Silence

You ask me, “How are you” as a pleasantry, not as a question.

The question I answer with only a few syllables.

I say I am fine, but sometimes out of the prettiness of the weather, I might end up saying, I am good.

You never intend to ask, and I never mean to reveal the truth hidden behind the veil of smiles.

With time I have hushed the voices, hidden deep inside my head.

Instead, I have become a silent observer, like you, watching the tides of my emotion.

I am silently learning to burn the fierce fires of my belly.

I am silently befriending, the silence.

Letting my silences do the wonders that my words could not.

Alas! That’s the irony of being human; we need words for everything.

Words for our simple joys,

To our mundane sorrows.

Words to read the intricacy of someone’s heart,

To the conundrum of their mind.

How great it would have been, if we could read each other’s silences.

And if we could, the world would not have existed, as it exists.

Because if we could, you might see that,

It’s the silhouette of darkness, that watches over me.

It’s the soft hand of night breeze that caresses my hair.

The stillness of the moon that holds me in its care.

The chirpiness of the birds which bring me joy,

The glory of the sun that brightens up my day.

It’s the nature that holds me intact, not you.

So, this time, I silently choose, Silence over words, to pierce through your soul.

The Time Turner

Some time in the heaps of clutter on your desk are things hidden to your naked eye. Somehow they get lost to your current memory until one day while organising the stack you find them. Reminiscing the past, you walk down the memory lane.

Today, while dusting my desk, I picked up this watch box. Usually, I sweep the area overlooking the lying objects. But today, I felt the urge to open and see its contents. With dusting glove in one hand and some dirt on another, I opened the black box. And there it was, the old worn out, not in a working condition, the black beauty of mine.

This simple old watch was gifted to me by my father eight years ago on my birthday, as a birthday present as well as a gift for getting my first job.
It was unlike the shows we watch, where parents take their kids to a fancy restaurant and give them gifts. For me, it was like, I walked into a store with my brother and bought it with my own money and later took the paid amount from my dad.

I wore it for a very long time, or I must say till the time it worked. I don’t know why I chose a black watch. Black is not even my favourite colour, but I wanted a strap watch instead of a chain one. I used to have a beautiful silver chain watch as a teenager; my brother gifted it to me with his pocket money. That was one of the first expensive gifts he ever bought me. But I lost it, and that story is for some another time.

Now that I think of it, the big dial strap watches were in fashion then, and I have started working, so I wanted a watch that will go with all my outfits. So there it was a big black dial watch.

I don’t know what it is about watches, I have always loved them, and as a kid, I always thought of having a great watch as that next step of making your mark in the small world of yours. I still don’t own that watch, and it’s a constant reminder that I haven’t accomplished my dreams yet.

In a day and age where people wear watches as accessories, for me, the watch has always been a reminder of time.

It reminded me of the time when I was ecstatic, and the only worries on my mind were about my career. It’s a reminder that time changes, with it, you too. It tries to tell me that I will never be able to turn back the time, but at least for a few seconds, through this gift, I can surely rejoice the memory of happy times. So I pause, the present and go back to the past, to bring back the bliss; into my future.

And as they say, “The time never turns back, but memory does”. So cherish your time with people and create great memories.

Window Views

I sit by my window at night and look at the world below. I see a few puddles of water left by rain an hour ago. The garden seems so barren, not a single soul around. At least people in my area are following the Lockdown. 

The soothing breeze makes you shiver, and the chirping of the birds in this silence is like a call to your soul. You know birds are enjoying their freedom. They are enjoying the free blue skies, away from human intervention. But then I think of the pets who are confined to their houses because their owners can’t go out. Are they envious of the free animals, do they miss being free? Or Do they think that even though they are stuck with humans, they are better off? But of course, we will never know until someone makes an animal mind reading app.

Just opposite my window, I see three apartments, having the same size of TV in precisely the same position in their living room. Most of the time, I can figure out what they are watching. The funny thing is they are often watching the same thing. 

