Does it sting?

Does it sting,
she asked me,
scared at the sight of
an injection for blood sample

Does it sting,
she asked me,
frustrated
for scoring 99 instead of 100
in Math.

Does it sting,
she asked me,
frantically looking
for her favorite book
in the pile of waste paper.

Does it sting,
she asked me,
head in my lap,
thinking about her best friend
who sits with her new classmates
from Arts for lunch now.

Does it sting,
she asked me,
settling in for B.Com which
her parents chose for her
and she couldn’t say no to
because she didn’t know
what else to do

Does it sting,
she asked me,
before telling her father
that she wants to drop out
because she loves letters
more than numbers
even when she is good at both

Does it sting,
she asked me,
upset on landing a job
that pays peanuts
compared to her
engineer friends

Does it sting,
she asked me,
before chopping off
her waist length hair
because it was boring

Does it sting,
she asked me,
skin flushed
after she said yes
to the cute guy at work
for coffee

Does it sting,
she asked me,
before running
off to Greece
a night before her wedding
because she did not want it.

And each time,
I told her yes
It stings
When the needle pierces your arm
When the 100 seems out of sight
When that book is missing
When your best friend is lost
When you say yes to something
because you don’t know better
When you quit on something
because you can’t do it anymore
When you settle for something
because it is your only choice
When you fall in love,
and get heartbroken
or don’t fall in love
and stay on the fence before running away from all of it

Because happiness needs courage
and courage stings
Because courage is not absence of fright,
it is acting in spite of it
Because it is okay to wear your heart on your sleeve
and it is okay to feel scared
Because everything you want
is on the other side of fear.

Image Courtesy: 3rd Perspective

via Sting

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When I went to Mauritius! – I

Let me put it this way, I am not really a traveler. While growing up, my parents made it a point to take us to a vacation every 1-2 years. Kashmir, Darjeeling, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Ooty, Kanyakumari, Trivandrum- we pretty much covered the major bases of the country. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t really been enthusiastic about taking any trips around Bangalore. That, and of course the lack of company. Although I know quite a few solo travelers, I had always thought that it was the kind of dare-devilry I can’t really be bothered to attempt, mainly because there are a gazillion details you would have to take into account before planning a solo trip.

I got my passport in 2015 for a possible work travel. The travel didn’t happen, and the passport remained buried in some dark corner in a dusty folder, to be furnished as address proof as and when needed. I had heard my widely traveled cousin talk a lot about how a foreign travel changes your perspective, so when my college friend called me in April this year and asked me if I would want to be a part of an all girls trip to Mauritius, of course I said yes! Eventually there were 5 of us who decided to come for the trip, and we went ahead and booked a customized package with Meandering Travels, a travel agency based out of Thane, for the period of 26th June to 30th June.

Once we did partial payments for the trip, we got busy with our regular lives. Work, sleep, dance, eat, repeat – that remained my life for what seemed like the longest time, till it was 15th June and I realised that it was just 10 days before I went on my first international trip! And then began the packing of bags – discussions about things to carry, things to do, and foreign exchange. It was the first international trip for all of us, and our Whatsapp group consisted of long chats and talks where 5 of us, who hadn’t even met each other (we all had just one reference point – our common friend who planned the trip along with her flatmate), discussed the minutest details of the trip! The possibility of an extremely interesting trip left us excited and queasy. Days before the trip I sort of developed cold feet. I kept wondering if it was a wise decision – 5 girls travelling together, and that too abroad with no way of coming back except the day when we had our return flights booked! Before I knew, I reached Mumbai International Airport at 3 am in the morning – with anxious parents in tow, who felt they absolutely had to drop me in the dead of night 😀

6.45 am was when our flight was supposed to depart. After all the formalities, we roamed around and had our breakfast. We checked out the crowd traveling with us, and hopes of cute guys sitting beside us were dashed when we realised that there was an entire troupe of migrant workers coming in from Dhaka and Colombo in the same flight as ours 😛 But Mauritius is anyway a honeymoon destination, is how we consoled ourselves, and we went on to take our window seats in the flight.

