Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hoping for hope ...

At times, you genuinely feel that life couldn't possibly get any worse. An endless tirade of letting down people and no matter how much you try, you screw up. With tears in your eyes, you imagine those times when you fought with your parents to let you take up humanities because chemistry, physics and biology couldn't make you happy. Even as a child contentment mattered more you, much more than grades or an occasional praise from a school teacher.

"You don't understand," you said, "I want to write because that is the only thing I can do. The only thing I can ever be good at." Such blatant disregard of parental authority was of no use. Their willingness to make you multitask and attend two tuition for each subject since you clearly no good at it, didn't help either. But in one of those unimaginably boring classes you did manage to meet an amazingly stupid guy, who still believes in you, especially when you don't.

It is futile to be stuck up in past, but when you have fought for your way for half a decade, it is a worthless feeling to even
consider that you might not be meant for what you have forever aspired towards. That you are indeed, mediocre, and to let go, is for the best.

But then life has its ways. This particular week, when I have been the most uninspired, the most wonderful things have happened to me.

1. A book - As always, your moment of redemption is when you read. It's thrilling to vicariously experience a multitude of feelings and travel across years, generations, places. This week it was Antony Shadid's House of Stone. A two time Pulitzer Prize winning Journalist's determination to re-build the house of his forefathers house in Marjayoun, Lebanon.

Born and brought up in Okhlahoma, Sahdid was the Foreign Correspondent for Washington Post and then the New York Times, he covered the Middle east for the last fifteen years. A reporter had once asked the father of two, "Why do you keep going back to war zones?" and Shadid had most assiduously replied, "I am covering the middle-east. And war is what's happening in the middle-east." and he went about how it was important for him, to witness the revolution, to somehow believe that, "if you are not there, the story wont be told."

Shadid died in Syria in February 2012 (a couple of weeks before his book's release), while reporting the on-going conflict. A week into the project, he was escaping from the country, returning to his family waiting for him on the other side of the border, in Turkey. He passed away on his way, after an acute asthma attack.

And even though, I am just half way through the book, Shadid's resilience is what keeps me going these days.

2. Search Engines
- All hail the internet for magically producing before you the most hopeful things, which you couldn't possibly encounter otherwise. A certain boy with Spinal Muscular Distrophy starts a blog and decides to laugh at his nightmare, of his muscles wasting away over time.

Another boy with a board with the following words inscribed, "Kiss me, I am desperate". It's funny but, an act of kindness has never hurt.

A mother's first meeting with the recipient of her 13 year old daughter's heart, who passed away in a Skiing accident. Miraculously, her heart continues to beat inside a 40-year-old mother of two.

3. Wonderful people at work. Who keep looking out for you. Get you presents, guide you and make you laugh even you are the most miserable.

And then you realise, the biggest let down would be, if you stop trying and stop dreaming. If you stop believing that one day you are going to interview Shahrukh Khan or study at NYU. Life is too beautiful and blessed to be bogged down by thoughts of constant discouragement. If you are unhappy doing something, quit. But if there is an iota of curiosity to just stick around and see what happens, take it up and pursue it will all your heart.

As I have realised, life might be distressful, mundane and frequently depressing. But the question is, what are you going to do about it?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tomato Tomato

Desolation. Pain. Betrayal. Loneliness. Tomato Tomato. Sometimes a blur, sometimes brighter than the sunlight, searing into my skin.

A conundrum. The perks of being a journalist to being a writer first, ready to converse, share and confide. And then the remnants of love, found and lost. Mostly memories, the guy who grabbed you in the middle of a staircase and kissed you, first scaring you and then making you unimaginably emotional.

An emotional breakdown. The feeling of his skin on mine. Warm and comforting. A difficult day in office. And then a brilliant book. Seeing his forever contemplating face on my computer screen, a subtle sense of reassurance.

