not that usual ‘burnt bread’ morning.

7 PM. At the 2nd beat, he says, you have to stretch enough to bend over your back but not so much as to crouch at your knees. Your fingers try hard to reach your toes but the expanse somehow still falls short of the touch by an inch or so.

After the class, you feel unusual. Like baptized by the sweat. The sudden endorphin rush. The euphoric high that follows after. All feel like unexpected remittances earned on a whim. You haven’t felt quite this way in days, even weeks, perhaps months? And you can’t really put a finger on what exactly is working for you this moment, just that it is, and quite unparallelly well. You watch your reflection in the mirror. A body shifting and swaying. Swirling around and strutting its parts into shapes it has never worn before. Inside these walls now, there is no place for inhibitions. You immediately fall in love with the shadow dancing behind you.

11 PM. Winter doesn’t touch Bangalore half as intimately as it permeates Delhi. There, it marks its territory on your body through the cracks on your lips. There, when it arrives, you come to know it and know it well. But here, things are different. Subtle. And for once, you miss the harshness of it. For once, you miss Delhi. But maybe it’s just the memories. Maybe it’s just home and the roots and stuff like that. Snap to the next second and you’re like, chuck it! Delhi isn’t half as fun as Bangalore.

Anyway, the chill in the air is still well perceptible. You have been riding against speeding winds. Slapping your face. Trying to cut you into two. Biting a freezing hole in your chest. Your fractured self almost wonders if it could bury all its bruises in there.

12 AM. The hotel looks like a swanky place. You doubt if you should hit the bar here. One beer shouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket a size that big. But R says you are just overestimating the place. So you walk in, into the lobby, up the elevator. There’s some corporate party going on. You grab one of the chairs and blend in. Blame the fruit tarts and the green tea cheesecakes for their hypnotic pull.

You watch the city from this roof. A sea of bright dots punctuating the space all around. It looks beautiful. And the night’s perfect. Everything of it. The time, the place, the table, the view, the beer too. Eventually, you muster enough courage against your own self and try to articulate into words what you have been fighting, for a long time now. You try to put a name on your pain. Maybe, giving it an appropriate identity will make it ordinary, cliched, usual, normal? Maybe, just maybe, it will take away its power so that it tones down its wrath. So you try to label the source, categorize the hurt. Also so that you could outright blacklist that thing from your future. Everything else too, that comes bearing the slightest resemblance to it. You dread all that. You build walls now. But, funny thing: you don’t always get to pick what you experience. And weirdly, the party’s too loud to allow your pain to touch the right decibels. Nothing heard is nothing said. You quickly chuck it and settle with gobbling up the white chocolate swan. Sometimes, petty pleasures are the best things in the world.

1 AM. You crash at the next door bar at Hammered for a while. R says you don’t have to figure out your life this very night. You don’t really understand what he implies. Would there be ample time for it later, or would there never be enough time so there’s no point at all?

Anyway. Distractions are good. You never imagined they could be reassuring. Like stepping stones through a puddle. Helping you skip past the middle of nowhere. You learn to identify them for what they really are. All the bardot dresses choking your Shein e-cart? Passion weighing down on an app closet. The body craving the satiny caress of the scallop suede halter top that you cannot even slither into (will! one day, will!), but are still ordering anyway? It’s a waist-sized revolt. And this proud collection of rust, nude, and cocoa lip colours in the frayed pocket of your handbag? Palm-sized flags reminding you to also feel alive while you be. New folds on the pages of old books? Creases marking your reclamations of personal time and space. That tiny assorted pack of 12 sketch pens lying on your bedside table? Wilderness sealed in plastic. You pick a pen, implode inside a notebook, and take back the world.

2 AM. IISc Campus. You park outside the N Block. The institute air has something about it. A whiff of those days. Delhi. NSIT. Parking. MPAE block. You tiptoe into the jungle, and back in time, simultaneously.

