Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Words: Strange & Otherwise. Part- II

Almost six months ago, I'd written Part 1 of this post. Out of part laziness, too many scribbled half-ideas on paper napkins and more words than notebooks could contain, I'm sending out Part 2.

Like last time, I've linked the books to their Amazon copies (buy them and read!).  The list is arbid, but if you read it with one eye closed (preferably your left one), it reads like a short story.


***

And the flavor of Pippa's kiss--bittersweet and strange--stayed with me all the way back uptown, swaying and sleepy as I sailed home on the bus, melting with sorrow and loveliness, a starry ache that lifted me up above the windswept city like a kite: my head in the rainclouds, my heart in the sky.”
~Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch


My heart goes out to him. Sort of. Because empathy depends on how you've spent your day.”
~ George Saunders, The Braindead Megaphone  (also read his brilliant short story collection here).


And because there is something they can’t see people think it has to be special, because people always think there is something special about what they can’t see, like the dark side of the moon, or the other side of a black hole, or in the dark when they wake up at night and they’re scared.”
~Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time


She said she knew she was able to fly because when she came down she always had dust on her fingers from touching the light bulbs.”
~J.D. Salinger, Franny and Zooey


The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.
~Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar (read my review on this gorgeous book here).


It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.
~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the time of Cholera.




He died violent and young and desperate, just like we all knew he'd die someday.
~S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders



To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
~C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves (and the gorgeous Zen comics version of this quote, here)


“Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that witches are often betrayed by their appetites; dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always; hearts can be well-hidden, and you can betray them with your tongue. (from "Instructions") 
~Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things: short fictions and wonders



I saw a new world coming rapidly. More scientific, efficient, yes. More cures for the old sicknesses. Very good. But a harsh, cruel, world. And I saw a little girl, her eyes tightly closed, holding to her breast the old kind world, one that she knew in her heart could not remain, and she was holding it and pleading, never to let her go.
~Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go


The essential matrimonial facts: that to be happy you have to find variety in repetition; that to go forward you have to come back to where you begin.”
~Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex


No matter where I go, I still end up me. What's missing never changes. The scenery may change, but I'm still the same incomplete person. The same missing elements torture me with a hunger that I can never satisfy. I think that lack itself is as close as i'll come to defining myself.
~Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun



"Things are sweeter when they're lost. I know—because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly, Dot. And when I got it it turned to dust in my hands.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned



[E]verywhere I'm looking at kids, adults mostly don't seem to like them, not even the parents do. They call the kids gorgeous and so cute, they make the kids do the thing all over again so they can take a photo, but they don't want to actually play with them, they'd rather drink coffee talking to other adults. Sometimes there's a small kid crying and the Ma of it doesn't even hear.”
~Emma Donoghue, Room



"If at any time you find it necessary to correct your brother, do not correct him with mud — never, on any account, throw mud at him, because it will spoil his clothes. It is better to scald him a little, for then you obtain desirable results. You secure his immediate attention to the lessons you are inculcating, and at the same time the hot water will have a tendency to move impurities from his person, and possibly the skin, in spots."
~Mark Twain in ' Advice to little girls


Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”
Rumi



It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we're talking about when we talk about love.” 
~Raymond Carver, What we talk about when we talk about love.



“there is a place in the heart that
will never be filled 

a space

and even during the
best moments
and
the greatest times

times

we will know it
we will know it
more than
ever

there is a place in the heart that

will never be filled
and
we will wait
and
wait

in that space.
” 
~Charles Bukowski, You Get So Alone At Times.


Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” 
~Leonardo da Vinci


And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to A Young Poet



Thursday, 28 November 2013

Hello/Goodbye

Most of the real bits took place in airports.
Their relationship spilled onto the baggage strip, hugs which never held tightly enough and goodbyes which were ends in themselves

Can you pick at the little bits that make up a goodbye ? Every time you say goodnight to yours at the front door?
Small increments and every day goodbyes gnaw away at the most passionate of loves
Imagine what living between cities did to them?
Each good bye was like a blowtorch burning a hole into their relationship
One which they tried to fill up with too few letters and too many text messages.

It could have been the winter when he first left for college.
She woke up with a tight knot in her stomach. Convinced that the knot was nothing more than a sum of her female neediness. That she was going to let him go, grow and prosper. Hoping desperately that he recognize the largess of her heart, be overwhelmed with how great her love for him was and never leave.
His cab arrived 15 minutes before time.
He kissed her softly on the cheek. And left

The second time was two years later. 
They had been living together for six months. She had moved cities to be with him. He needed to move to a new one now to chase his dream internship.
This time they rested their love on the plank of "we've been through so much distance and time together". As if tragedy worked on an air miles plan.
They held each other close.
She knew she couldn't move cities again. This time, he had to be the one to make sure they were together. Too many women's magazines and indignant chick flicks had taught her what being into her should look like. 
Don't move for him, let him move for you.
So she threw herself into life in the city without him. Ignoring the ache or the fact that she now slept on her left side. Refusing to face the other side of the bed.
The too many text messages were replaced with work emails and good night emoticons. A tiny, smiley face with puckered lips filling in for how his arms held her waist too tightly.

The third time was a year later.
They had decided to go on holiday together. Terrified and wildly optimistic that sun, sand and constant "I missed yous" could put together the frayed edges and breathe life into yellowed plans.
She remembered to start conversations to get to know him again. He attempted to touch her in non sexual ways to remind her (or himself) that he still loved her. They played this game of tag, till the alcohol and sunset took over and then fell into bed. A crumpled pile of love and need not expressed loudly enough.
Vacations end. Mostly in heartbreak.
This time the hug was passionate. But she never turned around as she got onto her flight. Looking back will make you weak, the daily calendar of quotes had told her.
So she spent all her time on the plane wondering  if she had would she have found him waiting, watching.

The blame came rapidly. Almost exhausted at being squelched for so long. And like all important life events, it ended in the flash of a second. Leaving them wondering if the first goodbye was a mistake or the way the cards had always been stacked.