A futile attempt to join the gym. His laughter. His words, "I'll love you even when you're fat." Irritation mixed with despair, both of which, never get the better of me.

I want to write a book one day. But stories feel forever evasive. My ten year old brother finishes the fifth Harry potter book in a day. I have tears in my eyes.

My last vacation was a year and a half back. I miss home, a sense of belonging which feels so damn far. And also, of late, a strange boy with a strange name, who is always willing to make amends, "no matter how tumultuous times may be."

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Wo jo ruki si raah baaki hai
Wo jo ruki si chaah baaki hai"

It was one of those moments and one of those days. The concept of love seemed like complex hullabaloo, forever elusive. Moreover I didn't want my life to end up in a commotion where I would be a wreck, my feelings dispensed by how someone else felt about me. Also I was very particular about the kind of person I wanted in my life. Actually I just wanted one thing really - he should be anything, but me.

Not a vulnerable to the least, someone who could bear with me when I cry during videos of puppies falling off the stairs (poor little things!) Actually the idea was a little disfigured considering I grew up reading Danielle Steel and Nicholas Sparks - a world where machismo was limited to petite little things being swooned over by tall hunks, soldiers, doctors, lawyers. You know, the sorts. And I believed. Believed that it was possible that someone would like me even if I was being stupid, rowdy, a downright bully and even unfair at times. But for a long time, a harmful feeling continued to sink in that may be, just may be it's stupid to nourish a thought, where feelings were devoid of consequences.

So just like that, I stopped and became a cynic, weary of emotions, especially my own. And then, like a hitchhiker stranded in a desolate road, someone leaped into my life. Transforming my perpetual need of solitude to someone who craved company, human contact.

And surprisingly, we had similar histories. Just what I didn't want. Both downright introverts, ostensibly stubborn, sensitive and we knew the prayer "our father" by heart.

The only difference though, was that he liked cats and I loved dogs. And he had a better handwriting, was studying to be a lawyer and was somewhat a nerd. He sang like a dream while I danced to Gangnam style better than PSY. We were meant to be, after all.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

“...when you know, you know. And you don't fight it. You don't deny the inevitable. You free fall because you know there's someone there to catch you on the other side.”

"It's like I know how to love but not how to make love."

"What am I there for.." he guffawed.

"And I don't even care about it too much you know. I mean I do care.. but not like that. Plus I have been too busy...." , and before she could complete her sentence, he held her close to him and said, "We don't have to, if you don't want to."

"What do you mean if I don't want to? We have been married for like two months now, let's just get over with it okay?"

"I don't want to get over with it. It should be an experience, for both of us."

And then they stood, eyes locked, hoping that the other will break the silence.

"Fine, we will talk about this after work", and with those words she stomped out of her appartment wondering what kept her from letting her own husband touch her.

That evening, Mira took a small detour and instead of veering into the grocery section of the supermarket, she went straight ahead, brought a bottle of vodka and finished it on her way.

By the time Kapil got back home, she was already sounding nothing like herself. But even then, in her mind, she wanted to trick her husband to have sex so that hopefully by the next morning she wouldn't remember anything in case things don't work out.

She tried unbuttoning his shirt, putting her full body weight on him because she could no more stand straight.

"Since when did you start drinking." , he asked, surprised.
"Just. Aise hi."

"Let me put you to sleep. Chalo, be a good girl now."
"But I don wana be a goood girl. Me-sa-bad che!"

"Okay fine. I will come with you okay."
"No. Let's do it. Right here. Right Now."

He held her by the waist and took her to the bedroom.
"I will get a class of water. Just wait here."

By the time he returned, her clothes lay in a clump on the floor, while she pranced around on the bed.
"Whaaa- what is wrong with you?"
"Let us make BABBIEESSS!!"

He realised it would be next to impossible to argue with her. He just brought her down with a gentle nudge.

"No, I don't want to listen. I just want to.....", she said, fiddling with his shirt buttons.
"NO. Look it doesn't matter to me. I swear, even though I want it to happen. I don't want to force you into anything ."

