when you unbottle to unbother.

you watch the stars parcel you an invite into a night

so perfectly pinned to the sky at its fuzzy dark corners

that you don’t want to dim its beauty with your inhibition

or dissipate its magic with your fear

or ruin its romance with your indefinite whys and why nots

so you ask reason to pack its bag and leave

and tell responsibility to stop weighing down its burden on you

and as the duo give in and walk away

you lean over the parapet

into the glass in your hand

and roll your head an inch back

and exhale

what had been asphyxiating you since eons

tonight, you let this roof become your salvation ground

and as you sprint around the terrace

and giggle into the moonlight

and dance without watching your step

you realize that you are capable of seeing beauty

even in the darkest nights

that you are capable of being happy on an unfamiliar roof

when the roads leading home seem illusory

you had been feeling unreasonably displaced

or rather like a misplaced LEGO piece

made to fit into blocks

that bulge and dip at all the wrong places

only if you had realized any sooner

that your universe is different

that you cannot fill, with what you don’t have

so you stop caring anymore

about anything at all

and from among the billions dotting this night sky

you point your finger at a random star

wish upon it, a countless fantasies

then unclench your fist in sudden keen

and let all go.

15 days.

You realize in 15 days, what you never could, in all those 120 days of working.

15 days of not having a job or rent money or a backup or any kind of plan and still choosing to stay rather than giving it up all and running back where you started from.

14 days of feeling a searing helplessness inside yourself as your bank account stares at you with a fat zero in your face.

13 days of trying to sell yourself out on a piece of paper which fails to identify with you as closely as it rather should.

12 days of taking rejections in your face and not bending the knee.

11 days of clinging on to a tiny voice inside you that keeps reiterating, everything will fall back in place.

10 days of drowning in your own mess, while trying to breathe through your sudden seizures and emotional downpours. Additionally, you learn what insomnia feels like.

9 days of having forgotten, how looking up at the sky and guzzling the sun, felt like.

8 days of not knowing where you’re going, not knowing where you’ve come.

7 days of nurturing your grit and learning to believe in yourself, though learning it the hard way.

6 days of making wild acceptances of your truth and making peace with what now is, rather than regretting what then used to be.

5 days of working hard, chasing opportunities and decoding your self worth all along the way.

4 days of catching new possibilities blossom while you stand at a crossroads yet again, wrestling with your indecisiveness, bubbling with a hunger to leap in all of the directions beckoning you to explore them.

3 days of setting foot in new shoes and walking on, though knowing inside that they are the same old feet who will wander off, wherever they want, and not where they are made to.

2 days of relearning to look at the sky the same way again, and  flashing the sun, an overwhelming smile, across all those lightyears in between.

1 day of buzzing overwhelmingly with new expectations, standing at the plinth of your new beginnings, not afraid of the fall, now that you’ve already uncovered what the bottom feels like.

hanging in there.

It is difficult to unsee it once you see it, this magic beaded into your nerves, this power that stems from your soul, and once you do, you feel like you are high on your own depths. You have been called out ‘unproductive’ and ‘incapable’ and ‘undeserving’ of love, but you have also been called irrevocably strong and a go-getter and easily-blending-in-with-anyone lovely, so may be you are a labyrinth of opposites that melt into each other and you cannot perfectly label yourself on who you are and what you are because may be, you really belong only to the betwixt and between of everything.

It doesn’t matter, you don’t want to be caught up in this mesh anymore, you want to be no-thing, nothing. It is what makes you feel above and beyond all the tyrannizing mess, anyway. It is what makes you feel akin to the birds, gliding above the rest, watching the world from a distance.

You think, may be, you were not cut for being categorized and put into boxes depending on your skillsets, possibly because you don’t have many (or any!). To be blatantly honest, if at all you were asked to recount your skillsets because your life depended on it, you would say, you excel in laughing out loudly, you are at times clumsy, at all times non-elegant, you hold high honors in not being able to keep things from people, and that you know to draw yourself a line to tell apart your intrinsic parts from the extrinsic ones so that you bare out only the extrinsics but over time, everything just bubbles up to the surface and exposes itself and you, to the world.

