Tag Archives: Writing

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.

Interlude

When I started this blog about three years ago, I only wanted to express myself, I needed a vent, something to do, something to care about. I was looking for someone who might empathize, who might be going through the same thing I was, and more importantly, people who would not pass judgments. 60 blog posts and 315 readers later, I realised, blogging had became all about showcasing my writing. Carefully treading the thin line between truth and fiction, the focus gradually shifted from needing a means of expression to trying to evolve as a writer. As if opening my eyes after an extended period of darkness, today I once again felt the need to simply express, to write only for myself, without trying to create a masterpiece.

I feel happy today. Perhaps the reason is something as superficial as – it’s the weekend! and I roamed the city like a free bird this cold winter morning, feeling the warmth of early sunrays caressing my face. I hit a couple of minor snags, potential dangers to my mood upswing – I sneezed 72 times (goddamn dust allergies), and, courtesy the new wave of black money eradication that’s gripped the nation, I waited 3 hours in line at the bank (which, I must say, was quite entertaining to the people around me, since I finished Tina Fey’s Bossypants laughing my ass off and grooving to Tool) – as I said, these were minor incidents, I wasn’t about to let anything get to me.

My mind was at peace. No restless drumming of fingers on the table, no sudden bouts of anxiety, and, thank God, no depression relapse or drooping self-confidence. It was calm inside, and laughter on the outside. Not particularly wanting to dwell upon the past few months, I can only be grateful for days like these, and hope they stay as long as possible.

Banal

There are times when I envy people their happiness, their joyous lives, pain free, carefree; superficial and shallow, perhaps lacking substance, yet happy. I sit at cafés, alternating between hope, despair, exuberant bliss, pessimism, sudden highs – wind through my hair, night lights, rings of smoke – and then I look at other tables, people laughing, eating, talking about mundane incidents from a mundane life, and it all comes crashing down near my ears, like waves crashing on a shore at high tide. I envy their normalcy, their ability to take life and just live it, without struggling to find answers for questions which have no answers – the reason for our existence, the meaning of love, an escape from the dry monotony dragging us by. Suddenly, I haven’t the slightest idea what I am doing there in that café in the midst of happy faces, so I overdose on caffeine and blow smoke on their faces, silently cursing them for having most of it together. I wish to be free of this eternal struggle with myself, the endless moralizing, philosophizing, rationalizing, and bouts of utterly bleak despair. Everything seems bleak. Get me out of here.

Graffiti

I tell him he is like a sponge, absorbing me into his very core. He breathes in my thoughts, impulses, tears, reflections, intuitions, desires. I paint weird graffiti on the walls of his mind, and he tells me I fascinate him. He wants to be closer to me. He wants to possess my mind. But I do not know what I am more fearful of relinquishing – my sanity or my insanity?

We talk of love and emotions, and the moon, the stars, the wind. He believes me when I tell him I love him, because I believe it too. Every moment is our moment, isolated from the rest of the world. But then the moment passes, and suddenly I am nothing and I am everywhere.

He tries to paint the insides of my mind, but it keeps wandering and slips from his grasp. And then I hate myself with a fierceness which he can only match with his anger.

Perhaps love does exist only within our minds, and what we should be saying is, “I want to love you. So much…”

Extinguish

I stub out the cigarette and stare in silence as the embers slowly fade, leaving me in complete darkness. There is no escape from morbid thoughts, and I cannot help but think that this is how it all ends. Someone will watch the light in my eyes fade into nothingness. What once was, will be no more. A lifeless pile of cold flesh and rotting bones crumbling into dust. Someone very dear will ooze moisture from their face and vow to never forget. And one day their memories will turn to stardust, dissolving from their fingers and toes into nothingness.

Stardust is men who fought bravely, women that loved fiercely, children whose laughs echo through the wind. It is broken hearts and slayed limbs, silent melodies and blank pages, colorless dreams and an empty hourglass.

And yet I get this strange feeling that I am but a mere spectator. Yet there remains a tiny, fragmented, futile hope that as stardust, we are immortal.

Breaking patterns

I have a little nightly ritual. I turn off all the lights, put on some Warren Zevon, light a cigarette and walk around in my underwear searching for some inspiration. A pitch dark house fascinates me. It puts my brain on a hyper-imaginative mode, especially after alternate doses of Murakami and high fantasy IF games.

But this night knows it’s going to be a long one. There’s that appalling number 25 looming bright, an impending quarter life crisis, a sudden fear of death, a bucket list getting longer by the minute, some thousand books to read, a hundred things to learn, and the seconds ominously ticking away…

I used to wonder about people who have spent entire lifetimes perfecting the making of a shoe, or a watch, or bread, for crying out loud. Didn’t monotony hit so hard back then, or is it just generations getting more restless? Perhaps those people are the ones who finally understand the deeper meaning of life, not us soul-searching nitwits who will never really be satisfied.

As for me, I know I will always be making and breaking patterns just to create news ones all over again. It’s almost scary that I’m this easily fooled by my own ever changing self.

In the past two weeks, I have developed a new pattern. I wake up at exactly 7:38 am, and it always interrupts an exciting dream. It amused me at first, but now it pisses me off. Perhaps, sleeping at 5 am will break that pattern…

Demons

Your past is carefully locked up, demons and all. It makes you feel stronger in the now, knowing there’s an iron door between your two worlds. You have never once opened that door, though the demons are rearing to have a go. You could never face them yourself, because you were never strong enough for that kind of thing.

Such doors are never meant to be opened alone. That world comes into discourse only when you can rely on the strength of someone else, the one who coaxes you to face your demons.

I open that door

I see it; I see those red eyes now

Staring intently, sensing my fear

I tremble on the doorstep

You give me a slight push

And I cross the threshold

 

They don’t attack all at once

(Yes, ‘they’ are more than one)

They wait for me to choose my opponent

I start with the oldest, the weakest

And as my triumph slays fear,

You look jubilant, from the corner…

 

I move on to the others

The ghosts & the vicious ones

I raise my sword and shield,

But it is stronger, it hits back

I look to you for help

And see you cowering, terrified

 

I stare in shock then comprehend,

My demons scare you more!

They have unified, ready to pounce

I realize I am alone in this fight

A moment of panic, a scream

I need to get out, “get out now!”

 

But you have still not moved

As the monsters strike, I flee;

My fingers slam the door shut

Divided again, my two worlds

But now you’re in there, locked in that room

Locked within my past