(Picture Credit: Here)

Friday, 13 September 2013

The Sum of Those Parts


The flowers on the Asian styled placemat always faced the window.
It was a little rule she had, one which was of utmost importance to her, succeeded closely by salt container to the left and pepper to the right. Her pride in maintaining a house even a '50s suburban American housewife couldn't beat, was on display most days. But today, you're sitting at the table slowly fixing the placemat. The flowers on it were facing the kitchen. 
She hurries over with burnt toast, a coffee pot and a gaze you couldn't have drawn to yourself even if you'd broken into mid-air splits at this very moment. You leave the table while she butters the toast carelessly, bits of blackened crumbs flying around the plate in silent submission to her furious knife-action.

You hurry towards office, your car zipping through traffic making absolutely no difference to either the time you're making or how the rest of the day will look like. You contemplate stopping the car, right there in the middle of the road and giving up. But the sheer drama of the action weighs you down, so you press harder on the accelerator and the horn.

Really, that man in the Prius up ahead must run his own business, what else explains why he's driving so slow?


**

She's driving so slowly that it almost breaks your heart. You want to undo your seat belt, clamber over to her side and envelop her in a hug. This is her first time driving your car and since you've shown little faith in her skills she's earning it by being irrationally cautious. You're thinking of retelling this story to the boys, over a pint, at the pub.
They'll rib you about it but they'll also look away. One will signal for the waiter and one will check his phone. They're your best mates and they'll know after just this one story that you've struck lucky. You know that nothing can make you feel as acutely lonely as one of your best friends finding someone. And you won't grudge them that either.

The brakes come to a screeching halt. Your daydream made you forget that she was a new driver, and you can almost feel the asphalt sticking to your tires. So you do the one thing that makes sense- you unhook your seat belt, lean over and kiss her.


So much needs to be said about kisses. The way two people kiss each other can tell a story more vibrantly and honestly than words. There are the kisses in the beginning when the world comes undone with each brush of skin. Wars are fought and lost in a single kiss. Tender, fleeting kisses are 140 word versions of an epic saga and then there are those where the intensity of the act scares you and you respond with surrender hoping for a light, air and promises at the end of the tunnel.


You're kissing her softly and passionately, because she is new and can do no wrong. She is everything those before her could never be. She is going to save you, you decide that as you kiss her, never letting her know and setting her up for an inevitable fall.

**

She's sitting on the couch weeping. 
News of her best friend's death makes her slim body rock back in forth in sobs. You're so focussed on the sounds escaping her throat, that you forget why you're there. They start off as a low groan, somewhere in the middle of her chest, slowly rise in pitch and escape her mouth as wails. Completely offbeat and resembling an animal whose leg has been ensnared. It's uncomfortable and in pain- you're unsure if its wailing to be set free or because its frustrated due to repeatedly failed attempts at escape.

No one can construct contempt and resentment for each other like lovers can. You notice it right there behind you, a hint of a black shadow. This is the first time you've seen something like this, so you shake your head and envelop her in a meaningless hug. She leans in to soak comfort where none exists. Yet the way your chest smells soothes her and your perfunctory moves reassures her that all is well. The black shadow under the bed perhaps visible only to you.


You brush a fly-away strand of hair off her face, tell her it will be okay. That you will be her best friend for life. You tell yourself
Maybe this is a lie. But she wants to hear it, so what else am I supposed to say at a time like this?
**

Today is different than all other days. She's made up her mind about him today. Her girlfriends mill around telling her she doesn't have much to go on other than a glorious feeling and general good manners that any man dating a beautiful girl would display.

She shakes her head, almost pitifully at them. If only they understood.

Yes, sometimes feelings weren't enough but sometimes they were all one could go on. And sometimes feelings required work. Heck, life required work and she was ready to get to it. Remembering her childhood friend she's determined to confront life on the lack of permanency. A fool's errand, her mother mumbles but today is different than all other days. Today she is young and beautiful and nothing seems more permanent than that right now.


**

You remember the way the wind blew that day. In pockets of inaction and violence, a representation of your conflicting feelings towards most of your life. You stand there digging your hand into your pockets and letting the cool edge of the rock brush against your finger. The whole evening had been designed as designs are- to perfection of someone else's vision. Dinner came in courses and you remember staccato fragments of conversation.

You look beautiful, baby. Red really is your colour.
I'm so happy we did this, we haven't been to dinner in a long time. But did I tell you what that woman at work did?
Do you want some salt with your duck? It's awfully chewy, in a good way right?

Yes, another bottle of wine will be perfect.

Oh. My. God. Yes, darling, I will marry you. Of course. Oh. My. God. We're going to be happy forever. Oh, excuse me, hi, could we get a bottle of champagne please?
Baby, I'm so happy. I have to tell my friends right now. They're going to say I told you so. Oh, baby, come here and let me kiss you. You made me the happiest girl in this room. I'm sure people can tell.

You could too. But happiness was a drama queen. It made such a showing of each entrance and exit. Happiness was the drug you could watch someone do lines of , and convince yourself that if you got a whiff of what they had you'd get high too.
Happiness refuses to be your bitch at this moment and this is making you very, very bitter.
You drink a lot of champagne to compensate. You know you've made the right decision. Where else would a guy like you, find a girl like that?

That night she kisses you. Passionately and drunk. Each kiss is a promise wrapped into a plea tied up with ribbons of grand hopes and the sheer expectation of this tires you. You push her away gently, tell her that you are lucky to have her in your life and tonight you just want to fall asleep next to her.


**

You can't sleep tonight. You keep replaying the earlier part of the day when your boss told you how a man two levels your junior snagged the promotion.

He had vision.
That was boss-speak for, he kissed my ass. You look at your beautiful wife, successful at her job as an architect, funny, smart and frustratingly light-hearted. Her sheer optimism annoys you. But you can't say it out loud. How was it supposed to sound, after all ?

My wife looks at the bright side of things. This makes me love her less.
You reach for her and turn her over, rubbing your hands over familiar places. She responds with a carnal desire, available only when you're roused from deep sleep. Later, you kiss her forehead and hold her close.

