Sunday, 27 December 2015

To You~ 23 and a few minutes to go.

(Back-story: After an unplanned hiatus, it only seems right that I return to pending letters. To everyone whose letters are still undone, I'll make my way through and back to you. The below was a request sent to me by 23 year old Diksha, who on her birthday wanted to write a letter from her all knowing future self.
Anyone who knows me, knows how time-capsules are one of my favourite things, so here you go, Diksha, Happy Birthday- 24 is one of those golden years. Live it up.)

To You
23 and a few minutes to go Diksha,

Birthdays are tricky animals. 
At first, you want to roll around the floor with them just feeling that special sense of joy radiating out of your being, because it is the day you were made. The day you first said, "Hey world, how's it going?" and the first time you did something that changed everything else. They're the one day in the year which is the peak of a mountain-top, when you want to look both at what lies ahead and the distance you've covered. Some people get whiplash from all the looking, others just fall over.

But I know you'll be okay. You've now done this for 23 years and that should make you an expert at birthdays. 

What can steady you through the day, is our collective wisdom, which I'm about to dispense. Happy birthday you stone-cold fox.

1.  Breathe- This year promise yourself that you will not freak out, or obsess over the shadow of a pimple or what an extra 3kgs might do to a picture. Do not hyperventilate. The pimple will go. The kilos will move up and down as the years go by. Neither has anything to do with how beautiful you look, and you're going to survive it all. Even the wind chill. I promise you.

2.  Let time take time- As it will, whether you meddle with your overthinking or not. But things always work much better when left to their own device. Remember that you've survived, grown and evolved through every mini-crisis that threatened to stop life mid-dance. And this year when a crisis comes around, as the sneaky bastards tend to, acknowledge it and do what you must. 
It will leave and you'll be better for it (also see above: pimple)

3. 24 means you don't have to be 18 anymore: Or 17, or 16. Let algebra be a distant memory. The bullying and cruelty of school can stay there. You shook it off like a gazelle does water after its swim is done. Droplets flung far away and off your beautiful life and body, so you can trample shrubs, traipses through forests and live a beautiful gazelle year. Keep your neck tall and proud, they say it gives you a better outlook. Also, a success of your life will be made even if you struggle with math.

4. Boys: Liking them gets better and liking them gets worse. But take warm comfort in the fact that everyone around you, even the self-assured 28 year olds, those in steady relationships and those blazingly single- neither of them have a clue of the future, of what's to come and whether they're equipped. Take heart in the fact that who you love, will always be just who you love, that will not be the saviour or wreckage of your life (unless you let it).
Oh, and trust me that the boy who today makes your heart feel like a knotted, wet, wrung out shirt, will soon not even cross your mind, until you hear an old song and smile. 
Old songs carry most of the weight of our memories. That's something you should know too.

5. The things you will do: Will make and unmake you in bits, kneading you into new shapes every year. Cocoons that you'll have to burst out of and places of rest where you must stop for a while. So choose them wisely. Always say yes to travel, but know that the most important journeys are often just the ones you take inside. Laugh like you want to, in a twisted grimace if you must, anything which sets you apart from that same non-smile called the pout which everyone from 14 to 41 year olds are doing today. Set yourself apart Dee, you'll understand in a few years why that is the biggest weapon in your arsenal.

6. On being sad:  I remember the last few years and our struggles with depression. I remember friends who didn't understand and those who thought you were self-indulgent. And I can tell you now, that the only one whose judgement and understanding of what you're going through counts is you. So read every book you can, smile every chance you get, dress up, buy minion cakes for your birthday, hoard colourful stationary, make blanket forts out of your 5 year old self's minnie mouse quilt, remind yourself of that winter in Canada and the first time you let a snowflake turn to water on your tongue. Your body is your refuge and your fortress. Holding more answers and wisdom than you know. Fold into your own body when things get too dark, it's where you've always stored the light. It is your surest cure.

7. On love: Oh, the things I could tell you and the things I know. 
Like how much of it you've already got, how much of it waits for you in the future. How kaleidoscopes of butterflies will synchronise somersaults in your stomach, how you'll carry the heat of the inner core of the earth in your round cheeks and how when you're in it you will swear you're moon-walking on a higher frequency (like dolphins), hearing sounds and seeing things your friends just don't. The trick (and I'm not allowed to reveal details from the future: it is the first secret to time travel) is to live out your life like a designed for success supernova would. Those who are always craning their necks trying to spot the alien attack are the ones who most often miss it.

(Side note: No one is out of your league. So those dreams of kissing Chris Evans may not be totally make-believe.
Aside to the aside: Disney songs are always right. Keep a few on shuffle in your iPod. No one has to know and they always do the trick.)

Happy birthday you eerily beautiful, strangely stubborn and deliciously brave girl. 
Your 24th year is a gorgeous, rainbow striped, unicorn shaped piñata. Take a stick and smack it at its core.

Your future self.

                                                  (One of my fav street art images by Martin Watson)

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you. The love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: )

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Words. Strange & Otherwise. Part- IV

Instagram killed the blogpost.
(These past months I've spent more time on @hyperbolemuch than this blog.)

I haven't written here for almost 6 months now, and while I'm now working on all the lovely pending To You, letters, this one was just quicker to put together. As with my earlier posts volumes one, two and three , here is a collection of my favourite sentences. 
Sentences which are almost human when stripped away from stories and left standing by themselves. A few are knock-kneed sure, but well-intentioned humans.  Some have been picked because the words are like fairy lights when strung together, others for the wisdom they're bursting with and all because I love them. 
Which means you shouldn't question any, 
Do I question your lovers?

I've also added a link to each sentence, so you can buy the book if you'd like. There's poetry here too, because I find it creeps into most prose. Especially when someone is really looking.

(This game was a lot of fun the last time around so here it is: If you have a life question, you should pick a number between 1-20, then the quote against that number is the answer to your question.
If not you've met a sentence I love: say hello, and smile). I'll let you read now.


