Let it go…

…even though the cold bothers me terribly.

Bad joke, moving on.

2017 comes to an end as well. With it the realisation that I’ve been out of school for a decade now, but somehow, I don’t seem to have learnt much since. Meh.

So, I do these year-end notes fairly often, where I do a round-up of everything I have learned/been forced to learn that year, and then basically have it as a testimony of all the growing up I did. But this year, I am shaking things up a bit. Why? Because I can.

Here goes nothing…

One of the toughest parts about growing up that everyone warns you about, yet you never believe it (or think it won’t happen to you) is letting go. Letting go of dreams, of beliefs, of your values, your unshakeable faith that you’ll be the exception to the rule. Just about everything.

***

This past year, for the first time in a long while, I didn’t read as many books as I planned to. Well, boo-hoo you might say; but that’s actually a very big departure for me. And frankly, I didn’t care too much about it. And that’s what bothers me the most. I read one series in its entirety this year, and probably 40 more books by themselves. While that does seem a lot, my average for the last 3 years is 56 books. In the previous years, by September, I’d be making up a list of everything I read and then flaunt it in everyone’s faces. This year, I couldn’t care less.

***

My resolution for this year was to upskill – learn to ride a bicycle, learn to drive a car, learn to swim, and learn to bake. Guess how many I learnt? None. And that’s not due to lack of trying, it’s plain and simple not having the will/motivation to do so. Yet all of my resolutions from the last few years? All perfectly done.

***

We moved houses this year. Our childhood home of over 23 years was sold-off and we upgraded to a new and improved bigger house. Thankfully, I wasn’t around for the day of the switch. It was extremely overwhelming to not see the same walls the first weekend  back home after the move. But I guess, we just have to make new memories now. I’ll miss the walls that Nishu and I wrote on though, afterall, they bore testimony to our growing years and changing handwriting. 😛

However, all was not lost this year. This year (technically from the last quarter of 2016) I moved out and lived with a flatmate. It was a struggle – financially and emotionally. Yet, when the lease ended two weeks back, it was very difficult to let go of the house. That house, and my flatmate were good to me. In fact, when the going got tough, having my own space got me through a lot of shit that would’ve otherwise been one more issue left to be dealt by a therapist.

That was my first try at adulting, and though I didn’t crack it perfectly (at a given time I can do only two out of cook, clean, and work), I do think that cooking breakfast for myself every single morning did bring about an unexpected change in my schedule. Letting go of my freedom, my space, and the massive weight of taking all my decisions was perhaps one of the tougher things I did this year. Not the toughest though.

***

Which brings me to the tougher change of this year. I quit sugar. While health has been a struggle, bringing in some form of physical activity into the mix helped me massively. Up until October, I stopped eating sugar after 5pm. And post Diwali, I basically quit on all artificial sugar in general. I do occasionally enjoy the one-off iced tea or a bite of a chocolate, but my sweet cravings are gone. Completely. I’ve lost weight and fit into old jeans (yay me!), I’ve been more active than I ever was, and most importantly, my blood sugar levels are optimal. Plus I found a diet that 100% works for me. So that’s a win.

***

My politics has changed and so have my opinions, and yet that’s not what has caused this change. For a while now, I’ve struggled with movie-watching. For all practical purposes, I think, I am done being a theatre-goer. I always found the experience of sitting in a dark room, and watching movies with a hall full of people in their own bubbles, very isolating. And I am nothing if not a peoples’ person. (It’s true!) In fact, one reason my movie watching experience was warped towards the ones seen on the big screen was because of the tumultuous emotions I went through in a dark space. After all, emotions have to be felt acutely in a movie-hall – that’s the point! Therefore, if you went movie watching with me, there was a 9/10 chance I’d cry. Sometimes bawl my eyes out, and at most times, simply be overcome by this vast sense of sadness. Thanks to Prime, Netflix, and probably Vodafone Play, I am just letting go of the immersive experience. Maybe someday, I find my way back.

