November 15, 2011

The Field Where I Meet You

I have not written a movie review in a long time. I watch selective movies. I do my research on the story, on the conclusion and then decide to expose my senses to this massively powerful medium of absorption.

There is enough conditioning in the human mind without my deliberately exposing it to the unnecessary, uncalled for. Which also means, I don't go by regular reviews. I do not buy what is noise to the soul, to the mind. I buy what can enrich, what can cultivate, what can clarify, what can add more perspective. At least, according to me.

I went with a similar mindset to watch Rockstar. And I have seen reviews flying, opinions flying, like they always do. And I have gotten increasingly aware of the fact that today, the number of armchair philosophers has gone up from few to several.

There are reviews that say Nargis Fakhri is a bad actress. Her pout is artificial.

That a Gibson guitar costs 50k so how did a simple boy from a lower middle class joint family in Pitampura afford one?

Why does Ranbir's guitar not show any signs of being attached to amps and is still heard over a massive stadium?

Why does Ranbir stay in the durgah for two whole months before he realises he can go to the canteen owner's home for refuge?

Why is pain important to create a musical genius, it denies that happy creative people exist, and all those massive hits he delivers as a rockstar, he had already written before he got his heart mauled.

How does he perform in Prague again after he is deported from there on charges of breaking and entering?

I don't know. And I am wondering if I even want to know. But just for argument's sake, let's tell you of some comebacks I thought of over the past two days (two days since I saw Rockstar).

When I turned 13, my dad bought me a guitar. It was a Hobner, 3.8k in those days, 1997. Bloody expensive. There was also a Givson - a cheaper desi version of the Gibson. The Gibson was 5k. My dad could have bought it. He asked me if I wanted it but I was already in love with the snazzier-looking Hobner. Let's assume I bought it for 5k. In 1997. And then, after many years, sold the guitar to a boy from Pitampura, second hand by now. For 2.5k. Are you telling me that is not possible?

I am thrown out of my home. I am so upset and so naive about life that I end up in a durgah, where my mind and soul find some rest, some answers, and I stay on until I feel I am ready to go out and face the world.

Pain is important. I would not have learnt half the things I did had I not lost my father. Had I not seen my grandmother waste away with multiple cancers. Something about the fact that you are your only lasting company, adds significant nautical miles of depth to your life, and if required, to your singing, to your music.

Are there no happy creative people? Sure there are. But growth spurts happen when you are forced into becoming stronger - not in a play pen, but when life plays with you.

I don't know if I should continue with this tirade. But I want to tell you one thing before I close this post - there is love, which transcends every bit of logic and reason, which leads to miracle cures, which makes the same songs sound so much more meaningful, which lifts you up in its wild currents to an extent that you do not notice that a guitar is not connected to the amps. Which tells you, in the language of music and a movie, that your lover may drift away, but your love, your heart will hold you through. Broken, perforated, porous and shattered but still beating, thumping, breathing.

If a movie does that for me, there is very little that it cannot do for me.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, 
there is a field. I’ll meet you there. 
When the soul lies down in that grass, 
the world is too full to talk about. 
Ideas, language. Even the phrase 'each other' 
doesn’t make any sense.


October 07, 2011

The Only Problem With Death

The thing about death is, you cannot call.

You cannot call them again. Ever.

I think that is what tears you apart, what tears you up.

September 20, 2011

Lived In Symmetries

It used to irritate her. He would leave the chairs pushed too far back in, making the whole dining table symmetry skewed. He would leave the patio chairs pulled too far out. He would leave wet towels on wooden chairs.

And he would also close taps too tightly.

Often she would correct these things quietly. Sometimes she would remind him to keep things where they belonged. And there were those days when she would be too exhausted to explain and just leave things messy, the way he left them.

And then she would also lose her calm and yell.

None of this fixed what he used to do. Leaving things lived in, behind him. He just forgot, it was as simple as that.

And then one day, when she was impatiently explaining to him why the curtains needed to pulled back evenly on both windows, she stopped. And caught herself.

Everything froze around her and she saw an alternative reality dawning at the window. The window where the curtain was pulled too far back. A day when she was alone in this house they had built. A time when she could no longer see him in the same house. She called his name but there was no answer. He was not there anymore.