1. "The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.”
~ Susan Sontag

2. “If I had to sum up what he did to me, I’d say it was this: he made me sing along to all the bad songs on the radio. Both when he loved me and when he didn't.”
~ Jenny Offill, Dept. of Speculation

3. Come to the orchard in spring.
There is light and wine, and sweethearts
in the pomegranate flowers.

If you do not come, these do not matter.
If you do come, these do not matter 

4. "Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why."
~ Kurt Vonnegut

5.“What I want to write about today is the sea. It contains so many colors. Silver at dawn, green at noon, dark blue in the evening. Sometimes it looks almost red. Or it will turn the color of old coins. Right now the shadows of clouds are dragging across it, and patches of sunlight are touching down everywhere. White strings of gulls drag over it like beads. It is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel.” 
~ Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

6. “For a long time, she held a special place in my heart. I kept this special place just for her, like a "Reserved" sign on a quiet corner table in a restaurant. Despite the fact that I was sure I'd never see her again.”
~Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun

7. “The answer is not coming. I have to find an arbitrary point inside the spell of waiting, the open absence, and tear myself away. Leave, with no answer. Move on to the next question.”
  ~Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers

8.“Paper is the strongest material in the world. Things under which a mountain will crumble, you can place on paper and it will hold: beauty at its most intense; love at its fiercest; the greatest grief; the greatest rage.” 
~ Nadeem Aslam

9. " Being with you and not being with you, is the only way I have to measure time."
 ~Jorges Louis Borges 

10."I thought I understood it, that I could grasp it, but I didn't, not really. Only the smudgeness of it; the pink-slippered, all-containered, semi-precious eagerness of it. I didn't realize it would sometimes be more than whole, that the wholeness was a rather luxurious idea. Because it's the halves that halve you in half."
~ Like Crazy (This isn't a book but a movie I really, really love and can't recommend enough).

11." I want to read poems filled with terror and music that changes laws and lives."
~ Leonard Cohen.

12. "The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot."
~Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

13. “The night you gave me my birthday party… you were a young Lieutenant and I was a fragrant phantom, wasn’t I? And it was a radiant night, a night of soft conspiracy and the trees agreed that it was all going to be for the best.”
~ Zelda Fitzgerald, Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda

14.“He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine.”

15. “I felt a heat containing the colors of autumn. The dark stone in my heart pulsed quietly, igniting like a coal in a hearth. Who is in my heart? I wondered.”
~ Patti Smith, M Train

16. "You exist by your smile and your presence. You exist for your joys and your relaxations. You exist in nature. You are part of the glittering sea, and part of the luscious, well-nourished plants, you are wedded to the sun, you are immersed in timelessness, only the present counts, and from the present you extract all the essences which can nourish the senses, and so the nerves are still, the mind is quiet, the nights are lullabies, the days are like gentle ovens in which infinitely wise sculptor’s hands re-form the lost contours, the lost sensations of the body. The body comes to life. Quests, pursuits of concrete securities of one kind or another lose all their importance. As you swim, you are washed of all the excrescences of so-called civilization, which includes the incapacity to be happy under any circumstances."
~ Anais Nin, The Diary of Anais Nin

17. “He was becoming unstuck, he was sure of that - his bones were no longer wrapped in flesh but in clouds of dust, in hummingbirds, dragonflies, and luminous moths - but so perfect was his equilibrium that he felt no fear. He was vast, he was many, he was dynamic, he was eternal.” 
~ Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

18. " Aey Junoon-e-Ishq Bata Zara
Mujhe Kyun Tamasha Bana Diya"

~ Faiz Ahmed Faiz (I apologise for not translating this, but there's no way I can without butchering it. For those interested in reading more- try Google translate for an indicative meaning).

19. "I will remember the kisses, our lips raw with love, and how you gave me everything you had and how I offered you everything that was left of me."~ Charles Bukowski

20. “That was the year, my twenty-eighth, when I was discovering that not all of the promises would be kept, that some things are in fact irrevocable and that it had counted after all, every evasion and every procrastination, every word, all of it.”
~ Joan Didion, in her essay Goodbye To All That

Monday, 13 July 2015

To You, O Captain My Captain

(Backstory: This is the 100th post on this blog and I couldn’t think of a more special letter to write. 
Shweta wrote in to me, “My friend who I love very much, lost her husband when he was just 39 last year. It’s her son Arnav’s 13th birthday tomorrow. Can we write her a letter and make her feel ridiculously loved, ensure she’s laughing and feeling safe tomorrow?”

And how could I not try?)

To You

If I could take the recycled paper on which this letter is written and wrap it around your hurting heart to make it stop? I would.
But can I offer you a lame inside joke instead?
Because I’d line up every comedian known to mankind to make sure you’re laughing in the way only you can- like warm, tropical rain you want to just stand under and get soaked in.

Sumitabh and you were the love story the rest of us spent summers longing for. 

I’ve heard my sister and her entire batch whisper about the way he’d make you smile. Constantly.
How he pursued you for months in school before you relented and how for 13 years you could not take a single decision without running it past him. 
How your favourite chai hangout was a small ally getaway few could find. 
He was the quiet in your hurricane. 
The velvety sitting place inside your constant confusion. 
Your Captain, as you always called him. 
Your best friend who’d take vacations with your son, where both of them would spend most of their time calling mum to tease and make her jealous. 
The one person who’d memorised the very important precise level of chocolaty-ness you needed from a cake. 
The boy you loved in school, who insisted you marry him before you run off to New York for a job and who you carry around in every careless hand gesture you make when you talk, even today.
But the true greatness of your love together and the absolute peak of its beauty is that gorgeous 13 year old whose birthday it is today.
Arnav is already frighteningly tall like his beautiful mother. 
I’m guessing a shorter body could not have housed the gigantic generous spirit he inherited from his father. 

Which logically leads me to say that both your great love story and that amazing boy, enter puberty today. 
From hereon, there will be acne. 
There will be the feeling of every feeling like it was invented only for you and put down your throat. 
There will be adventures. 
There will be nights spent staring at the ceiling knowing you're changing with every breath and turning into someone you've never even met. 
There will be an ending to every day knowing that the world being changed by you just existing in it. 

Hold on to all of those feelings, DK.
The world is yours and I’m around to make sure you take a huge bite of it.

Here are a few things I promise you:

To go on holiday with you to Turkey and Greece, 

because all the whirling dervishes in all of the world, had no twist in their movement that could match that infectiously happy curve of your smile.

To be the madness in your life. 

Because taking it seriously and softly will get us to the same place as dancing and moon-walking through it will.

