Saturday, December 27, 2014

How 2014 failed to ruin me



 
The idea was to push myself off a cliff. Metaphorically, of course. To write about how the idea of self, didn’t make much sense while growing up but in my 20s it’s the only thing I can think about. To fall in love, not out of compulsion, merely greedy for the most-hyped emotion in the world, but because there was no other way except to collapse and surrender. And of course, make enough money to travel the world.

To have whacky yet benevolent life experiences, which I could write a memoir about and live off its sales profit for the next five years. Be a Carrie Bradshaw and dole out fashion advice and personal sexual narratives for a column in the New York Times. Also a role-model of sorts, who is fit and agile and doesn’t need a minimum of ten hours unperturbed sleep or feed herself every two hours to make ends meet.
 
But life now, is pretty much as staid, as it could possibly be. I haven’t taken a trip anywhere but home for the last two years because I wanted to save up for a masters course abroad. And I don’t regret it (I do from time to time). I finally managed to get my passport in hand (which took five months of incessant cribbing and almost foul-mouthing the almighty). Thereafter I applied to three colleges in the UK on my own (read: with my own money) and have since then been binge eating, drinking, sleeping and awaiting a positive response from the universities.
 
At present, I probably have less than one-tenth of the amount required to make it to one of the places I aspire to attend. But me being the forever optimist about things that concern JUST me, I somehow have this “feeling” that things will sort themselves out. It really is a childhood dream (to visit platform 9 ¾, among other things). True Story.
 
Final observation on this utterly unremarkable year, full of pit stops and disgusting chocolates is that it has also been depressing, funny and utterly beautiful and brave when I was forced to deal with things instead of hiding under my bed like a little puppy.
 
ANDDDD, I have FOR REAL joined the gym. And beating my last record of two days which was two years back, I have managed to go attend the gym for five whole days (with a three-day viral fever detour in between). I have been skipping, crunching, squatting and exercising like a boss while also stuffing my face with frappes, cheese pizzas and gooey chocolate cakes, relentlessly.
 
Hopefully 2015 will also be an unpleasant surprise like 2014 has been. And I shall welcome it like a true Leslie Knope fangirl, “sophisticated with a hint of slutty.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

All I want for Christmas is (NOT) you

As a kid, I would preserve my cleanest pair of white school socks for Santa. I didn’t bother much about if he would be tired when he got to my place, travelling across continents, should I stay up to give him a class of water and make him a sandwich? No, I wanted gifts. It was my only relationship with Santa and that was that.

Now that Santa has ceased to exist the greedy mongrel in me continues to be satiated by my friends and family who know always make a mental note when I am rambling about a book I really want to read or if I need (read: want) a new pen or lipstick, scarf or a pair of jeans.

But suddenly this Christmas eve I realize that all along I have been anything but thankful. Not for material possessions but for the people who bear with me every day and believe that I am a good person who only goes nuts at times. Whose jokes are downright unfunny but hey she is as imperfect as perfect can be! (See, what I did there)

Anyway, as I sit in my room typing this post, my head is dizzy with a viral fever which has been harrowing me for the last two days and I don’t remember the last time I was sick on Christmas, so yes, I am a little sad and also a little bitter maybe.

However this also makes me realize that Christmas is not just a hullabaloo of what presents you got and what you aspired for and couldn’t achieve. It’s also about being there in the moment. Having that extra piece of pie and not care two hoots about what it is going to do to your hourglass figure, that extra tequila shot at a random bar because everyone around is hammered anyway. Karaoke to your favourite song on a non karaoke night or better still dirty dance to it and make your friend hope for a microsecond that you didn't exist (but then come and join you any way). 

But above all a silent prayer, because somewhere somehow some Santa is looking out for you, and will make sure your wishes, they come true.

Merry Christmas everyone. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Feeling It


You know how it is? How it always is? You think you are invincible, but then just one small thing makes your world collapse. 
All your life you have been running from it. Commitment scares you. Your inability to hide your emotions scares you. The fact that you will feel a certain way about someone and that you will never matter to them, the way they do to you... scares you. 
I have never been the one for pushing boundaries. Complacency works perfectly for me because it protects my timid little soul from getting hurt and crushed, in an instant. But when you want lemonade from life, it will certainly offer you a glass of bitter gourd juice and expect you to be okay with it. 
This post is for a friend who teaches me something every day. Her unabashed nature, her insistence on including me in the craziest of activities, her inherent ability to find the best in people inspires me, although I don't tell her this often, as I should. 
Yesterday, early in the morning, she had to catch a flight back home. She didn't wake me up because I am a grumpy cat monster who can't do without 10 hours of blissful nap time. So she left, without letting me hug her goodbye. 
To be honest, I feel a huge void right now. Missing, dismissing, and reeling from the fact that I won't see her for over a week. Also hating how feelings catch up rather innocently, when you have every mind to procrastinate your sentiments till they are ready to explode like an unmanageable blister on your face. 

