Between Pages and Places

Since November – time’s just swished passed by me. One day I was excited about moving to Pune and the next day – I was to continue here in Chennai. You dream things, sew them in a fabric with minute details leaving space for the things to come. And sometimes you don’t get to complete it, just yet. So you fold it and keep it in a trunk for another time, perhaps and pick up a new piece. Its been some time since then and many good-bad-crazy things have happened.

I’ve begun reading again, writing bits of poetry, sketching in odd corners of journals, walking to places I’ve never had time to give a second look, stalking beautiful buildings with gardens and things like that – things I’d lost touch with. And sometimes that messes your head up. I went back to college for the viva and got to get back to the good times  with the girls. Its interesting how we change – within a couple of months. Some looked different but were the same; some looked the same but were a changed person. Towards some I felt the same warmth and towards some – I just began to see them in a new light. I spent an entire week in Bengaluru – soaking up the winter sun, binge-watching horror movies with my cousins, riding under the night sky with the winter breeze blowing against us and making plans that never quite materialized. And just when I thought I was having a great week-off, things happened that I can’t quite elaborate upon. Things like these really show you who you are  and where you stand. Unnerve you. Tear you enough for you to breakdown behind trees and sit on steps before thresholds wondering what to do next now that you don’t want to go inside. It passed. I understood things and learned that I needed to accept some realities.

The most beautiful things happened, too. I’ve begun reading like I used to before but the books are different. Galadriel’s chants have been replaced by Abeer Hoque’s poetry, dragon-riders no more reside on my shelves – there are letters of love exchanged by an artist and a poet sitting atop Jane Austen’s finest. More Indian authors than fantasy-fiction. More depth, more tears, more black and white photos of things of the past, more feeling, more originality, more questioning, more understanding, little vanity, more secrets than messages and well, more insight. A lot more and yet, a lot less.

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(I’m listening to Whitney’s No Woman and have discovered these new bands called Oh Wonder ; Hibou; Foxes in Fiction and Low, as I write. Yes, that’s a lot of distraction, I know but its music, come on.)

I’ve made correspondence with some delightful people. Friends from my childhood, friends from college who I never got a chance to know better and a friend with a mind so beautiful that I want to pique it tirelessly. Their stories, my stories, our stories and everything else around us have kept me pleasantly busy. I’ve come to realize that there are really people who love things I love and see them in a way that tells stories that others can’t hear. People who see the way I do, even deeper, I believe. How I’d wish to get lost with them and go to the places we only talk about. Collecting antiques, savoring moments spent walking by beautiful street- scapes, gazing at old-houses endlessly – just being. Its wonderful to hear similar stories from a mind that’s different from everyone else and yet so familiar. When you think a little differently from others around you it so happens that you either feel a tad bit lost or try to be someone who mixes with the crowd. Either ways, you’re missing out on being yourself. But when you meet someone whom you could tell what you think knowing they’d understand – you’re liberated in a way. You’re being yourself. Alas, time makes sure I don’t pester that mind too much.

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Of course, I’ve been narcissistic here. My city suffered deep blows this entire past month. From standing in queues, penniless, to being blow away by a cyclone and losing a gem of a Leader. All said and done, the city is beginning to frown upon Decembers because of all the ghastly surprises it brings with it year after year. But then the clock never stops and we still stand in queues and stock up on candles and instant-noodles at the slightest spotting of dark clouds. We move as does the year.

Hopefully, in my next post I’ll share with you some poetry I’ve under-lined (I used a pencil so don’t frown at me) in my new books and a more interesting read. Christmas looks promising and so does New Year (Family-friends are throwing a bash at their place – a home I love because its got certain spaces that I can’t stop talking about). And there is the Birthday on the first Saturday of the year (is that somehow supposed to make it more cheerful? Or is this just a sly reminder to all you, readers?)

Hope you’re all doing well, so far. Give 2016 a chance – there’s still a week left. Great things can happen, yeah?  Happy Holidays!

Arrividerci.

I’m in Chennai

Enslaved by internet speed and storage-space in mobile phones and devices such. That’s what life has come to. Office got over a while ago but here I am waiting for In Which Annie Gives… to buffer. Yes, that’s what its come to.