The flight to Mauritius from Mumbai was a partnership between Air Mauritius and Air India. And as suspected, the crew from Mumbai was that of Air India. To be honest, they were kind of impolite, even refusing extra water when asked for! On hindsight though, the lack of drinking water was a tell-tale sign of the water issues we were going to have throughout the trip, but at that time we were just excited to be in the flight!

As we approached Mauritius, I realized why people love going there. The sight from the plane rendered me speechless – I had never seen so much green and blue in one frame!

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Tiny Mauritius!
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The color gradient!

 

We landed at this really tiny airport, did our visa formalities, collected our bags and proceeded to get currency exchanged at the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International

The currency rate for INR to MUR at the airport is largely fixed at 1 MUR = 40 Indian paise. Whereas a Mastercard/Visa payment results in 1 MUR ~ 1.85 INR. Clearly carrying the card there is a better option, and most of the outlets accept cards. We of course didn’t know this, and it did worry us to not have as much cash as we had calculated, but it was too petty a thing to worry about, in the light of the gorgeous 1 hour journey we had from the airport to our hotel at Casuarina Resort and Spa in Grand Baie 🙂

After our check-in formalities at the resort, we quickly changed into our cute beachy outfits post lunch (which were two extremely sad pizzas that did nothing for my immense appetite 😛 )and went on to the resort’s beach across the road to view the sunset. The thing about Mauritius is that it is so scenic, so beautiful and so sparsely populated, that one really doesn’t have to do a lot of effort to get good pictures 🙂

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The view of the beach across the road from our resort!
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Sunset at the beach 🙂

After sunset, we arrived at our hotel for some yummy dinner. And thank God for that, because at that point of time I was not just hungry, but hangry 😛 Vegetarian food is freely available at Mauritius, and the spread by our resort was delightful with rajma, channa, paneer, et al. I on the other hand of course had my eyes only for the non veg – nothing could have stopped me from trying the fish fillet or shrimps!

Post dinner we sat in the lobby in hopes of “catching some wi-fi”. That’s the only thing about that resort, I really wish they would have provided internet access within our rooms too, instead us pacing in the super cold lobby hoping for decent reception. After catching up with family and friends, and telling them all about our day, we retired early to bed – dreaming about the gorgeous, adventure filled Ile Aux Cerfs that waited for us on the other side of daybreak 🙂

Picture Credits: Thanks a lot Prachi for capturing all these beautiful sights 🙂

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Magic

As real as it can be.

“Do you believe in magic?”
“Magic as in? Harry Potter kinds?”
“Ummm, yeah, depending on how you view Harry Potter in the first place.”
“I don’t know what are you talking about.”
“Okay, hear me out. So basically, Harry Potter series wasn’t just about the spells wizards did. It was also about the magic of life. And interestingly, you can be a Muggle and still witness and even perform that magic.”
“How so?”
“By being more hopeful about life in general. Hope is the most magical thing. It adds meaning even to the most mundane things and the toughest of troubles. It gives you patience, it makes you kinder. Hope sparkles. Hope is magic. Hope is forever.”
“Hmmm, seems legit.”
“It is also easy to spread. Watch me.”
Image Courtesy: Kanishk Rajput
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Small Wins

This seemingly random picture ( no filters by the way) of my left hand has a very interesting significance. And I am going to go ahead and bore you with my musings. 😀
In 2011, I joined Masters in Engineering in a prestigious University. As a graduate engineer, I knew shit (Thank you, laziness and Indian Education System). I struggled through the lectures and lab hours in MS, and my lack of confidence led me to develop the most disgusting habit ever – nail biting. I love putting nailpaint, but my ugly habit made sure that my nails were never in a good enough shape.
Time passed by. I graduated MS with a great score, got a good job with a respectable company.  But the nail-biting did not go away. It creeped its head each time I was stressed, and by the time I would realize, the damage was done.
I tried to stop. I made resolutions, even contemplated putting little chilli powder on my nails! My mom lost her cool each time she saw me biting nails, and kept asking me, “What is wrong with you?” Each time I went for a manicure, the beautician told me “Grow your nails no, they will look so graceful.” But to no avail.
It was not till yesterday that I noticed my nails. They looked, pretty for a change. The cuticles seem okay too. In last year, I did almost reach this length, but for some reason couldn’t sustain.
My long nails, though insignificant, gave me food for thought. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves, during our attempts to achieve perfection, that we forget to celebrate the small wins. That jeans you couldn’t fit into, is loose for you now. That parantha you have been trying to nail for some time, came out as well as your mum’s. Or the nails are finally long.
There will always be new goals to work towards. No one is perfect. But don’t forget to give yourself a pat on your back every once in a while, for acknowledging the efforts you put in for your self improvement. Even if the right hand is still not up to speed with the left 😛
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Happiness

