Jungle of emotions

It was the time when dusk turns into twilight. That moment when the sky is a brilliant, but diminishing, hue of colours. The day was still young.

That was when I met him. Me walking slowly along. Him, riding by on his bike.

It was the bike that attracted me, although it was nothing unusual. It was not even a trendy-looking sports bike. Just a usual one, like him. Yet, it attracted me for the stories that I knew it would help me learn. After all, walking through every nook and corner in search of stories is tedious. Quite so.

So, when he stopped and offered a lift, I jumped at the opportunity. Even at the cost of giving up my freedom. Even at the cost of agreeing to be swept under his wings.

I can only guess what he thought of me, or what he expected when he took me aboard. Actually, I can only think I can guess. In reality, the truth may be far away from my guess. Who knows, really!

I, though, wanted to get swept by the current that was life. I was learning to let go of my inhibitions and living the moment. That, I believed, would allow me to experience and learn far more than the safety of peaceful shores would ever allow. I wanted to ride the raging waves.

So, on I went with him on his bike, marvelling at the way the wind tussled my locks. It felt like freedom. Wild, dirty and yet fulfilling. Soon, I forgot I was actually letting go off freedom.

Boy, was it an enriching experience. We did exactly what I wanted to do — roam aimlessly across nameless and faceless streets and roads. Stopped wherever we wanted, whenever we wanted. My face was constantly shrouded in merriment, wonder and a huge grin that spread from ear to ear. It really did, I kid you not. Those memories still shine like they were made from gilt.

Soon, we crossed a border into a new territory. It was confusing to say the least. Yet, we went on, confident from our previous escapades that we would win this strange land too.

And that’s when the jungle started. Our bike gave up in defeat to the wildness in the jungle. We had to walk. I could handle walking better than he, so used-to he was his bike.

Imagine how harsh his first lesson in walking was. There were no paved roads, but uneven treacherous land. There were mosquitoes swarming over our heads unlike civilised lands. Not to mention the prickly bushes and branches that we had to sweep away with only our hands. I should have realised we were in waters way over our heads. We should have stopped and turned back.

But that’s the folly of the youth. We think we know our strengths. We scoff at limits. Yet, life is full of limits. Respect them and you will escape with minor scratches.

You know what is the other folly? Denial. He never budged from his stubborn denial. I humoured him. After all, I was under HIS wings, not vice versa. He was leading the way, not I.

I had heard of the jungle, but never understood why it was so scary. I thought every thing in this world had a logic. If one could only get a hang of it, the road would be easier to travel.
I was quite wrong. That is not the universal truth. The real truth is that everything has an exception. And the jungle was the exception to the rule that I thought applied. The jungle had no logic. Emotions have no logic. It is just a big mess. The antithesis to logic. It is chaos. Utter chaos. And we were in the middle of it.
My friend, the lead, finally had the sense to show me a separate path, one that could lead me out of the jungle and back to the roads I knew. He, though, was injured. The jungle had already played its game. He was stuck in the illusion of a quagmire. One that was slowly sucking him in.

I was being played by the illusion of a fog in the jungle. It hid away my vision from me. I was blindly stumbling along, with only my muted gut feeling to guide me. So, I agreed with every word he said, ignoring the rising wariness in my gut.

That’s when he told me he could see a way out. He told me to get help. He told me he will have to stay. It was his game, you see. Bless his soul. All he wanted was to get me back to safety, even at the cost of his own life.

I considered for a while. Standing there was hopeless, he said. It would do no good. My logic agreed.

So, I ran. Away from him. For his sake. And for mine too, if I were honest. I was tired of the jungle. I was getting tired of following him blindly. My gut feeling was getting exhausted by my constant, conscious ignorance.

I stopped for a while and turned to look at him. I needed one last glimpse of those twinkling eyes, those dimpled cheeks, the familiar contours of his face, and the steady strength in his tall figure. I memorised the glance until it was etched in my memory. It still is.

I continued to run after that stopping for nothing. I ran even as I heard something break behind me. One. Two. Three. I counted as I ran. I was afraid to look back and see what was breaking. I ran with greater urgency. As if my running could stop the breaks.

He was right. It did lead me out of the jungle. As the vegetation became sparse, I could see my beloved road. But it was empty. I didn’t know which way to go. Surprisingly, it was still twilight. It was not night. The day was still young.

Inertia is the reason why people can’t accept change. You hold on to the past. I held on to the idea of him. The idea of our friendship. The bike. Those memories. Yet, only silence remained. A silence that spoke of the end.

I looked back at the jungle. Smoke rose from a distance. It was him. As I stood collecting my thoughts and my breath, I knew he was done. His chapter in my life was over.

I turned and started walking the way that took my fancy. I often looked back, wondering about the jungle. His thoughts were my steady companion. I tried to quell the questions. What if…

But there is one thing I do best. I move on.

And on I walked, away from the jungle of emotions. Away from him. With my lessons learnt.

