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154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

153: The Thrill In The Uexpected

2 Jun

Ever since I got here, I’ve experienced a series of unexpected joys. As I was very matter-of-factly walking towards the bus shuttle after exiting the airport, I chanced upon the first bus in line, which was relatively empty, that I decided to get home by. On approaching the bus, there she was sitting right in the front seat in direct sight – my first ever psychology teacher from back in the day. One really finds it difficult to sum up all the feelings that bubble and gurgle within you…a fine blend of shock, excitement, confusion, joy, thrill, all woven into a fabric of beautiful memories put together. We couldn’t believe our chance meeting – on a bus out of so many buses, at an airport of all places; and after what’s soon going to be 15 years. Of course this count was meant to highlight just how long it’s been, except it also reminds me just how long ago I finished my 10th board exams. It goes without saying that we spent the rest of the bus ride seated next to each other, sharing titbits from our life and experiences, and how the journey has been so far. To say that the ride was too short would fall short of how I felt; where’s that traffic jam when you really need it?!

In-keeping with this, and as if I hadn’t walked back in time enough, I passed my school during functional school hours yesterday for the first time since I’d left it. As I drove past it, I couldn’t resist the urge to get off the car and walk right in, to just perhaps see if I could meet the teachers I’d once spent every single day of my life with. And I did. I still cannot describe the feeling; perhaps the connections run so deep that they’ve remained embedded somewhere within me in a place that’s hard to access. Time really isn’t enough when you’re walking down memory lane. Sometimes words aren’t, either.

It’s a strange feeling, this. There’s always been an indefinable friction within me to go back to where I came from. Notwithstanding the trying times that they were, and not discounting the amazing things that were also happening back then, it really isn’t a road I like to walk down. Things change, people change, everything changes. Apart from this insecurity of not being remembered or being acknowledged like you perhaps once were, it’s this strange tug of war stepping back in time versus watching your memories from the safety of disconnected distance. As I walked away from these two episodes, it only reminded me that as the years pile up, so do our own thoughts and perceptions of the whats and hows. To say I didn’t take away so much from these experiences and in turn give so much to these experiences as well, would negate the actual power of reminiscence, time, and life itself.

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132: Friday Is A Feeling

12 May

76: Tomorrow

17 Mar

As we sat over chai just sometime ago, conversations about tomorrow drowned me. Plans, and more plans. Before I knew it, I’d been submerged and sat there, twirling my hair, lost in the possibilities of a tomorrow which will anyway come, but with zero guarantees. How do some of us manage to let go, leave it all behind, and move forward effortlessly? Or seemingly effortlessly, at least. Shaking myself away from this futile wallowing, I got up and proceeded on to other more important things.

Today.

Think about today.

Give today your all.

Tomorrow’s going to arrive, but it hasn’t knocked on your door yet.

Today.

Live in today.

Work for today.

But it all still loomed around my periphery, refusing to be gone.

Go write, if that’ll help, I told myself.

I’m not sure if that’s helping, because I have this need to think and overthink till free-flowing thoughts become a trap of sludge that’s hard to get out of. Webs that become stronger, stickier, more clingy.

Leaving tomorrow for a later time isn’t my style, but it’ll have to be for now.

And what helped was this I came across earlier today on FB.

I cannot enunciate the combined power of letting go and the ways of this universe. A lot of me will always believe that I was to come across this today, maybe because I needed it. :)

Here’s more of the most amazing stuff that will do you and me more wonders than we can imagine.

Happy Friday, and happy living in the moment. :)

58: Disoriented

27 Feb

It’s strange, this shift. One moment I’m in that space where I’m primarily a daughter and a sister. The next moment shifts to a space where I’m a wife and a homemaker. It’s sudden, it’s quick, it’s confusing. I feel it the moment I exit the airport doors and step out into either of the two cities I call home. One where all my memories stand rooted, where my family and friends live, where opportunities to relive them are more easy than difficult. The other is starkly different – it’s just my new life, my husband, and me. No friends I’ve chosen not to make or had the chance of making, no timeless warmth. But it’s my space, it’s my zone of nouveau everything, my reality of living a grown up life. And with that, I stepped into our bed with an ease and familiarity that speaks of oneness, and drifted into a comfortable sleep faster than I imagined.

