Diwali, or Lights and Shadows

I used to find great joy in Diwali, I used to wait for weeks for the day to come— the evening, rather, when I’d indulge in the tremendous ecstasy I used to get from the sight of fire stars sparkling out of burning phooljharis, of joyful starlets emitting out of earthen tubris and later, feeling spent after having burst countless firecrackers on the end of a pyakati, or, jute stick (yeah, I wanted to have fun despite being afraid of fire), lay down on the mattress and watch the sky being constantly lit up with several sorts of firecrackers, and the haphazard booming, of a chocolate bomb here, a lonkapotka there.

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Courtesy- WCF Courier

Years passed and gradually the excitement started wearing off. In those turbulent years of waning juvenile jubilance, I used to question myself for feeling this way, used to try and cling onto the last bits of fleeting excitement that the festival of lights used to bring up in me. But ultimately I realised ultimately, its inevitability; fathoming ultimately, what had happened to my much elder cousins during their metamorphosis into adulthood, at a time when I was a child, bubbling with enthusiasm at the smallest of things. I’ve always taken to this as a misfortune, of not being able to hold onto the joy brought to u say simpler things, by letting ourselves simply get used to what brought us immense joy, in the early years of our life. I feel sad that despite understanding it (or perhaps because of understanding it), I couldn’t hold onto to the pleasures as well, becoming just another grumpy grownup.

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courtesy- Podium Story Tellers

Last year, this day was different. After a series of years crying in a corner on days of festivities, washed over by an incorrigible wave of depression had made me think like this would never change. Mostly my loneliness arose out of a general attitude of being introvert, that lessened my chance at being social. Locked up in an envelope of forced celebration with my parents, alone, at an age where I’d otherwise be out and celebrating my young years with friends, I felt pretty isolated. My mirthless cousins have meanwhile grown up old enough to get married and have infants whose bottomless enthusiasm often gets on my nerves. Oh, and I’m not a baby person, at all.

So, my introversion and isolation made me reach out to the other, and much artificial world of being social, connecting over with likeminded people online, from thousands of miles away. And I had also committed an involuntary mistake, that of growing irrefutably attached to one particular person, which is what made my last Diwali different, happier and better than any of the recent years’. Connecting over video calls in an attempt to curb the enormous distance between us, I spent my Diwali with him, not shedding a tear, for the first time in a while, actually enjoying the act of bursting firecrackers, here at my end of the world, as he mirrored my actions by bursting some at his of the world, in Seattle, in a different geographical time of the day, sharing the same moment. Perhaps Eliot’s line never was so apt in practicality for me as it was then- “To be conscious is not to be in time”, and I lived my time, my small bubble of a moment, constantly being threatened by the thorns of consciousness, that, quite possibly, my next Diwali would be far from being the same, maybe we’d become strangers, or maybe we’d get lucky enough to spend it together, hand in hand, sharing the same geographical space, and not miles away, in a different time of the day.

I remember how wide my grin had been. How it almost hurt after smiling that much, being that happy, followed immediately by the fear that this would all go away and my life will return to being mundane the same way, again. I had enjoyed a lot, last year. Lighting up sky lanterns, and having then fly out into the abysmal sky, into an atmosphere I share with him, although oceans away, and knowing full well, that the warmth and love of my lantern will never reach his heart.

And quite predictably as months passed from last fall’s evening of lights and revelry, I had to live life for real, which isn’t so airy at all, living through hurtful heartbreaks and separations, inevitable. We lost contact, eventually. All our dreams, our plans, lying unattended and unfulfilled, to be forgotten, in the long run. I guess some dreams do, after all, just sags like a heavy load, and never explode. Perhaps because these are little dreams of selfish little pleasures in a secret wish to swell the heart up with happiness and make the brief stay at the inn of life, feel worthwhile.

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courtesy- TATA CliQ

I was very reluctant for this year’s Diwali, from the very start. I was afraid it would hurt like a fresh wound, pushing me over the edge and take refuge in shedding tears, to satiate my empty heart with some feeling- sorrow and melancholy, if not joy. All the fear because, maybe, I don’t know my own heart.

