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? 

A Legend in 4 hours

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You know you’ve read a good book if you would rather think about it for the 10 hours left in the day than pick up a new one. And that’s what happened to me—still is happening to me—after ending ‘The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad’.

It started as an innocuous read to satisfy my curiosity regarding the author’s popularity. But it ended up with the sensation of… let me explain it better with an analogy.

You know that feeling when you are hungry, and then eat a delicious meal—simple, home-made, down-to-earth but wholesome. That feeling when it seems like your entire being starting with heart—and not just your stomach—is full and ‘complete’. That’s the feeling I relished after finishing the book. So much that I ‘had’ to put down my thoughts in the form of words. Mind you, I’ve never given reviews about books—especially in the form of a blog post.

About the book

For reasons unclear to me, what I felt about the book comes across as a string of jagged adjectives and words. If I attempt to weave sentences out of them, they seem to lose their value and meaning. It’s like they refuse to let go of their individual characteristics amidst the other words forming the sentence. So here we go:

  • Subtle
  • Empathetic
  • Realistic
  • Whacky
  • Feminist
  • Flawed characters but perfect in a sense
  • Real India
  • Diverse—you had people from different backgrounds, upbringing, castes, and religions
  • Rich in culture
  • Observant
  • Wise
  • Ordinary yet extraordinary
  • Heartening
  • Heartfelt

Some of my favourite sentences and paragraphs:

(Note: Potential spoilers ahead if you haven’t read this book yet)

  • Till the day it wasn’t and a sunken-eyed Sukriti, her skin stretched like paper over each protruding rib, returned home, holding the gifts her in-laws had given her in return – burns on her back, from boiling water and hot pans.
  • The thoughts that had been locked inside her, and had probably been rattling in her subconscious mind for years, had finally been set free. Words falling, tripping, stumbling over each, till she finally ran out of air.
  • It is an old song, passed down through generations and the women singing are unaware that the song is not about Goddess Lakshmi who resides in the heaves above, but alludes to a gangly girl who once walked among the mango groves. (Can even be considered to the other gods and myths we worship. Especially if you connect it to another character in another story who speaks about how the lemon and chilly is a superstition based in science)
  • By the time the W had been reported missing by Mrs Mastan, who had been sitting right next to Binni, she had lost all interest in embroidery and was looking at Noni Appa across the table, signaling her that it was time to leave.
  • ‘I feel good, Binni, my muscles feel all pulled and stretched, like a ball of dough smoothened out into a nice flat chapatti’.
  • Hai Allah, the mind is also a strange thing, the minute someone asks you to keep the slate clean, squiggly lines of white chalk begin to appear, one line running into another in chaotic whirls.
  • For Anand ji, sitting by himself in the bedroom with a game of solitaire spread over the printed bed sheet, headphones plugged into his Walkman that invariably played Indian classical music as he hummed along, seemed the only way he could find refuge in his own home.
  • Why do people have to define relationships, underline each word till the paper gives way beneath, she wondered.
  • Elisa decided to leave yesterday where she felt it belonged, a hundred kilometres behind her.

Story 1: The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad

At once realistic, believable but with a tint of fable, the story revolves around Lakshmi Prasad (duh, as the name duly suggests). What’s remarkable about the story is the writing—the mini observations about day-to-day lives, human behavior (a sister’s jealousy about friends and how she tries to prove that she is the ‘closest’), how thoughts germinate, and how strength of character is often in subtle and small actions. More importantly, the writing is so rich that it paints the backdrop of the story easily. Reading it is like starting an old-school projector in your mind and resting back to watch the story unfold.

Story 2: Salaam, Noni Appa

This was by far my favourite in the whole lot.

Two widowed sisters, well in their sixties, and yet living a life full of unique idiosyncrasies and whacky behavior. Some of my key learnings from the story are this:

  • Life does not end in your 60s.
  • There have been ‘modern, broad-minded’ people well before the current generation—way back when Fiats, Walkmans and Cassettes were in fashion. And this includes women who chose not to marry, even in their 40s.
  • Just because two people are a study in contrast does not mean they can’t live together with love filling their hearts and understanding ruling their daily activities.
  • You come across all kinds of love—even the common ground variety of love in the form of a romantic relationship can be unique and different.
  • Just because you love someone does not mean you need to tolerate all their behavior. It’s ok to switch off your hearing aid once in a while.
  • Just because you love someone today does not mean you stopped loving the person you were with yesterday. And it’s ok. You can love more than one person at the same time.

