strange? That feeling’s called jamais vu. It’s kind of like the oppsosite of a deja vu, only a bit more terrifying I guess. Familiarity is comfort, isn’t it? For most people anyway.

Jamais vu. Happens when you’re in love sometimes. You wake up to the same face everyday, the same voice, you complete each others sentences and you find yourself at home and then one day, all of a sudden, you’re not the same person any more. It may be just you, it may be both you and him, it may be the entire world, but something changes. Something you’re not in control of. And the same universe that seemed to be conspiring to set you guys up for life now just seems to want to pull you apart.

And somewhere along the road you realise, you still know him as you once knew him and he changes and you change and now it’s just a mess because the new you knows the old him and that’s hardly of any use. But that’s if you knew him at all, in the first place.

And what is love?

Billion dollar question, that one. People have spent their lives writing pages and pages, trying to put it in words, creating music with the wildest assortment of instruments to convey their interpretation of love, painted a thousand canvases to recreate the imagery, and somehow, somewhere down the line, when they didn’t find the right answer, they just stopped looking. It’s sad, it truly is, but the fact of the matter is, you can’t live your life trying to pixelate a fractal idea.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what love is. There’s been a few times in my life I thought I did, but I don’t. I know Math, I really know my mom, I know the peach blouse goes with the mint jeans if I accessorise right. Love, I don’t know.

It’s unfamiliar territory. Even if it’s just from jamais vu.

 

 

Mechanics of Dreams

There’s a ship that set sail really long back. It’s loaded with food and wine and promises of a better future. It’s well lit and pretty, the entertainment on board is a little dull, but hey, it promises of a better future. It’s got a mighty anchor. No matter how far out at see you may be, no matter how bad the storm may get, that anchor will keep the ship safe. So they never leave the ship un-anchored. In time, the lovely feasts begin to feel mundane and the music ceases to soothe the ears. The ship is still sailing, content; safe. You dream of life on the port you set out to reach and it keeps you going, with its promises of a better future.

But one day, you get tired. You creep out in the middle of the night when everybody’s asleep and remove the anchor. Out on the deck, you feel the cool sea breeze slap your face, reprimanding you playfully for the naughty deed. The waves climb onto you, wetting your clothes as you enjoy the chill of the night.

But the ship is now in random motion, going its own way. You see land, and get a little excited. But no, that’s not the land you set out to reach. It does not promise a better future. So the people in charge sail the ship back to where it lost its way, anchor it once more, so it’s safe, and wait for it to drift to the port they set out to reach.

But sometimes, sometimes, somewhere down the road you realise that you’re intended destination isn’t where you want to go any more. Or that even if it still is your dream, you aren’t enthusiastic about it anymore. They say it’s the journey that matters. Well, they’re right. Pull out that anchor and once in a while, let the waves take control.

Nothing promises of a better future like a heady journey.

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.