I wish I’d the courage

If I love you volcanic lava deep and lunar crater high, chances are phenomenally bright that I’m the mildly confident, broadly indifferent person in front of you.

I lose sight, not the vision because that’s well in me but, the concoction which skims the evil of you. For example, your negligence towards me doesn’t ring a bell to bail you from my life but shrieks as a challenge: Am I a quitter? That too so early? Shouldn’t I just submerge myself in these flurry of emotions once more because it’s going to be worth the ordeal, like in dreamy novels and movies of paradise, at the end of it all and just drop another “subtle” hint?
I know you’re poison but I’m the crane necked peacock. I choose to consume you, my soul food.
You crawl in my sleep and wonder through me into creeks that are like veins carrying blood to heart.

Since you barely spare the time to see me through in reality, all I can say is I like the idea of YOU. I might not really know, how loud you cuss when deprived of something precious or the way you handle failure. Do you live for your dreams or your daily bread? Would you like to possess me/whosoever you fall for or will you just walk together, hand-in-hand?

I need to know all this and more because I’m the old school that immatures are terrified of. To me, your virtues matter more than the idea I’ve of you.

See, I told you: The vision is well in me. I know vaguely what I want from life and from you but I lose sight in your presence. I can’t see through the opaque demons in you. And I’m full from all your venoms and more yet never satisfied enough to not see you around me and not go crazy like: Yes! You’re here. So close that I can smell your breath and watch you play with spoons and scissors. Close enough to kind of decipher your phonic conversations with each caller that rings your phone. And then, suddenly far far away when you get up and bid goodbye!

And I might never be able to rationalise that what can be captivating, pulling, magnetic about a spectacled young man with tiny, wooly hair, bordering the forehead at awkward angles. Ears that are a size of the mankind, teeth exactly the opposite and nose, as short and fat as possible.

Okay! To all those guessing a benevolent heart and an even bigger emotion from him; let me break the ice.

He isn’t the one who shows rudimentary concerns about whether you’d food or not. Barely ever takes the initiative to call/text/ meet in person and is stone hearted to hear you melt if that’s what his mood dictates.

Everything about this guy is downright shrewd except for the moments in which you decide to withdraw your existence away from him permanently. Miraculously, then he blossoms into an ocean with smooth lined shores. He’ll tell you then he’ll sail through cyclones when you least expect him to cross over puddles for you.

And there you’re, with exfoliating skin that lays bare your naked soul which exists in locomotion. And she sits. She slips. She stands and she stumbles often. Into dreams that are visions and visions which are befuddled, sly, silly and shy.

Shy because they’ll be laughed at hysterically when confessed. Silly because dreams are just dreams, a light year apart from reality. Sly because somehow they have a way with destiny and befuddled because a fortune making destiny rarely knocks in, at the door of a lousy man.
So I boot up and walk straight into him and finally say it, “I…i..i.. love ummm… traveling”.

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TO THE PEOPLE I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN

My contact list is an interesting place to be. It reminds me how close I was with you once that I knew about all the guys and their faint peculiarities that swooned you over them in shopping malls and party halls. And now, how I zoom in- into your display picture to double check whether that’s a wedding ring or just another accessory.
It takes me through your progression: from being a frugal student to the entrepreneur; posing with his latest machine.
It tells me, now you’re a father, to someone else’s daughter.
It shows me the view of your latest trek, of treacherous speedways and rudimentary games that you played with kids in the NGO last Sunday!
Above all, it makes me realise how it was no big an errand to scream, “It’s gross! Change your DP ASAP!” And now I’ve to move boulders to tell you, “You look fabulous!” Or even a simple “Hi!”
I wish to tell you all:
“Your new house is magnificent”
“I’m so glad you’re so successful. You’ve always worked so hard”
“That hairdo sucks”
“You still look the same! (I mean, how?)”
“You’ve aced in the art of making scrambled eggs finally!”
“My beer, from the last bet, is still due”
“I wish we play from the same team unlike during inter college; once!”
“I envy your beauty”
“OMG! You still gush over Kim!”

“Come back!!! Please???”

TRAVEL TO YOUR DEPTHS

There you are! With plethora of dreams and bucketful of courage to pursue them wholeheartedly!

And, here’s life! Amused, befuddled, agnostic, asking you to rip off that skin plum with prejudices, orthodoxy, fear and uncertainty.

Today, an eighteen year old body feeling like a twenty one freshly out of school is carved. There are websites and everything online advising you to travel the world and check whether it really ends at the two poles or something unfolds beyond that. To travel because you’re young, free and raring to go.

But I know you’re somewhere timid, restless and irresolute too. So travel the girth of your soul, circumference of your brain and create yourself first.

