A new world

The music dimmed, the streetlights brightened and out of the corner of my eye, I saw your Adam’s apple bobbing as you hummed a tune. Within the periphery of a car glass and two seats, I could see the stirrings of a new world.

That was just the beginning.

The bowl of noodles in front of me starts to turn cold as I gaze aimlessly into space. I try to segregate the noodles, thin from thick, small from big. But like my emotions, the more I try to separate, the more entangled they become.

There are times when I want to love you. I want to give you pure, unconditional love. I want to be carried away into wonderment and follow you wherever you lead. I want to love you with a love so profound that would whisper warmth to you on a dark lonely night.

Then are times when I want to scar you. Emotionally and mentally. I want to put you through suffering for reasons inexplicable. I want you to answer questions that still burn my heart. I want you with me in the deepest pits of hell. I want to be loved.

Like a lot of other things, I cannot find my way across the battle of love and hate, pride and envy. I feel lost. I feel different, I see different. The stars lose their charm and the lake its shimmers without you. I feel incomplete, as a burn simmers its way through my heart. I see lovers and I see you.

I see us huddling on a front porch on a winter night. Out of the corner of my eye, I see your Adam’s apple bobbing as you strum your guitar. I look up at the stars and find them glittering again. I feel your hand on mine, and I begin to trust life.


I’m failing


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

If you were looking for God

If you were looking for God, I would tell you to observe the water droplets spewing out of your shower- their rainbow edges as they blur into nothingness, their mirror like façade and their shimmers as they hit the ground before shattering into a million diamonds.

If you were looking for God, I would ask you to look long enough into the glassy stare of another’s eyes till it begins to melt away to reveal a plethora of experiences and joy. I would tell you to look deeper and discover your own criterion of truth and beauty while the moments continue to transpire into eons and you know real human connection.

If you were looking for God, I would tell you to lie beneath the stars on a chilly night, wine glass in hand, and feel the pungent liquid trickling down and gently warming your insides. I would ask you to feel the warmth emanating from your rib cage as your eyes give way to the black void sucking you into oblivion.

If you were looking for God, I would take you to a temple and dare you to lose yourself in the palpable silence hanging ghoul like in the crevices before you groped among the idols enshrining the sanctum. And as you close your eyes in reverent prayer, I would take your  hand and walk you home. I would ask you to see the sun rays glistening through the stained glass painting on my window, make you smell the woody aroma of the books and their pages lining my shelf and hand you a cup of coffee. I would mutter something about the ultimate complexity and the stupidity of labeling God as a noun and walk away. And if on the next day, you were still looking for God, I would embrace you warmly and entwine my fingers in yours to continue this search with you.

Tell me your dreams

Tell me your dreams and I will tell you mine.

If only you could see the moths and their netted wings glowing in the rays of the streetlamp as they fly aimless and lost, the sheer wonder and inquiry in the eyes of a child as he looks, I would share the joy of seeing with you.

If only you could smell the earthy aroma as I walk placing one foot in front of the other in the forest breathing in scents, I would share the joy of fragrance with you.

If only you could hear the music of the birds and cars as they traverse along their respective paths, I would share the joy of listening with you.

If only you could walk with me through this conflict I face as I struggle and flit between dreams and reality, magic and illusion, silence and words, I would share the joy of mutual evolution with you.

If only you could feel my energy rising to the surface and coursing through my veins as I touch you, I would share the joy of passionate embrace with you.

If only you could show me your glee and wonder, the places that made you cry, the people that made you laugh, the things that inspired you to write, I would share the joy of companionship with you.

If only you could turn towards me and tell me your dreams, I would know the joy of sharing with you.

Tell me you dreams, stranger. I want to know you, feel you, taste you, and experience every bit of you. I want to know the thoughts that plague your mind, the layers beneath those brown eyes and the secrets that keep you up on nights. Show me your surprise, your turbulence  as I hear your breath hitch while I entangle myself in you.

Tell me your dreams and I will treasure them all, unlocking them in the deepest recesses of my heart when beauty turns into a thing too scarce and the nights stretch endlessly into the heavens and beyond and the lines between you and I blur and we become one.

Live, laugh, dance

My eyes lose focus as I recollect the previous night. The half eaten chocolate dangles from my sticky fingers as I mull over words that could possibly inch towards the perfection of the night.