But now that this day has been over, I feel actually very relieved, for I didn’t have those painful upheavals and wrenches in my heart, that I was so afraid of. I didn’t have the painful lump form at the back of my throat, threatening my lachrymose and distorting my voice, making my moroseness transparent, something I was definitely very afraid of. A vague essence of nostalgia lingered about me, all day. A reminiscence of the day as it had been, of the pictures we had formed of the day this year tentatively being. But tears didn’t threaten me, nor did sorrow.  I definitely had nothing to feel ecstatic or elated about- I abstained from any fireworks, like I have been doing for the past few years now, but I didn’t have my downward spiral pull me down to the gnawing depths of a suffocating brawl with depression, something I dread, a dread which has remained my constant. But, thankfully, time played its part really well and hardened my heart with a strong apathy, the safest armour for the most vulnerable. Today, I was indifferent inside out, towards, everyone and everything, as I continued gazing at the gently flying sky lanterns, failing to let my mind flicker with it far far away, or fell anything from the heart, at the sight of it. I don’t have any answer to my own question— have my lost my inability to feel subtle things for better or for worse?

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Homecoming to Lost Pleasures

Having been emotionally numbed for a while for no particular reason at all, it’s been an awfully long while since I posted on here. A lot has happened since the last time I forced myself to type out the last post, almost out of compulsion, almost out of a terribly helpless feeling of hanging onto the last inch of being able to formulate a sensible paragraph. It was before I finally couldn’t clutch on to it anymore, and had to let it go. My mind has been frightfully preoccupied with a cloud of disturbing thoughts and fears, since. Writing used to be the purgation of my emotions, happy and sad, the sole source of my solace.

Out of the many things that happened in the course of the last few months, I have overcome hurdles in life, those which are considered to be milestones in the life on an individual- academic milestones that’d help you ascend the ladder of numbers in life and eventually pay off the bills. Well, the world measures you on the scale of the credible degrees you’ve graduated in; nobody cares about your emotional elevation. And since our life is governed by numbers, here I mention, how I graduated with my college degree and quite surprisingly and unexpectedly, got through one of the most prestigious grad schools in the continent(!). I wouldn’t attempt at accounting the events I experienced in this hiatus, chronologically, not just because it would look stupid, but mostly because the mind has it’s own way of prioritising events based on how it was treated.

I had taken the University finals as carelessly as I could back in April- a time when I was completely emotionally distraught, I was pretty astounded in the best way possible when the results were published, for I had somehow, miraculously, secured the best possible marks that can be expected from the University I was in, timelessly infamous for academically victimising the students and rewarding them with results that’d snatch away any remaining dignity in them. I had actually planned to take a year off after this hectic banality of being tied to chasing degrees encased in the flawed education system for 15 years at a stretch.

I remember the day I had walked into Jadavpur University for the first time in my life. A dear friend of mine had kept prodding me to fill up the form and sit for the entrance exam, to the point that it got on on my nerves too much to tolerate further. I gave in, confident that I wouldn’t clear it and would savour my much awaited break, rather. The night before the exam I had a tremendous break out with my mother, it got pretty bad and there’s nothing more that pains me more than a strained relationship with my mom. I decided to skip the test until the last moment when my father forced me to go and sit for it. I kept wondering why people were forcing me for this one thing when I was sure of not clearing it.

I remember walking in through the gates, instantly feeling the magic and charm in the air, in the graffitied walls, smelling the air of history, of rebellion, of truth, of freedom and of art. It made me dizzy while somehow healing my sore heart from the previous day. It made me tad sorrowful to realise this university to be a place where I could never get in. Only the ones with the supreme merit get through ivy league universities. I walked around a part of the campus with my friend before the exam started, for we had reached an hour ago.

One could feel the liberty everywhere in the air, on the walls, in the ponds and the trees in the campus. One could look up at the bit of sky above their heads in their, and through the canopies adorned with multifarious shades of green, could dare to dream dreams that the reality outside restricted, one could see the reflection of their own elation and morose, and hug back the aura of this magical place, which is continually welcoming everyone in their own embrace, comforting them with their own stories.

And so, I sat and dreamt under a tree, where a thousand others had done the same before me, and some who dared to go on and narrate their stories to the world, won a million hearts, through their art- of words, of music, of strokes and colours. Soon, a lone drop of water stored in some nook of the leaves from the previous spell of shower brought me back to reality. It was time for me to anchor my imaginations and walk back to the designated building of the Arts department to sit for the test I was so unwilling to take. And as I did walk in, I was enthralled by the walls inside the building, strewn with blank ink and red- voices of truth, shouting slogans of an undying rebellion against corruption, against the encroachment of students’ rights, against the adversities of capitalism.

I remember panting upon climbing all the flights of stairs and reaching the third floor. It struck me how there were hardly any restrictions. We had none of the extravagantly strict rules to follow that other universities had laid out for their applicants. Let alone water, we were allowed to sit with our bags and our phones during the test.

