A Special Mention.

This is a post dedicated to a friend of mine who has been wanting to be featured on my blog for quite a while now, primarily because he demands attention constantly, and mostly because I feel that he deserves some credit for being such a gemstone in my life. So here’s to you, Rahul Rohit, the much awaited headlines that you been wanting to make (look, I even used your full name).

In my attempt to be as un-cheesy as possible (and however hard that this may be), let me make a list (which isn’t exhaustive in any way) of all the life lessons that this strange, strange individual has taught me.

1. It is entirely possible to completely dismember a laptop and put it back together. And actually have fun while doing this supposedly uncomplicated task.

2. The necessity of screensavering. When things get way and above your head, switch off your mind, calm your thoughts and enter screen savering mode. Can’t lie, this is such a tall order for someone who never stops thinking. But it’s definitely a step in the right direction, especially through tough, troubled times.

3. Sweet corn does not get digested. Or rather, the husks don’t. Enough on this particular subject.

4. The beauty of Spotify and all that it has to offer.

5. That strength comes from within. That everyone has the ability to face their demons, though dealing with it takes time. And a whole load of determination.

And many other things that I honestly do not have the patience to type out because…well, I should be working on the multitude of essays that I should be doing, instead.

Truth is, the biggest thank you I have for this friend of mine is that he reminded me of how absolutely random life can be, and how relieving it is just to immerse in randomness, sometimes. It was a side of me that disappeared for quite a while over the past few years, and it was such a relief to realise that that part of me hadn’t been written off, but just buried under the daily trials and tribulations of life.

Thanks for all the BS you come up with and all the BS that you put up with, and for all the other trivial and not so trivial things that have transpired since I’ve known you (oh that fateful, horrible day when you thought I was shoplifting in Oxfam, psht). Don’t forget that you are a gemstone, and a brilliant one at that (see what I did there?).

And last but not least, an original quote of yours:

“Anything with a hole, goes”.

Right, kidding. That isn’t my favourite, these are:

“Looks wear off with time, but personality is here to stay” (or something along those lines),

and

“People will only enjoy your company when you learn how to enjoy yours” (again, or something along those lines).

For everyone else who didn’t understand a word of this post, I apologise. Thank you for reading through it, if nothing else.

Have a great week ahead, world.

 

Middle.

I’m convinced (especially as I grow older) that the real beginning is the middle.

Not that I am anywhere close to the middle of anything – I have neither lived long enough, nor done anything long enough to truly understand the tedium of moving towards the middle.

As time passes, though, I suppose I experience more and more, the middle of things.

The middle of a book, the middle of a song, the middle of the week (Wednesdays, days of part hope and part despair, depending on which side of the bed you wake up that morning), the middle of a relationship (no one, hardly anybody talks about the middle of any relationship, maybe because one does not want to think of the end of it, but….do you have to know the end, to understand the middle?), and so on and so forth.

***
Today, in the middle of a walk – the sweet smell of a particular brand of soap used to wash clothes.

The last time I had encountered this smell was in a lover’s home; he had passed me his T-shirt to wear for the night, and as someone deeply inspired by smells, I had pressed my nose into the sweet-smelling garment and taken a deep, deep breath.

When I told him how wonderful his shirt smelt, he looked at me in surprise, and told me that it was the first time anyone had ever told him that. 

Later that morning, when I left his place, I buried my face in his chest and took a deep, deep breath, trying to memorise the feel of his arms around me, and the feeling of being surrounded by all that warmth and the beautiful smell of clean clothes. 

I didn’t know then, that I was trying hard to capture something to survive a loss.

That time, it was not the middle. It was almost the end of things. 

***

The smell disappeared into the morning air, and I continued walking, still, still, somewhere in the middle of things.

Along The Way

Along the way, we pick up little things.

Like what is the best time to sit by the sea so that you can catch the last dripping colours of a setting sun;

Like the best way to carry a kitten so that you feel all of her soft fluffiness against your skin;

Like how long nights can be without your lover’s voice;

Like the exact number of times you can listen to a song on loop before you get tired of it;

Like how good the first drag of a cigarette feels after a long time without it;

Like the way your lover likes to be kissed – long, deep, wet; 

Like the best bookstore in your tiny town where you always, always find a steal, even when you’re not looking;

Like how the stars look in a night sky when there are no lights;

Like the sound of your mother crying when she is sick, happy, tired; 

Like the feel of him inside you, around you, with you;

Like the exact angle you lie on a park bench on a sunny day so that you can feel the cool breeze and the warm sun on your face while you doze; 

Like the feel of the summer’s best hibiscus bloom against your fingertip;

Like the taste of melted cheese and salty fries on your tongue;

Like the smell of fresh, clean sheets after a long day at work. 

Along the way, we pick up little things.

These little things, they make up this big thing called life.

