stoking up an old fire.
just found yesterday,
the cinder in this smokehouse still catches flame.
stoking up an old fire.
just found yesterday,
the cinder in this smokehouse still catches flame.
Every time you step into the woods, the breeze encircles you and bares your gasps, loud into the presence and absence of everything.
At first, you flinch, you waver, you look back for a return.
But then you walk further and feel the earth digging into your toes. Whatever direction you walk, becomes ‘the’ path.
You watch the sun filter in, through the canopy of trees. Nothing, however wild, could hold it back.
Ans so it dawns on you.
Every small step, an undaunting of you.
Every dare, your metamorphosis.
With every rise of the foot, a newer you.
Tripping yet again upon a choice, you fear a trap. Unable to view the choice for the gift it is, you frown at the privilege, of having possibilities to pick from.
But no, you are not being ungrateful.
Rather, you know yourself. Your indecisiveness. Your impulsive decisions. Your sudden quirks. Your weird whims. Your idiosyncracies. Your screwed sense of direction. Your ambiguity. Your failed sense of judgement. It’s all happened in the past!
So, fear paralyzes you at the crossroads.
It’s funny when you get lost on your way and accuse the GPS of betrayal every time. But alarming when you have no idea what you’re doing, where you’re heading. In life.
Wedged between what to do and what not to do, you are scuttling through cities, flipping over jobs, tipping on the edge of aspirations and apprehensions.
But then, you have never been a calculative one. You would never weigh the pros and cons in and out. You wouldn’t tread lightly over gunpowder.
You have always been this frivolous, this turbulent, whose impulse would flutter like butterflies refusing to be bottled up, who would shrug all conscious rationale, at one bend of intuition, at one slant prick of psyche.
And so, even knowing the magnitude of impending change that will rock your world, may be, even upend it, you turn the page to the next chapter of the book, and watch anxiety melt into excitement!
Okay, you might be clueless. But you are not naive.
You attempt to sketch your own path.
You realize that, you yourself are the anchor to your chaos. You might be the epicenter of your quakes but you yourself are your recovery guide too.
You have this storm raging inside you. And you use it to arm yourself to meet the one brewing in the outside world.
And even if it churns you to dust, and you end up gutted under the rubble, you would not fold your cards. You would rather choose to learn from your mistakes.
It’s hard, daring to defy the odds. But you have this thing knotted in your memory that you can’t forego.
This moment is all that’s there to live, and whatever you choose to do right now will become what you will have ever done at all.
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
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.
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.
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.
They tell you that you are not good enough, that you don’t fit in, that you don’t meet their expectations, that even though you have been putting in efforts, this ‘you and they’ thing is not working anymore. Funny, that is also how your relationship panned out in the end. ‘It is not working.’ He had said to you that night, the last night you ever talked to each other, that you had not put in enough efforts to save the relationship, that you would have had, had it meant the world to you but you never did, that you had failed him miserably, that in that case, you were not good enough, for him.
May be, you fail everybody in a way. Atleast that’s what you can make out of it all. You feel your incapability to live upto people’s expectations, your brokenness. You feel you are unfulfilling. You feel unfulfilled yourself. You feel like a defective part, incapable of being pieced in with anything, anywhere.
You start looking for new opportunities, places where you would fit in, work that will appeal to you as much as the people present around. Alt+O+C +A – fit inside the box or may be stretch it enough to accommodate all of yourself inside it. That’s what Excel does with its data, when it has to make sure that everything looks pretty normal. You have been using these keys all day long, every day now, and you wish, someone could press those buttons on you in real life and then everything would become so much more accommodating than it really is. Then you would have stayed. You could have stayed for as long as you like.
What’s ‘normal‘ anyway? Everyone has their own normal and two normals never run parallel to each other. So normal is a relative term, you conclude. And your normal does not necessarily need to coincide with those of others. Or even to your previous self’s. Infact, you keep bending your own normals and drawing yourself new ones, every once in a while. Which, in turn, is a perfectly normal thing to do.
You think you will miss people. But you don’t want to start that cassette now. You know you are an emotional disaster who feels stuff on inexplicable levels and once you start, there’s no going back. So you avoid even saying it out loud. To them. But you know it in your heart, that some words have been exchanged and some moments have been lived and they will stay with you forever. That’s what happens anyway, right? Whomever you meet, a part of them lingers on with you forever, in some way or another. And a part of you leaks through and appends to their life, though they might never become aware of it at all.
It is 2 A.M. You tap open the gallery in your phone and look at the photo for the fifth time today. You and he, together, smiling. May be, both of you could have done pretty well together, you wonder. Reality spells otherwise. You didn’t even wish him a ‘Happy New Year’ a few days back. You couldn’t bring yourself to, after all that has transpired between you and him. All those years together and can’t utter three words to each other now. Some day he had meant the world to you, tonight you just lie on your bed and wish the world for him and go back to sleep.