I guess the best people in your life will be the first ones to throw you in the pool to learn swimming, even though you are terrified. It is an important life skill they'll say, never promising that you'll NOT be scared or that your lungs will NOT bloat up because of the atrocious salty water you'll keep swallowing. 
But they will make sure of one thing though. 
That you keep putting yourself out there. Dance like no one's watching, swim like your bum is on fire and sing, because you could very well be the next Adele in making (maybe not, actually mostly not). 

And of course, feel what you are feeling... because you live only once. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Lingering Tides



She imagines him imagining her. This is her salvation.” — Margaret Atwood

At times, I don’t think a lull, a seepage of irreverent thoughts or a blow to my head could be, would be as detrimental as the idea of a future – without you. For the longest time, it seemed futile to even think about what if we did make it, you know? Right now, taking one day at a time seems tougher than trekking a mountain; and considering that I am the laziest and the slowest person on the planet that could very well imply the end of me.

I would like to think of myself as you think of me, “the girl who writes like it’s raining in the middle of May”. I want to be okay with each passing day which makes me forget how it feels to stand next to you, inhaling the faint deodorant on you which assures me I am home, where your hands and mine forever keep reaching out for each other.  

Is love enough to battle wary? Is trust enough to ward off personal insecurities? Will our misunderstandings ever get the better of us?

I wish I wasn’t as sad as I am, now. I wish that it didn’t seem like a battle to make myself understood. It was alright that we mutually hurt each other, only if we could move past it. 

Let’s not treat love like a competition but vouch only for ourselves. Can we retain even an inkling of admiration and not forget that words when not used well, shatters one’s sense of being?

Too many questions but I have just one answer. I love you, I know you do too. And I hope that’ll someday be enough.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Of dreams and us

I dreamed of you last night; two dreams, which were not daunted by the miles which separate us in reality. You gave me that quizzical look when we first met, the one that I have grown to love and miss. It didn’t matter to you that this girl who was once a romantic is now swayed by the fallacies of life, although she wishes to escape reasoning and dissolve into emotions. She has unwillingly held herself at the edge of the cliff, but can’t let go.

You know I doubt my love often, and find my conscience conceited for wanting to take the easy way out. Did it have to be this difficult? That I am always eager to misconstrue, find reasons why we wouldn’t be compatible. But then we say the most incorrigibly idiotic things to each other and the pain ceases by a notch.

Last night, I was in bed, finding it difficult to breathe with a chest full of phlegm. Reminded of the time when my feet had gone too cold at the movies, and you sneaked your hand below the seat to keep rubbing them so that they were warm.

It’s overwhelming to try and keep up when we meet after ages, make memories which should suffice for the times we spend apart. But then I dream of you. Of us. Not trying to make things work in the little time we have together, but being in the moment. Breaking into a laugh in the middle of a serious conversation, speaking endlessly of our indisputable love for our dogs and cats and how coffee just makes the world a little better.

With each day that passes us by, you inspire me to be a little more chaotic and sentimental. To trust that love will guide us, and even on darkest of nights, there will always be a glimmer of hope. And dreams which will see us through. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Bearable Lightness of Being


“I don't want to freak you out, but I think I may be the voice of my generation. Or at least a voice .Of a generation.”

Today, I feel oddly inspired for some reason. Inquisitive, curious and yes, I am also visibly anxious. I am happy because I have words at my disposal. That I can read and write, retort and emote.
I can lap up fantastically composed sentences and aspire to write like that one day. But I don't feel obligated to do it because I want to move people, as much as I have been moved. There is no urgent need to reach out and make them empathise with the experiences I have. Weirdly enough, I feel isolated from my own life. As though it were someone else's. I can relate to my unaccomplishments but also feel detached enough to understand that it happens.
I have one aspiration though. To keep doing what I do. To keep scribbling on paper and typing on the keyboard, like my life depends on it. To put out experiences because it makes you delusionaly light. At one moment you are cribbing about your frappe being horribly milky and in the next you are grinning like a monkey.
In a consumer-driven world, where we realise the worth of our bylines, our blogs or a profound status on Facebook only by the number of 'likes' or 'comments' they have got, it is high time that we go back to when and how it all started.
Perhaps to middle school, when a prude high-schooler broke your heart or when your mom grounded you for arguing with her, that in a fit of rage you locked yourself in your room and wrote for hours together. You were writing for yourself and letting words bleed into paper.