So, I thought I’ll visit the space I’ve been meaning to but not getting time (mind frame, actually) to attend to. There’s 8 hours of office and two hours of travel along with 7 hours of sleep. To add to it I joined a short play with well-meaning friends some of whom are serious thespians and actors. I’m just learning, really – experiencing, rather. I was always drawn to the theatre- well, now I’ll really get to know if I make the cut or whether theatre makes the cut for me.

Well if you happen to be in Chennai (or live here) – come catch us live at 7pm  (be there on time because we perform first) – Alliance Francaise, Nungambakkam. Its made with love, really – the other kind, you know. It has a lot of laughter and goof-ups, bajjis and lemon tea behind this play being performed. For me, maybe because of the people I’ve been around with – architects and writers (of sorts) – the Process is always more meaningful than the end. Well that’s what I believe in, for now, because I haven’t really completed anything of importance. Perhaps if I ever get a project (writing, art, audio or whatever) done – I’ll tell you.

Damn, the internet is slow. I’m still here. The office is almost empty.

Well, I hope to see you at the play should you drop by – do say hi. And, I miss my leisurely days, really. And I long  to go back to my hostel-mates and do the things we used to do. I miss my single-bed and the best room-mate, ever who loves cats, books and strangeness alike. We could exist parallel-y, peacefully and interact at a comfortable wavelength without any awkwardness and in these times, that a real miracle, you know. If you happen to read this : I miss you Gurangutan and all our erratic, crazy and lovely times. Making videos, playing with Peter, walking walking walking, eating together, watching favorite movies. You will be my best friend forever – without definition. I hope we stay in touch like our mothers and their best friend in college did. I hope to come there and meet your cats and little brother – go with you to all the places you mentioned. Someday. I have another set of special friends apart from my classmates – the Chicchar Gang. No, I will not translate. Its best left like that. They hailed from Meghalaya, Ranchi and Jamshedpur. And they were my closest friends by the end. I can’t even start telling you our stories. Because, well, not all of them are mine to tell.

Ah, well, Dad inquired why I’m still in office. And its getting dark outside. I must leave now and leave you with patchwork-memories.

 

Unstrapping

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Deserving affection is

now a thing of the past.

What ties we make,

for long, don’t last.

Its not because we cannot

Love to our heart’s content.

Its not that I’ve reached

an exhaustion in feeling.

Its the prejudice and pride

the malice in our mind.

Its the worry of a future

That is incomprehensible.

Its the voices of the people

whom you’ve been allowing

to have a say or at least have an 

opinion, in your life.

 

Its the suffocation of distance.

The pangs of jealousy

The fading of the novelty

that alas, never lasts.

Its the stories of the past

of crisis and betrayal

that keep you from 

taking the leap of trust.

I don’t blame myself 

for feeling the need for

unstrapping Myself from Us

because it was holding me back.

I knew I couldn’t give back

what I’d taken from you:

the reassurance, the trust and 

the implicit love (that I never trusted)

For I know, if both the ends

of the bridges don’t meet

then the two of us

are headed for a fall.

I never stop hoping

for a zesty romance

but it doesn’t have to be a 

person, necessarily, it can

 be a Passion or a Chance.

 

 

Stumbled Upon Myself

You’re lost amidst echoes.

Blood’s pumping into your head.

Crickets sound like people calling out.

Someone’s clapping from afar.

 

Its dark, your thoughts are falling in place.

The broken signals are harmonizing.

You were running away from something.

Work, love, hate, separation, reality, responsibility?

 

Your eyes got fixated upon the sunset.

And your mind was far away

Thinking of the evenings you spent

colouring books and eating with your face.

 

Days when you weren’t actually smiling

for the camera but were just smiling.

Days when you made up stories

about the smallest of incidents.

 

Days when love came naturally.

And people lifted you up with joy.

And you stole extra pieces of cake

and hid under tables, giggling.

 

And somewhere you got lost.

You stopped telling stars stories.

You forgot about imaginary friends.

You don’t feel excited when the sun’s up.

 

You don’t paint your face green.

Yo don’t make paper boats

and set them afloat in drains.

Or write notes to your parents.

 

These memories turned into music

Your footsteps became beats

and suddenly you’re living your past

in your head, like a movie and laughing.

 

You lost your way

while you found yourself.

