Monday, March 23, 2015


Not that I am a genius at it now.

Not that I know everything there is to know about it either.

I don’t believe there is a single soul that’s walked this earth that’s grasped the entirety of love. And I don’t want to claim to be such a person either. But having walked this earth for almost 27 years now, I think I have gathered enough experience – and courage – to be able to pen a piece such as this one. Maybe others before me have realized and written about this already. Definitely many others after me are going to realize this and write about it. But the people I see around me are the ones who have not yet grasped this. These are people I care about. And I want them to know what I have learned, so that maybe when it is their time to experiment with love, they will at least make new or different failed attempts.

Lesson no. 1: NEVER try to change your guy.
I thought I wasn’t one of these girls. This category of girls who are always trying to develop new tastes in their guys, make them like Sushi and EDM and long walks on the beach and holding hands, make them hate cricket and beer and strip-clubs and porn; and yes, I am not one of those girls. But that doesn’t make me immune to this very common and natural human tendency. I only do it in different ways. Trying to get him to relax more, trying to make him develop healthy eating habits, trying to make him wear bright colours or keep a French beard.
Trying to change your guy – or any person in your life – is a sure recipe for disaster; and I need not explain this. I am pretty sure you know this. However, the corollary is not true. It is not always possible or good to change yourself or adapt yourself either; that is a sure recipe for disaster too. Burning yourself out trying to accommodate the world is never a good idea (and I will address this at a later point here). The important thing I have learnt is to accept things and situations. Now this may be the most difficult thing to do, and trust me, I have learnt it the hardest way possible. But the process can bring immense peace to you. It is important to realize that we cannot affect every situation, cannot amend every decision, and cannot cure every bad habit. We have to learn to be ok with certain things in life – the friend who, in spite of you giving all you could to stay in touch with them, drifted away; the love that, in spite of you putting everything at stake, was not meant to be; the relationship that, in spite of you swallowing your pride and ego and trying to make up, went kaput anyway. People come and go, leaving imprints on your heart. And even though it is tempting to want to keep the person in your life forever, we should focus more on creating lasting and positive imprints rather than trying to make the person last forever. We all know - everything changes; but memories can stay.

Lesson no.2: NEVER try to save your guy.
Now this one can be quite a puzzle to understand. But if you have ever felt like going out of your way and doing something for someone – your mom, when you saw how tired she was from all the chores; your dad, when he came back from work and looked stressed; your friend who was just going through a tough time at home or school; or your guy, who seemed functional and happy with you but was still mourning his past relationship – you’ll know what I am trying to talk about. A video I recently came across explained this to me so beautifully and simply. Our undying need to help other people, to save them, stems from the feeling of wanting to be saved ourselves. From what? It could be from anything –apathy, disappointment, depression, anything. So what do you do – watch indifferently as your guy deals with his demons? No. Be there for him. Show him your support and love. But don’t make his demons your own. That is just going to result in two people and twice the more demons to fight.
It is ok to fail in trying to save someone. How can we really save anyone when we are failing miserably at saving ourselves? We can’t. But don’t feel miserable about it. I know just how hard it is, and how long it can take to come to terms with this. I am guilty of having done it myself. I tried so hard to save him, although I could see I wasn’t going to succeed, that I put everything, every last bit of my love and my soul into trying to save him. I believed I would be able to do it, even though I could very clearly see that I was failing. People told me he is not worth the time. But I felt guilty about giving up. Eventually of course, I failed. I blamed myself for it for... well, for a really long time. I felt like… I had lost a battle I’d been fighting for so long. But I lost a lot more than just the battle. I lost a part of me. I lost the ability to care for people for a long time. I gave myself in so much to that one relationship that for a very long time I was unable to feel anything for anyone. But you know what? No-one is worth it. No-one is worth driving yourself to this point. It took me several months to forgive myself for it, and to be ok about having failed. What’s amazing is I was able to go a step further and realize that there was nothing to forgive myself about in the first place. It is ok to not save someone. And it is ok to put your well-being and ‘self’ before the world.
And this brings me to the final lesson, and that’s –

Lesson no. 3: Save 'it'.
'It’ can be anything – love, affection, respect, time, energy, effort, etc. Your ‘it’ will be different from that of the next person. It will be different from that of your friend, your sister, your guy. What’s important is to learn to never give any relationship all of 'it'. Being fed with romantic movies and stories that talk about selfless love full of sacrifices ever since we are little girls, it is in our nature – or rather our ‘nurture’ – to want to sacrifice everything and try and save our guys. But the kind of sacrifice that we expect ourselves to make demands of us to pause and think for just a moment – what exactly are we sacrificing? Who or what for? And why? We feel like we are not doing enough, or we are being ‘selfish’ if we give any less than all of our ‘self’ and our life to a relationship. But is it really worth it? Is any relationship worth it? Maybe you already know that the answer is actually ‘no’. But you – conditioned by mothers, movies and society – won’t allow yourself to admit it, even if just to yourself. Don’t do that. Life is too short to be so hard on yourself.
So were our mothers wrong in doing so?
And you won’t be wrong to do so either – if it is your conscious choice. But please be sure to make the choice consciously, and not as a result of general expectation or conditioning. And please, don’t expect something in return. Do it because you want to do it. Don’t ever use it in an argument as a trump card. (‘I have given my life to you! Why can’t you at least do the dishes once?! Is it too much to ask for?!’)
In my personal experience, the only thing worth giving our ‘self’ to is our passions. Cooking, music, art, sports, fitness, travelling, photography, reading, writing, charity, social service, teaching, environmental issues, dog-shelters – whatever form your passion takes. That’s the thing to invest in. That’s the thing to pour into. Literally pour into. Nothing can be more satisfying. And if you haven't found your passion yet, well, keep looking. As I said before, burning yourself out is not a good thing, no matter how justified the cause or end seems.

