The child’s pose

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In the middle of an English lecture in 6th grade,
there was an announcement
To wait for the gymnastics selections after school
“for those who were interested.”

Holding my overconfidence
like a throbbing blob of muscle in my hands,
I went

I did manage some trippy summersaults
But hurdles?
Let’s just say Thank God! I was wearing slacks that day!

I came back sulking, “What do we even do gymnastics for?”

About a decade later,

Now when I listen to myself, pick on the uncertain cues of life
I imagine myself galloping the craziest hurdles,
Called self-doubt and fear.
Be it rainy, misty, cloudy or clear
They just manage to appear…
Throw in some waltz and romantic flair,
And I’ll be doing summersaults in the air.

But you know what?
Outwards I walk straight…
Like the good girl I am supposed to be,
Shushing the exult and the cries
I talk slowly, with lovely obedient smiles.

But when I am alone
I spend time digging the deepest pit
Inside of me
where no judgement can pretend to catch me
when I fall, and say:
“Honey, I am just looking out for you”
Where I can ropewalk, and also
keep those fearless victories within
For why not?
Don’t we all pretend and show:
that we are just playing hopscotch
While within we might be walking on a bed of nails?
Don’t we all pretend to smile and sing
Even when our insides might be pounding with screams?
Don’t we gift wrap our demons,
As angels with stockings and wings?
Don’t we pretend, with cute puppy eyes that we care,
While within we might be numb with despair?

“What do we even pretend for?”

Gymnastics wasn’t my cup of tea,
But it sure taught me to take a deep breath
And embrace the adventure within
Take demons for demons
And angels for angels
In a fortress
Without pretence
In a place
That’s alive!

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But I flow…

I read this quote “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can”. – Charles Bukowski

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Its real, real like the breath that has always been around since I was born but I realised that this was named as an activity probably in some science class some 5 to 6 years after my existence. I carried on absolutely fine, without the conscious knowledge of my breathing.

Until one afternoon, while I was trying to sleep I started concentrating so intensely on the thought of breathing that no matter what I could not sleep. For two relentless hours I tried to break away from the breath that wasn’t leaving me. I stopped breathing… Started again almost involuntarily.  The precocious child in me wanted to know and perhaps meet this breath around itself, in itself and then out of itself. Perhaps I was trying to say hello and console it with the fact that it was okay if I didn’t see it, I could still be friends with it. And now I realize what it was answering me back with- Transience.  It was saying to me that nothing is permanent. It was telling me that what went into my lungs isn’t the same as what came out of it. That this relationship is more ephemeral than a low tide wave in the ocean. Life lies in this flow. Time is a concept only because of this permanent transience. If I try to hold the breath that is inside too dearly, I wouldn’t survive. If I refuse to admit what is outside, then too I would cease to exist.

“I want us to flow,
I want us to settle.
In frantic waves,
You reach to me.
I can’t hold you down
I can’t see where you disappear.

Have I ever met you?

Outside in the fog,
In front of my dorm room
Cats keep scowling
At each other, at us.
I lie wide awake
In words, in my punctuation.

They call this language.
It cradles the young art,
Keeps it from running wild.
Deft and clear, are the chains
that pin us down, ladder us up
but only up to a certain height.”

I was having so much to do today, and when I found myself lost and saw my hands trembling with no specific reason, I resorted to Jagjit Singh’s song “Jhuki jhuki si nazar” on loop. And no more do I believe more sincerely than now that poetry is what happens when nothing else can!

Where does this urge come from? To leave everything you are doing and type away all that you are feeling? Has a small thing ever hit you like sharp, pointed piercing of lightning in a needle? Do share if ever you felt this way.

And so it happens

A pretty long and short day.

After a night on Kgp roads, late night canteen food, voracious amounts of ridiculous talks and the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt I found myself waking up at futile time. Yes I call it futile. I had finally started liking one of the classes in my department and there I had missed one. As I opened my eyes, my only question was, “What’s the point now?”

Well, but who am I to figure out what was the point of anything in this world. So I piled up this question in a stack of millions of other unanswered ones and picked up “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had been reading this one for a long while now and only a few pages of it were left. It had sort of become a counsel and a friend, always resting beside my pillow. It wasn’t me that was loving the book, I was only responding with gratitude and humility at its pages that had seen me cry and laugh and even talk to them at times.

eat-pray-love-movie1A few days back, I found this thought nudging me from time to time that how every girl or rather most girls still somewhere dream of a Cinderella story. It truly amazed me: the ways of our so called “girliness”. I was reminded of my talks with some of my girl friends. Women of admirable strength and disposition from whom I have learnt a lot, fought a lot, admired their ways and scolding to me at times that somehow came to my rescue. Ofcourse I have never let them know I adored them, I only teased them and that is how I think the cat-fight-love works.

Coming back to this Cinderella fantasy. After all the heartbreaks, mood swings, pain, separation and bursts of ego and anger, we are the creatures that still swoon at all versions of Cinderella or ‘50 First Dates’ and many more of their kind. Last year I and a senior friend of mine decided to cook some nice Rajasthani food and watch a homely rom-com at newyear. And there, she had seen every movie that I could ever name.

We know that it is just a story. But it has a sort of aura that makes you feel that just by thinking about it you feel pampered and cozy in your own skin. We know the ways of the world exist in one place and our little girl dreams will always have their own special world.

To the little girl, to the strong woman, to the daunting one, to the shy one, to the mysterious one, to the heartbroken one, to the motherly one, to the confused one, to the happily ever after one… Eat Pray Love… “With all your heart, call for grace and then let go”

Attraversiamo
(Lets cross over)

Sing Hosanna

As long as thinking and over thinking gets the better of me the tumult between ‘write’ or ‘not to write’ will keep me engaged in itself. It will keep me whirling over and over until I realise that the only thing better than not writing is writing. The only thing better than running away is facing it and falling head over heels. The only better than keeping yourself resigned is aiming at it with all your strength without worrying about the consequence.

‘Consequence’ and its witchy manifestations have always been a subject of a very large part of Hindu literature and needless to say, all of them echo in resonance only one principle, to work on your own terms and not wonder about the consequences.

Let me just skip the boring part for now. Delhi airport is not a place where you can possibly give any credence to the yogic principles of renouncing worldly pleasures. I mean look at it. The melodious piano, the simmering hot cup of coffee, the ambient lights, the silence and the bustle , the sight of airplanes soaring across the huge window, a happy couple taking selfies and my humble red apple. And just as I pressed the fullstop key I saw two Buddhist monks also revelling at the grandeur and the simplicity thus evincing my statement. Oh! And did I miss the beautifully decked up hostesses at various shops. They sure add to the ambience as well! World is good. Period. For now.

There are so many thoughts frothing over the little vessel over my shoulders and waiting to blast forth my nerves and yet when I sit to pen them down this strange sensation captures me. The thoughts are too precious or maybe they are about precious people and my skills are way too naïve to pen them down fully , to do justice to their worth to me, to frame them as delicately and as intricately as providence has carefully woven them into bustling reality.

Having put aside the idea of coming forth with my emotions right now, I sit and wonder, whether each one of the strange faces that I see here has the same undefinable blaze running within them. Well to go with the cliché there is an untold story behind every face but in reality when I see a new face infront of me almost every minute its hard to keep pace with so many vast worlds living within this little world of waiting hall at the airport. It seems as if this statement is a hyperbole and yet so real.

Lets call this a day of contradictions. Contradictions not like the rich and the poor, no, I am no one to prod this massive wave. I mean the oxymoron like contradictions. Like a stare. When someone stares at you it’s a fragile contact and yet it becomes penetrative when its meant to be. The fragile needle of a gaze I’ll call it. Contradiction when a meek disciple seems more humble and genuine than the guru himself.

But to end with, its not a contradiction but strength when you are looking for direction in your life with the belief that the only way from here is to climb up!

 

The pre-birthday ennui

Well, I could have gone to office today, but somehow felt that not going could have been a better option. Now I realize how lazy , boring, lethargic and sick the entire day was.

Call this the result of overthinking or just the human tendency to fall prey to those emotions that drag you down.

Now this has reached to the level of a helpless tradition that I tend to over think the day before my birthday, overestimate my importance and in the end get sad at things not being my way.

The more I try to smile, encourage myself about it, the more I believe that it isn’t gonna be a nice day. It takes a lot more than goodness to establish camaraderie.

Its been so long. I am gonna be 21 years old in a matter of 4 hours. I am entering my twenties. So should I start reading all those posts that say “20 things you should know in your twenties”, “Entrepreneurs tell what they wish they knew in their twenties” and all that? I still do not have a defined path and I still am a patient of appalling overthinking and beating the dead horse over and over again.

It feels like it is all just spilling over at times, while sometimes it feels nothing is happening at all.

What is tomorrow gonna be like? Should I really be considering myself as some special person just because its my birthday?

There are people who can actually satiate themselves with the information that birthday is just another day like any other. But me? I can just not convince myself that its just another day. Though I have never received a grandiose birthday celebration, except when I was four years old, and if at all I do get to witness something like that in recent times, I might just be never comfortable with it. So here is the situation. I want it to be important, I want it to be special, but if at all it gets special I would feel even more depressed and sad that all these special things are gonna be over.

You cannot be certain of things and surely you cannot have them your way, but saying it all helps a lot. I recently discovered this that taking advice from yourself is what most of us forget many a times. But here, saying everything out loud , kind of helps you get over it.

So whatever is there in store. Bring it on! 🙂

The journey part-1

Just finished watching the movie the book thief.

“In life we are not assured of anything. It is strange how many times I had had this thought before. Everytime something was taken away from me or I missed an opportunity, I always wondered, in life we aren’t assured of anything. Whenever I considered I am entitled to something, assured of achieving no matter if I try or not I was always thrown back and shown my right place.

Maybe it is supposed to be that way. We live neither in the assurance nor in denial. We dangle on the threads in between that connect these two. Those are the threads we call hope.

As I look outside from the moist window of the train, everything looks like a still from a colouring book. The only difference is that everything has a hazy halo surrounding it, like the kid colouring it, didn’t like margins at all. I know this isn’t real. But the irony is that in reality there really aren’t any margins.

The crimes against humanity committed during Hitler’s time and the wars thereafter, make me question our idea that humans are the most intelligent species with what we call “consciousness”.

Who lives to see the victories of wars? Who lives to see their benefits if at all? Perhaps the major remains of war are just the tattered remains of human relations and fading memories that can’t even keep themselves warm in the cold.

We eventually accept things. I am adding “eventually” here because if there hasn’t been resent there has been no acceptance. To be satisfied, it is essential to be dissatisfied first. To be filled , there needs to be a void. To accept there has to be resentment.

In the end, as Death ends its narration, it says “I am haunted by humans”

-Amen

Un-convincing tides

Fade of an age,
twinkle of my tear.
On a splash of vine,
Guard of my fear.
Sparkle of an idea,
Depth of my dark.
Do you see the moment?
Caving in on me?

As a child, we are filled with awe and confidence about ourselves. Ask a kid , what do you wanna become when you grow up, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to receive answers like astronaut, sailor, soldier, etc.  That is raw confidence that doesn’t seek to measure. The unassuming power that cruises on its own , no matter where the current leads. How appalling it is to realize that once you’ve grown up, you are no longer a free dreamer. Rather a seeker, that first seeks the constraints and then figures out what his dreams and aspirations should be.

Recently, in a brief discussion with a friend , I discovered how we are threaded into the obligation of always being correct. Our loose ends are pulled and twisted and made so tensely stretched that every new idea jumps like water droplets from a taut string. If you move, you are no longer valued! To hook your fish, you ought to remain taut. One wrong answer and you fall slack and worthless.

We are raised in  a manner that looks down upon the one who doesn’t fit in. So here is the dilemma, every one of us wants to be the best, but everyone cannot be the best , which implies that best is different. Now I am struggling to be the best but subconsciously I am also trying to fit in and stay into the ‘average zone’ where everybody is. Isn’t it a vicious cycle that itself depreciates every effort of an individual that makes him above average?

If little by little we try not to be ashamed of our mistakes, try not to shame others when they go wrong, maybe we could get out of our wheel cage in which we are running like hamsters, doing good to nobody. Maybe so many self help books wouldn’t have to dare you to be different.

Don’t you think that is like a fundamental right, to be different, to be your own instead on conforming to your obligation of being like everyone else?

Before Sunrise

Daydream delusion
Limousine eyelash
Oh, baby with your pretty face
Drop a tear in my wineglass
Look at those big eyes
See what you mean to me
Sweetcakes and milkshakes
I am a delusion angel
I am a fantasy parade
I want you to know what I think
Don’t want you to guess any more
You have no idea where I came from
You have no idea where we are going
Lodged in life
Like two branches in a river
Flowing downstream
Caught in the current
I’ll carry you. You’ll carry me
That’s how it could be
Don’t you know me?
Don’t you know me by now?

-The street poet

It is not always the identity that creates us. Perhaps it’s the moment that cloaks us and crafts itself upon us. And when you let yourself dissolve into the space , into the environment just as the people in the paintings did, you let loose and flow.

The movie didn’t make high conclusions, mind numbing impacts or melodramatic casting of the concept of love. It didn’t make me feel any lesser. It didn’t make me feel any richer. And that was the most brilliant thing about it. It moved constantly from one conversation to the other , exploring the moment, exploring time frame by frame.

Were they on an adventure? Yes definitely they were. But the adventure was not a dicey game of fear and might here. The adventure was the conversations they had. Like they were unweaving a woolen rug from two opposite sides of it and continued to do so until they came close together to hold the same point of the endless strand while the rest of the wool wrapped around them unknowingly making their world warm. That’s how it was. Simple, addictive and sadly fragile.

They didn’t leave themselves aside and set out on a crazy escapade. All the time their worries and their life situations were very much with them. None of them preached what life was.

It just ended in an uncertainty. Just like no moment in life completely ends, ever. We always carry reverberations with us. Echoes of the past, rumble within us always. Its not possible to cut off an episode and clutch the next one. Its like once you reach the middle of your life you grow both ways. You grow into your past as you seem to understand it more and more and you grow into the time ahead inevitably. I am yet to see the next two parts of the series , yet I like this chasm that hangs in between . It is in this space where you do not understand the world, do not inspect it and accommodate your dreams and delusions. That’s your world without scrutiny and judgment

“You know I believe if there is any kind of God, it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me…but just this little space in between. If there is any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know its almost impossible to succeed . But who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt. ”

Just lost

I don’t know when writing became hard for me? Was it when I consigned myself to the downturn events or was it when I lost that little burning lamp of mine. Yes that little lamp of mine. I don’t want to brand it as passion. Passion sounds vigorous and huge. Mine wasn’t huge. It was small and flickering. Maybe this fear settled into me when I let those flickers swell up so much that they ceased to remember what they were.

I have faint memories of that lamp peeking through my eyes whenever I talked to someone. They glinted their presence in little sparkles of excitement and energy whenever I did something.

Maybe that sparkle is still there. Maybe it is just hiding under thick smog of fear. My mom would tell me what fear do you have? Believe in yourself! Believe and see a plentiful world surrounds you!

But I seem to see only the barren patches within those overgrown pastures. When I talk to seniors about this they mostly say I worry a bit too much. And I wonder was this a preconceived plan through which I was led to my habit of worrying .

I once said in one English Activity class on what makes me write is that it helps me think better. I find solutions to my problems and calm down once I write. But now I find that the more I write the more I brood over my choices. Like one thing leads to another, I end up falling into a dark alley of questions looming around and I have no hand to hold to.

Dear Brother,

The stillness of the stars is watching upon you, 
Their dazzling misty eyes are right there on you, 
To see the sparkle that you are, 
Not relenting to fizz away, 
To see the miracle made so closely,
Not contending to be taken away. 
If ever someone
Calls you a trouble, 
Just say: 

“I am only that trouble that comes for a miracle, 
I am just the urge of a nova waiting to kindle. ” 

For when life imagines you as a sloth in an armchair,
Imagine back your passion, your identity and fair, 
Ask life to get some life for itself! 
You know, evolution has been a creepy child,
Its been mischievous in all the wrong ways, 
But that mischief needs no veils of sympathy, 
Let those wounds dry in broad daylight! 

When you smile that innocent trick in your eyes, 
Even distress envies you, trying to pick your hue, 
Keep your little closet of dreams intact, 
For whenever you will be looking at them, 
I will be having a proud smile on my face.