Your picture from what I last remember is framed like a canvas, oils, maybe even a plain white frame with hues of bottle greens!
Surprise me this time, with something I seek from you! It feels like ages, since I met myself the last time, I look forward to finding myself in you.
In the white sheets of the shivering nights,
maybe in the age-old rum and coke,
Maybe in the night of a crescent moon of mental sins and the thick smoke!
Or in the day dreams of my unfinished businesses, I hope I find myself in you. Manali, when I see you next, blanket me and my adrenaline rushes, my maddening spikes to have it all and nothing, at the same time.
Oh, how I have missed your snow blankets, how I have wanted to get lost in you, and so shall I.
I’ll leave the capital hopeful, and I anticipate you have waited for me like I have!
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Have you ever left a city, turned around, and in your head looked at it and said, I’ll come back?
I have, old habits die hard, they say. And believe you me, the number of places I have looked back at and promised to see again, I have. While I was still growing up cotton balled, steering through the snowball effect of being the only and the youngest girl child in my family, there was love (a hell lot of it) and the superpower of never getting ‘no’ as an answer (Sad, I know!). Whatever!
This was my erstwhile adventure of stories, tales, superstitions, and of course casual mental braiding into the mold of a perfect woman by my mother. So now that you have a reference point, my mom is the predominant reason for most of my beliefs (Even if I do not agree with them, I kind of always end up experiencing them, I do not even know how. Moms, I tell you).
So, my mother used to tell me every time we traveled, do not turn around or you will have to come back, and I would exasperate and say -what are you saying, I am turning around! Is this a superstition I love or what (Very animatedly, I am speaking this out loud while typing, you would believe me if you knew me personally)?
Jaipur! I have strange but soft memories of this place. My reasons to travel have changed but not the love for this dusky, very raw city that tries to add pink to practically everything. I mean what is it! But it’s nice. It was a wedding, for the first time I witnessed a multicultural union of two very different backgrounds, and the fact how beautifully hypocritical and sweet can we be at the same time to people we don’t know but love to judge.
I would want to see it on 70mm maybe with a black coffee and a walnut muffin (I’m not a coke and popcorn person, oh how I hate it). From one fort to another, from one place to another, from Bar Palladio to basic flatbread meals -I don’t know if there is anything I wouldn’t want to see again. I loved the winter sun of this city (and in general ,too), who wouldn’t.
I have witnessed sunsets of several cities, from mountains, palaces, ruins, camps, and the most luxurious hotels around the world, not one has matched what I have experienced here, to date (I’m yet to travel to a lot of places, can’t promise for the future). The sun in this city sets in its hue of quintessential orange and pinks, as stunning as the bride’s face. It is prepossessing!
So, when I left this time, did I turn around? Now that’s a story for another time!
Lying on the white burning surface of the virtual skin, There she was scanning the mental unorthodox memories of her mind. For her enlightenment on self love came On a sunny summer morning of 2020! But, it came with a clause of a struggles, Struggles to accept her, Like the changing seasons of indifference and warmth, To scoop her out of a negotiated hell, The one she later decided to rein in, And she did, Oh & How!
To my surprise, I think for the longest time I have detoured from the idea of entirely prioritizing myself (I do believe in doing that, entirely, yes).
Especially after a few turns of events in my life I have gotten surer about how much I want to put myself first (and I will) and stop thinking about the innumerable ‘what if’s’, not anymore. My brows have turned sore from squinching at the idea of what he/she/others would feel about this decision of mine. Frankly, I am done.
I have started to focus completely on myself, and on how to not hit a break-even point in my life, which I kind of did feel a few times in the last few months. Maybe the lockdown, the pandemic, the constant negative vibe from the universe, whatever, just decided to shut the door on its face and swing away.
The door will remain shut till I gain my sanity and the energy to fight back, again. I want space as much as I need to touch. I want silence as much as I need noise. I want a fair trial as much as I need a bias. I want things and I do not want them too. I mean, honestly, I feel this is normal. I don’t think I’ll be able to ever achieve this complete ‘I am at this side of the grass’ situation. I will always have two different reactions to the same situation, but maybe with different people, and that’s just human (isn’t it?).
I have circled the sun 30 times, and have had about 60 odd equinoxes (hopefully), physically and mentally both. And that’s the only kind of balance I have successfully achieved, thanks to science. For the rest of my days, I’m still balancing my life on my heart-piercing pencil heels avoiding one Achilles’ after another.
