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Miscellaneous

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

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  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.

Sharing a few thoughts on Dark Things by Sukanya Venkatraghavan

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Dark Things by S. seemed like the best book to read after the heavyweight that was Rahman’s In The Light of What We Know (which I have still not grasped in its entirety, but this story is for another day).

After all, Dark Things was described to be about fantasy, and romance – two genres that I had steadfastly avoided in the last few years. It seemed like the best thing to lose myself in, a world that was fictitious and in characters that did not exist.

How foolish I was.

Someone once told me that in every fictitious tale, lies a smidgeon of reality, a reality that you don’t even comprehend fully, until it is right in your face, staring at you, demanding you to deal with it. This reality does not take excuses for an answer. It is a reality that wants you to know that truth always finds you, even if you refuse to see it, once, twice, however many times.

Perhaps, this is the best descriptor that I can provide, as I finished this book.

Dark Things is about many things, but ultimately, it is about love. (Just like life, I suppose. Life is about many things, but ultimately, it is about love).

There is a love story that is explicit, that which transpires between Dwai and Ardra. It is right there. It is not that complicated, it begins in the early chapters of the story, and it lasts till the end of the book. But this is not the love story that demands one’s attention in this novel.

There is another relationship that never quite begins, and never quite ends, between Dara and Ardra. A relationship much more complicated, much more real, much more relatable, and one that has no conclusion even as one draws to the end of this tale.

Because it speaks of a love that was, until it wasn’t. A love that wasn’t, until it was.

How can feelings, that have never been acknowledged, ever come to fruition? And yet, are these feelings any less real?

All of us carry these tales close to our hearts. Of the loves that we wished we had done something about. Of the people we yearn for, but can never return to. Of the things that we could have said, but didn’t. Of all the ships which have sailed, of all the memories that remain in the harbour.

It is so difficult to name this particular brand of love, because it is one that we have never quite owned, one that was never truly ours. And yet, perhaps, because of this very fact, this is the love that will always remain with us, because it is a love laced with freedom.

And if love should be anything, it should be that. It should be free.

This was that smidgeon of reality in Dark Things that caught me by surprise.

Because it is easy to forget, in this day and age, where life is about ownership, where relationships are about claiming and staking, that what is free and gone, is probably what will remain with us forever, however ironic that may seem.

In the concluding chapter of this novel, Ardra says that she can never quite return Dwai’s love the way he deserves to be loved (I presume she meant, as completely and wholly as he felt for her). And this is because of Dara. What she had with him, which was really, what she didn’t have with him.

This was another smidgeon of reality that demanded my attention.

Most times, we do not end up with the people who have us completely. We end up with the people whom we meet at  a particular leg of the journey, who get to have the most of what we have to offer, to share, to experience. We are incomplete; the love we share, mostly complete.

And this is how our (love) stories will also come to a close. Never quite finished. A continuum. Just like life.

And perhaps, if we remember this a little more fervently, we will come to accept this passing of feelings a little better.

Read this book, and meander through your own memories of what is, and what isn’t.

dark things

*picture is not mine*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This happened on Twitter yesterday. It was a lot of fun, especially when other people joined in. 

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Intelligence is my aphrodisiac.

So I guess my pickup line would be something like, let’s fuck and then we can read Proust together.

Another conversation starter: Let me taste Kafka on your mouth.

How about: I want to hear Sartre but for now, I want to hear my name, over and over.

(Still waiting for people to get the hint). Faulkner and wine. But only, after us.

Cummings. Need I say more, baby?

You lick your fingers before turning a page of Yevtushenko but really, I would rather have those fingers on me.

Voltaire, after a sleepless night. Welcome dawn with me and words.

And with that, I end my ode to you. Come to me, but only with Parmenides on your lips and fervor in your eyes.

P.S: If you want to woo me with words, feel free. Remember, intelligence is an aphrodisiac.

Yep, Pablo Neruda again. I have an unhealthy obsession with his poems, truth be told. And I’m not ashamed to admit that, at all.

I did say that I was going to put up pictures and whatnot, and trust me I do have them (too much of them, actually) but a) I haven’t had the time to actually work through them yet, and b) I haven’t actually written a honest post in a long, long time (at least, not one that I didn’t reread about 25 times before putting up) because I feel like there’s an impetus for me to make sure what I do put up is interesting/not too emotional or reflective/ etc. While I was in the gym today, I had an epiphany and it was this: at the end of the day, this is my blog, and I can actually…write whatever I want to, however I feel, and not really care about being judged by it.

Hence this rant-like post.

