Sunday, September 20, 2015

Life lessons

Misery is a continuous cycle. Happiness ends in the moment.

When something horrible happens, our hearts and minds expand to find people to pass it on to. Or maybe not pass it on, but to share. When we feel sad, we want to find people who will make us feel better. We seek out comfort. We tell others our sorry tales and seek empathy, a shared experience. We expect our friends to offer their shoulders, our family to offer their laps to rest our heads in, our lovers to offer their arms to envelop us. We publicize our grief, our sorrow, calls of help hoping someone is listening. We turn it into anger and lash out.

It's a cycle that gets passed on from one person to another. Sure, spreading it around reduces its intensity, but in some way or the other, it gets passed on.

When something good happens, we hoard it. We keep those cards close to our chests and guard them intensely. We announce the events to everyone to make people jealous, but the true happiness is something we keep to ourselves. We are fierce of keeping that headiness close to us, because why would we want to dilute that. When moments of joy are so fleeting, we prefer saving them, savouring them. We don't "lash out" in happiness.

Misery is continuous. Happiness is fleeting.

We spread misery. We hoard happiness.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Gingerbread Man

"Run run as fast as you can, you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!"

My mother tells me that this used to be my favourite story when I was little kid, with "The Three Little Pigs" coming a close second. She would read "The Gingerbread Man" to me every day and it got to a point where I could recite the whole thing with her, right down to the periods and the page turns. She says when it was time for me to join preschool, when the principal met me, he thought I could read, because I recited the story, with the page turns, at the age of three. I don't remember any of this, of course, but it's good to know I was a smart kid :p

Anyway, it's funny how some things come back to you and I think it's a sign of growing up and growing old when a childhood story can be twisted into an adult allegory. I say this because I realised the other day, that I am the gingerbread man. Running as fast and far as I can to try and escape the realities of my life I don't like.

I ran away the moment I found an escape, leaving home and family to go to college in another city. I rarely ever felt homesick. I looked for internships in places far from home. When I graduated, I never even considered moving back home. I continued running, staying as far away as possible, a visitor once in three months for a weekend at a time.

I ran away from the memories my house held, the loneliness of the city, the friends I never had. I found a way to leave and I never looked back. I made other friends and found a new city that I adopted as home, telling myself this is what people do and what I was doing was just normal.

With all the running away I never stopped to think about the people I was leaving behind to handle what I was running away from. I was too weak and I left the heavy lifting to everyone else.

But that's the thing about running away. Once you start, you never stop.

Because no matter how fast or far you run, the people and the reality you leave behind will always catch up. While this would all sound so much cooler as a spy detective thriller, having your reality catch up to you isn't nearly as thrilling.

The people you left behind to deal with the messes you made, the memories that trip you up when you least expect them, and the realization of how much of a coward you are for running away - they will catch up. And then there are no excuses you can make to yourself, nothing you can say to make yourself feel better.

That's how you are reminded of how weak you truly are. How you know you do not have it in you to go back.

How you are just a coward.

How do I know this? Because I thought I was done and then I had my realization too - the epiphany that I am still running. Only this time, I found YOU to run to. Kind, warm, strong you who believes in my lies, my masks. Who doesn't see the stupid crying child I hide behind big words and bigger speeches. I am still the gingerbread man, running away from my past and my present, only now I conveniently cry into your arms. Stupid scared cowardly little me.

The gingerbread man eventually got caught and eaten by those who were chasing him.

I wonder when my time will come.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Happy birthday, love :)

Another year, another birthday.

Funny how this is the post that breaks the long cycle of not having put up anything on this blog since February.

It's been quite a year. So much has changed and so much has happened. But I guess that is what life is about, isn't it? Things happen and we learn and grow. We read and write and deal some more.

Not too much has changed with the both of us though. The lengthy conversations discussing books and the rants over mail discussing everything else. The occasional visits to your city and the overpriced cups of coffee. And above all, the fact that no matter what happens in our lives and how far away we stay, we will still stay friends, your weirdness fitting in with mine, because hey, what is life without a little weird? :)

So here is to you becoming a year older and definitely wiser :)

Here is to more overpriced cups of coffee in a cafe in Bombay and the hours of conversations around them.

Here's hoping the year ahead holds better, bigger things; that your movie gets written before you go crazy and that you get to see some of the places you have been planning to.

Happy birthday, gopher.

Lots of love and hugs.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

You have spoiled me. Taught me to love myself just a little more. Reminded me that I am not as bad as I make myself out to be. You have accepted and you have cared and you have listened. Maybe just a little too much.

