Tag Archives: memory

COME AS YOU ARE

Picture Credits: Hardik Batra

Welcome to my standard night at ISB. It’s 4am and it’s both late night and early morning. I can hear the Gurbani playing in the east as Calvin Harris slowly morphs into Nucleya to the west of my room. Outside in the living room, people are discussing public policy in rural India over a game of Monopoly, and as I look out of my window I see a rabbit hop towards the wood heated from last night’s bonfire. It gets too close and immediately backs away, hopping once again into the darkness. None of us gets a how-to guide, you see? Everybody’s just somewhat winging it.

The wine is over and the temperature is at it’s lowest for the day, so we bring out the rum. The Monopoly has begun to disturb friendships, so we bring out the rum. We’re out of ideas and the paper is due in two hours, so we bring out the rum. A little liquid courage never hurt anyone, so we bring out the rum. Only to wake up the next morning, thirsty, exhausted, drowsy – yet somehow more accomplished, dearer, warmer.

I won’t lie, it’s been an especially gruelling year – but that’s what we came here for in the first place, isn’t it? A year that would ideally have taken two. Not just in what we learn and experience but also physically, mentally, emotionally. Some days we surprise ourselves and own it – the classes, the assignments, the study groups and the networking, still somehow managing to spend quality time with the ones who matter. And yet, some days, we leave our spectacles in the refrigerator.

That’s the beauty of life at this pace. Ever so often it reminds you that you’re still human. Allow yourself a breath – a wasted day, a missed deadline, a failed interview. And then get back up, immediately. That’s what we came here for in the first place, isn’t it?
A year that would ideally have taken more time.

And now with graduation day almost in sight, I try to think of all the ways to tell people all the things I wish I’d known when I began my year here, most of which have to do with emotional stability. That even as you start out, you will meet people who see the same stars as you do. They will inspire you, overwhelm you, bring out the best and worst in you and slowly become a part of you.

But people, as people do, change. Sometimes you just outgrow the ones you started out with, for you mature with experiences, not with years. All of a sudden you’ll be looking at the same stars, seeing different constellations. And nobody is better or worse for it, we just make our own momentum as we go from bone crushing hugs to firm handshakes.

And then there’s the ones you find and keep – different momentums, different starting points and all that jazz. But the same escape velocity. They come out of nowhere and as they do, you realise that for this one year, you’re always one decision away from a parallel universe. And for that one reason, this year is the beginning of anything you want.

I wish we could have bottled this year, like a perfume. Breathed in a little every time life got dreary or uninspiring.

But we can’t, so we bring out the rum.

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.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason

In a motion jaded, a memory slips off the periphery.

A memory you so fondly remembered a second ago, vanished forever as if it was never there. Was it about the way your high school sweetheart’s hair smelt, on a morning you both were supposed to be in school? Or perhaps about the song that was playing when you; in all your brazen glory, drove back home in moonlight? I wonder once they make their discourteous exit, do they vacate their quarters for the newer ones? Or are they now masters of their will returning unceremoniously whenever they fancy?

In moments like these and those I cannot recall, I often wonder if they, in a orchestrated feat of human nature, have coalesced into the sweetest pain I’ll ever feel.


This post was originally written by Aman Gupta.
All rights remain with the author.

Sepia-toned Reflections

“It’s somewhere I can taste the salty sea
There’s a kite blowing out of control on the breeze
I wonder what’s gonna happen to you
You wonder what has happened to me”

The voice inside speaks up. No way, you will not snooze the alarm clock again. Out of bed. Now.

NOW!

No, wait, he looked rather cute in that scene of my dream. Two quick minutes. Two, I promise.

And then she cosies up once again, with her many pink pillows and the blanket that looks like it OD-ed on fluff, and gets back to her wool-gather.
That’s the best part about dreaming – you rule the world, all its physics and geography and background music.

It’s hot, really really hot. And still. No wind. Every leaf, every feather, lifeless.

“But I want to learn how to fly it!” she squeals, throwing her kite up in the air and running,  praying this time it will stay up, till it crash lands into the grass for the forty second time that morning.

His voice is like it always it, strong, masculine, and effortlessly confident.

“There, there”. He runs, picks up the kite, and stares at it. She’d finally torn it. After all the attacks, the pink background paper of the kite he’d picked for her finally gave way to the outline of the heart pasted on it.

“Want to go to the football field?  There are a lot of people flying kites there.”

“No, you teach me here first”

She’d never make a fool of herself in front of the world. He, however, was her personal space. He was allowed to watch her kooky moments. He might have even loved her for them.
She’d never know.

She didn’t realise when it happened. One moment, she was counting the colours in his eyes as he held her hand, the next, she was holding the kite, flying it, for real, as he held her spool and cheered her on. It might have been a bird in the sky, or a plane.

Too many people, kite flying was a sport for them. She tugs hard to save her kite from being cut.

Ouuuuuch! Damn that glass thread!

But they cut it, her kite, and she watches it as it flies higher up into the sky, getting smaller by the second.

Sigh.
He comes and gives her a bear hug. She didn’t lose her kite, after all, because nobody caught it once it had been cut. Were those the rules?

It’s somewhere I can taste the salty sea
There’s a kite blowing out of control on the breeze
I wonder what’s gonna happen to you
You wonder what has happened to me

She couldn’t see it anymore, but the thought of it flying high, far far away, coupled with the bear hug, was brilliant. He looked at her in his arms.

Click.

And like a sepia toned love note, that image will stay with her forever.

“Shall we?” he says, and smiles his gorgeous smile.

She looks at the boy, whose voice is the soundtrack of her life.

This wasn’t a dream. But it may as well have been one.  Reality wasn’t allowed to be so beautiful.