She didn't know where he was. Had he left her? Had he left the house? Had he left everything? It did not matter. The truth was, he wasn't there anymore. And she wanted to die where she was standing. She wanted to leave the chairs pushed too far back in, like he used to leave them. She would not allow that to be fixed. The curtains had to remain the way he left them, the patio chairs asymmetrically arranged, the towel dangling from the antique chair. Everything had to freeze.

None of her symmetries mattered without his presence. She had to know that everything had been lived in. By him, the way he always did it.

When she snapped back, he was fixing the curtain. A tear fell on the rug she was standing on then.

September 10, 2011

Air Tight Containers

I was packing a lunch box. A day back. And the vegetable that I had cooked and was stuffing into the air-tight tiffin box was spinach.

Now we all know how volatile the nutrients in a leafy vegetable are. So I felt a bit off about cooking it and then packing it. It would travel across the city and go to an air-conditioned office where it would be opened 5-6 hours later and consumed.

Wouldn't all the nutrients evaporate by then? Get rendered useless?

But then, the box is air tight! Where would the nutrients go? Where could they possibly go from a space where escape of any kind was not possible?

I thought about that for a while.

And perhaps what I thought next is not an exact or perfect analogy, maybe it is not scientific and verifiable but well, when did I ever say this blog was about logic and set formulae?

If the soul of a man can escape from the body and this life despite your keeping him locked up in a vacuum from where no escape is possible...why can the soul of my spinach veggie not escape from the air-tight container too?

August 16, 2011

Now. Here.

It is very easy to get swept up in a current. It's wild, it's random and you exert hardly any effort at all, getting tossed in the waters.

Absolutely free.


Or is every limb constricted, balled up, drawn in, in fear of being smashed against rocks and getting thrown into whirlpools or rapids? I think yes.

What you want to really do, is find yourself a raft. Or climb on to the bank and sit, quietly, peacefully and allow your feet to dangle, to rest, to breathe in the smells of fresh water and grass and logs of wood while the current tosses, smashes, whirls and sweeps.

Most of us are being swept up in the current.

Some of us know this.

A few of us are going to think its going to be one hell of an effort to stop and climb on to the bank and wonder about actually doing it.

One of us is going to do it in one huge motion, lift himself up and sit back. There is no need to toss about. There is nowhere to go. Because when you are nowhere, you are Now Here. And that is the only way to be. With anybody. Including yourself.

July 22, 2011

A Clean Slate

Love is never a constant. Especially human love. There is nothing you can count on. There is nobody that will stay. The lips that pursed up with anger and impatience, bordering on hatred and malice yesterday may as well kiss you today. What must you feel? Yesterday's agony or today's joy?

Do not wallow, though. Those lips could have been yours too, couldn't they?

You have nothing but this road ahead of you. You have nothing but this stillness that you are breathing. In and out. In and out. You have nothing but a part of you that feels you have lived forever. You have nothing but today to live in, to breathe in. And you have nobody to do it with. You have nothing but empty words that won't touch your lips anymore because your lips are parched and you have never felt more trapped.

Trapped in your own body. Trapped in your own mind. Trapped in your own world. Indifference, real or feigned, is enough and it is true, stone walls do not a prison make. That indifference can trap you right inside the life you have chosen. And you cannot get out. You are going to be here until you forget. But you will not. Try as you may, you will not forget.

Now you know why we do not remember our past lives. It is the creator's greatest kindness to the human heart, this ability to forget. The ability to breathe once more. The ability to feel the meaning of freedom because you have forgotten, you do not remember. Your name, your relationships, your possessions, all lost in a sliver of time. And you don't miss a thing. it is your chance at living in the now. In this minute. This second. Just now.

And that is why man chooses to die. So he can forget. So he can be free. Even if temporarily. After all, we all need a clean slate.

July 15, 2011

Blue Nail Colour

Once in every while, you should remember the things you did and liked long, long ago. When you were younger than you are now.

I remember how my first nail colour was a shade of lavender with glitter. And then a shade of blue with little sparkly stars inside. Ten years hence, when I see the same colour in fancy little bottles in stores, I remember that evening, under cheap incandescent bulbs, when I was peering into a box full of nail colours that looked a lot more glamorous under the light than they did under the tubelight of my home.

