Have You Ever……???

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Have you ever loved someone and not realized how much you loved them, until they have left?
Have you ever had the urge to pick up the phone and call them to say how you feel?
Have you ever had doubts about how they would react?
Have you ever felt awed by how much your world revolved around them, without you being aware of it?
Have you ever wondered how patiently they kept up with your tantrums?
Have you ever thought how they have stood by you through thick and thin?
Have you ever realized how easily they shared your laughter and your tears?
Have you ever felt your eyes brim with all this?
Have you ever heard the sound of your heart break?

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Myriad Feelings

Dark Tranquility

A flood of myriad feelings envelope me. Things seem so askew sometimes that I don’t feel my usual self. I find myself running away, running away from everything that surrounds me, running away from myself. My heart is constantly heavy and cold. My spirit feels tired and weary, it is drifting away. The will to survive seems to be lost, it has escaped my frail grasp. My reflex to hold on is vanishing. No matter who surrounds me, I still feel lonely. Sometimes I feel, my life is becoming a puzzle of friends, families and loved ones. Loved ones…..that in itself is such an irony…..no one actually loves, without any hidden motives. A part of me is actually dying. Soon all in me will be gone, and soon I will be forgotten. Sometimes the darkness totally devours me. I don’t even feel the urge to resist it, in fact I encourage it, until all hint of light will be gone.

There is an easy breeze. With it I want to have an easy heart and a treasured feeling of love. But this easy breeze is of a lonely life, of nature’s sarcasm and mock. A clammy air on a dark night, along an abandoned empty road of a lifeless land, a flickering lamp post, an autumn in the heart, matching dark clouds, thunder and flashes of lightning. Heavy raindrops – the best camouflage for my tears that have been trapped in the corner of my eyes for eons, waiting to burst out and flow incessantly. Darkness is just so perfect, no one will be able to notice me, standing in solitude, at the same time being able to ignore the world that doesn’t even need my attention. I feel like a lone soul wandering and imprisoned at the same time, in a labyrinth of loneliness.

C’est La Vie

I stand as a silent spectator and observe the ever changing dynamics around.

Circumstances and people, both, can change at a pace faster than you can sometimes keep up to.

New faces replace the old ones, ditto with relationships.

A faint memory still tries to keep alive the blissful moments, in times of desperate redresses.

The definitions of friendships are being re-written and the endearments no longer stand for affection.

Awkwardness looms large in the company of same people with whom you might have shared a zillion smiles.

Familiarity has become a breeding ground of discords.

The non stop flow of words are being superseded with silence.

The once non-calculable distances are now being measured in miles and hours.

No more are there the proximities that secured the strings of fondness and associations of complete strangers.

Forced into oblivion, the heart at times yearns for the same familiar grounds.

A thought overshadows this mindful rambling, that maybe it is good in a way, as it assures that life is not stagnant, but evolving – although on its own terms.

Parallel Reality

The door makes a noisy creaking as I push open the wooden block and enter the room. “Close the door, please” says a familiar voice. I oblige. While pushing the door back to its original place, I can’t help but wonder how even after all these years, the voice has not lost its charm, although its intensity and passion can’t be found anymore.

I try to adjust my eyes to the dim lit room. The only light is a narrow shaft of the setting sun’s rays through the slightly parted curtains, as it tries to illuminate the darkness that is engulfing this place. A reeking smell of cigarette smoke fills up the air.I look around trying to make my way through the now forgotten pieces of canvases and paint. At the far end of the room, a flash of fire goes up to light another cigarette.I catch a glimpse of the tired and weary frame lying on the arm chair. I pull a beanbag and settle down next to it.

“Let me open the windows, it will be nice and refreshing”, I say and start towards the window. “No, let it be, darkness is sometimes good for the soul” comes the reply. I oblige once again, settling myself back into the beanbag.

Even though her optimism is lost, the soul searching has not stopped. A few years back this same soul was the chirpy nonstop chatter box who had helped me come out of the biggest depression of my life and it’s unbelievable to see her today at the place where I stood some time back.

I uneasily fiddle on my seat trying to find words to begin a conversation and break the wall she has created around herself. Why does it seem so difficult?