And all of a sudden she started hitting him.
"What do you mean by that you creep? What are you? Some goddamn saint or something?"
And almost as if to shut her up, he took her face in his hands and kissed her, wiping the tears of her face. His hands slid down her body, as she stood shivering against his touch.

He removed his clothes and got into the bed, beside her. He had dreamt of this moment, but he also wanted to be convinced that she wanted it too. He knew it wasn't easy for her, with her past where often people left her and almost never was she given any say. She settled for the first guy her parents chose for her, because she was too tired battling her emotions. Whereas for him, the athesist and the narcissist humbug - it was love at first sight.

And how could it not be? Her frail disposition, her honesty, her smiles which lit up her face not too often, her incessant urge to always trust people, to look for the best in them, to rescue stray puppies and demand for a balloon in a restaurant when the kid on the next table receives one.

Truth be told, he has had numerous limpid one night stands with women whose faces he can't remember. But if he could trade all of that, to just get his own wife to trust him, he would. If he would get her to believe that he would do anything but her hurt her, he would.

Next morning, he woke up to find that Mira had already left for office, leaving him a steaming cup of coffee on the bedside, and also a note which read, "If there was anything as the best thing.. in my life it would be you.

P.s: You saved last night from being a bummer and I know I don't say this too often but do love you. You are not just my exception. You ARE my reason.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

“I don't like to give up on people when they need someone not to give up on them.”

She looked at her watch. 20 minutes past twelve. The sun over her head, she stood in the sweltering heat wondering how on earth could a guy possibly get lost in broad daylight.

"Doofus", she mumbled.

And sometime later, he appeared, from the corner of a tiny lane, wiping off the sweat from his forehead.

He approached her with a straight face.

She wonders out loud, "What am I even doing here?"

"Sorry I am a little bad with roads."

"Clearly" she said.

They don't hug. Pricey missionary education doesn't quite accomodate that.

"So where do you want to go?" she asked.



He gave her a confused look and beseeched her to take a call.

"We could go to Cafe Coffee Day later." he said. Doof loves his frape. The only thing in life which is sure about. Perhaps.

Over the most horrendous tuna sandwich, hours of conversation followed. She hated his condascending tone, his horrible gentlemanly antics and his stupid cute face which looked in awe of her, as she animatedly nudged him to speak more.

"Say something."

"Like what?"


"Let's go to CCD?"

Yeah so while she spoke, all he could think of was a ice cream laden cold coffee. Well, who wouldn't?

The day was a bummer. He didn't believe in talking all the time. And all she did was talk.

They parted ways with a handshake. Yes. A FREAKING HANDSHAKE. Respectful and polite. Hallelujah!

Two months later, both were back to their respective colleges. She was crushing heavily on a guitar player while he was... doing what he did best. Sulk and top his class and be mindlessly ignorant about any girl in his class who tried to interest him in a conversation.

He called her two months later, huffing and puffing heavily, blurting out the sanctimonious three words. It was the first time he spoke continuously while she just listened. She was again baffled by his guts when he said, "I can't stop thinking about you."

She pushed him off, told him to take it easy, promised him that he will find some one who wouldn't be an emotional wreck, like her. He backed off without so much as a grimace.

A year passed. She graduated. Moved to a new city. And then she fell sick. Menses, motions and fever.. all at the same time. She howled under her pillow, thinking of taking the next flight home. He came to know of it and kept her engaged with stories from their meetings .. he remembered things which even she had forgotten. The tears dried off in some time. And then words found shape. And from being friends.... they became more than friends.

5 years of knowing each other. Three years of inconsequential Facebook chats. 4 dates. That's all it took.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thoughts on being a woman ..

A friend of mine had once asked me to write about how it feels to be a woman. Obviously, in the present day and age even a simple question like that could lead to numerous answers having multiple connotations.

