Be brave.

“Rant. Keep it coming. I promise you’re just  getting started”, she said with a smirk.

“Well, that’s just comforting”, I went on with the cue eye rolls. “That piece of shit. I mean who does that? All those months and I know I haven’t exactly been myself either”.

“Welcome back to planet earth woman”, she laughed.

“Don’t let me take off to another universe next time”.

“This isn’t your first time and it certainly ain’t your last”.

“I love these happy thoughts”, I said with a mouthful of fudge cake because was there nothing in the world that vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, brownies and almonds couldn’t fix. Also, when your heart needed tending to, when has ice cream not been there for you?

“Let’s get alcohol”, I said, not truly meaning it.

“Okay, do you really want to get drunk, have a subsequent hangover and then remember, why you had to get drunk in the first place?” she said with that you-know-I’m-right face and the raised eyebrows she loved giving ever so often.

“Why are you making valid points today?” I asked with a pout.

“Because, I’ve been there and done that and what you currently want is to do something stupid, which we shall, but completely in our senses so we can remember it. How about this, mark this date, one year from now, we’re coming back here and we’re going to laugh about it”, she replied.

“That…. Sounds like a plan. Let’s do it!”, I said a bit perked up.

“We are not mourning this, we’re celebrating this. Because, you darling did something no one does all that often. You spoke up, you said what you had to say and now there are no what ifs. You aren’t going to spend the rest of your life knowing you had the chance to say it and that you didn’t. No regrets. You were brave. You take chances and he’ll stay there, miserable and just accept what life has to offer. You will thrive and you will demand what you want wherever you go. Celebrate that as you let go. I can’t understand what you’re going through but I can listen. So go ahead, feel like complete shit and be in what you’re going through. Take a week, a month or a year if that’s what it takes. And I’ll stay here and while you continue to blabber and order another double scoop of rocky road”.

I did feel like crap but she was making a point and it did make this so much better. “Haven’t we had enough ice cream already?”

“Don’t be such an aunty”, she said while a bunch of young moms walked in with their equally young and adorable babies. “Oh my God, why are they are they so cute? I want to hold all of them. So many babies, this is my hell”.

“I’m not an aunty and since when do you like kids?”

“I like babies, not kids. The little shits grow up and start talking, that’s when you want to throw them onto the streets”.

“I’ll let you babysit my hypothetical 6 year old someday”, I say while ordering that rocky road anyway when she laughs. “Happy?”

“Do you want that kid to die? Or do you want me to suicide? Don’t let it near me. Also, you have a long way to go. Let loose, woman”, she says proudly.

“God, these kids are cute”.

“You want some someday don’t you?”

“More like I want 3. But then again, I’ll probably have 1 and scream because l made that merry decision to bring life on this forsaken planet”, I say with that sarcastic smile and that incoming rocky road.

“Look at them, they’re so happy”.

“At least someone’s happy”.

“Let’s take this party somewhere else?”

“Yes please”.

So we finished that rocky road and walked to a random street till I just stood there for a minute and remembered why I needed a break today from anything and everyone. There was this house on that street and it flanked this beautiful tree with flowers that remind you of summer that was coming and near it was a little footpath clean enough to sit down. So that’s what I did, I took my phone out, played some Coldplay songs(the instrumental versions) and decided to just sit there because why the hell not? And she joined me.

The song helped us focus on our surroundings and it felt good to just breathe, and in that moment I knew how much I needed it, some peace. She did too. We probably looked like two druggies about to smoke up at 7:30 pm but it was beautiful. Some days, we need silence, because it’s louder than you believe and some days you need to be young and stupid.

We sat there for 15 minutes straight until I spoke up, “Engineering sucks”. And she just looked at me a while until we were both laughing hysterically and loudly because tomorrow was truly unknown despite that beloved degree we were both pursuing. We laughed until this middle aged woman on the opposite side of the road wouldn’t stop staring and judging but a young heart couldn’t care less. That moment was simple yet infinite. It was acceptance that we had a long road ahead with regard to everything, jobs, love, travelling, family and it wasn’t going to be easy. But there was truly nothing some food and a meaningful conversation and some more food wouldn’t fix.