You are learning to go from ‘terrible’ to ‘tolerable’ at your job. You are bumping into deadlines more than ever now. Meeting them offguard like that, you feel stupefied, your past-self would have never thought its future-self could upgrade so high.

You gather, it can always be learnt, what is expected of you, to learn. But what they don’t tell you is, it cannot always be found, what you don’t even realize, is missing in the first place. You know what you long for. Openness. Clarity. Liberation.

You don’t see a clear path ahead, but you do see a path. You decide to take that anyway. How lost will you be?! Your innateness will catch up with you soon enough. After all, no matter how much you try to blend in, you are never able to contain all of yourself, inside yourself, somehow the essence always spills out and every path you walk on, starts reeking of you, becomes home. May be, there never is a sureshot destination for real, and whatever it looks like, exists only in your head. May be, the path in itself is magic, strewn with signs for you to pick on, and carry on from there, but to nowhere really, the journey is all the magic that is there to unfold.

You have this memory, ringing constantly at the back of your head and though you have been trying so hard, for days now, to wipe it out clean, you actually haven’t been able to erase it quite completely. You have often desperately wished it were material so that you could get rid of it, the way clean out your closet. You have tried to rearrange your thoughts around it just like you reorganize your clothes on the shelf, but now you are howling for change so bad and there’s no point in repositioning the clothes when what you really want to do is throw away the closet.

You have got problems, and so everyone has. But you are unique in your own way not everyone is. You learn to stop generalizing every thing around you, every trait of yours inside you. You learn to replace the word “everyone” with “I”. You learn, no boulders are big enough, no muck is grimy enough, no wind is bristly enough, and no cold is biting down enough on you, because you are a different protoplasm, there’s stubbornness mired into all of it, into all of you, in disproportionate inconsistencies, disproportionately aplenty.

This is your canvas, you planted the easel here and you will finish your painting, replete with the exact grace that you had wished upon it. 

And if you run out of acrylic, you pick up your bottle of water color and start brushing in and if all those bottles break and spill out, you smudge pastels over the piece and if you lose your pastels, you fill crayon inside those lines and if you exhaust your crayons, you pencil your sketch with insane undertones of graphite and if you misplace your pencil, you ink your heart out and if you drain all ink, you glaze oil over the sheet and if you have burnt out all the oil, you claw into the magnificent white space with your fingernails but you bring out that damn picture that you have always wanted to see. Means or no means, you don’t shy away even if it comes down to your own blood to evoke the scene in the painting you had set out on arriving at. After all, you got only this one canvas to sport.

stepping into the new year in Goa.

You are riding by dense palm grooves lining the roads, forming a thick canopy over your head. You can see the sun filtering in through it, can feel it kissing your back as you sprint by, watching the world through hair in your eyes. The houses in every block around here look like the ones you have seen in storybooks, all decked up as colorful little present boxes wrapped in fairylights. The streets are laced with Christmas decor, there’s a shining North Star hoisted from the ceiling in one corner and a Santa waving from the balcony in another. It is a different kind of world around here, a magical one, a world so much more habitable than the one you’ve got in your own city.

You are staying in a cute little cottage which has got lush green meadows for the frontview. You think, it looks adorable. The quiet around here kind of grows on you. You can hear the cuckooing around here apart from the usual banter of the birds. It feels like a secret little world, tucked in a hushed corner away from the noise and clutter of the city. It feels so pristine and rustic that you immediately fall in love with all of it, the coconuts stranded on the roof, the bananas blooming in the backyard, sunlight splayed into fritters on the palm grooves.

