Hello world, I’m coming to make friends with you!

As I sit here squeezing my dog (a pug named Newton, if you care) almost out of breath, I can feel my jaw clenching up like it has been for the past 4 weeks now. Ever since the reality that I was going on a vacation – hold your breath for thisalone set in. 
That’s right, the risk-averse-me/can’t-stay-without-speaking-for-a-minute-me is going on a solo trip. 

Where you ask? Well, if you ask my friends to hazard a guess, they’d say probably a place they’d never heard of – and my parents certainly are of that opinion. I’m travelling to the South-Eastern region of Europe, which would be the beautiful countries of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The decision to travel to these countries was a purely logical deduction basis the time of year I was going and the duration I was going for. 

Planning the trip was the easy part. Getting the visa? Not so much – but it’s a much longer story I’d rather not talk about here. 

But now here I am, with exactly 18 hours 45 mins before my flight takes off, and I’m flipping out. I’m being inundated with thoughts of everything that could go wrong, and wondering why I took such a step in the first place. 

I have also been trolling the internet for the past week now, trying to find blogs of solo travellers who talk about such pre-trip anxiety, but nothing seems to come close to what I’m feeling now. 

So this is why I’m writing this(after almost 2 years on this blog now!). Because regardless of how I feel right now, I am going to fasten my seat belt on that plane tomorrow, and I am going to go on my travails with my chin up. And if I manage to get through this, I am going to be an untethered bird, and I will book myself for another trip as soon as I can.  

Because what can possibly go wrong that couldn’t if I had company? Haven’t I learnt that a smile is an universal language, and there are amazing people no matter which part of the world you are in? You got to have trust in humanity and hope for the best. 

So this post is essentially a pre-trip gift to the future me, who will go on a trip again (because I know her really well), so that she remembers that I felt like this this time around, and feels much better about the decision to face a day I never thought would ever come. And you know what? I’m sure at the bottom of all the fear, she’d still be as darned proud of it as I am right now. Because just the decision to say yes to myself was the biggest decision of them all. 

So, yes, hello world, I’m coming to make friends with you, please be wanting to make friends with me too?

Categories: Culture, Hope, Life, Life and Choices, travel, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

This too shall pass

People will dismiss you. They will make you feel worthless. They will win in life in things you never knew you wanted.
People will take you for granted. They will forget to thank you. They will ask for favors you never knew existed.
People will hate you. They will make you doubt yourself. They will be cruel in ways you could never imagine.
People will use you. They will make you feel soiled. They will make you do things you never thought you could.
People will laugh at you. They will turn your words against you. They will behave in ways you could never envision.
People will love you. They will try to change you. They will hurt you ways you never thought love could.

All you need to do is stay strong. All you need to do is move on. Memories fade, pictures blur, sounds begin to sound distant. After a while the present makes you feel like the past was but a dream and the future is a possiblity. You find people you know you can keep and never let go. They help heal hurts until all that’s left is a scar.

All you need to do at that moment is, take a deep breath. Count to 10. Tell yourself, “This too shall pass.”

Categories: Destiny, Friendship, Hope, Life, Life and Choices, Love, Pain, Relationship, Writing | Leave a comment

My Wonderful Mother

I’m not always nice to my mother. Sometimes when I miss her, instead of telling her that, I just randomly call her up and end up screaming at her, all because I don’t want her to be sad about me being too far away to hug her.

Till some time ago, she would call me in the middle of the day and I would be working, so I would just hang up on her, telling her I’ll call her later, which was often at the end of day – I stopped doing that when I realized she then spends the entire day waiting for me to call back.
When I’m tired, I don’t listen to what she’s saying and sometimes act childish. I tell her I’m sick and then shout at her when she lists down a gazillion ways to get better.
But talking to her is the best part of the day. She is the first friend I had and she’s wonderful. I can rant at her, whine to her and she’ll still put up with me. I tell her off for wasting my time by gossiping, but I wouldn’t trade a single minute, and some of my best memories are the unstoppable laughs that we’ve shared together, those little secrets that are my “happy place”. I can share whatever I want to with her, tell her anything and not be judged, know that even when she doesn’t like what I’m doing, she’ll always be supporting me and know that even if I’m fighting with her, she’s still loving me.
She is perfection in all her imperfections and I don’t think there’s a definition for the kind of love I have for her.