Life was never for those who suppressed things and died every day. It is truly in spirit of those that had embraced the uncertainty while not leaving behind that balance with some practicality. Life was those who said it, and said it out loud even if it burned their world because you deserve to be listened to. Life was for those who dared to make that mistake especially when they knew where the path was leading because they paid attention to the journey. Life was for those who believe in being happy because we are the generation that knew that things were meant to be questioned. Life was for those who took in a moment because they knew they were hard to come by.Life was for those who stayed even when it got hard. Life was for the brave.

 

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And someday, I’ll build that castle again…

There’s a silence before every storm. The signs were always there, I just chose to ignore them because I thought it would get me to the one destination I wanted the most. I let you blow out the candles when the wishes were mine. She’s gone you know, that girl you met, on that uncertain evening. I promise she wanted more, but right now, she’s given up all the pieces for you and you’re not even here anymore.

We had it all. We had the perfect start, the perfect end to that chapter. I just wish I hadn’t clung on to that page so much, and we’d both be in a better place right now. I promise I don’t hate you; I can’t because you let me see a side of you that no one knew existed. You let me in and I let myself stay there. Never create places that’ll dip you in ecstasy to subsequently drown you in the same. I was trying to mend us but each time; I didn’t realize that I was breaking you. I don’t know how your past few weeks have been. I’d ask but it would be cruel to both of us to create a raging possibility of a distant future. I can’t control what’s coming for both of us, but right now I want to make sure it doesn’t end with either of us in the same place.

You were my summer song and summers don’t last beyond July. I was supposed to change the song on that playlist but now the replay button is damaged. People change and grow with seasons. I don’t blame you. You weren’t a monster, you were human and I finally knew my reality. Who knew landing on the ground had much more to fear than when you’re falling? There was a castle in that sky, and I was trying to make a home in a house. I’d make you climb the stairs to the highest floor of the highest tower but for a moment, I had closed my eyes and let that floor crumble beneath me till there wasn’t a place where you could reach me again. And just like that, I’d destroy the castle, you’d conjure an ocean and there’d only be venom in the spaces that separated us. You’d set fire to the crumbled castle and the smoke wouldn’t let me breathe, so I’d run. The truth was I was breathing oxygen this entire time while my mind had craved breathing freedom.

So she left, so she could build a simple home this time instead where laughter would be frozen in photographs, every drive meant the liberating wind on her face and in that home, she mattered. It was a home where you could smell peace on the fresh green grass. It was a home where your picture could hang on the wall and she would no longer feel pain because that moment would be left untouchable; and you’d have taught her to build another castle for it had happened once. It was where she’d gain acceptance.

 

 

A Scribbled Story.

22nd October, 2016

I’m struggling with conversations. No I don’t mean the kind where a person starts fumbling at words with anxiety but that I’m actually out of things to say to people. There is nothing wrong with the universe, they’re just wrong for me. The wrong ones surround me and the right ones are across borders that I can’t cross right now. Did you ever feel so comfortable with yourself that the rest of the world seldom matters? I’m better off alone. I’ve taught myself that my entire life until you were my unbecoming. But now that I’m back home, I need to get used to being alone again. It was much easier than I thought to get back to that shell. The shell where I look at people every morning and smile and the smile says I’m fine when I’m all but.

