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Of Some Days and Others

..some days, she wants to fly. higher and away. beyond the skies. she wants to stand atop a hill, surrounded by gushing waterfalls and pink and purple sunsets and take flight and fly beyond several moons and suns. to a world of radiance. to a world of bright and happy. to a world so majestic and so beautiful. on days like those, she’s happy; a smile teases her face every now and then, curling her lips only slightly and yet, inside, she’s as happy as the world. she wants to soar. beyond and far. higher and away. and discover. some days, she feels like she’s invincible. some days, she feels like doing a little twirl and laughing out loud. some days, she’s filled with hope.

and some days, she feels sick and dead. tired. almost as if the the last drop of energy has been taken away from her and she’s cold and helpless. on days like those, she doesn’t want to fly. the sunsets and mirages don’t appeal to her. nor does the mosaic sky. she wants to curl up next to her window, covered in her blanket and drown a little deeper into the darkness of the day. by the solitary candle, she cries and lets the lone tear hide her wry smile and breaking heart. she feels like a person on the road, surrounded by buzzing landscapes of cars zooming right across her, and she stops and kneels down on the gravel and screams and yet, the world just walks by. some days, she’s broken. some days, she sits next to misted windows and talks to nobody. some days, she’s hopeless..to a point where she doesn’t want to keep going.

only, some days.

Picture Credits – Siddharth Mohanty

Of Edited Pictures and More

She is holding a tattered notebook, close to her heart. A few pages stick out of the spiral bound black book. The letters are fading. Each time it rains, each drop, washes away some more of the pages scribbled with blue ink. She glances down at it from time to time.

He is holding a broken guitar. A small guitar with a string taut and the others hanging loose. He runs his hand over the metal body and then sighs. Biting his lip, he leans over and plucks a chord. The sound makes him twist his face in disgust. He keeps quiet, holds the guitar down and waits for his bus.

She is holding an old camera and a few photos. As she looks down at the rainbow-coloured images that she had once clicked, it takes her back to the happy times. But a moment later, when the rain comes pouring down in a torrential downpour, she forces herself to look away from the pictures. Now they mean nothing to her but blurred Polaroids.

He is holding a broken record player and his favourite pair of dance shoes. He looks at them and feels everything and nothing simultaneously. He feels desperate, almost to go back to the very world he had created with them. But then, he looks away and tells another tale.

I stand there, faking the same smile that I had been long holding on to. But the corners of my lips are starting to hurt. The smile is giving away and I can feel the tears pricking. The bus will be here any moment, I say myself and fake the same smile.

When the wheels screech in front of us, we stand up and take a deep breath. Each one of us walks ahead and boards the bus, leaving behind the things we had brought along. I drop my smile; she forgets her notebook; he leaves his guitar; she abandons her camera; and he walks away without his dancing shoes.

Our pictures are no longer real. The camera will lie from here on. We are nothing but blurred Polaroids and films without our dreams. We are nothing but the images found in the recycle bin. The colours may be brighter, the hues may be sharper, but all we are inside are edited pictures, drowned in black and white.

The bus takes off and we leave a part of us behind.

Of Real Attachments

Here’s the thing. We hold on to our principles and beliefs. We make decisions and draw solid lines to see to the fact that everything goes according to our flow chart. But it never turns out just like we plan, does it? We try every possible way to hide our true feelings, remain dormant, close all the emotions in some vault to which nobody is possibly allowed to pay a visit, not even us. We convince ourselves that we can deal with it, go a long way with it. But the fear remains. Self-control is not an easy task at all. But is it always about us? Or maybe it is about the thing we are so hopelessly addicted to? For a moment, we scour for reasons to strike it out. Strike everything out. But then another version of ourselves speaks differently. It gives us a wise sermon about not letting it go. We cling to our hopes. We see vivid images and make movies in our mind. Letting go of something that strong is not an easy job. Because you cannot not notice something that genuine. You cannot strike something out when every cell of your body is reluctant to do so. Because, when it’s real, you cannot walk away.

