**I turned a year older the Sunday before last. Apart from the fact that I have successfully taken a step closer to the grave, I also think I have taken a step inward to see myself clearly. This post is about that feeling. Caution – The essay is fairly narcissistic. **
I have always believed myself to be a bit of a wreck. Sometimes, even out of turn. You know, that feeling, when you think you don’t know what is the higher purpose of life? That feeling has gripped me for the maximum time in the past years. And that has caused me to make mistakes. Some big, some small. The gravity of each mistake has made me a little saner in turn.
When I was five, everyone around me asked what I wanted to become. My answers were people like a bus conductor or a police inspector. When I turned thirteen, they asked again. And I answered an astrophysicist or something like that. And while I am in my late 20’s, they still want an answer. An answer which may sound serious to them while it probably sounds incredibly stupid to me.
And so, while I politely refrain from answering the question, deep inside, I know.
I’d want to toy with the idea of being a maverick. Make mistakes, get damaged, heal and make some more mistakes. Narrow down on choices of who I’d rather be, ultimately committing to that one Me which would be bound in ways more than one, to things that make me happy.
The whole of last year has been incredibly path-breaking in that sense. There was not a single time when mistakes seemed grave enough to paddle me into the quicksand of its evil cousins – doubt and insecurity. While I remained completely out of my element (that of less writing, lesser talking and least thinking), I enjoyed getting introduced to “make-shift” friends – the kinds who come into your life, play their part, seek their gratification and leave. (Quite a win-win, I’d say). I had the privilege of lusting on the finer things in life and even acquire some, dare I say. And in most shocking of all revelations, I could easily appear insanely shallow to people who had nothing to do with depth of any sort!
I don’t really know whether I have grown any wiser or not, but I certainly experienced upheaval of some sort. More like a part of me that I never knew existed.
That of healing and being healed.
Reaction to worldly mistakes and its damages needs admittance. And as these mistakes pile on our deceptive “shoulders”, it becomes increasingly difficult to let them out. And while one turns cathartic, somewhere there is an incredibly strong ray of hope of being heard by the “right one”. The one who’d make you to believe.
I was happy to find one such person.
From finding adventurousness to shrugging it off, I’ve concluded that the certainty of where you are and where you will be will always tend to zero. And no matter how old you get, you will never know whether what you do is right for you in the first place.
And so, only for the next 10 years, I know exactly what I want to do.
Make a difference. ‘Cos it is hard to 🙂
“A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity. When for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. It’s as though it had all just come into existence.
I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.” – Christopher Isherwood
More often than not, people have called me a cynic. A believer in most things practical on virtue of experience. And then, there are the close sets of people who call me anything but cynical. I have often found myself swaying between these perceptions. Sometimes, even for the lark of it.
The truth is, I am nothing. Neither an optimist, a pessimist, nor a cynic. I just react. To actions caused due to the environment and mainly, due to people. My reactions could be perceived as those of a cynic or a perennial pessimist. Fact remains that, it is YOU who makes ME.
And vice versa.
Over 27 years of my life, I have acquired skills that I utilize while ‘reacting’. One of them being Faith. It is like acquiring patience, since; most good things take some a while to happen. And while the whole world pleads innocent to all the bad things that have happened to them, I wait. Karma takes it rounds and someday it will work its way back to me. The bad things that happen to me are only the plausible results to the bad I do to something or someone.
Everyone is born naked. And sooner or later, we learn how to cover ourselves. The same way, while growing up, we pursue this fairy tale. In which nothing could ever go wrong. Where, we are perfect and could do no wrong to anything or anybody. Where, life never pokes at us even when we have not given our due. And we learn to live with it. We like it because of the feelings it evokes in us. The fairy tale is our space. It becomes our faith.It is where we get our peace.
Experiences may make us think otherwise. Reality has this tendency to sting right when you are about to take life to the home turf. And the world you build for yourself starts crumbling.
But it is hard to let go of the fairy tale entirely. Because it is hard to let go of that smallest ray of hope, that one day we’d open our eyes and it will all come true. The funny part is..
For most part of our being, our fairy tale and reality are amalgamated. Just that we cannot see it.
A castle in the air, in reality, may not be a castle. It may just be a visiting card, a phone call, a message which opens avenues to fulfillment And a happily ever-after, in reality, may not be a happily ever after either. It might just be a happy now, raised to infinity. To take it is a choice we make. Fairy tale v/s reality. It is a choice we make.