What does fine mean anyway? I’ve got my shit together so I’m fine? My grades are good so I’m fine? I’m happy as a unicorn so hell yeah, I’m fine? So yes, I think I’m fine as long as I’m left alone in a corner to do my thing. I want to listen to tragic songs on my headphones and contemplate life as it passes me by, text you while I’m at it, laugh at whatever stupid maniac theory we come up with, do math and just be. I don’t want to talk to someone. My classmate actually talked to me today and guess what when I realized I didn’t have anything to say to him and so I asked me if he’d heard a song you asked me to listen to last week. It’s all I could come up with. So I smiled and laughed and let him talk. I wish that the company of another human being would make me feel better at this point, but all it did was make me uneasy. I really did want to be left alone. I’m not lonely but I miss you most of the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamt of a moment where I’m booking a cab that takes me to the airport and the first I’d see is your face and we’re so relieved that its each other. I day dream that I’d run up to you and hug you while you hugged me back just as tight and I’d take in your smell and breathe your essence for a while. Then, we’d place our foreheads against each other’s and grin for a moment and ignore what every onlooker had to say about our moment. I had a conversation today that wasn’t small talk and I still felt empty. This sounds harsh but I tuned out to few of the things he had to say. Sure, we talked about the presidential debate and it was an intellectual conversation but I’d rather argue over it with you. And as dysfunctional as this may sound, I just want to be alone. I don’t know how long this behaviour or this arrogance as the world perceives it will last but I’m tired of trying to make a friend or connect with anything when it’s just not happening.

I wonder what population of the universe feels a part of them die on the inside over the meaningless glances, fleeting frustrations and the constant feeling that they don’t have a place where they truly belong. I wish we belonged in a universe where free will was all that mattered, where I wouldn’t be judged for wanting you as much as I do. I know you died last month but you’re still here. I wish this could get a bit easier, someday.

I’ll  see you soon?

 

You’ll be here, even when you’re gone.

Sigmund Freud compared the pain caused by the death of a loved one to that when the person experiences melancholia. It’s true, he wasn’t lying. We don’t need to see someone die to hit rock bottom. Every single battle witnessed in history, it doesn’t matter who won, because they only won a battle to lose the war.

I see too many happy faces on Facebook, mostly selfies, weird faces, captions and screenshots. Does anyone else wonder if that really was someone being happy or begging for the validation so they were more socially accepted? The truth is nobody wants to know if you ate popcorn at that movie you loved, but you want to know that girl who sits aloof in a corner in that library.  Why? Because she managed to do something you couldn’t. Stay alone. I don’t know if she asked for it or if she grew to love the solitude and peace over time. You want to know that story. You want to know that while the rest of the world is a happy façade, there’s still a picture to burn.  I don’t know you but if you gave me that one song you love so much, I’ll know you so much better. I’ll listen to it once, twice and the third time I’ll know what line hit you like a wave, and it wasn’t the happy one.

It’s a selfish existence. When someone is gone, you don’t miss them, you miss what they could do for you if they were here. That photograph of an ex lying on that last page of your diary is still there not because you still love them, you miss being happy and an embrace like no other. You’re trying to steal back lost time but the Hannibal has already been cast. You don’t just lose people, you lose yourself, the girl that looked out the window of a bus to smell the rain or that boy from a photograph in 8th grade. You’ll live a thousand lives to die for the one that’ll you’ll never have. You’ll try to co-exist in a space where you can’t live the dream you see with open eyes. No one warns us about how much harder it’ll get, not life, but trying to understand you. You want to understand why a person who’ll hurt you over and over again is who you’ll love like a drug in the blood stream. You want to understand why you let someone undermine your authority. You want to know why you have memories with a complete stranger. You want to understand why your best decision was your worst. You want to know why we’re all so naked with clothes on.

So yes, I may see you laughing in the college canteen, but there was so much more to you. Tell me what makes you tick. Tell me about those 5 seconds that never let you be the same again. I’m sorry if I won’t remember your favourite colour or if you hate raisins with your cupcakes.  But I’ll remember what you confessed over coffee, because you’re not a person to me, you’re a story and you’ll be here, even when you’re gone.

Because, we’re the aftermath of a war someone else fought, to see you live.

Dream a little dream of me

Mitral valve replacements and heart failures. The conference went on and so did the snooze fest. Her classes had taught her to break everything down to a molecular level but most days all she wanted was to feel the surface, rugged and uneven in all its glory.

She simply existed in a space where she wasn’t serving any purpose. To be in one dimension, and to have that occasional trance bring her home. She contemplated why the universe had sent her here, a place where the longing to belong would take its toll. She wondered  if at that very moment if there was just one person who was feeling the same. Breathing, not living. Moving through a crowd unannounced or walking that lonely street with tangled earphones screaming  Linkin Park.