What I remember of the two hours of the test is that, I pretty much wrote nonsensical stuff, and I couldn’t even blabber and fill pages as I was supposed to do, as others were doing, and as other boasted of having done after it was over. As soon as it was over and we walked out of the rooms, the sea of multitudes and their confidence freaked the hell out of me. I reunited with my friend. Both of us skeptical about our performances. I had wished to explore the more of the university, if not the whole of it after the test was over. But the situations and timing weren’t favourable, so I bad a bitter goodbye to the haven and started my journey back home, a place of strained emotions and a lot of sentimental pain, at least for the time being.

The next few weeks passed in a haze. I had mended things with my mother, alright, but I was soul-dead. Not in the way that most millennials perpetually are, but in the most intrinsically intense way possible. Depression had led way to a general apathy towards every tiny feeling and I had started to hate my much awaited “break”, thoroughly. Till the moment before the life-changing news caressed my ears, I was numbed. I tried to surpass my depression by trying to stop being perturbed by the path I had chosen for myself, mostly inevitably- a day of nothingness, followed by an extremely frantic evening engaged in the demotivating and intellectually-inhibiting task of tutoring kids. At the end of a month’s hard task of explaining the causes of a leap year, the necessity of having a government, and why did isn’t followed by a verb in the past tense, I got my rewards, and indulged momentarily in therapeutic shopping (pshhh.) till I was almost broke to make up for the feelings.

It makes me wonder at how ignorant we petty mortals are when it comes to predictability and expectations from the future. I can’t help but be awestruck at how the times changed, brought me a new life- one that I had never imagined in my wildest dreams; and how the change came without any notice, escaping our foresight, as usual. It’ll need another days’ time and leisure to jot down how the change has been and how the place is a mixed palette and how I’m coping up with this very new journey of my life, and coming to terms with a turn I had never prepared myself for.

For now, I’m happy that I’m back on the track, that, I’ve finally been able to break free of the confines in my mind and be able to write again, however gibberish it might be. I’m happy to finally find the site of the generation of happiness, which was lost in me, momentarily shrouded by the dark clouds of dreadful thoughts. I’m happy to be back and gaining pace in the unending quest for the spark in life that I have indulged myself in, like everyone else, instead of giving up and dropping out.

Being Fair to Book Fair

I had recently been to the fair that steals my heart each time, like the very first time it did when I was in the second grade. I was mesmerized by the wonderful array of alluring stationery and colourful comic books laid out in the book fair when I was seven. I continue to be mesmerized by the stacks of the old spines and new, of books that seem to call out to embrace me with its arms shaped with words, words that steal our heart and reduce the loneliness that we face in our cellular life.

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It’s true that every public congregation displays a wide array of human temperaments, but I personally feel that the multitudinous crowd flocked in the book fair is spiked with the most fascinating individualities.

As I walked in through the gates onto the ground that accommodates uncountable hundreds and thousands of books, the wonder took over me, leading my strides into the stalls of leading publishing houses and small-scale bookstores, as the aroma of fresh pages of new books caressed my olfactory senses, alternating with that of wet grass and spicy food being churned out by shacks set up all around the premises to satiate the hungry book-lovers and word-hunters.

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And it is amidst this wondrous mayhem, amidst flipping through the pages of new releases and old, impressive titles, that sets of young eyes find way to meet other sets of young eyes embedded in cute faces, suppressing the intermittent coy smiles. Thrown in amongst this assemblage are stooped old figures in dark, muted and old sweaters, of old and forgotten writers who faded away from the periphery of limelight, belonging to the times when writers were identified by their words, not the depth of their dimples. One can’t tell them apart from their closely linked kin of closet writers confined in the bodies of retired clerks with a patched jhola slung across their shoulder, walking tiresome steps in their equally old Bata sandals, flipping through the browned pages of ancient titles in the smaller shops that stock old, tattered and rare books, perhaps in a vague attempt of find a rare gem in the treasury. The frame welcomes contrasting shades as celebrated authors in posh clothing escorted by a scurrying team of guild representatives, guards and volunteers steer past indie authors with sleepy eyes slumped on chairs, sitting behind tables that have a few copies of their printed words laid out on white tablecloths of their desolate stalls opposite humungous set-ups of major publishing houses that have multiple tens waiting in a queue to enter and browse through their shelves. Ten at a time. Glittering eyes of young, aspiring writers observe the spectacle in wonder with bags of books in hand, walking alone or in a group of raucous friends, marching past the grounds with the persistent harangue of that one hipster brimming with complaints, in complete dejection of the society they are surrounded by.

