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December 05, 2016

Face-Off



You wear a mask to fool the world,
But you cannot fool yourself...

How long can you not run away
From a life that always binds you
How far can you hide and stay
When love eventually finds you
How much can you ignore inside
Feelings that refuse to die
How helpless do you start to feel
Till you finally break down and cry
How deep does your face color
At the mention of their name
How easy does your heart enrage
And love them just the same
How forlorn do you tend to feel when they are not beside you
How hard will you fight for love when all else will deride you

You wear a mask to fool the world,
But you cannot fool yourself...

November 11, 2016

A free bird


The door of the golden cage was kept open until the bird with clipped wings expressed her desire to fly...as it was only then that the world realised that she was capable of dreaming.

But how had she dared to commit such a blasphemous  crime? The foolish creature had taken undue advantage of the privilege bestowed upon her---she had dared to fall in love with the sky.
The Gods were now fuming with anger. She had left them with no other choice. They had to act immediately. And that's what they did.

Soon enough, the dice was cast. Her fate was sealed. The door of the golden cage would stay shut until the day she'd lose her will to soar....unil the day she'd gaze blankly at the open door and choose the comfort of the golden cage...until the day she'd laugh at the memory of the silly dream she'd once dared to dream, of a brilliant blue sky that she'd once wished to venture.

However, the bird with the clipped wings was resilient. She refused to resign to her fate and continued to dream. Every day, she'd watch the sky through the bars of the golden cage. She'd pray for the door to open. But the Gods paid a deaf ear to her pleas. Afterall, some rules could never be broken---birds with clipped wings should not dream of flying.

And so life went on, as it always did. The door stayed shut. Grief stricken, the broken hearted bird kept dreaming and humming her melancholic tunes from the golden cage. 

Until one day, she finally gave up and died.

That was when the door opened. As her soul escaped her body, the cage was cleaned. She was now free to make love to the open sky. Her clipped wings didn't matter anymore. She was finally a free bird.

#DearZindagi...a letter to life!




Dear Zindagi,

You must be really surprised to see me addressing you with such terms of endearment today. I don't usually have positive things to say about you, no? But there are days when I also count my blessings. And lucky for you, today is one of them.
So tadaa! Here I am, Zindagi. For all you are worth, here I am, my head bent low, my eyes brimming with emotions and my heart full of gratitude. For you, only for you, and for all that you have taught me till date, I have only one thing to say...Thank you!

Thank you, Zindagi, for giving me a brand new chance every day---a new opportunity get things right; to learn, to prove my worth, to improve. You are the best teacher and worst critic one could ask for. You never allow me to be too hard on myself for the mistakes I commit and yet make sure I'm guilty enough not to repeat them. Of course, there are times you end up being an utter disappointment. Fretting and fuming, ranting and raving, cursing, blaming, and fighting with you for being unfair...has almost been a habit.

But in hindsight, I do realize that every second chance you refuse to bestow upon me does me a whole lot of good. Thanks to this, I have learned to value my relationships...to cherish and treasure them. You have taught me never to take for granted those who love me. In fact, it is this constant fear of not being allowed a second chance that helps keep me in check. And I owe you big for that.

People say I have changed. I think I have too, for the better. You have made me emotionally stronger and more hurt-resistant over time. There was a time when I was so hopelessly sensitive that one push (from someone who mattered) was all it'd take to shatter me. I thought I'd never be able to survive the agony of heart break, stressful relationships, work pressure. But you exposed me to the big bad world and convinced me that nothing here is indispensable, no one is irreplaceable. Friends backbite lovers betray, relationships putrify, and you can't do much than break the bonds that chain you, burn bridges that lead to nowhere, and never look back.
You taught me that there is nothing more important than self worth and peace of mind.  to leave before I'm left, to learn the difference between want and need, love and lust. I learned that sacrifice can be liberating, that love need not always mean attaining, and that hearts, no matter how badly bruised, will heal with time. I also realised that a mug of freshly brewed coffee and a good nap can provide an instant fix to most problems.

Of course, I cannot forget to thank you for the more permanent reasons to smile--the amazing friendships you have helped me forge. Some that have won over time, distance and even fate to stand by me. Some that have proved my cynical heart wrong by showing me how lucky I am to have them in my life.
However, pain and grief are part of every journey. I have had my share of it as well. Cliched though it may sound, it made me stronger, showed me what I did not want, and helped me see what I really needed. I needed to believe in myself, respect myself, fall in love with myself before expecting that from anyone else.

You, Zindagi, taught me the true meaning of love. To love unconditionally is a heart breaking yet surreal experience. I think everyone should try it at least once. You taught me that love need not always have a fairytale ending. It can be very different from what you were expecting and yet be love all the same.