Then there is this fourth apartment, which has a balcony fully covered with lights. I am not sure from how long it’s like this; maybe they have turned their gallery into some kind of light up zone, or they just into fancy lights. But whatever it is, these lights prevents you from seeing inside their living room; maybe these lights are a fence up. 

Another apartment has a hanging chair in their living room, and I see some one’s silhouette on it, the light is dim, and I can’t figure them out. It is just a shadow to me. Sometimes a shadow is a relief enough that someone else is hanging up there, somewhere just like you in times of home quarantine.

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It’s been more than a month that I haven’t written anything at all on this blog. And it has been quite a journey in the past month. It’s a Lock down in India until April 14, and we are working from home from the last two weeks. Mostly I am very busy with household chores and office work, and the time I am free, I usually read or watch a show or movie. It’s not that I am in a writer’s block; I am not even sure what happens to me is a writer’s block or not? It could be a clear case of procrastination, or I am naturally lazy. 

So today, I decided to leave all the laziness aside and start writing whatever comes to my mind. Of course, I looked for some inspiration; I got my hands on a book. Yes, You Can Write by Brian Collins. The book has 101 writing prompts to bring you back in the zone. 

The first prompt was, “Look out the window. What’s happening outside, and how have things changed since you last sat here?” so if you too are dealing with writer’s block or not finding enough inspiration in times of quarantine, you can use these prompts to give yourself the required push.

After all, it is always to good to have more people giving their Window Views.

The Wild Bull

The red muleta, flutters,
calling the uncalled
fury from me.
You,
the ignorant one, think,
I charge,
because you are Red.
Let me tell you,
dear friend,
my angst is not against you.
I am color blind, you see.
For me,
You have no color.
Your good looks,
aren't my concern.
It's your movement,
that cause me unease.
You make me feel,
powerless.
So, I charge you,
guilty.
Guilty of taking,
my peace,
away.
Guilty of making,
me feel,
unworthy.
Guilty of controlling,
the unscathed,
me.
So,
I charge,
with all,
my might,
at you.
I charge,
to snatch,
the peace,
that's mine.

Little Women movie 2019

I have been stalking this movie from the time the poster was released. Little Women is one of my favourite classic novels of all time, and I loved Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut, Lady Bird a lot. It has incredible cast from Sairose Ronan to Emma Watson, to Timothee Chalamet to Meryl Streep. I am only taking names of these artists as I have seen lot of their work, which is why I was excited to see the movie too. I have been crazily watching the interviews, the trailer, and everything that I can lay a hand on about this movie.

So unlike the USA and UK, this movie was released yesterday in India. And today I went ahead and watched the movie, alone, in the theater. It was my first time watching a movie alone, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I sat there with my small tub of cheese popcorn and raw pomegranate juice taking in, every frame that the film reeled out.

Greta Gerwig had me, with the first scene, where Jo March pauses before she enters the publisher’s office. If you look deep enough, it kinds of a metaphor about a women’s journey into a men’s world. Greta has done a great job of retelling a masterpiece. The storytelling is nonlinear, and you walk between the past and the present. Sometimes she feeds you the emotions with dialogues, and sometimes they just lay hanging in the air, and you have to grab and feel them.

You will laugh, you will cry, and you will think while watching the movie. The art direction is beautiful, so is the costume design. It engulfs you in its world from the moment you lay your eyes on the screen. Each cast is perfect in its role. But Saoirse Ronan as Jo March and Florence Pugh as Amy March wins you over. They are the powerhouse, each with its flaws and follies, make you feel attached to them.

There are too many scenes that I love in the movie, from the opening scene where Jo enters the publishing house, to Jo refusing to marry Laurie, to beach scene where Jo and Beth lie in each others arms, to all the scenes where Jo is scribbling stories on paper with an Ink pen to the whole sequence where they show the process of book publishing in 18th century. But there is one scene that stood out for me, the scene where Jo has laid all the pages on the floor, and she lying next to them. That scene just stole my heart, it shows how an artist look at his/her work, after completing it and before sending it out in the world for people to hold opinions on it.

