Her

I wish I could say, that she was the Day

Because of how pristine as a clear morning sky she seemed to be – always sorted, always satisfied with what she wanted to do.

I wish I could say, that she was the Day

Some of her, exuberant as the colorful butterflies fluttering around; and some, like the bright flowers that bloom at the first ray of light.

I wish I could say, that she was the Day

When she hummed a sweet tune, like birds making a happy song; Or when she got upset for a moment, as if the sun hid behind the moving clouds.

I wish I could say, that she was the Day

For she spread brightness around to everyone that she met.

I wish I could say, that she was the Day

Except, she wasn’t.

She was the dusky sky that held blazing scars within, “stars” she named them.

She was the dull storm, yet a monstrous thunder – part of her always prepared to destroy if harmed.

She wasn’t the butterflies, she was the Dragon.

And yet she was the stillness of the lake that shone with the reflection of the full moon.

She was the calm rustle of the leaves at twilight, the low hum of the trickling brooke.

She seemed to be for you and for me, and she was if need be.

But more than you and more than me, she was for herself.

wish I could say, that she was the Day; except, she wasn’t.

She was the (k)Night!

Live. Love. Laugh.

Hey reader! Yes, you! Alright, I know you’re busy with “life” – completing some project, busy rescheduling an office meeting, tired thinking what to cook for lunch/dinner, or busy studying. Now since you’ve read so much, take a moment more to read the rest of it, please…

Quick flashback

Remember childhood days? When school was all about writing number names 1 to 100 in your book? Or when Maths was done in those square-lined notebooks? That school picnic with friends at some nearby fun garden? The eager wait to get done with final exams so you can go to grandma’s place during summer vacations? Playing in the puddles during rain? Falling down while playing and getting back up like it was a regular thing? Or, or, waiting for that one ice cream vendor to make rounds so you could have your favorite ice cream!?

Now back to reality. Try remembering the last time you felt such child-like enthusiasm?

Let me break it to you: you haven’t.

Or maybe you have – for that last Goa trip with friends, or the spontaneous movie plan during the weekend. But believe me, that has no match with the excitement that the 10-year-old-you would have felt on receiving 2 toffee bars from your best friend in class on his/her birthday. (Because the rest of the class received only one!)

The point, dear reader, is that you’re messed up. As am I. Everyone is! In this age of Instagram and Snapchat, we have forgotten what inner joy feels like. We have made our general existence so patterned – high school, university, degree, job, marriage, kids, death – that even a slight detour makes us think twice! 

Weekend plans seem a bore now, family becomes routine, education is full of pressure, and the loans. Oh God, the loans!

So in such pressuring times, a trip out of town, say, is merely an escape. An “escape” mind you, not happiness. Even before the trip begins, somewhere deep down in our mind we already begin contemplating the number of days this “escape” is going to last. Because the moment it does, we must get back to work.

Basically, anxiety of something that hasn’t even arrived yet! And just like that, 50% of the enthusiasm vanishes! We are constantly afraid of our own life routines! We hate it! 

So here’s what I have to say to you. 

Next time, go to a public park and see the kids climbing a pile of mud only to come back sliding down – learn unabashed giggling!

Or better yet, visit your grandma during a weekend and give her a kiss on the cheek. See her eyes shine with love and affection – learn simple happiness!

Maybe wake your best friend up in the middle of the night, go out on a drive just to have a Subway sandwich – learn absolute stupidity!

Don’t let that building manager decide if you’re “too old” to be swinging on the swings of your building park.

As kids, nobody ever stopped us for acting crazy. It was a given. As if it was our job to be crazy if we’re kids. But why let that define you? You can be a mature kid. A childish adult. And a crazy old person! 

Live life on your own terms. Laugh with it. And most importantly, love it!

Silence speaks louder than words

“An open restaurant by the beach, it’ll be beautiful”, they’d said. So I convinced myself to actually part ways with the love of my life – my bed – and get ready! 

I mean, who was I kidding? I’d been miserable. No, it wasn’t because I got dumped. I keep away from diseases like love and relationships. (And yet there are times when I end up wanting those diseases. Rare times. But let me save that for later). Well, I resigned from my previous job because my career’s a mess and had been home since.

I hadn’t shaved in weeks. My hair was the only disheveled thing that looked good on me. Yet, I  managed to put on a decent white shirt and beige three-fourths, put my shoes on and reached the given destination. It was late evening, the sun was almost about to set when I spotted my friends.

Okay, as much as I hate to admit – the place was indeed something! Low couches with round tables in between, clustered around the open space. Miniature lanterns hung up at the poles that marked the corner boundaries of the restaurant. Right in the center of the arrangement was a huge bonfire surrounded by logs to sit over. The sky made for the roof while the bar was under a thatched shelter. Rustic yet simple.