All your life, till now, you’ve painted sketches, played sports, orated, danced, acted and did what not.

But now tables might turn as your parents, friends, teachers, relatives and all, will ask you to take up engineering or law, in good faith and with all benign intentions.

Engineering is great and so is law, MBBS, banking and so forth. You’ll hopefully mint money, a huge pile of it!

You’ll slog at ridiculous hours of the day to build an empire of that sort, with janitors, chauffeurs all in plenty in your big mansion. For the early years, returning from work at anytime might give your sparkly eyes the quintessential elation of returning to a grandeur like that and call it ‘home’. But then you might feel that you’re so lonely for all such extravaganza!

And then twenty years later, you’ll have a wife, suffering from postpartum. You’ll fix for nannies to look after your creation, nurses to look after your wife and yet she’ll moan that she longs for you, caressing her tresses and singing lullabies. And you’re going to feel so shattered, petty and brittle.

Thirty years later, your kids will vie to have you in the front row when they climb up on stage for doing something breath taking. You’ll promise them that you’re going to catch up on that video recording of the event whenever you get time.

Forty years later, your parents will be in frail health, meek and tender, still praying like they always have to meet you once before they close their eyes forever. You’ll call them up and tell that you’re sorry, that things turned out this way and you’d to fly miles away. And they’ll just forgive you, like they always have.

Stephen Hawkins probably was initially reluctant to conform to the existence of black hole sucking this universe slowly and steadily, because he could see the fellow humans sucking their lives all by themselves, all the time!

Does that mean, you stop pushing so hard for this college admission, that job, those startup ideas or tournaments/theatre plays/painting exhibitions?

I’m quite supportive of the thought: one size never fits all.

This lifestyle might do wonders for someone that you know but that doesn’t always mean that ‘someone’ is you or even close. He might come back from his official tour after a few weeks to his newborn and wife and restore the normalcy within moments. His kids would gradually learn to appreciate their dad’s praises galore on phone after he’d watched the video and his parents will perhaps live a little longer until he returns to see them.

He’ll sew the oddities in order, make fluctuations in daily life the norm and quickly absolve to all whims and fancies that come in association with them.

You, on the other hand, might not have the passion and the conviction to commit, give in, surrender all your time, space and energy into that labyrinth. However, this doesn’t imply that you’re hollow, less of a person, troublesome, whatever…

Just like there’s diversity in religion, region, caste, financial background so are there vagaries in personality types, ways of thinking, passions, virtues and visions.

Money brings in food to the table, a school bag on your kid’s petite shoulders, roof to the four walls and opportunities to travel, to learn a new skill, aura in society and unmatchable healthcare.

But, anti depressants never guarantee a good sleep, accolades from next door neighbour are never enough to entice your own spouse, all new skill development courses don’t assure a nice humane personality, even luxury travel discriminates against an unhealthy lifestyle, more rooms makes family grow farther, mechanically (under nannies, tutors etc) raised children are abstained from childhood and more food means acidity, obesity, gym memberships and insecurities.

So here I urge you all to stand up and take charge of your life. Figure out what you can do for a lifetime without complaining, sobbing and what always makes you go curious; never drop it off! If that thing is academics, then right away follow that trail and if it isn’t, then always accompany it with your studies. Trust me, it never becomes too much.

In fact, this is the only way to find yourself. Life this way will eventually turn out different, there will be fewer dishes on the dinner table, a smaller car, a tiny apartment but you’ll be fulfilled from within. Withdrawing yourself from this sense of satisfaction is a grave, grave blunder. No one around you stays placid unless you’re.

Today, your parents will frown at you, neighbor might laugh over your dreams and friends will call you insane, but those who really matter will eventually understand. Travel this journey before you travel the world, it’s perpetual, personality enhancing and positivity-radiating.

You’re, where your heart lies!

We Don’t Know

You know those lazy mornings? The ones when you’re bludgeoning to go, energized with the plan for the day; yet think to stay a couple of hours in bed figuring out where you’re actually going in life?

Do you know those speeches? Yes, the ones you rehearsed maybe a thousand times a day for days; yet drop you numb like… Like it’ll all be over the moment you say it.

I know them too. I bury them underneath my generous smiles which might not be as alluring as yours but nonetheless are fake too.

I’m that person who’ll tell you that it’s not the offenders errand to not  hurt you and by the end of the night, will excavate a corner at the edge of the bed and cry for feeling less of myself because of someone’s words and actions too. 

I’ll tell you you’re lovable yet won’t know how to love you in the most perfect way.

I’ll preach you to choose your boyfriend over your math class, because the former has the potential of outliving a forever or maybe lasting a forever. But when the ball will be in my court, forget about missing the lecture, I won’t even spare a thought to quit my revision either.