She wondered if there was someone who’d show her the kind of music she didn’t  want but needed. She wondered if a stranger’s eyes were more familiar than they should be. Of course, it was all in her head but the Potterhead knew it couldn’t mean that it wasn’t real.

She screamed captivity in a free land. She was trapped in her own mind because the world simply wasn’t enough. Her anger made love to pride and gave birth to rebellion. Molecules never appealed the soul like hummed poetry on a midnight with ukuleles. She wanted her feet wet in the sand. So she’d dream, everyday, a little dream till each one forced out the world that her neurons created and shattered the thin line between her blank unresponding self and that mundane black board.

She dreamed like it was okay to just be here a little while and paint other futures with the night sky. She dreamed of home. She dreamed a little dream of me.

90 minutes

“Promise me that if I ever say something you absolutely positively hate or something that I did, you’ll tell me”, he said while she wondered what got him to bring this up. She paused just about to talk when he talked again, “Yaar, tell me one thing I trouble you on a daily basis, why are you still here?” That question somehow perked her up as she replied, “The same way I mutually berate you”.

“What has gotten into you today?” she asked.

“I’ve let go my entire life and somewhere either I lost interest or they did or we left too many things unsaid. I never tried hard enough but now I want to change that one aspect of my life. Tell me, tell me everything. What did you think of me the first time we met? What were the few things that pissed you off that first week? This is my week of taking criticism, so feel free to rant against me”.

She smiled as she reminisced that shy boy she’d met at that airport and how far he’d come from annoying her to opening up for once in his life. Conversations were never small talk. Everything had to mean something because the universe had always made it its personal mission to push two people to grow together under the weirdest of scenarios. “Well you were annoying, still are. You’re grumpy when you take photos. You like to be the hero everywhere, and let everything die inside you. Seriously, what’s up with that? You can be so full of shit. Like hello, do you derive some personal pleasure in being all dark and twisty?”

“Wow. You took the feel free to part pretty literally. Nevertheless go on”.

“You like DC over Marvel.  You can just —-“, she said as he cuts her off to defend Batman. They were laughing through the argument by the time he was done defending his favourite superheroes honour.  She yawned softly. “ You should go sleep” he said. “What about my criticism? Don’t you have something to say?” she asked away still fighting sleep. “I do bu—-“ he said as the call got cut exactly at 89 minutes and 59 seconds like every other time that reminded them that it was post 1 am and there were assignments waiting for the week and that last half hour of the Prestige that she never got around to watching.

“Hey again”.

“Hi”, she said still smiling because the next 90 minutes had just begun. “So you were saying?” she teased. “You really are annoying”, he said with that half smile she picturized him give all those miles away as all the undone laundry lay in a bucket of soap in front of him, not that it ever mattered.

As those 90 minutes flew they realized that no matter how long the other were to stay, it wasn’t the words that would break them, it would be the lack of those 90 minutes.

I can’t remember when…

I sat there at the dentist’s office the other day where I saw this baby girl, not more than two running around waiting to see her dad and smile and jump like the rest of us weren’t there. While to her mother, the laughs and the mischief’s were nothing more than cacophony, I looked at the girl in the eye and smiled. Maybe because I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t so tired when I got home from university that I wanted to collapse or because I can’t remember the last time I was excited to see my parent just because they are my parent. I can’t remember the last time I smiled like that, like the world ceased to exist in between the snorts of the laughter. Yes, I’m talking about the absolutely ugly laugh that would cause people to turn around annoyed half angry that I was disturbing them and the other half envying me that I had a reason to be just that happy.

I can’t remember when I got so practical. I’m trying to pinpoint the exact moment when the child inside me left my soul like it was never there. Growing up wasn’t supposed to be so harsh. I can’t remember when the idea of a fairy tale that was ingrained in my mind left to believe that at the end of the day maybe surviving was enough. The occasional Harry Potter helped to let me keep believing in magic but I wonder if that’s enough right now. I can’t remember when the cynic inside me arose either to engulf the girl who’d always look out for the best in people. I can’t remember why I never tried to find my way back to her.