Of Late Night Talks (II)

“I’m scared.”

“Why?”

“It’s like everything, every hope is slipping right past me. I see people far ahead of me. The race has started and I’ve only barely begun walking. The goal seems so far away.”

“I can relate.”

“What’s your story?”

“Me?” he pauses a while. “Lost, I guess. Everyone around me feels that I’ve no direction in life. That I’d end up useless, probably spending nights sleeping on railway platforms and being jobless. See, I’m alcoholic. I lose my temper most of the time. All I feel like doing to sitting in some cold, empty place..and just being there. I don’t want to move. I don’t want to talk. For once, I want to disappear.”

She tilts the glass and fiddles with the cocktail onions on the edge of her glass.

“It is weird, but I feel the same way too. Sometimes, I feel as if the world is moving too fast. People aren’t bothered to spare a glance at what’s happening around them. All of  them have their eyes set on the goal and they are madly running towards it. But what after that? What happens after they reach their goal? Their life isn’t complete, is it? They start looking forward to other milestones. It’s like amidst the entire career, money, education, we are forgetting about life! Why, if life is about going to a prestigious university, having shitload of money and driving to parties and meeting business targets and getting back home, tired and lifeless, I better not live it at all. Because, that is not life for me! It isn’t about the highs always, is it?”

He shakes his head quietly.

Turning around, he rests his elbows against the metal railings and leans against it.

“It’s about the lows too,” he says. “It’s not always about the noise. The silence carries as much meaning, in fact more. It’s not about how much you earn and how much you work and how much settled you are, sometimes the very essence of life lies in going through the lows and then standing up, ready to face the world all over again. I want a story like that. I don’t want to tread down the known road. I want to get lost. I want to get drunk. I want to be clueless. And I want to fall down, cry and learn. And then, when it dawns, I want to be stronger. I don’t want to be the same person I was the other night. I want to be the person who is happy. And I want to bask under that feeling. I want to really feel the moment. Be right in it. And remember it when I breathe my last.”

She smiles.

“Isn’t it crazy that we all can talk so much about life and give advice on how to live, yet when it comes to applying the very same thing, we back away and go back to being the same people? We embrace the concept of “unpredictability” in theoretical approach. But when it comes to being clueless and not being able to know where we land up and how, we run away scared. I want to breathe.”

He nods slowly.

For a minute, neither of them speak.

They think of the dawn that is a few hours away. But it isn’t their dawn. The sunshine may wipe away their tears, but inside, they will be still sad.

“May be we are supposed to live our life this way?” she speaks again. “Scared. Confused. Driven by dreams. And then, mocked and told that reality is bitter. May be life’s supposed to be this way only? But then, why can’t I be as secure and as happy as other people when I’m doing the exactly same thing as them?”

He shrugs.

“May be life is not supposed to be this way?” he responds. “May be our formula is wrong. May be because people are scared, they don’t take another road and like a herd, we all walk down the same way?”

“I had this strange idea as a kid. I was always thinking that our life is just this crazy dream and we are aliens on another planet and we’ll wake up one day and realize that all this was a dream and then everything will be all right again,” she takes a sip of her drink. “I want to forget everything for a moment and start afresh.”

“I had that stupid idea too. And yes,” he tilts his glass against his parched lips and gulps down the burning liquid, “I want to forget everything too.”

When the morning arrived, he found himself walking down the muddy road, back to his house, three blocks away. And she found herself calling a taxi to take her to the airport.

But they weren’t scared and confused anymore. Although the road in front of them wasn’t exactly a straight road, they knew that if they kept running, if they kept chasing their dream, one day, it will be theirs. One day, the life they had dreamt of, they will be living it.

They faced the morning with brighter hopes.

Of Mothers and Daughters

I have always wanted to tell you a lot many things Mom. Though these things have always been in my mind, somewhere between busy days and petty arguments, I’ve forgotten to tell you about them.