There is sand in your hair, salt in your eyes, water in your ears, sun burning your skin. You uncover for the first time what beach feels like. You bend over and dig your fingers across the water into the sand trying to hunt down seashells on the sandbed. There are plenty of them, whites, and browns and every shade in between. You find a really pretty one, a starfish-lookalike, edges intricately carved out and buried in the sand. You immediately pick it up and keep it in your sling bag. Later when you will zip it open, you will find the entire bag reeking of a weird nauseating smell and you will need to buy a new one. But until then, you are ignorant and this shell is a token of love from the sea.

You are lying inside a beach shack gulping down spaghetti with beer as you watch the sun go down into the sea. It reaches the zenith of its beauty before it is wiped out from the horizon. You want to be like this. The lady whose place you are staying at, was telling you the other day, that she had always wanted a house like that, a cute little cottage submerged in greenery, nestled peacefully in the lap of nature. She said she feels grateful to God that He gave her exactly what she had wanted and that she feels content. You realize, you are chasing this feeling, the bliss that comes along with content and gratitude. You want this for yourself, the feeling of having done everything you have always wanted to, having realized all your dreams, having reached the zenith of your imagination, having been at your capable best. But to reach this feeling of having achieved what you have always wanted to, you will first have to know what you want. And to figure that out, you will first have to sift through your crap and create some headspace for new things, and may be, new people. You realize, all you are seeking is self-awareness exactly, and may be this year will bring that along too.

You are riding back home, your body aching for your warm cozy bed, toes yearning for the linen touch. Full moon night falls tomorrow but the moon is anyway, almost a whole, tonight. And it is going to be daybreak soon. It is 4 A.M. You have to ride 50 kilometers and there are still 40 to go. The cold is gnawing at your skin, and you feel like you have lost all sensation, except that of the wind whirring in your ears, so loud that you cannot hear your own voice over it. You ride on nevertheless, with your gaze getting gradually attuned to the thick intermittent white line painted out on the tarmac, screaming the kilometers skipping beneath your feet.

You stop by a small roadside cafe for chai. It has got indoor seating, so you quickly get inside those glass doors, craving for the warmth more than the chai. They don’t have chai, so they give you coffee, which turns out pretty bad unfortunately. But everything is welcome as long as it is killing the cold. So the bland coffee seems okay. Even the ‘Soldier’ playing on their cable seems okay.

May be this is a year of firsts, may be this will be a year of firsts. You want it to be. The first time you pick a homestay over a hotel lodging, the first time you watch a mind-numbingly expansive and seemingly-never-ending stretch of water sprawl before your eyes, and the first time you walk right into it, the first time you stay grounded against the waves no matter how hard your ankle might be slipping on the sand underneath, the first time you watch the sun vanish into the sea, the first beer on a beach, the first ever road trip mapping a city from one end to another, the first nightout under a beautiful glowering-white almost-whole moon making its presence starkly felt even through the branches, the first time you bring home gifts with your own money, the first time you leave a place with sand filled pockets and a bag stinking of sea shells.

One of your friends, from office, had told you the other day, that whatever you do on or around the New Year’s eve, you keep doing that for the whole year. You wonder if your whole year is going to be a string of beautiful explorations if you happen to be exploring around yourself and inside yourself around this New Year’s eve. Is this going to be the year of soul-searching? You can’t possibly tell rightaway but all you can do is have faith.

And then one day, many many many years down the line, may be you will feel exactly the same as that lady feels today.

All in due time, before the sun goes down.

 

IMG_20171230_083331070a glimpse of the first morning in Goa from the bus window

 

IMG_20180101_141413 (1)Benaulim beach, Goa

 

IMG_20180101_153308 (1)New Market, Margao, Goa

 

IMG_20180101_164255the beautiful home we rented in Majorda, South Goa

 

IMG_20180101_164313the entryway to our home, Majorda, South Goa

 

IMG_20180101_183458047watching the streets lit up with Christmas decor while riding along the way

 

IMG_20180103_145819_758Vagator beach, North Goa

 

IMG_20180103_145924_781soaking in the sun at the Vagator

 

IMG_20180103_150139_640Vagator, North Goa

 

IMG_20180103_162630_910Majorda beach, South Goa

 

IMG_20180103_163652_355Benaulim, South Goa

 

IMG_20180103_165149_012Agonda beach, South Goa

 

IMG_20180106_131730_638 (1)riding on the streets, South Goa

toppled utopia.