The thing about faith is that it is surprising. Like the irrational girlfriend who makes you fall to your knees. She chooses to leave your space when you need her the most. Never does she let go of you completely. Sometimes, all she needs to do is change attires J
And all along life’s moments, she’s the glue that brings our actions together.
So, for the ones who still choose to have their perceptions about who I could really be…
I am nothing. I just have enough Faith which makes me cross over from fairy tales to reality. And more often than not, I know that when the time is right, I can still come back to who I am. And not get lost in people or their perceptions.
And yeah, putting pen to paper is nice. Thanks for believing.
Indira stood in front of the mirror, decked in ornamental gaiety. Ma and Baba looked at her reflection with pride and adore as their only daughter stood to be relieved from her maternal home. To embrace a new life.
While Baba went out to get the car, Ma gently brushed the ends of her hair saying, “I still remember you trying to get your hands on my sindoor kouto* to take a pinch at the vermillion and swipe it through the partition of your hair. You were a teenager then and blissfully unaware of the tradition the sindoor* brings with it. Today is your day. The vermillion will change your life forever”
Her best friends barged into the room and asked Ma to leave them alone. Indira stood, looking at her mother. The vermillion on her forehead reminded her of all the “Sindoor Khelas” she had been to. The air reeked of red and there she was, sitting in a corner, looking at the reverie. Red made her happy.
Walking down the stairs, she remembered all the times she dressed up for weddings, witnessing every ceremony by the pyre and the feeling it evoked in her. She longed for the vermillion.
Driving through the lanes, she saw all the times when he dropped her close to her apartment, not letting the parents see them. All the times he held her under the banyan tree stealing her away from the world. All the times, he whispered “Jeyo naa…” [Don’t go] after making love to her while sleepily holding onto her long, slender fingers.
She smiled to herself. She walked into the banquet and sat next to the pyre. Amidst the crowd revelling in her happiness, she saw him. She looked at the pyre with a smile. And then she looked into the eyes of the one marrying her.
Nine years of togetherness. Six degrees of separation.
She did not long for the vermillion, afterall.
[Vermillion powder or sindoor on the forehead, stands for the woman’s identity after marriage in India. *Sindoor kouto is the container in which the powder is kept. Here’s an image!]
There was once a young girl,
With a spring in her step, she did swirl,
She took to flowers one fine day,
A fine flower bed she did lay
Daisies and lilies, they made their way
Roses and lilacs were lined in a splay
With bated breath she let them stay
A blossom twas expected, by the end of May,
May came and however went,
The young girl’s faith began to fragment
My grace will never blossom
She began to foment
Early morning she turned to see,
A dandelion standing tall yet curvy
That sleepy stalk was just a sunray away,
From a bloom and a sway
Blind and unaware, as an innocent child
She chose to revel
In the weed’s beguile
Chafe to the impending exile
She turned away from nature’s compile
Evening arrived in a mighty huff,
Blowing the dandelion in a puff,
Mocking her forsaken flowerbed
For nothing but bluff.
She stared at the bed
Looking at nothing, she smiled instead
It was then, she ran, she fell, but sped.
For it was then..that her youth had fled.
Days take ages to embrace death
Nights just mock at my faith,
The breath needs a breath
Like a body under rubble
Something is stuck somewhere
Sometime then, I find my succour,
My fingers entangled in yours,
This feeling, twas dangerously candour,
My eyes rest upon your memories,
Wreathes of which make my soul freeze
I writhe. I cling.
Someone is stuck somewhere.
इक बात होंटो तक है जो आई नहीं
बस आँखों से है झाँकती
तुमसे कभी, मुझसे कभी
कुछ लफ्ज़ हैं वो मांगती
जिनको पेहन्के होंटो तक आ जाए वो
आवाज़ की बाहों में बाहें डालके इठलाए वो
लेकिन जो यह इक बात है
अहसास ही अहसास है
खुश्बू सी है जैसे हवा में तैरती
खुश्बू जो बे-आवाज़ है
जिसका पता तुमको भी है
जिसकी खबर मुझको भी है
दुनिया से भी चूपता नहीं
यह जाने कैसा राज़ है
— Javed Akhtar, Zindagi Milegi Na Dobara
In a dusty book, lying in the corner of an old library, were some golden words.. What an arbitrary.
Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is that
we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice.
Even if there is no one dumber,
if you’re the planet’s biggest dunce,
you can’t repeat the class in summer:
this course is only offered once.
No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach
what bliss is in precisely the same way,
with precisely the same kisses.
One day, perhaps some idle tongue
mentions your name by accident:
I feel as if a rose were flung into the room,
all hue and scent.
The next day, though you’re here with me,
I can’t help looking at the clock:
A rose? A rose? What could that be?
Is it a flower or a rock?
Why do we treat the fleeting day
with so much needless fear and sorrow?
It’s in its nature not to stay:
Today is always gone tomorrow.
With smiles and kisses,
we prefer to seek accord beneath our star,
although we’re different (we concur)
just as two drops of water are.
— Wislawa Szymborska
More on this later.
I recently came across this 50 year-old cougar spitting out weird remarks at me for being unkind to her in a way or two. She used to be an acquaintance and so I initially chose to royally ignore her using the “Barking Dog” syndrome [The barking dog syndrome is generally assigned to people esp women who obsess too much over things they haven’t gotten in their life and blame someone else for it.] …The barking is now at its peak and so, I decided to first understand what could be wrong with her before really shutting her up.
First up, she is single and a virgin for half a century. Give away? I mean for a woman who claims to have dated several men [celebrities inclusive] hasn’t ever gotten action. What is even stranger is that this woman decides the good and the bad of people based on their sexual activity. And then she speaks about someone as ‘experienced’ as Osho being a great man. Hypocritic but true.
Secondly, notwithstanding her ever expanding waistline, this woman has spoken about how men half her age obsess about her. That includes married men. So, my first thought was… Kim Catrall from Sex and the City. But again, she doesn’t get action! How does this happen?
To validate my point, I got talking to some of her ex work colleagues. Turns out in one case, she had tried asking one of the guys out and he did go out with her. Apparently the date got so boring that the guy decided never to meet her except in presence of some other friend of hers. In the second case, the guy accused her of literally ‘stalking’ him. They then told me how they totally just hung out with her out of the oh-she’s-alone feeling. Hmm. Can understand.
The girl friends were no less. Apparently she chose to cry and obsess about one of her younger finds on the shoulders of one of her girlfriends. Till the time she did it, she was an angel. When she refrained, she became a whore. Give away?
At the end of all of it, I kinda felt sad for her. In my opinion, she hasn’t ever come across a man who would let her control him. Most other women did and so she is still in search of the MAN. And people who date her obsessions automatically become whores who have evil eyes. The ones who show her the ‘mirror’ are the ones who get spited at, like me.
So then, I have decided to continue with the Barking Dog response. I empathise with the hypocrisy and the high voltage attention seeking attitude. And I sure do hope that there is some sense before the ripe old 60 sets in.
It remains to be seen however, whether she gets her peace ever. I reckon Never.
Have you sometimes felt vaguely sad about life being perfect? I have been grappling with this feeling for the past few weeks..And strangely I havent been able to figure a way out of this.
This phase of my life has nothing wrong in it. Everything appears to be smooth-sailing. And every now and then, I see a defined horizon in front of me. Life has somehow fallen into order.
And so, I constantly wonder if I am missing my disorderly life?
I guess, from where I come, there is a ‘hunt’ for everything. From groceries to people, there is a constant search that forms a major chunk of our lives. And when somehow this search ends, there is a void. A time, a phase, an opportunity. To do nothing.
It is during this phase, that most people (including me) feel edgy. A feeling where we try to sabotage our current good state to feel ‘noisy’ again. Much like an addiction, this ‘hunt’ leaves us with considerable withdrawal symptoms. Which brings me to my next thought.
Do human beings need drama to make life exciting?
(Pause and a long stare into blank space)
I have come to the conclusion that, I personally worship chaos. When life is smooth sailing, there has to be something somewhere that is wrong. Murphy is my God! How can I not believe in untoward, perfectly timed goof-ups?
And so, on these crazy afternoons, when peace gives me the jitters, I lean back and look onto the blank white ceiling. Although it is a pristine white, there can be a thousand different colours and a gazillion different textures, it can STILL hold.
Just a matter of time.
“And I got a peaceful easy feeling,
And I know it won’t let me down
‘Cause I’m already standing on the ground.” – Eagles.