So a few days back, when I walked into a store and saw a bottle of electric blue nail enamel (yes, I used to buy absolutely unpredicatable colours), I picked it up on a whim. It sat in my bag for a while. I kept glancing at it every time I would open my purse, to give money, to find my comb or to stuff my scarf in. Today, I finally mustered up the courage to get it out and painted my toe nails blue. Oddly enough, painting my toe nails blue made me feel like everything was possible. Once again.

A part of me that I had forgotten and buried away someplace deep inside of me woke up. And I remembered several things. How I used to love flip-flops and floaters. Citrusy deos. I remembered I used to tie a handkerchief to my wrist because I used to lose them very easily.

I remembered how I used to entirely adore the font Tempus Sans ITC, so much so that I put up a massive fight when I was on the college magazine board and made them agree to using it as the cover page font. I haven't seen that font in forever. It fell out of use as MS Word grew to include other, more 'legible' fonts. By the time I realised I could download it and have it on my system, I had 'moved on' from the type of vehemence it used to inspire in me.

I am still not tolerant with Times New Roman, if that gives you some heart.

I remembered how I used to love black trousers. Not denims. Trousers. Part of me still loves them, they were made of synthetic silk and they used to dry out exceptionally fast in the rains. They don't sell those anymore.

I remember how blue was my favouritest colour in the world until one day, when I had dumped my first boyfriend for various reasons that seemed highly depressing at that time, suddenly, red seemed to be screaming out at me wherever I went. Red umbrellas, red lip gloss, red belts, red wellington boots. Red filers. Red became my anti-love. Half my wardrobe turned red in a matter of two months. My wardrobe now has all colours. Even pink, if you please, a colour I used to avoid like the plague those many long years back.

I realise now that its possible to be many different people in one lifetime. You don't need multiple lifetimes for that. Every few days, we are a new person. Every seven years, we have completely turned around and changed.

Perhaps, many years ago, this bit of information would have gotten me worried. But now, its relieving. Who wants to be stuck being who they are forever? We are vessels and we hold different insides every time. We hold changing outsides too. And in that movement, lies our peace.

Don't be afraid to change. Don't be afraid to move. Surprise yourself whenever you can. And once in every while, don;t forget to revisit who you were. Perhaps you will find, you are able to rekindle a long lost romance. With yourself.

July 07, 2011

Holy & Beautiful

You could have been king. Won gold, won land, battalions of soldiers and several new queens and a harem full of women.

You could have been the chief queen and ended a war.

You could have been the president of a nation and led your country to glorious heights.

You could have been an artist and been the joy of several admirers in their houses and museums and galleries.

You could have been an actress and led a life of glamour and so many people would either love you or envy you or do both.

You could have been famous.

You could have been very rich.

You could have been a teacher and changed several lives for the better, sharing what you know to so many young minds.

You could have been an industrialist and spoken on talk shows and discussed your opinions in public.

You could have been the most important thing on this planet right now and you could have made your way into history and Wikipedia.

But you are sitting inside these four walls and not chasing these several possibilities and there are perhaps only one or two people who you can really be everything to. You can sit there in peace, breathe and know that the air smells of fresh rain and the slight woody mustiness of wet earth and feel waves of happiness overwhelm you because in all likelihood, you are the only one who captured this moment of rainy abandon in a moment that will never come back again. And that alone holds the power to make your purpose on this planet holy and beautiful.

May 25, 2011

Walking Through The Rain

A-walking, a-humming,
The road stretches on,
Your twenty-dollar bill,
Crumbling in your fingers,
Whistling a concerto,
You heard long ago,
Playing in a dream,
Or playing in your head,
How does it matter
When you won't ever be dead?

Down to your last penny,
And you throw it away
On a man who says
He will bless every act
But do you care?
Its raining and yet,
Its a grand new day.
You are happy,
Life is good,
And you  know somebody once said,
To save for a rainy day.
Yeah, right,
But you know,
How rain rhymes with pain
And give rhymes
With live?

Little puddles at your feet
And little leaves
Blowing through,
You have no raincoat
And your fingers turn blue.
But why do you care
Your every day is true.
You are loved and you are
And life walks with you.