If you let me, I can go on and on about the movie, but I will not spoil the movie for you by over indulging your senses. So go ahead if you haven’t watched it yet. And if like me you are an admirer of Women stories by women writers and directors, then you need to see it, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.

And last but not least, I will leave you with my favourite quote from the movie.

“Women, they have minds, and they have souls, as well as just hearts. And they’ve got ambition, and they’ve got talent, as well as just beauty. I’m so sick of people saying that love is all a woman is fit for.”
—Jo March

Stranger Things

I don’t remember the number of strangers who have piqued my interest in this life of mine. But for a long time, I was thinking of writing about all the strangers I have met, or I have observed from a distance, thinking about the stories they might be holding inside them. Now, as you can see, I am starting to write with my first account, so I am naming this one stranger as number one on my stranger list.

To The Stranger Number One,

You, nodding your head when I asked, Is this seat vacant.

You, sitting across me with your cup of tea in that white mud-coloured mug.

You, gaping at my maroon coloured Hogwarts sweatshirt.

You, holding your little blue notebook with its crisp blank pages.

You, looking at my old stained book with a slight disinterest.

You, with your green pouch, encasing a bunch of different coloured pens.

You, eyeing my beautiful grey coloured black pictured bookmark.

You, frantically scribbling words in the language that I can’t read, kindling my interest.

You, watching me with the corner of your eyes.

You, wiping your eyes with a bunch of tissues, not sure was it because of sentiments or science.

You, checking my white cup of cappuccino.

You, mindlessly eating from your plate of mashed potatoes and toast, unbeknownst your dish tempted me.

You, scanning my photography skills for my Instagram book post.

You, talking in an unknown language in a video call with a family member or a friend.

You, glancing at my multitasking skills of sipping coffee and reading.

You, lost in your world of words, sometime looking around to catch the right ones from our breaths.

You, staring at the cover of my book and wondering what story it holds.

You might be writing about something where we both existed at the same time.

Or You might be comprehending a parallel world where nothing of this world exists.

Somehow You, perhaps like me, might feel like writing about the stranger across your table.

So, if You do, use your visions freely to paint me on your canvas of white but pick the ink red.

Yours Truly,

The stranger across you

Merak

Have you ever felt empty, like you have nothing inside you to share with others? As if all the feelings have left you, and now your heart is a barren land. Today after I had rendezvous with this feeling after a long time. Lately, I have been reading “A Woman Is No Man” by Etaf Rum.

The book is very intense; it invokes so many emotions simultaneously, you feel every emotion of your character; you understand their helplessness, their anger, their pain, and, most importantly, their choices. I have always felt that women writers are more empathetic towards their characters, their understanding, and their capacity to involve the readers in their character’s emotions are far better. Of course, there always exceptions everywhere.

Even though I was around people, when I was finishing the last few pages of the book, today, I felt isolated. I realised my feelings and emotions were very different from the people around me. It somehow filled me with a sense of discomfort and helplessness, making everything much harder. So, I left the cafe with the thought of watching a light movie.

I finally settled on “The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants,” a 2005 movie, about four friends sharing a pair of pants over summer vacation. A fun film to watch with your girlfriends or alone. But something different happened after I finished watching the movie. A mixed emotion wrapped me in its blanket. I felt blank from within like someone has painted my colourful inner canvas with white colour. My insides felt erased, and my heart an empty board.

So I decided not to ditch my night stroll and went out for a quick fifteen-minute walk. For the first five minutes, I didn’t have a sense of real me. But the silence of the night, the coldness of breeze, the swaying of the trees, and the greenness of the grass; started filling me with its drops of abundance.

It felt as if nature understood me more than I know myself. It brought my body in sync with the outer world. Nature, with its kindness, filled my heart with empathy. And suddenly, I realised the rhythm of my breath. The breath is the symbol of our aliveness. It makes us comprehend that we exist, we matter, even though we might get disassociated with ourselves from time to time. It reminds us that with little effort, we can always come back to our centre. With little love, we can always find our Merak.