We, the generation of privileges, often refuse to own the responsibility of our happiness, just like the rest of the things. We keep fooling ourselves and hurting others around us when we absolutely do nothing to keep happy. Who told you that staying happy is easy? Or that joy would be found in your next job, the next vacation, the next Rayban, the next drink, the next relationship?
Happiness demands work. You have to make an effort to stay happy, just like all good things in life. And mark my words, you wouldn’t be happy with anything or anyone else, till you are happy with your own self.
Not so long ago, I knew someone who categorically told me, “I am an unhappy person, I can’t keep anyone happy.” It took me a long time to understand what they meant, but when I did, it was like a light bulb switched on somewhere. You see, you absolutely can’t make a person happy unless and until they are happy in themselves. You can’t “fix” anyone, unless you are medically qualified to do so.
Work on being happy. That is the only way to be really, truly happy. As simple as that sounds, it takes a lot of time to sink.
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Apology Unaccepted

One of my Mum’s oft-repeated story about my school-life is of my habit of picking up frequent verbal fights with random people. It is a trait of me, that has rstood the test of time. I absolutely can’t let go of an argument I know I am goddamn right about! I have been accused on more than one occasion of being vengeful, and even petty. I am told it is “wrong to harbor grudges”, and that I should be “magnanimous enough to forgive.” But what if I tell you that forgiveness is overrated? That letting go is actually harmful to your sense of being and happiness? Crazy? Well, allow me to explain.
We are a privileged generation. We have access to the biggest boon of all times – Internet. Our forefathers(and mothers), did not have the luxury of having all the knowledge of the world on their fingertips. They were restricted to airing their opinions about current affairs, people, culture, traditions, weather to small gatherings only. But we, the millenials, are crazy lucky! Have an idea you want to share? Go right ahead and post it on any social media of your choice! It doesn’t matter that you wouldn’t have shared it, had you thought over it for more than a few seconds. You just got a 100 people affirming your belief, so it can’t be wrong, can it?
Except that it is. To some people. For valid reasons. And since it is online, people will choose to digress more publicly than they would have, had they met you over a drink. You can choose to respond, or you can choose to respond disrespectfully. But here is a thing, disrespect is uncool, even in today’s digital age. And it is also an oft-repeated assholery in social media.
Most of the follies people commit don’t launch nuclear missiles mistakenly; they are about how they disrespected someone by their actions or words. The disrespect can manifest in more ways than one. You might be getting bullied at school, at home, at college, at workplace, or at social media. But each time you choose to ignore it, and cover it in the garb of “forgiveness”, you are only deluding yourself, and harming your own sense of self-respect. Forgiving people might sound all zen, but it can cause great havoc to your happy state when you know in your heart that you were supposed to be retaliate but did not, because hey, forgive and forget.
“To err is human, to forgive divine.” The crucial word here to me, is not “forgive”, it is “divine”. Don’t try to be Him, even He doesn’t pardon that easy. Because if He did, “Karma” wouldn’t exist.

So forgive all you want, just don’t use it as an excuse to tolerate shit. Bhagwan banne ke chakkar me idiot mat bano please!

P.S : The word “Idiot” has been used to censor the original content for under 18 and above 50 😉

Image Courtesy: Pinterest

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Lovelorn

Sometimes, when it is dark
The fan whirling away
I see you.