You don't need to work so hard, honey. I provide everything we need.

You wanted a baby, you said. That's a full time commitment. Why don't you stay at home for six months? Take a sabbatical. You always wanted to do the place up and the maid never sets the table right.


You feel her body tense and she says softly

I guess work hasn't been challenging enough lately.
Ok, let me give this a try.



**

The clock needs new batteries but for right now it reads fifteen past two. Saturday lunches had turned into a project with starters and “courses”. You'd happily settle for home delivered pizza but you don't care enough to pick a fight. The asparagus and wilted spinach lie pathetically on your plate, mocking you. You tell her the salad looks beautiful and how glad you are that you're finally eating out of better china. You can hear her faintly in the distance explaining why the flowers on the placemat must face the window. It balanced the yin and yang energies or something. She is happy, she says repeatedly. She feels fulfilled.


The pigeons on the window are doing it. You stare at them transfixed, wondering if the courtship rituals of birds came with the male bird having to listen to stories. Or did he go,

I'm busy now, shoo.
You smile at your joke and fortuitously it is well-timed.
Thank you baby, I knew you'd be proud of me.
You hear her say in the distance.

She's telling you about her work friend who is coming over for dinner. It's 'game night'. You remember the first time you'd heard about 'game night' and had been so excited because your girlfriend was the coolest, you told your boys over a pint at the the pub. Pumped for an all-night Wii marathon, you were left staring at finger foods, yoghurt dips, other couples and board games. You don't care enough to pick a fight about another game night, plus you knew that her work friend coming tonight was a looker.


There she is, the work friend, right on time with her 'cousin'. Which means that she is single. You know of course that you are married, but her being single means the universe is offering you a chance. These labels always mean more to girls than to men.

She walks over to the sofa, which now had a throw artfully draped across its back. The first time you'd seen the throw, you'd assumed it was a fancy shawl your wife had left out. Playing the part of the considerate husband, you'd hung it neatly back into the wardrobe. A story that tickled her till today and one she insisted on retelling every chance she got. Today is no different. Her friend looks over at you and winks,
You're a keeper, aren't you?

And you've been poured into those black leather pants haven't you, baby? But you smile shyly, instead. And once again, six years into your marriage your game face is on. You are shy, funny and attentive to your wife without missing a beat.

Are you trying to play with fire?

Sure, all armchair psychologists will take a lot of money to come to that obvious conclusion. But this isn't about you, you'd crossed this line in your head the moment you saw her friend walk across the room. This was about making someone else cross the line. Making them join your band of bad boys or your religion, if you may. Any evangelist worth his salt knows that you can never attack anyone upfront. Preach to them too furiously the virtues of your cause and you'll drive them away. Show them your cause instead. Show them who you are and let them come to you. And what a show you're putting up tonight.


**

You're lying next to her, back in her studio apartment . Her black leather pants lying in a heap at the foot of the bed. You look back at the mating dance and remember it as being fairly obvious. Once she'd been convinced of her desire to cross to your side and your compliance to meet her there, it'd been fairly functional. Her cousin left suddenly mumbling an excuse that no one cared for. What a dull fellow, he'd turned out to be.


She asked you to drop her back to her apartment. You were bored of it before it began, missing your wife and despairing the sheer unoriginality of this. But she played that jazz record you'd heard when you were a kid.

Back at home in your bed later that night you feel sick. Waves of nausea wash over you and cruise through your body. You are sick at the lack of remorse you feel. At how easy it'd all been, and you silently cry yourself to sleep.


**

It's been six months since you'd told her. A fire has gone off from inside her.

Does that upset you? No.
What upsets you is that she oscillates between wanting to work on it and a crazy belief that something better was out there, waiting for her. Something that could last forever.
Like she is different and special. You want to shake her and tell her that we are all the same. You want to get really angry at her, but you don't.

She crawls into your sofa bed at night, sobbing softly. You hold her close and tell her it will all be ok.
She wants her promises back, she says casually.


Accountability in love was always a dubious act. You had more hopes of the economy recovering than there being a way of compensating broken promises or hearts.
She is reminding you of how wonderful you were when her best friend died. How safe you made her feel and how she knew then, in that moment, that someone who loved her so much would always be by her side.


Her body is rocking back in forth with animal sobs again. She's whispering urgently in a hoarse, barbed voice.
Demanding you tell her what went wrong, at what precise moment did they die?

You know there was no such moment, just a black shadow working its way upwards.
You and her died in small increments. So tiny and lost in the details of the everyday that no one could tell when. That's how death was. Sometimes sudden and all-consuming but mostly comprised of several mini-deaths; a staggering number of blows spread across time. Sometimes it took sustained indifference, and sometimes things died because a placemat could never find its rightful way- flowers facing the window- again.
                                                        Picture Credit: Here



Monday, 26 August 2013

Tiny, Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed : Book Review




[ What do you say about a book that caused you to sink into your Sunday and lose the world?
 It makes you want to review it late into the night, in the same form as it was written, something even the genius Ann Holmes of Jezebel couldn't resist in her review. There aren't as many spoilers here as tiny excerpts of beautiful things, which is exactly what this book is. Reading on will give away no ending except make you rush to buy this book and curl up inside a Sunday with it. 
In case it doesn't, then you're an Android and that's pretty cool. 1321132- That's code for, Welcome to my blog, you weird machine.]


Dear Sugar,

I ordered your book online the other day. Is this the first time that I've heard of you? No. I've had your memoir, Wild, sitting on my book shelf for months now. It's just that everyone has convinced me that it will make me cry and feel uplifted at the same time. I wanted to avoid the crying part so it's still unread. I'm sorry about that.

I had my reservations about 'Tiny, Beautiful Things', they say it's a 'self-help' book and I hate self-help books. Fiction can serve the same purpose if you find yourself on the right page at the right time. So here I am, asking you.

1. What is your book about?

2. What are these Tiny, Beautiful Things?

3. And most importantly, dear Sugar, let me ask you the largest and simplest question there is. What is love?

I hope you've got some answers, because I have none.