May 05, 2011

The Perfect Love

That love you are
Looking for,
Perfect and glorious,
A man, a woman
To justify your existence,
Isn't coming, and if they do,
There is no guarantee
That they will remain
Who they are now,
Perfect and glorious
After they meet you.

It's not saying anything
At all
About who you are.
But love is cataclysmic
And some changes are permanent,
While others gradual
And on the surface.
The moon is perfect and glowing,
Seen from the earth, while
Pock-marked and dark
When you are standing on it.

But you must know,
How long-winding and boring forever gets,
For even if you don't,
The real you remembers,
The tiresome fact that love can turn to,
When one are two,
And trying hard to merge.

Distances are necessary
To realise the pull, the draw,
The call
Of life,
And if there's one person,
You will not tire looking at,
It's the face in the mirror,
And the soul restfully staring back.

You, the biggest lover you have got,
Until everything merges
Into the here and now
And beats, pulses, breathes as one,
No lover, no friend
No parent, no child,
Nothing at all, nobody,
Can give you lasting joy.

It's not poetry,
It's epiphany.

April 30, 2011

Boundaries Are Meant To Be Broken

And therefore, here's a new list of things for you to do. I ask you to do them because I have the authority to, having done them myself. Break your boundaries. Real freedom lies one to-do list away.

- Talk to a tree, not in your mind. Stand up tall, face it, declare your name, and tell it who are, what you think, loud and clear. For ten minutes. And then, with your whole body turned into one big ear, listen to the tree. Look it in the 'eye'. It may reveal secrets that it has carried for centuries.

- If you realise that you are being stared at, stare back. Without blinking, confidently. Do not glare, just gaze. Smile if you feel like it. If there is one thing more intimate than the touch of a lover, it is the power of your soul gazing steadily out of their windows.

- Compliment openly. If you think the girl in the local train sitting next to you has a nice smile, tell her so. If you think that the waiter served you well, thank him, and yes, ask him his name so you can include it in your gratitude.

- Dare to wear a colour that otherwise intimidates you. A blood red, a violent pink, an eye-watering yellow, a deep jade green. it will do wonders for you day and your perspective.

- Take a new route to wherever you are going. Make an effort to get lost. Figure your way out. you will have a new route, hopefully a shortcut and you will never again panic after losing your way. Ever again.

- Practise a new religion. For a week. Only a week. Go to the church, learn the Namaaz, read parts of the Gita, read up about Scientology, go to a Gurudwara - anything. One week.

- Buy a vegetable you have never, ever eaten before. Find a recipe. Make it. Eat it. It's wont poison you so you have nothing to lose. And perhaps, you will gain the acquaintance of a new veggie and include it in your diet.

- Write a letter. To a friend, to family perhaps. Pour your heart out. Post the letter.

It is odd but there are so many things we do and DO NOT do because that's what the whole world's doing. Stop. Wait. Ask yourself why. Watch your perspective change.

April 16, 2011


Your tears have dried up
Against your cheeks,
Leaving crusted-over, salty pathways,
Like oceans gone dry
And you have cried well into the night
For a now that no longer exists Now.
The lines fall out of your palms,
As you fly into this perfect moment,
Did you know,
Everything is possible
And in this Now,
You have wings, you can walk
On water too,
Fly back and lift the earth
On your Atlasesque shoulders,
Shrug and move on
And still own the planet.
In this Now, you are god
And goddess,
And those things that broke your heart
And spirit
They are not in the Now,
They are gone.
You are here,
You are Now,
You are safe
And you are possible.

April 15, 2011

The Season Has Changed

Dear Readers,

I know how all of you were deeply in love with the previous template. But I was growing too attached to it, which I realised when I balked at the idea of changing it.

So I did. It's an old habit of mine to break my boundaries, whenever I realise I am inside one.

This template, although new, still makes me feel like I belong here :) I hope you find your small corner of a home too, in these pages. And may you journey with me into the realms of living and living. Forevermore.

March 28, 2011

The Real Skin

I have been seeing true-blue feminists worldwide go out in the open against Delhi, which is soon transforming into the rape capital of India. Or it already is, as you read this, may be a woman is at the moment being molested or gang raped.