Mom, I still believe that make-up is more important than the rest of the world and that you should not glare at me while I apply my mascara because I’m young, Mom, and I need to look beautiful. And no matter how many times you tell me I look beautiful without make-up, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

Mom, I need new clothes every month or two. My friends have their wardrobes lined with the latest designer jeans and I’m quite embarrassed about the pair of faded blue jeans that I have. And no matter how many times you tell me that nobody pays that much attention to what I wear or not, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

Mom, junk food is healthy too. And it’s hygienic! It’s not like there are flies everywhere. It would be wonderful Mom if we could have pizza thrice a week. Eating pizza is kind of cool! And no matter how many times you tell me that the green salad will do me more good, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

Mom, please don’t peek into my room again and again while I’m on the phone. I know you’ve work to do, but is it wrong to demand a little bit of privacy Mom? My friends are my life Mom and it’s important to talk to them at least once a day! And no matter how many times you tell me to sit with my books because talking over the phone for so much time is bad, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

Mom, I’ve grown up! Stop calling me, “Darling”, “Baby”, “Child” and “Sweetheart” in the parking lot, Mom. I can always hear my friends giggling behind my back. I’m no longer a child, Mom. And no matter how many times you tell me otherwise, I’m still not going to believe that. My boyfriend doesn’t even tell that to me, nor do my friends. I don’t know how to believe you!

That Friday night, she sits next to her window, with her heart broken and trust shattered. The city lights are dazzling and three blocks down, people are dancing to loud music. She has been invited too, but she chooses not to go.

Her legs swing back and forth and she squeezes her palms. She’s waiting for the phone to ring and someone to tell her from the other end that it’s going to be all right. She’s waiting for someone to call, concerned and bothered about her. She’s waiting for someone to call and ask her if they should drive down there.

But there are no calls. The little story in her head is a twisted illusion. The reality is bitter and she fights not to break down into tears.

The door opens with a rather noisy creak and her mother steps inside the cold room.

“Here,” she walks closer with two boxes of pizzas and ice cream.

They sit there awhile, silently, swinging their legs back and forth to the rhythm of their synchronous breaths.

“I’m sorry, Mom,” she breaks down, clinging to her mother. “I’m sorry!”

They hold each other between the muffled sobs. When she’s done crying and finally gets up, her mother pushes the box of pizza towards her and smiles.

“Let’s talk,” she says.

Over the night, she tells her mother of all the things that had happened back in college. After the pizza boxes are empty and the ice cream has been licked clean, she hugs her mother and falls asleep with a smile.

She doesn’t feel sad about having a fight with her friends or breaking up with her boyfriend. There’s a brighter thing she sees – the bond she shares with her mother and their friendship. In her darkest times, does she realize the truest friend she has – her mother.

This time, the letter she writes is different.

I have always wanted to tell you a lot many things Mom. Though these things have always been in my mind, somewhere between busy days and petty arguments, I’ve forgotten to tell you about them.

Mom, make-up doesn’t make a girl look beautiful. For a girl will always be the most beautiful girl in her mother’s eyes.

Mom, who cares about clothes and shopping. They are not as important as family. Nothing will ever be.

Mom, I’d eat anything happily as long a you’ve cooked it. Though junk food is a very good choice after break ups!

Mom, I feel alive every time you call me “Darling”, “Baby”, “Child” and “Sweetheart” in the parking lot. It took me a while to realize that no matter how much one grows up, he or she will still be a child in their parents’ eyes.

Mom, you are the one who has always got my back. And though we may not indulge in a lot of gossips and have night-outs and go for shopping, please know that you will always be my best friend no matter what.

Years later, she folds the sheet of paper neatly and cries without her mother. Sitting next to the window, swinging her legs back and forth, she wishes for her mom to come around. The night is eternally silent. Though it is not the type of closure she had dreamt about, she knows that it’ll have to do.

Of Twisted Tales Of Pain

She wanted to live a happy life.