Sincerely,
Burning Bright (with questions)


**

Dear BBQ,

I've been thinking about how to answer your letter since I got it, and I have many things to say to you. Those things will answer all your questions or maybe none at all. But, I'm going to try


1.  You're right. We must find these twits who have been calling this a 'self help' book and perhaps bop them on the head with a Dale Carnegie hardcover.
Mine is just a culmination of stories. If you read it right, they're stories of grace, forgiveness, horror, exploitation and how amidst all the crap that all of us sometimes must go through, there's always hope and beginning-- what I told one of my readers "Let yourself be gutted. Let it open you. Start there".


2. These tiny, beautiful things are everyday people dealing with everyday monstrosities and enormities. A girl who was sexually assaulted at 17 is struggling to tell her current partner the truth. A man in the South is battling depression and is scared his business will collapse if he seeks help and word gets out. A young boy is forced to be "straight" by his parents who insist that they can love the "gay-ness" away. A young woman is terrified of how little she has accomplished in life in her late 20's and why she can't write like David Foster Wallace, already?
Countless stories where men and women deal with infidelity and wonder whether to indulge, to forgive or to negotiate. A young woman carries a white hot ball of rage inside her because she had a miscarriage and she cannot let the child who didn't live, go.

These are stories of love, longing, grief, the whole she-bang. But like I told one of my letter writing friends "His life is like your life and my life and all the lives of all those people who are reading these words right now. It's a roiling stew of fear and need and desire and love and the hunger to be loved. And mostly, it's the latter."

How do I even begin to answer these questions then?
Well, the only way I know how-- by sharing visceral, intimate experiences from my life. Sometimes they make sense, sometimes they don't.
You know that friend you speak to, the one who watches you struggle each time you share a vulnerability, so she tells you her embarrassing vulnerability to remind you we're all just beautifully, sparklingly human? I try to be that friend. Also, my life is really all I know.
Then there are those letters where the writer has answered his/her own question and dilemma, their answers are desperately entrenched in their questions . So I do what they want me to. I spell it out to them and ask them to find the bravest parts of their souls to follow their truth.

So, you see these are mostly letters of love and stumbling and feeling your way around it. With the exception of one or two crazy ones who write in asking

"WTF, WTF, WTF". I'm asking this question as it applies to everything everyday"

To him, and to you, if you ever asked this I would say

"Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it."


3.  You asked me about love, didn't you? I could sense your letter was leading up to it. That makes me smile, sweet pea. Because here we are toiling away at our fancy laptops, trying to save the environment, spend time with our family, learn the violin hoping that somehow the structure of all this will one day conspire to whisper to us what love really is.

All I know,
It is not so incomprehensible as you pretend, sweet pea.

Love is the feeling we have for those we care deeply about and hold in high regard. It can be light as the hug we give a friend or heavy as the sacrifices we make for our children. It can be romantic, platonic, familial, fleeting, everlasting, conditional, unconditional, imbued with sorrow, stoked by sex, sullied by abuse, amplified by kindness, twisted by betrayal, deepened by time, darkened by difficulty, leavened by generosity, nourished by humor and “loaded with promises and commitments” that we may or may not want or keep.

The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.




Yours,
Sugar.


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Why I Travel?

                                          From Vacation 2012Corals at the bottom of Ko Tao


To Escape.
But that sounds far too simplistic. Even though there are times when the blackened grime of cities and memories has seeped far too deep into your pores and only salt water will clean it out. Could it be for the time? You know the clock works differently when you're away. Days are languid, slow and almost sloth-like. You can keep 2pm on your tongue for as long as you like and when you're done, it will softly give way to a cocktail called 6pm. Shadows tell stories and the passing of time. Do the people living here realize that clock works differently in their city?
You'd almost gotten up to ask, realizing at the last minute that it's only when you're on vacation that you're not pre-occupied with answers. Or perhaps the questions have transformed into completely new ones.



To Taste. 
The food, or the cold, colorful drink traveling into your mouth. Flavours are muted and amplified at the same time. You felt like you never tasted food before, and yet on vacation you rarely overeat. When you're in the city and encounter a delicious meal you will chase it with the zeal of a crazed person and then realize you ate too much, too fast and all you're left with is a stomach ache. The same could be said of love found on vacation and the one you left back home.


To observe. 
How light is writing its own secret message in freckles on your brown skin. Or the big, vast sky that wears every colour so well, but personally burnt orange around 6pm is its favourite. It walks out in this dress and preens in front of you. You never pay much attention so it goes right back to grown-up indigo for the night.
Whole and parts co-exist in a beautiful, symbiotic chorus and you think you can too. Bits of you charred by work and love can live against bits of you too big for the universe and your own dreams to support.


To lose. 
Earrings. I always start out with a pair and return home with one. Inhibitions, prejudices and constructs of self fall softly against gravel, sand and cobbled pavements. It seems to me that vacations and cities you travel to contain a Lost and Found box. Visitors are free to deposit questions, wishes, memories and feelings which don't serve them anymore. Other particularly adventurous visitors pick up deposits by others and make them their own. By the beach, between the grains of sand if you look really carefully you'll find bits of sadness and questions. If you press a sea-shell to your ear it's not the waves you hear but a crescendo of unfinished conversations. Speak back into the sea-shell, there are things you never said which need to be lost too.


To go back home. 
Because belonging was never tied to a person or a place, it was just a feeling you carried in the recesses of your sometimes mangled heart. This belonging would crawl out, often when you're sea side and sit lotus-style inside your chest. Your breaths may not be as ragged and urgent as they are in the city you call home. Sometimes, when you're traveling you even forget to breathe and that's a good thing.


Monday, 5 August 2013

Of Endless Wish lists.

I want obvious miracles. The ones that make you believe in sheer, dogged luck.

I want a puppy and someone to help me with menial puppy duties while I just make time for walks, cuddles and cuteness.

I want a Urdu couplet of heartache dedicated to me. Would've been ideal had this been done by Rumi.

I want Sundays filled with warm April rain, big, fluffy chairs and endless reading time.