A letter to the lost friend

Dear friend,

How time works its way into our lives. There was a time when we were strangers. Then we became friends. Then best of friends. And then like every empire, which reaches its peak and declines, our friendship too had its downfall.

There was a time when not an hour went by without speaking, sharing, and laughing. There was a time when the days we didn’t meet were rare as a dime. There were days when we were thick, so much that people asked one for the other’s whereabouts. We spoke in the plural. The ‘I’ lost in the ocean of words. We were an open book to each other, a book that wasn’t shared with the world.

Soon, we reached the grey area that separates friendship and love. The place where the platonic and non-platonic meet. We strived to draw boundaries. But who has managed to draw lines in the sand and kept it safe from the waves? The lines had to be blurred. Sometimes I would overstep, sometimes you would. And then we would reassure ourselves that we would make it through, that we wouldn’t let it spoil.

It did, though, didn’t it?

Somewhere along the way, silences took over the words. Distance filled the spaces, which were once masked by hugs and kisses. Eye contact got replaced by far-away looks and hidden glances.

Once, we congratulated ourselves on our maturity to handle life situations. Then, life tested us of our capacities to handle hurt and difference of opinions. And we failed. It is easier to handle hurt inflicted by strangers and those we loved, but remotely so. But hurt caused by our own mirrors? Our own friends, those we considered more important than anyone or anything in the world? That’s the hurt that can undo most. And you were that for me, my friend. And I for you. Probably more.

And so here we are, left with nothing but memories of the laughter; the moments we whiled away with naught a thought of anything material; moments which were an impromptu celebration of life over a small cup of hot tea at the corner of a road; moments where our eyes lit up with love, joy and laughter; innocent moments which now stand like shards of glass in the long road of the past.

Moments, which we cannot touch without drawing blood.

I wish it weren’t so. Yet, here we are, dear friend. Here we are.

Today, we are together only in our shared hurt. That is all that binds us together.

Amazing how love can mutate into anger and hurt so easily. Don’t you think, friend?

And that said, there are days when I almost convince myself all is well. That some day, we can still get back our friendship. Some days, I can manage to spend shuffling through the pages of the past without a heavy heart. Some days, I laugh with the memories without drawing tears.

Today, though, is not that day. Today, I wish my friend were here, creating new memories. Today, I am only accompanied by the hollow space you left in my life.

Today is miles away from your past.

I am..

I’m many things.

I’m my past — the many pasts in my history.
I’m my present — a derivative of my past.
I’m what people think I am — all of them.
I’m what people don’t know I am — all my secrets, my silent thoughts condensed in one being.
I’m what people think I could be — the critics and motivators alike.
I’m what I think I am.
I’m what I think people think I am.
I’m my many moods and extremes. I’m the sides to my multifaceted being. And I am also the entire diamond. Not just 24 carats.
I’m each layer peeled and those veiled.
I’m every moment, every thought, every experience.
Sometimes, I am also others’ thoughts, experiences, expectations.
Sometimes I’m Me. Sometimes ‘Not me’.
Sometimes I’m blazing fire. Sometimes water cool.

I’m love. I’m anger. I’m sorrow. I’m deep thought. I’m empath. I’m aloof. I’m hurt. I’m peace. I’m pride. I’m humility.

Yes, I’m many things. I am me.

Musings of the day: Half-baked thoughts!

We often see love as a grand scheme of things. Like romance. Some larger-than-life gesture. I mean gestures; one too many. After all, it can’t stop with just one, can it?

In adolescence, love is more about the feeling of high, the feeling of being loved than about love in itself. By then, our minds are ripe with thoughts fed by media about romance; about everlasting love; about childhood sweethearts, who lived to their 90s and died together; about a grand scheme in life called love. You congratulate yourself for finding ‘The One’ during your first relationship. You feel lucky, and frankly smug for becoming one of the childhood sweethearts. In your mind, you have seen the glorious end.

But you forgot the middle. And that’s where it ends.

There are many kinds of love – the irrational love, the love at first sight, the love that builds from friendship, the love that starts as a slow timbre of spark and then buds into a roaring fire. And then there’s the calculated, controlled, practical love.

I am not a believer of love at first sight. I do believe in the irrationality of the gut feeling when you meet a potential lover. And I certainly don’t believe in the concept of ‘The One’. I am practical. Love, for me, has been a decision. It has not ‘happened to me’. I have let it happen. And that’s why I know the calculated, controlled, practical love in and out. That doesn’t mean it has no inch of irrationality in its bone.

It starts as a lurch in the gut. It does, believe me. Even the most practical of us have an instinct. Most hone it to be warned about trouble. It is but natural for it to warn about love too. After all, love falls in the list of troubles too, don’t you think?

Then starts the casual research and analysis. You scout for red flags; do a mental self-high five at the matches; a mini-jig after a splendid evening; so on and so forth. And yet, for even dance jig, there’s a panic attack. Especially when you realize you almost let your guards down and started building castles in the air. You almost let yourself get carried away with the flow, when your potential target seems cool as a cucumber, unaffected and least in the know about your mind games.