I was strictly advised to be focussed on my career during my childhood, and then suddenly degraded for not dressing up like those pretty girls as I neared my 20. And today as they take on to be the social media queens, I try to recall where did I miss that magic wand which transformed them from clueless kids to charismatic chicks? 

To all my questions, I get just one answer: This world knows nothing and they’ll tell you everything except just that. 

“Is that too much to ask for?” Part II

“There’s no money in women’s cricket, hence, no future.”

“IPL’s glamorous business is playing in your head, which is but only for men”

“Ever heard of any female cricketer or broadcast of an international match? They’re all oblivious”

One after the other, such pessimism made the road ahead marshy for her and subsequently with every step, Adira feared submerging in the bog.

So just like everyone who failed to understand Robert Frost’s conjecture in his eloquent work, “The Road not taken”, so did she but here on purpose.

When the great poet quipped:

“And I took the one less travelled by,

And that’s made all the difference…”

He rang bells of sarcasm on every individual who’s more or less a part of the mob, yet when interrogated will always mention his great struggle through a difficult path and thereby, claim indelible triumph in his/her own eyes.

Similarly, even she thought of doing life the easy way by narrating great ideas and greater philosophies of breaking concrete and becoming a professional cricketer but never ever attempting those surreal ordeals.

Holding conversation with peers drowned into dullness as she instead spent her schooling hours by doodling in the chemistry class, poking her face outside the window in the physics class and with a sunken head sealed with ambitions in the computer class. Adira stayed perennially consumed in her own thoughts after that deft “NO” she’d received from her father. This was her class 12 and doubtlessly, Indian parents hardly take this academic session with a pinch of salt let alone playing cricket simultaneously.

Eyes welled up night after night as the pillows grew moist with grief only her heart knew about. Even today, she can’t recapitulate a single moonlit sky which didn’t give her sleep out of dreariness. Dreariness as a byproduct of incessant tears and frothful fears. Every morning that she got up, her feet trembled while getting down from bed. They were shy of crashing on the floor, on landing… Quite incapable of carrying her own weight now.

But, she was adamant. Adamant of not becoming a granny who whines about how life offered her lemons when she sought peaches.

Those tanned pages of every book she’d read in past on meticulous struggles, uncountable sacrifices on the path to glory and the will to adhere in every given circumstance were her Nightingale.

She incessantly muttered to herself that Adira is going to be Adira.

So she survived this woeful academic session, secured admission in a decent college and then thought to give a second shot to her passion. She was worried whether her parents would allow her to play cricket this time around or not. And energy to fight more battles at home had almost drained her mentally in the past two years. So, she put this little clandestine in her belly and hit another cricket field.

Life in this new second home was different. Here, she met a wider pool of players. From the ones who were just playing because they took admission under sports quota to the ones who’d travelled miles from their villages to a metro like Delhi in search of better facilities, exposure and recognition; every girl here had her own story which is quite usual yet, felt magical.

Adira had saved quite a few bucks over the recent years such that she could afford coaching fees, cricketing whites and shoes. She spent the initial few months borrowing cricket kit from her peers and often missed college to reach the ground.

Realities were appearing to converge with her expectations as she played quite a few inter college matches and many practice games. But soon she realized that she can’t go really far by playing this hide and seek game at home.

Is that too much to ask for?

​”Is that too much to ask for?”, she sighed.
Adira plucked her school bag from the almirah after pinning the neatly pleated dupatta and sat in the bus. The occasional honking by the driver pestered her often, and consequently she would switch over to her dreams for resurrection.


Sliding on the seat, pushing the back rest of the front chair through her red striped bellies, she adjusted her focus onto things that offered her a new lease of life.

Racing with the morning sun to reach the horizon earlier, she religiously smacked her bat on reaching the ground.

An atheist, had finally found her God.

Soon after, she geared up for tossing the red cherry on a freshly flattened tract, as she kissed her divine idol before releasing it in the air.

“Beeeeepppppppp”, honked the driver one last time on that trip as the school approached and as always, Adira sulked on busted fantasies just like the little girl who was blowing soap bubbles at the roadside.