I want love, adoration and every degree of affection stored up in this world.

I want unlimited air miles and the weather on my side.

I want ownership. Of a piece of the sky and someone's imagination.

I want to carry the smell of the sea in my hair.

I want to chase passion like a first time marathon runner. Undeterred by how idiotic the profuse sweating is making him look to those on the sidelines.

I want a full, silvery moon and a guitar strumming man singing to me for when the evenings feel lonely.

I want to save the lion and the dolphin. In that order.

I want solitude, parties, routine and excitement to come find me when I'm too lazy to find them myself.

I want to influence culture.

I want enough and too much at the same time. Of things and people I love the most.

I want to collect fallen, autumn leaves from all over the world.

I want to fall in love once a week. With a gorgeous sentence, a deep dimple, a wicked outfit and the feel of skin on skin.

I want beautifully scripted comebacks to occur to me just when I need them. And not the next day.

I want new adventures laced with careless abandon.

I want mystery bottled into a Parisian perfume decanter. To spritz on myself lightly before a night on the town.

I want to explore. Brave new worlds. Inside and out.


                                         (Photo credit: Dandelion Wishes by Anthony Docherty)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Words. Strange And Otherwise - Vol. 1

A Facebook status update triggered this blog post. 
Friends emailed and texted to ask who the excerpt belonged to and since I hadn't written here in a long, long time I decided to share something personal. 

I collect words like people collect stamps, shot glasses and coins (I hear it's different from just collecting money). 
I collect words, and if I had my way I'd put them into pretty boxes and play with them on rainy days. 
Ok let me rephrase, I hoard words- favourite sentences and paragraphs from books I've loved. I write them into a notebook (when I'm feeling indulgent or can locate a pen without having to get up) but mostly I type them into drafts on my phone/computer. Sharing them doesn't come easy or even naturally but it's a sign of maturity (it better be!)

So here they are, some of my favorite words. 
Are they reflective of the books they belong to? Some, not all. But that's never the point. 

I've added a link to each so you can buy the books if you like what you read. The list is arbid, I randomly picked the ones that spoke to me. On looking back it seems I haven't even shared the best ones yet, so a volume 2 might be in the works soon. 
There's Anais Nin, Junot Diaz and the wizard Rainer Maria Rilke (read his book if you haven't). You'll also notice E E Cummings crept his way in, when most of the list is prose. 
But how does anyone have any sort of list without E E Cummings being there? 


***


“In one of those stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night. And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me." 
~  Antoin De- Saint Exupery, The Little Prince.



“You ask everybody you know: How long does it usually take to get over it?

There are many formulas. One year for every year you dated. Two years for every year you dated. It's just a matter of will power: The day you decide it's over, it's over. You never get over it.”

― Junot Díaz, This is How You Lose Her



"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know" 
~ Louis Armstrong


“Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as mere consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship.”  
~ Nick Hornby, High Fidelity.


“Her little shoulders drove me mad; I hugged her and hugged her. And she loved it.
'I love love,' she said, closing her eyes.
I promised her beautiful love. I gloated over her. Our stories were told; we subsided into silence and sweet anticipatory thoughts. It was as simple as that. You could have all your Peaches and Bettys and Marylous and Ritas and Camilles and Inezes in this world; this was my girl and my kind of girlsoul, and I told her that.”
~Jack Keouac, On The Road.


March Hare: “Imagine, just one birthday every year” | 

Mad Hatter: “But there are 364 unbirthdays.” 
~ Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland.

(Preface from Junot's brilliant This is How You Lose Her)



“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” 
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet.


“Hopes were wallflowers. Hopes hugged the perimeter of a dance floor in your brain, tugging at their party lace, all perfume and hems and doomed expectation. They fanned their dance cards, these guests that pressed against the walls of your heart.”
~Karen Russell, Swamplandia!



"Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time."
~ Zadie Smith, On Beauty.



“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina


"You will hear that she has left the country, that there was a gift she wanted you to have, but it is lost before it reaches you. Late one night the telephone will ring, and a voice that might be hers will say something that you cannot interpret before the connection crackles and is broken.
Several years later, from a taxi, you will see someone in a doorway who looks like her, but she will be gone by the time you persuade the driver to stop. You will never see her again.
Whenever it rains you will think of her. ” ~
~ Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things.


“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
~ Markus Zusak, The Book Thief


“When you're young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time up in your hands, tossing it away. You're your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too—leave them behind. You don't yet know about the habit they have, of coming back..”
~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin


“The love I felt for her on that train ride had a capital and provinces, parishes and a Vatican, an orange planet and many sullen moons -- it was systemic and it was complete.”
~Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story.



“But cockteasing is also a metaphor: she is someone who will manipulate your inner self while holding hers back from you.”
~ Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending



"I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go."
~ Anais Nin


“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.” 
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar


“It’s a very female thing, isn’t it, to take one boys’ night and snowball it into a marital infidelity that will destroy our marriage?”
~ Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl


“The window gave onto a view of dove-gray roofs and balconies, each one containing the same cracked flowerpot and sleeping feline. It was as if the entire city of Paris had agreed to abide by a single understated taste. Each neighbor was doing his or her own to keep up standards, which was difficult because the French ideal wasn't clearly delineated like the neatness and greenness of American lawns, but more of a picturesque disrepair. It took courage to let things fall apart so beautifully.”
~ Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot.


“Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.” 
~ Toni Morisson, Beloved


“I don’t want to fade away, I want to flame away - I want my death to be an attraction, a spectacle, a mystery. A work of art.”
~ Jennifer Egan, A Visit From The Goon Squad.


“You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.”
~ E E Cummings.


Sunday, 30 June 2013

A Cardboard Box With Your Name On It


Moving was never easy. Cities, affections or even bad jobs. So, when moving houses you assume that a new space and fancier flooring will be a breezy change. One that you will slip right into and one that will barely affect your daily life.

