It is surreal when life echoes the words you read a week ago. Keep raining!
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Silence is an answer.
All consequences are good even those that seem bad, he told her. That was an answer too.
Hesitancy is another answer.
Disbelief, yet another.
She is quietly gathering these answers. Picking them up, letting them sink in.
She had always known it. Then why did she hope that it would be different this time around?
She doesn't have the luxury to mourn. Responsibilities beckon her.
Her silence will be an answer too.
Monday, December 29, 2014
There are times when I feel guilty about seeking my own happiness. Dare I fall in love when my whole world, my parents' health, rests precariously on an edge? Dare I allow someone new to occupy my thoughts? Dare I pursue a sliver of my own joy? Dare I think of a future?
My peers have elaborate plans about the trajectory their personal life would follow, right down to when they would pop out a baby or two, what would be the table centrepiece in their wedding, and even the music playlist on their honeymoon! I can't dare to think beyond a week; beyond my responsibilities and my duties.
That is why I have learnt to live in the moment. I want to infuse every moment with all I am capable of feeling. I am often in a rush. Hurriedly and somewhat guiltily seeking my own happiness; scared about when it might all disappear. And things do disappear. Often without warning.
But you, yes you, don't disappear on me. Be there. And I will be there too.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Cancelled all plans. Lying in bed. In a dimly lit room. Rediscovering solitude. Rereading 'The God Of Small Things' for the umpteenth time. About how Larry discovered the pulse at the corner of Rahel's lips.
I wonder if 'he' would ever discover similar concealed throbs of life in me.
Memories. A shared coffee, a shy smile, adorable awkwardness, a warm cover of gentleness engulf me.
What is this? I ask myself. Why the rush? Why can't I wait to begin my life?
But have I learnt from all the past heartaches ? To let go. I should let go. I should let go. I should let go. Let go. Let go. Let go. I keep repeating to myself.
What is true, what is willing, what is understood, and what is real will remain. If it doesn't, it was never meant to be.
Everyone loves differently. Him. Her. You. Me. They. Effusive or reticent. Immediate or slow. True or facade. As a heartfelt call or as a substitute for loneliness. But at the end it all comes down to love. Caring for the other's happiness more than self, the desire to know the other as completely as self, the realization that the other's existence is as true as one's own.
This bubble of affection that wraps me gradually at the mere thought of him. What should I do? How do I learn to control my hopes? How do I control my fears? How do I nurture rationality, which always seem keen to thwart the surge of emotions? How not to feel so much?
I don't know the answers.
So I will keep away. Till the day love knocks on my door, 'put a hand below my lowest rib', brushes away the anxieties, and takes me into his own little world.
I don't know restraint.
I don't know holding back.
I don't know diplomacy.
I don't know mind games.
I don't know slowness.
I don't know saying what I don't mean, and not saying what I mean.
I don't know how to prove my intent.
I don't know who is true.
I don't know why I love the way I love.
I don't know why things that feel so so right hurts us the most.
I don't know how to take back the words.
I don't know how not to think.
I don't know how not to care.
I don't know how not to feel 'too much'.
I only know how to go back to my shell.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
That things would be alright.
That love is just there, lightly tapping you on your shoulder, when you were not looking.
That superficial attractions and the pomp and show and the butterflies in the stomach are not signs. The comfort of a quiet and steady company is.
That a smile can melt all your resistance and wash away all your fears.
That life REALLY does go on.
That life can change in the ordinary instant. It is amazing how much love the heart still holds despite the bruises and cracks.
That a hope can lift you up.
That you finally understand that good and right are not synonymous. And that the ordinary day can throw you the loveliest of surprises.
That a voice can make your heart leap with joy; erasing all echoes of the past.
That life is rife with possibilities. Some we find; some finds us.