4 AM. Chai-hunting all around Bangalore. Even the railway station doesn’t have shops open this late. (Or this early?) You end up grabbing some banana cakes on the road. It is an upbeat morning. Today you won’t feel small. Today you won’t run to the corners of the corners and hide. Today you won’t need to stain ten china cups with coffee in their bellies and lipstick marks on their rims. No. Today you already feel like devouring a slice of the sky. Today all mishaps are going to be merry. Today they can go ahead and break the melody in your head and you will totally forgive them for doing so. Today you can be a beatrice. ‘She, one who makes happy’. A beatrice. By yourself, to yourself, and perhaps then to some.

portrait of a regular day.

Four paws cross the street looking for food when I had just bought a chai and a Britannia at the roadside tapri. We both end up eating the cake together in alternate pieces. Chai sessions are just NEVER complete without company.

I hear something clink against my ankle. I feel it tracing an odd circle on my skin with its cold silver. I welcome the graze. I love its fleeting touch. I create a new reminder in Evernote of my phone to never take it off my foot.

At home, I lace up my shoes tight and go circumferencing around the apartment with the phone clutched tight in my hands and the earphones plugged loud in my ears. I drown out the outside noise with music blaring right in my head until all I can hear is myself panting. The most cliched songs are making sense all of a sudden.

Happiness comes in a size. It says ‘14 * 21.6 cm’ on the cover. And the 300 odd pages feel heavier than their weight when I confide things in them I would never tell my best friend.

What have you been up to?

Oh, lately I have been collecting lollipop wrappers from strangers on buses.

So this little girl sitting across from me in the bus unwraps a lollipop but looks around cluelessly when it comes to disposing off its wrapper, so I offer to throw it away for her. She gives away a cute smile that I can adore for a while but then she gets lost in devouring her candy and I have to shove the slimy wrapper inside my handbag to finally dump it in my office dustbin later.

Anyway, they should give me credits for the ‘value addition‘ I do by adding colors to the office trash.

so there’s one for every day. and you’ll celebrate all of them moods. GLORIOUSLY.

You feel small. Like the fierce woman living inside of you has toned down her element a bit. Actually, quite a bit. And then some more. You curl up all the sprawling, vibrant parts of yourself into a tiny, sorry ball. Or more like, pack them up tight under innumerous folds. One confusing lap after another done in such a way that it could may be take forever to really uncover what it had been like before your nimble fingers chose to handle your own vivacity so precariously.

Yes you do that to yourself. You recognize its red-alert signs and acknowledge it when you see it coming. The collapse. You tear up in the backseat of an Ola while riding home in the night. It just hits you out of nowhere. And you don’t even have the capacity to reason it anymore. So you welcome it rather than try glossing over it with ambiguity or outright denial. You know you are going to break down hard on the balcony floor once you get back home. (You also suddenly try to recall if Chikkamma had cleaned the balcony in the morning. Irrelevant. But relevant. Somehow your brain can simultaneously function on several parallel levels oddly well.) But you let yourself have ‘that’ time. You wilt and shrivel in silence. Or rather with outrageous wails being muffled into the pillow. May be that’s just become one of the survival tools now.

You stay quiet. You try to shrink yourself almost to a point of societal non-existence. Today is just another one of those days when you feel pulverized to the bone. And even ten mounting cups of coffee amount nowhere close to being a saviour.

You leave post-its around the house for selfcare. ‘Buy chocolates.’ ‘Buy that anklet from Instagram.’ ‘Get an organic shampoo.’ Some are just regular-care. ‘Apply aloevera.’ ‘Wash the damn clothes.’ ‘First Dunzo some detergent.’ ‘Drink water.’ ‘Did you drink enough water?’ ‘Get a new toothbrush.’ Because how will you remember all the ordinary and apparently-mediocre stuff in the middle of battling an apocalyptic crisis that is going to hit you unannounced! Again.

You feel happy. Dance-in-the-shower happy. Dump-on-you-the-most-monotonous-shit-at-work-and-you-still-won’t-fret happy. Roll-your-eyes-back-at-the-bus-conductor happy. Try-lipsyncing-to-the-silliest-songs-on-Saavn happy. You can literally feel a weeeeee-heeeee welling up inside you in the office elevator. You walk up to to the coffee machine and actually attempt blowing bubbles through the stirrer into the golden brown magic filling the cup to make odd faces froth up on the surface. Obligatory(?) confession: This is a weird kind of mood. Personal defence: But it doesn’t actually need to affirm to the mainstream, respectably-acknowledged moods out there because there is a whole spectrum of moods and this doesn’t even border on the territory of the most insane ones. Impartial question: Or does it?