She has never questioned why I want to do something, all she asks is if it is what would be good for me. She has given me the strength to let the dreamer inside of me dream and move closer to fulfilling those dreams. She stood up for me when I needed it and against me when I didn’t know I needed it. She is the very essence of my being.

The two Taylor Swift songs that I really relate to are “The Best Day” and “Never Grow Up”. The first I have as my ringtone for her, and the second describes my Mom’s feelings and mine in two parts. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t grown up, sometimes I wish I could grow older faster so I can become someone my Mum can be proud of. Every living moment of my day is lived towards making sure I turn out to be someone her and Papa can be proud of. I realised sometime ago that in doing that I’m probably paying an unpriceable cost. But, in also doing that I’m making all hopes and ambitions she tells me she had when she was rocking me to sleep come true. And just that, makes all the yearning for home, the days when I just want a tight hug from her, the heavy feeling of intense missing that I sometimes go to bed with worth it.

It’s less than two weeks before I go home now. Less than two weeks of hearing her laugh at little things, cook food for me and shout at me when I am late at coming to the table, wanting to chat into the night with me and wanting to go shop with me.

I can’t wait to see her again. Can’t wait for the car to roll up to the house, for me to get out, her hearing me from the kitchen when I open the gate and step inside, climb the flight of stairs, all the while saying, “Ma, I’m home, open the door.”

Categories: Beauty, Culture, Family, Friendship, Hope, Life, Life and Choices, Love, Relationship, Writing | Leave a comment

A State of Mind

They say happiness is a state of mind.

I’d like to disagree.

I’ve been trying to put a smile on my face for quite a long time now. And it’s not always a failed attempt. I do manage to put on a smile. Sometimes I even forget the hurt for hours and days at end. The heavy feeling in my heart goes away and I fall into the illusion of being happy again. Sometimes I do go to bed with a smile on my face.

But then the mirage draws me to committing the same mistake again. One phone call, and it’s all back. The stinging tears, the aching heart, the permanent frown on my face.

I love Marilyn Monroe. I love all she’s said and felt – at least what I have read of; and one of the quotes I most relate with is, “I was born with an enormous need for affection and a terrible need to give it.” I am an idiot in love – platonic or otherwise. I will walk on hot coals for people I love, and I’m extremely open about it. Whether through random expressions of affection, or insults, if I love someone, they know it.

What I don’t like is when I get treated like a leg or some body part, though. Like I don’t really register it’s there until you feel the need of it. I’m inconsequential in existence until things gets diseased, then you want them to get better, Only the disease is in your veins and you can’t stand the hurt, but you can’t just chop that limb off, so you bear with it.

I hate that, the emotional sucker that I am, I put up with it until the pain gets so bad I feel I’d be better off dead. I want to be told that I’m not a useless limb. I want to be given random hugs and kisses, and told that I am valued. That my not being there will create a hole in people’s lives, however tiny. That if I were to die tomorrow, there are people who will cry.

I want to be on the receiving end of love for once.

But, the people who would do that are not here, near me. So I get right back to trying to achieve happiness as a state of mind.

It’ll be a new morning, a new day tomorrow – and I’ll just put a smile on my red-stained lips and believe, just for a few hours that I’m happy again.

Categories: Friendship, Hope, Life, Life and Choices, Love, Pain, Relationship, Writing | Leave a comment

Of Walls and Captivity

People say that you have built walls around you and you’re just waiting for someone to break them for you and get in. That no one gets to sit in castles these days and get rescued. That reality doesn’t work that way.

How do you explain to them that the walls that you’ve built might be high and might protect you from enemies, but that also means that you can’t climb over them, and since they’re without an entrance, they’re also without an exit.