You watch the steam rising from the coffee, and you are not sure if it is trying to defy the rain, or dissolve into it. You clutch the cup harder, raise it closer to your lips, allow the warmth to permeate all your senses, unspool every thread of thought inside you, assault every cell of your being to the core, untangle every knot inside your head. Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. This is that kind of moment. You don’t bother to think right now. You just be.

The next minute, there are a thousand thoughts jostling for space inside your head. You have been looking for a job which can make your days decently bearable, you miss him, you need to pay the bills, you have to update that resume, you miss him even more, you have to finish reading that book, you have to save for the trip to Pune, you have to buy your mom glasses, you are missing him terribly! Nobody ever told you, the most beautiful thing about you is your transparency, he said that, and you fell in love.

You have been pretty confused, lately. You could not make out the difference between what’s real and what just seems to be. Your relationship of four years (FOUR years!) fell apart like a house of sand. You wonder if it had always been this weak, this brittle, this sensitive. You had met someone and it unsettled your world. You meet people everyday and nobody moves a single brick in the wall. This time, it was different. Intoxicating-different. You had never felt this magnitude of pull before. You got so torn apart between love and liking that you mistook the fling to be more tangible than it was. You feel, it is a blessing and a curse, all at once, to feel so deeply about anything and everything. It was not your fault. You had been duped by the moment. The moment turned out to be stronger than you are.

You say it all out loud, you tell them how you feel felt about them. No matter how embarrassing it gets or how much afraid you are about baring your heart to people, you say it right to their face (or into  phone!), and stomp out. You clear your head, you do it for your own contentment. You don’t expect any response, neither do you get one (sadly!), but you hardly bother anymore. Ironically, it turns out, saying it out loud diminishes the very feeling itself, and that too, very substantially. May be, it seemed stronger before because it had been reverberating all day, every day, inside your head.

You look down the balcony, and it is a riot of color outside. Raindrops are pattering against your roof, popping into ripples on the road ,dripping down the trees, encroaching upon everything, like they own the skies, the streets. You smell wet earth in the air. It gets you higher than vodka, gets you best tuned in, with your inner self. You watch a drop, streak across the glass window, knocking off dust particles in its way, the ones that had invested months into making the panes, their home. Everything is temporary. Headlights of cars make soggy roads, glisten golden in the dark. Rain is painting the streets brown and muddy all over and yet, it looks eerily beautiful.

Breakups are hard. Liking someone and not getting reciprocated in the same proportion (or not even in the slightest proportion!) is hard. Rejections are hard! Not getting what you want from your job, is hard. Not knowing what you want from anything, for that matter, is hard. Not being able to give back to your family in the way or capacity they had expected, is hard. Feeling empathy for people, things, situations and not being able to fix them is hard. Not being able to fix yourself, is hard. Life is hard. But it is beautiful too. Not constant-beautiful. But intermittently, yes, it is. May be you just need to look for it, in the right places. Outside. And inside. Inside yourself.

You are fine. You are messy, confused and sickeningly unreasonable at times. Or most of the time! But oddity doesn’t really translate into weirdness. You are an anomaly, a rare beautiful anomaly.

May be, people don’t stick around, but love never goes away. The moments you have lived already, nobody can take them away from you, they are yours to claim, to keep, to cherish, for perpetuity. So you can get by life, pricking yourself at your pain-points all the time, or you can live your life neglecting them.

You are bigger than this, than all of this. You are flawed, yes, but you have a voice strumming inside you. Follow that and you will be just fine. You might be neck-deep into this mess you have got yourself into, but this is your mess, and nobody knows you better than you yourself do. You are well acquainted with all your patterns (and unpatterned eccentricities !).

You found a way in, you will figure one out too.