Gradually, I discovered your myriad hues. Each experience you offered taught me a little more about you. It made me realize that we are never in the place to judge anyone, for their reality might be way different from ours. To judge someone, we need to run a mile in their shoes. I'm grateful to you, Zindagi, for you evoked in me enough compassion to attempt seeing beyond the masks people wear, to try listening beyond the words they speak. In the process, I discovered hearts of gold beneath many steel armours and malevolent intentions behind the sweetest of smiles. You snapped me out of my childish delusions and planned a rendezvous with reality. I hated you then for snatching away my rose tinted glasses. But thinking back, I'm so glad you smashed them. You helped me grow up. And although we all would love to be kids forever, I learned that growing up was inevitable. Gradually, I realised it wasn't all that bad. As I stared awestruck at your various nuances, you made me realise how I'd never be able to comprehend you fully, that some questions were best unanswered, some things were best undiscussed. I couldn't understand then but I realise now that it did work out for the best. It almost always does...

Even today, I can count on you to believe in me when the chips are down...even when everyone else leaves my side. It's true you make me stumble at times. I have even fallen flat face-down a couple of times, but it is only because of you that I have learned to pick myself up, brush away the humiliation, hold my head held high and continue walking.

I am faced with challenges every day. And everyday, I fight, I survive, I triumph the odds. You have taught me to believe in myself, to value my strength and confront my weaknesses. At times, you break down my defenses, and I give in to you. I trust you to show me the way, and you trust me enough to know I'd not let you down. There are times I can't help feel frustrated at your antics and want to let go. But you, in your own stubborn little way, make me realize how fragile you really are. In my career as a doctor, there have been several incidents that have made me value you more than I ever had. I have witnessed patients struggle for a breath of air while their loved ones watch helplessly, watching them suffer. They make me aware of the times I take you for granted; be it wrong food, stress, a lethargic lifestyle, the truth is I am guilty of cheating on you. Every time they look at me, that pleading look in their eyes, I see you there, dear Zindagi...gasping, hurting, groaning, compromising, and yet putting up a brave face for me. When a patient leaves the hospital premises in good health. I feel you beaming with joy. But when I fail, I find it impossible to confront you. These are times I try to  block you out by scribbling furiously in my journal in an attempt to stonewall the disappointment I feel. However, writing is a contemplative and introspective task and you manage to find your way out through my words.

You inspire me to write, Zindagi. And for that, I am eternally indebted. Even today, you continue to be my greatest muse. Words fall short to capture your true essence. But I'm not giving up...neither on you nor on writing. We are stuck together for good.

You have taught me when to hang on and when to let go. And that is a lesson I hold very dear. You have made me understand the difference between strength and wisdom, integrity and courage. Every day, you make me open up to the unparalleled beauty in the world---stars wrapped in the blanket of a clear sky, a breathtaking view of the setting sun, the sound of babies gurgling, the musical quality of a flowing brook, the natural fragrance of wild flowers. I find poetry all around me. I find it within me too.

You have watched me dream and crumble. You've witnessed me sprint and crawl. You've seen me soar and crash. It has been one hell of a journey. But every step of the way has been an adventure in it's own sense.

Come to think of it, hasn't ours always been a queer relationship? I do not believe in definite beginnings or strong endings. And I believe neither do you. (You are my mirror after all.) All we can be sure of is a worthwhile middle. We might not have had a great start, and I have no idea how we are going to end. But I feel strongly about this transition period of learning. And I have learned from you never to give up on something you feel so strongly about.

So let's make the best of this symbiotic relationship. Let's show the world how strong a team we really make. No cribbing, no complaining, no mud-slinging. Just loads of gratitude for what was, what is, and what will be...because every moment can impart us with wisdom, knowledge, or experience if only we allow it to.

So here's to making more memories...
Here's to you, me, and tomorrow...

Thank you, Zindagi!

Yours truly,
Me.
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November 10, 2016

When the bubble bursts...

It is amusingly heart-breaking when you realise how something you considered unique is so very common. Be it a new dress that you purchased at the newest shopping outlet, or a talent that you thought only you possessed, or the fine nuances of a relationship that you once prided in. Not even the questions and doubts that arise in your mind are exclusive; someone has surely felt them before.
Every thought, idea, emotion, gesture going on in your mind and life has run its complete course before, traveled similar journeys through the minds and lives of others before you embraced it as your own.
So next time you feel special about something, stop!
Life has nothing to feel privileged about. It's all a temporary state of mind. Our joys are common. So are our perils. Our happiness, pain, struggle, love, grief is all so common that in the grand scheme of things, it won't even matter. We'd then realise how our journeys had been almost clones of each other, our paths so familiar, our choices so similar. We'd laugh then (with the conviction we now lack) at how foolish we were to assume we were the only one experiencing something almost everyone else was.

Yes, I believe what we need is an after-life...because life is way too mainstream!

November 01, 2016

Star-crossed


We are both drifters, you and me
Amongst a million other things
Our affection in constant motion
On tender gossamer wings

We lean and float in trust and hope
And live on love and dreams
But come morning, we may realise
Life is nothing what it seems.