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Small squarish installations with manicured trees are lined with people everywhere. The bold lady with heavy kohl-lined eyes taking a long drag from her cigarette, talking to her companions in a voice with distinctive authority that cuts through the nagging cries of children, complaining of tiny paining feet, reaching all the way to the ears of the old couple that never quite able to shed off the ritual of visiting this annual fest, reminiscing nostalgically; demanding their attention towards her who utter their mutual resentment of modernity in women, in unison. Littering all around these squares are more people with paining feet waiting to grab a seat as soon as it is deserted. Oh, there are also regional soap stars, fleeting time near the crowds of the common people from whom they once drew the plentitude of their popularity, now blanched with time; their eyes fleeing far away from their conversations, coveting the fan mobs they once eluded from.

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For quite a few years now the authority has been welcoming the active participation of overseas nation to ensure a steady cultural exchange. The prevalent ‘theme’ got a Francais makeover this year, as France participated as the major partner nation, setting up a huge stall with a seemingly high artistic appeal, attracting hundreds of enthusiastic people, eager to engulf bits of France. I too had entered the stall, curious about what lies inside. After a thorough checkup of 5 minutes, which rather contributed to building up a long queue, we finally entered the gigantic set-up with three separate halls inside. What emerged out of the elaborate affair was that, it turned out to be a major disappointment. In a book fair, there was hardly any mention about the rich cultural and literary heritage of France. There were only illusory art installations with a paragraph here and there about France’s historical alliances with India, about some common French phrases and words and about how popular French is. There was hardly any mention of literature as we passed through alleys of digital screens blaring Triptych tales and modern French music. It was outside the halls, in the display boxes attached to the makeshift walls lining the exit that there lay books in an unorganised dismay with a copy of Montaigne’s works and elementary school French books, proudly stating “LOOK BUT DO NOT TOUCH”. Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Voltaire, Mozart, Boulanger and Chabrier perhaps packed up for a distant vacation from the alienating modernism from the fair that is otherwise supposed to uphold the integrity of literature and celebrate it.

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A view of the fair from a few years back. Photo taken from the internet.

It happened to me gradually, when I pointed stalls of popular spice brands, selling packets of spices, sticking out from the colony of bookstalls like irritating boils in the book fair. People aren’t really celebrating books anymore. The have given up their search for literature in life, poetry in petty existence and food for thought. The book fair has become just another reason to take an early leave from the drudgery of a day’s work, a minute break from the banality of existence to enjoy food for appetite, unintellectual gossip and glossy propaganda pamphlets distributed by the huge stalls of banks(!), and universities; books being just excuses to savour the grandeur of the annual book fair that is so hyped about. It’s the glowing stalls advertising ebook readers that are attracting crowds of Icarus. It’s the stalls announcing rewards for a trivial trivia contest and 30 seconds of fame on live television that are summoning giggling-gaggling swarms. The dwindling spirit of book fair was mirrored phoney voice of the naive teen who raised her voice when her friend admiringly picked up a collector’s copy of Romantic poetry, nodding her head in disapproval and stating, “Fifty shades is fifty times more romantic!”

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The irony lay in stark exposure as the speakers conveying the voices from the main auditorium lamented the decadence of modern society in their response to books and literature, in the unpeopled auditorium while lakhs roamed around aimlessly. I took my quiet exit contemplating how the book fair buzzed with visitors, not readers.

 

 

Note- Photos have been taken from the internet.

Santa is real

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It’s the merriest time of the year all over again- Christmas! Christmas trees, jingle bells, presents, Santa, reindeers, glitters, fairy lights, mistletoes, snow, cakes, eggnog- there’s so much to swell the yuletide spirits and fill us with crazy festivity, stretching on till the year end and welcoming another year of drudgery with a smile on the face. Christian or not, of course all of us love the festivity. But, how many of you remember the pain you felt when you first got to know the truth about Santa’s existence?

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One thing that inevitably sears through my mind each year on Christmas Eve ever since 2006 happened, is the shattering of my sentiments of Santa Claus. On 23rd December, 2006, I got to know that there’s no Santa Claus after all. All the juvenile years of trying to keep our sleepy eyes awake all night to catch a glimpse of Santa wiggling in through the chimney and placing the presents in the red-and-white Santa socks… all was a mirage. One of the first steps towards “growing up”.

