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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Romance Retreat

We Indians love our elaborate traditions and gaiety. We have many festivals all through out the year, and each is celebrated with joyous splendor and magnificence. But there is one festival that we love more than others, even more than Diwali – Weddings. The union of two souls is memorialized in grand ceremonies and extravagant show, and the Indian wedding only seems to get bigger and fatter with every passing year.

Since November-December is supposedly very auspicious for weddings, every year my Facebook news feed is religiously occupied during the marriage season with lovely pictures and picturesque check-ins of weddings and honeymoons and everything that precedes and follows it. And a very amusing trend in the matrimony “industry” (and I use the word “industry” because a lot of people mint good amount of money during this period) is the pre-wedding photo shoot. I saw it the first time couple of years ago, and it was absolutely adorable!!!! It has been long since then, and looks like this one is here to stay, except now, it has become kind of, cringe-worthy.

I don’t get it. What’s with these mock-up, larger-than-life pictures that look so unreal, like the romance has retreated from the life of the couple before it even started?  I saw a photo-shoot recently that left me astound – one picture of the couple was overlooking the ocean, the other on a mountain top with the obligatory Titanic pose, and yet another was in a forest! I mean, is it a photo-shoot or a 4th standard Geography-text book?

At the risk of getting unfriended by truckload of married friends, who have wasted precious money on those mushy and pretentious pictures,me – your oh-so-single friend is telling you that you that those photo-shoots are actually, very silly.

Tell me something, is the romance really about exotic locations or filmy postures? Ask yourself if this is how you fell in love with your partner, while getting photo-shopped on the top of Himalayas, or when he/she reminded you to go easy one that ice-cream because you are still recovering from a cold? Why is romance, or love, supposed to be so mythical and beyond the realms of a normal world? Isn’t it about practical wisdom, dealing with each day as it comes, and stealing moments here and there to express how mad you are about each other?

My parents didn’t have a fancy wedding photo-shoot, and neither did yours. And they still turned out pretty well. Look around you, don’t you squirm uncomfortably when you hear of young married couples struggling to make it work, irrespective of their marriages being love/arranged, because they are incompatible? Why can’t love be more, honest and straight-forward, instead of fake? Why not have a photo-shoot that shows the two of you living life like you normally do – enjoying that occasional glass of wine or goofing around each other?

As I sip my coffee and go through some really crazy photo-shoots, I have no clue whom I am getting married and when. But I sure as hell know what I am not planning to do –  A down-on-one- knee proposal picture with relatives in tow. Eww, no! Doing headstand together though, now that sounds interesting!

ASANA_C
                                       What a beautiful inversion!

Featured Image : The most realistic honeymoon picture ever

Image source: Yoga Journal

via Retreat

A Letter to Bangalore

It has been long, let’s talk.

Dear Bangalore,

Remember the first time we met? In 2003, when I visited the first “mall” of my life at Kids Kemp? It was the month of October, and when we reached, it was drizzling. Someone told my dad, “There is some scientific experiment happening in Chennai, which is causing this artificial rain here.” I was awed, this was the city of engineers and scientists, and anything was possible I thought!!! I remember roaming in the Kids Kemp, amazed by so many toys available under one roof. I remember our friendly taxi driver who took us to Mysore and Ooty and then back to you, who treated me and my brother with so much affection, that it became one of our most memorable trips ever.

And then, almost 10 years later, in 2012, I came back to you, in the guise of a geeky engineer, trying to find a foothold in the IT city of India. I remember my first office where I was an intern, a huge building in the sea of construction around and for some reason, I was excited – after all, you are the Mecca for an IT engineer. The weather was cloudy and pleasant – a refreshing change from the blistering heat of plains and Manipal, even in the month of June.

Finding an accommodation was a challenge, I didn’t know Kannada, and I struggled. But then, I got used to it. I picked up few words as I haggled with auto-wallahs, who are as unpredictable as your weather. But we all managed, didn’t we?

2003-2016, it took me 13 years to learn that any turbulence in Chennai weather results in winter-like temperature drop and incessant rains with you. I learnt that you are quite different from the places I have known – it definitely rains in June and November beginning, especially around Diwali; Gobi Manchurian is the real deal; there is no holiday for Holi/Diwali; the rents are high but the security deposits are even higher and travelling 5 kms during rush hour at Silk Board can take an hour at least once a week. But that really didn’t stop me from getting used to you.

It was not all smooth though. I learnt, much to my dismay, that I would almost always be a “Northie” and that you are not as safe for women as people make out you to be. But I also re-discovered myself – I learnt to cook, I learnt yoga, I performed, I watched movies alone, I watched plays alone, and I even shopped alone. I read, I wrote (and not just code), I attended Instagram-meets and networked and I made friends for life.

As I sit at the cafeteria today, watching the clouds gather over the traffic snarling across Bannerghatta Road, I realized that you are that one place I have stayed the longest at, and that too all by myself. You have seen me grow as a person – with my opinions, ideas and interests and together, we have shared a lot. As much as I get mad at you and childishly term you a “village”, whenever there is a power cut, or no sun, or when I can’t find something that is readily available in a Delhi neighborhood, I know that you, with your plate of steaming hot idlis and filter coffee, made me the person I am today. I am a fan of your Sambhar, so much so that I don’t like Sambhar anywhere else anymore.

Stay as you are please, I know they say that the pollution and the water woes will make you unlivable in 5 years, but I also know that you would prove them wrong. There are always going to be people claiming you are “theirs”, but between you and me, we know you don’t need anyone to own you – you stand by yourself – vast and forgiving.

Love,

A “Northie” who has not been to Nandi Hills since 2003

P.S: They are going to tell me to change it to “Bengaluru”, but I know you like “Bangalore” more 😉

Featured Image : Yours truly.

Mythical

The magic of Mondays.

“Do you remember what they told us about the colors of sky during sunset and sunrise?”

“Yeah..something about scattering of light due to particles in atmosphere or something.”

“So what if, all this is a lie?”

“What do you mean?”

“Maybe, the magic is real.”

“Magic?”

“Yeah magic, the Harry Potter kinds. Maybe the sky gets colored because some kids in a far away magical community play paint ball on their broomsticks.”

“Oh yeah? And maybe the unicorns are for real, Firewhiskey exists and it was a Niffler who took away that INR 5 coin we were unable to find.”

“Quite possible. Maybe as we talk, Albus and Scorpius are going through Time Travel, trying to fix the mess they created using their Time Turner.”

“Do you mean de-monetization?”

“No, I mean cashless economy. How stoned are you?”

“On a scale of 1-10? Very.”

Featured Image source : 3rd Perspective Photography