Stories


Meditation says step out

None of the stories you tell yourself are real

I walked into the woods

Where I could be with the silence, the birds and my stories

It’s funny how much we love heartbreak as much as we avoid it

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Freedom…salvation…redemption…


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The engine wheels chugged in, belching smoke on to the station. She looked at the clock. 11:53 am. He had promised to come at 11.

She sat on the rusty platform bench, mopping her brow with the loose end of her shirt. She could feel it coming- the shortness of breath, the perspiration, the anxiety, the confusion of it all balling into a giant mess. She could feel this mess, she carried it within herself, day in and out- a leaden weight in her heart- expecting someone to come along and make sense of it all.

He had come, a few months ago in the dawn of winter. In the dead silence of the night enveloped in his embrace, she had found the corners of her heart being tugged, gently indicating…maybe, just maybe, her time had come. This was it- her ticket to freedom, her time of salvation, her shortcut to redemption.

12:00 pm. No sign of him. Tired and sleep deprived she questioned the validity of it all. Her initial months filled with honey like sweetness had turned into a battle of existence, of making it through. But had she done enough? In the months of their romance she had flitted between the desire to love and the desire to take for a million times a minute. She was tired now. Yet, her love of those words continued to haunt her. Freedom…salvation… redemption…

She said each of them out loud, enunciating every syllable. Oh how well she had relished their piercing illumination and agonizing beauty! She wanted it all back.

12:00 pm. She looked at the faces in the train. The newly wedded couple whose dreams intertwined in a shared space no less than paradise holding hands, their eyes promising each other of happily ever afters; the old man, decrepit and withered, gazing at the station with soulless eyes; the young entrepreneur gazing listlessly at the pages of a book titled “You Can Do It” and herself, sitting on the rusty platform bench, waiting.

They were all looking for answers, be it in the eyes of their lover, in the hope of a miracle at the end of their life or in the leaves of a book that promised inner transformation.  Yet, they were all waiting.

She wanted to tell herself that in those silent moments of waiting, she had experienced a profound revelation…that she had taken charge and boarded the train after promising herself a better life…that he suddenly appeared and whisked her away. The cogs churned in her head, calculating her triumphs and misfortunes, her yearnings and desires, her pitfalls and failures. Freedom…salvation…redemption… She wanted them badly.

Didn’t they all?

I’m failing


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I’m failing. Miserably and inconsolably.

I look into the open fields and I see the vast blue skies spanning miles and miles across. The empty stretch of grassland does no good as scorned and humbled I walk, across the lonely roads.

Ten miles before and ten miles after, there isn’t a soul in sight.

I look towards the scattered robins and try to feel the life energy pulsating through them. I can’t.

I walk across the curb and I see the moss growing out of the half frozen sewage.

My hands start numbing and my skin prickles with the gradual chill of wind. I push my hands inside my pockets for warmth. I feel cold.

I look around once again. I am in an alien land, with alien houses, alien people and alien birds. There is something highly unsettling about this unfamiliarity. Something almost terrifying about not knowing, not being able to find my way around. I guess maybe I am the alien here.

I wonder if everyone around feels the same way. I stare at the people in cars passing by.

I pick up a pine cone on the way home. I cross the pedestrian bridge and see the sun shining through the winter clouds.

My silhouette reflects with the trees swaying along the river bank. I watch the beaver and ducks waddling across the pool without a worry in mind. I wonder if I could be like that and try to push out all thoughts from my mind.

I fail.

The person


The person is dead. She has built up walls to keep away people. She feels nothing, sees nothing. Occasionally she pretends to believe and see, but she finds it useless. So she retreats to her shell. It is warm and comfortable here. Nothing can touch her- no one can know her thoughts, no one can see her emotions. Sometimes she meets friends and goes out for parties and pretends to have fun. Deep down, she is lonely.

One day, someone comes along. He sits beside her beneath the stars and shows her the might of the sea. She sees the raging sea and for what feels after an eternity, she feels terror. Heart clenching, hair gripping terror. She gropes for an escape; she is unable to run away from this terror. Like a lightning bolt it strikes, and with one thunderous clash, her walls are shattered.

The person is in love. She feels things, she sees things. She feels a plethora of emotions- she feels alive. Her walls have been broken and she feels free. She is poetry- walking, breathing, dancing and loving. The person is very happy. She rejoices in the fragrance of the first blush and starts dreaming of eternity. Slowly she feels eternity slipping away. So she starts clinging. She transfers her hopes, dreams and fears onto him. Very gradually he becomes her hope, her dream and her worst fear.