If you ask me, the idea of being a woman is quite disconcerting at times. Especially when you think of violence but otherwise also. And having a missionary girl's school upbringing does not help too much, either. Every time before settling for something different, you try and weigh the moral implications and even if your heart and mind are set on it, you are too impeded to do it anyway.

And if you are introvert who'd rather sit for hours in a book store than go out on a blind date with some random guy, you are worsening the situation for yourself.Otherwise how else will you even meet new people and get a shot at a clumsy little fling if not anything else?

Being a woman is difficult especially you are being judged, constantly. Oh your dress is too short or your hair is too messy or why do want to move out and work in a different city. Ample questions. Answers? Just one. Because I want to.

Its confusing growing up in a time where concepts like chivalry and feminism are constantly colliding with each other. Should a guy open the door for you or pull a chair or pay the bills? Of course not. For Christ's sake it is the 21st century?!

But if a guy does not do all of that, he is possibly not a gentleman because how could he take a woman out on a date and enter the restaurant before, conveniently allowing the door to crash on her face. And for someone who is an advocate of equality, it is rather confusing to even think of how I want a man to behave like when he asks me out. I mean if he too kind, he is patronizing, if his not then he is just plain stupid and does not how to treat a woman? Is that it?

It in almost always that a woman dresses up to look good for someone or something specific. Otherwise won't I,like,remain in my boxers forever? Since I am taking the effort of importunately torturing my legs by wearing 6 inch heels and a skimpy little dress which makes me sweat like a pig, I most certainly want to look good for a specific purpose. If nothing, then at least a profile picture is guaranteed.So either way it is a win win situation.

And this is what confuses me. This pretense. This idea of being 'the woman' and not yourself. I often have people telling me that I can look good if I want to? What do you mean by I want to? It is a presumptuous feeling to even consider that every woman will match up to the idea of someone who is extensively groomed and thinks twice before saying anything, lest her dentures fall out. (Okay! Just kidding :P)

It is even worse when you like someone. Do you talk to him about it? Does it make you a loser if the man of your dreams doesn't ask you out simply because the poor guy has no idea that you are massively crushing on him? Or he might not want to go out with you in the first place. Is it difficult to accept that and move on? It certainly is. Because Fitzwilliam Darcy was only the figment of some woman's imagination.

What if a guy says that he likes you but has never got time for you? Better still he likes you because he likes the idea of you and has very little consideration about what you think, feel or say. Even if it unbelievably disturbing and painful the right thing will always be to move on , even when you are sinking in an ocean of self pity and unsurmountable sadness.

Being a woman is difficult because the woman of today is far more perplexed. Her ideas are not always the best but they make her who she is. She might not know how to cook or abide by your sermons of propriety. What makes her special is her imperfections, the mistakes she makes.She knows that. And she wants the world to know it too.

Lastly as one wise woman had once said,
“When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier.”

Friday, March 8, 2013

Of a woman and a man ..

A woman is inscrutable, enigmatic, wondrous and beautiful. So is a man.

A woman is strong and weak, brutal, a fanatic yet kinder than often words can describe. So is a man.

A woman cries at movies, the man sits beside her, sombre but melancholic.

A woman throws her tantrums, gets her heart broken, breaks hearts and recovers from it. Unvanquished and strong. So does a man.

A woman gets attached to the books she reads, a man to the batman boxers he wears.

A man opens the door for a woman, treats her with a fantastic meal, expects a kiss if not anything else.

A woman cooks for a man, takes care of bills, ration and his overwhelmingly demanding pet cat, Bubloo. She expects a little bit of concern, if not anything else.

Men use women. Women use men. That's because people are inherently selfish and there is only so much one could do about it.

It's woman's day again and it makes me fathom how different we are after all. Men and women. We all want the same thing. We all have desires. We all want to live a meaningful life. But we all are mortified of commitment, of responsibility, of getting hurt, of being proven wrong. So we take the easy way out. We hurt people,pull them down, we show them what their true "worth" is.

