Hi, it’s me

I left without saying goodbye, and waited until I was too afraid to return. So, I waited some more. And realised why I never said goodbye.

Hi, it’s me. Over the last four months, a lot of life decided to happen to me, and I was caught up between making it happen and unhappen at the same time. After months of asking people to find me, I kind of lost myself.

To take a much needed break, I visited a bookstore I used to visit from back when the coolest things in a bookstore were the Archie comics and the stationery. It was a fairly posh, air conditioned affair, with lazy chairs and buttery croissants to sink into. What I loved most about it though, was the fact that you could just read your way through entire bookshelves as you sat there and no one stopped (read: coaxed your guilt into a purchase) you. Perhaps, it was because I was a regular customer. Either way, I do remember sifting through most of the Roald Dahls I’ve read during my time there. When Flipkart and ebooks kind of took over my life (read: when the café inside began serving tripe), I stopped visiting the store.

I expected a bout of nostalgia to cloud my head the minute I walked into the store. It almost goes without saying that I would feel obligated to buy everything the it had to offer. I armed myself for such an eventuality,  furnishing myself with limited monetary resources. I walked in and couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed. My favourite salespeople were nowhere to be found and the store just seemed rather depleted, much like my writing of late.

It’s been hard coming to terms with the fact that the ability to write seems to have left me, largely because I held on to it too tight, demanded too much of it.

I only fell in love with writing early last year. I’m a bit upset that it’s decided to leave so soon. I don’t feel it’s ever going to return, at least, not in the same way.

I know a lot of my posts say this, but I think I need a break. A vacation. That’s where I found my writing. Maybe, that’s where I’ll find it again. And if I don’t, maybe I’ll find something else. Writing’s been so closely associated with me lately that I sometimes need to remind myself that a writer is not all I am. It’s definitely not all I’m ever going to be.

If these are the last words I ever write, I’d like to say, “Thank you, it’s been beautiful. I’d like to see you again someday. Perhaps in the mirror, perhaps in the eyes of another. When I do, I may not know it. Don’t forget to say, ‘Hi, it’s me.'”

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Fear Writes a Letter to Death

 

Dear Death,

The charm of your compatriot, Immortality eludes me at the best of times. Although Dickinson glorified the two of you as noble chaperones to every ascending (or descending) soul, I must confess that I can’t quite see eye to eye with futile attempts to delay the inevitability of that last breath.

Why does all life strive to ‘live’? ‘Living’- a blanket term, no doubt, for indulging in the most ill conceived pursuits be it shelling out exorbitant sums to jump off lethal heights, falling in love or drinking to one’s heart’s content (or one’s liver’s failure as you would put it).

Interestingly, the old Elizabethans believed that the liver was the seat of all emotion. I wonder then if the equivalent degree of intoxication i.e. to one’s ‘liver’s content’ expressed safe drinking levels, keeping in mind of course, that the liver wouldn’t be too happy about a binge whereas the heart (imbecile that it is) would render me invisible. I myself shudder to think how close the misrepresentation of linguistic evolution has brought living souls to you and by how much modern healthcare and my dear cousin, Prudence has managed to slow that ride down.

Forgive me for going off on a tangent. I meant to say, and I say this more for your sake than mine, this idea of ‘living’ is a farce. Living souls revel in maniacal thrills not in a bid to bridge the narrowing chasm that exists between them and you, but to cheat you, to elude you, to slip through your fingers.

It is not you they are entranced by. It is me. Think of the guns, the poison, the cancer sticks. I may not be centre stage, but it is me who draws the final curtain.

Deeds of Courage, Valiance and Stupidity are never fearless. The very Euphoria synonymous with such moments is not born of Joy or Freedom, but of Fear; the Fear that every moment may be one’s last. Death, it is not upon me to purge myself of Cowardice. I can almost envision you shaking your head saying “What a shame that every moment worth ‘living’ be characterised  by Fear.”

Until you snatch living souls from my clutches, I rule the Living. The living serve me.

I am the final act. You are the epilogue.

It is only where you begin that I cease to exist.

Until You do us part,

Fear

I wanted to play a prank on a few friends of mine. This letter was the result. It’s quite rough, but it was written in character. Fear starts off by being timid and beating around the bush and gradually gets bolder. It was to touch upon the fact that fear is the most potent of human feelings. It is not fear which saves us from Death, but Death from Fear.

 

Why I’m Not a Grammar Nazi

Here’s the thing: I’m not a Grammar Nazi.

Notice how I didn’t say “I ain’t a Grammar Nazi.” to sort of emphasize my blatant disregard for English grammar and its rules. That’s because I know the difference ‘its’ and ‘it’s’, between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and between ‘they’re’, ‘their’ and ‘there’. I know where apostrophes belong and I know where they don’t.

But imagine being greeted by a stupid question that requires an answer ten times its worth, both in quality and quantity at the end of a long, tiring day. And somewhere, in the midst of those characters, sticky keyboard keys, lethargic fingers and the looming threat of AutoCorrect that works only when one doesn’t need it, I might have neglected to put an apostrophe where it should’ve been, thus rendering my ‘it’s’ a mere ‘its’. Go ahead, sue me.

Unforgivable, isn’t it? Of course, apologising and correcting my mistake hardly makes up for anything, at least, in the opinion of the person I was chatting with. He was a good friend, but a cold blooded Grammar Nazi. And he embraced that fact like a medal, which frankly, brought out the worst in him.

I paid the price for my mistake, though. That little niggle triggered an entire conversation, more of a soliloquy, actually about the difference between ‘it’s’ and ‘its’, something that a) I had heard since preschool and knew very well and b) was apparently infinitely more important than my fatigue.

I’m going to say it. Grammar Nazis are, to put it politely, annoying.

Not that I’d ever want to be associated with Nazis of any kind, but I realised I’m often on the giving end of English grammar gyaan. Whether I like it or not, I find myself involuntarily proofreading things on the Internet, often paying more attention to trivial, pedantic details than to the point of substance being conveyed without looking into whether it was a typo or  negligence or worse, intentional. What’s worse is that I actually assume I’m doing the world a favour with these services no one asked for.

I consciously try to avoid being pedantic and singling minor errors out, especially if I understand what the person intends to convey. It’s hard because poor grammar irks me no end and that saturation point is just a misplaced comma away. It takes every inch of me to fight the urge to point out mistakes, but I’m proud to say, I’ve come a long way in suppressing that Grammar Nazi in me, even if it is just a little.

This battle started a long time ago, when I was in Year Two actually. My parents would correct me every time I used poor grammar, misspelt a word or got my diction wrong. My grandmother speaks English very well, considering it isn’t her first language. So back then, she made a minor diction error and I corrected without a hint of hesitation, quite scornfully, actually. Although she took it well, my father immediately took me aside and gave me a lecture on how correcting people at every faux pas was hurtful and annoying. I retorted immediately by saying, “But I was just teaching her, like you teach me”. Dad then explained to me that this pedantic tendency came off as a bid to establish one’s superiority as best he could to a kid in Year Two. He ended with, “If you absolutely must correct someone, do it with utmost courtesy. You may not know it yet, but it matters.”

I don’t know if he remembers this today, but I certainly do. I apologised to my grandma, half heartedly, not fully understanding the truth that lay interspersed with the message I had just been taught until much later.

In my view, when someone who has been speaking a language their entire life AND has had the opportunity  of an education AND the possibility of a typo or a mistake is ruled out, then it is not only acceptable, but desirable to be a Grammar Nazi. Learning a language is never easy, especially to someone who hasn’t been given a shot at as good an education as they would’ve liked. And when people like that have the courage to try their hand at communication in a world where scrutiny, scorn and criticism is just a less than perfectly prounounced vowel away, it’s pretty remarkable. Shooting them down by disparagingly ‘correcting’ them will eventually discourage them from learning.

Another reason I avoid being a pedant is because I speak some Indian languages and I’m no expert. I can communicate well enough to get by, but my spelling, grammar and vocabulary are way below par. I’ve also been learning French for two years, which hasn’t been easy. My diction passes muster, but I need to work on my spelling and my writing. I end up performing unwanted sex change operations on all nouns when it comes to these languages like French and most Indian languages where every noun has a gender. I admit, I find my teachers a little pedantic when my test scores plummet for minor errors. English is quite a difficult language to learn, more so when it isn’t one’s first language. A point to be noted is that poor grammar does not mean low intelligence and vice versa. This is why I’ve learnt to respect anyone making an attempt to learn new languages. Grammar Nazism is not cool here.

I know ”lete speak’ or ‘chat’ language seems like the least classy way to go about it, but inventing new words and abbreviation is how language evolves. Shakespeare himself invented words; ‘awesome’ and ‘madcap’ are a couple of them. The Bard also made verbs out of nouns to adapt to his rhyme and meter without hesitation, something that is looked down upon by today’s Grammar Nazis. I cringe at the idea of #hashtags being synonymous with 21st Century literature, but “We’ve always done it this way,” is the worst excuse for sticking to your roots. One thing I can say with absolute conviction is that petty details and punctilios takes away from the fun, the beauty and the pleasure we seek in language.

I think Stephen Fry perfectly encapsulates what I intend to convey through this video.

 

My Holiday in Lessons

I spent the first two weeks of April holidaying in my hometown, as I do every summer. The wave of inertia and frustration that governed the ten days of my life after my last board exam left behind stubborn negativity that lingered on way after its perpetrators departed. Everything vexed me, but I didn’t want to do anything about it. I tried my best to find the energy to go for my morning runs, get stuck in a book, write or just do something productive, but couldn’t.

Safe to say, I may have been mildly unenthusiastic about my annual Goa trip. All my cousins and friends were busy prepping for Uni entrances and higher education and I had internship commitments. My world was growing up as I chose to sleep in. It wouldn’t be the same anymore. If there’s anything worse than a dull, monotonous life, it’s a dull, monotonous holiday.

Here’s where I say that it wasn’t, and it was great fun, and we made time for each other and all you need is a little break sometimes and other mushy gooey clichés that make you want to run away and seek solace in the latest online cat video. Two weeks on vacation taught me more than two years of a less than mediocre HSC syllabus did. It wasn’t the hardcore party, late night gain-three-pounds-before-you-leave trip it usually had been, but it did teach me some of those bookish life lessons that quite frankly, you can’t learn from a book.

1.  Home is everything

Home is the place you can take your bra off at the end of a long day even if people do that just about anywhere. To me, home isn’t just about being yourself, or feeling safe, or feeling loved or even just people you care about. Home is frustration. Home is fights. Home is tears. But home is laughter. Home is good food. Home is where you don’t need an alarm clock to wake you up every morning. As much as you want to leave it right now, someday you’ll yearn to return.

2.  Get out

Yes, I said it. A bed, air conditioning and a laptop with WiFi connectivity is the closest I’ll ever get to heaven; however, the outdoors surprisingly comes a close second. In Goa, the better part of my day was spent at the beach. I tried to walk to everywhere I had to be in the dead of the Indian summer because it was so beautiful. Even if you prefer to hit the gym or if you’re not one for any sort of exercise (like me), spending even an hour a day outdoors taking a leisurely stroll will do a world of good for your mind.

3. Feed yourself

If you’re eating clean and healthy, keep at it. I know being sad is no excuse to give in. But if you’re having a bad day and you know nothing will make you happier than a three tiered chocolate cake with a melted chocolate centre and chocolate ice cream, eat it. You can run it off the next day. Or not.

4.  And your soul

There are things in this world far greater and more powerful than yourself or the individual human being. Respect and embrace the fact that you’re part of something huge. There is always something to be thankful for. Meditate to let the bad out.

5. Don’t be afraid to have fun

If something makes you so happy that you actually don’t want to shoot everyone around you, don’t ever feel guilty for doing it.

6. Don’t be afraid to take a break sometimes

It’s hard to ignore the competition sometimes when you want to get ahead. But it’s okay to slow down and watch the world move ahead. Spend a little time discovering yourself in corners of the world you’ve never seen. Else, you’ll be stuck playing catch up for a prize you later realise you never wanted. This is exactly why I love the idea of a gap year. Hopefully I’ll have the courage to take one in a couple of years.

7.  Salt water is the cure for everything

If tears, sweat and the sea don’t help you get over something, you’re going about it the wrong way. Don’t restrict your lacrimal glands. Feel those endorphins. Embrace those negative ions.

Filling The Void: Liebster Award

Okay. I know I said I was back with a fair number of posts. Well, erm  my post holiday depression might have led to my neglecting to mention that these were merely post ideas. And I did have them. I really did. But some big stuff happened since then and I couldn’t really get myself to turn them into concrete posts. Let me be honest here, I still haven’t managed to do that. However, the void on my blog was getting to me.

One of the big things this past couple of weeks had in store for me was the Liebster Award that Christina nominated me (and everyone else I wanted to nominate) for. She’s me, only thinner and prettier. I wonder if we’re so alike because we have the same favourite uncle and hence, the same gene pool. Hey, but I’m never going to admit I’m related to that guy in public. Even if I just did. Anyway, moving on. I’m a little embarrassed to admit I don’t know what this award intends to signify, but I’m a little more flattered than I should be.

Liebster Award. Been there, done that.

As much as I would’ve liked to give an acceptance speech, this woman springs to mind and well, stymies my efforts, because she indeed has a point.

Okay. Thanks. Bye.

So, all you special nominees that I’ve nominated below, please check these rules out before you graciously accept the award. Christina’s asked me 11 questions that I’ll now answer.

1. Favourite music artist/band?

The Beatles, Coldplay, U2, The Police, Scorpions, Angus and Julia Stone, Mumford and Sons, Eric Clapton, old school GnR, Bon Iver and I could go on and on here. Lately, I’ve been getting into Peter Mulvey a lot.

 2. What, according to you, is your best quality?

I can be quite resilient.

 3. What is the one thing that drives you nuts?

Unjustified text.

 4. Who is your favourite fictional character?

Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes and none of his more modern counterparts.

 5. What do you want to get/already have as a tattoo?

Nothing’s ever had a permanent or long lasting impact on my life so far. I’m afraid of commitment, so tattoos aren’t for me. If I were to get inked right now, it would probably be a quote from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, which I’m currently reading. These are the two I absolutely loved so far.

“You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.” 

“To define is to limit.” 

I’ve loved many other quotes from the book but Oscar Wilde’s limited use of brevity there would turn out to be rather painful. I also love the meaning of the phrase “Que sera sera”. It explains everything.

 6. What serves as an effective stress-buster for you?

Reading. Writing. Music.

 7. What is the hardest thing you have ever done, or the biggest obstacle you have faced in your life?

I’ve led a charmed life so far, but I’d have to say moving to Mumbai from my hometown.

 8. What inspired you to start blogging?

My three day trip to Coorg, the best vacation of my life so far.

 9. Do you have any unusual pet peeves?

I can’t stand leftovers. Even if I’m eating and I leave the table for a few minutes and then come back to it, I have trouble finishing my own food. Another is socialising. I can’t for the life of me ever enjoy doing it.

10. What is your favourite quote?

Since I’m obsessed with The Picture of Dorian Gray, I’ll leave you with this.

“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.” -Oscar Wilde

11. Who has had the biggest influence on you?

I’d say my parents. They’re pretty awesome. If you ask about my writing, bloggers and aspiring writers on the internet have influenced me greatly.

Alright. That’s done. Now I’m supposed to tell you 11 random facts about me. 

  1. I love everything about Oscar Wilde.
  2. My favourite word right now is “Clarity”.
  3. I love the sound of the letter ‘l’.
  4. I’m afraid of commitment.
  5. I am deeply fascinated with the cthonic world, particularly the story of Persephone.
  6. I want Mitch Welling to write me a letter just once.
  7. I want to live in Copenhagen for a year.
  8. I want to do the Gorge Swing at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
  9. I love historical fiction and want to dabble in that genre one day.
  10. I think Dan Brown is awesome, no matter what critics say.
  11. I never know how much to say.

Since Christina nominated most of the blogs I wanted to, here’s my  (short) list of nominees for the Leibster Award: (In no particular order, they’re all fab)

The Reading Girl

Nirbhaya’s India

Temitoria’s Wit

The Late Bloomer

Aimless Wanderer

SandraLuv

Here are 11 questions I’d like you nominees to answer:

  1. What is your feel-good song?
  2. Name a book that changed your life.
  3. What would your autobiography be called?
  4. What is your dream holiday destination?
  5. Who is your role model?
  6. Do you like where you are in life, or is there somewhere you’d rather be?
  7. What is your favourite dessert?
  8. What is your guilty pleasure snack?
  9. What are you most afraid of?
  10. What would you like your name to be?
  11. Do you have a pet? What’s it called?

Happy Blogging!

Quote: On Art, Influence and Words

I haven’t blogged in a while and I’m sure you were all rather relieved, but brace yourselves. I’m back. I won’t be too hard on you in the beginning. So I leave you with a, well um, quote, a rather long but brilliant quote from what is slowly becoming my new favourite book. Enjoy this excerpt from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.

“There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray. All influence is immoral–immoral from the scientific point of view.”

“Why?”

“Because to influence a person is to give him one’s own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of some one else’s music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one’s nature perfectly–that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self. Of course, they are charitable. They feed the hungry and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion–these are the two things that govern us. And yet–“

“Just turn your head a little more to the right, Dorian, like a good boy,” said the painter, deep in his work and conscious only that a look had come into the lad’s face that he had never seen there before.

“And yet,” continued Lord Henry, in his low, musical voice, and with that graceful wave of the hand that was always so characteristic of him, and that he had even in his Eton days, “I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream–I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal– to something finer, richer than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also. You, Mr. Gray, you yourself, with your rose-red youth and your rose-white boyhood, you have had passions that have made you afraid, thoughts that have fined you with terror, day-dreams and sleeping dreams whose mere memory might stain your cheek with shame–“

“Stop!” faltered Dorian Gray, “stop! you bewilder me. I don’t know what to say. There is some answer to you, but I cannot find it. Don’t speak. Let me think. Or, rather, let me try not to think.”

For nearly ten minutes he stood there, motionless, with parted lips and eyes strangely bright. He was dimly conscious that entirely fresh influences were at work within him. Yet they seemed to him to have come really from himself. The few words that Basil’s friend had said to him–words spoken by chance, no doubt, and with wilful paradox in them– had touched some secret chord that had never been touched before, but that he felt was now vibrating and throbbing to curious pulses.

Music had stirred him like that. Music had troubled him many times. But music was not articulate. It was not a new world, but rather another chaos, that it created in us. Words! Mere words! How terrible they were! How clear, and vivid, and cruel! One could not escape from them. And yet what a subtle magic there was in them! They seemed to be able to give a plastic form to formless things, and to have a music of their own as sweet as that of viol or of lute. Mere words! Was there anything so real as words?

I’m Insecure

I’m sorry if I deviate from the point a few times here, but I just need to rant.

I’m insecure.

Let me be honest here. I cannot explain how tempted I was to extend my opening line from that One Direction song. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t even like it. Anymore. I’m glad I exercised restraint there, which counts as exercise. I’ll consider it a sign of willpower and self control. Elegant restraint. Except when it comes to food, obviously.

But it’s true. I am insecure. And I don’t know what for. And lately insecure can aptly define everything I’ve been feeling. A regular cast member in the story of my life, taking up more than its fair share of screen time. It’s sort of like one of those characters on a TV show who need to be bumped off to keep the show going. It’s stagnant with them around. So, that’s what I am. I am insecure. And insecure is me.

I know that we’re all a little insecure in some ways. But I think it’s a lot easier when you know what makes you feel that way. Of course dealing with it is just as hard, but you manage to limit your fears to specific situations, localize them and don’t let them take over your entire life.

Effectively, I don’t know why I’m insecure. I really don’t have anything to be insecure about. I’m almost a spoiled brat, have everything I need and most things I want and a really solid support system in family and friends.

It’s not about the way I look either. I mean, as far as my appearance is concerned, I couldn’t care less. I don’t look pretty, hot or sexy and I don’t live to be. In fact, I’m rather ugly by most standards and I don’t care enough to do anything about it. I let my hair remain a mess, I wear whatever peeks out at me through the mess of my wardrobe and don’t bother tinkering with even a smidgen of makeup. Yes, essentially, I’m a fat lazy slob. But I’m a fat, lazy slob who’s comfortable in her own skin, even though it is rougher than most roads of Mumbai.

I’ve just been feeling anxious about everything lately. I just gave my board exams over the past month. And I didn’t feel like they went really well. I mean, they were good. In fact, I’d say they were pretty decent considering how little I studied for them (And that’s too little, trust me. I learnt that the hard way). But they weren’t amazing.

Throughout every paper, I had doubts. I kept second guessing myself over things that were perfectly clear. I picked the wrong answer a few times even though the right one was etched in my bones. After my Economics paper, I was so nervous, my hands were literally shaking as I tried, unsuccessfully to thread my supplement to my main answer sheet. The invigilator had to do it for me, much to her disdain. I even wrote my seat number wrong for one of the papers. (I corrected it, phew.) I just didn’t trust my gut anymore. I kept getting stuck on insignificant details like how untidily I’d presented my answer, speckled generously crossed out words and caret marks, a bit like the first drafts of my poetry.

I thought it would dissipate once the exams were over and done with. And with utmost disappointment, I must say that it hasn’t. It’s just hanging over like a weight above my head. Everyone’s questioning my next move, my career move. And I honestly don’t know what I want to do. I don’t know what courses I should take and just come up with a different answer every time someone asks me that question.

So, that’s what’s been eating me up. I applied for a couple of internships for the heck of it, got selected and withdrew my applications because I didn’t feel they were right for me. So, that’s what’s wrong. I’m going nowhere. I don’t have a plan. 

My friends believe a boyfriend is the solution to boosting my confidence and they’ve tried all sorts of measures to make that happen. I haven’t had the best experiences with relationships and I don’t think I need one here. Besides, I want to be confident on my own. Not because of some boy.

One thing I’m sure of is that I need to escape. For a while at least. It is a risky idea but the only thing that I feel could really help me right now is a gap year. A year away from my life as I know it to just understand myself better. I know being away from courses for a year is a huge setback but I don’t want to just go with the flow and land up somewhere I later realize is not where I want to be. It is really scary. I’ve never been abroad alone. Besides, my parents would never be on board with the idea.

I hope the vacation will do me some good. I just need a way to relax. A get away. Sometimes, all a TV show needs is a good twist in the plot. And twists are always risks.

It frightens how many times I think of just escaping, letting go, just walking into the distance until everyone I know and everything I’ve loved is no more than a speck in the distance. It scares me how willing I am to do all of it.

The Beauty Of Desperation

Everyone knew they weren’t going to last the year. He invested too much, too soon in the relationship, they said. No one said that she didn’t invest enough.

That’s how they saw relationships these days. Like investments. A fruitful one was said to repay rewards or dividends on the time and energy invested by an individual in it. The perceived folly on his part was viewed as a poorly timed investment-he professed his love too soon. He came across what teens today call ‘desperate’ or ‘pathetic.’ She came across as smart to withdraw her energies from the relationship at the right time.

 So, this boy. How foolish was he exactly? Let me tell you.

Despite sharp stings of the inevitability of their numbered days together which wafted through the air as caution might, he wrote her epic poems and novels in her favourite emerald ink on expensive ivory paper held together with paperclips. He did this so as not to leave any staple indentations in the paper, a pet peeve she had. He posted them in envelopes sealed with a kiss. He sent her messages signed off with one too many heart emoticons. He spent long hours staring at her from where he sat while she toyed with her perfect, perfect curls. When she finally met his gaze, he didn’t look away. When she laughed at him, often in a not-so-friendly way, he told her he loved the crinkles that formed by her eyes.

He loved her. You could see it in the way he caressed his phone while he read her texts, even if they were often monosyllabic. You could see it in the way he looked at her while she made coffee. If you told him he had to do that for the rest of his life, he would be the happiest person in the world. You could see it in the way he kissed her. Firm, hard, like she’d asphyxiate if he didn’t coax her lips apart.

Every day as they left for work, the two of them parted by filling the air with mutual utterances of ‘I’ll miss you.’ He actually meant it. She was the kind of person who stopped believing in herself when life knocked her down. She would inhale and try to suffocate. At times like this, he would breathe for her, exhale and save her life.

Don’t get me wrong. She loved him too, in the words she never said. She loved him to destruction. She wanted to call him beautiful. She meant to write him poetry. She wanted to tell him how it physically hurt her heart when he was away from her and how every word of every text he sent her played its part in getting her through the day. Instead, she just smiled and let the words she never spoke melt away into nothingness. She told herself she didn’t love him. She didn’t know how easy it would be for her to believe it.

You can see why it didn’t work out. They were opposites, and while they say opposites attract, sometimes we look to fall in love with ourselves.

She was complicated. The way from her heart to her mouth was a maze, and the words often got lost on the way. She didn’t know how much to invest, so she didn’t at all. He was a straight line. He knew he loved her and he was going to let her know because too many people died waiting all their lives to feel the way he did. He didn’t have time for games, playing hard-to-get and leaving words unsaid. They say he was desperate.

But one day, he will find someone who will say ‘I love you,’ despite fears of being greeted with hesitation. She will tell him to kiss harder. She will always outnumber the heart emoticons he texts her in her replies. She will stare at him for hours to meet his gaze. She’ll savour each word he writes for her, imprinting it somewhere in her memory. She won’t be afraid to invest.

They may call them desperate. But desperation is sorely misunderstood. Desperation is courage. It’s giving your all, without assured returns. Desperation is honesty. It’s the purest expression of the mind and heart. Desperation is beauty. In that split second of insanity, a nebula is created of the purest, unmasked desires one cannot control, where no matter what, one has no choice but to be selfless. Yes, they were two souls clad in desperation. And they wore it like a medal.

This is probably my last post for a while as my board exams are looming dangerously close and I have to make up for all the time I’ve spent not studying for them in a week. Trust me, that’s quite a lot. So, see you after March, the 18th.

I’m Such A Hypocrite, I Should Totally Do This

Why don’t you try something new today?

 Why don’t you wake up and smile, never once looking at the time? Don’t involuntarily reach out for your phone even if it doesn’t ping. Your messages can remain unread for a day. It’s okay not to know the hour of the day. You won’t fear time running out.

 Wash your face. Look at yourself in the mirror and smile, because you still have teeth. Tell the world that, but don’t say a word. Have a cold shower today and feel your pores tingling with each droplet. Savour this feeling. Don’t touch that zit on your face. Don’t brush the knots out of your hair today. They hold mysteries and riddles that only trust can attempt to detangle.

You know that dress you bought but never wore because you hadn’t yet found the right occasion? Wear it today. It doesn’t matter where you’re going. Just wear it. But don’t take a picture. Don’t take any pictures today.

 Hug your father. Tell him that you love him. Ask him to tell you stories from back when he was on the football team. Tell him to show you a team picture. Don’t forget to tell him how handsome he was, how handsome he is. Kiss your mother. Tell her she’s beautiful. Tell her you love her food. Learn to make that chocolate cake from her. Master it. She may serve you an extra slice of toast for breakfast today. Relish it. She put a lot of hard work into that.

 Stuff some cash into your wallet and go out. Don’t count it. Smile at everyone you see. Some may smile back. Some may not. Remember to forget your phone and your camera at home. Don’t think about who is calling you, who is texting you, what a person you barely know from Adam is eating for lunch (courtesy: Instagram) or whether your favourite celebrity’s new facelift is trending.

 Eat that poppyseed muffin you always wanted to try for lunch. Leave the café a Thank You note in the folds of a napkin. Buy a coffee for someone in the shop. Throw a coin in the wish fountain and make a wish. Make it twice, for better odds of it coming true. Get on a bus without knowing the destination and try to guess it along the way.

 At twilight, sit on a park bench and watch evening melt into night. Count the stars one by one as they appear. Make your own constellations. Smile at the moon, even if she hides her face. She’ll be out full, bright and shining in a matter of days. Just you watch.

 Send someone a handwritten letter by post telling them that you love them. Dance with someone special in the garden. Dance alone on the roof and seduce the night sky. It will look prettier than ever. Don’t take a picture.

 Have you ever wondered how much precious time you waste posing for or trying to capture the perfect picture, as though that alone defines the moment you’ve had? After that, you critique the picture and fumble through as many retakes as it takes to achieve perfection. What you forget is that you are human. You are not here to be perfect. You have flaws. You are here to drink and dance and kiss and smile and cry. You are here to live, to create moments that will rise from stardust and be reborn in your memory and not reproduced in high definition on a screen.

 You know it. You spend too much time staring at a screen. You don’t need a backlit LED screen to light up someone’s day.

 Just forget it for one day.

 I promise you, it’ll be a good day.

Well, I know it’s kind of ironic that I was staring at a screen while writing this and effectively everyone who is reading this is staring at a screen of some sort. This is nothing more than a note to myself to sometimes conquer that FOMO and tear myself away from screens. Instead, I should live a little, something I need to be constantly told to do. I spend too much time looking at beauty through photographs, so much so, that no great moment can be called great without a photograph. I need to see the beauty and the beasts of the world with naked eyes and make my mind the paintbrush. Also, to all my photographer followers, no offence intended. I adore photographs, I just spend a little too much time looking at the world through them, and need to go old school sometimes.

#HappyBirthdayChristina

Christina has survived all of seventeen years, as of today. I cannot be sure if it’s all skill, a lot of luck or ceaseless tweeting that’s made this possible, but I’d put my money on the latter. This girl has managed to elude killers, terrorists, sickeness and other fatal things and also live with slow internet, and *gasp* Beliebers (the line is thin here; watch this space for further developments) without once spending so much as an hour of her time either a) in jail or b) off twitter. She’s also been retweeted by several celebrities which, I’d consider an achievement if my favourite writers/poets/musicians were a) alive and b) on twitter. And for that, I shower her with heartfelt praise.

For this, I think a birthday wish is in order and I’m using this post to channelise these feelings I sometimes have for my friends, often misconstrued to be affection. Despite my efforts, this post will never trend, as much as Christina wants it to.

What’s special about Christina is that she’s me. Our mutual fondness for most things on earth, especially Coldplay and Virat Kohli is what created enough conversation to fill in the awkward space I tend to be enveloped by when I’m around people. She’d complete my sentences (Coldplay song lyrics) and even sneakily access what seemed like enough information to stalk, yes stalk Virat Kohli at his hotel to two teenage fangirls. She chalked out this entire plan and only when it was too late to back out did I realise she was serious. So, along with Vee, we happily sat in the hotel lobby waiting for Virat Kohli to magically appear until cursory glances at the time dampened our plans. Disappointedly trying to cheer ourselves up at Starbucks, where the ridiculous prices deepened our frowns, I was sort of happy she was so similar to me.

That's Christina. Isn't she pretty?

That’s Christina. Isn’t she pretty?

From the inside too :D

From the inside too :

I can’t control my laughter. I burst into giggles at the most inopportune moments for no reason at all, as my friends will vouch. It got me into trouble a lot, especially with teachers. And then I found someone idiotic enough to do the same. So, as we marvelled at our history teacher’s vocabulary, he marvelled at how easily we were amused. It’s not as pleasant as it sounds. So, thanks Christina. For everything. Especially retweeting my tweets about my blogposts. Brought in some views, that.

I hope your Internet speeds hit all time high this year and may you be blessed with followers that share your hatred for certain excuses for musicians. May you be retweeted and favourited, followed and mentioned by my girl crush Stana.

Always be yourself, i.e me.

P.S. I’m sorry for all the Twitter references but I just couldn’t put my feelings, often misconstrued as love into 140 characters.

#HappyBirthday

I know your birthday is technically tomorrow, but sleep is more important than you. Besides, it’s way past midnight in New Zealand, which is where your heart is anyway.