Waves crashed by the shore, tides were pushing back; the sun surrendered to the moon on the other side, obviously exhausted by its job.

And the sky. Oh boy, was it breathtaking! The horizon was crimson, above which it all faded into darker shades of maroon, indigo and ink blue. Merge them all (if you’re a painter) and you’ll have what makes you skip a heartbeat! In fact it even got me thinking why I had kept myself locked up in my room for so many days. I must have smiled a most heartfelt smile after ages. 

Anyway, it was great to see my friends. And we had company; everyone had a date along. Except me! Ugh. It’s funny; just when you think that getting out of the house wasn’t a bad idea after all, the very next moment you want to take your thoughts back. See, it isn’t that being date-less annoys me. It’s the compulsive cuddling, and the PDA, and the “aww” moments of couples that get to me. I don’t understand the need for it. Simple. And my poker face really, really comes off as rude.

You must think I’m a detached asshole. Oh, I am, on most days! But a good thing about me? I know when to keep my mouth shut! Wink.

We practically chattered through the entire evening. I, a little less than the others since I am not much of a talker. Dinner was great, as were the drinks. I was playing along but felt like something was amiss. We retired as it got close to the “late hour” and the party shifted, one couple at a time, to cozy corners and huge rocks by the sea. 

So I was left alone at the bar. Finally!

I like my solitude. Nay. I love it. And if it’s served with alcohol, I am bound to get intoxicated! The beach and the wind were the additional bonus. Ah, the night was somehow beginning to own me! And it was doing a bloody good job at that. Why? Because beyond the instrumental music of the bar, I heard the voice of Mohammed Rafi. I scanned the now diminishing crowd to locate the source of “Maine poocha chaand se“, and spotted a girl.

She had her back towards me; body slightly leaning behind supported by the palms of her hands, and legs stretched forward, one crossed over the other. Her gorgeous hair almost flirted with the breeze. She sat on the bare sand, beer bottle at her side and a small speaker with USB connected. 

Mindless and drawn to the old song – and partially to the girl – I took my beer bottle and approached her. Our eyes met as she sensed someone move beside where she sat. I took my chance and asked permission to join her. She shrugged a polite “sure” as I seated myself. 

Unbelievable as it might sound, all we did was just sit, sip on our beer and listen to her playlist shuffle from good old classics to ghazals! Neither I, nor she, uttered a single word. Not even a “hi”. And it had been the easiest conversation I have made with anyone! Like there wasn’t a need or compulsion to make small talk. In that moment, what had gone amiss, suddenly wasn’t missing anymore. My miserable self started feeling relaxed again. It might sound stupid, and maybe it was. But when simple moments align themselves generously, everything feels okay again!

I can’t say that I didn’t check her out from the corner of my eye. I did. She lip-synced a few lines of the songs that played, occasionally tugged her hair behind her ear, smiled possibly when her favorite line of the song came along, and maybe, maybe, even looked at me and shied away. 

I’m unaware how long we sat like that, but if moments arrive, then they must also pass. As bitter-sweet as it was, so did this perfect night. The playlist ended, she disconnected the USB, collected herself and got up to leave. I looked at her expectantly, but she had already begun to walk away. Except, she halted as if she’d forgotten something. 

She walked back, extended her hand and said, “It was nice… not talking to you”, with a wink. I sighed, unable to make my idiotic smile go away and shook my hand with hers. “What can I say? Ditto”, I winked back. She rewarded me with a subtle laugh and left me grinning for the rest of the night! We didn’t exchange names, let alone numbers; and yet, no night had felt nearly as complete and content as this one!

Silence is comforting. And to bump into people who can effortlessly share your silence,  is overwhelming and humbling all at once!

Instantaneous

Fed up. That was it. He was just tired of it all. He meant good, he swore on his life. He always meant the best for everyone. But things had a way of messing up. 

It was all ironic though. When he loved, he loved hard. As if the word ‘intense’ wasn’t superlative enough to part justice to his emotions. And yet, relationships weren’t something he was good at – he either got his heart broken, or was too afraid to break someone else’s. Therefore, he decided he was done. Once and for fucking all.

As all these thoughts sank in, his shots arrived.

Yes. Shots would make him feel better. So he’d taken the evening off, ditched his family function and gave all his time to himself.

One shot down

Plausible, isn’t it? How a small glass of alcohol could get all of your living pores vibrating back to life. The effect was instantaneous.