You underestimate the impact old walls and spaces can have on you. It's only when you stare at the darkened outlines where paintings, pictures and bookshelves were once hung do you realize- bits of you are made of concrete and iron and bits of houses are always made of blood and flesh.
There were stories your friends told you during sleep-overs. Whispered snippets of love, loss, too much giggling followed by furious hushing. There's a spot in the room where you'd always crane your head the minute you woke up- to avoid the light. The room fit to your curves, you to its.

You've walked around the terrace having late-night phone conversations while playing a game, of duck under the clothes line and come to the other side, without missing a word of what was being said. You've lived through seasons and declared that there was no chance rain fell anywhere else the way it did on your balcony. You've always sworn that the wooden floor would make deliberate loud sounds if you walked in with stilettos too late after a party. You'd learn to leave your shoes outside to minimize noise and parental wrath.
The road in front of your house curved slightly, your friends always waited for you there. Impatient because you'd promised them “two minutes”, almost fourteen ago.
Your brother and his friends, during a party, spray-painted the terrace wall with a song lyric. You let your house keep that tattoo. You were a cool parent like that.

You'd learnt to hole up in your room for days when you were upset or wanted to write. You also learnt to hide your expensive shampoo and body washes during the summer. You see, your brothers room was on the terrace and got hot water in the day. He'd want to use your bathroom and the nuances of “take a coin-sized helping of shampoo” were lost on him.
There was a rocking chair overlooking the street, where you'd stay curled up Sunday after Sunday. There were books you had to go through and that spot promised poor cell reception.

                                                   

You're packing up books and growing up years into boxes. They're proving to be too small and frankly not too sturdy. You find the other earring you lost years ago, curled up under your dresser. You leave it on the bare floor because some things work better when they're not a pair. There's a book you'd bought and promptly lost, you pack it into your bag.
Your friend who you've lost touch with, had one night long ago left you scribbled messages in a tiny, tiny scrawl on the upstairs wall. You'd furiously searched but never found those so you leave  a message of your own.

And it stands there against the sunlight- once your house, now a proud, paint-chipped cement anthology of stories and secrets.


Friday, 21 June 2013

It Rained & Only The Bravehearts Noticed

There were never any surprises in life. Except when the milk got over. Her calculations were always off on that and she ended up with too much cereal and not enough milk.

Most other things, she argued, you learnt to anticipate. Death, for example. It was fairly inevitable. The very existence of something guaranteed its demise. Attachments were a dark alleyway leading to disappointments and frustrations. It amused her then, when her friends would look painfully stricken and say, "I could not see that coming. It took me by surprise. I wish I could have told." 

She was certain that the element of surprise was the most deliberate construct. People loved the mystic, and this entertained their fantasy that things happened beyond reason, and always for a reason. One that would make itself known to you, like a yogi, a few steps into the future. It was a tautological argument. Things didn't happen for a reason, they just happened and few steps into the future provided you with enough time to come up with a justification strong enough to delude yourself into believing that a grand scheme is being unfolded right now, possibly to the tune of a cosmic harp, all for your benefit. She never understood why we gave ourselves so much importance.

The only mystic she knew in life was rain. It seemed to be the soundtrack to her emotions. A fairly powerful drug that could intensify whatever you were feeling at the given moment. Loneliness turned into melancholy, happiness into crazed bliss and average prose into meter-be-damned poetry. It was why she loved and hated the season the most. It crawled softly under her skin and took control of her otherwise planned life. The rain would fall in sheets and remind her of when they were in college and had galaxies of time to spare. Large heartedness had been a fad that season and yet they marvelled each time they saw it on someone else. 

Even today rain caught her by surprise. Not by sheer timing (you just had to look out for it on days the Met department predicted clear skies). But, by its effect on her. It wasn't your skin that was getting wet. It was everything else under the surface that was soaked to the bone. You were liquid inside and you could flow to where the day took you. Perhaps into an icy oblivion, to losing yourself in the vastness of another person, or to a drink in a glass. You could intoxicate another with every sip, knowing full well that there'd be nothing left of you, when they were finally drunk. 

This was why she bolted her doors and stayed inside all through June to September. Everything else in life was accounted for. Except rain.

                                                      (This april, caught in a shower in Saket)

Monday, 27 May 2013

The In-Betweeners







Picture credit: here



He liked running his toe between the space where the stone tiles met. From afar it looked like a seamless coming together, to him it was a beautiful falling apart, cracks cradling nothingness and free falls. Where life could be lived noisily, with the wind coming at your face, into your hair, while you're one with speed and connected to a feeling that lives in the pit of your stomach.

People were a lot like that too, with each other. They only ever made sharp, acute sense when lines were blurred. Not everything was above board 24x7. Not everything fell under neat labels. Sure, it was here that most riots, chaos and heartbreak existed, but it was only from here that poetry stemmed. The relationships which eventually gave way to definitions breathed their first and last in this place. The tiny gap where two stone tiles met.

Take love, he starts to argue, how does it start?
It's always inching its way out of a Glee soundtrack of questions. Do you love me as a friend? Am I your boyfriend? Will we marry? Is this forever? If you let this cacophony settle down, there in the quiet and peace of blurred lines you could shyly shake love's hand and perhaps even share a drink.

Find your own lines to blur, he's now urgently advising you.
The first thing you'll lose then is control. Control of how you thought this should turn out, what is the ideal next move in this template you always told yourself you'd follow. Control of how you should act, what is right and good for you. There is no resolution in blurred lines, no conclusions or peace of mind is ever  found here. 

So, tell me why does everyone want to visit here every now and again? He'll ask you suddenly looking you straight in the eye.

Don't fidget or rush to deny it. He always answers his own questions.

Because, they never feel more alive anywhere else than in these in-between relationships which end perhaps even before they begin.
You should enjoy them for what they are, he drawls this out .
Take from them your poetry and music. The validations that you deny you're seeking. Take from them everything your being needs and then go back to your definitions.

Don't try and live here too long, you'll suffocate the beauty of the nothing. You'll make sweaty, desperate attempts to box this. And remember then, what I'm saying now. In between the concrete porn that you call your cities, in between your constant attempt at a work-life balance, in between your manicured parks and the days you design around yourself, exist the lives you wish you had. They're breathing slowly, and they're yours to hold for a minute.

