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I’ve never felt more alive

6 Jan

It’s strange how I’ve been almost annoyingly wide awake at 4am nearly every single day since the new year began. I made no resolutions, no active efforts, no secret hopes…just the desire for a good night’s rest, which seems to clock its time at an hour that I’m not ready to embrace yet.

Here I am, again today. However, instead of doing the usual, which is coaxing myself back to sleep again before my baby wakes me up, I’ve gifted myself a hot hug of the perfect mug of filter coffee while I wait for the sounds of dawn to tell me I’m not insane — the gentle sounds of houses being swept and washed, the whir of vehicles ushering in the presence of a new day, distant azaans from mosques near and far, and soon the rooster who will remind us, as he has been for years now, that he’s the king of all alarm clocks. The best, amidst of all this, is the silence, the stillness, and the encouraging sound of my keypad telling me to continue.

I have Michelle Obama’s autobiography lying next to me, waiting to be savoured one line at a time. It’s a book I’ve been wanting to pick up and relish, for I know I will even before I can begin reading it. There’s something refreshingly wondrous about finding people you look up to, people who seem so real despite the distance, people who exude all that you believe in. Something tells me that I’m up and about at this hour instead of cozying up to my daughter, because of the magic that lies inside this journey I’m about to undertake with MO. And I cannot wait.

I’m feeling particularly alive and positive. There’s a sense of coming into my own that I’ve been experiencing over the past few months. My silence hasn’t meant that my heart is quiet or that my head is still. Even on those days when everything felt too numb to be alive and kicking, there’s this unmistakeable fire within me that’s kept me going — my own hearth of everything that makes me who I am, and who I mould myself into for each demand and challenge that decides to come my way.

2018 has been an overwhelming year where I’ve felt elated and defeated in equal measure. There have been times when I’ve questioned my sense of self, my worth, my need to exist, even. There have been moments of blackness and zero answers to my questions. There have been days when I’ve wanted nothing more than to vanish. But those were the troughs. Troughs can be deep and treacherous. I did, for most parts, look like I was on a mission from hell. Or maybe that was my signature look for the year. But when the highs came, they were immeasurably and intensely enriching. They were the breaths of air I’d been flailing my arms for. They were intoxicatingly full of life. They made the acuteness of these troughs less sharp and painful. They made me whole again.

I guess in this world of faux perfectionism and “goals” as hashtags, life makes you feel like you’ve been dealt an unfair hand, especially if you fall into the trap of comparison. But I’m certain that 2018 has been the only year in all of my lifetime which has made me look older than I am, feel more challenged than I ever have been, and given me the realest meaning of what living life actually means. I’ve been swimming this entire year in an attempt to find some footing, some shore, some air, only to realise that that was all in me right from the start. When I say I’ve never felt more alive, it’s because I realise that I am life, that I am that breath of fresh air, that I am the footing I’ve been looking to find all this time. And that I have arrived to the shores that feel like home.

Day 7

30 Mar

It certainly isn’t January 7th, as I so wished this rather non-existent writing pact would synchronise with the fast disappearing dates of our calendar. In fact I’m so far off the mark with this ambitious APostADay idea which I’m proud I started, but knew so surely I’d not be able to keep up.

My life has changed so drastically since, and it wasn’t going to be a surprise. All I did manage to write was during the first week of January that I had off for my winter break. And the roller coaster has not stopped ever since.

We’ve had a baby girl, yes we did. And it’s been so overwhelming and amazing all at once. Days have tumbled into this rather huge snowball of all things frightening, lovely, crazy, beautiful…and there’s been no time to breathe. As much as countless thoughts all woven into rather fine words tumbled around in my head very, very regularly, I couldn’t muster up the will to give them their release. Hormones took precedence. The rest just tagged along, muted, but very much alive.

Let’s just say that so many days have passed since 6th January, and yet it feels like I’ve lived a forever in this one day.