Story 3: If the Weather permits

An eccentric character, whose whole life is one continuous search—one for a life partner, and the other, an escape from her parents’ pressures. And the search continues until death gives her the much-needed opportunity to escape. Who says life has to be perfect or make sense. And more importantly, who says parents do everything right? They are flawed humans too who bow to societal pressure and their own idiosyncrasies.

My favourite line? So so so many, but I will take with me the epitaph my entire life. “Here lies Elisa, she briefly belonged to many, but truly to herself.”

Story 4: The Sanitary Man from a Sacred Land

Wow. While story spoke about ‘what happened’, I could not often go beyond what the characters ‘thought’ or ‘felt’. It’s a story that completely does justice to the real-life character that Twinkle Khanna borrowed from. In fact, it is a dutiful homage to that courageous individual full of his quirks and innocence, and at the end of the day—a flawed imperfect human! Wow.

(To be updated pretty soon)

Loneliness lies between your fingers

The loneliness lies in the invisible nooks and crevices of your life. An inevitable stamp that coats every fibre of your being, separating you from the world.

Loneliness lies in the crevices between your fingers that were once filled. It’s like the skin there is marked with the knowledge and remembrance. And it now calls to relive the experience of another skin. Of your friend, your child or your parent. Or maybe even the distant lover who refuses to leave that deep set corner of your mind.

Loneliness, it sometimes is in the invisible outline of a hand at the small of your back. It’s in the memory of a time in another lifetime of being held and maybe even loved. And sometimes, it’s in the caresses showered on your body, when your thighs rested against his. When your chest lined her back as support. Or in the nape where their shoulder met their neck, the place where your cheeks and nose rested in love. And in the laugh-lined crinkle of your eyes that were once alive with joy. Or in the fullness of your lips that their tongue once explored.

Loneliness lies in the warmth that once coated your body, and has now seeped into your soul. A warmth that oddly now leaves you cold and shivering on a balmy night.

And sometimes, loneliness stares back at you from the dark ceiling of your room, on a starry sleepless night. And if you decide to go for a stroll, it reflects in the night’s moon and the stars, which once held all the hopes and dreams of a happy future, but now seem distant and lifeless. And when the day’s tiredness slowly pulls your lids shut, the loneliness falls from the ceiling to softly drape over you and the empty space next to you. It’s the thick warm quilt you snuggle under.

Loneliness, my friend, is not in the solitude. It’s in the company, or lack thereof. It’s in the outside world. And in the memories that line the inside of your mind, like a million movies playing continuously non-stop. Or in the gaps and spaces in your heart.

Loneliness lies in the very nerve endings of your skin, that’s now exposed to their absence, perhaps for ever.

Are you afraid?

“I have an overwhelming amount of love inside me, just waiting to be given.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“I am afraid of Love.”

Source: http://hdwallpaper2013.com/love/broken-heart-love-pictures-hd-wallpaper.html
Source: http://hdwallpaper2013.com/love/broken-heart-love-pictures-hd-wallpaper.html