“Don’t try so hard” she says, reading my mind. I gaze at her and reply “Trying is what you have taught me. Remember you always used to say, There’s no harm in trying, even if you don’t gain, there’s nothing to lose.” A thin smile appears on her face. “I see you have taken all my words to heart, child.” The words are followed by a puff of smoke. “Yes, I have. They hold true after all and work wonders, don’t you think?” A hollow laugh goes up from her as she replies, “Wonders, huh? They don’t exist.”

Well I have hit the wall again! How has a single experience turned this forever optimist into a cynic that I can’t relate to? How has life been so cruel on her as to totally turn around her way?

“Show me one of your recent paintings, I don’t remember the last I saw”, I try once again. She stares back at me quizzically, “You really want to? Don’t think you will find it to your taste.” “I insist” I say. “Well if you insist”, with these words she pulls up her fragile frame from the arm chair and walks towards the table. She picks up a small canvas leaning against the ottoman and hands it to me. I try to study and understand the theme on the thick piece of cloth. These are not the usual colours I would find in her creations. The piece is covered in the hues of darkest colours and myriad brush strokes. I look back at her with a blank expression. “Well I told you, it won’t be to your taste” she says.

“This is not even to your taste; this can’t have been done by you!” I retaliate. A sarcastic smirk is followed by “This is my inner and outer world, child. What else did you expect?” “I expect…. I expect you to come out of this misery that you have drowned yourself into. Come back into the world where you belong, back to the life that is yours!” I try to stubbornly voice my thoughts.

She chides me with a pat on my cheeks, “Ah! Expectations! I don’t belong anywhere and neither anything belongs to me. The world is meaningless, child. But to answer your expectations, one day I might find the courage to walk back into what you call world, until then this is where I need to be, emotionally and physically.” I start to give another argument but she cuts me and says, “It’s getting late, you should get going.”I nod and get up to leave. She walks me up to the door and says, “I like you, keep visiting, won’t you?” “Yes, of course!” I reply. I take my leave from her by hugging her. She unexpectedly smiles and plants a small peck on my forehead and says, “Be blissful.”

And you too, I send out a small prayer as I walk towards the faint light of the dusk.

Of Joys, Hopes and Dreams…

I am always amazed with the different people I come across everyday.  Every soul has a story to tell if you stop long enough to see.  Every eye can show all that is deep within, all the joys and pain, all the hopes and dreams.  I have always found true humility from those from the most humble origins.  And it quite amazes me, the amount of cheer such souls always spread around them.

Everyday I meet an old man at the place that I workout.  He must be in his 60s.  Each day I see him clean the machines with so much care as if they were living things and his own.  Whenever my eyes meet his, I always find a sparkle in there and with that he would always flash a nice warm smile towards me.  Looking at him working so contently everyday, I wonder what dream he must have.  Does he dream of one day returning to his village, to his family, to his sons, daughters, grandchildren?  Does he dream of one day again walking on the same farm he grew up on?  Does he dream of once again being able to sit with the oldest of his friends under the village banyan tree for an evening hookah?  Seeing him so content with the work he does, one would think he would not have dreams.  But do we all not dream of something always!

Yesterday, I was sitting at a café simply noticing the people around, predominantly, the guy who was serving us.  Must be in his 30s but his face still had the hints of the boyish charm.  He would each time serve our table with the most innocent sheepish smile.  I was overwhelmed to observe him.  Here was a man, doing his work with an integrity which would put the biggest names to shame.  For a paltry monthly income, this person was putting up the most excellent version of “service with a smile”.  Looking at him I wondered, how corporate life turns most of us in a fake versions of our own selves.  Selfish, dependant and most importantly manipulators.   Until early this year, I had become one such person and today seeing such humble people fills me with shame at the hollow vanity I was carrying around all these years.

A few years ago, while visiting Ladakh, I happened to meet this amazing young man, who taught me a big lesson of love.  He was my guide, a young chap, full of energy and laughter.  While on one of the shopping trips to the town market, I kept noticing him picking up bits and pieces of discarded cloth from each shop we went to.  By evening, I couldn’t help but ask him, what he was doing.  He replied in the most matter of fact way, he was collecting all these colourful cloth pieces to make a necklace for his wife, who was pregnant with their second child.  He even requested me to scout for some more colourful bits of cloth.  I offered to get him a nice necklace from one of the market shops.  To which he replied, but that would be in exchange of money.  He wanted to give something personal to his wife, something that money can’t buy.  I was dumbfounded and kept staring in disbelief at this form of love which I saw for the first time in my life.  How many of us capable of not putting a value on our love but to just express it the way it is?  Not many that I have known!

