Why love feels bittersweet 

The human body feels. It’s because of the tiny blue-green nerves that connect every single cell in the body. These nerves pass on ‘feel’ messages to the brain. A head ache, for instance, is one or many of the nerves telling the brain of some pressure. The brain, then, interprets this as pain. The same goes for smell, touch, sight, taste and sound. 
And then there’s the feeling inside your gut. Where you feel sorrow, happiness, nostalgia, anger, jealousy, fear, and yes, love. 
Love is that potent feeling that makes all your nerve endings exposed to the elements. Imagine every single nerve in your body screaming to your brain. It can be overwhelming. The feeling–the pain from the sheer excess–is at once both internal and external. 
And only the person you feel the love for can be the thin layer of balm to sooth the frayed nerve endings. 
Yet, this layer is thin, almost to the point of being a transparent layer. You want to wear your lover like skin. Very few lucky people actually do. 
But even then, the thinness of the layer reminds you of the danger lurking around. One tiny tear, one loss of layer, and your very soul can be in a world of pain. Your life can turn upside down. 
And you know there’s no medicine, no cure. Only the passage of time can dull your tired nerve endings. Only dull it, mind you. It never really goes away completely. Unless, you learn to wear a thick layer of defense that no one can smash through. 
But what suffocated survival can it be? 
Oh, what painful life loving would be? 

Move on

“Move on.”

“I can’t.”

“Why?”

“…..”

“Why?”

“Because it would be murder. All those memories we painstakingly collected, they will be long forgotten. No, I’d rather smile and cry whenever I remember you and our memories. Some day, the edges of these memories are going to get frayed and dog-eared like a beloved book read again and again. I’d rather our memories too die a natural death. I don’t want them to meet a preemptive end. You move on. You need to. I’m happy here.”

To the guy I choose to marry in future

Dear you,

I want you–all of you. I want to look into your eyes when I wake up, every day, every night. I want to lie beside you in bed and snuggle for warmth during winters. I want to feel your sleep-laden arms around me, feeling me up in your dreams. I want you to wake me up in the middle of the night to have your fill of me.

I want you–all of you. I want to know the tiny details of your everyday life. I want to know who told you what, who made you feel what, what you saw on the way to work, and what you thought while you nibbled on the sandwich during lunch. I want you to share every single detail of your life, until it becomes mine. All of it, until it fills me up–my body, soul and mind. And I want you to fill the spaces between my fingers, and permeate every hollow in my body–the space between skin and flesh, blood and bone; even the very space between skin pores.

I want the security of your arm as my blanket. And I want the freedom of our travels. I want to feel the smooth skin and sooty smell of your body against mine. And I want to feel your lashes blink against my cheeks as you fall asleep.

All this and more, until your life becomes mine, and mine yours.

I want to carry the warm, invisible stamp on me–the mark that says I am a taken woman, owned in entirety. That I’m a woman conquered.

A woman who finally, willingly chose to admit defeat and surrendered her life at the feet of happiness, of domesticity without having given up her wings. That I’ve been touched so deeply, that no other touch matters.

Dear you, I want to love you until you’re my sun, my sin, and my heaven. And I want you to love me back. I want you to smile into my eyes and laugh at my jokes, poor as they may be. I want you to share your dreams and your fears, your likes and your dislikes, the things that you love and those that fill you with awe. And I want to take those and make them mine, until I practically see the world through your eyes.

You see, I was once a woman who kept a part untouched, hidden away from the world. I was once a woman who sought to hide in frivolous flings, uncaring and distant. I was a woman who didn’t appreciate the full intensity of love. I once ran away from all this.

Not anymore. Not with you.

Today, I want to give you my all, and more. Today, I want to be with you. Today, I am combustible, and only you know how to light me up. Today, I am yours. Today, I am you.

Offerings

There was a part of her 
Hidden from the world
Even when bared, she hid it well
You may kiss her skin, and drink her juice 
But give up her soul, she did not 
For how could she,
If herself, she knew not
Nor how to give up her core. 
So many tried, driven mad by want. 
But empty-handed, they stared at defeat.
Until you. 
Now she gives her precious time
To dig into the corners
And scrap every inch, every little bit
Of herself, she could offer
Like a devotee to God
Like we hunt for coins of change
Every single piece of her, 
Broken, hidden or forgotten. 
Body, mind, soul and something more, 
She craves to give and give, 
While on her back on the soft materials
One earth-shattering moment at a time.