And I have been hearing women protest, scream, report and take action against this behaviour. I have been hearing that it is not right that women ask for it. It is not true that we want the lecherous male attention undressing us mentally everywhere we go, regardless of what we wear.

I have been thinking just one thing all this while - the lessons I have learnt as I grew up about what's under the visible feminine skin that may point to why these things are happening to you, women. And yes, you are right when you say you do not ask for it. It is true that Delhi needs a shift in attitude, the male mind needs to be educated to respect the new freedoms we women enjoy. All of it is true.

But enforcing this empowerment by wearing anything you want to, isn't exactly the solution or even an outcry. No, this is not a social message. This is not a psychological unravelling of our sexual needs and loves and hates. This is about dressing up your mind, woman, over and above dressing up your body.

Remind yourself, repeatedly, how precious you are. How important you are. How you are the focal point, the pivot on which this universe turns. Have no fear, because fear draws events to you like gravity draws objects downwards. If you are going to fear it, it's going to come spinning at you.

So look men and women in the eye, be bold, be loud, never have an inkling of a doubt that you are safe, you are being watched over, you are powerful, you are woman, you have every right and privilege to live the life you want to and be who you want to, and may you dress in what you like, be it a salwar-kameez or an A-line skirt, be it sheer or opaque cotton or whatever.

But do not become who you are not in the process. Flaunt who you truly are to yourself, not to the world, for your beauty is for privileged eyes and for yourself. Put it not to test for people who do not deserve to set eyes on you. Be real, do the things you want to do, but do not become what you are not so you can prove some point.

I have a friend who proudly flaunts her Burqha - I am special, she says, I feel protected and privileged that nobody can see me unless I want them to. The real me.

I have a friend that flaunts her backless numbers and Gothic dressing sense. I am armed, she says, with sprays and the right phone numbers and a Swiss knife that is very handy in kitchens and on roads. I know self-defense and I would like to see a man make a pass at me.

These women have never been molested or raped. They may have been teased or commented upon but their reactions are the same. Ignoring. Because they are not worthy of attention. Each is true to who she is, each wears their natural, comfortable second-skin. Because under these skins, each is so rooted in her real skin.

So, above everything, remember, if you know that you can walk through a lonely alleyway in the middle of the night and stay safe, you will stay safe. This way or that. For doubt is lethal and plants the seed of fear into your heart, where it may grow big and strong enough to strangle you. Like attracts like - it's not chemistry; it's reality. Protect yourself. Always.

March 25, 2011

New Leaves

The leaves have fallen and will be replaced soon by greener ones. Newer ones. Fresher ones. If it's the end of autumn for you too, doing these things will add to how much you believe in getting a new bark :)

- Get a new hair cut. A style you have never done before. It will make you bounce on your feet.

- Rearrange the furniture in your house. It can really add perspective.

- Clean out your shoe cabinet.

- Stack clothes in your wardrobe in order of apparel type: skirts, denims, tees, Indian and so on.

- Give yourself a pedicure. Yes men, y'all too.

- Send a pizza to your friend in another city. It's possible yes, they now do online orders for India.

- Gift a vada pav to a child that's begging. Or a Dabeli. Or a burger. Whatever you can afford. Watch that little face light up with the innocence it really is supposed to live.

- If you don't follow / watch cricket, do. Try just one match. And something seriously wild, like India-Pak or India-Aus.

- Smell a flower.

- Hug a tree, tell it you care. Mean it.

- Tickle a baby.

- Go for a heritage walk.

- Read old chats - it gives you seriously new perspective on how much you have changed and how far you have come.

- Sit alone in a restaurant, order your favourite ice-cream and lick the bowl clean - you would be surprised if I told you how many of us, with company, crave doing that but cannot.

- Go for a movie alone. You will learn a lot more than if you went with a friend.

- Order something you have never eaten or tried before in a restaurant.

- Leave a large tip.

- Bake a cake.

- Plant a plant. Name it.

- Write a poem. Even if you have never written one before.

- Stay happy - when all the things you are not die away, then you realise that there is no death.

March 10, 2011

The Now

I was once walking by a promenade. Which was, as happens in every fairytale, flanked by green trees swaying madly and raining leaves on me.

It was perfect you know. The breeze, the sounds of the birds, the whooshing of the wind in my ears, the way a dog scampered away across the walk, the cycle that went by, the playground, then empty and brown with matches long played and lost and won.