In the practical, control, calculated love, companionship and camaraderie matter more. Do your likes and dislikes match? Do your opposites clash or are they manageable? Every single step is richly evaluated.

Over thinking much? And yet, that is what you do. Every little inch of space you make for the person in your life is thought about. Every now and then, you will swing from ‘Hell, yes!’ to ‘Hell, no! I was better single’. And even this swing would scare you, because it is not logical; it is not controlled, much less rational. Shouldn’t it either be a yes or a no?

Yet, time does its magic on you. In time, you allow yourself the grace of love. It can’t be termed ‘falling in love’ when it happens over months, possibly even years, can it? It would be like watching a three-hour long movie in extra-slow motion with period reverses and fast forwards; it would last months!

And during this time, your friends would give up on you. It would be beyond them. If they are good friends, they would cheer with you every time you want to rejoice, and then, nod silently when you point out your reservations. Mentally, though, they would only be heaving a huge sigh of exasperation at your turtle-like speed.

Double the processing time if you manage to find a partner like you.

Romance: Is there hope left?

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Source: http://nicolaanthony.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/the-word-collection-a-first-foray-into-singapores-art-scene/

Romance.

It’s often been repeated that Romance is dead in today’s dating world.

It’s sad, isn’t it?

Sigh, the young naive girl in me still gets starry eyed about the notion of romance. But it’s just that — a notion. At even a hint of romance, I shy away. My cynical mind takes over then.

Once I was asked what my idea of romance is. I had to rack my brains, really. All the answers, I found, were influenced by films or books; Media. None original.

Then it hit me, romance is just making a normal, everyday moment special. At least to me, it meant that. Still means that.

So then why is it so difficult, I wonder.

Labels. Today, every relationship comes with a label. And with every label, comes the knowledge of the ending. You know where the relationship is headed. Even those label-less ones. It usually leads in an abrupt ending.

So, today, the goal matters more than the path. The relationship’s future takes precedence over the present.

Wasn’t a relationship about living the moment and filling it with love? or mere joy?

That’s where, I reckon, romance suffers.

The other day, I observed two of my friends conversing. It was private. The goal was to simply know and understand each other. That they liked each other was immaterial. It was not of any importance. The actions were not meant to lead to a certain consequence. It was to merely make use of the time at hand.

It was simple, yet poignant. It may have seemed inconsequential, but it felt so worthwhile. It felt romantic, to me. Not because they liked each other. But because it didn’t matter where they did or not.

And that makes my heart flutter. Maybe, there is hope left for romance after all!

Silence

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Silences.

There are many kinds of silences witnessed in our world.

The silence of peace and quietude;
The silence of indifference;
The silence of death, war and destruction;
The silence of pain, sorrow and grief;
Even the silence of love and romance, as lovers stare into each others eyes;
The silence of observation;
The silence of a mental conversation;
The silence of quiet contemplation and deep thought;
Or even the silence of the moment of decision-making;
Then there’s the silence of companionship;
The silence of expectations—often called a pregnant pause;
The silence of nature, confident of its own ways and whims;
The silence of vacuum;
The silence of mutual understanding;
Even the silence of focus and concentration, the likes of which you see in exam halls, each to their own;
There’s the silence of meditation and spirituality;
The silence of emotions when words fall short of doing true justice to feelings;
The silence full of unsaid words and meanings;
The silence of shock,
And there’s the silence that fills you in solitude.

But there’s a silence like whiplash; if words can hurt, then this can sting, in ways unimaginable.

And that is silence that follows a death of a relationship, when two people suddenly run out of things to speak about, a blinding contrast to times when words overflew and toppled over one another like waterfall. The silence that follows then is remarkable. That, more than anything else, can break your heart into pieces.

Musings of the day

1) Life is always a work in progress. Always. Everything you’ve built to achieve needs work even after you’ve achieved it. Maintenance, that’s what we call it. And success and failure both need it. Even take a body builder for example; you first struggle to build the body of your dreams. Then you struggle to maintain it. Now replace body with anything and everything. Universal rule, aye!

2) What takes years to build only needs a short time to destroy. Especially relationships. After all, it took Rome 100 years to be built and only one to be destroyed. Destruction is simply a waste of all the patience needed for the turtle-like crawl that building needs. That’s why Death and Destruction aren’t a work-in-progress like Life.

3) When there are big changes in life, you inevitably take comfort in the small constants. The after-waking regime; the brand of eye liner you use; the favourite comfort food you’ve had for breakfast every day of your life; the 9.56am train you take. It’s the small things that remind you you are you. Especially in the face of change. Who says the anchor needs to be heavy.

4) It’s hard to remember a person’s face, person in entirety. You miss them in glances. That one glance when their eyes twinkled. The other glance when you caught them showering you in warmth. Another one when they looked to you with melting puppy eyes and your heart skipped a beat. That specific glance when they flashed their dimples. Your memory lane is scattered with such glances from all the people who once occupied your life. It is the small things that crack your walls, your guards, your reserve. And one crack is enough when the floods come.