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It was a small affair, really. We had been out at the mall, shopping for some last minute gifts when I noticed my mother whispering something into my father’s ear and slipping away somewhere. I couldn’t find her for some one hour, after which she returned with a face that tried hard not to reveal anything. All my efforts of poking her to fill in the gap of that one hour with an explanation rendered fruitless. Back home, my grumpy face was reflective of my mood as I was hurt at the prospect of my mother keeping secrets from me. But, I was persistent. Failing to make anything up to brace herself from my importunate inquisitiveness, my mother momentarily locked herself up in the bathroom. I wish she hadn’t. I wish she had made a story up- why didn’t she? My Santa Claus would have been protected then, if only for a mere few years. For, it was in that fateful moment that Satan (or curiosity?) ticked in my head as I tiptoed into her room, unzipped her handbag and took out a small cutesy baby-pink package with hearts and teddies all over it. It wasn’t tied up, but loosely wrapped. I had just unwrapped a part of the paper, curious further to examine the wiry golden structure in it when my mom burst in through the door, catching me red-handed in action. The hollowness in her eyes as her jaw dropped in shock and quickly twisted in fuming rage, reflected the impending disaster looming in the air. I still hadn’t expected to be hit by the truth, as I stood there shaking from having been caught committing an inexplicable felony. It’d have been better if she hit me instead… instead of hitting me with words, with truth. She bellowed out how the need to hide anything from me has ceased. “There’s no Santa! I’m Santa! It’s me who slips the presents in the sock that you keep by your head, every year!”, she yelled, her words stabbing my soul, giving me the first feels of heartbreak in life. I sobbed inconsolably for a whole week till my mother had to yell once again to make me stop. I still found myself enwrapped in moments of silent tears when I was alone. It was my first Araby. When thorny reality embraced me tight, teaching me the art of latent, silent weeping; and not believing- unlike how Polar Express taught us the motto of “I believe”.

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Looking back at it, I realise the irony of the situation as she was burning in the similar shame of being caught, caught holding up a beautiful secret, a happy lie- just as I was caught being the naughty girl, ransacking her mother’s purse. Perhaps I made it to Santa’s naughty list that night, for the rest of my life.

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It wasn’t my mother, but me- my curiosity that killed a part of my own childhood. It would simply be a matter of time and destiny till I discovered the truth… even though I wish she had lied to me that night. Perhaps I made it to Santa’s naughty list that night, for the rest of my life. Perhaps Santa had instructed my mother to act on his behalf, perhaps he let out a boisterous heigh-ho-ho as he saw what I did to myself, from high up as he cut through the sky on his reindeer-drawn sleigh, on his way to deliver the gifts to other children.

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I got Santa-gifts from my parents for a few more years after that. Till, one Christmas morning I woke up and found there was nothing beneath my pillow- I had stopped sleeping with the sock. I ransacked my bed, in a hope that the gift might have been too small and too precious, lost somewhere amidst the sheets. But indeed there was none. Later that day, I realised my parents had completely forgotten it was Christmas! I woke up with a hollow stab in my heart that morning. Realised, it was too uncouth a behaviour on the part of a 15 year old. A few years after that, I woke up feeling the same way morning after morning. Not on Christmas, not for not getting presents anymore, but because my caring cyber-boyfriend stopped texting me all of a sudden, out of the blue moon, never to be heard again, never leaving any thread of explanation but leaving behind a prominent trail of dreams we dream together, about the future.

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you always give my heart away

2017 is nearing its end now, and I’m no more a teen. I’m a grown up and expected to act like one. In my private moments during the Christmas season, I still speak to Santa. In my heart. I complain to him for not giving me happiness, for not rescuing myself from the pressures that life is burdening me with. I don’t ask for a MAC lipstick from Santa. Nor do I ask him to magically present in front of me, the soulmate of my dreams. Even though I had my painful experience of learning Santa is not real, I still believe in him, in secret. I still watch Polar Express every Christmas Eve, wearing a Santa hat and savouring a mug of hot cocoa.

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I still write a Wishlist to Santa, asking for him to be there in my heart for the rest of my life, asking for a friend in him who won’t betray, who won’t leave me hanging in the air off the cliff, who wouldn’t just be their to extract their wants and needs from me; asking him to keep the tiny bit of the child in my soul alive, for it’s elixir of juvenile jubilance to nourish my tarnishing soul even when I’m old. I ask Santa to make me feel the jingle bells ringing in my heart like it used to be, in my younger days.