 

 

 

 

Khwaaish

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The other day I was banging my head against the wall wondering what my dream really is? Is there like, one major dream and then sub-dreams or what?
And I read this from an old blog post, today.

I think I want to intern at various design places…no matter what they design, do theatre, video-log, do a TLC show where I show people places they need to get going to. Visit all the places we stayed in when I was a kid.

Maybe this is a clue. Maybe I should believe in the Universe or listen to the people who love me and step-up my professional game.
Well let’s see. Let’s get done with Thesis, first.

Arrivederci

Floating

Solitary walks – right before dusk settles in the sky. You’ve told nobody where you’re going and neither did anyone ask you a thing when they saw you leave with your shoes on. Probably going to run some errands or buy groceries, they must have assumed. But no, you were on a mission. And it was to accomplish nothing. 

Too many time in a day I catch myself anxious about a future which is nothing but an illusion – a game the mind plays with images floating between dreams and logical projections based upon current realities. Will you have enough money? Will you be able to make enough time for your loved ones while you run behind buses and bosses, alike? Will someone serve you or breakfast or will it forever be coffee-on-the-go? Will you ever have that mounted bookshelf with your collections stacked neatly the way you always dream of it? Will you ever have enough time to appreciate the rain and sing about it on a night that is far from beautiful? Will you have kids you’ll take out for ice-cream on your scooter? Will your partner enjoy the same kind of jazz or will he or she even know the difference? Will you ever feel accomplished or will you accept any sort of regret?

So many questions and one little mind. How is one ever to answer all these queries on one single day. You barely have time to do laundry these days so you cannot worry about ice-creams and kids. Valuable moments are lost while we stitch for the future. But then again you can’t pretend to not care, either. You need some amount of planning – some idea as to what you’ll be doing? Finding a balance is tough but it must be done. And in your way, in your own time. But done,it must be.

But what has to be done now?

Work, yes. You need to till the soil.

But when it gets too monotonous?

Well, that’s when I pitch the wise words of an Architect who we had the good fortune of learning from – Sanjeev Mokashi. He always had words- of wisdom, irony and technique. He had hacks for everything from plotting in AutoCAD to beating procrastination – n infectious disease every student gets affected by at some point or the other. ‘Do design – spend enough time with it – stay immersed. But when you’re bored – take a book and read it or so something that gives you joy. You don’t have to just keep working all the time. But you must remember to get back to it once you’ve been sufficiently entertained’

And that’s what I think I’ll do, too. The coming months have endless hours of work written all over them – with the thesis reaching its completion; reviews being announced; deadlines to apply for internships coming close. 

It is so easy for me to get distracted by instagram posts by Dayanita Singh in Champa Gali swaying to Delhi Sultanate’s reggae tunes or by the Delhiwallah ( Mayank Austen Soofi) who walks around capturing moments otherwise missed. Or just going through pictures from the more colorful lives of celebrities and wonder what they do differently to live life this large. Or I’ll be longing to go back to a point in life where I was happier than I am in my current reality – whatever it is.

So I need to commit to my own diligence and treat myself to a few pages of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (or Jeet Thayil and Gabriel Garcia Marquez who are also sharing the space) when I’m tired of the same thing.

We have to find our own ways to get things done because only then will the wheel move forward. Despite my ardent love for doing absolutely nothing and just lying down dreaming – or eating grapes when its too hot for anything else – I need to find a way to channelize my efforts to accomplish tasks.

And when all this is over – I shall roam the streets of my choice, live the life I yearn for and make more memories as I dream of more distant realities. Forevermore.

(The next post is a tribute to Zaha Hadid – the architect who held onto her whims)

For Bigger Things – Women’s Day

There are people who lose and then there are sour losers. I am not proud of the fact that I belonged to the second category. Always running into new opportunities, making mistakes and moping about it, etcetera. Sometimes I would win and celebrate like there was no tomorrow and if I ever happened to lose I would be a pile of misery sobbing in a corner. Such was the hyperactivity my Mother had to tolerate.

She would always sit next to me, look at my tear-stained face and say, ‘Don’t worry about this one. You’re made for better things,’ and smile.