Day 4: Change

4 Jan

It was bang in the middle of last year, when I was seat-belted and on my way to Bangalore, that my life was changing in the serious adult sort of way. A change that has no excuses, no escape routes, no shortcuts, no alternatives to comfort the commitment-afraid me. Half of me saw marriage as a life change that still had the potential to give me that leeway, should I ever want or need it; much to my husband’s utter shock and then ire. It’s an all or none deal, he told me. There can be no frivolity in judgement no matter how hard it gets, he explained to me over a phone call before we were to get married. He was still aghast at my way of thinking, which to me was very natural and completely normal given the history I’ve been woven from. It was scary; exciting yes, but scary to get into something so final. Little did I (reallyknow that there were changes with a grander and firmer foundation of finality than getting married. And so it happened – suddenly, hugely, and startlingly – in the form of two very defined pink lines on the pregnancy test I held in my hand once I got back from Bangalore, after two weeks of delayed periods and a nagging subconscious.

We’d begun talking about the idea of it, the possibility of it, and the plan to start working on it with immediate effect. But perhaps the universe suspected we were fooling ourselves and decided to conspire against us, in this case. The first sign was of course my delayed period, which I panicked about but then shrugged aside owing to changes in diet and what have you. The second stronger sign was my rather sudden dislike for alcohol every time I’d sip on it. Beer tasted strange, whiskey didn’t appeal to me, and again, I shrugged it off as something to be ignored. The third sign was this unnecessary fatigue I felt constantly. Back then I didn’t realise or even know that this was an early sign of pregnancy, which I blamed on the comparatively fewer trips we made to Comm Street. Something was amiss, and ma did voice what I was pushing into the recesses of my consciousness – is it possible that you’re pregnant mun?, she gently asked while I washed my teacup one evening. Of course I scoffed and kept it aside for another day.

There are two things I’ve learnt – never scoff at your mom, and never question her acute sense of intuition. These instances have always, and I mean always, backfired in my face every.single.time. And it was to happen to me yet again. It would be just a couple of hours after I said my byes to her that I would call her up again and mumble the words – ma, I’m pregnant; the stick shows two, very clear, pink lines. She was quiet (perhaps respecting my feelings and state of mind regarding it), and then congratulated the two of us and blessed us. We were to travel the very next morning to my in-laws, and I got no sleep that night.

If there’s a feeling I won’t forget, it’s the indescribable experience of watching that white nothingness turn into a second pink line. I remember staring at it, keeping it aside, and then revisiting it again. Repeatedly. It was that kaleidoscope of emotions that constantly switches from surprise to shock to excitement to fear to tears to this tide of overwhelming feelings that kept washing over me for what would be sometime to come. I was granted and bestowed with a gift, a responsibility, a job, a journey, a learning experience, a chance within a million chances to be *it* for someone who had chosen to come to us. It was a lot to take then.

When I look back, the two of us have come a long, long way. From feeling completely lost and left in the unknown, to where we are today – a little less lost and lot more sure of ourselves as parents and individuals – it’s been an intriguing journey. We’re far from perfect and will never be because that’s not what we’re gunning for. We’re here today, standing together, a little more ready and a lot less unsure from where we started off. Faith, trust, love, togetherness, and madness – I reckon this is all it takes to get by.

PS, trust me on the not scoffing at your mom bit. It’s true.

Day 3: Red

3 Jan

I opened the paper bag that had been lying around for sometime now; filled with the remnants of the kindest gesture from my neighbour. Out came what I’d left lying inside, for a day when I was perhaps feeling more adventurous – an uber smart navy blue and red striped maternity top. It’s a brand new year and I really ought to do away with some of my rusty beliefs and ways of thinking, I thought, as I coaxed myself into wearing this top filled with a colour I love but never wear – red. It fit and supported my belly snugly, and on I went to start my day as I usually do once I’ve had my bath. But midway through the process of lighting the diya, the doorbell rang, and I left it there to return back to it later.