Lost someone? Maybe this can help

Source: http://www.openlounge.org/settee/falling/
Source: http://www.openlounge.org/settee/falling/

Who has never lost a person in their whole life? Show me one such person and I will give you a million dollars (or any other currency, take your pick.)

At some point in time, we all have had to let go of someone, or have been let go by someone. It may have been a friend, partner, relative, sibling, or some other important person. At the end of it, though, we have that person-shaped hole in our life to fill; those memories to avoid—at least until it stops to draw blood, it stops stinging at least a little.

It is said that the process of getting over something or someone has multiple stages – denial, anger, bitterness, sorrow and finally acceptance. But what after that? You still have that hole. It never goes away, does it?

So what do you do? You learn to live with the hole. You try not to go near the edge, lest you fall over, open the wounds raw once again and then have to crawl back bleeding to reality. It is a constant effort, one that takes time to master.

Since these are times of listicles, let me jot down some other activities you can undertake to help yourself.

We all are trying to figure out what is best for us. I too am. These helped me at various times in life, and I hope they work for you. Or if you have a better alternative, you can share it in the comments.

1) Explore the regions… of your heart: Imagine a room, which suddenly developed a huge gaping hole in one corner. You will then look at the other parts of the room right (before calling someone to fix it, of course). Exactly the same way, there are other people in your life and heart—friends, family, co-workers, pets, your favourite Barista, take your pick. It always feels better when you know you have someone. So, concentrate on this part of your life—the good stuff. Meet that friend or person who realises that you are loved. Spend time with your co-workers who make you feel useful at work. Count your blessings today. It may not work right away. But slowly, over time, you will realise your own self-worth. And this, my dear, will be your first step.

2) Work: If you happen to be one of those lucky few who like their work, engross yourself in it. Work so hard that it pays. And this payoff will be sweeter. Not just monetarily, but also in terms of your self-esteem. Because not every boss is mean and not every co-worker is trying to put you down. Some are genuinely appreciative. It helps perk your spirits up further.

3) Go artsy: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls,” said Pablo Picasso. I don’t know if he really did say that, but those words sure feel wonderful. And it is true, too! Have you ever gotten so caught up in a book, poetry, writing, painting, music or movie that you forgot time existed? This may sound clichéd, but it is true. I have first-hand experience. Time is not your friend when you are trying to forget someone. And it is this time that we are trying to spend by dipping into art. The best part is that your soul comes out refreshed after those timeless moments.

4) Learn something new: It is sad that we stop learning new things after getting out of school or college. And even then, we were trying to study only to make a career. How many of us really had the light of curiosity in our hearts that trudged even after the exams ended? Who says a Physics or Commerce student can never want to learn about Psychology or Literature, or an Arts student would not want to learn computing? Take up something new today. It may not exactly come handy in your life or career, but you are increasing your knowledge. Most importantly, it helps eat time.

5) Take up a hobby: Yes, it is fairly clichéd, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it does help. There is a reason why you like doing something—it gives you joy! At a time like this, joy is what we need the most! So go spread your wings and take up your hobby again.

6) Travel somewhere far: Life is a journey. You have to put things behind you and start walking. Moving on is the term. It may help to take this literally too. Put some real distance between you and the person. Travel to a new place. Get yourself lost in the wonders of a new place. It is always refreshing to face new experiences.

7) Play some mind-games: Your mind is in your control. ‘Mind over matter’ is my mantra. Here is an exercise for you: Close your eyes. Think of your kitchen. But don’t think about the vegetable cutter, the blender, the grinder. You imagine precisely the kitchen. In life, when we notice someone’s absence from our life, we tend to look at things that we miss. Those essentially make you think of things that probably make you feel whole. Now, how were you before you met the person? You were still happy. Your happiness was not dependent on them. You are the same now. Now, think of abundance. Count on things what you have and what makes you happy. Then, slowly, they will show up.

8) Live a lie until it turns into the truth: Do you know who is the best liar? A person who manages to believe the lie so much that it is the truth for him or her. If you start believing in it, your body will rarely give away your lies. Similarly, start telling yourself you are living a good life, a happy life; you have enough people in your life who care about you; you are happy. Keep chanting this mantra. Wear a wide grin in your face. Try to bring a skip in your step. Make people believe that you are happy and bubbly. Slowly, as time slips away, your lie will become your truth.

At the end of the day, it is easy to wallow in self-pity and live in distress. It is bitter-sweet, the feeling. You want to relive the moments again and again in your head, playing different scenarios. This is the part of you that doesn’t want to let go—of the beautiful thing you shared. But the truth is: you have to let go!

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.