That silver linings need to be chased.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Sometimes in the midst of an ordinary day filled with ordinary chores and obligations, my ordinary heart leaps with joy at the sudden awareness that I am finally in a good place in life; overcoming the hurdles-avoidable or unavoidable, self-created or circumstantial, devastating halt or unexpected bends- it's over, it's over, it's over, I remind myself. Did the past really happen? Does it matter? Dark clouds still hover, but I refuse to take my eyes off the silver lining. It's impossible for me to give up hope that eventually 'all is well'. Not will be, it already is. The little blessings are hard to ignore. The lost opportunities, lost love, lost years are only scattered paragraphs in the book of my life. The rest of the pages are filled with love, laughter, family and friends, calm and solitude, literature, travels and moments of everyday happiness. And yes splashed with HOPE written in bright purple ink.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
The nights are damp and cold and windy. A vague reminder of the hills. It rains and stops and rains again. I love it. Cold autumn weather. Sweatpants and flannel shirts and scarves weather. Soft blue quilt weather. Hot cocoa weather. Curl up in bed delving into stories or weaving new ones weather. Petrichor weather.
There was a light drizzle when I walked back from work yesterday. The road was wet and shiny, reflecting the old oak trees that lined it on either sides. I stepped into occasional, unavoidable puddles; and my bag bore the brunt of the slanting rain. But the wind that whooshed through the trees was so cold and magical, I didn't want the walk to end and be cooped up in a dark, cramped hostel room. So I decided to head off towards the centre of the college campus, nearly four kilometres away. The evening light and overcast skies threw beautiful shadows on the grand buildings and brought out every shade of green in the foliage. The impending rain was a thrill, waiting to see how far can I make it before it pours down.
The collage centre has landscaped gardens, a temple, large green fields, numerous tiny eateries and a central library housed in a grand, opulent ochre building with brick red domed roof and balconies. Of course, I went to the library.
It was already past the hours to issue new books, but I liked to walk through the huge circular hall lined by tall, never-ending wooden shelves stacked with several thousand books. And the narrow corridors that led off the hall into various sections of rare books and manuscripts, the linguistics section, the book stack housing novels old and new, the arts and sciences sections, research sections, and journals section. It was my own personal heaven. I stayed browsing books till the sun set and tall, yellow lamps were lit in the garden outside.
I took a rickshaw back to the hostel, the magical wind still howling around me. I missed something sorely then. Or maybe someone. But soon I was back in my warm room, munching banana chips, sitting crosslegged on the bed and studying about paragangliomas while "Rocks On The Road" played on my phone. My room-mate came from back from (supposedly) "evening" shift at the hospital well beyond midnight and after an hour of giggles and conversation, she created our routine 'ambience' to bring about sleep, that is switch on the air cooler. Even when it is biting cold outside because we could no longer fall asleep without the pleasant hum of the air cooler.
In the morning, she left for work at eight. And I found myself unable to get out of bed. Head exploded with pain and fever burned every inch off my skin. I called up a friend who readily agreed to replace my duty at the department till I felt better. I spent a couple of hours gathering the strength to walk the few steps to the medicine cabinet!
The day was spent in my darkened room, buried under two blankets, sleeping fitfully and aching for home. I longed for company, someone to just sit by me for a few minutes. For reasons unknown to me, I dreamt of you. Got teary-eyed and went back to sleep. It was only towards three in the evening that my fever broke.
The feeling of utter loneliness and crying continued. I wondered if it had anything to do with the pent up worry about my mother's recent cancer scare. Or was it just hormones? Or maybe it was an embarrassing pining for lost love? I hadn't ate anything since the past twenty hours.
Just then my phone rang to inform me that the books I had ordered online would be delivered in five minutes. I had no choice but to walk downstairs to collect them. Holding the neatly wrapped package of books in my hand brought about an instant change in my mood. I suddenly craved food and went into the dining hall and quietly had a hot meal of rice and rajma.
Feeling strengthened, I returned to my room and set about cleaning it up and opening the door to the balcony to let in fresh air and some pale sunshine. Then with eager fingers I unwrapped the package to unravel the books.