Don't try to cage them and don't stay too long.





Friday, 17 May 2013

Refer To The Black Box


 Picture credit: here


There was a steady rhythm to scrubbing a table clean. You started at the centre, took that cloth and swiped it hard in a circular motion. Assured that ballet dancers aspire for a similar flourish in a pirouette, you moved to the sides. Soft, clean strokes worked better than getting angry at the stains. Sadness, coffee rings and stray tomato pieces disappear faster if you're gentle and firm. 
                             
This remained his favourite part of the day, scrubbing the tables clean so that the next customer could write his own story- broken hearts always left crumbs and empty sugar sachets, long-lost friends left coffee rings and forgotten ash. It was those he was careful of, those that left the table as pristine as they'd found it- too afraid to own it, to leave a mark, to be remembered or perhaps found. 
The constant back and forth carrying orders,could make you feel like God. You heard snippets, learnt bits of their stories and yet you couldn't interfere, these kids really had to sort it out on their own
                                                   

This city is no longer strange. Perhaps, moving here 25 years ago felt surreal. The 26th year is different, the tourists ask me for directions



to his question, I have no answer. Will I marry him? Yes. Should I? No. But he only asked me will I, didn't he?

Leave a reply on her voicemail. If she still wants to do business with you, she will call. Honestly, everything does not need to be analysed over coffee. Hi, one banana muffin please


come for a holiday with me. I signed up for the tour but the thought of spending a vacation with complete strangers makes me lonelier than I have ever been


away for far too long. I don't know their dreams anymore. Do they like peanut butter with milk, or do they prefer pizza. Are they even my children anymore, or hers to call her own


manuscript, but we can't publish it now, can we? I know school jealousies should be behind us but there are somethings a 9 year old version of you will hold on to so tightly that 27 years later


a bomb in the middle of the district exploded and all I wanted to know is if they blew up the shop where I had eaten those beautiful brownies the last time I visited


her home. Her beautiful, sterilized home where red was not a colour but an explosion that really should have been contained


before it got out. You can live in a certain part of the city all you want, if your child gets lice at the age of 12, I'm judging you


and those books you loved. I loved them with you. The movies you saw, I held your hand through the reel. It seems unfair that suddenly it's my taste that's under scrutiny


was his beautifully cut jaw-line. I'd have run my finger along its length but I was afraid it would have ripped the skin on my finger tips open . Blood is never a good look on a first date


which ended in me having to pay the bill. Ordering lobster is a decision one should make when one is clear whose bill the meal is going on


for almost an entire day. I guess that makes him a recognized artist and me a proud father. Do you want to see the slideshow again


we're back at this restaurant? The food is delicious but don't you think that waiter is always lingering within ear shot


my heart to pieces with that text, but she doesn't know I read it and I can take another bullet for love.


Start with a clean cloth in the centre and move towards the side, that way you can really get the entire surface clean in a single go.



Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ways Of Seeing

There are stories to be told in the way people look at each other. Especially around crowded rooms, meetings, clubs and malls. Most need to be translated from the author's native language to be understood. But some can be heard, read and observed if you pay close attention. 
You see there are ways of seeing, even in the dark of the night.

The-I'm worried for your happiness, and how you wear it carelessly like a dress with the straps falling off- gaze.

The- I want you right here, right now, but anyone else will also do- gaze.

The- it's a crowded room tonight but desperately trying to avoid you makes the corners of my eyes work overtime- gaze.

The- telling you lies by looking at you boldly and bored in the face- gaze.

The- we're shaking hands and saying hello because all possibilities are ours in this moment- gaze.

The- even though this success is yours tonight, I played my part by being in your life- gaze.

The- I'm smiling at you but my eyes are roaring for that other person across the room- gaze.

The- I'm staring at the fluorescence of my phone screen waiting for you to look away- gaze.

The- this's a screaming plea to you to learn my piece through desperate, tiny furrows in my forehead and practiced curves of my smile- gaze.

The- obvious knowledge of my beauty tonight earned me my right to look bored- gaze.

The- I have my family and tribe by my side and Loneliness checked out earlier- gaze.

The- these dark glasses let me stare at your body leisurely and inappropriately- gaze

The- that object of beauty you're all unavoidably sneaking glances at, is all mine- gaze.

The- this world seems more promising if my eyes stay slightly hooded- gaze.

The- I dare you to spot the outlines of the places I yearn for in my dilated pupils- gaze.

The- fallen from grace and gleefully rollicking in instant gratification tonight- gaze.

The- dull longing, exploring, wondering and wishing artfully hidden behind infinitely blank eyes- gaze.



                                                        
                           Picture credit: Here





Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Story Always Contains 26 Letters.



                                                    Picture Credit: Here.
                                              


He sat turning the postcard around in his hand.

The matte surface of the picture felt cool against his thumb. Circling the surface distractedly, he hoped to trace a hidden message. Convinced that if he spent a minute longer weighing his decision he would amble into 'chick' territory, he scrawled

Hey,

I'm ok. Hope you're happy too


**
The old pub on South Bank must've been witness to it's fair share of confused lovers. They who'd sit with a pen in their hand, confusion tempered with enough bitterness in their hearts and a freshly brewed ale keeping their emotions fueled. What else could explain the wear and tear of the wooden table?
The scratch marks down it's surface, told more tales of anguish than of weathering due to age. Leave a man with a postcard, a pen, a drink on a wooden table and gashes on the table's surface would inevitably appear. Sometimes it was less horrific to carve out a message permanently than have it's intended recipient read it on paper, a thousand miles away.


This was his routine now.
Every weekend he would send her a postcard perfumed with noble intentions, hoping to explain himself. To communicate that he wasn't the obvious villain, he honestly didn't blame her for thinking he was.
That his flirtations had never been anything more than an anthropological experiment, all to prove his hypothesis that he still had game. That there was more to his decisions than a transparent fear of commitment and a painfully burning desire to explore more.
You couldn't say those things to your lover.
Not without her taking them very personally. Flinging a vase at you. Becoming deathly quiet. And then bursting into tears. All with a swiftness of transition only a woman could manage. He'd tried. He even had his friend rehearse the speech with him, but when he saw her sitting there, weathering under unanswered questions and stifled dreams, he hadn't known where to begin.