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Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree

But topping my Wishlist is my desire to tread on the snowed pavements and devour the sight of the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree and breathe in the crisp Manhattan air- chiming with the lyrical clamour of the people, and rupturing with the festive rapture, echoing the pooling happiness of the people, the season, of Christmas, and Santa Claus, celebrating the birth of the saviour and spreading the harmonious message of love, even if for one swell night.

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A very merry Christmas to all of you out there! Feel free sharing your Santa stories.

 

Note- all the pictures have been taken from google image search results.

High-Way

Note- This has also been published on the facebook page of The Schizophrenic Soul ( https://www.facebook.com/theschizophrenicsoul )

Highway to get high

How fast times change, right? One moment you’re child when the grass is greener and the sky is bluer and the jolly sunshine on a wintry Sunday morning, a little more brighter. You’re being rebuked by the adults for poking your big nose into matters you’re yet to come of age. Then suddenly, you enter this alluringly dark tunnel of utter bewilderedness called adolescence which passes in a blink, with sprinkles of pain of varied kinds, and boom, you’re an adult. At quiet moments while scrolling through Facebook memories, you remember how pleasurable the pain of stifling laughter in a quiet classroom with your friends after having played a prank on the stern physics teacher, felt; and realised how the past feels so distant now, like a different life altogether. It felt like a stab when realised how the definition of life changed from being a happy sojourn freckled with pleasurable pains into a stolid sombreness where the sole spices readily available to you are pain, problems and, people’s opinions. Just then you realise, how alluring a trap it was and how we were but preys, wanting to become adults some day.

So, what’s so difficult about being an adult? The answer is pretty much as simple as life was in those juvenile years- everything. What takes control of your life is what is others’ expectations of your becoming, and behaviourisms and you become a mere doll in this doll house called world. Or, should I say slaughter-house? Of unforeseen responsibilities, of pressures of ambition,… of not being able to be yourself. And when you’re being yourself, when you’re being the adult that you are, you’re brandished as the audaciously outspoken shob-janta (know-it-all).

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courtesy- The Schizophrenic Soul

Now let’s observe the times when we’re alone. Remember how it used to be all fleeting imaginations and colourful hopes and fluttering dreams? Felt like a bubble of perpetual security, back then, didn’t it? Hopes and dreams that inclined towards an amorous side when we entered the causeway of adolescence, weaving our very own Araby, and creating a very personal lust for life. Little did we know that reality was hiding just around the corner, only to leap up and thrash us hard. To make us realise that we’ve been somnambulant all along and that life’s just starting now.

And it is while traversing along the long, lifeless stretches in the highway of life that you perhaps had to stop over for a while to contemplate the fruitfulness of the tedious journey. I mean no judgment but some have been silly enough to have felt despaired at such an extent that they dropped right off the track, never to get back again, while there have been some who lurked around the wilderness for a while and discovered that these unwelcoming hedges lining the path are actually lifesavers. This latter bunch, being grateful to have stumbled upon the manna, started minstrelling of its wonders, bringing more followers in.

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courtesy- The Schizophrenic Soul

Yes, I tried to allude to the act of getting high and discovering life in an all new light, at a moment when you were about to throw it all away and shatter your delicate life. And for those who had been reduced to shambles already, this elixir picked them up and pieced them back to life. Yet, people don’t see the struggle, don’t laud the discovery… but who gives a fuck, right? Hell yeah, don’t you just love this reinvigorated attitude of being able to cast off all that has been weighing you down, all the while?

They call it schizophrenia, but it’s the sole element that keeps me sane, now. I’ve learnt, happiness doesn’t come anymore and it’s just contentedness, an ecstasy that makes your heart sore. Sore high up in the sky, like the victorious eagle, breathing in the vision of the vast empire of which, I’m the ruler. It comforts me in times of need, protects me from the demon raging inside me. It fulfils my wishes, of feeling the grass as green, once again. Of looking up at the sky and once again letting its blue mesmerise my eyes, as I now find poetry in it and let it christen my soul, reducing my spite. I’m grateful that it makes me less stoic to life and presents a platter of assorted feelings that I like. It makes my mind chase unicorns across the fields of rye and helps me derive a secret pleasure from visioning all the impossibilities that reality otherwise blinded me to, in life. It has been my patient teacher and taught me how to maintain composure and brush off the malignant attacks of the outside world, kissing them goodbye with absolute grace. It has been a friend and settled my emotional upheavals when it continued troubling me to the verge of losing it all over again. It has been so many things to me, but most of all, it has been a lover, introducing me to a kind of love, unknown hitherto— a love sans ruinous emotional complications. Too good to be true, right? But it is, and I’ve experienced this wonderful feeling, of hiking to the highest peak and jumping off… but the best part is that, I don’t fall! I start flying high, high, and still higher up in the sky, letting myself come in fluid unification with the beauty of life that is so hard to find otherwise. And somehow, amidst all this, you end up learning how to truly love yourself and sustain the ecstasy, which is so satisfactorily climactic.