It’s been one of those weeks where time has been going by too quickly, and too slowly at the same time, and all that’s left is this complete sense of surreality that makes you lose track of days and nights and most things in between. (And interestingly enough, I’m not the only one who’s having this experience, which is comforting, almost).

The only recurring thought that I have been having in my head is that Life Is Just Too Short. People say you should try to live life like it’s your last day. But honestly, how feasible is that? How can you spend every single day of your life like it’s your last when there are chores to be done, readings to be completed, responsibilities to uphold, etc? So if you ask me if that’s something I agree to, I’ll say no.

But life is something that should be appreciated. No questions there. This is especially something that I have been pondering about because of what’s been going on around me. Which makes me appreciate what I have and the people who are in my life, and at the same time, question why some people go through what they do.

My aunt has been terribly ill, much more ill than I thought she could be. I would even go so far as to say that it might be a situation where every day might very well be her last, if her health doesn’t improve. More than sadness (if that’s even an apt term to use), the helplessness and hopelessness is the worst thing to deal with. It’s a different kind of helplessness, this, not being able to help, wishing that something could be done but knowing that nothing is really in your hands.

No matter how many times you go through it, seeing someone you love get whittled down by a disease like cancer never gets easier. Take my word for it.

Knowing the woman that my aunt is, knowing what she has endured thus far, and how she still keeps fighting through every single day, sparing me a good word whenever she can even when she is feeling terrible, makes me thankful for having her and knowing her. It makes me proud to know have her in my life, and all I can hope is that she will remain in it for a long time coming.

When they say the good and the strong are the ones who suffer, they sure knew what they were talking about.

It’s the same with another friend of mine. The circumstances that we met were interesting, but in this case, I feel like fate definitely had a part to play in it. (Because I am a true believer of fate and kismet, and cosmic forces and all of that). He’s going through a really difficult time as well, and he’s also reeling from a recent loss of a loved one. Despite his troubles, he’s been such a constant source of support to me, helping me get through my ups and downs. And I hope in my own way, I have done my part in making his life a little more bearable (though I’m sure he’d beg to differ).

Even for someone who tries to keep expectations at an all time low, it’s always nice to know that someone spares a thought for you, in spite of what is going on with them, in spite of how they feel/are. There’s no need for people to be so good and true. And yet, they still are. It’s at times like this when my faith in humanity is restored.

Because there are too many times when it has been tested. Just as there are people who care and give unabashedly, there are also those who are reminders of disappointments, and misjudged characters, those who barely fall short of being regrets. And then you wonder how these two different groups of people can coexist simultaneously in your life.

I feel like I have been all over the place tonight, but as I said, it was supposed to be an unedited post about life and whatever else.

If you have read through it till the end, that’s dedication. Thank you, and have a good, good weekend.

Okay, not really. When you look at the greater scheme of things in life, turning 20 is just another minuscule event in life that one has to go through. Many people don’t understand why I have been dreading/pondering/brooding/emoing/being conflicted/say-what-you-will about my 20th birthday, which I’ll try to address here, and also, say goodbye (morbid, much?) to my teenage self. Because really, I’m not going to be a teen any longer once the clock strikes 12 here in the UK.

When I was a young girl, I thought that being 20 was a grand old age. Where I’d be worldly, where I’d be smart(er) and pretty(er) and madly in love with my prince charming. Where I’d be nice, and good and true, and be wise and matured and adult-like. Granted, it all seems a bit much, but give me some credit – I was 10 or so, then.

It seems to be the age that signifies that a chapter in one’s life has been closed, and another is about to begin. It’s about balancing on that cusp of adolescence, knowing that yes, you may not be an adult yet (ask the parents, they’ll be sure to chorus their acquiescence for this) but you really aren’t that much of a child either. That your actions have consequences that you have to deal with on your own, and that your decisions aren’t just about you anymore. It’s about realising that you aren’t the apex of your own life. Responsibilities. Maturity. The beginning of adulthood, or something akin to that.

The truth is, I’m turning 20 now, and I am nowhere near where I thought I would be. There are times when I have been so lost that I think even a child would have more direction in life than I did. There are days when everything just seemed grey, and rainy, and cold (well, I am in the UK, duh, that’s bound to happen) and I did little but stay in bed and dream my day away. I’m nowhere close to being the wise person that I thought I would be, and please, what prince charming?

Despite all of this, there have been some amazing experiences that I have had, with so many amazing people, that have made me to be who I am today, the 20 year old child-woman-to-be. I’m far from perfect, and I’m nowhere close to being the person I’d thought I would be, but for the person that I am, and for the things that I have gone through, due credit has to be given and taken. I’m glad to have made it this far in life, and I’m looking forward to seeing where my life takes me from hereon.

This is my journey. Would you like to join me?