They’ve been saying of lot of things that hurt these days. Telling you you’re repressed. You’re not living. That you should get over what happened a quarter of your lifetime ago and move on. They think you’re not listening to them. But you are.

It’s not easy, not easy to deal with this constant ache for affection. Not easy to know they’re within touch but untouchable. It’s not easy to put on a smile on eyes that want to weep.

But you do. You randomly break down crying in bed. You wake up with a heavy heart. You think of final goodbyes and think of costs associated. You decide the worth that they’ve put on you might be more than you think you deserve. But it’s too high a cost to pay.

So you smile. And you crack jokes. You talk too much, and you don’t really stay at home much. You plan every minute to the second and you hate being free. Because with freedom come your demons, and captivity is a better battle to fight than them.

Categories: Destiny, Family, Friendship, Hope, Life, Life and Choices, Love, Pain, Relationship, Writing | Leave a comment

The Sense of an Ending

I remember when I first read Judy Blume’s It’s Not The End of The World. I was living in a small town then and books were my only access to the outer world – the Internet had yet to catch on. I was like a hungry child : I’d practically breathe in everything that came my way. No book was long enough.

It was a wonderful time, now that I look back. I was a shy kid, a little whiny at times and a little emotionally unstable – something I still struggle with to this day. Books were my escape. They made me feel like I could take over the world if I so felt like it.

That book was my first introduction to the young adult genre. It had me hooked. I was 13 then, I think, and some part of me identified with the world that Ms Blume had created. A feeling that Deenie and Tiger Eyes solidified. Earlier, I had hungered for the world of Mallory Towers and St. Claire’s, I had wanted to belong like Anne of Green Gables : Now I hungered for the world.

Now I’m there, at that point where I’d envisioned myself seven years ago. I don’t know how it happened, what I did right : but I’m at the crux where the world is at my feet.

There’s something holding me back though, a fear that I can’t identify, a feeling of uncertainty.

I’d always wanted to be a star when I was a kid. To shine bright in the sky. But what I’m learning now is that I don’t shine like stars usually do. It’s a different kind of shine; subtle and steady, constantly striving. But will I survive in the darkness of the infinite sky?

There’s a lot that has to be dealt with, a lot of things that require introspection. I’m standing at a point where the decisions that I make are not just going to affect what mark I leave on the world, but also what kind of person I turn out to be. It’s just that the latter is a pit, the fear of falling in which has me tossing and turning all night long.

Categories: Destiny, Hope, Life, Life and Choices, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The State of Stillness

How do you define infinity? In Math, when the word was first introduced, we were taught that anything that had a zero in the denominator was stated to be not defined. Analysis came and soon explained the concept of tending to a very large number, or as we call it, infinity.

But today, I sit here at the Marine Drive, cool wind blowing on my hair – I’ll have to wash them in the morning – and I feel myself experiencing infinity.

The ocean stretches in front of me. There are plenty of streetlights – their light reflects off the surface of the waters.

But beyond that faint pallor of orange, lies still darkness. It speaks differently to different people. For me, it’s like the call of the Piper. Waiting, watching for the perfect moment and enveloping me in a hug that is a long time coming. Then there are the happy, who fear that darkness. The stakes are higher for them – they have too much to lose. Darkness is a cold place for them and they try to distance themselves from it.

If I look up to the sky I can see an aeroplane at the distance, making it’s way into the city.
Who’d be travelling this late at night? Or is it extremely early im the morning? Each one of the people on that plane have a story to tell : of happiness and heartbreaks; of life and death.

Who is writing their story? All these people,  those billions of people, going about their lives – each connected by miniscule threads of an undefined relationship.

So many connections and cross connections. So many potential relationships.
As I look across over the Sea Link, for a weird reason I find comfort in the fact that beyond it, cozy in their beds, there are happy people.

After all happy means ordinary…and sometimes the state of stillness accompanying the ordinary makes life worth living.

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Saving Hope

There I sat again, waiting. The room was a whirl of activity. Left and right, I could see people waiting. One by one, everyone of them was finding their somebody.

I kept sitting in the corner. I was used to this. I’d been here before.