But each night, after the enchanting chaos of the city had dwindled and the orbs of light blurred in her vision, she found herself walking down the narrow bridge. At times, she’d stop abruptly and lean over the wooden rails to see her reflection in the dark waters. The planks under her feet would creak slowly under her weight as she’d gaze deep into the fading reflection of herself. Her eyes lacked mirth. Her lips were always twisted, painting a frown.

At other times, she’d walk and walk until she’d reach the willow tree at the end of the bridge. Leaning against it, she’d quietly slip into the gravel road and watch the world walk past her.

As the night would slowly merge into darker shades, the tears that she’d been holding would give way and into the silence of the night, she’d scream out all her sorrow. She loved the way the night hid her pain. Never did Darkness let anyone know about the one poor girl who cried into its embrace. Alone.

When the colours would slowly start to melt and dawn would arrive, she’d pick herself up, wipe away her tears with the back of her hand and pretend as if everything with her was just all right. With that brave face of hers, she’d face every dawn, no matter how much she was breaking on the inside.

One Friday night though, when the neon lights at every club were bright and high and oven timers pierced the thick air, and she walked down the bridge, she wasn’t alone. For Darkness followed her step.

When she stopped to look at her reflection, Darkness looked down too.

“You are here, every night, without fail,” it said.

“This is the only place that never fails to make me feel lighter,” she answered.

“And you are the only person here,” it said again.

“It probably seems like I’m the most disappointed person around, doesn’t it? A broken family. Unsatisfying life. A stressful job. And when I get back home, there’s nobody to hear me out. So, I come here, thinking that someone will understand. No one does. They sleep silently, tucked inside their blankets and wake up to loud alarms in the dawn. And they face the day. As for me, each morning, I wish to go back to bed and sleep away forever.”

“It wrenches my heart, dear, to hear you say like that. How I wish I could tell you otherwise. How I wish I could tell you of the stories that hide in the light. You see people, walking straight, heads held high, their shoulders straight, and it is as if they’re afraid of nothing. I’ll tell you a different story – they are afraid. Deep inside, each one of them is a mess. When they talk, they are still thinking of a hundred different things in their brain. When they laze back in their beds, they think of the world. They have broken hearts. They are lonely people. And they hide their true faces under the bright light of the dawn, pretending that nothing’s wrong.”

“It is okay,” it continued,”to be a little sad, to a little frustrated and to be a little broken. Each one of them is. Some of them keep telling themselves that there’ll be brighter days, holding on to the minuscule glimmer of hope in their hearts; while some of them come here on fateful nights and end their stories. What you need to do, is face the dawn. It holds surprises for each one. But if you are busy grieving about the night, you’ll never relish what the dawn has in store for you.”

“It won’t make my life any better, will it?” she said.

“You’ve to hold on to hope and live yet another day to find out.”

That morning, when she walked amongst the crowd of people, she didn’t feel lost. Deep inside her heart, sorrow lingered, but just like the rest of them, she knew she had to keep going on. The very hope that she held was that, the next day was going to be even better.

Of A Bright Little Dark Story

“I want to be a failure in life,” she spoke slowly.

Against the backdrop of enticing beauty of majestic fountains and dense forests, her words never echoed. Yet, she spoke them again. Clearly. Slowly. Waiting for someone at the other end of the cliff to hear her and say the same.

But nobody did.

Of course, nobody would. Everyone wanted to be successful at life. Who would even want to be a failure!

“I want to be a failure in life,” she said again.

The vast emptiness that stretched above her was soon merging into a gorgeous shade of dark. The sun had gone down. The breeze slowly danced to some unheard rhythm. And Venus glimmered across the horizon.

She was supposed to be scared. She was supposed to stand up, get away from the steep cliff and return back home. She had been afraid of heights. She had been afraid of the dark. She had always wanted to be in the light. Strangely, that evening, the cold and the dark didn’t bother her. The steepness of the jagged rocks on which she sat, didn’t worry her. She knew that it was better there. The illusion of merry and peace that she had built right in front of her eyes was far better than the reality that awaited her on the other side of the world.

