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.

‘normal’.

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 +Afit 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.

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.

another day, another night.

This is one of those nights when you huddle in a corner of your bed and type. You contemplate your choices. In your heart you know what you truly want. But it is just not coinciding with your reality in the present moment.

Your head is a mess of things, more than you can comfortably accommodate. Perhaps that’s why you are calling it a mess.

You think you are like a mayfly. You live for the moment, in the moment, very well on guard about the impermanence of everything.

You cannot sleep most nights because there are dreams, not those that overpower you while you sleep, these are the ones that are tugging at your heartstrings to keep you awake, all night, until your eyelids become too heavy to carry their weight and you drift off.

You completely abhor people asking you questions about your whereabouts, telling you where you should or should not go. You have waited so long, expecting them to understand you are mature and wise enough to make your own decisions, to act out of your free will. And still it looks like, the knowledge has hardly seeped in. How long will you wait more,to be finally free of this burden? At one point, something snaps inside you and you just cease to bother anymore.

You are working in a domain you can hardly care about. And it reflects perfectly in your work, the nonchalance about it all. Still you take it as a challenge, the capability to focus on it, and try to improve on the performance everyday. At the end of the week, your truth glaringly stares you in your face and you know, that all that effort, all that time, has trickled down to a progress, if it can be called any, assessable only on some submolecular level. Fuck, you have shrunk down all the scales of measurement.

You look at yourself in the mirror, and see an average looking girl who will hardly ever amount to anything if not for her words, her stories, her laughter. You graze your fingers down the glass and smile. You are perfect for yourself in your head. And you will achieve all that you set out to. You notice that the curve of the smile has deepened.

On weekends you go out to watch the best sunsets in town. You are walking listlessly down a road and there it is ,the orange ball of gold glaring at you, some miles up the road. You drink the view in, gulp it down your memory lanes, along with a hot chai. The steam arises from the kullhadh as you soak it all in, and the experience is akin to heaven.

For the first time in weeks, you arrive at a decision. This one, you have made yourself, for yourself. This time, you have allowed no one to nose in and sit like an unwanted blob upon your life, to plague your mind with their opinions, to rewire your brain according to their mindsets, to pencil in their own crap in your to-do lists. And you are well aware that it is going to be hard, that the sail will not be smooth, but you are ready to put yourself all out, on the line, to pursue that flicker of a dream that keeps you burning through the night.

You come home, to a kitchen overflowing with unwashed dishes and bins overloaded with garbage.  You are hungry and scour your fridge impatiently but can only spot milk cartons and corn flakes boxes propped in a corner. The house demands cleaning and you know you’ve got a lot of work on your hands. It is quite exhausting, the cleaning , the maintenance, the daily chores, but never once did the thought of going back crossed your mind. You just cannot bear to live otherwise, devoid of your free will. You freedom is more important to you than home-cooked food and a squeaky clean kitchen. You are going to clean it anyway. May be tomorrow. Or soon enough.

Somewhere an analogy strikes. There are always good and bad sides to taking a leap,and just as this one you took months ago, has its beautiful and ugly moments, may be the ones you take next, will have their own set of paradoxes that will be fully capable of a safe coexistence. Do whatever you want to, have always wanted to. You are going to be alright.

You resign yourself to bed at night, holding a hot cup of Bournvita with the TV tuned in to Travel Xp. You wish to travel around the world like this one day and your head already buzzes with excitement.

But you’ve got office tomorrow.

It is getting colder now and you pull you blanket closer, turn on a side and sleep. But not before you have read a few pages of the book you have lately been obsessed with . Time crunch just doesn’t cut it. Responsibilities or no responsibilities, you’ve got to live for what you live for.

revelation.

You don’t know what’s real anymore. You come back home exhausted from a job that hardly feeds your soul, rather it crushes it, moulds it like plastic into forms you cannot recognize anymore. No, don’t get scared, it’s not a bad job to start with. Atleast, it’s not one of those jobs that are physically excruciating, or frugally paying. No, this one is diamond compared to that crap. Or, so everyone else says. But you, you just can’t wrap your head around it. You cannot dabble in numbers, you forget things, you attend training lessons you don’t remember after two days. It does not surprise you anymore, how you write down formulas in your notebook ( it looks like you are the only one putting your notebook to that kind of use in office!) and still manage to get the syntax wrong the the next time you type them into your computer. You send out wrong files, wrong emails to wrong people. You can easily imagine firing yourself had you been calling the shots, you are that pathetic at it. But they are keeping you. Persevering with you. Wow, they must be saints in a parallel universe, you think.

You come home to a terrace flooded with a full moon glinting at your face and your eyes light up more than the two 15 W LEDs you had had fitted in your room just because you are scared of being alone in a dimly-lit space even with the TV blaring out at full volume. But on the roof, strangely, you like the darkness, you dig it, probably even love it. You might be weirdly wired, you think for a split-second. ‘Probably’, you second yourself.