He notices something is wrong. He cannot understand what has happened to her. All he knows is he is getting suffocated. So he starts moving away. But she simply cannot let that happen. She needs him for her eternity. She cries, she begs and she pleads. But he doesn’t budge. He knows he must go. Without a word, he disappears.

The person is enraged. She calls him names and destroys his memories. She drowns herself in remorse. She revels in her rage. She turns vile and mean. Her bloodshot eyes spit hatred. She loses sleep. She loses herself. The person is dead again.

After futile attempts and fruitless efforts, she begins to complain. She talks to people about how miserable she feels. People decide she cannot be sad for too long. They decide it is better for her to forget all about love. So they tell her to move on. She follows their advice, plastering smiles when her heart aches and losing herself in work when her eyes water. People are very impressed. They say her strength is commendable. The person hears this and feels very good and continues to pretend. It seems as though pretense is the way of the world.

She sees people getting up and going for work. She sees them making international phone calls and signing important documents. She sees them in absurdly tight and uncomfortable clothes. She wonders why they do so. They tell her it is to make an impression. Now the person finds this very absurd. But she doesn’t utter a word. Yet she sees hands typing away with dexterity at phones, eyes trained to avoid contact and heads filled with overflowing clutter. But the person’s eyes are not trained. She looks deep into their eyes and she sees boredom. She sees repression. And she sees fear.

So she talks to her parents and they say, “Work hard, mint money and then enjoy.” The person finds this even more absurd but again, she lets the opinions of others drown out her own voice and tries to show excitement at the ambitions others have and decide for her. But deep inside, she hates the world. She hates its people and their ways.  But she cannot show her resentment. Because the leaders say peace is the way of the world.

Sometimes her heart aches for love. She longs to be held. So she latches onto a stranger and makes mechanical love to him. She allows him to deduce her to a thing. She secretly wishes that he might look past her layers and love her. She doesn’t know the stranger wishes for that too. But the stranger is more adept at the ways of the world than her and he knows that he has to act grown up. He cannot show his emotions. He simply cannot be vulnerable. And when he sees the person breaking down and exposing her broken state, he gets angry. He very gets angry because he hates her for being weak. But deep down, he envies her. She can be something he would dare not. So he gives her a sermon on being strong and walks away.

The person is broken. On a rainy day she stands and watches him fade. She allows the rainwater to seep into her cracks. But she doesn’t want pain. It is too strong, too devastating for her. It is just too much. So she finds another stranger. And then another. By this time, she knows what to do. She parts ways with firm nonchalance and poise. She stops complaining about heartbreaks and stops dreaming about forever. Forever seems to be a faraway reality. Loneliness is the only reality she knows.

She moves along life until one day, she feels like writing. The words leap at her out of the page, constantly streaming across her eyes. The person knows only too well that she cannot let this voice subside. So she writes. She writes about love and hate, sorrow and loss, envy and lust. She starts complaining about the state of affairs again. She shows her hatred openly.

One dark night, she lets her monster surface. The monster claws in on her heart and shrivels her insides. It threatens to take over. Its flames rise slowly, licking her feet and torso. But she patiently waits. She resists the comfort of prayer and help. She lets it overwhelm her.  For the first time, she lets herself be utterly and terribly alone. In that one waking moment, she is surrounded by her hate, her lust, her envy, her greed and her revenge. She is surrounded by her demons. They take over, consuming her like a fire. And out of that fire, the person is born again.

I want to be a speck of dust


I want to forget myself- the accumulated knowledge, the quest for love and self inquiry, the meaning of god and everything else. I want to drop all books- spiritual and non spiritual and delve into the world of fantasy and irrationality. I want to hide my vulnerability in the silence of the night and cry away in isolation as I seek emotional validation. I want to lose this endless battle of learning and unlearning. I want sweet repose.

I want to forget all dimensions of space. I want to erase time- past and future and be in the now. If you asked me what the now meant, I would probably not know. And I would know it too. But I don’t want to know anymore. I am tired of reasoning and rationalizing. I want to forget what it is to be alive. I want to forget the touch, tastes and sounds of the world. I want to lose love, approval, acceptance and desire. I want to kill passion and keep moving in this endless flow of existence.