Baby, I know you're not happy.

That's when the flinging happened, and a muffled voice which seemed to be choking on it's own words said

I see where you're going with this. Don't bother.

Once again he believed her words. And didn't.


**
His ticket for London had been bought for the next month. And that's when the project took form and shape. One postcard a week. To wish her well. To reassure her that he wanted her to be happy, and to laugh that laugh which had once been in tune with eeny-meeny-miny-mo.
The words that came out were always different. Laboured, simplistic and never enough. Perhaps a lot like how he'd been towards the end.


A walk around the river always found him lingering outside his favourite souvenir shop. Laden with fridge magnets, the tired rack was mostly groaning and ready to collapse under the obvious irony. Behind the counter there were rows and rows of post cards. From aerial shots of the Buckingham Palace, tired views of red phone-booths, Trafalgar Square, the eye-sore that was London Eye and Parks.
He always picked one of the parks to send her. It was his way of letting her know that he'd come back and perhaps they could go on a picnic somewhere. Things would be perfect in that unreal moment and give them something to hold onto, to aspire to and to compare against when things got real and well, boring.

His friends wondered why he bothered with this exercise.

We have history, mate.

It was pretty simple. People do more for shared history than for anything else. To preserve it. To not have to start over. If starting over had a taste, it would be sharp, metallic and far too acidic. Shared history sat like melted chocolate on your tongue, you could chew it out and get tangled in it, eventually though it disappeared leaving an aftertaste that only water could wash away.

His postcard messages were always succinct. Clipped, if you may. He couldn't bother with poetry, despite knowing how much she ached for it. She'd once traced this, letter by letter, onto his bare back while he lay sleeping
“-Before leaving my room
i turn, and (stooping
through the morning) kiss
this pillow, dear
where our heads lived and were.”


He wanted to try for her today, outside the Tate. He wanted to go for something meaningful- but all he got was.

Hello.

The museums here are pretty cool. So, you doing alright?

That was his fourth and final draft and frankly it looked like that hot-dog cart would leave if he didn't get up quickly.

Stuffing the panoramic view of St. James Park in his back-pack, he made a run for it.

It tumbled into place. Falling clumsily on top of the postcard with the couple sunning themselves at Hyde Park, and five other such, including a now, slightly yellowing one of Greenwich Park. The edges of the postcard had curled against the leaves of the tree in the picture. His handwriting was smudged by errant drops from the Tabasco bottle which lay alongside Greenwich's best, and frankly only decent view.
There they lay. Forlorn. Waiting for absolution and postage stamps.




Thursday, 28 March 2013

Us, In Italics

Dear Future You,


The Right Now You is sitting on the edge of the bed, completely engrossed in Top Gun. Haven't you seen this movie a million times before? I guess the thrill of Maverick's resurrection necessitates a re-watch. It's a hot night and you push the sheet aside, mumbling that Top Gun was essentially a chick flick and Die Hard is a true testosterone fest.

The crickets in the still of the night seem to agree with you.
Me? I'm rubbing body lotion into my legs with a vengeance. I'm young and so are you but together we've aged to a hundred, haven't we? Too bad there's no body-butter equivalent of retaining a relationship's earlier magic. But, I digress.

15 years from now seems like a lifetime. 

A lifetime which will be clumsily made up of weekends,bad work-days, good work-days, Mondays, the big moments that we seem to always be inching towards and a country's worth of different feelings.
I'm young and hopeful right now, which makes me terribly wise (Fitzgerald reference) and all this wisdom needs to be urgently written down. In case we chip these bone-china details.

Years from now when you read this letter you can remind me, that once upon a simpler time: I was happy to vegetate and watch sitcoms, I compulsively competed at every game (perhaps this was Metaphorical Sign #1?) and I adored you with as much dignity as an in-love 19 year old could manage. You know? Dignity hastily fashioned as a skirt and vehement prints of pride worn as a jacket, all too poorly concealing a dumb-ass heart. I was a proud, arrogant fool completely blind to my own condition. The very worst kind.


You were happy and laughed that uninhibited laugh. It was like a milkshake, thick and curdling with deep, nutty undertones. A laugh I spent precious moments trying desperately to earmark as my property. Perhaps, if I made a blanket fort and covered you in it while you laughed, it would stop the world and those-with-lesser-laughs from hearing it? Consumed with growing older, you were always impressing upon me the sense of responsibility you shouldered, all because you had a 6 year head start in The Business of The World. Perhaps, this was Self-fulfilling Prophecy #1.

You were always too cocky and sure of how you didn't need a 'chick's' moisturizer, “a man's skin just took care of itself”. Your vanity managed to almost decimate the common sense and general know-how I'd acquired from beauty magazines all these years.

I was always stingy while sharing my music, wasn't I? Even worse with books. Especially my worn out, thumbed copies. There was no sense behind my need to own, but there it was anyway. Not everyone could know about my music or my very favourite books. You never understood why.

It was because I was a sum of these parts: those albums and disjointed sentences hidden inside these books was what made me and sharing them would be too intimate. My greatest ode to an author would be to love him so much that I would fervently wish no one ever read him. It was fortuitous then, that none of my good friends were authors.

No one who saw us would assume we'd get along. You were calculations and numbers and I was sighing at how much fun whispering the word “whimsy” was. We made a common Universe along the way, habituated only by Messrs You & I. We made fun of the same people, mostly for the same reasons. After a certain point our fights sounded identical, we could easily speak for the other person. We were deliciously stubborn in our own ways.

It's little wonder then that we didn't work out. I kept trying to hold you inside my blanket fort and you were sharing excerpts from my books with every new friend you made. But for a single, solid moment, we owned the Universe and all that it contained.

You were watching Top Gun and I was rubbing moisturiser into my legs.

Photo Credit: Here