There was no thought of what had gone by. There was no anxiety at what would be coming. There was this one thought-less, stretched out minute of bizarre happiness.

It felt beautiful. I wanted to record the time. i wanted to etch it in my mind. I had to remember this long minute when I had been in perfect harmony with the world and myself. I asked the banyan tree I was passing, "What time is it?"

It looked amused. "Time?! Why, its Now! It's always the Now!"

And so it always is.And its still happening.

February 25, 2011

Earning Your Titles

You have a fancy job. You have cool friends. You have a family that visits occasionally and you therefore feel you are in touch with them.

You also have a vehicle to get around the city, you have a pay cheque that pays for unnecessary expenses like ready-made ginger-garlic paste, an extra skillet, more than two sets of a tea set and an extra pink kurta although you already have one but of course, this new one's silk, the old one's crepe.

You have a weekend that is hard-earned, so you feel you deserve it, you have a spouse who you see properly only over these well-earned weekends so they seem extra beautiful and you want to be considerate to them because you hardly get the time to see them otherwise.

You have never faced endless stretches of empty time, except the last time you were still a student in college and received month long vacations. Now, the only time you face endless stretches of time (and I do not mean one long hour, I mean weeks, maybe months) is when you go on a real sick leave, or perhaps a maternity leave if you are a woman.

You feel your busy lifestyle and extremely cool social life makes your life interesting.

You are wrong. You are somebody that has forced yourself into a situation where there is limited time left to you where you are not supposed to be doing something to justify yourself. So you find it easy.

You go out to eat, you meet some friends, you catch a few movies, you plan trips, you social network. Five hours of free time left in a week - spent sleeping or blankly flicking through channels, and perhaps, just perhaps, on a Sunday evening, you are faced with that inexplicable feeling of emptiness when you are secretly dying for Monday to arrive so you can surround yourself with unreality again, the buzz if office colleagues, the bitching about a new HR policy, the discussion about a stock price rise.

What would you do but, if that inexplicable feeling of a Sunday afternoon hit you hard in the face on a weekday and the next day and the next day and the next day? Eventually, you will hit a spot where you cannot sleep anymore or sit in front of the TV anymore, because the TV is not designed for people who sit in front of it all day - there are too many repeat telecasts.

Eventually, you would get up and cast around, breathlessly, for that which brings more purpose and activity to your life. Eventually, you would come face to face with your dreams. Good for you.

Eventually, you would achieve your dreams.

Eventually, you would be back to that Sunday afternoon, and finally, finally, that inexplicable feeling of doom that a Sunday afternoon brings with it, will stop plaguing you - you know why?

Because you will no longer be casting around for a purpose. You will do what you have to but you will finally have earned the title your species is labelled.

A human "being".

February 17, 2011

What's Your Song?

And no, I most definitely am not asking you to think of your favourite 'song' literally. I am asking you for a sound that is a song to your soul. The one that you prefer most, second only to deep, still silence. The kind that you can hear all day long, the sound that speaks to your insides, calming, soothing, lulling you into a reverie of wakefulness.

It's the sound of falling rain for some, a thunderstorm for others, the sound of the sea.

Mine? :)

Mine is playing out to me as I write this - a chime that I hunted for from the age of fourteen, a chime that I longed to hear, to want, to own, to treasure and to touch - I found it finally, little tinkling bells in a quite little corner of an otherwise mundane mall. Waiting to be chosen and picked - or rather, waiting to choose and pick. Here's a small clip of it. Downloadable in case you feel like listening to it again.

January 28, 2011

Close Your Eyes

One of the most important lessons I learnt in life happened when I was least expecting it to spring itself on me.

I sat as part of a large audience, listening to the speaker, who was a charming young man, and speaking a lot of sense. He spoke about drugs, he spoke about sex, he spoke about academics, he spoke about peers and the resultant pressure - all those things that are so important to teenagers, all those things they give so much importance to, but speeches nevertheless, and we forget them faster than we can step out of the hall.