I must digress in order to continue; and here’s why – because red is a colour I’ve grown up wearing and loved wearing, till I started noticing (and then associating) its coupling with negativity/the occurrence of negative events every time I wore something red. It’s rather absurd and strange, really. But it’s happened too often, in fact every single time since, which has led me to admire the dynamic colour from afar now. I did give it a chance during one of my wedding ceremonies which made me – the centre of attraction and all things amaze – end up looking horrendously raccoon-ish, and made the entire event a sad and far cry from what it was supposed to be. Anyhow, one must proceed, and so shall I – forward to today and my rather smart looking and feeling red and blue top.

The doorbell ushered in a small series of events that only left me frazzled and in an irritable mood at the end of it all. It started with the arrival of our baby’s bed – a superbly cute and lovely piece – which was too big to fit in through our doors. It is a beautiful gift from the baby’s grandparents, but one that now lies in a packed state of in-between-ness and a tangle of awkwardness and delicate sentiments. While I sat and cajoled my mood, another emergency beckoned my immediate attention – a flush that would refuse to stop flushing, with water gushing everywhere (given we stay in an old apartment with an even older plumbing system, or lack of). The emergency calls were made and there I was, in an even more rotten mood; but thankful for the plumber’s swift arrival, and for a direct target on which to focus these stupid turn of events – my wearing of the colour red.

Rest assured I changed right into a more comforting colour at a swifter pace than the plumber’s arrival, and before any other mishaps could even think of occurring. *rolls her eyes*

I really do not intend to be dramatic, but if I could express my state of affairs better, I would.

My freshly cleaned house is in a disarray just after having cleaned it, with furniture everywhere (to make room for the cot) and I’ve mustered up all my strengths to use the power of ignorance to march on forward. I’m barely sane, and this is all I can take for now.

Day 2: Life’s Littlest Things

2 Jan

I decided to treat myself to a trip to the mall yesterday. It’s not the first on my list of places to visit, but when it’s the safest and most (logistically, physically, and environmentally) comfortable option, it’s not one I shy away from. Besides, I’d been wanting to go, walk around, window shop, and vicariously enjoy all the things I cannot buy just yet (like those sparkly pumps that I’ve been drooling over since forever).

It turns out that most of the city was in the same mall yesterday – I had (unsurprisingly) miscalculated and thought I’d sneak in a visit when it was at its emptiest best, except 1st January seems to sadly be a holiday for all and sundry (except my husband). Besides, I was already tired the moment I entered that ginormous place. Unexpected crowds of all types + tiredness was surely going to be fun. But march on I did; right into the masses who had come to shop at the endless EOSS (End Of Season Sales) that are on, sight-see, click selfies, pose near promotional Audis, openly hold hands with accompanying partner/lover without the care of snoopy aunty-eyes, and what have you. It’s nice to people-watch discreetly, no?

The ultimate reward was to obviously be a food treat at the end of it all. When I’m visiting on weekdays and get delayed, it’s a hearty bowl of soup. When it’s a Friday evening, it’s usually a toasty cup of coffee. Going anywhere has to be accompanied by a food experience, by default. I’d spend the entire tortoise-paced afternoon subconsciously planning what to treat myself with, except I was clueless at the end of it (as always) when it was time for A to pick me up. My instinct led me straight to Starbucks and right to a coffee and toffee nut cold coffee with whipped cream on top (which I hadn’t asked for, but still welcomed).