***

The toughest thing I did this year though, was coming to the realisation that I have to have my back. Literally, and figuratively. Your family, friends, and mentors can do only so much for you. In the end, it’s your dream, your life, and so it’s not going to matter to anyone, as much as it will to you. It’s easier once time passes, and you get used to it, but when you’ve been dependent for a very long time and then are forced head first into reality – the sting takes a while getting used to. Everything that I’ve let go of this year, has forced me to learn something new about myself. And in turn challenged notions I had about myself. I thought I had thresholds, but they were pushed. And how! In the end, there’s no choice but to deal with whatever is dished at you. I wish there was a choice though… how I terribly miss having a choice.

***

Hopefully, I never have to let go of this blog.

***

PS. I got my first (and second) tattoo this year. Some very serious, long-term commitments have been made.

PPS. This is a rather drab to end the year on/begin a new one on. And so I must add something that I am truly thankful and privileged to have had this year – my travels. This one’s from Kinderdijk, arguably the best day this year was spent under these windmills.

Kinderdijk

Hope you have a happy new year!

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Red… For Hadia

SO we enter the abstract domain. Hadia, the inspiration behind this activity has herself asked me to write on “Red”.  This is what I feared. For me, anything that isn’t particular to the tee becomes nauseatingly close to psychoanalysis. And that scares me to pieces.

Yet, these are some disjointed thoughts that I associate the colour to.

*****

Mohabbatein was an all-round snooze fest. And as in every desert there blooms a cactus, yours truly took away a key message from the movie. Red Flower = Love, and Yellow Flower = Friendship. This of course was a part of the ever elusive Rose Day celebration in the cool college. And then the college I studied in had its own Rose Day celebrations. The only red roses I received that year were in a bouquet from a girl *cue confusion*. To her I remain eternally grateful for opening my eyes.

On a side note, I justified to myself that one offers red hibiscus to Ganesh idols because it’s “love”.

*****

I owned a red salwar kameez once which was just as gaudy as it was loud. It was bought for a school annual day event where the women were all “wives”. Of course the red was to be synonymous with married women. And that dress I wore whenever I felt like dressing up as Indian. I did the whole shebang with a bindi, and earrings etc. This phase went on till I realised the dress was suitable only in the context of “Ye Desh Hain Veer Jawaano Ka.” The only red I’ve worn since are a sporadic kurta here and there. Associations with choodha-wearing brides make me too conscious.

*****

I had an allergic reaction last year to who knows what. My face was swollen and was the shade of tomatoes. I ended up in the Emergency Room and then the ICU. But when I looked myself in the mirror, I realised this is what it must look like when an author says “he/she turned a brighter shade of red with embarrassment.” For me embarrassment is felt in the stomach, seldom shows up on my face.

*****

I remember my mother crying when I first started my period. I was 10, maybe 11. And she cried when she shared the “news” with her mother, then with her best friend and finally just cried every time she mentioned it to anyone. I didn’t get it then as to why she was crying if specks of blood showing up every month were normal, as she explained. A year later, the cramps began. Now, I cry every month yearning for the first decade of my life when I wasn’t bending double over my stomach.

*****

Marilyn Monroe looked like she had it all when she wore red lipstick. I think it was one of the late-night movies I sneaked a glance at oblivious to my parents. And then I noticed almost all of the “English film women” wore red lipsticks. At a discussion with peers (fellow preteens), I think one friend said it looked better on screen while another said it looked better on their skin tone than Indian actresses’. I bought my first red lipstick last year after a hijra woman I was interpreting for told me it would make my eyes stand out. Boy was she right.

*****

Priya Wal looked so damn cool in her red highlights in Remix, that Anwesha was my ultimate idol when I was in school. I wanted flaming red hair. Till I discovered naturally red hair. I realised I could never have those, or carry it off as confidently. The last time I was envious of the same was when I saw a senior colleague who carries off the red curls with better panache than Katrina Kaif in Fitoor. In my head, whenever I rebel, I have red highlights.

I need a favour…

Having studied literature and then liking to write and read isn’t an easy job, it isn’t the easy way out from the multitude of tougher careers out there as people might think it is. I not only do my work but I am obliged to a number of people to write/rewrite their essays, SOP, letters, speeches and help in all things related to language. It’s okay till the time I do not have work and wouldn’t mind “looking” at your work and approve of it; but more often than not I end up doing a Hermione Granger and write multiple versions of the same thing for people.