“I want to be a failure in life,” she spoke for the umpteenth time that evening  and yet again, there wasn’t an echo.

How she wished somebody would hold her hand and tell her that she wasn’t alone. She couldn’t take the competition. She couldn’t keep up with the expectations of people around her. They all wanted her to be a winner. They all wanted her to be at the top, never having a fall. And she was slowly making them lose their faith in her. Each time she was trying to get up, she was falling.

She was scared. Right around her, she watched people fight their way to the end. She watched people with dreams glimmering in their eyes, not giving up until they reached their goal. She watched people fall and then pick themselves up. And it scared her to know that her determination was not enough. That she was never going to get anywhere in life.

She could never be a winner, she felt. Instead of keeping people in dark hopes, she believed that it would be better if she became a failure in life. Nobody would place their deepest faith in her. Nobody would be bothered. And she could just walk. Peacefully. Without having to feel sad.

“I want to be a failure in life!” she spoke again, loudly. Again, there wasn’t a single voice that followed back. “Doesn’t anyone want to be a failure? Why does everybody want to be a winner? What’s so great about winning, anyway? The struggle continues, despite the wins and the losses.”

“The struggle continues, despite the wins and the losses,” someone uttered back finally.

She stood up and took a step back. She understood. The “winning” and “losing” were transient. They were like the waves that arrived at the shore and then retreated. The struggle to get somewhere – that was only constant. The struggle to reach the final destination – that was constant. There were going to be ups and downs. Sometimes, there’d be a high tide or two. On other days, sunshine. The storm didn’t always last.

That night, when she got back home and fell asleep, she dreamt of the sunshine that was about to arrive. Deep in her heart, she knew and she believed.

Of Beautiful Tragedies

“I can’t do this. I’m sorry. But I can’t. I can’t be the person who can lead the crowd. I can’t be the person who walks along with the crowd. I’d rather sit at the sidewalks and watch them walk past me.

I can’t do this. I can’t be the person you want me to be. I can’t be this person who the world looks up to. I can’t be this person who is instantly recognized amidst a buzzing crowd. I’d rather be one little person, lost in the same crowd, looking at others.

I can’t do this. I can’t be the person you think I’ll turn out to be. For I don’t want to be this person. I don’t want to be the person who has perfect grades, perfect scores, perfect job, perfect family, perfect house, but not a perfect life. Perfection is delusional. I don’t want to be this person who doesn’t have the courage to chase after their dreams and is instead driven by a crowd. I don’t want to be that person.

I can’t do this. I can’t bottle up my dreams and throw them away. I don’t want to be one of the hundred people I meet on the road everyday, who don’t have dreams glistening in their eyes. Each one of us has a dream. And happiness lies in reaching that dream..in reaching close and grasping it and crying in joy. I have a dream. And I do want to hold on to it.

I can’t do this. I can’t wake up each day and live another person’s life. The person inside me..the real person struggles to express itself each day, but I shut it out, because I’m not sure if you’d like this person. This person is scared and vulnerable. This person is clueless and driven by dreams and not by plans. This person wakes up to enjoy today and not spend the day planning for tomorrow. This person takes a step first and then thinks. This person is different. This person finds hope in the dark. This person cries and never holds back. And you’d probably not like this person.

I can’t do this. I want to be something different..something different than the facade I pull up each day. I have a million dreams. I want to stand at a crossroad and take a leap into the unknown. I want to know where that way leads to. I don’t want to take the safer road. I want to take a risk and see where it leads me. If I fall, I’ll bounce back, I believe. If I fail, all is not lost, right?

I can’t do this. I just can’t. I want to be someone different than the person you want me to be. I want to be someone different than the person others consider me to be. I want to be the person I want to be.”

There was a knock at the door, and a moment later, someone entered. In the palpable darkness, the figure moved towards the little light at the corner of the room and bent over the table to peer into her notebook.

“What are you doing?” the person asked.

“Just revising notes,” came the reply.

When the person left the room, she ripped away the paper from her notebook and went back to being the person she didn’t want to be. Back to the same person, who ran away from her own dreams.