Instantaneous – a single word that has sufficed to describe that one moment suspended in time; a moment where everything goes still. Nobody feels it. Not even you, entirely. Just that tiny group of cells undergoing the effect of the ‘instantaneous’, is really aware of the tingle. 

Well that’s how her effect was, too. Instantaneous.

He finished that shot, kept the glass on the table and looked up to see her enter the bar. Almost as if her entry was perfectly timed to the second where he chose to look up to the door. Now, she’d have been any other person who entered the club, just like the many other people crowding it at the moment. Except, she wasn’t.

Unlike all the bling with which the club was filled, she stood out, sold explicitly to elegance!

People chose silver and gold for a Saturday night at the club, she donned red. Coloured highlights and gel in hair was the trend, she dared to flaunt her natural brown locks. And as if she hadn’t already made enough of a rebellion, in a room full of foundations and blushes to bring color to everyone’s cheeks, she simply lined her eyes with kohl and walked in.

Glad to have come back to reality, he realised two things-One, nobody had noticed the creepy him staring at the girl. 

Two, only a total of five seconds must have gone by since her grand entrance. NOT an hour. Thank God!

Instantaneous effects are the most dangerous. They make you notice the slightest things about a person or a thing in a millisecond.

Just when he thought he was back to normal, she took a seat next to his and ordered her drink. 

Color on his cheeks, slight smile on his lips, weird sound of his heart. He ignored it all, blaming the shots. He had only just had one! He was not going to fall into this trap again. So he decided to excuse himself and focus on his alcohol. 

She must be here with somebody, thought one.

More shots. 

Maybe shes waiting for someone, thought five.

Numerous similar thoughts later.

Oh, fuck it!

As he turned to her, he felt liquid coming out of his mouth instead of “hi”. 

NO. This is NOT how it is supposed to be happening.

Too many shots. Puke. Everywhere. Please wake him up, this must be his nightmare.

30 minutes later, he opened his eyes to see.. her. He was now outside the same bar, lying on a bench, except people had surrounded him. 

Confusion. Flashback. Red. Girl. Shots. Puke. 

Oh God, no!

He heard a voice then. A familiar one. It was his best bud! Ah, the bartender had placed a call. They were both regulars at this club. How considerate! 

But wait. Where is… she? She was gone by then. 

Ugh. Why did I have to divert my attention to the people around me?

As if on cue, she appeared at his side. Placed a hand on his shoulder.and offered him a glass of water.

“That’s some way of saying hi” she laughed. “Hope you’re better now. Was a task though, getting you out of the bar to get you some fresh air. Eat up next time before having a billion shots! See you around.” She smiled and left.

She stayed! For him?
Brain hit an instant playback of the moment where she entered the bar – as if a hint – that he should have known better than to ignore the blush on his cheeks, slight smile on his lips and the weird beating of his heart.

It was love at first sight after all!

Escapism

You know what makes you write? It isn’t inspiration. It’s this dire need to get something out of you. The escapist in you comes alive when you write.

Now don’t think of “escapist” as a negative word. No. Escapism is a feeling. A feeling of either escaping, heart and soul, into the place that you’re at; or escaping away from it. And I assure you, the latter is a most terrible feeling!

Do you know what home feels like? Secure. Free. Even if you’re lost, you know you have people and places around you that will make you feel found again.

Do you know how feeling the totally opposite of that is like?Like you’re trapped in the ruins of an ancient monument. And this monument resides in a civilised, alive, inhabited land. There are places and people that just might make you feel at home. Except, you are still lost. Lost like you’ll never be found again. Like this new land with ruins of a monument has no outwardly connections to the world that you have known growing up.

And you can hear voices, that tell you that all of this will go away. That you’ll find home again. But you just can’t seem to agree with it. 

Incidentally, it is also night time and the Moon is full. Yellow. Like it’s almost slyly telling you that it has finally owned all of the light it ever borrowed from the sun. And now the sun is exhausted. The night will never see the day. Nothing will be the same.

And this leads to escapisim out of a given place. The escapism you can do anything for.

My first post

How do I begin? Rather, where do I begin?

I don’t wish to start the clich├ęd way- “I am an aspiring writer”, etc. Although, I am. What do I write? Short tales (we have all heard of terribly tiny tales), random stories, abstract feelings, you name it! I haven’t decided my category or genre of write-ups. I just love writing- see, that simple! 

But I’ll tell you what the problem is here. I’m never satisfied with my content. No matter what I write, it’s never enough. And yet, I want people to read what I express. It’s a disease, I tell you!

All said and done, feedbacks are welcome. I would genuinely love to improve myself. And if not, just read my stories, or articles, or whatever you wish to call them. 

-T.L.