Maus- Art Spiegelman (A graphic novel that is one of the most personal retelling of the Holocaust)
Mr Penumbra's 24-hour bookstore-by Robin Sloan (The title is enough to intrigue me. Books about books and bookstores. Porn for me.)
Delta of Venus- Anais Nin (I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the sexual escapades of Henry Miller to even Khushwant Singh. But I had never read erotica written by a female author. This book would be a welcome start)
So in the bleak mess of damp weather, high grade fever and loneliness, the books and the stories that awaited therein managed to salvage my day, and reinstate my autumnal love. Books always save me.
Saturday, October 11, 2014
You who never arrived
in my arms,
Beloved, who were lost from the start,
I don't even know what songs
would please you.
I have given up trying to recognize you in the surging wave of
the next moment.
All the immense images in me -- the far-off, deeply-felt landscape, cities, towers, and bridges,
and unsuspected turns in the path,
and those powerful lands
that were once pulsing with the life of the gods-- all rise within me
to mean you, who forever elude me.
who are all the gardens I have ever gazed at, longing.
An open window in a country house-- , and you almost stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
Streets that I chanced upon,--
you had just walked down them and vanished.
And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
Who knows? Perhaps the same
bird echoed through both of us
yesterday, separate, in the evening...
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
One of those days. Cooped up in a darkened room. Black oversized tshirt and grey track pants. Bloated. Sadistic uterus on a torture spree. Umpteen cups of ginger tea. Lying in bed, listening to chirping birds, losing track of time. Aching for home. A book comforts for a couple of hours. Work forgotten. Inertia worshipped. Solitude. Sleep. Slowness. No thoughts. No plans. No 'to-do' list to strike off. Everything awaits behind the bulging door of tomorrow. But today I give up and crave quiet companionship more than my usual preference for solitude. I want someone to make me another cup of ginger tea, hold me, listen to 'wild heart' on my old ipod, and whisper stories throughout this long, blue, autumnal night. But then, its so difficult to realise simple wishes. Definitely, one of those days.
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Yesterday I heard the words I had always known and secretly dreaded, loud and clear. No roundabouts. No vague references. No sugar-coated assurances. The plain, simple truth. That love isn't enough, sometimes. I thanked him. For his kindness in finally saying it out loud, canceling all the earlier vague replies and gestures, ripping of every shred of hope. I just turned off the light and slept off. Part of me never wanted to wake up and face the gaping hole that the lack of hope and his absence would cause. I woke up though, late, and on a wet pillow.
The overcast skies and heavy downpour echoed my mood. I skipped breakfast. And then lunch. I didn't smile at my friends and colleagues. Formalin vapors in the histopathology room became the ready excuse for my reddened eyes. I missed home. A lot. My bed. My books.
I didn't know why was I mourning something I'd always known. Maybe it's just the death of hope. There'd never be any reading between the lines, no searching for subtle clues of love and caring. "No matter what I say or what I do, how many more decades I wait for...he would never love me", I said it out loud. He would never love me. Yes. Fuck it. Why am I crying out a river for him then? As if on cue, part of my mind fell into absolute darkness. I can no longer recall having loved him. It was just that sudden. Just that complete.
The upside is the vast expanse of time before me that is no longer wasted in daydreaming, checking if he is online, writing to him, worrying and worrying some more. I decided to get some food into me. The unpalatable hostel food won't do, and I ordered in my favorite dishes. An hour of delightful banter and racuous laughter with my friends followed. I read for pleasure last night. With a free mind. Love had crippled me. Amplified my negatives. Maybe I'm not cut out for love. Maybe it was the wrong person. The wrong time. Maybe I should just concentrate on creating my own happiness...books, hills, travel. The simple joys. Love should never again be the centre of my happiness. It is risky. And foolish.
Yes, memory is a tricky thing. The sudden darkness that fell over certain bits of it, has blunted the pain and makes it so much easier to go through the day. Essential coping mechanism. I'm meant to survive everything on my own. And maybe it's a good thing.
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Friday, May 16, 2014
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
Toba Tek Singh and Other Stories by Saddat Hasan Manto
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri