Coffee counter- behind the scenes

briskly she wakes up at 4
and shrugs off tiny remains of the dream that lingers from last night
it’s December
month of endings
giving way to beginnings

she scurries to the bathroom
and before the crisp morning air
could bite her lungs
and remind her she’s human

she’s behind the counter again
taking the morning shift
brewing coffee like she once
brewed her dreams

her eyes are of glass
smile is mechanical
‘thank you sir, please visit again’
like an encrypted code

the morning rush dies down
and she peers at the remains of
a coffee cup
once full of bubbling fuel
now only tiny specks of brown dirt

who could’ve guessed something
so coveted and longed for,
fresh and strong an hour ago
would reduce to nothing
in a few slurps

her eyes meet a mirror
she looks away
this metaphor is too much to endure

a bell rings
her thoughts break
and then a voice escapes out of her
without even trying
then a smile
like a mechanism
‘good morning sir, what can I get you today?’

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Blunder

The clock strikes 12 and my phone buzzes
It doesn’t feel right
I’m cucooned in my blanket
My heart is so heavy
It’s full of nothing but grief
I pick up the phone and
put up a good show
‘i’m proud of you, you can do this’

smile
smile between tears
don’t let them notice the hiccups
or how your voice wavers

say thank you
and hang up
stare at the ceiling
while you breathe from your mouth

Stare until the blades of the fan make you dizzy
wipe your nose
not your eyes

people, goblins, fairies and witches
Gods, kings, queens & elves
carry on
it’s another day
or raise your empty goblets
tonight

your girl turns 22

No sleep for this sad

The date was 15th,
and my head bobbed with the train’s rythemic jolts
two hours past midnight & everyone’s asleep
white ghosts hanging in the air
swaying softly as the train lulls them

the window which I peer through is shrouded in dark
and my own, restless reflection ornates it
Until i raise my head
and see lights twinkling in the distance
it’s a factory

I see small figures on metal beams
Pounding the hammer for tomorrow’s meal
silhouettes of smoke
rise through tall chambers
like a serpent keeping watch
the workers grind
quiet and morose

hours past midnight
and my train marches through
the factory recedes from view
so do the workers

the window is dark again
I’ll keep peering
untill tomorrow morning when I deboard
sip my morning tea at the station

and silently hope
they got their meal too.

 

Yet so far

In the math of two numbers
My life vacillates
11:10
So close to being lucky
So close to being loved
So close to being chosen
So close to 11:11
Almost
But never quite there.

I see the shore every time
From the boat
In which I paddle alone
Grappling, sweating
I reach out
Almost
I almost reach the shore
But I don’t make it.
Just like the numbers
11:10

I’m running
I see the finish line
I see the ribbon fluttering in the wind
I see it between my labored breaths
It’s right there
Only if I could just stretch my hand and grab it
But I don’t. I can’t.
Almost.

In a sea of numbers
I’ll always be 11:10
Almost reaching what my heart desires
But just missing it
Almost
But never quite there.

Don’t take my hand

My palms were never soft. If you ever held my hand you’d feel they’ve been chiseled and worked with.

They’re not fleshy, they’re not silken. They don’t possess any generic mark of femininity.

They are flat and pale. Like a slab of colorless granite. Green veins pulsate beneath my cold, pasty skin.

The upper terrain is rigged and rough, with blotches of sun burns I try to hide.

My palms are so even, so toned. There is no plumpness to denote that they were ever fostered or caressed.

So when you hold them, you might flinch, but you’ll come to know what years of struggle does to a pair of hands.

Because unlike other women, I never had a chance to be soft.

A Spatial Affair

Have I ever told you how much I love space?

Outer space.

The first time I ever managed to foster an ambition, I was 10 years old fashioning a blunt hair cut, dirty brown hoodie and eyes that weren’t blind without glasses. Hopping up and down with the kind of earnestness you expect from a kid who believes he’s just found his purpose in life, I announced with as much resolve as I could, “Mum, when I grow up, I will be an astronaut.”

In return I was thrust with a bag full of clothes that needed dry cleaning.

But my passion never snuffed. I went ahead and made a fat, exhaustingly detailed project on ‘The Solar System’ for my yearly submissions and ended up getting full marks.
“If I can get full marks here, I can surely become an astronaut”, my ten year old brain schemed eagerly.

But then I grew up. And slowly with each passing year and with the arrival of Physics, Chemistry and Math died my dream of ever stepping into space. Later arrived teenage angst, thick glasses and youthful indiscretion and my love for stars and planets was unwillingly buried under copious amounts of schoolwork.

After a decade when I unearthed that passion again and held it in my hand it seemed to throb with life; it was old but stronger and fiercer. And now when I look at it with grown up prudence I understand that my love for space has always been solely from an artists perspective.

I love the stars for being stars. I see space as a vast painting, I see it as a gigantic portal of beauty and wonder. I feel a life in the cosmos. When the universe takes deep breaths our sky shakes a little. Meteors are sparkling messages from one galaxy to another. When the sky is pink, someone’s wish has been answered, when it is grey, somewhere someone’s heart is heavy. The universe is a huge, magnificent work of art, one that we’re too small and too puny to comprehend but too nosy to not be part of. It is for this reason that when you gaze at the night sky dotted with silver stars, your problems don’t seem so big.

This is how the artist in me has romanticized space and this is how it shall always be.

On December 13th after midnight, I lay on my terrace alone and watched the night sky slowly emblazoned with a dozen meteors. There was complete stillness except for an occasional brush of cold, frigid wind.  First there was a small, thin streak of silver light slowly piercing the velvety dark and I gulped and shivered a little.

And before I even blinked, the night was embellished with a splendid meteor shower and I soaked it in with bated breath and gaping eyes. It was an ethereal scenery painted by some strange, elusive artist.

Reader, it was the most beautiful and heart warming feeling I ever experienced.

While the night before me swirled and danced with a thousand shades of gold, a strange, subdued part of me whispered and tugged at my sleeve. It made me turn my head and stare at the empty space next to me. Subconsciously I wondered how it’d be to experience something this miraculous next to someone. It’d be comforting to look sideways and smile in between, no?

The Geminid meteor shower arrives every December. I close my eyes and make a wish.

Maybe years from now on some December evening, the universe would be considerate and the sky will be pink, for me.

 

Love always,

Your blogger.


Close your eyes.
Turn off the lights.
Listen to it alone.


P.s- I hope everyone realizes the above piece is purely fictional. There’s no way I could’ve watched the Geminid Meteor Shower from my terrace in the heart of a bustling city. But since I yearned to experience it, I chose to live the event by wondering and writing about how it would feel like.
That’s all I could do, couldn’t I?

Talk is Cheap

Every evening at six, I sit amidst a sea of people in a cafe farther down North. The air around me crackles with words I don’t follow. I can’t distinguish voices, so it sounds like a perpetual buzzing of the air. Mouths move, words are uttered but their meaning gets lost in a haze midway.

I take tiny, measured sips of my coffee, its warmth pulsating in my veins; it is my excuse for silence. The cubicle in which I sit is jammed with practiced smiles- not too much; not too little -and conspicuous gulps. The girl with a ruffled bow has her camera out already.

Someone utters something witty and our close knit huddle erupts in laughter. I don’t. My mind is befogged and I’m trying to focus on the label stuck to the bottle of hot sauce.
‘Manufactured in Hogsmeade.’ Peculiar.

I hook a finger in the collar of my turtleneck and pull, craning my neck slightly.
“Geez,” I glance at the sweater less arms around me, “doesn’t anybody else feel the brunt of December?” 

Someone nudges me on the side. I turn and behold a perfect set of eyebrows creased in confusion. Inquiringly, she jerks her head up a little (sensing that my mind was distracted) and attempts to pull me back into the hubbub of the group.

I smile reassuringly and pretend to listen but the buzzing continues. She grins and rejoins the conversation, triumphing at the outcome.
What are they talking about?

I get stuck on a boy opposite me. I wonder if anyone noticed the blotches of ink on his left hand. His eyes are puffy and shoulders are slouching. He looks exhausted and appears skinnier than the last I saw him. But he beams at everyone and clutches his mug tightly, holding on to the warmth he’s paying for.

I look away and peer through  the frosted window I chose to sit next to. The street outside is a greyish blur.
“From the other side of this translucent glass,” I muse, “we must be a blur too. Five silhouettes propped against the golden glow of a cafe.” 

Glancing above I follow a thin wire of dazzling yellow lights. They hang on rusted nails, hammered several Christmases ago.

I’m about to pursue the trail of lights when something happens. A voice hits me and the world zooms into sharp focus. I’m snapped back to clarity and the crisp sound of slurps and munches reaches me. The conversation is suddenly discernible.

“Did anybody notice the sky this evening? It was a distinct, rain-washed midnight blue and I could already see hazy outlines of stars appearing on the horizon when I walked here.” The scruffy boy opposite me sighs and looks around the table, hoping someone would mirror his spirit.

I smile at him feverishly.

See now the table has my attention.

A List of Little Pleasures

For a while now and due to some strange impulse, I have been making a list of some pleasures of life that go painfully unnoticed and unappreciated. I decided to jot down every moment or activity that feel insignificant while they’re happening but in retrospect, they’re pretty special.

It has been a month and these are all the things I call severely underrated and that they should be performed often and with more passion.

Enjoy.

Long walks
Freshly baked cookies
Running
Star gazing
Hand written letters
Staring at the clouds
Eye contact

Ferris wheels
Driving your bike in the rain
Wind
Candles
A caress 
Holding hands
Dancing in the kitchen
Your favorite song on the radio

Karaoke nights
A flower
Campfires
Conversations on park benches
Hot tea on rainy days
Forehead kisses
New toothbrush
Cooking together

Smell of books
Unwrapping presents
Cuddles
A bowl of soup when you come down with flu
New pair of socks
Warming your hands inside the sleeves of your sweater
Dining out alone

Someone tucking your hair behind your ear
Leftovers
Mixtapes
Fireflies
Bedtime stories
Grocery shopping for a special recipe
Rooftops at night
Midnight movie shows


Feel free to add anything you want to this list in the comment section. I’d be happy to know what other small pleasures of life exist in other parts of the world that I’m yet to experience.

Also, do let me know how many of the above things you’ve already experienced.

Let us take a step back and appreciate the little pleasures we are capable of creating and experiencing.

Let’s make this a long list of utter joy. 

 

Love always,

Your blogger.

4 years of Brooding in the Tepid Dusk

4 years ago, on a particularly dreary night, I took the decision of starting a blog. I never gave it too much thought; came up with the name ‘Brooding in the Tepid Dusk’ and thus began my journey of writing all the things I can probably never say in person.

Ironically, today I find myself short of words to express how grateful I am to anyone who has ever visited BITD. The real purpose of this blog was for me to open up. To talk about things that I can’t talk about with people around me.
To make sense of the world I live in.

I never thought anyone would ever bother reading what I wrote here. That this place would be a void where I rambled away the confusion in my mind. But in these 4 years, I made so many friends here, interacted personally with so many of you.

I was stunned, that people on this blog not only read what I wrote, but also understood. They empathized and I even received some very loving e-mails from people of so many countries.

It’s crazy how important this blog has become to me. It’s the place I go to when I’m not okay. Somehow, all of you, you wonderful WordPress community makes it okay.

I grew up learning from all of you. I was 18 when I started writing here, when I was going through, what I call the most emotionally challenging period of life so far and this blog got me through all of it. You guys got me through all of it.

I once read this thought that the idea is to not live forever, but to leave something behind that does.

I feel really fortunate to think that if someday I’m not here, at least this little space I created on the internet always will. The things I wrote here will stay. All the people I’ve interacted with will, at some point in their life, remember me.

So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. For assuring me that all these thoughts in my mind make sense.

122 Posts, 841 followers, 16435 blog hits, 1790 shares, 2984 likes.

And I’m only getting started.

 

Love always,

Your blogger.

An Evening at Coney Island

Picture captured by Robert Doyle at Coney Island, New York.

I can’t remember the last time I visited Coney Island. Probably because those were the brief happier days, the memories of which seem to be getting hazier now.
It’s unusually chilly today– should’ve brought my wind breaker. I sit on an empty, cold bench on the left, near the side walk. Partly because it is easier to observe all the life from here, partly because it is empty.

There is a sharp, cold drizzle imbued in the air as I watch the twilight melt slowly into the night and the clouds appear to be hanging threateningly low, heavy with moisture that’ll soon pour down as rain.

I finished my shift early today. There weren’t many people in the neighborhood looking for a drink to drown their grief in- so I was free.

After closing for the night I found myself standing at his doorstep, staring blankly at the wooden latch.  Uncertain about what may occur if it opened I left, with slow, hesitant steps and lumbered straight to Coney Island-  a place that made me happy since I was 14.

I made my way straight to the latte stall and grabbed a warm cup of coffee- keeps my head straight-and sat on this bench from where I’m talking to you.

There is something oddly beautiful about places that are always buzzing with people but are quieter at the moment. I’ve always looked at this place and seen poetry in every corner-even when I was young.

A few people linger around the empty stores, some stare at the brightly lit wonder wheel, leaning on each other. A woman lulls a drowsy baby in her arms, while fumbling with a half eaten hot dog and a bunch of blue and red balloons.

Sometimes nothing can make you feel more alone than watching a place getting emptied of life. The lights being turned off one by one. Shutters being pulled down as people are done for the day. Keys rattle in their fingers as they hum their way home.

The lights of all the stores are slowly dying out and the few people still lingering on the boardwalk are finally leaving, though reluctantly. I gaze at the wagon wheel, still so bright and quiet. Flashes of memories come rushing back- our first picture in the photo booth, our first shared cotton candy-the last left at the stall, the locket whose pendant I still carry with me, our first go at the sledgehammer and how I scored higher.

A smile crept my face.

Sometimes I think the easier the solution to a problem is, the harder it is to fix it. Because we cannot come in terms with the simplicity of it. The answer is right there, facing us, but we choose to look away. How can it be that easy? So we keep avoiding it, until one day, there’s nothing left to avoid.

And because we, as a specie have a habit of never trying hard enough, we hold on to things that are left- things that still connect the two. Like frail, cold ashes of a fire that once burnt bright. Something that once was a part of both of us.

Like our memories here at Coney Island. Maybe that’s why I come here often; in search of some happy memory that, at some juncture of life, was shared and cherished by us both.


Note- This post was in collaboration with the exceptionally talented photographer and my very good friend on WordPress, Robert Doyle. I never understood the practicalities of photography enough to appreciate the technical prowess behind them, until I saw his work. I’ve been a great admirer of his pictures, solely because they are poignant, deep and tend to speak to you in someway.

When Robert first uploaded this on Instagram, I couldn’t stop staring at it. I was immediately pulled inside the picture, melancholy and nostalgia oozing from it. When I write such fictional pieces, like the ones I’ve written in the past, I always picture them happening in a similar backdrop. A warm twilight caressed with cool gusts of wind and a bunch of lights twinkling somewhere in the distance. Pictures that can make you feel the weight of being human.

So when the opportunity arose, I decided to collaborate with Robert and write a small narrative inspired by this beautiful image.

The story you read above, is taking place inside this picture. Our protagonist is sitting on the bench you see on the left side. Hope you enjoyed it and please do visit my friend’s blog.

 

Love always,

your blogger.

Jane Austen: My Respite in a Decadent World

I have often been ridiculed for my irrevocable love for Jane Austen. Somehow, the people around me cannot adjust to the ‘dreary, jaded and cliched’ stories of Jane, often labeling them as predictable. My love for Austen was ignited when I first watched the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice where a young, green eyed Darcy (the unbelievably gorgeous Matthew MacFadyen) pours his love for the stunning Elizabeth Bennett (Keira Knightley.)

I knew I was hooked and proceeded on reading all of Jane Austen’s works and found in them, a sense of companionship and understanding. Her stories were soothing and were remarkably successful in extirpating, even for a brief period, any strands of hopelessness or grief.

Jane had a proclivity to bestow upon her stories triumphant, happy endings. In Mansfield Park, she remarks, ‘Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.’

December 18th, 2017 will mark 200 years of her death. If the literary genius had even an ounce of idea of what her books have done, how they’re worshiped, vehemently debated and discussed, admired and looked up to, shared and cherished, read in schools and colleges- all this after two complete centuries- she would beam with joy and perhaps tell us a little more about Darcy.

From the surface, and specially to men who find reading drama not ‘masculine’ enough, her books might appear like a simple, everyday romance.

But her stories and characters are unabashedly real. They don’t exude unrealistic courage or over enthusiastic proclamations of love or betrayal. They’re simple, meaningful and are a precise embodiment of human emotions. Her characters are just as vulnerable, and just as unsure as we are. They struggle with human follies, make sacrifices and learn from their mistakes.

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Jane’s world in the 18th Century was plagued with patriarchy and subjugation of women. She was a critic of societal hypocrisy and unfairness and made it evident in her novels with sharp criticism masked in solemn observations and witty remarks. So Jane, through her writing, was secretly rebelling against the patriarchy at that time. She created strong female characters who were capable of standing up for themselves- like Elizabeth Bennett or Elinor Dashwood– a trait not much admired by her milieu.

So personally, Jane will always be my respite. Often when I find myself troubled over an issue, I pick my copy of Pride and Prejudice and leaf through its pages; reading lines I’d underlined and paragraphs that still never fail to appease me.

I like to call her work as the modern day rendition of fairy tales. They possess a remarkable healing ability and leave you with an assurance that things will get better. And when the world around you is constantly plagued with hatred, anguish and cold wars, it is soothing to delve deep into a story that promises, unlike the world around you, a happy, satisfied ending.

I will always be grateful that she graced our world. That she created characters that will stay with me, that I look up to. And for giving us hope, that somewhere in a far fetched land, comfortably perched inside a dimly lit cafe, there is a Darcy waiting for us, equally earnest and hopeful.


You can read more of my work here.

If you wish to watch the best adaptation of P&P, watch the BBC 1995 version. It’s precise, sticks to the book and shows the details.

My ranking of Jane Austen’s work:

  1. Pride and Prejudice.
  2. Northanger Abbey.
  3. Persuasion.
  4. Sense and Sensibility.
  5. Mansfield Park.
  6. Emma.

 

A Toast for the Average 

Here’s a severely exasperating trend I’ve noticed lately- this deeply entrenched ‘fear of being average.’ Young men and women shuddering at the thought of ending up as anything that is not ‘excellent’ or ‘prodigy-like.’ They’re often seen carrying a gigantic mass of invisible pressure dictated by the more often than not ‘successful elders & cousins’ of their family.

They’re made to measure the success rate of life with numbers.
Percentage. Weight. Stipend. Marks. Net worth. Likes. Comments. Shares. Clicks. 

Here’s a food for thought-
Since when did we start declaring anything average as ‘not good enough?’
Since when did we start demanding perfection from every sphere of life?
Why are we so scared of everything ordinary? Why is ‘normal’ not coveted anymore?

As a generation, we’ve been fed such abnormal standards of excellence that everywhere I go, every person I meet is busy staggering and toiling to meet them. We’re all more afraid of ending up not glitzy enough or not ‘Zuckerberg-ish’ enough that we forget to be kind to ourselves in the process.

So what if you are not the sparkling diamond everyone expects you to be? You don’t need to be ‘the best’ to validate your existence. You can tread through life as smoothly and as peacefully as you find yourself capable of.

There is nothing wrong with being ordinary. Just like there’s nothing wrong with being extra ordinary. Be at peace with who and where you are and continue working diligently towards whatever goals you’ve set for yourself, without sacrificing your complicity in the process.

Don’t hurt yourself, physically or mentally in the course of winning this race. Success, you must know, is a state of mind. If you feel happy and content with where you are in life, relish it. Your mind will tell you that you’re ‘settling’ only if you feel that there’s still something that needs to be done. Take a deep breath-and do it.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. There is a life that needs to be lived amongst all the degrees and positions and recognition. There are moments that need to be remembered between the board meetings and urgent calls. Lastly, there is a youth that needs to be cherished between all the semesters and presentations.

I just realized I didn’t exactly propose a toast in the proper way. People, raise your imaginary glasses for the misfits, the ones treading the easier road, the ones who gaze silently from the sidelines and the ones snuggled in their blankets watching Netflix. This is for you.

How to Handle Life- 101

In my brief span of the last couple of years, a period I like to modestly refer as ‘the awakening’ I’ve been able to deduce a lot of conclusions about life- stemming mostly from my own, often disappointing experiences. I have always had this annoying penchant to be severely critical of every single incident that occurs in my life.

I sit still, place the situation on a table, turn it around and analyse it diligently until I’ve found a possible explanation. I always have to find an absolute answer; cannot tolerate ambiguity. Because of my belief that there is a certain pattern behind everything, I reduce a matter to its bare bones until I can finally answer the question-
‘Where did I go wrong?”  

It’s not entirely my fault- this knack for seeking absolute answers. INTJs tend to do that- A LOT.

So here is a tip I discovered during one of my analysis that I’d like to share today. A virtue (as I like to call it) I find myself a pro at practicing:

Apathy. 

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Don’t get me wrong, I do want the world to be more kind, compassionate and altruistic. But sometimes, you have to take some measures to protect yourself from humans- they can be pretty callous.

One such measures is cold and sullen ‘withdrawal.’

I find it typical and amusing when I notice someone’s childish attempts to try and incite a reaction from me, or briefly stating, to make me care.
I have this ability to switch from intense affection to mad indifference within days. All a person needs to do is disappoint, the transition is almost instant and often irrevocable.

This way, you’re saved from hours of pining and mooning over an individual who clearly doesn’t deserve that much time. You’re not resentful, it’s just the emotional maneuvering doesn’t have any effect on you.

If an individual or a situation is becoming an impediment in your mental and social growth, is stealing away chunks of your time- time you could utilize somewhere better, doesn’t acknowledge your value, exacerbates your anxiety than abate it-, this is what you do- you instantly yet gracefully uproot yourself from their life. The final nail in the coffin, ladies and gentlemen. 

Understand, there is way too much life yet to be lived to hand any kind of power over you to someone. Don’t waste time getting offended over things and people who won’t matter in a few years. Don’t give them the satisfaction of being offended. That’s what they want. Don’t fret and whine over ..humans at least find something worthy to sulk about.

Don’t compete with those you subconsciously know are inferior to you in every virtue possible. Let them do the talking, you stay silent, nod and smile. Or better, zone out. I often do that- it really helps. You don’t have to justify your apathy to anyone. If people are stupid enough to walk away from you- be smart enough to let them go.

Trust me, if you can master switching to ‘apathetic mode’ towards those who don’t reciprocate your emotional investment, you’ll live your life liberated from mental unrest or upheaval.

Indifference is a gift, my fellow hoomans. Embrace it. Invest only in those who invest in you. Shock them with your ability to be perfectly unaffected with a taxing phase. Remember,

For common people, a taciturn disposition is hard to come in terms with. 

(And if nothing else works out- go find some memes-they always help.)

Love always,

your blogger.

 


Note- I’m very happy to let you all know that I’ve begun working with the star stuffed team of Acadman as an Editor. It’s an independent student run website currently focusing on educational advancements and internship experiences for the students of India. 

If you have any experience to share from an internship you did, do contact me and I’ll see how we can publish it. 


 

 

Before The Storm

When I was little, one of the many things I waited earnestly for, were storms. They usually hit our city at night, and I used to gobble my food as fast as I could, so as to not miss a second of it.
I remember I was around 7 when I realized I was fascinated with sharp claps of thunder and dark, grey ominous clouds thrusting the wind down upon us. The ferocious, swift gushes of wind. But that wasn’t​ the best part.

The best part was standing right in the middle of the soft howling and feeling the air pierce itself while blowing against my skin. Realising, that at this instant, I’m in the wind’s way of wherever it is heading.

storm

Staring at the revolting clouds stretched far across the sky, shielding the stars and blanketing the night into a thick, impassable darkness. And the sky is breaking apart while a low, yet consistent boom of  clouds can be heard, like an old God is furious and is expressing his disapproval of the human kind. It evoked in me, a certain maudlin sense of satisfaction.

So when today the first storm of the season hit our city, I found myself following the same pattern. Gorging the dinner as fast as I can and then rushing outside, right in the centre of the stage.

I always make sure I walk against the wind; in whatever direction it is blowing, I’m always walking against it. It gives me the feeling  like I’m challenging the storm, in a puny way of course.

And no, never once in my life have I been afraid. It always felt like home. As a child I remember, I used to envisage that some day the storm will take me away with it. Somewhere far, in some new, Utopian realm.  And I would say goodbye to this godforsaken place.

So my usual walk at night today was wild, like I covet. I stood alone on a stretch of road, with not a single living soul in sight. No lamps, no torch, just the fitful electric streaks of thunder, making the gaps among the giant menacing clouds visible, if only for a split second.

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and whispered within, ‘beautiful.’

Prelude

Months after it began, I felt I’d already died. Like one day I had opened my eyes and woken up to blood smeared all over my body and a few dead people lying around me. For a moment I could not understand why was I here; fighting for a cause I did not believe in and for a master I did not know. But a queer, distant force had thrown me into this belligerent commotion and there was no escape but to pick up arms and fight.

When I got on my knees to have a bird’s eye view of the parched, dust laden field I was standing on, there was nothing but a rough land stretching far down every direction. And darkness blanketed the sky where, somewhere in the faded strands of my memory, once glinted the sun. The imminent threat of what was about to pass for a seemingly long time made my heart heavy with grief and even in the coming years, amongst all the steely clinks of swords and the bashing of shields, I’d often pause and look around for a kind exchange – but all in vain.

For years I got so accustomed to the torrid heat, unremitting anguish, dark and threatening crevices with no end, desolate, cold nights with no repose that now when I stand staring at a waning sun, I do not know how to behave. I haven’t experienced tranquility in a very long time, and uneasiness seems to have settled in the narrowest slits of my mind.

Somewhere I once heard, assurance cures uneasiness; assurance from whom, I wonder. 

I’ll tell you how it was; hold on for a little longer. A queer game this is and by the time you learn how to play by its rules you’re already on the brink of incorrigible collapse. You learn the art of carrying the burden of helplessness and masking it with pride. You learn how to sit still and hear the world around you softly mewling for help. You learn to appreciate recluse corners.

You begin to look up to the sky often, like a pair of bright, celestial hands would pick you up someday and take you far away-far from all the bedlam.

You start nursing hopes of divine help. Any help. You excel at constructing impressive facades- after all, they’ve protected you all this time. Initially, you try to talk about it, to the ones fighting alongside. But slowly you feel derided and just .. not understood enough, so you shut down, turn inwards and find a listener within.

This is how I fought and waded through years of noise and unrest.

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But now, I’m entranced, reader.  It’s almost like an ending of a long nightmare. I gaze with longing and gratitude at the freckles of grey clouds dotting the bruised evening sun. A warm rain might wash away some of this angst. A gush of fresh rain sweeps the field and I realise I’m still clinging tightly to my armour, so I let go and take a long whiff of the petrichor rising from the moist earth.

Dismally gazing at the distance I think of who I used to be before the war. I make a silent promise to scour her in the deepest of corners and pull her back. But the question is,

Has anybody who has ever been through war, returned unchanged?

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Note- I’ve noticed many of you have been sharing my posts on Facebook. The numbers have been increasing ever since! I’m grateful for the kindness and I thank you so much for this.  

But somehow, WordPress doesn’t give me the liberty to know who all share my posts on other platforms. So if you do share it, please let me know in the comments section. I’d love to thank you in person.

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Love always,

Your blogger.

All About Perspectives

A couple of weeks back, while scouring the internet for cute dog videos (because dogs are love-deal with it) I happened to land on a page that described Nietzsche’s theory of perspectivism.
Don’t even get me started on how that escalated.

Now I have read bits and pieces of his philosophies, but never felt like ‘delving deep’ into the ideas he propagated. Philosophers and too much philosophy can mess with your mind.

So after I devoured the Wikipedia page enough to satiate my mind, I felt a certain sense of ..pride? Let me elucidate the point I’m trying to make by using (Hermione’s) my time turner and taking you back to the year 2014.

I’m a firm believer in perspectives. I feel that people never truly tell you information in its true form, but rather their version of it.

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Is it a room, a painting, the sky or a building?

Every person has this window of comprehension. The bigger the window, the wider the perspective. Knowledge that we receive is always torn, bent, twisted, interpreted and distorted by the mind that delivers it. It’s never really ..pure.

This is what I have been believing since the last three years. And now that I found there’s an actual theory justifying and claiming the same thing is unreal! I mean the fact that a small, private and less discussed principle I’ve withheld and believed in for so long resonates with an actual philosophy from, what history calls, one of the greatest philosophers of all time – Nietzsche, is surreal! I think I should be allowed to have a fleeting, teeny-tiny moment of pride?

But if you apply this theory to every piece of information you’ve ever received, it can seem a little scary.

Whatever news you watch on the television, is a version and interpretation of the journalists and the writers, apart from factual information of course.

Like I read somewhere once,‘How do you know your hero is righteous, if you haven’t heard the story from the villain’s perspective.’

Perspectives and point of views can revamp both the connotation and the core idea behind an event.

The book critic might consider Lord of the Rings to be the greatest work of fantasy but maybe it isn’t? (Psstt ..it is.)

So our opinions are limited to our window (or scope) of perceiving it.

There is no truth, there are only perspectives.

One person’s idea of the ‘right’ kind of behavior might not conform with yours?

This entire blog article right here is also a perspective. Care to refute?


Note- Once upon a time there was this weird, ethereal boy in my class. His hobbies included doodling on tables, minimal human interaction and secretly seeking the meaning of the universe.  We spent two years in Middle school which consisted of him doodling on the table and I admiring it. That was the only human form of interaction he was programmed for.

Then we lost touch and he left the city.(Or maybe he went to another galaxy to fulfill some strange odyssey?) But years later in 2017 and due to some very peculiar turn of events, we met again! And now that he’s capable of having a human like conversation and even telling me about his plans to open a music store, I can safely vouch for the credibility of his blog, that he’s launched very recently.

People of WordPress, please spare some time and visit my very talented friend Yash’s blog. He has phenomenal writing skills and his comic books (that he creates when he’s on Earth for the time being) are a cherry on the cake. He talks of abstract stuff superimposed with a witty sense of humor, creative metaphors and peculiar diagrammatic representations of kebab rolls.

His blog is:

Bipolar Bear

Do visit and leave a review. Both the writer and the blog mean a lot to me.

I’d be grateful.

About Empathy

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Let me ask you a question.

How many times have you been on the receiving end of someone ‘venting out’ stuff on you?

Have you ever been elevated to this role model of impossible empathy that you can no more find people understanding that maybe, at times, you need a friend like that too?

I once read somewhere that you cannot serve with an empty heart. You need to be emotionally balanced enough to soak in the imbalances of others. And frankly, helping people lighten their load, if only by being a patient listener, is what humans, as a community is all about.

That’s how we survive; helping each other, promoting each other’s growth, celebrating the victories, mourning the loses.

But the material point is, I’ve only ever found so many people willing enough to empathize these days. Sympathy? Yes, that is present in abundance. But empathy? The art of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and trying to actually feel their misery?

That is what lacks.

In taxing times, you don’t need people nodding at you and telling you the ‘wicked ways of the world,’ or that somewhere in extreme parts of the Earth people are starving; that doesn’t quite put their tumult to rest now does it?

We need more people bold enough to say, ‘I’m here for you if you need me,’ and brave enough to mean it. We need more people to re-establish other people’s faith in this morally declining world.

It’s hard being a vessel all the time. Vessel open to all forms of lamentations, grief, agitation and pain and still manage to uphold the countenance of a calm face, comforting eyes and an understanding touch.

But hey, I’m here to tell you it is okay.

I’ve been on receiving end of the laments of a lot of different people. I’ve been the receiving end of the adults in my family.

I’ve tried my best empathizing with people 30 years ahead of me. I’ve heard my much younger friends and tried my best to console.

I’ve listened to strangers online. I’ve even maintained a tolerable disposition in front of people I generally dislike.

But.

I’ve also seen people get gradually distracted and lose sense of the conversation when I’m at the pouring end. I’ve also seen people fidgeting with their cell phone while I eventually, with a few hesitant, muffled words succumb to silence. I’ve seen people lose interest when the conversation is no more revolving around ‘them.’

I’ve also noticed general apathy in the eyes of the receiver.

I’ve seen it and I’ve been quiet. Maybe that’s just how the world works. However, what I observed during this course was, people with the lack of a listening heart, often find solace within themselves. They crumble and crawl inside and eventually find rest within the comforting box of their own warmth.

Eventually, these people stop voicing out and get used, or rather comfortable, finding their peace within themselves. Or to take an extra daring step, maybe in a few pages of literature?


Can you guess why I chose a picture of a lighthouse with this post? Let me know in the comments. 

Wayward

Only 15 minutes before, I was screaming. 

Now I’m making patterns in the moist, fragrant sand. Some of it is sandwiched between my fingers, slowly oozing out of the gaps as I tighten my grip. Occasionally, I take a quick glance of the ginormous turquoise body of water in front of me.

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It rises sporadically, antagonized by the frantic wind, it rises and rises until all I see is a huge film of translucent water, racing violently towards me. Until, with a defeated cry, it crashes down, sending cold splashes my way.

I cower a little, to save my shirt from drenching, but all in vain. Drops of salt water drip from my lips. Don’t worry, the sun is warm enough today. In one great leap the wave gulped my pattern and washed it away; leaving trails of sodden sand behind. I scrunch my face. Not fair.

My eyes light up instantly. I remember why I was here in the first place. I remember why I was screaming. Hesitating, I turn around to take a glance.

They’re still fighting.

I shake my head and turn to the waters, ‘Will this ever stop?’ 

Zoning out the sound of the ocean, I hear them having a war of words. They’re yelling and cursing each other. Their voice is rough and beaten. One of them has welled up, the voice has become heavy.

I smile. I know exactly who that is. 

The other, however, won’t be subdued. Like always, it is powerful. It stands tall and condescending. It wants to win. It wants to be right. It is bleeding, it is in pain and somewhere inside, a voice asks it to stop, yet it won’t be appeased. Never will it surrender. It keeps on screaming, until it leaps forward and throttles the other. They stagger, fidget and grapple.

One is going to win today.

The brawl continues and I’m about to scream again when I hear the snap of a neck. I turn around instantly only to witness a scene that sends waves of felicity through me. In a war between my heart and ego, heart stood there, bruised, but victorious.

Solemnly, I take out my cell phone, and I dial the abandoned number.