You come unexpected
Smiling just like we met
The other day
You use your hand to
Push away the bothering
Strand of hair across
My eyes, which I close
To see you.

You ask me how I am
If I miss you
Because you do
Not the one who left
But the one next to me
I open my eyes
To see you.

And through the tears
That fall free
Of memories
That slowly fade away
As I hear you
Whispering goodbye
In my ears
But I can’t
See you.

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Abstract

She woke up, startled
In a dark, dank place
It seemed eerily familiar,
and yet so strange
The noise was deafening
A cacophony like monkeys make

“Come here, look at me”, a voice yelled
“Not that, me, come to me”, the other wailed
“You are a loser”, snickered one
“How fake can you be”, chided the other

The voices went on,
screeching and singing and crying and laughing
At first she cupped her ears,
trying to make out what each said
Then got tired, and looked some way
to block the mess they made
She was embittered, and so added to it
Screaming out loud, just to get herself heard
But realized soon she wouldn’t win
and so sat defeated, in despair and a temper frayed

It smelled like honey turning vapid
and felt like nails scratching chalkboard
Scared out of her wits, she prayed
Wondering if there was something she missed
She searched wildly, looking for a needle in hay
and found it, crushed, and little grey

She tapped it, and lo behold,
the light arrived, like nothing happened
Funny how a simple “Log Out”
can make a brighter day.

via Abstract

Featured Image : 3rd Perspective Photography

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Who Am I?

Who Am I?

Who am I?
Silence is my Refuge,
Words are my Hideout.
Extrovert,
or an Introvert in the garb of one?
Social,
or Anxious, eager to get home?
Netflix and chill,
or Tequila for the win?

Who am I?
Single by choice,
or Lovelorn?
Red lipstick,
Or Grey laptop?
Stilettos,
or Sneakers?
Water,
or Fire, raring to burn?

Who am I?
Stereotype-défier,
or Girl-Next-Door?
Durga,
or Savitri?
Serious, committed sorts,
or The Tinder types?

I don’t need a man to be happy, I tell myself, as I scout through the dating/marriage apps on my phone. I am fit, I tell myself, as I scoop out the last of chocolate ice-cream in the deep freeze. Maybe I am all of that, and more. Maybe I am, maybe I am not. When I don’t know, how would you? Stop judging now, will you?

Picture courtesy: 3rd Perspective Photography

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The Break-up

Dear Writer’s Block,

It’s not you, it’s me…I know that I had vowed to write regularly at the blog. I had promised myself to post at least three entries on the blog every week (3!!!!). And I know that 5 weeks are over and I have done just 2 posts till now (2!!!!). So when my good friend messages me everyday reminding to write something, I tell him that I am not “feeling it” or “I have no time” or “I don’t know what to write”. I talk about you, tell him that it is you, who doesn’t let me fill pages with my words, who doesn’t let me complete the last part of my story series, For the love of Food.

But I know it is not you. I know it is me. I am too jarred by all the things happening around me. I am too distracted, too volatile in temperament these days. From past couple of years, the first few weeks of a new year almost always bring with them a lot of uncertainty for me. This one seems to be taking the cake from all the past ones though. There is not one thing today in my life, where I can call myself “sorted”. Who knew adulting was this hard?

10 years ago, at this point of time, my worries were about getting a good grade in boards and getting admission into a decent college. And I used to tell myself,”I just need this, and I will be done forever.” I wish someone had told me that there would always be something-and that apprehension and anxiety about future, is the way of life.

So forgive me for putting the onus of my irregular writing on you. I have realized that life is like that, and that if I need to do something, I must take out time for it. And with my time invested in more fruitful pursuits, I am afraid I no longer have the luxury to spend it with you.

It’s over, Writer’s Block. A break-up 10 days before Valentine’s Day can be heartbreaking, but it is usually a good idea to quit things/people who are no good for us, isn’t it? It’s my time to shine through the darkness of uncertainities, and this is my journey, alone.

Sorry for all the pain,

A struggling writer

Featured Image: 3rd Perspective

 

 

 

 

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