I hardly have ever fallen in love with humans, rather I haven’t understood completely this unpolished (forced) organic definition of love. If you cannot love one place, book, type of food, music, etc. How can you fall in love with one person and be satisfied? Confusing!
You surely can like a person enough to settle on a forever, but love? I think we just pick on people for an easy forever, conveniently adjusting to the best from the lot. No, we don’t love them entirely either. Do you really feel your parents are soulmates? I think a subway is my soulmate- beat that? Anyway, this is debatable, and the land where I come from (India), to talk like this is incessantly displeasing and sinful (which also happen to be my self assigned KRA traits).
But coming back to Shankar, I have time and again, fell in love with this guy, (innumerable times). But oh this time, he has swept me off my feet and put me in a state of trance that I don’t think I’m coming out of anytime soon. To give you a perspective – Shankar Mahadevan is a renowned Indian (also fairly international) musician, who I think has a voice that doesn’t age and keeps getting better. So when I say, I love him, I only mean his vocal cords (or wherever that voice is coming out from).
So amazon prime came up with this web series ‘Bandish Bandits’, which basically does not have much of a story, TBH, has some really nonsensical attempts of pop music, almost painful to the ears. But the Indian classical, the city, the local-regional influence on music, each bit is breathtaking (and that’s an understatement). I haven’t in a very long time gotten hooked to a ‘raag’ per say, to a certain kind of music, or even a recreated regional techno mix (I like those recreated fused versions, judge me all you want, some fusions are beautiful). But this set of a few classical numbers has legitimately made me want to put on my headphones and not take them off at all (I haven’t since I started). What a beauty!
Although, just out of curiosity, I don’t really understand the desperate need to turn everything into a love story in most of the Indian web stories, where one person is always struggling to impress the other. Why can’t people just respect each other generally as a human for their talent and grow into each other eventually, I mean, for once be normal, and not maybe show crazy royalties?
Anyway, the idea of glorifying love is never going away from the cinema. Let’s be honest, today – you cannot sell Gatsby, like you can sell Gosling!
This hasn’t sounded more apt than ever, as much as it would today for Beirut. Last night men, women, other, children – have slept in shattered pieces of their homes. The one they built with affection, sweat, and some very hard-earned money.
Now I say very, because aren’t we aware of the geopolitical situation, we are. Could you, even in your wildest dreams, imagine the plight of the families who saw their world falling apart, and having no control over – even trying to fix it before it was completely broken, no you cannot! The house that carried memories of loved ones, the one someone grew up in, the one someone probably saved for their last days, the one where there was supposed to be a marriage, a death, a funeral, a birth, a date, anything, literally anything. It’s all gone.
Sit where you are, and imagine all the walls around you falling one by one, and every little thing in your house that you have put together blasting off, and even then you wouldn’t know how it feels. I don’t either, and god forbid I ever do. But it kills me to know that there are people situation-ally handicapped and the government is too busy pulling strings that haven’t been beneficial for their economy, as if it wasn’t enough that their economy was collapsing and now, they have this to take care of or say learn to live with.
And in a generic conversation with a friend today about Beirut, he mentioned how this is the call of nature and there always comes a time when earth takes it upon itself to fix things because we aren’t (Also casually mentioned Thanos).
Firstly, this was not natural it was man-made, secondly please put yourself in a barrel, cause you need maturing.
I immediately lost interest in the conversation because, how conveniently have we adjusted to the idea of death and catastrophe. And learned to make jokes about it, not because we are okay with what happened, but because we know we wouldn’t move an inch if it isn’t my house, my family, or myself.
Such people, ahh, these mothballs will shed, but only as long as it’s remote (both mentally and physically), I’ll preach but I’ll not move my ass, and be a tree and wait for the world to change on its own. And if that’s not enough, I’ll criticize the ones who try. Of all the situations in their life where they could open their mouth to freaking make a valid point, this is where they decide to exercise fundamental rights in a free democracy, at least on papers.
Beirut, I’m not sure how long will it take and how many more people have suffered and how on earth would they ever collect the courage to restart their lives, but I hope they do, I hope they have the strength to get up, collect the last few pieces, put them together and start again, even if it isn’t very swift, do it slowly, but do so!
Don’t let the aftermath devastate you mentally!
(NOTE: Pardon my careless writing errors, I was pissed!)