Fear-borne Breakups vs Blind Love for Truth

It’s been a year into the pandemic, and I am back from what seems like an endless interlude, and while we’ve all moved on from the initial down-in-the-dumps phase, we’ve somehow learned to concoct a routine to pick up our flesh and bones and carry on with our not-so-fun days. There has also been a pedantic interpretation of feelings in this massive bubble of a void.

We have learned beautifully to sublet our brain space to emptiness. It’s safe, it’s practical, it’s all things streamlined, but is it making your stomach feel like Piccadilly Circus? That’s what I thought. While we sat in our homes and swore by @freddy_birdy’s instagram posts, we somewhere along the line forgot to, in fact, apply those suggestions with ourselves, our crushes, the space between our pet’s paw and our hand, the distance to our favourite pub, or even a delicious hug from our totally platonic friend that we are almost too certain we won’t fall for. How did we get here?

Gertrude Stein once said, “Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” She was not jesting. The woman practically saw the 21st century millennial gang fail at accepting and communicating their feelings. It’s a dark age to be in your 20s, yearning for love and not being able to swing such luck. I know it, I’ve been there. I am there. Being a 20 something woman in India who has recently gotten out of a feature film of a relationship, is bang in the middle of a tired cocktail of dating apps, unsolicited selfies from schoolmates, booty calls and “what are your marriage plans” messages from high-class relatives, the thought of wanting to get back with your ex comes almost as quickly as pee after a long day at work without an access to a functional loo.

We. Want. To. Belong. It’s a reality as old as Pangea and it needs some getting used to if you are not popularly known as a sorted person. We fear getting attached and then getting our hearts minced by beautiful people who weren’t ready to get on a long ride to comitment with us. It happens. Plans evolve, needs metamorphose, sometimes our visions just don’t align and we reach a plateau. This often leads to a long string of fear-borne breakups. The classic leave them before they leave you. And, as much as I’d like to say it is healthy, it is not. It is corrupting your feelings box. We kill our feelings to avoid hurt. It’s a flawed barter. We fear crying ourselves to sleep, we fear sleeping with new people, we fear feeling new, we fear abandonment, we fear taking a blow to our hearts. It is natural, but maladaptive.

On the flip-side is a romantically slutty heart that just wants to clone itself and belong to numerous people, almost one after the other, or all at once. It’s an ocean of an orgasm in your heart when you let go and fall. Fall for a new person. A person who might not stick around for long. Might forget you the moment you turn around for a cup of coffee. Or might fall right back for you, and you might kiss on your ride back home and just shakily hold hands. It is magical to love unconditionally; a weightless gain. But what does it take to be brave?

A boom in flicks and series that reflect empowered singles who take a chance in love and life is one of the biggest contributors to such decisions. Sometimes it is a stalwart streak that we inherit from our parents, sometimes we just give birth to this quality on our own. The thing is, risks help us stay informed and keep us in the game of truth. The more you chase your heart, the faster you learn of your weaknesses. These weaknesses are our golden cracks of wisdom. They help us rebut, accept, deflect, ask and reflect. The RADAR within ourselves. And now while we lie as a wedge on our breakthrough door it is for us to decide whether we get on the other side and clink with a cooler version of ourselves that has loved and lost and will love again and ponder upon a Pap smear for this cancerous idea of toxic familiarity, or not. Let courage stay rent free in your bones.

Whispers of w(h)ine

Just one of those usual, stimulating nights, where you have nothing but to ponder upon something absolutely absurd or revolutionary. And that, of course, has to happen over a gorgeous glass of wine, a tough glass of whiskey or a nippy beer, a given, for being a different cut. Often times, we scrutinise the very conventional subjects of politics, religion, long lost lovers, quantum physics if you’re phony, and the rest of the times you just wail your way to sleep.

So far, so good? Great! Now, let’s talk about something not so conventional, post-drinking. The unheard whispers of the magic potion in that glass; the listless pieces of advice from the red in the wine, to the red on my lips.

It was the 18th night of the month of October, ’16. Exactly a year ago I was down with a dilapidating illness, and now there were almost no signs of it. It was bored, as all i could do was sleep, eat donuts, and sleep, and more sleep; it left. I was sitting on the settee in my verandah, wearing a maroon cotton dress, leaning against the wall, as my legs hung themselves from it like the fallen trees on a highway on a rainy day; tired. I was trying to form my rendition of Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton, my pick that month. Joseph Anton, a thousand mosquitoes, and I were the sole witnesses of the moonlight bouncing off the glossy pages of that thick, purple book, as it flipped pages by itself, loving the help it got from the Good Samaritan above us; the fan.

