Just when I thought I was on the verge of losing it, a mail pops up in my feeder, with a subject that reads “How to stay sane”. I am amazed by this telepathic connect between me and my favourite e-zine. Why I am telling you this? Well I am chasing impossible deadlines and I havent really slept in the last 4 days, and the only reason I managed to have meals is because I’m home for the first time in years and my dear mom force-fed me at regular intervals. And strangely, here I am, sitting with my blog, even with the universe suggesting otherwise.
In between my sleepless romance with the computer screen, and countless minutes of “I want to pull my hair out right now”, I had my moment of a mini-epiphany. I finally know what really drives me or pushes me to go ahead. Cliched though it sounds at first, my answer is Love. My love for an experience, my love for learning, my love for risk, my love for travel, music and the arts… but also, and most importantly, my love for people. At a very basic level, this IS what makes me tick. I have often wondered if I am a downright conventional person – orderly, planned, stable. Or am I the hungry traveler who lives life by the moment.. Truth is, I am both. And at the same time, I am probably the most horrible business woman you will ever come across too. I do not blame you if you do not understand me, because I dont think I understand myself too well either. I cannot be ruled by systems, nor do I ever want to be “normal”, because.. please do tell me if you even know what it means? I hereby, gladly embrace my dark side, and promise to continue serving the world in whatever capacity with pure love. Even on days like this, and probably especially on days like this, I realize how much I love my job.. one of the very few in the world that can accommodate people like me (and pays me too, what joy!).
Someday I hope to marry an abandoned android and live happily inside a burrow under a tree with a pet dog called Yo-Yo, and come out only when the air tastes like mint. But right now, I shall get back to my deadlines. Yes. Pure love.
Like everything and everyone who’s meant the world to me, I shall have to let go off you. I need to do this now, right now, because I know we have to part… and I’d rather choose the moment than be surprised at some misopportune moment when I least expect it to happen. Maybe I ought to wait, but I find no reason to wait for a vast stretch of emptiness with the promises of nothing to come. Promises no stronger than the whiff of moist air from distant mystical lands. When we meet next, I may have moved ahead in life, though right now it seems like an impossible feat. In either case, I have run into myself far too many times. No more dead ends wrapped in cloudy grey morns. It is time I let go…
You could very well feel like the end of the world is here, but for some they’ve never had a more perfect beginning to their lives. You may be standing all alone under the night sky, yet there may be many more yous under the same vast darkness in galaxies not so far away, thinking they’re all alone. Love may make you feel giddy with happiness, even strong and invincible… yet the same love can be tearing someone apart from inside, breaking him, confusing him, threatening him. You may think you have everything figured out… yet you are ready to ignore the premature death of your assumptions. You think you are being wise… but honestly, have you learnt nothing at all?
“Hello stranger!” said She, somewhat cockily. She had always wanted an opportunity to say that, but sadly She was no Alice Ayres. It did not sound as cool, quirky or intelligent as She had imagined it in her film-starved head. Stranger awkwardly smiled back at her. He was not entirely used to getting this kind of attention from women. Not that he was a bad-looker. Infact he was quite handsome, with a kind of rustic charm deliciously blended with his carefully careless windswept hair. He was still sitting in his leather sofa where he had been fidgeting all evening, secretly stealing glances at her every now and then with an outward appearance of nonchalance. But he was always the one making the first move. Thats the way it has always been. Law of the universe. Men approach. Women oblige. Or reject. Or tease, as the case may be. This was different, and he could not quite decide what he felt. Flattered… maybe.