She marched to her class with bold steps, yet cowardice found solace within. Retrospection that ruffle adults had swept away this young giant’s mind.
“Is that too much to ask for?”, she sighed.
Her parents were bursting magnanimously on her for choosing cricket as a career option till yesterday but today morning, they wore layers of insecurities than the usual fury. Cluelessness did to them what a steady and determined spirit did to her: minds were blown; but in opposite directions.
Rebel is what they called her, when she didn’t succumb to the stereotypes of the world. Never asking anyone as how to conduct herself and plan her future  as a girl, ample of unsolicited advises poured in. In a first, those torturous remarks dented her morale and unrequited sarcasm bruised her ambitions.
Tirelessly creating and recreating speeches in the broad daylight during the recess break, the protagonist often found herself mindlessly bent over trivial issues. She wanted to convince her father to let her play and resultantly, those speeches were meant to quench the thirst of a father who declined to the glass of water on offer.
Breathing was involuntary and hence, smooth; but Adira’s heartbeat wasn’t so. It pounced at every request she made to her parents to let her follow her heart. After a plethora of futile efforts, she made a firm choice… To walk away.
To walk away from everything that appeared like destiny till few days back to experimenting one cheap life which everyone tagged as priceless. A life which would see you retiring at 55. A life where every nook and corner will be filled with, “Ladki hoke cricket khelti hain?”

A life which will see no family turning to you with an apparent rishta.

A life which even if shorter than the rest would be the largest you could’ve lived ever.

So eventually, she slithered with the butterflies in her stomach to the cricket field. Whooshing with the breezy atmosphere from the pavilion end, she came over the wicket and leaped forth on her left foot to deliver a half volley. With the non bowling arm pulling down tons of mental baggage at the time of release, Adira swung the ball inwards. The red leather disturbed the furniture of a seasoned batswoman and Adira’s soul knew no bounds.

Ounces of sweat under the basking sun, helped in forming the iron sans slag!!
Besides conquering what she felt she was born to, Adira inflated herself with oodles of self love, self confidence and self respect. With so many adjectives prefixed with self, she understood that you can be your favorite despite being selfish. You can care for others despite it not being at the cost of your own health: mental or physical.
She realized that when you want something and are tremendously passionate about it then the whole universe conspires to help you attain that goal. And that “she” is someone we all can be, if we’ve the courage to follow our dreams.
Because, in addition to all the material success, your pursuit of passion is going to carve your own identity, is going to help you discover yourself and most importantly, let you accept yourself. Accept your every mistake and take charge of things; and there’s nothing more sublime than this onus.
If you do all this and more, I promise you, you can be the next YOU of every motivational quote.

ONE MORE TIME

​One more time,

I want to hear grandma’s tales which took me to paradise but this time, I won’t return.

One more time, 

I want to run at a pace which was never the fastest but this time, I still won’t stop.

One more time,

I want to wear those shorts that exposed my saggy thighs but this time I won’t feel ashamed.

One more time, 

I want to ask that doubt which made me look foolish but this time I won’t care.

One more time,

I want to be asked what makes me happy and this time, I won’t try to fit in!!!

MASCULISM

Poets were weaving magic with lexicons that were the delirium of the streets; writers rekindling the same. “There is something wrong”, a boy with a baffled expression on his face quipped from the ghetto of lovers of all sorts… The drunkards, the mavericks, the hysterics and the sob story tellers.

He hated how his brothers were being hated for women who were trying to fit into sizes, most of them didn’t ask them to. Crashing on the floor while dieting, they got up just to accuse, “It’s you for whom we do that”.

Men were the crass of cacophony and the buzz of all loathful songs. 

And then, narrations were soaked in idealism; to elevate men and, to redeem men. To redeem them from the racist outfits of “the darker sex” which no one ever questioned.

They refurbished facts, smashing details on anyone who tried to default.  

“Men are called so only if they have a penis.”

 “Correct”, they approved.

“A man feels like a MAN only if the elongated penis makes its way up til the cervix.” 

“Foul! Sexism!!!”, they winced.

One among them marked another fury, thereby demanding his rights: 

“Alimony looms over me worse than banks seeking mortgage”

Etiquettes in the name of “Ladies first…” drained their time and energy very often, they complained with sore feet (after waiting for long in queues). 

Sexual abuse is always horrific. ‘Men empowerment movements’ and pressure groups were lost as were the ‘men’s protection rights’; thereby tying a noose around justice and fair treatment.

And in the end, when they lit cigarettes to protest against being robbed of freedom… They were laughed hysterically upon owing to the ruins (female suppression) by their ancestors. 

GROWTH

​When tendrils are wound around a string, growth results as formulated but is restricted and slow. It’s scientifically proven that for rapid growth, they should just be.

When kids are left to themselves, more the most they fail in being the stereotypical products but perhaps, they GROW.
We see them in girls squatting whilst forming the greatest possible angles at hamstrings, in boys who shave their legs and mavericks who chant loudly. We call them crazy/lunatic/indecent and trash them off.
Then we tune into videos of ‘the doers’ who submerge the following in neon colors such that no one sidelines it: “They’re the rebels, the misfits, the crazy ones… Who have and will always continue to DO things because they persist with their foolishness through the ordeals and never doubt themselves”. And the least and the most we then do is, nod our heads with that CEO/artist/sportsperson.