The flight must have landed some fifteen minutes ago. I wondered if today finally I’d cross paths with opportunity. I kept looking at the door, hoping. For the umpteenth time I hoped.

The seconds hand on the clock danced her merry dance.  Fate had given me the slip again, it seemed. The heaviness in my heart grew more prominent.

It hadn’t worked in my favor in the past, the hoping. It almost scared me now, the fear of not getting what I hoped for. I’d always shown up in the waiting room, time and again, waiting for my turn. But my name was never called out.

Should I leave? Maybe I shouldn’t have come in today.  The hope needed to die someday. It would force me time and again to show up. I’d be told of another flight coming in and my dumb heart would start beating fast. My mind would put its foot down. Not again, not this time. But the heart would rant and cry until the mind gave in.

I got up. It was time I left. The waiting room was empty now.

No, wait, there was another person sitting in the corner across the room. Legs thrown out casually, staring at me for some reason. Something about him fascinated me. The stupid heart paced up. I could feel hope waking up.

I maintained eye contact for a minute. He made as if to get up and come across.

I looked away and walked out.

I’d done enough hoping for today.



Categories: Destiny, Hope, Life, Life and Choices, Love, Pain, Relationship, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Winds of Change

I live in a very corrupt country.

Yes, I said it. India is the country of bribes and black money, of politicians playing dirty, of too many poor people and a few very rich ones.

But India is also a country of a large heart. It’s a country where going to someone’s place means you have to have an empty stomach because you’re going to be full when you come back. It is a country where celebrities take a day out of their busy, privileged lives to help those in need. It is a country where advertisements companies are constantly fighting to come up with phrases like “Padega India tabhi toh badega India”( India will only grow if India gets a chance to study) and “India ko no ullu banawing” (No fooling India). It is now a country of the youth.

And guess what? This youth demands change. It demands equality for all. It demands employment. It demands respect at all levels. It demands a stable government.

Today my Dad forwarded me a message on whatsapp. It was all about how a child dreams of earning, only to come to the realisation that fun is only to be had with your parents’ money : One’s own money is for fulfilling needs. This should have dissuaded me : it only strengthened my desire to reach the top.

So I want to earn lots of money and I want to be a big shot. Something every student dreams of. But you know what my ultimate aim is?  There was this video I once saw which showed how most schools in backward areas of India have teachers who can’t spell or pronounce Apple. That’s right, a word you and I don’t even think about. How will they teach the kids anything? I want to reach a position where  can help those students. A friend said to me recently that I should think of entering the teaching profession, I’d be good at it. Well, I will, one day. I just won’t do it for money. I refuse to take money for all that’s free for me to give. Knowledge, after all, only grows when spread.

And trust me, I’m not the only one who thinks like that.

So, yes, times are-a-changing. There’s a soft breeze of change blowing and I find myself lucky enough to be carried along by it.

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The Other Side of Love

I’ve been wanting to write about love for some time now.

To be honest, I wanted to write about it on Val’s day, but couldn’t figure what to write about.
Today I realised I wanted to write about the other side of this thing called love.

It’s been some time since I last talked to him. A conscious decision. I am better met in person. I’m a very lazy replier over the internet/on the phone and there are only a few people I bother calling up.

He used to be one of them.

I find it really funny that everytime I do something out of bounds, I’m reminded of him, because he would have been crazier.

It’s 3:30 in the morning and here I am again, crying over him, listening to Taylor Swift’s All Too Well.
This line resonates with me :”I forget about you long enough to forget why I needed to.”

He is like a terminal disease I have. I go into remission, I think of moving on. And then he is there again. Somewhere on my newsfeed maybe, a reminder of all that I wasn’t and could never be.

I was not enough.
Was I?
Sometimes I forget when my imagination ends and where reality starts. Sometimes it is like morphine, addictive and brutal.

Will I move on?
Everyone does at one point. But will I ever put my heart on the line again? I don’t know.

Life is weird. I keep telling myself that whatever happens is for the best. But is it?

Forever seems a sweet dream. But that is just what it is. A dream.

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