You finally manage paying off your credit cards for the month. Though it’s another traumatic thing that you pay your first credit card through your debit card and your second credit card through your first credit card and your rent through the second credit card. Okay, this is vicious. And you know what it is but you still somehow end up just elongating this ugly chain every month. (Urgent note-to-self: Try to accept that taking care of personal finance forms an essential part of selfcare, so may be try to fix that in future. Like NEAR future.)

You feel high. You can almost imagine confetti showers. Or you don’t know what to call it but wild asymptotes of some kind of personal contentment have come crashing into you. Hard. Their wilderness so neck-to-neck with you now that there’s no space left anymore for useless pretence. You can openly be your rawest self. You can finally take an axe to all the dead ends tonight. You can weed out all the toxic things and nurture all the good ones. It is finally being taken care of. Everything. Is. Okay. You-can-safely-pick-up-that-honey-and-milk-tonight-instead-of-the-wine-bottle-and-it-will-still-be-fine-until-morning okay.

fuck finding beauty in the mundane, it’s just funny now.

2 28 AM. And the only happiness that knocks my door is the Zomato guy bringing in food I had ordered an hour back. Though even that is botched up. He brings me Paneer Manchurian and not my plain Aaloo Jeera that I had been badly wanting to eat since my flatmate cooks an amazingly yummy one and I was kind of missing that but had to settle for the Paneer Manchurian when he told me they don’t have that anymore, though he weirdly kept insisting on the Chicken one. Ugh. So much for happiness.

My bed is a mess. But I kind of pride myself on my invincible talent to find enough space in this horrific dump to squeeze in every night. Anyway, I will clean it up over the weekend. Or when I find time to not do anything at all. Probably, the latter.

So I had bought this pretty taupe jumpsuit on Amazon and it came in yesterday which really deserves five stars on super fast delivery but not even a single one on the fit because it weirdly clung to my body when I tried it on! Exquisitely d-e-t-a-i-l-i-n-g the fat that I have come to nurture on my…everywhere! I so hate it when dresses in rare colours like taupe and mauve and lavender and wine and mint and coffee and..(I think I will just omit the ‘rare’ part so basically any of all of them)…fail me.

I recently learned how to make plain paranthas. By pouring in oodles of ghee. And it seriously felt like an accomplishment in the beginning since I had finally perfected the art of making something edible. But now it doesn’t feel half as exciting as before when I have been making them every single day and eating them plain without any daal or curry to make them bearable for me. Last time I tried, even the lid of the jam bottle got jammed and I sort of died a little and had to somehow muffle my silent screams inside of me. Cooking daal or curry is still beyond my amazing capabilities so when I am alone at home, I just settle for the not-so-healthy ghee-laden paranthas. Or sometimes go the Zomato way. Which is not-so-healthy for my pocket.

I discovered that your Customer Care Executive can be your best friend! So one time, my WiFi broke down, one other time I thought there had been some fraudulent transactions on my credit card (no they were not fraudulent, yes I have reached a point where I don’t remember my own ENORMOUS transactions and then later suspect them to be fraud, yes I am capable of doing that!), one time my train bookings got cancelled, and then one time Nestaway fined me for paying a late rent (how mean!). I had been calling the ‘Customer Care’ a lot throughout all of these wonderful instances. And I have come to realize that no matter how depressingly sad or sadly depressed you have been feeling, by the time you keep the phone down on them, you are fuming with such anger that all your pathetic feelings will have been dissipated and you suddenly feel renewed with this rare vigour, unknown to man until this moment, to take down the world and to fucking take on anything in life! Like screw Ted Talks, these unabiding Customer Service people are the new therapists. They listen to your deepest needs by not listening to your immediate ones. Surreal.