We all hold within us dreams, hopes, love, fear, joys, sorrows…but somewhere down the way of life, we forget or lose touch with out true feelings.  These people that I come across everyday, help me to instil the belief that true feelings can still be re-discovered, if only we open our eyes and stop to look long enough.

Thoughts at 30

Ah yes, the big 3-oh!  Crossed that threshold some time back and I have to admit, I was quite freaked out about it.  So freaked out that I put my phone on silent and was off to bed early on the birthday eve, just so, no one would call me to wish and remind me that I had turned 30.  Crazy, yes, but guess I just wanted to believe that time would stop.  However, now that the feared moment has passed and I am… well 30… I realise that there are many things that have been both profound and foolish that have come to pass in these years.

So at this moment in time, these are a few things that I have learned and realised:

Growing up in a small town is a blessing in disguise.  It prepares you for the worst days as well as leaves you with the best of memories.

No matter how much you and your family might think differently or act differently, at the end of the day, it’s your family.  You have no choice, so deal with it, accept it and love it.

You can try to impress and please people all your life but will still feel incomplete until you start trying to impress and please yourself.  It’s sometimes good to be a little selfish.

No amount of vodka shots and cigarettes can ease the pain you feel.  By doing that you are just trying to fill the intangible void with the tangible.

You will fall in love, not just once, but several times.  And each time it will take you high with the same feeling of ecstasy.

You will fail in love too, several times and will reach the lowest of emotions, but that is not the end of life as you know it.

Still fall in love and fall in love more often; there is no better feeling in the world. 

You will trust people who will betray you and love people who will cheat on you.  But don’t let these experiences change you.

The definition of best friend will change into good friends and mere acquaintances will turn into confidants.  No one stays for life.  People keep coming and going to keep your days alive and fresh.

Take risks even if they backfire.  That way you won’t regret not having taken a chance.

When risks do backfire, pick yourself up, brush yourself and start anew.

Information about any area of your life (even to your family) should be on a need to know basis, it can be a lifesaver sometimes.  Not everything needs to be told and not everyone should be trusted.

Take a short vacation to your favourite destination at least once a year.  There is nothing more rejuvenating than being where you feel at home (that could be home too for some people!)

Dream always, about your future, your life, your love, your wishes, your desires.  Just don’t put a condition on them to all come true.  Some might, some won’t.

The worst of mistakes and decisions are the most heart rending painful moments, but they are also the greatest teachers.

There will always be a time when you will feel either one or all of the following – broken, useless, alone, clueless, confused, betrayed, fragile, depressed, anxious, pathetic, annoying, like a burden, distant, lonely, bitter, heartbroken, rejected, crushed, empty, defeated – and will mask it with a “I am fine”.

There will also be a time when you will feel that you are going to just fall apart any moment, but there will always, always be someone to catch you.  May not be in the most dignified and chivalrous way you would have imagined, but there will always be that one person, who you can fall back on.

It’s okay to be on the verge of tears, and it is okay to let your heart out.  Just learn to distinguish the person in front of whom you could break down without feeling sorry for yourself.

During the peak of your life you will have lots and lots of friends, and you will be quite amused to know how few are around when you get yourself in a sticky situation.  Just go with it because well deal with it, they are not going to see you through.  Your struggles are your own!

Don’t ever in your life miss out on the wonder of holiday cheer.  Take a walk out around the city during festivities.  It is a sure shot way to drive away the holiday blues.

Do the small inexpensive things that enrich your heart and soul – watch the sun rise, sit through a sunset, feel the mist on cold winter mornings, get wet in the rain, dip your feet in a flowing river, see the firecrackers light up the sky during festivals, smile and wink at children – no amount of money can buy these things.

Love yourself and be your own goddess (yes catch that glimpse on the car window while walking down the street).

You have a right to pamper yourself when feeling low, go get a haircut or eat a hot chocolate fudge.  Do anything to make yourself feel better, even if it turns out to be expensive or loaded with calories.

Don’t make work your life, realise that it is just a part of life.  Take time to follow your passions.

Last but not the least, believe! Believe that no matter how difficult the situation or how deep the despair, God will see you through.  Might not be a cakewalk, but will leave you a better person.