Remember Joseph Gordon Levitt from 500 Days of Summer? I, being a girl, have often felt the same. About falling for people who don't like you back in return. It was almost like falling in love, except that it wasn't. Everyone feels lost and it is okay I guess, as long as you know how to get back, to find yourself again.

Since we like have a day to treat ourselves to discounts and rejoice on being a woman, we should also take the time out to be able to understand men better. To be able to respect them for the choices they make, even if we don't agree, especially when we don't agree.

As George Carlin had once said,
Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The idea of falling in love often felt distant, never affecting you enough to be gnawing into your existence. It is after all stupid to like anyone so much so that you could do anything for them. It is as if what he feels is what you feel, what makes you sad somehow permeates into him too. In your right senses you would want to hate him for taking you for granted, for not asking you if you’d need a ride home in the middle of the night, for telling you that he just wants to have some “fun”. But the very next instant he does something unfathomably kind that you can’t help but forget all of it and curse yourself happily for letting go, finally.

And then one night he tells you a funny story and you laugh so much that you are almost about to cry. He then asks you about your Valentine’s Day plans, in a matter of fact way which makes it appear rather unusual to not have plans on the most overrated day of the year.

For someone who is fiercely independent and does not want to depend on anyone for anything, you seem quite cheerful to have him to discuss even the most inane things which you do throughout the day. And he listens, patiently. And more often than not, he always says the right thing.

Once you had asked him what is the difference between Software and a Computer Engineer. As an IT guy and your big giant encyclopaedia, he ought to know. A friend giggled in the background,mostly in disbelief. He overhears it and tells you that it is okay to not know stuff, and if you never ask, you will never get to know.

The next few minutes he answers your question, patiently, giving examples which could perhaps be more relatable. In the mean time, your mind has already wandered away, far, far away.

He had once asked you, when do you know you’re in love?

You told him, you just know.

It was not a sudden epiphany, in the middle of a mustard field in a Yash Chopra movie. It was her in her shorts and bathroom chappals while she sat on a cold staircase, listening to him on the phone, intently.

He asked her, so did you get the difference?

And just like that, she knew...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A person from an unknown world had once commented on one of my blog posts with the following words:

"That angst of yours is really moving. I might say that I can find distant echoes but then every one is different. Hope you find the other side of life more often..."

The post was about a seventeen year old me who was tired of not being able to live up to her family's expectations. It's almost the same today,except that I have stopped caring. Also I have come to deal with the fact that nothing goes on forever. We have to take life as it comes and try to make the most out of it. But if ever I start contemplating, I realize I am the same girl, who would just about anything to persuade her Dadu to read her article in a newspaper. He is in his late 80's, so he just picks up the newspaper flimsily, sees my name and puts it down. I hadn't seen Dadu for most of my life for a fight he had with his sons. His magnanimous ego did not let him to at least retain his ties with his grand daughter who couldn't understand why she was being taken away from the person who used to put her to sleep, every night.

I haven't ever complained, but I damn well feel I have the right too. And suddenly the angst is replaced by an abominable fear which simply refuses to let go of me. Every time I come close to liking somebody I prefer to shrug it off by saying, "He is going to leave, He will leave, what will I do then, how will I survive?"

It is bizarre, yet true. And I know I need to let go. But the pull is just too strong.

In the first post of my graduating year, I hope I find it easier to gather myself and start afresh. I hope I can forgive people easily, stop complaining about what's not working and focus on what is. Life could be beautiful if we gave it a chance, wouldn't it? And this is not one of those frivolous resolutions we make towards the beginning of every year. Having said that, I wish I could live up to each of the above criterion as much as I possibly could.

Here's to a new year where we are a little easy on ourselves. Let the fear of failing not take us away from giving life a chance, of giving ourselves a chance.