Being in love makes us do funny things. It makes us want our partners to learn everything we learn, experience all good things we do, it makes us want to take their hand and drag them along behind us everywhere we go. My experiments with love, however, have taught me to be content with walking on parallel paths with my guy. Sometimes we hold hands, sometimes we don’t; and even though our paths are parallel, they are not the same. Life will bring different bends and detours in mine, and different hurdles and turns in his. If on any such detour I happen to chance upon a beautiful lake, I shouldn’t try to go back, find my guy and drag him after me to show him the lake. Neither should I expect him to leave his path and run after me with an umbrella if it starts to pour down on my path. It is my own individual journey, and although I can choose to narrate my experiences to him, I have no right to pull him off his path or journey and make him join mine, even if it is only because I want him to see that beautiful lake. If we both live through the same things at every point and on every level, how are we ever going to enrich each other’s life? How are we going to diversify? 

Sometimes it can be difficult to watch your love struggle with the same things that you did and not do anything about it; it is very tempting to want them to listen to you just so that you can save them from another failure or heartbreak. But we must learn to allow them to discover things on their own – even if it takes them a couple of experiences more than you. And if they still don’t get it then its fine. That absolutely okay too. And you are not being selfish when you do this. You are only being wise, in that you understand that their set of unique thoughts and experiences is what makes them the person they are, the person you love; and yours make you the person you are. And before you expect anyone to love you the way you are, you must first learn to love yourself for who you are.

Monday, June 2, 2014

HOPE - Or Something Like It

It has been a while since I wrote anything, so when this piece came to me, I simply set aside the book in my hands and revelled in the moment. It is not that I cannot write at will, I very well can. But the joy of writing something when it comes from someplace else is... beyond words.

As has happened many times in the past, it all started with a book I am reading – Pilgrims, by Elisabeth Gilbert. I happened to go to a Crossword outlet near my place a couple of days ago; I was with a friend of mine. After about 20 minutes of going up and down in the aisles, I had shortlisted two books. As has been the case many times in the past, my friend helped me pick this one finally. I said in one of my very old posts – I believe every book has a journey to cover before it finds its way into your hands; and you meet a book at this juncture only after you have covered a journey yourself. And so I am guessing, my friend had an important part to play in this post.

Ever since I have moved to Bangalore, I have pledged to buy one and only one book at a time; and to always buy it when I have 50 or less number of unread pages left in the current book. However my enthusiasm when it comes to new books is, even today, quite like that of a kid (and I am grateful for it. Children experience joy and happiness in their purest forms I believe, and it always makes me happy to recognise that sliver in me.) I quickly finished my previous book (The Clockwork Man, by William Jablonsky), had dinner, and gingerly picked up the new book.

It is amazing how things you read come back to you when you most need them. I read this piece of writing recently that talked about coffee; the author said coffee was his most favourite opiate. As I began reading Pilgrims... I happened to go back on that phrase, and that word. Opiate.

The book started off with the arrival of Martha Knox on a ranch – a very unconventional, and unconventionally attractive girl. The account was presented by the ranch-owner’s son, and it soon took the form of a conversation. The most wonderful thing about books is their ability to transport you into their world, to allow you to leave behind yourself and go and become a part of something else. It was just a boy and a girl, sitting by a fire, drinking beer in the middle of the night... and yet, there was something so serene about the whole scene that I felt like an intruder, reading their story, like I wasn’t supposed to be there, but I was unable to leave. They were just talking to each other, smoking cigarettes, throwing wood into the fire just before it died out... but they were doing something else... something very important, without which the scene would lose its appeal and would make no sense. They were talking.

Conversations, especially like the one that was taking place in those pages, are what I live for. They are what bring meaning to my life... just as I wrapped my mind around what was happening in the book, I realised – conversations are my opiate. I live, go out, meet new people and befriend them, all in the hope of having yet another conversation that will somehow enrich my life, that will make me want to live again, that will make me want to go on and not give up. I once said to a friend of mine, after listening to him rant on and on for several minutes, “You talk too much.”

“It’s the only thing I have got,” he said, “the only thing I am good at. Please don’t take that away from me.”

There was a brief pause, before we both broke out laughing. “That was a bit too much,” he said, “even for me!” But we both knew he meant it. There is always a little bit of truth behind every ‘just kidding’, isn’t there?