Switching off the little light, she fell back on her bed and slept away the night.

The other morning, she wrote the same thing again in a different sheet and tore it apart before anyone arrived.

For days, she kept writing the same thing over and over again. For days, she looked for a chance to scream out her words at the world. For days, she waited for someone to hear her. For days, she waited for someone to understand without her having to say a word.

Somewhere down the lane, over the years, her habit was lost. So were her dreams. Her words were muffled. The pieces of paper withered away, the ink got smeared due to the rain. The pieces of paper were trampled on, yet some remained.

And one fine day, when the world did know about this person she had always wanted to be, it was too late. She had already become the person she’d never wanted to be.

If There Was A Way To See The Future, What Would You Want To See?

We are all vulnerable.. susceptible to it. The dread and anxiety of not knowing what is about to come the very next second. Each night, even though the thought never clearly crosses our mind, we heave a sigh of relief that the day has gone by without any hassles. Each night, after a long hectic day of unpreparedness of what is about to strike us the very next moment, we are grateful that we have managed to get through the day. The future, the very next moment, the very next day- all of them hold our wildest hopes. They hold the possibilities for a myriad miracles that can change our lives. And in the same breath, they hold our deepest fears. It worries us every night that what if something bad happens the next day? What if the things we’ve been running from suddenly spring out of nowhere? Do we fall back on the things we’ve known? Or do we face them head front and fight our way through? Or do we take a step back and drown into nothingness?

We spend our whole lives worrying about the future, planning for the future, trying to predict the future. As if figuring it out will somehow cushion the blow.

What if.. what if.. there was actually a way to see the future?

Wouldn’t you want to know about the people who’ll stay by your side when you breathe your last?

Wouldn’t you want to know about the glorious moments that await?

Wouldn’t you want to know if you have a chance with the boy sitting next to you in the cafe?

Wouldn’t you want to know if every tear and every pain that you survived was worthwhile?

Wouldn’t you want to know where life would lead you?

Wouldn’t you want to know about every significant thing that happens in the future?

Wouldn’t you want to know the perfect answer to “Where do you see yourselves in the next five years“?

Wouldn’t you just want to know?

Instead of living in the dark, wouldn’t it be pleasant just to see a glimmer of what is about to arrive?

If there was indeed a way to see the future, I would want to know if I would be standing in my kitchen, looking out through the window at the vast expanse of the ocean, while stirring a hot meal. I would want to know if I would be smiling then. I would want to know how my heart feels. I would want to know if the ocean still sings. I would want to know if I’m alone, humming in the rather empty house, all to myself. I would want to know the person who would be calling on my phone at that very moment.

If there was indeed a way to see the future, I would want to see the course of my life. I would want to know every speed breaker I’ve managed to cross. I would want to know of every dark day that has changed my life. And I would want to know of the brighter days I will have.

If there was indeed a way to see the future, I would want to see my wildest hopes carrying me through. I would want to know of the miracles the future holds. I would want to know how bright the sun shines when I’m eighty. I would want to know if I would someday drive down a long, long road.

If there was indeed a way to see the future, I would want to know of the sunsets and sunrises I wake up to. I would want to know so much more.

If there a way to see the future, what would you want to see?

Of Days Like This

Something that came loose from my diary today..just today.

Have you ever had one of those days where you felt sick and slow?

Have you ever had one of those days where you wanted to fall asleep and wake up to a newer dawn?

Have you ever had one of those days when you had just so many things to say, yet nobody was around?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted to be in the middle of a crowd?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted to write till the end of the world, yet you couldn’t?

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like calling someone, yet you wouldn’t?

Have you ever had one of those days when you sat in the dark, no matter how much it scared you?

Have you ever had one of those days when you felt lonely and blue?

Have you ever had one of those days when every breath felt painful?

Have you ever had one of those days when you wanted someone to hold you?

Have you ever had one of those days when you had just so many things to say, yet nobody was around?

Have you ever had one too many days like that?