Twenty minutes into the lull, and I hear Mr. Brar, my neighbor from the floor above, playing The Power Of Love by Air Supply. He and I both went, “The whispers in the morning, of lovers sleeping tight…“, as loud as we could before we heard each other being loud rascals in the night. I sure had a laugh thinking how he must’ve gotten happy hearing me. Classic, old Mr. Brar. A typical night. It was then that I heard it; one red to another.

I used to find myself tied to a feeling of confusion and awe, in the nights. The days were usually the same; peachy. You wake up, you seize the day, and thus followed the night. The nights came to avenge you, to seize you, to tell you if you were worth your salt. The funny part was, and still is, most of us do cutting-edge work in the day, only to feel lost and lonely in the night. “Only the broken can feel the nights for real”, the popular illogical belief. I believed that the shades of grey, silently melting into the abysmal black made it intriguing. Like a black diamond charmingly peeping through fair, long fingers.

It was this very night when it swung at me; all that nights do is give you intensity. No matter what the thought, feeling, belief, emotion, act, the nights let you consummate it. We always keep our worries and foes for this stretch of the 24 hours of any given day; the last few hours. Why you ask me? Because this is when we feel the closest to ourselves. It’s the only time we get to spend time with our own body, our mind, our hands; judgement-free, at home, in bed, or a favourite chair, or a rag, or a corner where you can just stand and groove to the radio.

We’ve made the night what it stands for. We’ve burdened it with our secrets and cries. We hide in the dark, instead of finding solace in it, we look too hard trying to find the dark in the dark. If you try just hard enough, close your eyes and see the night for the pure beauty that it is, it won’t haunt you anymore.

It’ll be waiting for you, every day, to hear you whine about your ex, your boss, your wife, your boyfriend, your overprotective mother; all your problems. The nights will always, always be there to help you find the way for the day, help you enjoy that beer better, chill with your family longer, and love yourself harder. If only you let her see the good in you, that is all she’ll ever be. Darling night.



Resurrecting Cognizance 

As her rough hands, lay cold on the table, with fingers intertwined, freckles on her palms, crooked nails forcing themselves into her experienced skin, she looked at her wrists, she’d once slit to escape veto.

It was a beautiful morning, she was to meet her long lost friend, one she had loved all this while, but only to get treated as a younger sister by him, which she hated, immensely. They were to meet at a local café, she was to exhume her love to him, today. But it went, such : 
“Oh my god, Abel, you look beautiful, I can’t gather enough words to express how. Haha, you’ve grown up”, he said. She exclaimed, “look at you! So handsome, Rupert. I’m so happy we’re catching up after so long. Seven years it’s been, right?”. “Ah, well, seven years and three months to be precise.” “Good heavens”, she thought, passing on an approving smile. After the usual chitter-chatter was done with, she took a long breath, and reached for his hand, and he held it tight. It was so warm, something so sedating she’d ever touched in ages, that’s when she felt a rough slide through her palm. He’d withdrawn it away from her, closing his eyes, and saying, “sorry, I shouldn’t have.” He bent to his right side, sitting on his chair, and drew an envelope from his bag and placed it infront of her, and said, “you should come. I’ll be waiting for you”, and sprinted out of the café, looking back at her just once before the exit, witnessing a tear roll down her cheek. She was confused, not knowing what that fateful envelope had in it. She picked it up, tore off the seal and drew a card from within. Her face was as white as a ghost’s spell, with her eyes wide open. It read, “Rupert weds Marie”. 

She was now sitting on her bed, facing the mirror, with her face so morose, the wedding card lying torn on the floor, her mascara smudged till her lower cheeks, tears rolling down in black. She’d loved this one man all her life, and now he was getting married to somebody else. The thought was too much a torment to bear. She wanted to get over it, in just one go, resting her hands on the sink’s rim, she looked down at the blade that was kept boldly on the bathroom tile. She bent low, sat on the floor, resting her back to the wall, holding the blade against her left wrist, she slit it. She now layed calmly on the floor. All those memories of them being together, her fantasies regarding him, flowed piously from that facile cut. She was somehow saved by her neighbour, and after two years of rehab, she works as one of the best authors in New York, with the best works on the subject of love, but it was a toxic irony for herself. 

It’s been 12 years since that one fateful day, she’s 40, and he died at 38 because of blood cancer. She visits that very café every year, on the day they’d met, sits on the very table number 3, and sips her favourite cup of coffee, resurrecting cognizance, looking at those beautiful marks of her thin, fair wrists.