Change takes time on our bodies, our minds, and on us, in general. But stepping into these two spaces, so alike but immensely different, is confusing. They’re both comforting, familiar, special; and they’re equally distinct in their own characters, memories, and associations. I guess it all actually sinks in when I’m walking the length of the T3 terminal…I’m home, away from home, I tell myself repeatedly.

It fits. It works.

But it takes time, and is disorienting.

57: It’s Time To Leave

26 Feb

I thought it’d be easier to say bye now that it’s been over a year since I moved out. But it wasn’t.

I imagined feeling less morose about leaving everything that is home, but how stupid I was to even think it.

It sucked then, it sucks now.

And somehow, I’m glad that some things don’t change, no matter how difficult they can be.

55: Not Counting

24 Feb

I’m not counting days.

…days since I woke up at an obnoxious hour, but in excitement.

…days since I couldn’t contain my elation as the magnetic doors of the airport opened and took me a step closer to my Bangalore-bound aircraft.

…days since I easily breezed out of BIA’s airport, strode to the bus stand, boarded it, got off and took an auto to get home…all without any creases, any worries, any stress.

…days since I got home to welcome post-it notes.

…days since I sat with ma and talked, argued, bickered, laughed…

…days since I lay next to her and slept like a baby.

…days since I revisited my memories of growing up.

I’m not counting days because they flew by and I’ve lost track of them.

*sigh*

52: Everest

21 Feb

There’s always been something about the mountains that has drawn me to them. It was only till very recently that I arrived at this insight, or even found my answer to this question I was asked in casual conversation sometime ago – are you a mountain or a beach person? This awareness also arose when I was winding my way across a range of them, not so long ago. The arrival of this answer came without conflict or second thoughts, even. It was plain, simple, uncomplicated, and unprecedentedly obvious – I was always, it seems, a mountain girl. It’s astounding how some answers seem to always be around; marked, perceptible, and in plain sight most often. Perhaps it was the role of time which lends this search a hand. Anyway, I had the answer, and I scoffed because it was so unbelievably obvious. A lot of me always concluded that I was a beach bum; after all who doesn’t love the experience of being sprawled on balmy, coral beaches? Heck, my entire idea of romance revolved, and still revolves around beaches, sea sunsets, and sea breeze. Nowhere in my fantasies or desires did I ever imagine wooden floors, fireplaces, snow, and stews! Beaches, it always was. On the other hand, I associated mountains with physical activities, which were predominant during my school-going days. A visit to the mountains always included treks, nature walks, rock climbing, and every single other activity that didn’t spell comfort, excitement, or even happiness to me. For someone who has a fear of heights, as much as she does of water, visits to beaches didn’t enforce any encounters with these fears, as our mountain trips did.

Yes, I was a complete ignoramus even when these weird connections and associations with the mountains were enormously present throughout my life. For one, I do not have a bucket list of places that are imperative for me to visit; in fact, I have just three that I desire to see; of which all of them are related to the mountains. A lot of me thinks it’s some sort of an enigmatic spiritual calling. The more I analyze these thoughts, the greater they pull me towards them. For example, and I cannot explain why, I have this fascination with the Himalayas. This enchantment, I’m certain, stems from no religious foundations, because I have none, when it comes to religion. But there’s a magnetism to this entire experience which makes it progressively inexplicable, and more intense as time passes.

When A first told me about the place he comes from, and consequently over many more conversations we had before and after we got married, the one coincidence that shone out to me was that these magnanimous mountains could be seen in plain sight from his home. I saw it in his photographs, and I saw it in his eyes and expressions. However, whenever I’ve visited home, they’ve either been shrouded or fractionally visible, unlike their usual track record. If I were to lead these incidents on, I’d say that maybe I’m meant to actually visit them at their feet and not from afar. If I was to be spiritual, I’d say they’ll call me when we’re ready to meet face-to-face. If I was serendipitous, I’d lay everything in the hands of time. Perhaps it’s all, or none, or a twisted amalgamation of all three.