For a very long time I was unable to fathom, what it was about conversations that pulled me in. Now by conversations I do not mean the casual daily banter that we all engage in, as much as we’d want to avoid it (or probably not!). There are times when you can literally feel the Universe shifting gears; you can almost hear the last piece of the puzzle falling into place, right before the clockwork starts working in perfect synchronisation; and you know what you are about to experience in the next few moments is going to be something that will always stay with you... that’s what I am talking about. I have been fortunate enough to experience it, and be aware of it, more than several times... it happened to me once when a friend of mine took me to a place in my own city, the magic of which I was not aware of. As I stood on the bridge and looked down at all the vehicles disappearing under it, I was one with the Universe for a moment. It was surreal. I felt it when a friend of mine once sang a song in the balcony, at the end of a party. It was so beautiful, that we were all crying by the end of it... and we all went home without saying one word to each other – just a warm, long, tight hug, and we put on our shoes and left. Sometimes conversations have that power too, to let you experience something magical. I would have loved to share some anecdote here, but no conversation is entirely your and your alone now, is it? There is always a second person involved. And it doesn’t seem fair to divulge the details of something so private, so sacred. But I do know that you too have experienced something like it, haven’t you?

And that is why, I shut the book and put it aside after a while... because I felt like an intruder, listening to Martha and the ranch-owner’s son talk to each other. You might be laughing at me right now, and quite frankly and honestly, I wouldn’t mind if you were. It does seem bizarre, I can totally understand. But I will sincerely pray you get to experience this at least once in your life.

However, no matter how cool and fancy and other-worldly you make it sound, an opiate is still a drug at the end of the day; and that has got to leave you with some undesirable effects. But what when conversations are your opiate? What when you withdraw from such an opiate? How does one deal with the withdrawal symptoms? When you know talking to that one person again is going to rid you of the last shred of dignity left in you, how do you stop yourself from doing it? Isn’t conversation a basic need of man, being a social animal and all that? And if yes, then why can’t you talk to that one person? Would it really hurt so much? Would it really be that bad? Probably. Then again, probably not. But you have given yourself enough number of chances. This cat has struggled to keep her eyes open even as she burned her tongue while drinking milk... and she has been foolish enough to burn her tongue over and over again... It takes herculean effort to not pick up the phone that is so innocently and yet devilishly lying on the bed, right next to you, within your reach for once. For once you wish it was on your study table instead, and that you were too lazy to get up and get it... it would save you embarrassment, it would allow you to keep your self-respect intact. But no. Of all the nights, it had to be right there next to you on your bed tonight. You wish he’d call you, text you. Yes you asked him never to contact you again, but didn’t he know you were kidding? Where was his persistence when you most wanted it? Why did he listen to you when you half-heartedly asked for something? Didn’t he know you meant it when you said you loved him? How could you then not want to hear his voice just one more time? Damned as your love was, how could you not want to give it one more try?

And at that very moment when you are at the tipping point of insanity, beyond which everything is possible and no dream is too wild or too good to be true, reality digs its talons into you and pulls you to the ground – quite brutally. Necessarily.

You sigh.

You look around and find not much has changed in your world... the phone is still lying on your bed, untouched, the folds of the bed-sheet undisturbed, the fan spinning away to glory, your roommates oblivious to the storm within your mind and heart, paying too much attention instead, to the one outside the window. Nothing in your life has changed... except a few words typed out and staring at you from your laptop screen. Did you just write that? Maybe you did. Did you just feel all of that? Maybe you did...

But you have learnt from your mistakes. You have served your time, and paid your dues. You are wiser now. Oh yes, you are. But not because you have realised there is no magic in the world. You are wiser now, because you have learned to conceal all your hopes and dreams and wishes from the eyes of the world. They are what keep you alive after all, aren’t they?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I find myself sitting on the edge of the bed, looking at Vikram - so innocent, so peaceful in his sleep. I dab the water that has collected at the tip of my tresses with a soft, clean white towel that was left for me in the bathroom by the sweet Room Service boy when we checked in last afternoon. I stare at Vikram for a long time. Watching someone who is asleep is probably one of the most... peaceful and warmth-giving sights in the world. I get up to walk to the balcony, and just then the bathrobe slips off my shoulders and falls in a heap around my feet. On an instinct I hurry to pick it up and cover myself... only to realise, within moments, the futility of my act. What part, what inch of my body could have managed to remain unexplored by Vikram last night? Which tiny fraction of my being could have still remained veiled from Vikram? What out of my body, mind, heart and soul could have remained untouched, unloved by Vikram? I turn around to look at Vikram one more time, as I am about to step onto the balcony - almost afraid to do it, 'lest he not be there and it all be a dream. But as I turn around, I can see the early morning sunlight dance on the hair on his arms. I can see the curve of his lips move as he smiles in his sleep... Is he dreaming about me? I am tempted to go and touch him... Run my hand on his torso, feel the warmth of his belly, his navel, with my palm that is still cool from the bath I have had. I watch those arms that held me last night, laid across the pillow... I see those hands and finger that touched me... I look at those lips that showered the sweetest and yet sensuous and urgent kisses all over me last night. To know of a love that is altogether so needful and demanding, so gracious and grateful... It's a blessing; truly a blessing. Now I know what was missing in my life... Is it not the finest example of serendipity for the paths of two such people to cross, where one is grateful to be loved and the other to have found someone to love? So often we underestimate our need to love someone, in our quest to find someone who will love us! If there is any real magic in the world, it is in two people trying to understand each other... What joy to be able to communicate your need to someone, to be given that liberty to express your need... And what bliss to find such a 'someone' who is more than willing to offer you everything you want, everything you need... "It must be wonderful" I used to think "to have someone surrender themselves to you. What is love but an act of surrender? To tell someone you love them, to put yourself in their hands for them to keep or throw... There is something so delicate, so fragile, in being willing to strip yourself of all your labels, your tags, your inhibitions, fears, doubts, and to simply stand naked in front of a person. Whatever is left of me, I am all yours... How special, how surreal, how pure and beautiful!" but I was wrong… I was so wrong! Oh yes it is all that, but it is so much more!