To always be there for Arnav’s birthday.

So I can watch your love and that beautiful boy go from puberty to adulthood. Only the very lucky get to sit on the sidewalk, pop a beer and simply soak in the unmistakable glow of watching love grow.

To never fail to yell at you when you ditch me for plans. 

I’m not above calling your mother to cross check your excuse next time.

To chase rain and drive through it, like only we do

Always wondering if our car can outrun the raindrops falling just ahead. 

To sing Alanis Morisette songs out loud to you. 
For when life tries to be bigger than we are and you need reminding that you're the girl from Hand In My Pocket.

To make sure you’re up to date with my sparkling literary inventions like “scrotchers”- men who scratch their crotch.

To fill your heart with all kinds of love. 

It will not even be a smidge of what Sumitabh has given you, but I promise that it will flood spaces in your body and heart, that you didn’t even know you had.

Happy Arnav’s Birthday. It's a beautiful day today.

All my love,

                               (The really lovely Diya with the birthday boy Arnav from several years ago. 
                               Picture shared by: Shweta).

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you. The love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: )

Monday, 8 June 2015

To You, Emma from June 5

(Back-story: This To You request didn’t make its way to me per usual. After Berlin Art Parasites first featured my poem, I became friends with Jovanny Ferreyra, then editor and curator of the site, now magic-weaver and owner of The Artidote  (the internet is a strange and beautiful place- most of which depends on your search history) Jovanny told me about a young girl EC who’d written to him at The Artidote, a day after attempting suicide. She described in a terse, beautiful note- how she did it, why she failed and everything she thought of after. JF, wanting to do something more for her, asked me to write her a letter. And how could I not?
This letter is for her. I cannot imagine what it must be like to hope to never wake up.
I can't imagine now knowing and not trying to send her stories of unicorns and funny e-links and old CDs of Louis Armstrongs classic.)

To You,
Emma On June 5

Friday seemed like a good day to do it. There are millions who live for the weekend. You decided you’d stop on one.
It’s tough when your insides don’t match your outsides. It’s even worse when your own breathing refuses to get on board with what the rest of you has planned for the day. There you are, on June 5th, breathing normally. Just like everyone else, only different.

Take a second and soak in its rhythm. Close your eyes and feel part of the grand orchestra. 
One count in and two counts out. 
Each time your breath is caught or you exhale too sharply, you’ll know it’s because you’ve reached a new bridge in the song the Universe has got cranked up, real loud on it’s radio.

The thing about wanting to kill yourself isn’t want of a grand dramatic exit from stage.
It’s a quiet disappearing.
It’s what the girl in the magician’s box feels before the big reveal- darkness all around and wanting to close your eyes and opening them only to nothingness. Maybe even get a gasp from the audience. No blood, no gore. Just a quiet, soft, empty imprint in the space your body used to fill.

So you take a lot of the pills your shrink recommended and cut your left wrist several times.
Your body is the real estate you’ve lived in - you’re cutting the lease short. You’re not hysterical, you’re not detached. Even here, you’re you, in all your beautiful, awkward glory. You think about people you’ve loved the most, noticing then in that moment, that there is still no sequential hierarchy around love. You don’t wonder about the funeral arrangements your family will make. Or all the big milestones you’ll miss once you’re gone- grad school and change of presidents and first kisses and pets you could’ve had and marriage and discovering new favourite restaurants. They all hold hands and slip into the nothingness with you.
There’s just you in the magicians box, the weight of the lid above you, a lead coated darkness and anticipation of the big release.

You wake up at 4 in the afternoon. Heavy, drugged and confused about why you didn’t die.

You call your friend and make plans for dinner. On the way there, you stop at a pharmacy and buy gauze pads to cover the scars on your left wrist. You remember the hot dogs your mother loves so much, you pick her up a few from the 7/11.

At dinner, you notice you’re breathing just the same again. Like nothing happened. Your body continuing to take up space, defiantly and naturally.

You tell your mom what you tried to do.
You understand now what it means to see pain calligraphed across the face of someone you love. That makes you want to kill yourself even more. You don’t appreciate this irony. You hear what they said about you at Medical Technology- how your frame of mind is too weak to take the course. They forget that your body fought the biggest act in the magicians show. No weak novice can do that. The medical technology board doesn’t realise that you’re weak but armed with a mad, throbbing desire to fight.

A fight you wage everyday in little post-it-notes tacked to a light brown cork board in your room. Scraps of blue, pink and yellow flutter and break the dead air that sometimes hangs low. Scraps of Rilke, Grayson and Einstein, scrawled in your meticulous writing.

They’re all really saying the same thing. 
That the seven billion people around the world are breathing in and out a song the Universe has cranked up, real loud. Each time someone stops breathing, the music changes a genre. So breathe in and breathe out.

Get your mom her favourite hot dogs every Tuesday, twice a month. Lightly touch the paper soft skin around your wrist. Trace verses of your favourite poems around the scars. Fight for your seat in Medical Technology. Destroy rituals that mean nothing to you. Flip burgers, if that makes you happier. Allow yourself to be lost from time to time, and whenever you find yourself in the magician’s box again, remember that it’s an illusion and you can get out. Own the space your body really takes up. Wiggle your shoulders and know that this movement alone caused a dolphin to kiss another, somewhere around the Indian Ocean. When the world and everything in it becomes too much to take, put all your faith into astronomy. Lie on your back, stare at the stars and pick out the one you’ll move to and rule on. Make a manifesto and add Hugging as the official currency. And then think about what Rilke was trying to tell you:

Don’t let the expanse subsume you. Breathe in and Breathe out, knowing that you’re making music. You’re part of a jazz quartet, you and I we both are Emma, and the world wants to rock to that, for our entire lifetime to come.

Still Breathing Emma

      (My fav Banksy work. A copy of this has been hanging in my bedroom since I lived in a dorm in london)

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you. The love letter can go with real names, back stories, as many pictures as you like, aliases and even super powers.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion. Give me a shout at: )

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

To You,Tigger

(Back-story: Each one of my close friends can attest that the one candle-lit protest I would attend at India Gate would be for monogamy. Stories of cheating and betrayal upset me more deeply and perhaps more irrationally than they do other people.
 It's because of this that this was such a hard letter to write. This and how a 50 year old woman from Bombay laid bare, visceral and un-pretty details about her life with humour and majestic ease. Details that she wore like Balmain badges of honour and style on her jacket. This may not be a popular To You letter, but it takes all kinds of stories to make up love stories and we only barely understand the ones we ourselves star in.)