I entered the room, my feet falling in step with the music. The thumps of the steady beat coursed through my body as soon as I set foot on the floor. Like a stimulus coursing through my veins, it flowed through my form reaching the tips of my toes and fingers. The convulsions began. Unclenching my fists, I gave way to the steady rhythm as it coursed through my hands.

I was a witnessing entity…a spirit… going through the motions of what was to be one of the most enriching and liberating experiences of my life.  At the same time, I was a form, an experience, a twirl that was slowly losing sight as the edges blurred little by little into nothingness.

People milled in. The lights dimmed. Much like my consciousness, they flashed on and off. I phased in and out of the multitude of smells, sounds and feels, as the floor vibrated with the ever increasing footfalls and the rhythmic thuds of the tunes.

The gradual upbeat of the bass sent my body into frenzy of its own. Like a slow moving missile, the magic took over, invading my senses and soul. My eyes rolled upwards as I raised my hands over my head. In that one moment of dancing glory, I felt alive. The people, the music, the lights, the floor, the sights, the smells gave way to my being as I dissolved, molecule by molecule, into the whole. I was there and not there.  I was one and nothing at all. I was a flame, burning alive and in that one moment of nothingness, I was the dancer and the dance.

I still think about you

Hey there. It’s been a while. About six months? I have started to lose count. The days seem to be less blurry though.  My vision seems to have cleared now. I feel and see things differently these days.  I feel these pangs of vulnerability, creeping up to me every night. I also feel these outbursts of joy, peeking their way out of the most mundane things. Between these two, I see glimpses of you.

I think about you sometimes. Well, a lot of times. Okay, well all the time. I miss you. I miss the way you leaned close to me hanging on to my every word, as if it were a jeweled drop. I remember the way your voice sounded in the morning, all husky and thick with sleep. I loved those times when you would catch my furtive glances and throw a wink in my way. I miss those times when a simple smile would make me blush.

I miss your presence in my life. You have left behind a gaping hole which no soothing song or motivational book can fill. You have left behind love: irrational, unconditional, irrevocable love. You have taught me passion. You have taught me to be human, bringing to surface my innermost impulses and desires. You showed me what it was to be really free.

I move around lost going from one person to another, just wishing to see that familiar glimpse of care, of hopefulness, of unbridled joy that I saw in you. But glimpses are all I can get. Till then, I wander around lost, hoping and searching and wishing. It’s hard to find people like that, you know. It’s harder to find people like you.

People tell me it’s madness, that I must move on. But I know better. What we had was real, was true, was love. And I am not going to let it go. It’s what makes me, me. It’s what keeps me awake at nights like these, helping me pour my heart out on paper. It’s this madness that keeps the child alive in me.  It’s this madness that causes this incoherency as I struggle, seeking words that cannot possibly describe what I feel.

Till then, I will retreat to my blanket, thinking about your cuddles and your scent. I will imagine your warmth and will make it through another night, feeling the pangs of vulnerability as I sleep. I still think about you at these times. Well maybe, most of the time. Okay, all the time. Do you?

A silent spectator

He was just like any other person I had met. I thought he had more to him – maybe his silences held some deep secrets, maybe his stoic countenance held some repressed emotions. The more I tried to dig, the more disappointed I got. It was then I realized that his silences held no hidden meaning, and his expressions were simple portrayals of his true nature. It was his nothingness, his ordinariness that made him extraordinary. His unwillingness to stand out made him special.

Sometimes in the evening, his friends immersed themselves in various sports, forgetting themselves and the world for a few hours. And in those few hours, he sat in the stands, taking it all in with a smile.

He rose in the early hours of dawn, saw the sunlight shining through the leaves and breathed in the fresh morning air. I could picture him sitting in meditation, basking in the glory of the ‘superiority’ he felt at rising before the world. As humanity made its first stirrings of the day, he sat watching his thoughts in silent harmony with nature.

He was like the characters in a R.K. Narayan novel – simple, with a pleasant disposition and a few wants. Often times, I try to picture him. What must he be like in person? And often times, the playground of life comes to my mind. I see people running about, going to office, attending college, doing their chores and buying big buildings. And in the background I see him, a silent spectator, viewing the world passing by.