You get friends over, for a beer or two. Mostly, to drown your misery into that poison and coat ‘happy’ all over your day or atleast over the fagends of it. You gulp it down, one bottle after another and as the more of that goes inside, the more of you comes out. At first it is all frivolous talk, like how it is so cold up here and how the streets look all colorful and the night sky looks so beautiful. You are blurting out things you don’t usually tell people. You say, you love the metro ride back home from office every evening when it gets all dark, and that, you always stand glued to the glass doors, perfectly adjacent to them, and even when it’s all crowded you would kill for that space, to watch the lights glittering in the distance because they look like stars and make you think you have descended upon a magical landscape. You say, you love the chill, the terrace, the sky, the vastness of it all, encompassing you from all dimensions but oddly, making you feel more liberated than ever. You are talking so feverishly now, you just cannot shut up. Like someone has uncorked a lid somewhere and years of  subdued emotions have come bubbling to the surface and are spilling out, eager to make their presence known, eager to occupy a space around you, eager to fill the void of those usually-hollow talks with their weight and volume and density and all that makes matter matter for real . You cannot stop smiling. You are happy. Period.

And then it is their weight that pulls you down. Those emotions. They are all over the place now. You feel like your life is dangling mid-air and you are crying. You cry and brawl and shriek your heart out. You cling to that dusty piece of floor underneath you and let out screams that have been suffocating you from within, since what feels like forever, screams that come out, throbbing with an intensity that has compounded over the years, screams that have caught you unguarded, you were not aware what you were capable of unleashing . You are not conscious that you are baring the darkest corners of your heart to people. You are making it known that you are vulnerable. You always end up putting yourself in an inexplicable position like that. You are not too proud of it either.

The next morning, they will tell you that you had thrown them out of your house the previous night. You won’t believe them. You will beg them to tell you what had exactly transpired, and in the exact chronological order that it had , but they will be so mad at you, that they wont divulge a thing. They will break off from you. You won’t be able to process what’s happening or figure out the WHYs of it for that matter. Once the hangover lifts in the evening, you will go back to your phone, explore it more intricately, only to find thirty eight voice messages that you had sent out to them, drunk, the night before. Probably after you had actually thrown them out. You will listen to your own voice and cringe. You will feel embarrassed by your own words. You had never wanted to hurt anyone! Or sever your ties with them! And then you will recall how much you had cried. This will make you feel vulnerable again. You will feel exposed. No, overexposed. Like you have let on, more than you should have. Rendering your soul open to someone pinches you more than baring your body naked to them.

You will feel lost and helpless, because you won’t remember a thing and no one will be willing to give you the truth. You will feel bad about yourself, you will feel ugly, for having treated people like shit. So you will immediately call them up to apologize. But they won’t take your calls. You will text them. But they won’t reply. Or probably even read. You will feel hurt, broken, unsure of what the truth is, uncertain of what to do next.

You will live bogged down under the weight of this mess for a good many days. You will even think that you create problems for yourself on your own and that, may be, you have always nurtured a habit for it. You will live like a sorry soul. For days and days to follow.

But these days will pass.

Soon you will realize that you can no longer allow situations to get the better of you, that you can no longer let your circumstances exploit you. You will learn that you control your happiness from within yourself and that no external factor can tamper with it, if you don’t give out the permits.

And so you will heal. You will write. You will read books that will blow your mind, that will spring open pathways for you that you didn’t know, to have existed before. And you will write. You will meet new people whose words will not fall like mere ramblings on your ears, whose words will make sense to you, whose company will be fun and exciting. You will forge new friendships, even relationships, there are all kinds of it, and for the first time, you will not feel afraid of experimenting. And you will write.You will write down all your experiences, feelings, emotions, traumas and breakthroughs like you are lettering your soul on paper, lending it a tangible form and shape and color for real. You will laugh carelessly, talk unapologetically, fearless of being judged or shamed. You will hold liberal views but strong opinions on anything and everything. You will become your own person. You won’t be able to please everyone but you will hardly care for it anymore.

You had never been the one to wake up early morning, but soon you will live like you exist for watching the sun rise everyday. No matter how cold or sleepy you are, you will wrap yourself in that warm and comfy blanket of yours, plug in your earphones, tune in to your favourite song, unlock the door, head upstairs and watch the magic unfurl on the roof. Life will once again become beautiful. It will all make sense, the pink and orange and yellow smudged across the sky in uneven streaks, because in the middle of it all, a ball of red rising out of nowhere, gradually turning golden, will shine for you as a metaphor to your life.

And, you will not just start loving yourself, you will fall in love with yourself and though they sound almost similar, when it will actually happen to you, they will feel a world apart from each other.

And do you remember, how you had always been asking yourself to save yourself, from yourself?

Yeah, you will change in a way that you will no longer need to.