اکثر (Aksar: Often)

I find myself being pushed out of sleep, deep at night,

A faint cry of time, an abandoned dream, a lost star.

Pulling the quilt over my head, I remind myself to breathe,

In ones, twos and threes.

One

A song I learnt long back, a decade and a half between the times,

The rhythm and words difficult to roll over my tongue,

A particular antara always managed to throw me off,

When I sang, I ran out of breath midway.

Every night I listened to my music teacher sing, on a cassette, in an old walkman,

Rewinding the tape with my fingers and letting the shruti flow.

Late one night at the ninth attempt, I figured her trick.

One sharp breath in the beginning and to pause at the right places,

The music magically took over, and she let her heart sing.

When I feel overwhelmed, I sing this song, to breathe easier.

Two

A few years back while studying I realised that no amount of cramming could help me,

The concepts flew over my head and all I wanted to do was, raise my hands and walk away.

Which is what I did.

I shut the books, made myself a tall glass of chai and looked out of the balcony,

Watched the traffic make its way through the narrow arterial lane,

Tiny marigold flowers, bright orange and yellow resting against the lazy creepers,

The sun set in all its glory, calling the birds and bread winners alike.

And for once, in a long time I slept, for fourteen hours straight.

I woke up in the morning and thought to myself, what was the worse that would happen if I fail?

I walked out in the balcony with the question, to breathe in some air and sunshine, and the question answered itself,

Nothing.

A moment of surreal clarity amidst chaos.

Three

There was a time when the pain was much to bear,

I can’t quantify the time, sometimes it seems like yesterday and during others, a previous lifetime,

One that reddened my eyes, choked my throat, brought tears and anger bubbling right beneath my skin.

Everytime I felt I couldn’t, I would remind myself to breathe and repeat,

This too shall pass.

A stab turned to sear, slowly became a dull throb and now is blue and numb.

And that’s okay, for maybe time heals all.

 

 

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Run

I have been having the urge to just run away from everyone and everything around me. To just step out of the life that I’m living. To stand out and see my life as it passes by.

To vanish, sublimate, disappear.

I celebrated my birthday in obscurity, in the midst of a forest where there was no cell reception, no internet, no electronic devices. Ample amount of sunshine, star gazing, dense forests, incessant chirping of birds, campfires and books, blankets and blankness.

Then I rang in the new year in a city that I fell in love with, mostly ate bun maska, watched the sun set, the leaves of calendar turn, the sea as the world went past, of singing at 1 in the night and not a care about what next.

And since I’ve been back, the only thing that I can think of is to run away. I don’t know to what, to whom, with whom, where, when, how, why. So many questions. And just no answers.

I zone out with people who talk relentlessly, sit cradling a cup of strong chai and just stare into space wondering if I’ll ever feel the rush of something, whether I’ll feel something maybe ever fall in love, the lala land type, if the pain will ever go away.

I stare at the fan above and remember the ceilings of all the rooms I’ve ever slept in, some I’ve spent hours staring at in the darkness, some have been marred by tears streaming down my eyes, finding their way and disappearing in my hair, some of them have the loudest laughs, the chorus singing and most of them with books with dog eared pages perched on my chest lost deep in thought.

This year there will be some and then more..

Scribble

Okay, to hell with it.

I was going to write something sensible. Pour out sufi thoughts over here in line with a heartbreaking mail that I wrote today morning. But honestly I’m tired.

Why is love tiring?

Why can’t we just automatically find our ‘soul mate’ or whoever it is that we are supposed to live with for eternity?

Why do the people you love turn out to be wrong for you?

Born in a different century, Married, Commitment phobics, In a different state of mind or perfect?

More than half the people I know are heartbroken, the other half are love sick. We all have our own issues with love, at times we don’t find our match, sometimes we do but we are scared in our own weird way and drive people away, sometimes our not so better halves run away, infatuations are mistaken for love and at times we just don’t want to.

I’ve been holed up every weekend at home with myself, sure I day dream about falling head over heels in love most of the time but I’m scared. Petrified of putting in that effort, going out on dates, finding people to date, talking on the phone and getting involved in general, new dreams with them making a regular appearance.

Hence, I have decided to not look/search/seek love, if it wants to find me, it would have to pull me out of the pile of blankets that I’m under and convince me to fall back in the trap.

And to those who have given up, its okay to not want to look at the world around in love tinted glasses, its okay to not want to believe in the book romance and its okay to leave matters to fate.

But to all of those who still have their hopes up, may you find the strength to love and not stop seeking for it, may you cage your heart behind steel enclosures and not get hurt. May you find what you are look for.

Because what you seek, is seeking you..

Thoughts over the week

I bury my nose in a pillow, my legs resting atop another, I close my eyes and inhale. A tired muffled sound, of fatigue of travel that has come tumbling down. Through the streets of sri lanka, specks of sand that coat my legs, sting of salt still in the humid air, to the winding cobblestone streets in England, behind closed windows that smell of illicit affairs, to strolling down generations in Calcutta, nostalgia of a language, of a childhood that ran by, a stream of events that altered the course of many entwined lives.

Over the course of two days, I devoured 3 books, in the company of a tall glass of sweet brown chai, 6 marie biscuits, intermittent rains and a burst of glitter coloring the skies.

Oddly I feel like the words have traveled, through my fingertips and into my veins, an odd sense of calm in my heart. The promise of the pages of a book bearing the story of a library in Japan to make peace with the pile of work that the week brings.

I watched a movie last Saturday, and of the many words uttered between characters, one line struck a nerve, rather an artery that made my heart bleed, yearning for a long forgotten feeling. The protagonist describes his happiness as “dil ka pet bhar gaya“, which loosely translated meant that the heart’s stomach was full. What a strange yet accurate way of describing happiness, the feeling of contentment, of not wanting any more.

Oddly enough this got me wondering about companionship, of the feeling of content that seeps through your pores, makes you heart smile, sends your brain on a high, makes your pulse race. Offlate my phone has been buzzing with messages, some etch a punctual good morning, others indulge in flattery, words strung like a delicate string of pearls, of brash inquiries of weekend plans, of resorting to reason for a yes.

I have realised, been painfully aware of it for a while that I bear no affection for a skin, dressed in expensive clothes, doused in aftershave and perfume, of a collage of words from movies and books, of the need to replicate the usual romantic gestures.

What lies beneath that carefully embroidered mask and the instant noodles philosophy that you are so quick to dish out, of the things you think when you are alone, of the thoughts that haunt you, of the talisman that you live by. What drives you, stops you, makes you smile, brings tears to your eyes, crack into laughter or descend into silence.

There are days like today when I do not feel the need of someone else, when I’m mindful of the fact that I have nothing to give in return for someone else’s time. When I can feel the gears that keep the clock of this world running slow down, my heartbeat sink to a low whimper.

When solitude no longer means being alone.