But you see he was already taken. Or that’s what he muttered to himself. “Hmmm. It’s a steady ship?” It has not been long, he said. As in, it hasn’t really set sail yet. “Was it going to?” At this, he got up so suddenly, it startled her. He was pacing up and down the length of the room. Then slowed down. The thing is, he said, she did not know about it yet. “But of course, you are not in two minds..” He stared hard. Then looked away. And now back again. No. He was certain. He was going to tell her tonight, soon as he got back home. “Happy to hear that. Nice meeting you… Stranger.” She smiled at him for one last time. “My bus leaves tonight. See you when I see you. And here is my number. In case…” Stranger took the little note she had scribbled on. By the time he looked up, she was gone. The note had a little doodle of something. A flower. Or a puppy, perhaps. There was no number. He scratched his ear, lit a cigarette, and drove back home as nonchalantly as he had been sitting all evening…
The yellow leaves crunched under my shoes as I trudged towards the institute. A great many trees, but no shade. How strange. Lugging my laptop bag, I looked up at the sky, or rather where the sky should’ve been, and all I could notice was a bleached white canvas that dazzled me blind for a few moments. I wore my retro sun-glasses through which I managed to spot three little black specks on the canvas far above. Three large birds of prey doing the rounds, hoping to chance upon some small dehydrated poor thing.
At this moment, I was passing by a bungalow that always fills my heart with a heavy silence. It seems to be abandoned for many years now. The distressed nameplate reads M.A. Koreishi, followed by the house number and the name of the road. Like every other day, I peeked in. The car, once white, was still there, covered in cobwebs and a great many old and decayed leaves. The windows of the house were grey and dusty, some broken by the neighbourhood kids during a game of cricket. Some old clothes hung on the clothesline in the balcony upstairs. The family must have left in a hurry. Or maybe one day, while out on their morning walk, they must’ve wandered too far and decided never to come back again. What if they had been witness to some terrible tragedy – disease, abduction, or the riots? Ok. I chided myself. Enough now, really.
It was definitely getting hotter and I still had to walk about 300 meters more. You can do it, you can do it! Just an incy wincy bit more. I must admit, it was difficult to focus on the gates of the institute when the asphalt of the ground you were walking on was ready to melt. Even the sweat on my forehead evaporated within seconds. It was like facing a giant turbojet blowdryer at its maximum power. A tiny voice inside me chirped happily. Not too many days till I make my way to cooler climes. Charged with this thought, I raced to the gate with a street dog chasing me madly. I was there, at long last. A peacock looked at me quizically on the path. I caught a breath, smiled at the silly pompous bird and made my way to the lab.
The blades of the old fan were moving ominously. It has always made that slow tick-tick sound, but somehow I never noticed it until now. Right now, when the air is in its moment of transition, from the cruel 38 degrees of the day, dipping down to a sudden 15 of the night. I scratched my skin. The dryness left a couple of white lines from my nails. Today had been a good day. If by good you mean productive, naah, not really. But throw in a pretty awesome thriller on the big screen, an unhealthy burger n fries for lunch after that, an ever growing playlist of brilliant music, some ranting, some catching up with people, and a great many cups of chai while pretending to be lost in some deep philosophical shit. Well yes. That was my day. And now, back to the ominous fan. It would definitely act as a pretty neat prop for some horror flick I make someday. The cobwebs hung from the edges of the blade, holding on for dear life. And at that speed, it wasn’t really cutting through any air. I almost felt sorry for the fan. The blades, pregnant with dust, looking down at us mortals glued to the computer screen. With these hopes and expectations, and deadlines and realities, fighting to hang on to us with dear life. The room collapsed into a slow moving dance. And as the pixels on my screen blurred, my eyes shut.
There are things that will always confuse you. There are days when you’ll wake up and find yourself to be weird, even by your own warped standards. You may have just lived through an experience that is totally unacceptable. So who draws the lines? Who sets the rules? Are there any lines and rules?
It is now that you will embrace the comforts of “willing suspension of disbelief”, for simply put, it is the only cushion you may hope to possess, under these circumstances atleast. Those days when things seem too overwhelming, too awesome, and just too much in all its blazing glory, you will voluntarily allow yourself to let go. And before you know it, you have spiraled out of the one thing you thought you were sure of – your identity. But remind yourself here, that it is never too late to start. And never too soon. Know that no one will hold as much importance in your life, as you yourself. If “right now is the beginning of the rest of your life”, you don’t have to look around for answers. You already know what needs to be done. Strangely enough, you have always known it, just never cared to acknowledge it. Strange what our minds do to us. No?
[ This post is the result of a conversation with a friend after a badly disrupted night’s sleep. The original context is inconsequential. ]