After having taken up writing/translation and whatever it is that I call “work” these days, it’s too cumbersome to do work for free for friends/family in the time I’d otherwise be charging for. It’s a curse to have a skill that others don’t appreciate as a profession. Tera toh English acha hain na, mere bete ko zara essay writing mein tips de. -_-

From avmarchitect.blogspot.in

From avmarchitect.blogspot.in

In a conversation with a CA friend I realised how wrong I was. He gets asked by people to look over his money matters, while an MBBS friend gets calls from neighbours when they have the sniffles. The law graduate friend constantly turns down requests from chaddi buddies to accompany them on trips to “scare” people and the engineer friend is required to fix mixer-grinders in the houses of all and sundry. My singer friend recounts how he was once asked to sing at the mourning/chautha for a friend’s father while the chef is constantly invited to potlucks where no one cooks anything.

Sportsmen/women have it the best though. At least they’re not asked to run from point A to B by acquaintances to showcase their skills at a birthday party or to box the host of a party to display that signature jab or hook. But I’m very sure there’s an aunty lurking somewhere who says field pe toh itna daudta hain, jaa sabji leke aa 10 minute mein.

Those people I call friends! ^_^

Sometimes, you interpret some things differently than what people mean, at other times, its bang on target! So here is a small interpretation of what my friends do…as in, in terms of giving me meaningful looks, and how I interpret it! J In some cases it might also be what they think of when they see me!
Some are plain dumb…others…well have a read! J


School Friends:

Aarti: *Kaha mar gayi tu?*
Swati: *Alle mela bachcha*
Alok: *Oh! Aa gayi! Never on time!* (Note: This might repeat more often than not!)
Akshay: *Kabhi to badal!*
Aparna: *Aaaahhh!*
Amar: *YOU NEVER HAVE TIME FOR ME* (Same as above note!)
Lavanya: *Ye pagal ho gayi hain*
Pratik: *I don’t care*
Pallav: *You seem to amaze me always*
Ketan: *Vedi*
Manasi: *Mandd!*
Building Friends:

Aditya: *Take care!*
Varun: *Aa gayi chatramkali chipkali*
Nirav: *Shock*
Mayur: *Recipe chor!*
Anish: *Kya paka rahi hain!*
Abhilasha: *Aaja behena!*
College friends:

Kavya: *Iske pairon mein pakka chakke lage hain!* (Chakke=wheels!)
Suchi: *Hi janamli ka?!*
Pallavi: *Kyun paka rahi hain!*
Ushma: * You never have the time for me*
Rashmi: *Why are you not a TamBrahm?* / *Oh! Aa gayi! Never on time!*
Deepa: *Take a breath!*
Madhumita: *Take a breath!*
Aakansha: *Oye bore*
Tamanna: *Aaja hug karein!*
Uttaresh: *Kya paka rahi hain!*
Kartik: *Kya paka rahi hain!*
Bhagyesh: *Oh! Aa gayi! Never on time!*
Apoorva: *Yes no yes no yes no*
Tulsi: *Here comes the madwoman!*
Lekha: *Mumma*
Zameer: *You’ve a boring life*
Kautuk: *You’re not supposed to know what he means*
Ajinkya: *Pagal aurat*
Falguni: *Babe grow up*
Naveen: *Faad de*
Miscellaneous Friends (This includes friends whom I met online, who belong to some list somewhere, people I’ve met once or twice, at competitions, random places or never!)


Gautam: *You always/never/always/never/always/never understand me*
Siddhi: *YOU NEVER HAVE TIME FOR ME*
Sudhamshu: *You never remember what I say* (Another way of saying: *YOU NEVER HAVE TIME FOR ME*)
Suraksha: *KK didi!* 😛
Shreyas: *When will this kid grow up!*
Varun: *How did this blonde come to be my friend!*
Devanjan: *Aa gayi pakane*
Shweta: *YOU NEVER HAVE TIME FOR ME*
Shibani: *Aye maaydam!*
Sanket: *Stupid female with no sense*
Bala: *Aye!*
Mrugesh: *Will you EVER have the time?*

I think a lot of other people are supposed to be on this list, but at this point of time I can only remember so many! J
So to all my friends here and to all others too, I hope you had a nice friendship’s day, and that our friendship goes beyond these “days” and the bands and the marks by the marker! 🙂

Some friends, go beyond the obvious silhouettes, others, just remain in those dark lines…wherever you are…welcome to my life! 🙂