To You

Bright red shorts should be banned at gyms. Those and too smooth men out to break hearts.

That’s my first memory of you. The time I want to run back to and stop anything more from happening. Maybe I want to change gyms, maybe I never want to speak to you and maybe I  want to succumb to your niceness once more, just like I did back then.

When you’re divorced and a single mum with a kid struggling to make it on your own in a city like Bombay, after cash the other currency you tend to run low on is kindness and trust. That’s how you won me over, Tigger- with uncharacteristic kindness.
You were 32, I was 44. It started with a phone call and friendship. I was palpably lonely and wondering at which birthday would people just start to decorate my aloneness with candles and ask me to cut it like a cake.

You were married, working out at our gym, wearing red shorts and amazed at how a woman my age could lift so well. I was bruised by life, standing tall and beautiful at 44. 

A single mother who’d become used to going it alone, until you came around and reminded me how heady, luscious and addictive dependency could be. 
You’d think that at our age we’d skip the talking for hours on the phone stage? But that’s where we laid our best foundation- the one that we’re ripping apart right now. Who said earthquakes were not man made?

You were married/

Your marriage was empty/

She didn’t laugh like me/

She didn’t look like me

It reads like a bad rap song here. It felt like tired, old lines when you said them to me, back then.
But when has knowing better, stopped anyone from falling into love?

And when has falling into love, protected you from being split open across the gut with a rust-embellished knife, each time you saw on Facebook, the man you loved holding someone else?
I’ve memorized our faces- yours, mine and hers. I had to. I’ve seen the slope of your thick fingers curve along her waist and I’ve known far too well what that warm hand feels like. I've always wondered if ownership added more heat.
I’ve hated the triangle you made me a part of.
I’ve hated more when you tried to cut me out of it.
I’ve loved even when I was a knobbly point , isolated and far removed within the triangle.
I’ve loved even when ‘we’ seemed to be just a fantastical construct of my imagination. 
And between the loving and hating, I’ve lived out six years that were lynched with longing and waiting.

Phone calls, your interest and our love petered out in cliché patterns. I was a woman once so wanted by you that I wasn’t allowed to hang up even to change my clothes. I was the one you’d wake up at 3am to whisper goodnight to while you were in a different time zone on family vacation, the one you’d talk to in code language and under an alias on Twitter to someone you now can’t travel from Nasik to see unless we’re counting the 4 times in a year you want to come home.

Baby, there’s no romance in drama when you’re my age.
But baby, having a broken heart still cuts as fucking deep. 

(Isn't that how the kids would say it?)

Don’t worry or feel sorry for me, darling. I’ve walked hard and proud alone. 
I’ve left a marriage and parents who didn’t want me to leave the marriage, I’ve watched the son I gave everything up for almost walk away. I’ve watched the beauty I held proudly, succumb and crumble to an illness and avalanche of steroids. 
I’ve learnt that a single mum is a liability for couple friends, romantic situations and a job. But through it all, I’ve never forgotten how to love.

Mothers worry for their daughters when they're 16 and 18. They worry for reckless mistakes their daughters can make, like falling in love with slick men who will hurt them and break their hearts.
But that’s the thing, Tigger, mothers need to realize they shouldn’t stop worrying about this, even when their daughter is 50.

Yours Defiantly,

(Author’s note: the client’s pet name Siggy was derived from her college pet name- Sigmund Freud. The time she was happiest and believed in love, "like you in your blog", she told me. "Don't ever lose that", she also told me.)

                                       (Gorgeous picture reblogged from this Tumblr account)

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion.
Give me a shout at: )

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Lessons #2392

        (These are my Instagram writings from the account @hyperbolemuch)


An Ode To Butterflies (In My Stomach)

I gave birth to mass populations of you
With each razor-sharp, 
Puddle-shallow breath in
And breath out.
The first time I had a crush.

I’ve nursed families and tribes of you,
Every time I’ve really
Really liked someone,
And they walked by 
And said “hi” to me.

I’ve held baby showers for you,
Given you names, like “ImDying Inside”
There’s, “OhMyGod DidWeJustMakeEyeContact”
And, “OhMyGod” “OhMyGod Junior”, “OhMyGod Senior”

Like needy, rowdy kids you’ve,
Raised hell with your fluttering around.
Pressing your downy, feathery bodies 
Hard into the anxious lining of my stomach,
Each damn time 
I even try to play it cool.

Just before I’m about to speak
The beating of your wings
Drowns out the sound of 
Blood in my veins,
And I forget how society,
Usually responds to “Hi”.

Restless kids, you’re out of control
And sometimes take up so much room,
I forget to eat.
And drink too fast.

Which is why I wonder why people
Say you’ll soon be extinct.
Don’t they know I’ve hidden colonies of you,
Deep inside 
The caves of my stomach?

Age be damned,
You’re how I’ll know at 60
That I’m young and alive.

(Picture credit @ballerinaproject_) 


And no one ever told you 
That being young meant
A folding inside,
Starting over,
Stopping swiftly,
Inhaling shyly,
Exhaling frantically 
And letting go

Always four seconds too soon.

                       (Gorgeous picture composition by @ballerinaproject_ with the lovely @katieboren1)




I took your idea of beauty and smeared my freckles over it. I took the conditions you placed on love and smudged  the "You Sign Here" space with my bleeding heart. 
Straight across. 
I bought expensive art and ran a magic marker in three different squiggles, symmetrically around its edges. 
I took this world, broken and bent and hopeful and taught it how to wear its organs inside out, to prevent being misunderstood. 
I made it all mine.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

To You, Mr I Do

(Back-Story: Love comes in all sorts of sticky balloon shapes. My favourite love is what's shared between two friends. This letter request is from a girl who wants to write a love letter to her ‘First Best Friend Ever’s’ husband. Part warning, part testimony and mostly heart – this made me miss all the goofs who are my home and friends).

To You
Mr I Do,

This letter is not to stake claim. Though if I wanted to, I hope you know I’d win.