Experiences manifest themselves in different ways. But if you are a writer, you will be greedy for as many as you could possibly muster. And when you sign a bumper book deal with a leading publishing house, remember how it all began. Let it guide you and make you believe that if you can deal with snooty teenaged girls undermining your existence in class, a few bad reviews will only make you realise that you are not the only one reading your work carefully.
And let nothing change that.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Its NOT okay

I was reading Tina Fey’s memoir, Bossy Pants and in one of the first chapters she speaks of discussing with a group of women the question, “When did you first know you were a woman?”

She writes, “The group of women was racially and economically diverse, but the answers had a very similar theme. Almost everyone first realized they were becoming a grown woman when some dude did something nasty to them. “I was walking home from ballet and a guy in a car yelled, ‘Lick me!’” “I was babysitting my younger cousins when a guy drove by and yelled, ‘Nice ass.’” There were pretty much zero examples like “I first knew I was a woman when my mother and father took me out to dinner to celebrate my success on the debate team.” It was mostly men yelling shit from cars. Are they a patrol sent out to let girls know they’ve crossed into puberty? If so, it’s working.””

The reason I bring this up is because a few days back when I was traveling by bus, an elderly man on an adjacent seat asked me, “So, what brand of perfume are you wearing today?” I wasn’t as mad as I was appalled, saddened and almost silenced by the most random statement that could ever be made by an absolute stranger. 

I feel sorry for the fact that at times, instead of celebrating womanhood, we end up feeling quite dejected by it. By that racer-back top or the bright pink lipstick and the dark-kohl which we can’t do without quite often.

And to that bright, balding man I must ask, “What were you thinking really?” and do you really have to say something nonsensical to someone less than half your age because you simply can? 
When a successful actress like Deepika Padukone can be objectified by the “largest selling newspaper in the world” or when Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos are splashed across the web -to the perpetrators I ask, what were you thinking?

What is that hedonistic pleasure that you get by invading someone’s privacy, traumatising them or even questioning them on their choice of attire because really, it’s none of your business? And when, we as consumers allow this to happen, when we click the mouse on that link, we play the much-required part to make these people or organizations feel that this is the content we are asking for and THIS is what we deserve.

And this is perhaps why when a pervert pinches your buttocks and vanishes in the crowd at a railway station it dismantles you but what he probably feels is a brazen euphoria. I mean, if Honey Singh can swoon over Sunny Leone singing Char Botal Vodka, you could very well molest or letch at an unknown person. Totally doable.

And to you, I wouldn’t even bother reminding of your mother and sister because clearly you care zilch about them. Or even hope for you to have a conscience, because then I’ll be trying to invest in the prospect of you being a decent human being. Which lets face it, you never are, and never will be. 

But hear this, for the umpteenth time, ITS NOT OKAY. To ask unpleasant questions, to make an unsavoury remark, to dismiss a person because it makes you feel invincible. Its not okay that you decided to grope me, when I was barely in my teens and shatter my self-confidence and sense of being.

To make women feel safe or even to pretend that you care, you have to understand that are not they are not commodities which come with an expiration date. They have hearts, minds and YES, bodies which will open up to another person ONLY when they want to. By trespassing, passing comments you will only be alienated by the prospect of being truly admired by a beautiful person, who could be self-doubting but does not need you to make it worse.

And to those who want to make it count, instead of opening the door for her next time, fight for her, fight for her opinions and love her for it. Fight for her happiness, fight for your happiness and the next time someone circles a woman’s cleavage on a national daily (because how else could you have spotted it!), make a choice, and subscribe to a different paper. And when a friend spams you with “hot photos” of Oscar-winning actresses, realise the fact that the photos didn’t reach you with her consent. Un-friend the friend and move on. 

Let’s hope that we all manage to love kindly, with discretion and the possibility of imbibing the fact that we are nothing without an open mind, and of course a fabulous dressing sense, both of which can never be compromised with. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Moving past the 'taboo'

'What is a taboo?'

'A taboo is something you want but can't have'

'...something that makes people uncomfortable'

'....something we are not ready for'

I wanted to be unapologetic about the dream. In a way, I was. In reality, I was yet to feel the fierce force of desire. In the dream, the bus was trudging through the mountains, accompanied by the dark clouds above, guiding us through the meandering ways.

We were seated in two of the front-row seats, the rest of the passenger sat interspersed, making the bus look oddly empty.

I don't know what I was thinking. But I was awfully lonely and cold. I wanted validation. That I wasn't this pesky writer, whose only job was to reflect inwards and produce voluminous literary works out of experiences she never had. 

At times, maybe I was too picky about the company I wanted around me, the food I ate, the drinks I refused and the men I dated. It was a conscious decision to not let someone peek into my soul. Even during moments of disarray I was selective about the information I gave out to the people; especially the ones closest to me.