It’s not a big deal, you know? Cold coffees were always a done thing. But I cannot remember when I had one at an outlet the last time. It turns out that 2017, and perhaps most of 2016 didn’t really feature a cold coffee in it. What a strange thing to happen, indeed. However, there I was, beginning my year with something I love, that really isn’t a big deal at all. I did begin coughing again (having just recovered from a nasty viral), but some things are best taken with a pinch of salt and warm water, left to be overshadowed by smaller, greater joys. Life’s littlest things are indeed the greatest of things and I never imagined a glass of coffee with my name spelt correctly on it (another first) to be it. :)

Day 1

1 Jan

With 365 pages and 12 chapters to write, I’m trying to begin this new book with a new start. There’s been this burning sense to write which I haven’t allowed to go up in flames just yet. Turn to your blog and write for whatever it’s worth, my mind said. Here I am, awaiting this year with more anticipation than I’ve any other year. More than the feelings of nervousness, doubt, and passing flashes of fear, I cannot wait for this year to unfold itself one day at a time.

Happy new year, my dear reader. May your aspirations give you a sense of direction and movement, a chance to do all that you wish to, and achieve the big and small things that do indeed make your world go around.

Here’s to keeping it simple and short, succinct and subtle, and ever so meaningful. :)

187: The Nowhere Post

22 Aug

Hello dear reader, I hope things have been ahmayzing at your end and I trust that all is well. All’s good on my side of the turf, too. :)

It’s super safe to say that I’ve done wonders to this challenge by disappearing, and for the length of time that I have. It was a mixed bag complete with losing my mojo to write, being preoccupied with a hoard of other things, and then just losing track altogether. I’m not sure I can make up for the lost time and posts, but I’m leaving that to the writing and blogging Gods, and my willingness to bid laziness goodbye.

This was just a random resurface post; a small hi, hope all’s well post.

Till later. :)

186: Little Conversations And Happy Vibes

6 Jul

It was yesterday while at school that it struck me how surrounded I am by different people. While my students put up what was perhaps the best assembly so far this year, I watched on like a proud class teacher would, and felt a connection with them for the first time I think. They picked the very apt, very relatable, very important topic “self-acceptance” and delivered a marvellous job which only spoke to hard work, effort, and a great connection with the subject. As the audience stood in rapt attention lapping up all they had to offer, my kids ladled praises that came their way. Much deserved and worthy of bragging, most definitely.

I’m not a very social person or a very open person. My walls are high, my boundaries very marked. I don’t cross lines and no one crosses mine; not beyond a point i.e. But I’ve been noticing this uncanny phenomenon which has been happening off late that can only be attributed to kids and their ability, to either lovingly or annoyingly, gnaw their way into a person’s heart. I’ve a varied bunch of kids from all walks of life – they’re all amazing in their own way, and equally challenging to handle.

They’ve slowly but surely started inching closer towards me, and I towards them. Professionally, of course. And somewhere in this entire process I’m reminded about just how many variant vibes I’m surrounded by – happy, jovial, youthful, energetic, humourous, beautiful vibes. I’ve been having conversations with myself, telling myself good things, even. Opening up to these youngsters all around me has helped me take these little conversations to another level; to open my eyes and see that there’s so much good energy all around me to sponge off from, to give to, to engage with.

People are strange.

But magic is stranger.

184: Do You Know…

4 Jul

…that everything’s going to be alright? That it never was anything but alright all this while? That it takes a special kind of understanding to feel at peace, to come to terms with life’s ways, to essentially let go?

Do you know that the world conspires to put things together – sometimes with a small prayer, sometimes by its own volition?

Do you know that you’re safe, loved, trusted to be the best and only the best?

Do you also know that perhaps there’s no one better than you to do what you’re supposed to do?

:)

181: Defining Normalcy

1 Jul

When we went to receive ma late last night, the first thing she did after hug me is scold me for coming all the way to receive her at the hour that we did. It was followed by a barrage of some more scoldings which invariably led me to snap at her. Of course she means well and is only perpetually concerned, which she expresses in the way she does. However, that ended up in a quick tiff, which I’ve come to accept as normal. I’ve come to learn that this is how the women in my family show love and concern. This; and via food.

I’m not going to be surprised if we have numerous more tiffs during this short visit of hers.

Sigh.