"Don't give gyaan," we are saying inside our heads, no matter how much sense it makes. I was gradually switching off because there is only so much that you can and want to absorb and after a point, I decided it was irrelevant to me. I had hardly ever given in to peer pressure, I had my own mind and opinions, I would never touch alcohol and drugs and cigarettes with a ten foot barge pole and I had particularly strong personal views about pre-marital sex at that point in time. I didn't need this talk. I was doing fine.

My parents had done a fabulous ethic-and-morals job on me, I would say.

Then the speaker's voice broke through my reverie. Get up, find a person you have never met or seen or spoken to before. Form pairs - one of you will be blindfolded, the other will take the blindfolded person for a walk around the children's park next door.

I gulped. Nothing in my wildest dreams would have prepared me for this. Especially not this.

We got up awkwardly, that hall full of about 100 people, and I was found by a large, bored looking girl. She said an awkward hello and smiled at me and we introduced ourselves. All I knew was I was going to be led around a park, replete with children and adults, who would see the lot of us blindfolded - and my guide's name was Priya.

I was blindfolded - Priya held my hand and took me for a walk. I felt a bit like a blind dog. It was consoling that there were about fifty pairs of us. I was not the only one looking like a fool.

Lesson no.1. None of us wants to look like a fool if we are going to do it alone, no matter what the activity, of learning, of fun, or both.

I groped, stepped very gingerly, afraid of tripping or walking into people and things. After a while, I realised...I did not need to do it. I did not need to try. I needed just to listen to Priya. She kept telling me where there was a stone, some cow dung, a dog running straight at us, she steered me off paths where I would trip or fall, she counted out stairs for me so I could climb without worrying. After a while, I stopped worrying and smiled and let go of that worry - I allowed Priya to lead me, and meanwhile, I decided to do other things.

I heard a child laughing while being given a push on a swing. I smelt the gentle waft of jasmines in the park. I felt a dog run past me, his soft fur touching my feet for a split second. I laughed and giggled at how this whole activity was funny.

You know the best part - in less than ten minutes, I had a friend I completely trusted and all I knew about her was her name. The sound of her voice. How her hand felt in mine. Safe and responsible. How many times have I made a friend who I trusted so completely in a span of ten minutes?

Lesson no.2. Life can be trusted to take you safely through every path, if you only let it steer the wheel - it can be trusted you know. There is no need to worry. At all.

Some of us call it God.

January 17, 2011

Finding Love

Until we cross over to the other side, we all belong to that lost group of people that are looking for real love. The heart-wrenching, gut-moving, mind-numbing sense of true belonging, perhaps not unconditional, like the Creator has for the Created, but close nevertheless.

The kind that wants to live forever because you found the person you love and won't settle for anything less than forever.

Until you get there, life is one big question, as if you are incomplete, because you are missing part of the whole, your soul-mate of sorts. Nothing looks as colourful, things seem pretty purposeless, and there is a wide gaping hole inside of you in evenings when its perfectly quiet in your room and suddenly, a 10X10 room looks over-large.

You are not alone - you are lonely.

But when you cross over to the other side and feel qualified enough to talk about finding life-lasting true love, you know just one extra thing.

That when you start doing all the things you love, you find true love waiting for you round the corner, and then...then, you are in no hurry. You stroll lazily across to them, you know they won't turn around and disappear, you know they are going to be hanging around right there and your eyes are on them. You take your time then, read that book you love to read, eat the things you love to eat, spend a day doing things you have always wanted to do, like walking through new roads and finding a shortcut, going to catch a movie all alone and thoroughly enjoying it.

You build a house of cards, you make a new friend, you decide to learn how to cook your favourite thing, you pleasantly surprise your parent, you mail order a pizza to your best friend in another fall in love, over and over, with your life and with yourself. You know, finally, how to be happy and alone, not sad and lonely.

Then you find love. Only then.

January 09, 2011

Coming Back

Surprisingly, a lot of writing comes happens when the senses skid into a realisation that sinks into the innermost layers of the self. And a bit of writing also happens when the self stretches itself and brushes accidentally or intentionally, into a truth it always knew but seemed to have forgotten.

You, who told me suddenly, a few moments back, to never stop writing, to not let anything stop me, just reached out to both writings, and both selves, the Whole and the Partial. I am back because each is answerable to the other. Neither can stop the other from realisations, however minor, because we promised each other, we would stumble along and learn and although alone, we would never be lonely.