I didn't ask them if I looked fat in my ugly dress. 

I assumed the answers instead. 

The protagonists of my book were strong heady women who made men crave for them. For whom love was pragmatic; almost like a business transaction were the pro's and cons need to be weighed before signing a deal. In my head, I constantly envied them for their confidence. 

But today the only thing on my mind was this man sitting beside me, looking outside the window, humming faintly. It was quite distracting.

After some time he turned to look at me.

'Could you please tell me the time?'

'It's almost four.'

His eyes were of a curious shade of hazel, I noticed.

'Thanks,' he said barely opening his mouth.

As the bus moved along, those travelling with family took turns sleeping and guarding their hefty belongings. But not both of us. He just had his back-pack and I, a tote. 

Around six, for some reason (also maybe because it was a dream) most of the passengers were in various stages of their afternoon nap. Some snoring vigorously, mumbling incoherent words or being ominously silent.

I was writing in my diary, phrases mostly about the journey and what I had observed so far.

My neighbour's existence didn't matter to me till then. But the next five seconds would change everything. 

"Sorry I don't meant to intrude, but I have read all your books. I found them quite intriguing."

It wasn't the first time someone told me that they like what I write. But his words engulfed me, with a fatal realisation that all this while I have been too hard on myself, unknowingly imposing restrictions on myself; when all I wanted, was to be free.

"Also," he added.

"I think you're much more beautiful in real life. Not that you don't look good in your photos and in interviews..."

Validation.

My mouth was on his. Breathing heavily. He was surprised but he complied to my sudden whim, cupping my face, removing the hair from my face; which was flushed in an instant. 

I pushed him to the window and kept kissing him, hot tears flowing down my face. He pulled me closer to him and unbuttoned my sweater.

"Are you sure you want this?"

I nodded.

Standing awkwardly against the window, I felt the first thrust in all its absolution. Several others followed soon after. I clutched his jacket and let out a slight moan. My inner thighs were wet with blood and instead of cleaning it up straightaway, I chose to sit for a while, regaling in its glory.

He smiled at me. I muttered a 'thank you'.

He guffawed. 'Anytime.'

And then, I woke up.

Taboo, an author writes, is something we are not ready for. But when we are ready; it pushes us to dive of the cliff and let go. When we are ready, it sets us free.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Getting past 'it'

“The shattering of a heart when being broken is the loudest quiet ever.” 
Anxiety attacks; penetrating every fibre of your body. Loneliness, if only you knew its remedy. Love; oh how you wish you knew how to experience it fully, letting it engulf you completely, and not spit out your soul, when it chooses to. At times, you want to put up a fight and let it be heard by the people who have wronged you; intermittently but terribly.

‘It’ meaning the response you could possibly muster up for someone who superbly smack shit across your face leaving you listless and hurt, simply because they can and you can’t be rude to people.

Almost 22, I wish I could deal with certain situations better. That is if my only resolve to an unpleasant occurrence be it my personal or professional life, wouldn't be to break down and cry. Because apparently tears imply that you are a weakling that you aren't allowed to be frustrated, bitter or downright angry, since that makes your lachrymal glands explode.

And like most of my so-called good wishers have said. People will take you for granted. And boy do they not!

But I often wonder if it’s worth it? To be inanely passive and let things be; even if it kills you from inside. To know that your worst fear is to not that you can’t land a fantastic job or go to the writing school you have visited frequently in your dreams.

It’s as simple as being unable to stand up to the accusations of one person who means the world to you. To realise that someone’s repeated insinuations can make you think so little of yourself. And that after all these years and all the distance, it still matters. What he or she thinks of you still is majorly responsible for how you think of yourself, and you’d do anything to change it, but you’d rather not.

Secretly, you blame them for everything. Your dysfunctional antics, stopping even a friend to reach out to you because they shouldn't; because the dimensions of the entire problem are rather entangled, and also embarrassing.

Slowly it becomes a part of your existence, gnawing into your everyday reality, affecting every decision you take; however not enough to dismiss the perpetrators of a hurt soul.

An author once said, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” Maybe. Maybe not. My idea of love is mostly not the self-deprecating kind; neither am I atrocious at giving love, even though I am not utterly resplendent. But I do realise that due to a few bad experiences, I blatantly might refuse a chance to those who are quite fond of me.

So, from now I hope to try and stop feeling low and let certain people or moments define what life or love should mean to me. And be steadfast, even if not spontaneous, to move past the hurt, to grab hold of good wishes which come by my way every day. And mostly importantly even if I am unable to curtly answer back someone, to give myself the time to recover from something which genuinely bothers me.

Because some people will be worth the fight and some won't. And as always, some infinities will be bigger than other infinities. And it's up to you to pick one and go with the flow.