I never understood what she meant then. I’d always think she was too optimistic for reality. But as life moved on and I actually landed up in good places I realized that if I hadn’t lost that day I’d never tried for the position I succeeded in. Sometimes things just happen (or don’t happen) for a reason. Life is always throwing options at y. Always trust that what you choose is the best. And if you falter remember that you’re probably made for better things and search for enough courage to stand up and walk towards a better horizon. Do not mistake this as escapism because whole-hearted effort has been put in the fruition of a task.

On this woman’s day I’d like to congratulate the spirit of the woman – the woman who creates; who’s asked to adjust because “the world is like this only”; who’s feminism is laughed upon or misunderstood; who’s sensuality is looked down upon as cheap; who’s behavior is judged subjectively; who’s biology is help up against her existence; who’s security depends upon the other gender; who’s freedom is localized; who’s love is taken for granted and who can rule the world if she sets her mind on it.

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Feminism is not a placard you hold in a rally against the people. Its a message- a way of life that needs to be adopted to bridge the gaps (that we all know, exist) be it financially or otherwise; to get out of stereotypical treatment; to face perverts/abusers with the confidence that they should fear their prey; to be able to express without worrying about hurting the male ego; fighting against the chains women have gotten themselves bound into and alas, its not a race. Its not a plea. Its a mindful decision that a person takes towards equality in a broad and holistic sense.

Happy Women’s Day because somebody feels its important to make us feel loved and remind us of our importance when actually it should be a living-breathing-everyday-realization in every home, workplace, public area, road, street and room.

And you cannot expect everyone to change overnight- you need to live by this principle yourself. Stop expecting people to assist you when you can do it yourself. Listen to yourself, use your discretion, analyse what you do. RESPECT YOURSELF AND THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU sans judgement. Give it your best – work with passion. And if you’re unhappy wherever you are- believe that there is a way out and there is a better place.

Dear woman, girl and human reading this: Opportunities come and go but one must give it a try (fairly) and the objective is to have tried and worked for your dream – if it works out, splendid and if it doesn’t, always remember you’re made for better things in life.

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Who.

This is the part of my life where I start understanding who I am. Who I want to become .But there is no saying who I’ll become.

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Its not easy to figure it out in a day, months or now that I come to think of it, years, maybe. Every week I discover something new about myself; the people around me, the potential I have and how it affects the others. Every action reverberates. It brings something new to our life. Like, just last week – though short – I’ve lived through a journey on a brook (were I a little paper boat this sentence would have made much more sense than it does, right now). If you know me then you’d probably have heard the word Thesis at least ten times a day on an average basis. The poor parents, close friends, roommate and partner go through much worse. All they hear about is : Thesis. So much so that my Dad doesn’t discuss anything else, he is attuned to my nature- keeping track of my progress and encouraging me in whatever way he can including the occasional hearing to remind me a theater play or a movie should not be my focus and that I should start focusing on also getting an internship. Parents are farsighted. That’s probably why I’m in a college and getting to write this post, right now. The point being – when you start becoming more vulnerable (and this is purely by choice – a shade of mindfulness, maybe?) to the things happening around you and there is no saying whether its good or bad – you realize how real things can actually get. Your interaction with people is not based on the that moment or even the moment before. Our entire life affects every action we take. Over the years the way you think, react to things, accept criticism or pain, respond to threat, appreciate another or learn something – have all evolved. You’re not the same person you were two years ago (in my case, a month ago). When you look back at the things you said last weekend after the jury went bad and you were all red-faced and puffy-eyed – would make you laugh at our childishness (nudge, nudge, that’s me).

So give it time. Let things sink in, be processed until you’re sure about how you feel before expressing it outside. You’ll be surprised how a little thinking before speaking can help in the long run. After my rather unexpectedly weird jury I took a time off the maddening heat of the thesis. I spent time with friends, read good things and waited for the answers to come to me. And come they did : in a newspaper article, that too, believe it or not and by next week it may actually turn into something life-changing. Open to these new experiences. Anyway, lots of following up to do and a test tomorrow. I’m going to try writing more here so that I can get to a clearer thought-process.

Also I’d like to thank you all for the support : all your comments and remarks mean a lot. Keep them coming. Which blogger doesn’t love comments? So just feel free to share things with me- always receptive. Hope you had a great weekend. Waiting to actually hear from you and learn something so yes, write to me.

Arrividerci.