He pulled out a small gift from his pocket and placed it in my hands. I untied the golden thread that held the cloth in place. When I saw what was inside, I was confused.

'A mirror?'


'Such a tiny one?'


It was beautiful, mounted on a frame of seashells. But no matter how far from myself I held it, or what angle I held it at, I couldn't see my face in it. Vikram took the mirror back from me and got up. He helped me up on my feet too. He took my arm and led me to the balcony again. The sky was splashed with every possible imaginable shade of orange. It would be night within an hour or so. I looked up at the sky and gasped. Suddenly I had goosebumps - Vikram’s arms were around me, his chin was resting on my shoulder, and he was holding the mirror in front of me. It was the first time he was standing so close to me.

'What do you see?'

'My eyes...'

'You know what I see?'


'Your soul'

I turned around to look at him. What happened next was so unbelievable, so overwhelming, it scares me. Even just one of your wishes being granted is enough to make a cynic and a believer of you. On our way to here, I had been so nervous and full of second thoughts. I kept looking at Vikram when he was too absorbed in driving to notice, and I kept thinking to myself, "What am I doing on my way to a weekend getaway with a man I have barely known for a couple months?" all my fears and doubts were shed as Vikram removed the last piece of clothing from my body. My hands, placed around his neck, started shaking as he kissed me for the first time. His lips moved from my lips to my neck and collarbone. Suddenly he pulled me away and looked at me.

'Why are you shaking?'

I averted my gaze and began to withdraw. He held my wrists and wrapped my arms back around his neck. He held my face in his hands and looked into my eyes.

'Don't hold back. Don't be afraid or ashamed.'

I pulled his t-shirt over his head and pulled him closer to me. I felt the contours of his back muscles as my hands fleeted over his body. I traced all the contours on his torso, beginning with his shoulders down to his abs. I drew a sharp breath as he held my breasts in his hands. Unless you really wanted to do just that, masturbation leaves you hungrier for company than you were when you started out. From the careful rapt attention he was paying me, it was evident that I wasn't the only one who had been alone for a long time.

As I replayed the previous night on my mind's screen, I walked back to the bed and slipped in under the blankets. As I looked at Vikram's bare back, I could see the marks my nails had left. I had dug my nails in his back when he had kissed my breasts. Just the memory of it made me blush. My ears felt hot. The memory of his touch excited me, and left me longing for it more than ever before. I remembered how I had pulled Vikram up to me and had whispered in his ears "Love me!" I remembered how I had dug my nails into his back again, when he entered me, and how he had moaned. I remembered how he had rested his head on my tummy, overwhelmed, spent, and content. The night breeze had dried our sweat and left our bodies sticky. The last kisses we shared before drifting off to sleep were salty... But oh so sweet! … so sweet as I had never known they could be... Vikram had rescued my dying soul, the dying woman, the dying romantic in me... And today I felt more alive than anything, more alive than I had felt any other day. I wondered how a single experience could be so profound as to turn a life around; only to realise that I didn't need to wonder anymore, I had had that experience. It felt like Vikram had seeped through my whole being and cleansed it... I could have sworn I felt our souls meet and unite as our bodies entwined around each others'... I looked at the clock hanging on the wall. We'd both be on our way back to our lives, our worlds, our duties, responsibilities, in only a matter of few hours. But it didn't make me sad... Or maybe I didn't want to allow myself to be sad. As I took Vikram's arm and wrapped it around me, all I could think of was how happy I was, how content and complete I felt, and how alive I had become. Months after that magical weekend, my life is far from perfect; but every time I feel knocked down, I look at Vikram's mirror, and his voice fills my ears and my heart till there is no longer even the tiniest of corners left for anything negative to occupy place...

'You are beautiful. Don't ever let anything or anyone in life convince you otherwise. And every time you are in doubt, look in this mirror, and you will see yourself through my eyes... Do I have to tell you what I see? Don't you already know what my eyes behold?'

Author's Note: In this note, I have tried to catch the essence of a dream that one of my friend's said she had had a few weeks ago. Of course, I have given it my own spin, added a few details, to make it into a complete story/prose, but the idea is from the dream. What I have tried my best to do with this prose is celebrate romantic companionship. I hope you can relate to it at some level at least. 

Friday, October 5, 2012


Have you ever watched a movie, or read a book or heard a story, and thought to yourself, this is what I want from life? This is what you want the most from life, and then you would make peace with everything that came your way? If this was in fact your story, then you could die peacefully? The thought to me is altogether scary and fascinating...

I had heard about the movie Before Sunrise a long time ago. Last night, quite serendipitously, a friend of mine downloaded the movie and gave it to me. I saw it, and this is what crossed my mind when I finished watching it: this is what I want the most in life. It goes back to and resonates with so many of the conversations I have had with close friends... If you had heard those conversations, you would think I am being redundant, or obsessed with the idea. And I will be stark honest with you [and with myself] about this that you wouldn't be far from the truth if you thought so. Yes I am obsessed with the idea.

"How randomly can you meet someone?"
"I have been looking forward to it for ages, you have no idea how much and how long I have been waiting for this.”
… the conversation with one friend where we talked about meeting someone randomly... the conversation with another where we talked about connecting with someone; really connecting with someone till a point when you can take make out quite precisely what the person is thinking about... another one, where we talked about being in a place where no one knew you, and no one judged you... Would you be the same person you are right now, if no one you knew, actually knew where you were? What if you found yourself in... I don’t know... Peru or some place, and nobody back home, your parents, your friends, your relatives, your ex-es, nobody knew you were in Peru. You didn’t have to tell anyone where you were or when you were getting back, or what you were going to wear, or when you were gonna be home, or if you were gonna be drinking or smoking or fucking or not... What if you were not practically or even morally answerable to those questions...? Would you still be doing the exact same things then, as you are doing right now? I know I would be a completely different person. So then which is the real you? The one you are when you are alone, or the one you are with all those, those people in your life? There is so much, SO much we don’t say or do because we have all these people in our life… and more often than not, they are the reason for all our disappointment and restlessness rather than the answer or solution to it.

I saw the movie and I thought, wow. It would be so nice to just buy a ticket and be on my way to somewhere, meet someone nice, spend a day, a weekend with him... Just take the first road outside where you are living, and go walking to wherever the road leads to, stop at whichever restaurant or cafe you feel like without wondering or worrying about the hygiene, eat what you feel like, and then push off down a different road. Hang out at a park... Throw pebbles... Attend stupid gigs... Finish off an entire bottle of wine... All these days I used to wonder: what it was about this idea that was so romantic, so appealing. Why did it draw me so much, this crazy little fantasy. Today I know: it is the fact that I can be totally myself, only with a stranger. Yes. It is true. The minute you get to know someone, it’s ruined. You can never ever be yourself around someone you know. Not truly yourself. You always need to do certain things, act in certain ways, go certain places, not drink more than a certain amount, not hug, not hold hands, not kiss... Why do we do this? And we all have been doing this since such a long time.... It’s depressing, seriously… and I’m not saying I am any different; and that is even more depressing to me.

You know what I really want to learn? I want to learn to love someone unconditionally.

Now I want to take a minute and explain what I said. Unconditionally is not the same as blindly, or without expectation. What I truly want to learn is to be in love with the whole of a person, the whole of his being. Now that again is not synonymous to "with his faults and shortcomings"... What I am trying to say is, I want to be in a position where nothing a person says or does upsets me or matters to me, and where my love for him does not depend on what he says or does. Only then can love be truly unconditional... or so I believe…

It is funny how you learn some expressions so early on in life, and then spend the rest of your life trying to understand the entirety of those expressions; their depth, their mysticism... you know what I mean? I learnt the term “unconditional love" sometime in school I remember, around the time I had a huge crush on this guy [calf love actually...] May be I am not making any sense and this is all coming out mixed up... Aaaah! Movies! They fuck you in the brain...

What I am really trying to say is: I want to have a Before Sunrise of my own. And when I think about it, I think that is such a simple thing to want. Why should it be so hard to get/fulfill? Because I have all these people in my life whose approval I need, at some level, to actually go out there and pursue what I want. I have to convince them of my idea, and why it is a good idea; when actually the only person I should be convincing for or against the idea is my own self.

God! It’s just weird, watching a movie like that. I downloaded Before Sunset later, and saw that too, and I was ready to cry at the end of it. I hate the directory and the script writer for making a movie that is too true to be a movie. You know, this friend of mine once said: you need that one bit of difference in the movies and real life... You need that teeny bit of difference, for your sanity, if nothing else... Or else movies would end up being so true, it would kill us...

"I've just had too many, blah relationships. They weren't mean, they cared for me, but there were no real connection or no excitement. At least not from my side... It happened after I read your fucking book. It stirred shit up you know? It reminded me of how genuinely romantic I was or how I had so much hope in things and now it’s like, I don't believe in anything that relates to love. I don’t feel things for people any more. In a way I put all my romanticism into that one night and was never able to feel all those things again. Like somehow this night took things away from me and I expressed them to you and you took them with you. It made me feel cold like if love wasn't for me. You know what? Reality and love are almost contradictory for me... You know I guess I been heartbroken too many time, and now I've recovered. So now you know from the start I make no efforts because I know it’s never gonna work out, I know it’s not gonna work out... I’m so miserable in my love life and my relationships, I always act as, like, you know I'm detached but I'm, I'm dying inside. I'm dying because I’m so numb, I don’t feel any pain or excitement, I'm not even bitter..."

Could anything else better express my state of mind for the past couple years, than those lines said by Celine in the car, on her way to her apartment, along with writer Jesse? No... Even with all the guys I had been with, there was always something missing. I never felt for them the way I felt for this one particular guy I dated back in college. But only after watching these movies did I realise why. It wasn’t because that guy was so great... it was never about that guy to begin with! It is because Iwas a different person before... it’s about me! Not that dumbass of a guy...! What I really miss is that old me... that carefree me, who wasn't afraid to express... who didn't think twice before saying how happy she was, or how much she cared about someone, right to their face.... how cruel, how unfair is it that I have lost the ability to express love and care because I keep thinking it might scare the person off... and how sick is it that in today's world, telling someone you love them comes with the possibility that it will scare them away; that they will be put off! How can getting to know someone loves you, ever put you off? How did our generation come to be so fucked up? It is sooo fucked up, I don’t even pity us anymore. I miss that old me; and I think that is what aches the most in any heartbreak, for anyone... that little part of you that you shared with that person, that you are never gonna get back, that’s gone forever... yes, that is what aches the most, and that is what we ache for to come back... I know I do... here he is, all charming, funny, big heart guy in front of me... but I can’t fall for him. I can’t go beyond a certain step. I don’t feel anything! I’m making no efforts, because more than reasons why it can work out, I keep seeing scores of reasons why it will never work out, why he won’t be on the lookout for something serious at the moment, why he will never be interested in someone like me, why he will never understand someone like me... the old me would have been fantasizing about him and writing love poems and painting the town red by now... this, this new me is just not bothered... she just has a huge crush on him, but nothing goes beyond that! I was never like that!

You know just the other day I wrote a mail to my best friend. I met a classmate recently, and that was when I realised this thing that I had to discuss with my best friend. So I wrote her a mail and I said something to her in the mail that came, even to me, as a surprise and a shock; for till the moment that I had written it, I never realised it. I wrote to her: Chiki I give up on people and relationships too easily these days... I don't know why this is happening... but I just know I wasn’t like this before. Does that make me a bad person? I mean, now is the time when I should actually be at my amicable best and all that bull, what with wanting to settle down and all... what if I give up on my guy too soon or something? Is that why I find myself so... so romantically inert these days?

I do not know the answers to these questions... but it is kinda funny how my musings are always so full of questions... some peoples' musings are full of "happy realisations", for some, musings are just about realising stuff... my musings are always full of questions... full of questions...

Saturday, September 29, 2012


[This is an old post I found in one of my old hard drives... it was incomplete. I just completed it and thought of sharing it. The time frame may be obsolete; but the thoughts are absolute. :-)]

They say old habits die hard. But I have always found this sentence rather funny! We get used to things so quickly and without our conscious knowledge that we sometimes don’t even know we have gotten used to something. It could be anything from loss of a pet, to moving to a rather noisy (and probably nosey!) neighbourhood, to a new teacher in class, to your favourite pen not being available in the market anymore! Sure we value that which is no longer there; we still cherish it, miss it, and probably even think about it more, and more often, than we’d like to… but yes, we do get used to the here and now and new!

We had a week-long unexpected off at college recently, and it so happened that I was home at a time I am usually dozing off in class…! I had already cancelled a couple of plans – of a movie, of a get-together, and of a prospective date with a prospective new love interest! – in anticipation of my normal routine that was to commence that week, so I ended up being particularly jobless; and particularly a pain in the neck for Mom (though of course NOT intentionally, I love her after all!) Dad too was unusually free that week, so it was double trouble for poor Mommy!

The routine in the Belvalkar household is – I get up at 0630hrs (actually, the ALARM is set at that time… I get up from anywhere between 0600 and 0730hrs!), leave the house at 0800hrs, return by 1700-1800hrs – at which time Mom usually isn’t home – then Mom gets back, I have dinner, read for a while, watch TV, surf the net maybe, and sleep. Dad on the other hand gets up at a kingly time of 0900hrs, has breakfast, goes to work, comes back in the evening, goes for a jog on a nearby hill, then goes to tutor his students at the Harmonica classes, and returns by 2100hrs, has dinner, watches the late night movie, and sleeps.

So Mom usually has the house to herself from roughly 1130 to say, 1900hrs, during which she does all sorts of things!

But last week… oh my GOD! Last week was bad! With all three of us in the house, we just couldn’t help getting into each other’s way! Dad and I went for a shower at the exact same time, though only co-incidentally. That had a rather tired and frustrated Mom waiting for us for forty-five minutes! Then we both wanted to use the computer at the same time, so we were both quarrelling. Then after Dad left, I went into my room and sat down to work on a couple college assignments on my laptop at the exact same time when Mom wanted the maid to clean my room. And then there was dust flying around everywhere, and I was scampering under my blanket to protect my laptop. Then we both started arguing – why did I have to work on my laptop in the afternoon, why couldn’t I do it at night; and why couldn’t the maid clean my room while we were all sitting together in the living room, and why did I have to move always.

Thinking about all this is retrospect; I just couldn’t stop laughing…! It just seems so ridiculous and downright funny even as I am typing it out! But these are the small, small things that really eat at our brains and minds day in and day out.

True when you are in a good mood, or even when you are neutral, it all seems rather childish. But in that Moment, you could swear the entire household is conniving to drive you to your wits ends!

This continued to happen every single day of that week, and really had us all pulling at our hair by the end of it… I was rather annoyed at the time… but thinking about it a couple days later, I was rather shocked at what had just happened that week.

How could we have gotten so used to each one of us not being around? So much so that it made it almost impossible to function normally in each other’s presence? We had just gotten used to each of us being at home only a certain time of the day – which is not a bad thing really. But it just surprised me how much we were getting on to each other’s nerve… we could have sworn never to talk to each other ever again! (In fact I think Mom actually did, at some crazy point in time… :D) It shouldn’t have to be so difficult, right? I mean, they are my Mom and Dad, and I am their daughter, and we are family, and all that jazz...

Being a nuclear family, where everyone’s busy with their own schedules all day long, and going about their individual lives while also living a life together, kind of makes us little weird in a weird way. There is no option to the way families live by these days; and it isn’t a bad thing either. But sometimes we just don’t know each other enough as people. Sometimes our friends and colleagues and superiors know us better than our parents and relatives; they know the little little things that annoy us, the little things we can’t stand while working, the way we function when concentrating on something, or just our way of things. I don’t know how good or bad a thing that is, but it sure is significant enough to wreck havoc in a family of just three too! The key to this problem, I think, lies in spending time with each other, and never letting the conversation among family members die. You may not say a lot to each other every day… but it would be enough, I guess, if you said what was right and what was wanted, at the time it was wanted. We have enough people wanting us to be this, be that, not be this, not be that… there’s too many out there, chipping at our personalities; let the same happen in your family, and you might just end up chipping at each other’s soul. After all, if you can’t be “at home” at home, where else can you be?


I spoke to my friend J yesterday after a long time. J entered my life quite unexpectedly, and I almost missed the chance of meeting J, because I was planning not to go for the party at which I met J. Something happened, and I finally decided to go to the party. A lot of changes have come about in my life since I met J, and I can safely attribute all of them to the event of J entering my life. The best part is, J feels the same way; J too feels ‘a connection’, and it is nice to have my feelings reciprocated, and with the same intensity, after such a long, long time. (And for all of you wondering who J is, well, whoever J maybe, I guess you really want to know if it’s a boy or a girl. J is a girl; and that’s the way the cookie crumbles!)

So I was talking to J and she told me she fell out with a friend of hers. This came as quite a shock to me. I know J’s friend too, but when J told me the reason for their falling out, I wondered if I knew J’s friend at all! The things J was saying about her friend were so… starkly the opposite of the things I thought about J’s friend, it was hard to believe we were both talking about the same person. We are all interested in spirituality and philosophy, me, J and her friend. We haven’t talked about it at length, but every time I am with J, I feel like we are saying a lot through what we do around each other, rather than what we say; I feel like we are conversing at a very different level. J’s friend is also into spirituality and philosophy, and that is how I got to know her. I guess now you can understand why it was so hard to believe when J said she couldn’t stand being around her friend any longer because of all the negativity and anger filled in her.

I pondered upon all that J had told me for a while. It really amused me. How can a spiritual and philosophical person also be so vulnerable to anger, and jealousy, and greed, and respect and all the superficial things in life? If your understanding of spirituality and philosophy does not help you get over things in life, if your spiritual advances do not help you let go, what’s the point? Yes we are all humans and we are all prone to feeling angry and hurt and disappointed and all the emotions any human mind and/or heart is capable of feeling. But is holding onto bygones going to get you anywhere? And most importantly, how can you be spiritual, how can you know the importance of unlearning, and still cling onto bygones? I mean, I seriously wonder, don’t these people realise what they are doing?

As I see it, spiritual growth should let you come to peace with, what I call, the way of things. There are two kinds of things in life; those we can do something about, and those that are beyond our control. From what I have seen among family and friends, I have noticed that we often get the two mixed up. We do nothing about the situations we have the power to control or change; we leave it up to fate or destiny. On the other hand, we go out of our way to try and fix things that, it is not within our power to fix. This causes us so much of suffering and misery, it is unbelievable! I had a row with one of my cousins recently over something so silly that I do not even remember it any more. At that point when I let some steam off, well… I had to let some steam off! And so I did. But my cousin has taken it far too much to her heart; and things have kind of been weird between us ever since. Now, I really love my cousin. Yes I got mad at her, and I let my temper get the better of me. In my defence, I will say, my lid blew off as a result of a LOT of things that had come my way from my cousin. But getting it out of my system, and giving her a piece of my mind, brought me back to neutral.

