How was your day?

How was your day

You complain

I never ask

You narrate the top headlines

The unruly maid

The unkempt help

The untimely call

The unnecessary gossip

The untidy laundry

The unhappy husband

The unseen sorrow

The unwell joys

The undoing of your mind

And if time permits

The tidings of the neighbors

Of siblings, cousins and nephews

Of promises broken and words unkept

Of those long lost

And the silent goodbyes

In my mind

I narrate the same

With words

Punctuated by silence

And then you complain

I never speak

Who teaches you to come back?

Travel—it’s a common theme these days. So many of the inspirational posts doing the rounds these days are about letting go of the vagaries of life and travelling.

Travel to your heart’s content. Travel until your feet can’t move anymore. Travel until your heart expands to fit the whole world in. And then, travel some more, they say.

It’s a beautiful concept. And travel one must.

But who will teach you to come back home?

Home with it’s chores and daily schedules. Who will remind you of their urgencies and the reason why you withstood the painpoints?

Home with it’s shackles and binds, heating your skin up that was, until a split second ago, cold from the breeze blowing against you on the tall cliff.

Home with it’s dull grey skies and polluted city centres, where only the young and foolish think they’re free. Wasn’t it not too long ago until you were one of those?

Home, where the parties have come to an end and the after-parties only rise and ebb in the chorus of the sonorous snores.

Home, where the 5.00 am alarm rings you, and you don’t jump out, excited about chasing the sun rise from the east. No, instead you drag your feet to the bathroom and drape yourself in the anonymity of dreary clothes.

Where all texts you get are from colleagues and a handful of friends left in the drainage pipe, ready to ride away the time train. Not, from friends made a few minutes back, making excited plans to discover a pristine hidden beach or get up close to a tall mountain peak.

No. How do you get back?

When all you’re faced with is the list of compromises you made to stabilize reality. When you have to relive the decisions—the friends cut off, the people you retain; the habits newly formed at the behest of old ones gone. Everything that formed the new skin you sew for yourself over time, shedding bits and pieces of the old one again and again, minutes and hours at a time.

Will you agree with each of those?

Would you take the time to mourn what you left behind long before you travelled? But adhere to what’s left?

Or will you rethink your life, change the compromise that’s no more comfortable, and chase after what you decided to leave behind?

How do you answer all your questions about yourself, the people and the world around you, when all you’re expected to do is be normal…again?

And so, you escape. You relive your travels again and again in your mind, avoiding the realities unfolding before your eyes. You forget the life you’re living, and love the past, holding onto it with a desperate vigour, all the while being painfully aware that those memories are fading.

Going, going…. Gone.

There. Now you’re back to reality.

Or are you?

Drawing lines

I remember, as a kid, lines were the easiest to draw. Simply take a scale, measure the length required and draw.
Even then, many children got it wrong. I assumed that, caught up in drawing the line, they removed the pressure on the scale, which then moved in tandem.
At that time, I wondered, how could you mess up something as simple as drawing line?
Flash-forward to ‘reality’ as an adult. Lines are everywhere; and most usually, screwed up.
Imagine, each life is a hollow, transparent sphere. It’s a world in itself. These spheres intersect with each other.
The degree of intersection shows close the relationship is or how much effect you have on that life.
Now, every sphere has two other spheres inside — one stands for your private life at the core of your being, while the other (slightly bigger one) represents your personal life.
All these are separated, figuratively, by a single thin line — a boundary. This line helps keep unwanted elements out. It also jails you in.
Often, this line blurrs. Sometimes, it repels. Sometimes, it hardens. Many times, it weakens with time; you start letting people in.
Like the boundaries of most countries are a war-zone, these lines in your life are too. They are quite unstable.
Take a relationship between two people; there’s always a line separating their individual wants and needs. Often, this line is forgot, allowing you to fulfil the other’s wants. You compromise. Or is it a sacrifice?
Where’s the line that separates a compromise from becoming a sacrifice? When is it asking for space and when is it self-centered-ness?
These lines, in your personal relationships, are invisible and grossly misplaced. Finding where it lies, and where it should rightly lie, is one of adulthood’s biggest challenges.
And even once you have found it, it redrawn anew, enforcing it is a real test of wills. This struggle is ongoing — within yourself, your friendships, your love life, and all other relationships.
Reminds me of something my professor had once said:
“Freedom is never absolute. It is a constant power struggle, where two people determine whose freedom and needs are more important.”