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*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.

When a city makes you reminisce…

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(timcarterphoto.com)

Watch the way a city wakes up, sometimes ever so quickly, when there is no light, only the errant coughs of an early riser, the quick footfalls of someone rushing to work, the mad rush for early morning transport, the loud whistles of a steamer setting off, the creaking of old beds and older hearts, the silence of subway stations and the slight noise of just-open breakfast joints, the smells of fresh bagels and something slightly sweet,

and then, and then, you decide.

Watch the way the light falls on a building sometime just past 9am, watch the way the windows of a brownstone catch this light just so, watch the way it illuminates the railings along the fire-escape, watch the way the building receives and settles into being,

and then, and then, you decide.

Watch the way the traffic in a city builds up, watch the driver honk at the pedestrian who flips him a finger and tosses her hair, watch the lunch crowds settle in squares, watch the people rushing from store-front to store-front, watch the Big Apple come to life mid-day amidst the flurry of snow, watch another driver curse at a pedestrian,

and then, and then, you decide.

Watch the way the sun sets right over the park, watch the way the barren trees laden with snow glisten, bejewelled during the witching hour, watch the way he clasps her hand just a little tighter and the way she leans into him just a little closer, watch the park hold the families and the couples and the animals firmly in its embrace as it too, watches the setting sun,

and then, and then, you decide.

Watch the way the buildings so tall, so tall, glimmer and shake and shimmy in the night-time, watch her with the reddened cheeks and redder lips pose before the Broadway sign, watch the way the lights seem to get brighter as the night gets darker, and the buildings, so tall, so tall, watch the music grow louder and louderĀ as the performers wow a crowd, and then two,

and then, and then, you decide.

If someone tells you that cities do not have souls, don’t believe them. At least, not immediately.

Impromptu writing. Too much emotion never makes enough sense.

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blog

Today, I remembered a goodbye I said awhile ago.

The memory came out of nowhere, and like most memories of you that resurface, it drowned me in its swiftness. (I was gasping for air, there wasn’t enough for me to breathe –
I was being choked by the past).

See, I go for days without you and then, I am assaulted. Mercilessly held prisoner by your mirage in the prison of my mind. You are the caged walls of my conscience – it almost seems like I am your (un)willing prisoner.

I remember vague details. The colour of the sky (grey, with a hint of light). What I had for breakfast that morning (a full English breakfast that you prepared – that was my last taste of you). How my eyes were gritty, and there was a dull ache in my chest that refused to move no matter how much I cried, screamed, sighed, laughed.

This is how these memories return. A torturous, slow ambush of insignificant details veiled by a tapestry of pain and painful joy.

Dear Lord, but this one, this particular one, this one is the worst.

I clearly remember walking away (yet another insignificant act, but oh, it changed my life. How much.).

There was no strength in me to look behind to see your face one last time. There was no strength in me to do anything else but to keep walking. One step, two steps.

(Can the distance between hearts be measured in footsteps?)

I remember crying.
I remember crying over and over. As if that would make a difference. as if that would help the pain.

As if.

I cough to clear the lump in my throat as I write this. But you see, this isn’t the lump of emotion.
(That has moved to that space in the sternum, a dark, damp corner of lead).

This lump, the one in my throat, is a lump of dying words and a goodbye that wasn’t fulfilled.

Half-dead, these words haven’t seen sunlight for a long time. They are mouldy, congealing into something indigestible, almost permanent.

That’s why I feverishly write. In the middle of the day, in a crowded train, on a quiet Sunday morning with a hot drink, in my half-sleep.

I write to put to rest this dying that has been going on for too long.
I write in hopes that this dying shall see its death.