Strangers in sync

It was the fall of 2016. While the temperatures in the Valley were moderate, after sundown, the wind picked up and howled through the trees, making them shiver and shed their autumn foliage. We were bundled up in our winter jackets and scarves, and in search of whiskey to burn our throats and warm our innards. Up in the Himalayan mountains, it is a question of survival; it doesn’t really matter whether you ordinarily drink or not.

It had been a rough hike; with the sun beating down on our backs and sweat soaking through the layers, it was hot enough to experience a stroke. We occasionally sat and cooled off, but this part of the Valley had scant greenery, and sometimes there was not a single tree for miles. We were walking through a landscape of endless mountain ranges of brown and grey, a deserted trail beside a frothing white river and a clear, blue sky; despite the hard terrain, it was achingly, breathtakingly beautiful.

The population of the entire Valley was in four digit numbers, and the locals played host to weary travelers with undisguised delight. Food, water and shelter – your basic needs got taken care of with hardly a dent in your pocket, and beyond that, there was not much you needed, for travelers in the Valley never care for luxuries, rather, they are on the run from it.

After the day’s hike, we had chosen a small hostel on the outskirts of the village; it was cheap, promised decent food and had 5 rooms for rent. We were a strange group – me and my boyfriend, a girl with glasses who wrote poems and skipped stones, two musician guys from Mumbai who had been roaming these parts of the mountain for more than a month now, an American super-athlete couple and a young German girl and her Indian boyfriend who had been volunteering for the past year at a blind kids’ school in rural India. Incidentally, it so happened that that night would be the last time all of us met together in the same place, for the next day, we would all be going different ways.

Our search for a warm beverage proved more than fruitful, for the two Mumbaites not only had a bottle of scotch saved for some such occasion, but also produced some good quality hash, a souvenir of their travels. And so that night, a group of strangers gathered in one of the rooms, lit some candles, poured themselves some scotch, lit a joint, and sat in a circle to swap stories.

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Strangers to love

Unfortunately, we are not strangers any more.

As simply beautiful strangers to each other, we embraced love with open arms. We loved with all our heart then, and happiness only meant loving someone. We did not expect love. We did not even speak of it; but it was there in the very act of making love.

Love between strangers is beautiful. But we are not strangers any more.

We are in a ‘relationship’, without wanting to be, or knowing how. It expects us to have certain expectations from each other. In a relationship, love is not just to be given; it should be received in equal measure. Attention must be given and received. Help must be offered, sympathy should be all-encompassing, and empathy is expected to overcome any hint at anger. Jealousy is to be expected, but in just the right proportion so as not to turn into possessiveness.

Every feeling needs to be analysed and talked about in depth. Every fear must be known to each other. Not mentioning a fleeting thought is forgivable, unless you happen to mention it to anyone else. A decision, especially one involving the future, should be taken together.

A relationship is a comforting reality of a long-lasting companionship. It is a lot more than love.

But perhaps, we were better as beautiful strangers. Perhaps strangers understand love better. It remains undiluted by expectations and fears and hopes of the future. It stays within a moment which is pure, however fleeting.

Dream is destiny

wakinglife

Last night I had sex with a stranger. I don’t remember who, but it definitely wasn’t you. I don’t remember the details clearly, it was just a dream. Just a dream that ended in a scream. I woke up feeling guilty, that you might think it was cheating. Blurry dream images flash before my eyes in a swirling mix of alcohol and lies. And the dream started fading into the distance, dissolving into the blackness within.

Early morning streaking sunlight; blushing memories of last night. Your lips crushing mine, suddenly demanding; your hands in my hair, roughly commanding; and me surrendering to your urgency, willingly obeying. We tease pleasure and pain’s fine line; but you only find your pleasure in mine. Memories, more real than the rapidly dissolving dream. Memories can be held in the palm of your hand; dreams become lost time, sifting through the hourglass like fine grains of sand.

We can surrender body and mind, a consciousness, a waking life. But dream is destiny, they say; waking or dreaming, life’s in disarray; I wonder what remains at the end of day? Is it memories that come to stay… or haunting dreams that won’t go away?

Dream is destiny

 

Strangers

The good thing about strangers is that they don’t know you. With them, you can be anyone you want. Mix, match and throw on a borrowed personality, see how it works out. Go get wasted with a stranger.

There’s a time when you feel a layer of disconnect and discontent settling around you. Try as you might, you can’t seem to get through, can’t seem to convey what you mean. The sea of familiar faces feel like strangers. They don’t know you and never will.

We spend hours mulling over some person’s character, trying to read between the lines. We spend an entire lifetime searching, not knowing what we seek, not understanding, not recognizing who we really are. We’re all lost within the eternal quest to know ourselves, lost in the search for love and happiness. We don’t know exactly who we are and there’s always a part of us that remains unknown, unexplored.

We’re scared to put our trust in strangers when reality is that we’re strangers to ourselves.