I've known her since she was a single-digit-something munchkin; when the girl who today prefers blue cheese to gorgonzola and screws up her nose at badly prepared spaghetti would happily eat ten day old, frosting hardened cake sitting in her refrigerator, just because it was birthday cake.

That’s the thing about history, you earn a piece of their life and heart by just sitting next to them and counting together the years flying by. 

Like when we were seven and would whisper to each other about Santa Claus and the Christmas presents we would get. She found out before me that there was no Santa Claus and it was a parent constructed conspiracy. She told me the next day at school in the kindest way possible. HR Departments across the world could learn how to break bad news from this eight year old.

We’ve shared Barbie dolls, traded dreams of being ballerinas then cardiologists then scientists inventing things then teachers to finally settling for The Best Adults That Ever Lived. We’ve been the first one (just when the balloons were being blown) at each other’s birthday party and the last to leave. The ones who weren’t shy around each other’s parents or private property, for that matter.
You think your fights have been bad? 
Try being nine and fighting with your best friend and spending all of lunch hour contemplating whether to talk to her so you can go get ice cream together, or to sulk because no one can sulk like a nine year old. 9 year olds don’t know about compromise, it’s hard to learn and execute what you can’t spell very well. Loneliness is acute when you cannot share everything that happened in your school day with your best friend. First during the day itself and then straight after, as soon as you get home, on a phone call.  Life is always lived in the details.

You might think you’ve been there for her through tough times, but nothing beats being there for each other when you’re turning into an awkward teenager, and trust me there are no other kinds. Treating her rabid crush on Leonardo Di Caprio solemnly and with respect even though the person sharing how they felt was sitting next to you wearing a Tshirt with a rubber print of Leo from Titanic. 

That’s hard and that’s true love.

Our friendship survived many years, moves to different cities, multiple bad judgements in boys and first drinks. She had her first kiss before me at her new school and promptly sent sent me a detailed email explaining how it’s done and how to tell if it was good. 

“If you’ve got slobber all over your face, I'm afraid that may not be a good sign”, she stated plainly in that quiet wise manner she should be world famous for. We traded pictures (actual pictures, not email attachments) of new houses and new friends. We wrote to each other about vacations, school programs and our Great Plans for the future. 

Which is why, even though I was in a different timezone, she called me the day after you proposed to her. She was especially crabby and cranky, she told me. “Were you hungry or stressed out because nothing was going according to plan?” I asked. As expected, she was better after you wisely got her a sandwich and over the moon when you asked her to marry you.

Here’s where I step in and why I’m writing this letter to you. Unlike other friends I’m not going to hurl around vague statements like “If you break her heart, I will hurt you.” I will instead tell you how to take care of her- because no one exists in her life who she hasn’t looked after, from the same room or sometimes even from miles away. 

Get her to stop worrying and to give that ridiculously large heart of hers a rest. She’s good at being an adult but trust me she’s even better at being a kid, remind her of that often enough.
Make sure she’s happy and laughing every night, because there may not exist a fuller laugh you or I will hear.
Insist that she go out with her girlfriends ever so often, because she’s happiest after dancing and she needs to give her relationship with the electric blanket a rest.
When she’s PMS-ing put on Titanic, she’ll pretend to hate it but will cry nonetheless. Don't look at her then.
Be the person who sometimes says No on her behalf. She stretches herself too thin. If she had her way, she would try and solve all of the worlds problems on an idle Tuesday in May.
Find out what books she’s reading – that will give you a good idea of what vacation to plan for her next.

Come visit me the next time she’s coming here, so that I can get to know and love the man that she loves so completely.

In the Age of Bae, I can never forget the fortress of innocence around our friendship which moulded and kneaded me into the grown-up that I am.
We’re both still running for Best Adult That Ever Lived but if you promise to never tell her- she won this a long time ago.

P.s: If you break her heart, I’ll have to find you and hurt you, your car and your playstation.

Best Adult That Ever Lived #2

                                     (This adorable picture, from here)

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion.
Give me a shout at: )

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

To You~ Mr Ok TaecYeon

(Back-Story: A second letter to a student in Manila, Phillipines. This one is special because it’s strange and eerie- like all beautiful things tend to be. Miss October 22nd, as she insisted on being called, is in love with Ok TaecYeon, a Korean singer and superstar.
She described to me in a long letter, how she felt and why even though no one understood, it wasn’t a crush, an obsession or her being star struck. It was love. Actual, true, real love and I got it, didn’t I? She asked.
I got it as much as you can ever get a stranger’s affinity to their object of affection, you nod and smile at the bits where you recognize things you've felt, everything else remains strange and eerie- which is to say what I said before- it’s beautiful )

To You
Mr Ok TaecYeon,

There’s nothing stranger than the people we choose to love. Ask your friends; they will always have an opinion on how you can do better/different or sometimes not at all. To me that’s how loving you for so long has felt on the outside--strange, comical, sometimes absurd and often a conspiracy by my hormones. But at its core, it’s a quiet, living, breathing thing. One that I own completely and hold close to my chest during windy, too quiet nights.

The other complex and frustrating thing is trying to explain why you fell in love with someone. Especially if you’ve fallen in love with a 26 year old South Korean superstar, rapper, singer, dancer and entrepreneur. Especially if he gets more than a hundred letters a day, mostly by girls confessing their love to him. It’s complex and frustrating then, navigating words like ‘crush’ , ‘starstruck’, ‘fangirl’ and ‘just 22’.

But I should start at the very beginning, which ironically was an end for me. In 2012, I found out that the boy I had loved for five long years had been cheating on me with my best friend. A fact straightforward enough to fit into one simple sentence but so complex that it singed the barely 20 year old world I had built, into bitter, grey ash.
In a desperate, tired attempt to cheer me up, my friend insisted I watch Korean dramas to distract myself. So I picked one where you were acting with Soo Hyun and nothing’s been the same since.

Over the next seamless days and nights, as I watched all the episodes, I fell simply and completely in love with you. Obviously, I headed to Google to get to know you better.
Perhaps I was hoping that you’d turn out to be a serial killer or a jailbird star so I could roll my better knowing 22 year old eyes at your Wiki page, move on and go to sleep. But you were an Honours Society member at Bedford High, a Math, Spanish and Chess club member, admitted to med school in the US but stayed back to become a trainee at an entertainment company in Korea. 