New Year, Unchangeable Me

“Haha, same to you. Hope to see you soon. Oh yes, yes. Alright! Alright! Yeah, new year, new me and all, I know. Haha, good night. Love you!”

I had a smirk on my face after this phone call, at 12:09 in the morning. “New me, haha, yeah right.” Finally it was the 1st of January, 2015. But does it really matter? Do I really have to use “finally”? I mean, I know it’s a new year, hops and fancies, but I’m really not excited. And why should I be? Does 11:59 p.m., 31st of December, ’14 to 00:01 a.m., 1st of January, ’15, really change things? I think, not, and you and I are both very well aware of that fact. Yes, for the last few hours of the last day of the year, and the first few hours of the first, really do get us all excited, but doesn’t reality, inevitably, settle in? I try, I try every year to change and settle according to somebody else’s wants, but I’m really sorry, I cannot. I cannot suppress my inner demons, to suit you. Why would you want that, anyway?

I’ve lost many people, in the year that’s gone by, and I certainly do not wish to have any expectations with this one. What’s the sole purpose of it all? To get let down? To get colossally damaged, beneath the heap of wishes and hopes? It’s true, I’ve yearned for impossible wants, I’ve tried to take terribly desperate measures to have what I definitely can’t and then lose. At times I wish to lose it all and never be sober, ever again. I wish, I wish, I wish. But the truth saddens me, and it shouldn’t, and I’m taken down by surprise.

I’ve understood now. Things don’t change, people don’t leave, circumstances aren’t good or bad, it’s our perception. The sad truth, that lingers in between the lines of our hands. Why can’t I have what I’ve always desired, fulfil my wishes the way I want? Well, it’s a question that we all ask ourselves at some point or the other. But don’t you worry, it’s a phase of the world that we live in. We are doomed in some sense or the other, falling prey to the fallacies of this sphere. But it’s alright, my love. It’s all meant to be alright.

The Alarm Rang

Today I wake up, my bed-sheet, crisp, the pillow softer than ever, and my head, all too light. What’d i do last night? Was I not sober? Did I do something foolish to make me feel funny this way? Gasp! It’s just a Friday. I ought to feel this way at this day of the agonising week. Wore my slippers, one and two. Suddenly, a chill ran down my spine. Quite exasperating, as it sounds, darling winters are here. And as I smile thinking of all those lovers cuddling in the arms of the other, a feeling of love enlightened in me, I wear my robe and walk out of my bedroom.

The sun shone so bright on my face, and that chirp of the birds, all dipped in maple syrup, the cool breeze swept me off of my feet. What a lovely morning it was, cool with the breeze, oozing with the warmth of love within me. “I have so much to give, within me”, I thought. Thinking of my lover, and a little too much, I found myself blushing.

As I sipped through a hot cup of coffee, and ran my finger down the books I have on my reading list, I took out, “Walden”, a book that has made me change a lot of perceptions about certain things in life. All thanks to Mr. Thoreau. I’ve never had such an amazing start to my day, not in the past few months, at least. I reach for my phone, and the very first thing that catches my eye is,”Morning to the most beautiful person in this world. :*” Oh! Was I not flattered enough to die. I had a quick read through my other messages, too. Nothing as lovely as that. “This morning couldn’t have been any better”, I thought. And not to forget, my mother, too, wasn’t acting all grumpy.

I went back to my room, planning to take a long, warm bath, after I find something suitable enough to wear, to compliment my serene morning. As I open my closet, I find myself standing awestruck. “What? A leather jacket? I hadn’t even told mom about it. How’d she know? Oh my god!” I sprinted out of my room, looking for mom. Sensing my excitement, she new what I had to say. Well, I just gave her a big hug, and kissed her, after saying thank you, of course. Best mother in the world she is. Actually, last evening, we’d gone out to shop, and this very jacket had caught me by awe. I asked mom if I could get it for myself, and I got a straight no. I wonder when she bought it for me. Anyway, the point is, this is so sweet of her. It has just made my heart melt, and I love her even more than ever.

“I look hot in it”, I told my mom, standing in front of the mirror, peeping out of my room. “Well, perks of being my daughter”, she said, smirking for a while. I suddenly had an unexplainable love for winters, now. Obviously, anyone would. I was so much in love with the day, already, I slid down, into my bed, again, with my jacket on, smiling like a fool.

The alarm rang, making an irritating noise. And god knows why I was hugging my pillow so tight. I wake up, and one of my slippers had been chewed away by my dog. The actual morning had just begun. “Sweet dreams”, I said, disgusted.