The icing on the cake remains for me, in the fact, that weed isn’t a compulsion to get high. If you put in the right effort and connect with yourself, patiently, in this arduous battlefield of pain, betrayal and loneliness instead of whining about it, you’ll find the right magical herb along the highway of your life. So, go on, get high on life!

Twinkle, twinkle, little star

Never being a great fan of Bollywood, I’ve always been selective when it comes to watching them.  The latest I watched, “Hindi Medium”, got me thinking, for the growing popularity of the concept.

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There’s no between.

Basically insistent on bringing out the standpoint of the English language across the metropolitan cities in India in an attempt to satirise the rat-race of vanity, the film rightfully brings out the most perturbing linguistic issue in our country, showing how a solitary language has emerged powerful enough to demarcate societal classes, hindering the objective of behavioural equality. All was going well until the typical filmi twist at the end when the otherwise boisterously eloquent elites were rendered speechless by the nouveau riche protagonists, who embodied the struggles and sacrifices one has to go through to enter the true-blue posh drawing-room society in Delhi. However prepared I was, for some similar dramatic conclusion, what perplexed me beyond measure is the oxymoronic ending song of the film, which blared on as the credits started rolling. Weaved in the same accent and the language that was so attacked in the film, the song continued merrily with the cliched dubstep, conflicting in its content and context; the lines being-

Now whatever you at bae/ You can make the whole room stare/ But you know that my favourite/ Is when you’re rocking that desi swag..”

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Cheers, if you think in English too!

Needless to say, so ingrained the class-consciousness of the English-educated “class” of people is, they’d blabber their contemplation in the similarly showcased manner, while coming out of the hall. Moments later as they walk into the restaurant for the post-movie gastronomic pleasure, they’d purse their lips at those having difficulty pronouncing the fancy names of the delicacies, secretly luxuriating in the latent triumph of being privileged enough to be brought up in a clique that has taught never to lower the esteem of this foreign language and customs by being “desi” from the heart. This way, even if you’re a hip college-goer, you’d be welcome to the circle only if you can quote Kafka or get high on Velvet Underground, correlating your sense of psychological alienation with the general disgust towards the banality of life while simultaneously using it to socialise.

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Clearly a result of prolonged colonialisation, it’s surprising how a solitary language can emerge powerful enough even after all these years of independence to demarcate societal classes and continue ruling us long after the Englishmen vacated this nation. It personally makes me feel disturbed to realise how my school and society taught me too, that I’d be without value in life if I can’t read, speak, or, the heck, even think in English. But perhaps it was their way of inculcating the fact in me, that, no matter how qualifiedly able you are, that’s just penultimate; for, the ultimate hurdle of getting a job (or getting accepted by the society, for that matter), remains your eloquence in English. Especially in sectors where you have to deal with public in person. English, instead of a language, has become the Prada, without which you’re as good as naked. Other European languages remain as accessories— the more, the merrier. When in fact, what you’re preaching is the elegance of minimalism. Contradictions, galore. Enough to confuse and intimidate and alienate those who try to break in to the circle.

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At least keep your grammar flawless!

I’m not blaming the situation. i’m not even confining it to the labelled jars of being good or bad, for, things in the current era are in such a grayscale, you can never separate the black from the white. Stating a happening phenomenon and affirming with the film’s subject matter, I’m just wondering the fate of the lost glorious path, as we are made to analyse the gems produced by our nation, gems like Tagore (not Thakur!) and Premchand, but— in English. Is it because of the complexity of a chaotic conglomeration of over 1600 languages in the country (of which 22 are officially recognised), that English could bowl it all clean and wear the crown, instead of allowing the formation of a beautiful neckpiece with such abundance of myriad beads, discarding them as worthless substance of no class or future?

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a dream-catcher to make this look catchy

post-script— Oops, should I just rewind up the whole thing? It’s simply terrorising to see how free speech and freedom of expression is in the face of extinction. Such a shame for the largest democracy in the world to do so. Hope I haven’t written anything untoward enough to offend the surprisingly inquisitive authoritative forces in my country.