A couple of weeks ago, I chanced upon the movie Everest, which I’d been meaning to watch when it released in 2015, but couldn’t. To say that it absorbed me completely and wholly, would be an understatement. I proceeded on to catch this same movie twice more, by chance, I promise, and watched it again. Every watch taught me something new. Every watch felt like it was the first time. Have you seen it? Do watch it. I proceeded on to reading up about it, and about the many auxiliary topics that revolved around it. My search led me to read up about the incident in itself, about the tourist season, about the climb, the experiences, the attempts, the failures…in fact, it was just yesterday when I watched the interview with Beck Weathers; one of the survivors of the 1996 incident who miraculously made it back to the camp after being left to die/considered dead for two days. If there’s one consistent fact that highlights itself, then it is that this range of mountains, has in its keep, a plethora of lessons for every single person who crosses paths with it. The evidence of this is beyond doubt or contest. Of course everything in Nature has a lesson to teach us all, and that’s unarguably true. It’s just about where, when, and via which means, these lessons make their way to us.

I urge you to watch the movie, even if you’re not into the Himalayas, or a fan of the mountains. It’s undoubtedly inspirational on all counts. Yesterday saw me randomly browsing the internet (I actually wanted to shop), when I came across Jon Krakauer’s book “Into Thin Air”, which I now want. He was one of the participants and survivors of the 1996 expedition which took the lives of many; and also has to his name another fantastic work of art titled “Into The Wild”, which was adapted into another movie that moved and worked on me in indescribable ways. I’ve written about it, here. They all speak of life, and most importantly, of its journey.

Someone great did, after all, say that life is not about the destination, but its journey.

51: Not Alone

20 Feb

Back in 2008 when I began my Masters programme, I didn’t think beyond what I had joined college back again for; which was to get on with my studies and move on. It’s been seven years since I completed my MSc., which in itself is astounding for me to write down over here…seven years. That’s three short of completing your tenth board exams, which is 75% of your school life if I’ve got my math right. During that time, I studied in a very culturally varied class. We were an all girls and one male class; most of us residents of places outside Bangalore. Needless to say, those two years passed in a jiffy, and here we are today, each doing our own thing, and walking along our paths as we’ve made it. Class reunions generally happen during weddings, and that was the case with this class too. Except, a lot of the girls in my class got married shortly after one another. Therefore opportunities for our reunions also ran dry eventually.

However, today was a different day after seven long years. A few of us finally made the time to meet each other, and here we were, some with babies, some not, back again, with everything so changed, and yet unchanged. It was during this exchange of stories that I came to realise just how similar our tales are, despite our differences; how together we are, no matter how alone we may feel; how comforting it is, despite how overwhelming it might all feel.

The one thing that stood out to me, above all, was just how important meeting each other really is. If there’s anything that’s therapeutic, it’s the ability to put your feet up, laugh while you drink your coffee, and the reassurance that you’re doing just fine. :)

49: Of Over Ten Years

18 Feb

The thing with girlfriends is this:

we take forever to make plans

we’re almost always caught up in our own shit, a lot of which is known to each other

we’ll take time out from our respective shittiness to meet up and generally forget about the world while we meet

we’ll laugh like we’re sitting in our own homes and most often even speak as if we’re the only ones around

we have no problems talking about anything and everything

we talk about everything and tend to expertly discuss all topics that cross our minds and lives and paths in general

we eat together

we eat some more, together

we counsel each other and find wisdom for ourselves from our conversations

we laugh at each other and with each other

we bitch if we have to

we cry when we really feel like it

we bicker, even

we reminisce, we dream, we talk, we wander, we listen, we hug, we have mini conversations within a big conversation, we sing sometimes, we go crazy all the time.

Today R, R, R and I met after what felt like an unending planning session. We each had our things going on – one was knee deep in work around the time our meeting started, one hadn’t slept much, one had to go shopping after, while I had to finish a few chores after. Lots of food, an ample supply of iced tea, and a river of conversation later, we ended our meeting having forgotten about everything else that was on our agenda even before we’d met. R had downed a couple of coffees and spoke about life with her boy, R forgot about her shopping altogether, R seemed to have eased up from her busy work and home life, and I felt like time played a fast one on us. I guess that’s what happens when you meet your girls, no? Over raucous laughter, snickers, jokes, and inside details, we managed to feel like it was just yesterday all over again.