 

 

A Reminder – Nov 2016

*Likely to be applicable for the next 10, 20, 50 years*

***

  1. Health is your greatest wealth. Health is your greatest wealth. Health is your greatest wealth. (Repeat this to yourself 29 times, and then another 10 times for good measure).
  2. There is nothing quite as liberating as the first full breath of fresh air that you will draw deep into your lungs after days of struggling with swollen sinuses. Don’t let your sinuses swell like that again. Oxygen is life. Literally.
  3. When you wake up every morning, have a glass of water. It helps you deal with hunger pangs, and mood pangs, and is mildly meditative. It will set the tone for you for the rest of your day, because you’ve already started your day doing something good for your body.
  4. After day 3 of no-exercising, and the alarm goes, and you think you’re too tired and you can get to your workout tomorrow, because tomorrow will come anyway, NO. Get your butt out of that bed, into your workout gear, and out of that door. You will not regret it. Even if it’s a half-hearted attempt, you will not regret it.
  5. Greed and gluttony will do you no good. When your body tells you that it has had enough food, listen to it. You will regret that extra whatever-it-is-that-you-took 15 minutes after you’ve consumed it. Save yourself while you can.
  6. Don’t stop reading. Read everything, and read widely. Even when you’re writing, try to read. Find new things to read. Deviate from what you usually read. You will only be better off for it.
  7. Write a few words every day. Even when you think you have nothing to say, open up the Notes tab on your iPhone and write about what you see around you. Exercise your writing muscles every single day no matter how difficult it is to write something because one day, it will stop being so hard, and it will get easier.
  8. Write to someone you love at least once a month – pen to paper, hand to heart, at your desk with music for your company. You don’t even have to send the letter if you don’t want to, but write to someone you love. Often, the words you share with your loved ones are the words you would also need to hear for yourself.
  9. Never underestimate the power of a good haircut, good colour, and a good outfit. Even when you feel like you’ve been run over by a truck, at least wear one item that gives you some form of pleasure. You will feel that much better about dealing with the world. (P.S: Don’t postpone getting a haircut for too long – it messes with your mind)
  10. You really don’t need to deal with unnecessary, toxic drama. You don’t even need to process it – not yours, not anybody else’s. Delete.
  11. Water the plants and feed the animals every single day. You need them more than they need you.
  12. Get some sunlight often. There is something about being alive in sunlight that no amount of books/tv/art can give you.
  13. Speaking of TV, learn to savour the process of watching and learning about TV. There is a lot to explore, and not everything is worth bulldozing through. Slowly. Savour. The. Process.
  14. Celebrate your victories and analyse your failures equally. You have won in some ways, and lost in others. Both deserve equal attention, and play an equal part in moulding you.
  15. Write lists whenever you feel tired/confused/overwhelmed/etc because they help you to make sense (and even if they don’t make sense, they give you a false sense of assurance that you are doing something to organise chaos and sometimes, that is all you need).
  16. It is okay to cry. Just don’t spend all your time crying cos there’s a lot to do, a lot to see, and a life to live.

My Mother’s Tongue.

I’ve been thinking a lot about languages lately. Hence.

***

My mother’s tongue comforts me on days
I yearn for familiarity –
Words, feelings, colours that come to me even in my sleep,
Subconscious-awakening, fed to me with
Breast-milk,

And then when I was a little older,
Sambhar mixed with rice, one handful, one kaipidi at a time,
By world-weary hands stained with manjal.

(“Protects you from cancer”, Amma used to say,
She, who would, years later, survive chemotherapy drinking
Milk laced with turmeric, still, still believing)

When I say “my mother’s tongue”,
Really,
I am referring to my mother’s culture, her beginning,
Her mother’s beginning,
Ancient, fiery, pulsating,
Like the colour red that dances between my mother’s eyebrows
Her pottu, that she never leaves the house without.

(“Wear your mangalyam with pride”, she tells me, the
wayward daughter who forgets more than she remembers,
forgets, forgets, until – )

The days when the belonging disappears,
When the brown skin is always reminded of its colour,
When English, the deserting friend, the language of the adopted
Slips through my fingers no matter how hard I
Try to hold on to, because,
It has never been mine, never will be.

When I stand on the outside, looking in, trying, trying,

My mother’s tongue comforts me on days
I yearn for familiarity –
Words, feelings, colours, that come to me even in my sleep,
Subconscious-awakening, fed to me with
Breast-milk,

And time-tested love.
***

Notes from a Bus Ride

In the bus: a little Indian girl and her father are sitting across from each other. The child is tired, her little feet dangling in the air, red velcro sandals swinging gently as she slips into slumber.

Her father watches her as she nods off a little more violently, her little body lurching with sleep.

He tries to wake her up. Her eyes open blurrily for a second, she nods without processing what her father says and falls back asleep again.

This time her father scoops her up into his arms, holding her close as she curls into him and continues sleeping.

I have no doubt that one day, this little girl will grow up to see a similar scene in a bus and smile, remembering her father. Just like how this grown up girl, who’s witnessing this scene, smiles.

And she will furiously type into her phone to capture this memory, before life shifts it into a corner of her brain where she will forget.

It is this safety that we seek in love. The safety of letting our guard down, and trusting that the person/people we love, will hold onto us when we are barely able to hold onto ourselves.

Sometimes love really is as simple as that.