If you were to be driving down a long winding road, you would find me hidden in the crevice of a rock, in a speck of dust. I want to be a speck of dust. I want to erase myself. Be nothing, feel nothing and know nothing.I want to be a robot- unaffected by emotions, events and thoughts. I want to live a life of utter ignorance. I want to drop this jaded skin. I want unconsciousness and suspension in this limbo- formless, thoughtless, nameless…

I am the most tired woman in the world. I am tired when I get up. Life requires an effort I cannot make. Please give me that heavy book. I need to put something heavy like that on top of my head. I have to place my feet under the pillows always, so as to be able to stay on earth. Otherwise I feel myself going away, going away at a tremendous speed, on account of my lightness. I know that I am dead. As soon as I utter a phrase my sincerity dies, becomes a lie whose coldness chills me. Don’t say anything, because I see that you understand me, and I am afraid of your understanding. I have such a fear of finding another like myself, and such a desire to find one! I am so utterly lonely, but I also have such a fear that my isolation be broken through, and I no longer be the head and ruler of my universe. I am in great terror of your understanding by which you penetrate into my world; and then I stand revealed and I have to share my kingdom with you.

― Anaïs Nin

Being human


I looked across the room and I saw your eyes wavering with some kind of unknown emotion. Or maybe it was an emotion I knew too well. You started speaking. You spoke about the way humans were, and the way they have always been. I saw my resolve reflected in your words. I started speaking up too. I told you how tired I was, how I was struggling with my ideas about the world too.
We spoke about the way people behaved, the way they talked and the way they thought. There was one thing that I admired the most in you. Your resolve held a more grounded tone than mine. It was a spot I desired to reach. A place of no ego, of no I.
As you spoke, I saw the effect of a few months of hardship reflected in your eyes. You spoke about the way your father died, about the way you brought up your little brother and learnt to survive on your own. I waited for the tears to come as you talked about the teacher that never returned to teach you as pieces of his body were found under a train.
But your eyes seemed to have a strength of their own. It wasn’t just your eyes; it was your heart too. It was, in fact, your whole being that had witnessed the ultimate fear- death- in its most brutal form. And yet, your words flowed, speaking about the glory of living life and as you put it, “enjoying all its colours.”
And I saw myself in you. We connected. We struck a chord. We talked and we shared. It was okay not to pretend anymore. Somehow, it was natural to want each other, to want to be loved and appreciated. Somehow, it was okay to feel human.
You reminded me that we needed each other.
You made me realize the very thing I was running from was something I needed to fill. I needed someone, and that was okay. It felt so easy to be with you, to talk to you.
And as you fell asleep that night, I saw your eyes shutting mine. I slept that night with a deeper sense of understanding and gratitude. I had you, and you had me.

One step, two step.


Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchical system of organizing needs. His hierarchy often pictured as a pyramid, posits that basic biological needs to satisfy hunger and thirst must be first met, followed by our needs to feel safe, secure, and stable in a world that is organized and predictable.

We all crave for that smooth life. We all want the stability and fulfillment. We search for a haven that spells safety in our work, jobs or partners. In our quest for security, we reject those offers that come along because they seem too difficult or too inappropriate.

Not that I was any different. I too wanted a lifetime guarantee. I wanted a comforting shoulder that would bear all my baggage. I craved for a voice that reassured safety. And all the while I kept waiting…waiting for something or someone to come and lead me on the road to salvation. Months passed by but the savior did not appear. Yet, I held on… for a glimpse, a shimmer of hope.

Days passed by and I tossed and turned in my bed. I was safe, secure and comfortable. I had everything one could wish for. Yet, I was unhappy. Because somewhere along the road, I had settled for mediocrity. I was content within the confines of my walls.  I  didn’t dare to step outside for fear of being consumed. I was scared; I did not know what the outside would be like.

So I did one thing I was most afraid of: I let go. I let go of all my holds and handles. I stopped trying to hope. I stopped waiting. I stepped outside.

In a puff of smoke, all that I had known, thought and dreamt of vanished. All the laughter, tears, memories, fears, insecurities that defined me fell. I was naked. And I was hit.

It was like stepping out into a swirling storm. I was equipped with no identity, no purpose, no instructions.

Today, as I struggle to fight that seductress of security, I am still as scared and terrified as I was on day one.

I am extending one reluctant foot now. It is trembling, struggling to support my weight. My teeth are chattering from the cold chills of anticipation. My hands out of habit, are groping for a handle.

I know there lies a chasm of unknown before me. I know that no one will answer when I call for help. I know that things will not be the same again. And I know that there is a chance, a major one, that says I will fail. Many times, I wish I could cower in a place where I feel less exposed, less ripped open, less vulnerable.

But there have been many more times where I have wished to know. I have wanted to know what it feels like to be free. I have wanted to know what it feels like to fly.

Maybe my foot will be less reluctant tomorrow. Maybe it will take a step further again.  Maybe one day, I will prove Abraham Maslow wrong.