You had kind eyes, killer dance moves and a smile which made my heart dissolve into my bloodstream and take up permanent position near my stomach. Inside my stomach, my heart rented a trampoline and used it to make me giddy every time I saw you on different kpop music videos.

There’s an old Goo Goo Dolls love song lyric which goes:

I’ll be your crying shoulder
I’ll be love’s suicide
I’ll be better when I’m older,
I’ll be the greatest fan of your life.

The word 'fan' has been stretched into funny balloon animal shapes for so long that it's lost it's original meaning. It means nothing more than observing, supporting, loving another life. Often there's a lot of clapping and hooting involved.

I know I’ve loved you hard and fierce and strong because loving you made me want to excel. It made me work harder, even though I had lost my dream of becoming a cardiologist. I became stronger even as your love heat-softened my bitterness inside. I did well in academics and found a place on the Dean’s list. I was happier now and not constantly fractured and rubbing my hands over a scabbed, internal wound and heartache.

Only the giddiness of new love is a fix-it cream to the battle scars of old relationships gone terribly wrong.

Somewhere around then, you and your band decided to tour my country. Never before had I been more acutely aware of the importance and urgency of money (9000 php with extra for airfare because I lived in the province). This is a good time to tell you about the role irony plays in my life. 
I suffer from tachycardia (a medical condition where your heart rate medically exceeds the normal heart rate). 
Learning that my dad would help me out with the tickets and I would finally see you did not help my condition at all.
Neither did buying VIP tickets to the concert and standing near the front.
Neither did the fact that when you and your band came towards the standing arena and handed out stuffed toys, you threw one in my direction, and because my limbs and mind seemed to be on strike on the day, I couldn’t even pick it up.

Somewhere today there is a Japanese girl who has a toy which belongs to me.

 Between my thesis submission and duty breaks I’d found the time to sow you a pillow with a message, thankfully my limbs coordinated long enough for me to throw that onto the stage. You picked it up, and a guard pointed me out to you, and you smiled the slowest, softest smile that made the air around me feel like warm, sticky caramel. 

Everyday life spun back into focus, sharper and faster than I wanted it to. But I held hands and danced with it, so quick on my feet that you’d be proud. 

I won international awards for my thesis project, presented it in front of an audience and decided to sit and excel the Nursing Board Exams (the most difficult exams in my country). On July 27, I passed and placed in the Top 20.
I flew to Hong Kong to see you, and stood with fans at the airport where you saw me and said hi. 

Hi! Hi! It became my favourite word for the next few months. I'd take my time saying it to people I met. Hi!

Which brings me to today, and this letter. You must receive thousands of these, but this is my act of bravery and needing you to understand that I'm not just starstruck. That I may have been a school girl and on first name basis with the butterflies in my stomach, but I have loved deeply and silently.
You may, like some of my friends, assume that this is an infatuation.

But here’s what I know:

I know that loving you made me heal from a fracture which seemed to be tattooed onto my heart.
You made me want to be a superhero.
I may love again and soon, but loving you made me happier.

And isn’t that what everyone is striving for, anyway?

Your Biggest Fan,
Miss October 22nd.

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten/typed on a typewriter and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion.
Give me a shout at: )

                                  (Image of the Korea Festival. From the Internet)

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

To You~ My Girl With The Questions

(Back-Story: Unlike so many others, I don't despair at rules of marriage which so many around us re-makeand re-define everyday. Countless friends, found people they loved and careers they wanted to shine at and often both these things were in separate geographies, underlined by separate latitudes. That's the thing with wanting to have it all, it's hard, takes effort, sacrifice and sometimes an old school handwritten birthday letter to remind you of a kind of magic that Snapchat and WhatsApp can't. Love is goofy, frustrating and riddled with questions, no matter what side of the GMT you're on.)

To You
Mansi Bhagwat Malhotra,

Analytics Geometry uses an xy plane formula to calculate it. I discarded that immediately. Although it might have worked for centuries on everyday objects and everyday people, it wasn't for us babes. There’s nothing everyday about you and I.

I considered then, the generalisation formula that Euclidean distance uses (for higher dimensional objects) which factors in space and time. While this was closer, it didn't in anyway completely contain, define or explain how distance can simultaneously be about multiple things and one singular ache and longing. How could I have known you since the fall of (2009), been married to you since February(2014), eaten bagels with you at Pamela's in Pittsburgh (2010), been away from you for 7 weeks now and still stand in my bathroom every morning staring at my hair products wondering if none of the time chronicled above had happened, would I have ever learnt to put the cap back on my hair product on my own?

Think about it, can the Euclidean formula determine exactly how I could be in the middle of a meeting in Gurgaon sitting across a client who is asking me about scalable opportunities and be suddenly and grippingly reminded of how you have the unique talent to test my patience by asking me the same question, a million different ways? A talent I find adorable and appalling, depending on which side of my morning coffee I am. How strangely, now that you're in Manhattan and I'm in Gurgaon I would rather fill the silences of each day that we’re apart with that same question, asked a hundred different ways.

Did the Greeks, while computing the formula, take into account that my wife, while geographically 462,500,000 inches away from me, is somehow less than 4 inches away each time I'm about to take a bad decision? Or how her raised eyebrow and trademark smirk can feel whisper-close when I'm telling new friends our story and embellishing it? Admit it babes, you would have doodled my name across every wooden surfaces of CMU had I turned my charm on completely. Or how sometimes, after a really rough day when I'm an ironical inch or two away from sleep, I can almost watch the smell of your skin soak into the sheet on the bed and I forget how time-zones were meant to work.

I decided next, to approach this distance problem with scepticism, using the age old method of disbelieving my own hypothesis and embracing chaos theory, hoping for a breakthrough. If someone were to observe our culinary conquests, they'd detect a similar pattern. 

You and I, we’re proud of never having gone to any restaurant more than once. We’re the culinary revolutionaries of our generation which makes me think, love, that this is what I want to spend my lifetime doing with you- Starting our own revolution, winning wars at work and quoting Fight Club whenever we get a chance. 
Ok, so maybe that last one is just me, but you’re the other half of everything else. 
The half of a marriage, which right now may not resemble everyone else’s, but will beat theirs one day. Yes, you may interrupt me to remind me that everything is not a competition. But it might as well be, given that I found my teammate and we’re prepped for battle, cake, adventures and victory. 