And that is why sometimes, when I talk to you in my head I freeze. I trip over the words I am thinking because I brake suddenly.

Because I am afraid. Of you, of what we have, of myself, of how you make me feel, of the future, of everything. A kind of choking fear that drowns out all rational thought. That takes all that's bad and then compounds it. Momentary, but overpowering.

A fear that I am not good enough for you. Too young, too immature, too annoying, too plain, too excitable, too far away.

A fear that we were never supposed to get together, that we will never work.

A fear that what we have is just too good to be true. Combined with a fear that maybe we don't have anything at all and that we're just deluding ourselves into believing we do.

A fear that one day you will wake up and realize that I am not as strong or well-read or smart or verbose or interesting as you first thought.

A fear that one day I'll just push too hard with something I say or do and that final straw is what will make you decide enough is enough.

A fear that maybe I've used up all the good that I'm supposed to get in my lifetime and that if this goes away, you go away, I will never ever get any more because no one person gets to have that much.

And on top of all of that, combined with all of that, the fear that you will get bored of me. That if I don't try hard enough to keep you, you'll leave.

All of it is as simple as that. And as complicated as that.

I have no idea what I would do without you.

Friday, February 13, 2015

I don't deal very well with change. Which is not the most effective way to be because well, as the cliche goes, change is the most constant thing in the world.

We are changing every minute, every second; both physically and mentally, constantly.

The thing about change and friendships is that while people become friends for multiple reasons, those reasons can change over time. While once people connected over mutual shared interests, maybe they grow to become friends who need each other for support during difficult times. While sometimes adversity can build a friendship, when things get back to normal, that relationship might just not work anymore. There are work friends who you never meet outside work and friends with whom you never discuss work.

The thing is, usually when people are friends, they get to grow and change together. Sometimes even affecting the changes in each other (and nope, I'm not talking about girls' periods syncing up). Friends figure out life together, or try to at least. They are with each other through changing ideologies and new discoveries, heartbreaks and recoveries. When the changes happen the process feels gradual, organic. You get to adapt and even if those changes don't sit well with you, you grow into them with time.

Then there's the long-distance friendships (LDFs). Friendships where talking happens once in six months and meetings, once in a year. Friendships which devolve into acquaintanceships. Friends who disappear because out of sight is out of mind.

And while you're dealing with the challenges inherent in maintaining LDFs, you don't have the advantage of adapting to change. In that half-yearly conversation six months' of change and growth is thrown at you. In that yearly meeting, you have three hours to adapt to a different person from the one you knew a year ago.

What if you don't even like the new person anymore? You haven't had that gradual acceptance and what if you, at the stage you are at, do not feel like you are friends at all? What then? You speak to each other and your mind cannot process and you feel like maybe the new people you have turned into cannot be friends. You sit across from someone you grew up with and suddenly you realize that the people you are, aren't compatible.

What then?

How do you deal with the fact that you don't even like the person you once loved?

Is it shock? A reaction to too much information in too little time? Something that will go away with that magic word - time?

Or is it the death knell of a friendship?

How do you cope?


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The moon and I

There was a full moon today. And being on the late night shift meant that I followed the moon to work. And followed it back home as the sun rose.

It looked so beautiful in the sky that I had to work doubly hard to concentrate on the road to keep from being distracted by it.

And as I watched it I thought of us. Of our conversations about it.
Of Goa, when we spoke of the tides and how the moon calls to the sea.
Of Hampi, when we discussed why we had to give it a gender at all and how I got lost in that conversation.
Of how our childhoods were spent visualizing the moon as 'chanda mama'; how it is also known as a woman with blemishes and how she casts such a spell.
Of that really corny movie dialogue which is something to the effect of 'when I look at the moon even when you aren't around I know that wherever you are, you are looking at the same moon.'

More than anything else, I realized how much can be connected to something as incongruous and common as a full moon day.
The desire to be with you, the memories of conversations, the fleeting snapshots of meetings, the romanticism of the poets and the science behind the tides.

You will always be my moon.
Lighting up the dark of my night.
Disappearing when the morning comes.
Living on reflected beauty but being all the more beautiful for it because one can actually look directly at the moon with no fear of being blinded.
Mysterious and so very very far away.

I will always be the tide.
Constantly running to catch you.
Dancing at your whims and fancies.
Stretching out to you at your slightest call.

And always, always, falling just a little bit short of actually finding you.