“I have an overwhelming amount of love inside me, just waiting to be given.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“I am afraid of Love.”
“Why?”
“I am afraid I will exhaust all of it at the start. By then, I would’ve set such a high level of expectation of myself that any fall in my expression would lead to disappointments.”
“Why do you think so?”
“Because some day, my tank of Love may dry up. I would never forgive myself for letting my loved ones down or taking them for granted.”
“Has it happened before?”
“Yes. I have fallen out of love.”
“Why did that happen?”
“I simply moved on in life.”
“Did you stop feeling for that person?”
“Not really. I still love them. But in a different way.”
“There you go. Your supply of Love is unending. It never ends.”
“But I did fall out of love.”
“Who, apart from your parents, has been longest in your life?”
“My best friend.”
“Did you stop loving your friend? Take them for granted?”
“No, in fact I still feel an overwhelming amount once in a while.”
“Again, proves your fear wrong.”
“But I did let her go for a few years in the middle. I wasn’t a good friend. I let her down.”
“Who doesn’t like to waver from the paths? What matters is you’re back together, today.”
“But what if I fail to remain this passionate once I am bogged down with life later on? Today, I am young. I may not feel so when I am older.”
“Why do you think age will change you as a person?”
“I have changed regularly over the years. Why should that stop going forward? Along with the change, my likes and dislikes have changed. Things I love have varied. Why should that not happen again?”
“Is there nothing that has remained constant about you, your character? Not your likes and dislikes. That’s temperamental like the weather. Who you are, deep inside, never changes completely. Otherwise, you would retain your best friend after all these years, would you?”
“Hmmm. True. But what if the person I chose to fall in love doesn’t remain?”
“That, my dear friend, is the risk you have to take. It is not just about trusting your partner, but your own self and your choices.”
“What if I never know what I really want, caught in the vagaries of change?”
“You will. Trust your gut. Trust your intuition. If not, then trust the universe.”
“I hope so.”

On loving, being in love and relationships

Sometimes we crave for the comfort and security of the stable life. Sometimes we yearn for the excitement of the highs. Such is the duality of the human mind.

Recently, I read an Elite Daily article about the difference between being in love and loving someone. It felt so right.

I always wondered how I manage to feel something for people I had loved years back. I knew I wasn’t ‘in love’, yet the pangs deep inside my heart confused me. I wondered if that is what people meant when they say “You can’t stop loving someone even after they are gone”.

In a way, they are gone from my life. But people always leave their footprints behind, don’t they?

The sheer capability of the human heart (figuratively, of course) to love so deeply, that too multiple times, stumps me.

Movies, books, stories, songs make it seem so easy to fall in love. I always wondered if my unease in the matter indicated something that was wrong with me and my psyche. But it does make sense now. Love is not about Romance. It is sometimes subtle and silent, something romance and the high of ‘falling in love’ can never be.

All said and done, I wish it were easier. Just a little bit. Otherwise, we would never stop making mistakes, stop confusing the myriad forms of liking and caring as love. Lasting love. The eternal kinds.

Until then, I can only rely on logic and rationale to deconstruct love and my feelings. And that sounds utterly colourless and lacklustre.


Sometimes we crave for the comfort and security of the stable life. Sometimes we yearn for the excitement of the highs. Such is the duality of the human mind.

Even in matters of the heart, this is so. Why else would we “fall out of love” years later, stuck in the rut and monotony of the daily routine. Why else would there be a mid-life crisis, and the lethal 10-year mark for relationships.

It’s been years since I got out of a relationship. I have been running away from the stability of a partnership since. I have had multiple highs, but run away as soon as things started getting serious. I, after all, only wanted the high.

I was often told I would crave for the stability of a monogamous partner as I grow old. I may have scoffed at it then, but I am starting to see the point. Yet, I can’t give in entirely to stability.

That, I believe, is the jump of faith I would be required to undertake some day when I find a partner. To ensure I get my dose of highs.

But the jump is too long, and I haven’t been in practice. I may be rusty, and I may fail. And this time, it would be harder harder to pick up the pieces.

Who knows what’s in store. 🙂 Someday, I know, the heart will overrule the mind and take flight.

Until then, I wait.

Limiting your boundaries

An idle mind is a devil’s workshop. I’ve had plenty of time to be idle in the last one week – courtesy the typhoid that’s infected my body.

In the course of this one week, I’ve walked down several nostalgic memory lanes; I’ve missed those I had loved, but had to let go; I’ve thought of all those I’ve left behind in the journey that is life. I wish I could extend one hand and hold on. I wish I never had to let go.

There was a time when I thought I could nourish all possible friendships in my life. I never believed in limits then.

That is one of the biggest lessons life has taught me – boundaries and limits are important. They not only help keep away problems, but also keep relationships in check.

Yet the natural impulse to break them over powers me from time to time. I wish.