I can’t remember when leaving the house after 8 became so unsafe that most days you’d never consider it unless you’d absolutely have to. We weren’t supposed to be protected, we were supposed to fly and migrate with the wind. We were supposed to build sandcastles and imagine objects in clouds, but most nights we’re trapped inside four walls that don’t leave too much room for creativity.

I can’t remember when I started simply looking and stopped observing. I can’t remember when time went by but I was what got spent. I can’t remember when loving a person was no longer a fact but a weapon people used against you at your worst. People aren’t what should be protected but this will always happen because the cynic in me refuses to look at this with a beacon of hope. I can’t remember showing affection only got reduced to social media posts with desperate people who craved the validation. This is isn’t what we were supposed to be. I can’t remember when the crowd began to suffocate me and I got so good with being alone it made people uncomfortable. Solitude wasn’t always bliss and now it’s what you crave.

I can’t remember when I stopped noticing the joys in the small things. I can’t remember when I started hearing and stopped listening. Reading between the lines is a rare gift now. I can’t remember when soft toys turned expensive tops and letters to emails. I can’t remember people turned to remixes over good old poetry. I should be a song written in the sky instead I’m scattered droplets of water on the floor yet not cleaned. I can’t remember when flip flops turned to heels when you used to have your father’s shoulders to climb on and see the world. I can’t remember when being taller became a need because some heights are so perfect that that bone-crushing hug let’s you hear his heartbeats.

I can’t remember when forever became a myth that’s used so often it degraded that very value of the word. I can’t remember when someone taught me to stop believing in it. I can’t remember when we became as fragile as glass but with a facade of steel out front. I can’t remember when letting feelings die inside us every day became a core of our being. We say so much yet not what we’re supposed to. I can’t remember when actions were being ignored to believe words people never meant. I can’t remember when crying or being sick became a burden. I can’t when I grew up so fast to let myself not depend on them again. I can’t remember the last people traveled not to take back photographs but memories home. I can’t remember when a home became just a house.

I can’t remember the joy of going to school turned to the dread of attending lectures I snoozed through in university. I can’t remember education stopped being about learning but about getting that typical where everyone came home only to complain about their boss. I can’t remember why I stopped dancing in the rain on my rooftop because I was scared I’d get a cold and couldn’t complete my assignment. I can’t remember when exhaustion didn’t leave room for fantasies. I really should be on a beach in Bali enjoying the weather even when I’m so broke I can’t book a flight there. I can’t remember when birthdays were a reason for random strangers to throw cake at your face rather than peaceful family dinners. I can’t remember when I grew up so much I wanted to head out into the world. I can’t remember when being an independent woman became a threat.

I can’t remember when deep conversations turned to small talks and crowds made you look for just that one friendly face because the rest truly are irrelevant. I can’t remember when late nights were for writing reports instead of reading novels. I can’t remember when the hurt began writing scribbled stories.I can’t remember when the universe ceased to inspire and motivate me. I can’t remember the last time I felt truly amazed or touched. I can’t remember when the world began to judge on the basis of caste, color, race or religion and yet we called ourselves “evolved”.  I can’t remember when being different started causing me the feeling of shame. I can’t remember the day I realized the monsters weren’t under my bed but the demons within. The monster I am at 2 am is cascaded by the shy introvert that walks during the day.

I can’t remember when I stopped recognizing the girl I saw the mirror today or when the lightning had a split the sea. I can’t remember when I started saving myself from drowning, from people and emotions alike. I can’t remember why no one reminded me to look at all of this because all of this goes unnoticed, every day, every second and to everyone who walks by you. I can’t remember when the universe let that black hole breathe the earth in or when voices were just shouts into voids, when children died hungry, thirsty, diseased or hurt. I’m trying and I can’t remember. I can’t remember you and most of all I can’t remember her.