Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This World and That!

In this world, rules run amok
Don't smoke, and hey don't fuck...
In that world, no one gives a damn
Propriety, sobriety, all a sham.

In this world, act on a cue
You are what others see of you...
In that world, be stripped clean
Pretenses don't mean a thing.

In this world, watch your stuff
Save this, hoard that, it's never enough...
In that world, there are no doors
What is mine, darling, is as much yours.

In this world, I fit a role
Have a past, gotta have a goal...
In that world, time's gone astray
You die and live today.

I don't fit in, if you say
Then you must know what's amiss...
I am of that world
Though I live in this!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Getting Off the Merry-Go-Round

When you first get off the merry-go-round after being on it for as long as I had been, it takes a fair bit of time to find your footing. At first your head spins and your feet stumble. People mistake you for a drunk because of that stagger- and that dumb smile pasted permanently on your face doesn't help either. You stop too long to smell the roses. You climb too many cliffs recklessly. You sing and dance unexpectedly. Not used to getting anywhere except around the same point, you lose your way often. Not used to having a goal except self service, you wander too much in the by-lanes, searching for a more meaningful goal.

But one day, your feet steady up, your head clears and your heart understands that happiness need not be chased. It will walk with you if you walk strong. It will follow you if you become the leader of your life. It will grow with you as you savor every instance of beauty that life has to offer. And it will stay with you even as you discover, sometimes painfully, the reason why you exist.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can't Stop Looking

I see these mountains everyday
This snow
These meadows
This happy river
These clouds
This blue blue sky
This road
These goats
These bare temples
This kull
These quiet villages
And your eyes...
But it's as if I am seeing them for the very first time.
And I just can't stop looking.

Everyday, my heart is as empty as when it all began.
Everyday, my heart is as full as it can ever get. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

What Makes Magic?

Every day I wake up and prowl the Internet for stuff to read. I check Facebook and a couple of my favorite blogs, and meander in the by-lanes they send me to, picking and choosing what to read. Some days, I am overwhelmed by feelings I just can't put a finger on. Those days I read a lot of poetry, hungering for one that will articulate what I can't. On other days, when I am not feeling too good about things, I long for quick entertainment. Then I look for celebrity trivia and other nonsense. Sometimes I feel like being surprised and awed and fired up. Then I read science stuff. Sometimes, I read up on current issues that my friends seem to be fired about.

I read everything I start to its very end, however bored I may be, because as a novice writer myself, I know that sometimes gems are hidden in the depths. But gems are rare. Mostly, I come out untouched, unscathed, even by a well-written and well-thought through piece.

But sometimes, to my utter delight, it's different. I come out a little wide-eyed, or with a flutter in my heart. Some poems, some articles have the power to do that to me. Lately, I have been wondering why that happens. What makes magic?

So this is what I have figured. First, of course, content matters. It has to be about something that appeals to me, stuff I am interested in. And second, of course again, it has to be well written. Language mastery is essential. But the one thing that is common in all such powerful writings that move me is honesty. Above all. Not cleverness. But honesty.

Being honest in writing is a hard thing to describe. Honesty doesn't mean secrets bared. Even the most factual unemotional articles and poems can be honest. Honesty in writing, IMO, is about being faithful to the intent of what you are writing. And it's a tricky thing because for a piece to be honest, every word, every sentence, has to be honest. A singular intent throughout.

When I am writing, I constantly check for signs of dishonesty, because it creeps in if you are not careful. When writing, I am swayed by many things- how will people reading what I write react to it, what will they think of me, do I sound cool, does it make me look smart etc. I am also distracted by some phrases- I just want to use them because I like them or because they sound cool. These and others like these make what I write dishonest. I make a lot of effort to weed out this stuff after I am done writing, using the microscope of intent. And almost always, it makes me feel better about what I have written.

Here's to reading more honest stuff, stuff that sets my heart aflutter and makes my eyes go wide. Here's also to writing more honest stuff, setting somebody else's heart aflutter. Here's to making magic. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Everyone but her!