For we are both drifters, you and me
We will drift apart some day,
And the finders and the keepers
Will have only this to say;
"We were so sure it'd happen,
They were drifters from the start
Theirs was but a 'butterfly-love'
And it had to fall apart!"

But they do not know, the silly fools,
Short lived though it might be
We drifters live in thoughts and words
And each other's memory.

We may fleet in and out of love
Together or apart,
But will always live where it matters most
In spirit and in heart!

October 27, 2016

T for 'Travel-trums'


New places free you of obligations. You don't feel constrained by the exigencies of circumstances...people...work...life. The loss of familiarity is comforting in more ways than one.

That's the best part about wanderlust; it disconnects you from the life you have been leading...the regularities, the monotonies, the humdrum of your otherwise frenzied existence. Living amidst strangers, traveling amongst people you have never seen or met before provides a strange solace that there is so much more to this world than your banal problems, milk-and-water issues that you have been fretting over. It widens the scope of possibilities. It broadens your vision. It triggers off a pluralistic view on the slideshow playing before you, the slideshow called life.

However, like every vacation, this one ends too, and you have to pack your bags and leave for familiar territory once again. You don't wish to say goodbye. But you know you have to...before this place becomes familiar as well. You need to carry memories of the 'here and now' in your heart and leave before they change into putrid chunks of the defunct existence that you were running away from in the first place. So that somewhere in the deepest recesses of your mind, there is this place that you can time travel to every now and then, a dream stay-cation that allows you to slip into a skin that is not your own.  A secret Narnia--an adventure destination where you don't belong, and yet in a strange sort of way, belongs only to you...when home seems too hard to handle.

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T for 'Travel-trums'  is the twentieth post in the 'A-Z Series' of posts, a chain of scribbles by me on topics starting with each alphabet of the English language. Read back and forth for the other posts, and please feel free to contribute your thoughts on the subject.

October 19, 2016

Shooting star



Romancing with the moon
Albeit afraid of the night,
Reigning in his magic
She'd always twinkle bright

But alas! She had no 'forever'
Her love was brought to end
And when the world got down to question
There was nothing to defend

That day her glory ended
And the skies-they mocked her plight
She burnt out all her passion
And went missing-out of sight

Breaking into smithereens
With a ferocity intense
She sparked up like fire
Until it all made perfect sense

Reduced to rock and lava
Compelled to leave the sky
Transforming into a meteorite
She bid her final goodbye.


October 14, 2016

S for 'Stray thoughts'

There is something about mornings. My life, thoughts, feelings make so much sense then. The first rays of the sun falling on my face through an open window are almost cathartic.
As a matter of fact, some of the best decisions of my life have been made early morning. That's when the patina of confusion that has been forming over my thoughts begins to dissipate, and the light comes shining through.
Perhaps this also has much to do with the fact that this is the only time I can enjoy some solitude and complete me-time, with not much disturbing my chain of thoughts, except, ironically, more thoughts calling fire from all corners of my brain.
However, this break of dawn just after the twilight zone is as imperstive as is poetic. As crucial as is romantic. As introspective as is depressing (sometimes). I wouldn't call it insomnia, that, to me, has a negative ring to it. I'd rather call it a state of prolonged wakefulness that my internal clock has got attuned to over time and habit.

Late nights and early mornings, I sometimes wonder how I manage with so little sleep. I'm sure, on some deeper invisible level, it must be taking a toll on my health and life (with sleep hours being nowhere near the much needed 5-8, I can't exmuch much, can I?). But life is not over until it's over, right? So until then, let me put in some extra hours to write some poetry, enjoy some music, get swept away in good literature, and think about the colossal mess my universe is in.

But as the hours tick by and the sun gets brighter, life reminds me that I need to get back on track. This kind of derailment is not helping. I feel my morning clarity slowly disappear, acquiring murky shades of confusion, guilt, and regret once again. The day has its ways of befuddling me with its nuances.

Ever heard the riddle of the snake who attempting to reach the village well that climbed up three steps everyday and slipped back two? (Or something like that) . I have faint memories of hearing it as a child. Could never fathom the answer then mainly because it was a complex mathematical problem for a kid my age, and also because the thought of a snake climbing stairs would amuse me and I'd burst into giggles.
But thinking about it, I'm still not sure how many days it would take him to reach that well. But I empathise with him now. Maybe the whole riddle was just a metaphor for existential crisis. Maybe the entire point was not to focus on the question but rather to try and understand how the snake might be feeling. Or maybe I just cracked a really sad joke and realised you might not even be laughing.

Yeah, that's the story for now...

Until we meet again,
Cheers!

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S for 'Stray thoughts' is the nineteenth post in the 'A-Z Series' of posts, a chain of scribbles by me on topics starting with each alphabet of the English language. Read back and forth for the other posts, and please feel free to contribute your thoughts on the subject.