It’s a long, lonely afternoon. The sun beats down with all its might and the people wither and wilt. I manage to fold my legs in the swiveling office chair and stare at the heads bent over their laptops.
This is not where I belong.
I begin at the no. It’s a nice, round ‘o’ sound that carries into the silence. I begin here, not at nothing, but at something less than nothing.
Each no I utter shoves me deeper into a stone cold pit. It’s not bad, I quite like it down here. But then those voices begin shouting my name. Then come the search parties, stumbling with flashlights through the dark undergrowth. Worried, concerned voices, searching for me in the wrong places. I remain silent. I let them yell and they get louder each night. The voices, they comfort me. I want to be sought, yet I want to remain lost to the world.
I am lost, even now, to the world that represses, the world that sits in judgment and the world that drowns out perfect harmonies.
And so I run. Wind-whipped hair and a gasp of air, hear the beat, feel the heat, run fast, lose the past, hit the wall, break the fall, take a plunge, fill your lungs, forget what you know and just let go.
It was almost like a summer romance; a friendship that was as sudden and unlikely as rains in March. The three of us first met on a train speeding to Delhi – the start to an awesome trek in the Himalayas. One was a lanky curly-haired boy of 21, who alternated dangerously between acting like he’s five, or getting lost deep in thought. The other was a sweet-looking helpful girl who I didn’t really interact with during the trek… Not in my wildest dreams did I think three such varied individuals would become inseparable within less than a month’s time.
It began simply for one reason, that of the trekking group of 15 or so, we were the only three people who had ‘time’ on our hands. We were all unemployed; I was awaiting professional qualification after which I was sure to start job-hunting, and these two were 2 years younger than me and had much lesser worries of education and jobs.
And so it began. We were like three forever-hungry and almost-always-broke teenagers, and on most days we had no option but to lock ourselves in my room, shut the blinds and watch back-to-back movies, since we could not afford going out. On lucky days when one of us had some money, we treated ourselves to chicken subs and wraps, and that too secretly, as it was in addition to what my Mom used to prepare for lunch.
Now, I had already realized that living with the parents past The Twenties is a big disadvantage. To top that, these two taking up residence plus dining in my room, was maddening enough for my parents, but they were pretty much helpless, save the weekly fights we had on the ‘kind of friends I bring into the house’, and how ‘I was wasting my life’. Nothing unusual there…
We all knew this was short-lived, and would come to an end once one of us started working, or my parents decided to throw us all out, whichever happened earlier. We thus had an unspoken pact to spend every waking moment together. We prepared bucket lists of movies and series to watch, and devoured brilliant films of every possible genre, day after day.
The evenings were the highlight of our time together. The best part about my building is a terrace on the 10th floor, which has a splendid view of mountains and city lights around the necklace-shaped bend in the road on one side, and speeding lights of cars zooming down the highway on the other. It was this terrace that had become our sanctuary, and here we retreated to enjoy our evenings with delicious chicken steamed Momos, and some John Mayer playing in the background.
Conversations were never needed on such evenings. We were dreamers, artists in our own ways. Silence itself was our conversation, and we were often at peace, lost in synchronized thoughts, perhaps… When the moon rose and the sky reminded us of the nights spent in the Himalayas under a glorious blanket of stars, I knew we all felt that connection some alive within us.
Looking back on those days right now, I would honestly be perplexed at how we spent 2 months doing absolutely nothing productive or worthwhile to boast of. But then I remember the laughs, the music, the fights, the wrestling, occasional partying, and I know they were magical days we may never get back… A life-long summer friendship, and some moments of peace that vanish in a heartbeat…
Housing.com is this new wonderful thing on real estate that everyone’s been talking about… Although personally I doubt I could find something there as wonderful as my terrace and these long-past moments with friends!
As far back as my memory goes, I’ve always been ‘The Girl Who Listens’.
I was a silent child, too much into books and puzzles to stop and learn some valuable practical lessons regarding the ‘world’ (which, back then simply meant ‘school’). I was nice and sweet, and never got in anyone’s way, so I made friends easily. I was the girl people told their secrets to.
At 15, I suddenly grew up from a sweet, quiet kid to a girl who had discovered that she could think. I began to actually talk to communicate stuff, and I liked it. I made new friends who liked me for the way I was, and I was happy. I was even friends with some boys from my class!
One day, this cute guy started a conversation with me outside our class. We were both favorites of our Math professor (yes, I was a nerd!) and we spoke a little of this, a little of that. Soon the conversations turned to late night chats. He was bright, intelligent, and the more I thought about it, he was just the kind of guy I would love to like.
And then he finally mustered up his courage, and told me… that he’d been crushing on my best friend for weeks, and could I please find out if she liked him too? I was the girl who the guys approached, to tell me about their crush on one of my girlfriends.
It turned out, she did like him, only to break his heart soon after. And once again, still uncomplaining, I gave him my ear, and also my heart. It did not take him long to notice my tear-stained shoulder and to catch my unbroken heart. And as all teenage loves go, many painful years later, I realized only too late how much of a rebound I was for him.
I’ve now successfully ended things with him – and emerged with my head above the water. I’m older and wiser in experience. I’ve even been approached by guys for myself, to ask me out. I’ve had relationships that did not begin with a shoulder to cry on.
Just yesterday a close friend confided in me that she wants to break up with her boyfriend of many years. Soon after she ended things with him, I got a phone call from her boyfriend, asking me to talk to her and to try and convince her to give him another chance. I realize I’m still the girl who listens to everyone. But now I see it as a good thing. This tells me that I connect well with people. It makes me happy, knowing that my friends are comfortable with talking about their feelings with me, and that they know I’m here for them and that they can trust me.
You realize you’re barely hanging on, stuck right in the middle of being educated and being qualified to get a job.
You have landed yourself in that spot where you know that technically you’re just as qualified as those with an actual professional degree. Heck, probably even your friends, colleagues, seniors, and the person who politely turns you down at the job interview know it too. It’s the professional institution that hands out those two attractive shiny letters ‘CA’ (Chartered Accountant) that doesn’t know it, and if they do, they don’t care. Because you have not passed their examination. Again.
You may possibly be more knowledgeable than someone within the 3% that have actually passed this exam. Yes, 3%. More knowledgeable perhaps, because you have studied for the subject twice more than those that passed the first time around. And now here you go, attempting the same exam for the third time, ending up having wasted a year of your life unemployed, at home, studying, hopeful, that this time you will pass.