In the morning, I wake up to the muted clitter clatter from the kitchen. I know mommy is making my breakfast and school lunch. Often I can guess what she is making by the smells that come wafting into the bedroom. Sometimes, I hear her singing one of her many favorite boring "village" songs. Sometimes, she whistles. I keep lying in bed thinking nice thoughts. Whenever I hear her footsteps, I close my eyes and pretend I am sleeping. Sometimes she thinks I am really sleeping, but sometimes she knows I am pretending and makes me laugh by saying something funny. I always give her a hard time getting out of bed. She starts nicely but when I refuse to get up, she gets tough and uses her threatening voice. There is no need actually, because everybody knows I will get out of bed soon. In the bathroom, I take a long time and then make a mess brushing my teeth. I leave toothpaste all over the sink and splashes of water on the floor. When she sees it, she glares at me and tells me tooth fairy will be angry. That's not true. Everyone knows tooth fairy only cares for clean teeth, not clean bathrooms. Then she changes me into my uniform. I make a lot of fuss and complain about this and that and everything. She threatens to send me to school without clothes. Everyone knows she won't do that ever. Next comes the hair, which is the worst thing because it really hurts. She says she is doing her best to be gentle but everyone knows she can do a better job. Every time I cry out, she asks the same question "Who asked you to grow your hair, you or I?" No need to ask that question when everyone knows the answer. When I keep squirming and crying, she threatens to cut my hair. I become quiet because from where we sit in the dining room, I can see the pair of yellow scissors hanging in the kitchen. I eat my breakfast quickly because I like the stuff she makes. She always wants to know how it tastes. No need to ask because everyone knows she is a great cooker. The last thing I have to do before leaving the house is wear my shoes, but I keep waiting until I hear her say she will send me to school without my shoes. Everyone knows that's not going to happen either. In the car, she tries to make conversation, but I keep looking out. Sometimes I smile at her but I never answer her questions. Everyone knows I don't like to answer questions in the morning. When we get to the school, she holds my hand and takes me to the bag aunty. I hear her say "Bye darling, have fun" but I don't respond. Everyone knows there is no fun when I am away from my mommy. Everyone but her. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

WTF is wrong with me?

I have a problem. Every time I need help from someone, I cringe. I imagine all sorts of things the other person might think of me, such as I am selfish, or dependent, or weak, or I am using them and so on. In the process of imagining all this, I actually become that selfish dependent weak person. Now, I don't like being that kind of person, so as far as possible, I don't ask anyone for help. If I must seek help, I am so apologetic that the other person has to counter it with their it's-no-big-deal responses, making the whole situation very awkward. And after someone has helped me, I just can't let go of this feeling of immense obligation that is not good in any healthy relationship. And this is true for everyone- strangers, colleagues, my good friends, even my close family. And it has been like this for as long as I can remember, right back to when I was a young child.

Yesterday, I mentioned this issue to a very good, older, wiser friend, but instead of sympathy or understanding, I got a massive dose of scolding. She told me that I was totally messed up, had a shitty attitude and was most selfish and patronizing. Her point was that I wanted for myself all the joy that one derives from helping others, and didn't want to give anyone a chance to receive that joy from me.

It was a shocker. It is indeed true that I love taking care of people. Nothing gives me more happiness than that. And I never feel that the people receiving from me owe me anything in return. If indeed I am denying people the same kind of happiness out of some misplaced sense of guilt, I would be foolish at best and downright mean at worst.

But is it really true? How come I understand intellectually what this friend said, but can't believe it deep down? Why do I doubt that some people may like to do something for me just as I like to do for them? What is it that doesn't allow me to accept simple acts of kindness or friendship gracefully and as my right? Why can't I believe I am deserving of such acts? What drives me to be so darn independent that I never ever have to ask for any help from anyone? What am I protecting? What do I fear deep down? How lowly do I think of myself?

What the fuck is wrong with me?