Happy Birthday, to my constant and the one thing in our ever changing plans- of travel, where to eat, when to meet and which one of us is right- that steadies me, anchors me and keeps me busy working on drafts of the speech that we will need to use when the world is finally ours.


(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten/typed on a typewriter and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion.
Give me a shout at: )

                                                   (Because stamps were art)

Monday, 13 April 2015

Lessons# 8768

             (These are my Instagram writings from the account @hyperbolemuch)


Of all the Sundays
I spent in bed,
My favourite were
The ones I
Slow-danced with you, 
In my head.

You curved my back 
and dipped me low,
Unconditioned ends of my hair 
brushing the floor.
Free-spun the orange smeared
Evening and pulled her
Between our entangled limbs.
Nursing and keeping
6oclock alive, 
Than it was advised.

Don't worry darling;
The city never noticed,
They were too busy 
Running their errands.

(Picture credit: The heartbreaking account @ballerinaproject with the gorgeous @sarahjjames)


I'll twist my body
Into a question mark.
I'll bend over
As soft as a sigh.
I'll turn myself
Organs out,
All for Love. All for Love.
And the only way,
Love will take me down
Is mid-dance.

(Picture credit: @ballerinaproject)


Fire may sear and brand your skin, but it's winter that slithers into the caves of your bones. At first snowflakes tingle and taste warm on your tongue, while icy winds lick secrets onto your ear. And then one day, you wake up having no memory of how to care about disease, starvation, heartache or anything other than the wretched temperature outside your window.

(Picture credit: Pictured above is New Jersey. Shot by my talented friend @kloseframe)

(For more, find me on Instagram: @hyperbolemuch)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

To You~From The Girl Who Didn't Look Away

(Back-Story: This is the second To You letter to make its way outside India. This request came from a 23 year old girl currently living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Over more than 10 email exchanges and I still struggled to understand how she's sustained and lived with a love for five years, having met her partner only three times. It made me wonder about the ease with which we slip in and out of love and dating, here where we so easily can.
I think about the countless couples out on dates staring into their smartphones, completely unaware if the colour of the sky matches their lover's trousers.)

To You,
My North Star

Sometimes remembering takes you back to beginnings. Sometimes it takes both your arms by their wrists and spins you around in circles so fast that you're dizzy, giddy and on the ground laughing and then crying.

I first started re-living our story when I began emailing a stranger in New Delhi, asking if she could write to you on our 5th anniversary this month. I considered doing it myself but I didn’t know where to start. So I let remembering and her questions lead the way.

An email questionnaire was promptly filled out, spelling out neatly in Helvetica facts and truths of our time together. It was only when she replied incredulously, asking me more questions, that I realized how very few around the world crash into love, in the slightly odd manner, that we did. 

I paused before I told her that we had only met thrice in these last five years. 
The first time I was wearing a complete niqaab and all my fears, exhilaration, doubt and manically beating heart in the soft crevices of my mouth. I can paint that day into nature like detail and describe in hundreds of haikus, the ink-dipped blue sky outside which matched conspiratorially the colour of the blue jeans and black kurta that you wore. 
Do people who meet multiple times a week, drink in as if parched, every seam of what their lover wears?

Her email reply took a while coming this time. Was she trying to remember maybe, what she wore the first time she met someone special? 

I ignored her next question and wrote back instead, to tell her about that one time you dreamt of me in a black abaya with splashes of maroon on its edges.
I bought one identical to your description the following week and wore it the next two times we managed to see each other. Times when I couldn’t say a single word to you, but you let me win at air hockey anyway. Times when I first noticed the dark mole on your chin and lush, thick, black eyelashes which were hooded curtains to a gaze I can still feel upon my skin. 

Memories are strange devices. I’ve seen you three times but your face, how you walk, your light, sparse beard is branded somewhere on the inside of my forehead. All I need to do is close my eyes.

That’s what I did, my love, closed my eyes and saw you again and again.

I think she had trouble moving beyond the wonder of how little we had actually met. She wanted to know if it was tough not dating how most other people in the world do. This time my reply was instant. 

I’m not sure how people in the rest of the world do it. Yes, they’re lucky they get to watch movies and experience daily life with people they love without being married to them, but not having any of it made me realise how little I needed those things. 

Yes, love can be constructed around dates and seeing each other, around living together and being married but it can equally and as strongly be constructed around a voice, a sigh and a constant presence. Around picking up and reading books together, in different places but at the same time. 
It can be built around growing up together but mostly it can be planted inside faith. Isn't that what love is and has been through time – an extension of faith? Faith in a feeling. Faith in your heart. And faith in someone, who a few years ago was a stranger. If seeing and hanging out with the person you loved, was the only marker of its presence then Sufi saints would never be able to dance in such geometric, careless abandon for a God they never met over coffee.

And that made me think of faith. How it can be cement-strong and turn wafer thin within moments. How sometimes longing can smear your day with a metallic aftertaste that nothing gets rid of easily. I think back then, to the days when you were studying in England, surrounded by girls you could meet easily, everyday. That in an upside down turn of events, it was around that time when my faith in you was unshakeable. How now that we're in the same city, minutes away, almost nothing or a turn of a mood can make me question so much.

I’m anchored in you, my love, the way people are anchored in dreams, addictions, careers and endless chases. You make me safe in a world full of bombings and senselessness. Of the three times we met, I remember the time it was your birthday, “Just keep looking at me, everything is fine.” you told me.

Till today I’m not sure if it would have been fine had I looked away. Would people have noticed? Would I have broken the trust of my family? Would that have caused the collapse of everything? Even armies couldn’t have wrenched my gaze away from your face that day. 
We saw each other for 182 seconds. That was the first instance I hated time. The second was when we didn’t speak for four months. It's when I learnt that sometimes you can miss someone so sharply it can cut your skin into such intricate patterns that you might as well be mounted on a wall and live out your life as a beautiful carpet.

Why did I want to write this letter, my email stranger asked me. 