Sadly, however, she hasn’t been able to get over it.

Now if I could, I would make things go back to the way they always were between us for all these years. But I can’t; because it isn’t in my hands to control or affect how my cousin reacts to things. However, what has deeply saddened me is the realisation that in spite of being such a spiritual person, she hasn’t been able to unlearn, to let go and move on. I am not saying this just because it concerns me. I feel sad for my cousin for every single time she has been unable to unlearn, even in issues where I was not directly involved. You have to come to peace with certain things. Yes they wronged you, they cheated you, and you feel like you’ve been used. What can you do about it? Does it help going to bed with all these thoughts in your mind?

It is not always in our hands to control the situation we find ourselves in. But we can definitely choose what our take on the situation is going to be. Reactions are inevitable. But how long you let the feeling last, is in your hands. Spiritual growth should help you realise this – that even in the bleakest moment, you have a choice; to either move on, or cling on. The beauty of the whole thing, however, is not in this realisation; it is in what comes after the realisation. Once you know – truly know – the transient nature of things, letting go becomes easy and effortless, and after a point… unnecessary; because you never really let anything come close enough to cling onto you. Bad day? Tell yourself, “This is just one day in so many that are going to make up my existence. I am not going to let this one day define my life. I’m gonna go home take a nice nap, and tomorrow I am going to forget all about today.” It really works. This is a phase, this too shall pass.

Take a second, a minute, a day, a month… take as long as you need, but do what it takes to get rid of things like that. It is every bit worth the effort.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Seldom has it ever happened that some random quote I shared as a status on Facebook actually turned out to be true, so that when it happened today morning, I was quite bemused!

I had lend my copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love to a friend of mine, more than a year ago. She happened to return it to me yesterday. The sight of that book in my hand after all these years kind of reminded me how much I liked it. I flipped through the pages of the book, stopping at random passages... Dario and Giovanni, Richard from Texas, finally Felipe arrived, and I smiled at the sight of his name of those yellowed pages of the book. Felipe. Yes I remembered that character well.

I gave up leafing and read through the rest of the book thoroughly. One of the sentences stayed with me -

"It is only the young and stupid who are sure about sex and love. Do you think any of us know what were doing?"

It stayed with me through the book. It stayed with me through dinner. It went to bed with me. When that happens, I usually get up, grab my cell phone in the dark (as I am too lazy to actually get off the bed and turn on the lights), and update the status message on my Facebook profile with whatever it is that has so obstinately stayed with me. And that is what I did last night...

I got up in the morning to go to work today. I had forgotten about the status update (as I had spent almost an hour and half talking to my friend after that, and the conversation was playing on in my mind). But on my way to work, I happened to pass by a local college. I saw this really young couple - 11th or 12th grade boy and girl. I am guessing I am not the only one - but I have this uncanny knack. One look at a boy and a girl, and i immediately know if they are just friends, lovers, or siblings. I just do! So the moment I saw these guys, I knew they were a couple. The boy was really good-looking. The girl quite ordinary. They were sitting on a parked two-wheeler, and I could tell it was a spanking new one. What happened within the next few seconds was this - the guy pulled out his cell phone, took the girl's arm and wrapped it around himself and clicked a self-portrait. Just as I passed them I heard the girl say "trouble" and the guy say "but we love". The girl had gone crimson in her cheeks and was mock hitting the guy.

The sight somehow made me smile... it reminded me of a time when I was their age. I was so sure about sex and love too! Just like that guy was sure that because he loved the girl, they were permitted to click a picture together. Our equations, fundas, concepts are so clear when we are young, isn't it? I remember myself from when I was their age... I thought I knew what love is, what marriage is, what a relationship is, what I want my guy to be; in fact, I didn't think I knew, I knew that I knew! I was so sure!

But you grow up, and all hell breaks loose. This whole thing we call 'experience' - it doesn't always do you good, does it? I don't think so. I mean, what good have a couple of heartbreaks done to me? Yeah, you will say "They have made you stronger", and all that bull. But what good is it to become as strong as a stone?

Sometimes it becomes difficult to keep faith. It becomes difficult to wait. Sometimes all you want is for time to freeze, so that you don't race into another heartbreak, so that you don't collide head-on into another disillusionment. And it need not necessarily be a happy time you want to freeze. Sometimes you are content with it just being neutral. Just no more 'happenings'... that's all. Is that too much to ask?

In the end the filter should be in our hands - which experiences we want to keep with us and take with us to the grave, and which ones we want to pass as 'bad teachers'... after all not every teacher we meet in life is a good one, for there sure is a great deal of difference between a knowledgeable person and a good teacher! Filter. That's all.

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