Atta-attachment

It’s a dangerous territory you enter when you end up liking someone. It’s even more dangerous when your fondness radiates itself to find a way for even a remotely romantic alliance with that person. And why am I tagging it as “dangerous”, you ask? Because it involves the matters of heart, in action. And wherever heart is involved, there’s a fair chance to get caught up in pithy emotional tumult— “attachments” as you may call it, which may or may not end up going to well. You end up getting tied in the messy dilemma of how much to give to it, enveloping yourself with anticipations of a thousand consequences, thereby being emotionally isolated in the relationship instead of savouring it while it’s still there. And more than anything, this ends up being the root which prevents a wonderful blossom from budding, filling you with regret in your contemplative hours.

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You must have noticed with your life or with those around you that, we all have special sentiments attached to the idea of attachments. Some of us avoid it for the fear of being hurt (where there is heart, you’re bound to be hurt with varying degrees, who am I kidding?). There are some of us who hate it for having been hurt and encapsulate their most delicate self with a harsh demeanour. And then there are some of us, who crave for it, with all their being, despite having been (or not) hurt, in the past. It is this last category that makes me wonder a lot about it, as I mindlessly wander into the area repeated times. Having been there, maybe I should also admit, it hurts.

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The sense of attachments, of making yourself get attached to someone, is addictive. It’s like you anticipate the moment of being hurt, with a healthy appetite. The most surprising facts about it would be the completely hypnotic oblivion you drown yourself in, in the process, with a delectable amnesia. You just never know the moment you slip over the edge and fall into the trap. When you realise, it turns out to be kind of too late. And then you convince yourself that this wouldn’t be like the last time. And before you know, you’re burning in the fiery worriment if this time would be no different and you’d end up hurting yourself all over again.

But if you don’t take a chance, how will you know if this would end up the same way or not? How’d you know that you’ve been hurt enough times to emerge as a sharp and strong person who is unafraid to take challenges head-on and one who is capable of nurturing the other person in the relationship with equal care? It may be only subtly, but each wave that crashes on the shore, moulds a new pattern on the sand, leaving behind its imprint to modify your emotional self. And each wave crashes and breaks down only to recede, gather more strength and return to crash against you again. Perhaps not erasing the previous imprint completely, but imposing a new design on it presently.

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What would life be about, if not adventures? They needn’t necessarily be physical, for emotional roller-coasters are equally (if not more) capable of shaking you from the core. And here, I’m not talking about all the myriad other kinds of subtleties but the amorous matters of the heart. Speaking from personal experience, I understand how difficult it can get, how dangerous it is, and how fragile you end up feeling. But the fact is, you won’t know how unbreakable or fragile you are, unless you throw yourself into it. And all I ask helplessly, is to give it a try, to indulge in a little dedication, a little commitment and live it with all its risqué thrills.

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I might be making the least sense and perhaps for the first time, writing my heart out is not offering me the satisfactory clarification, bewildering me more in the process. Maybe because, for the first time, something actually good is happening to me in that sense and it’s making me so happy, that I’m feeling scared. He’s as wonderful as it can get and the best part is how he makes me feel. Perhaps we were destined to meet because I was getting hell tired consoling my own feelings and hard times all by myself. But then he came into my life when I was least expecting it, despite the hope always being alight, and marching into my life with loving yet gallant strides, he swept me off my feet and making me feel better about myself, than ever. He’s my boost, my buoy, my lighthouse. The problem, you ask? It might be frivolous of me to be in this position after criticising it all my life, but I met this wonderful person in this web called internet. We’ve weaved up our very own web, part emotions, part love, part “what we could be”, and mostly friendship and happy thoughts. We may not see the moon shine through our windows at the same time but I feel this thread between us. I’m scared of being torn apart and I’m scared of testing the tensility of this thread and the most difficult part is that he’s equally scared— of me being hurt.

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Baby, I admit I was trying to make a point and convince you into this, but truth be told, I actually am afraid. This web we’re weaving, would this be nothing but a beautiful cobweb adorned by the mists of dawn, like the ones in your yard, luring us into the trap to render us helpless? A fragile, beautiful snowflake? Perhaps you could read me better than myself and I want to let you know that I don’t want anything more than what we already have to be stronger. Tell me, can you not make it withstand the test of time, if we give it some time? I promise to take it real slow. And maybe if you do so, I’ll be more than happy to fulfil that latent wish of ours.

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