To tell you how much I love you, to tell you how long, how hard and how endlessly I’ve waited. To tell you that Time isn't a loyal pet. You could feed it everyday with hopes, dreams, grand plans and schemes. Take it for regular walks to keep it fit and around a schedule. Until one day, from under your feet Time will fitfully change and mutate into an untameable beast and that day all your hopes, dreams and wild plans will seem nothing more than wishful thinking. On days like that, seconds of Time will stretch on like the summer afternoon sun across the sandy desert and all you can do is look up, breathe, wait and believe. 
I want this letter to tell you how much I’ve believed in you, in your work when times were tough, in the velvet calm of your voice which has soothed and caressed my worried, panicked forehead because your hands can't just yet. How much I believe in us even when the days are sums of endless aches. And to tell you that if there is magic in the world.

It is in this. 

It is in this.

The girl who didn’t look away

(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten/typed on a typewriter and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion.
Give me a shout at: )

           (Picture Credit: From my friend and ace photographer @kloseframe on 
This is a writer themed bar, appropriately called Dull Boy as most of these writers turn out to be)

Thursday, 12 March 2015

To You~ My Vintage Man

(Back-Story: A reader of my blog, a mother of two living in Dehradun, wrote to me asking me to write a letter to tell her husband of 17 years how much she misses just talking to him. Writing this made me wonder how often we forget that feeling knows no age.
How our youth obsessed culture blindsides the everyday love of couples who navigate families and the passing of time on each others faces. It made me think of my own parents, my mum who once must have been  a dreamy-eyed 22 year old and my dad who might have been an unsure 25 year old, many many years ago. It made my heart skip a beat).

To You,
My Vintage Man

I think somewhere around the first half of  2001, 18 year olds across the world laid an absolute and complete stake on love. Every song, article and movie seemed to be stitched together for them. I want to blame this either on Mark Zuckerberg or global warming- but my arguments for both are still under construction.

Maybe I understand and remember less sharply how urgent and immediate young love can be.
How time can be warped and stretched like old gum, where days splatter into each other and nights stretch on endlessly awake. How your world can come crashing down one unanswered phone call at a time, when you softly learn that love isn't anything like you expected.
That's when I want to round up all these young lonely hearts and whisper-
"Yes, my darlings love is never going to be like you imagined. On some days it will resemble far too sharply, a stubborn, talented child- one that will go out of its way to be the very opposite of every belief you've held close to your manically beating heart. 
But that's the point of it, my babies, that's the point."

And then when I have their attention I will tell them our love story. Yours and mine. Born without status updates but as as real, as fractured and as filled with hope as the best love stories tend to be. 

A love that has been lived these past 17 years less like a grand, dramatic musical and more like an awkward walrus invited to a formal ballroom party. 
It's quiet, it sometimes doesn't fit the room and it forgot to put a bow-tie on but you can't  deny its presence. The walrus has always been there chewing its dinner and taking up two chairs instead of one.

I want to tell the 18 year olds that more than unreturned texts, sometimes love is stretched to its limits when you're faced with the possibility of loss and the sterilized stench of emptiness trapped inside hospital rooms. When a surgery turns traumatic and you're lying in bed, unsure if you're ever going to wake up. When your otherwise uncommunicative husband insists on relentlessly reiterating to the disbelieving doctors that something with his wife is seriously wrong. That his sheer presence and will is what helps you not slip into a coma.

Love my darlings, I'll whisper, is living together, sharing a room and a life and still struggling to talk. Trying to form the right words but knitting scarves of silences around each others necks instead. 
Trying to find a way to urgently tell him that his roughened, callous-speckled hands when placed on my shoulder still make my heart skip a beat. That he doesn't place his hands on my shoulder the same way anymore. 
That did he know that of all our organs, our hearts age the slowest? Despite what we put them through?
That even an argument today about extended family can leave me as shattered and short of breath as a lonely New Years Eve night can make you kids feel. 
That I never got to share how I felt and sometimes I have felt too much, too long and for so many years that the language I know is not enough.

That loving a man who isn't afraid to admit he's sorry is the easiest thing ever. 
That the same man who apologises so easily never actually wants to discuss what went wrong. That all my researcher instincts come screaming back and I revisit the days of my PhD and want to explain to him in painful detail why it's important that we talk. That it is how I've always unscrambled life and geology- by approaching a problem from every angle and reference point, till the problem itself is transformed.
That there's more hysteria and breakdown in his rigidity and structure than there is in chaos and free-falling.

'A Comparative Study Delineating The Importance of Just Talking'

The research title for the paper is already imprinted in my head.

How did we get here, you kids must be wondering and do we have an emoticon to fix it? 
Darlings, it started at 18. Once I was 18 too. 
A lithe, bronzed, beautiful girl who in every dance whirled with more purpose than empty movement. Her aquiline nose held up with pride because she recognised herself before lesser assured adults did.
Do you remember this now, my vintage man?
A girl you married and loved enough to travel across cities for, each time a birthday, anniversary or lonely Tuesday would come around. A girl and boy who got married and replicated themselves into two beautiful 14 year old twins. 

That despite the children and the history, sometimes the present feels tattooed and pierced with yearning and longing- to go back in time, to have you look at me and talk to me like when we were as shiny and hopeful as our ideals. To remember a 21 year old boy and an 18 year old girl before we became smudged with definitions of husband, wife, mother, daughter-in-law, niece and caretaker.

To talk again. To drill a hole through the undulating mountain-range of unsaid things which now lie between us. To know that it's not too late, to turn time around.  
It's March after all and the beginning of summer- that time of the year when old hearts hope the hardest.


(To You is a letter writing project I started because there are not enough letters and love going around. If you have something to say with love-- for your ex girlfriend, you current husband, pizza (promise not to make it cheesy), your landlord who let you skip rent or even Ryan Gosling-- I'll write that letter for you.
The final letter will be up on my blog and a copy will be handwritten/typed on a typewriter and posted to you or to an intended recipient. Kisses on the envelope only on my discretion.
Give me a shout at: )

 (Pictured here: Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart married from 1945 to Bogarts death in 1957. The story goes that when Bogart passed away at just 57 he was buried with a small, gold whistle that had been a part of a charm necklace he gave "Baby" (Lauren), It was inscribed from a quote from the very first movie they worked in together. It read: If you want something, just whistle.
Bacall died last year at 89.)