The day I met the God of Love

It was a clear, bright noon. When walking home, I found myself to be alone, the entire street suddenly deserted, and light to be fast fading. As the sun hid completely, I saw a figure descend from above. My mind knew inexplicably, that it was a God, the God of Love.

My jaw dropped open at the sight of him. I stared at him blankly. I was astounded not out of awe, but out of surprise. He wasn’t anything like I had pictured. Clad in a simple white robe, he looked at me with gentle eyes. There was no divine light or halo over his head. Much like his clothing, his appearance was simple.

“Not what you had expected, eh?” he said, with a knowing twinkle in his eyes.

“No,” I said stupidly. What was I supposed to say? That I was expecting to see a glowing cherub with heart shaped arrows and bows?

Laughing heartily, he said to me, “It’s funny how your mind works. Love is not always flowers and hearts you see.”

“But…but..bu-t…” I stuttered. “But if love isn’t like that, then what is?” he said finishing my unuttered question. I simply nodded. “Come, I’ll show you,” he said taking me by the hand.

We walked along the street stopping at the side of a river. I saw a painter at work, painting the stream. It was a fairly small one, with a few plants growing by its side.

“Why does this stream fascinate you so much?” I asked him. “It’ a small stream,” I said.

Looking up from his work for the first time, the painter said, “Here you see the stream twisting and flowing around a few rocks, and disappearing into the distance. But I see the glacier it melted from, the mountain it flowed down from, the boulders it twisted and curved around, the way it changed from a mountain spring to a bubbling brook, the river it became, the trees that swayed on its bank, the farmers ploughing their fields along its borders, the fish swimming in it, the boats let into its waters by children and the lovers that sat along its bank, gazing into each other’s depths. Yet to you, it is only a stream.”

“It must take tremendous practice and work to do this,” I commented, impressed by his little talk. “Nah, it only takes love.” And with that, he resumed his painting.

The God signaled me to walk ahead. As we walked into the street, I saw an old woman, bending over with age, distributing food to urchins.

“Why do you do this?” I said, “Have you seen their nubile bodies? They look like they have rolled in the mud. Do not touch them, you will contract their diseases.” She smiled up at me from her half rimmed spectacles and said, “I lost my only grandson in the spring. Since then, life has never been the same. I have taken up the task to feed as many mouths as I can while I live. Often times, I see their little eyes shining with gratitude and I feel my grandson back with me again. It’s my way of keeping him close.”

“But don’t you feel the pain of his loss gnawing at your heart?” I asked. “Of course, I do,” she said. “But isn’t that the only way you learn to love?”

And again, the God lead me by the hand and ushered me to walk. We reached a hilltop where a young couple sat looking out into the sunset. My footfalls disturbed their moment. Yet, they seemed unperturbed. They beckoned me with their hands and offered me a seat on their bench.

“Sit,” said the God, sensing my reluctance on intruding their privacy. “Where are you from?” I asked the man. “London,” he said. “And she’s from Paris.”

“Does she speak English?” I asked gesturing towards the young lady. “No, and neither do I speak French.”

“But how do you communicate?” I asked, shocked.

“We understand each other better than anyone else. We don’t need words to communicate. It’s funny how love doesn’t need a language,” he said, turning towards the setting sun.

I sat on the hilltop with the two strangers I had just met and started to cry. I was overwhelmed. The tears flowed freely of their own accord. I saw myself in the blazing sun, in the pink glow that tinted the sky, in the trees that swayed on the hillside, in the painter, in the stream that he painted, in the old lady, in the urchins and in the two lovers. The tears flowed faster. Try as I might, I couldn’t stop crying. I was crying not because I was sad, but because for the first time in my life, I was alive.  I was love. I was infinite love.

“It’s time to go,” said the God, jerking me out of my reverie.

I followed his footsteps and we arrived at the street we had started from.  “You might be wondering why I did not give you any jargon on love. It was because I wanted you to experience and feel it for yourself. It can be quite overwhelming sometimes, eh?” he said, referring to my moment at the hilltop.

“Yes. But why is that I feel this void, this emptiness of love in my life at times?”

“It’s because you never knew how to ask for it,” he said, slowly ascending into the clouds.

“So all I need to do is ask?” I shouted as I saw him vanishing into the heavens.

As he disappeared into the sky, he said, “Ask, and ye shall receive.”