Note : The Serbian word Merak is a wonderful little word that refers to a feeling of bliss and the sense of oneness with the universe that comes from the simplest of pleasures. It is the pursuit of small, daily pleasures that all add up to a great sense of happiness and fulfilment.

Looking for Alaska

What’s with this chaos of life? Have you ever wondered where it is all taking you? The running like a horse, the pretension of knowing it all, the fake waves of laughter, the fading connections, and working like a mule. And when you pause for breath, you always think, is it worthwhile? All of it, which somehow is taking you a bit away from your soul.

A world where people are throwing reality in your face telling you that all your dreams are an illusion. There is no parallel reality, unlike Murakami’s world, where there are always two truths, where everything becomes a bit bearable in the end. Things do work out in the end.

But here nothing works like it. You, unlike others, wander in the world, sometimes in your created one and sometimes in others. And while you are still hanging between here and there, life somehow keeps moving, without waiting for anyone, and thus time becomes the constant change of your life.

So which world do you reside in, to save a lonely self from suffering? What exactly is the truth? Your truth? Or is it even their a vestige of truth left in this chaotic world. The more people you meet, the more you move towards ennui. Your amorous intensity, bubbling to be engaged, but when you look around, there is no one who entirely utterly believes you.

With little insight of light, you try hard enough to resolve this never-ending conundrum. And with each piece of puzzle occupying its allocated space, you move towards hope from despair. With the change of time being the only constant in the changing world, you keep looking for Alaska.

Published My First Story

Hello everyone, I know, I have been out of writing spree for too long. It’s been more than a month, and I haven’t written any post here. But in my defense, I have been busy with personal stuff.

Firstly, I was traveling overseas. Being my first travel abroad, I took time off from writing and instead put my focus on engraving the vibe of the city. 

Then I was busy celebrating Diwali with my family after a long time. 

When I returned to the city, where I live currently, I was in chaos, cleaning up my home like a mad person. 

After I sorted out everything, I took the challenge of writing a short story for the PentoPublish2019 event by Amazon. 

A huge thank you to all the people who have helped me in the journey of writing my first published short story.

Honorable mentions: 

Prats, I can’t thank you enough, from sharing the first link of pentopublish2019 to asking me now and then about my writing status, I will always be indebted to you. 

Deepika, an already published author, gave me excellent feedback, I used a few of her pointers to improve the quality of my work. 

Sri, who is my soul sister and a fantastic writer, gave me the green signal and excellent suggestion, which I used in my final edition.

I also went to my brother, who gave me a good pep talk after reading my first draft, and to my dismay, it helped me a lot. 

Lastly, a huge thank you to my dear friend Gallimaufry, for reading my first three chapters and pushing me to complete it on time and suggesting various things when it came to designing the book cover. And bearing the frustrated me and helping in the final edit of the story. You are fabulous, and you know it. 

Here is what I realized while writing, every writer tells you that writing is easy, but its the editing after the first draft, which makes you mad. And you never understand this emotion until you work on your first edit. I was a little heartbroken after getting feedback on my first draft. In my head, I have written a brilliant piece that has no flaws. So I took a four-day break from writing and reading my story. When I went back to editing, I could see flaws in my writing and started editing it. I understood what everyone’s feedback and tried to apply the changes. But there were points about which I was very adamant; I didn’t change it even in the final story.

Here are the few suggestions, if you want to start writing :

  • Make a ritual when it comes to writing. I stuck to early morning writing with a cup of green tea, it helped.
  • I wrote every day at the same time; after two days, you realize your mind starts working at that particular.
  • Even if nothing comes to your mind, still keep staring at the page, after half an hour or so, something always comes up.
  • Last and foremost, write the story you would love to read. Don’t think about the audience when you are writing, write to unleash the unsaid words of your soul.

So here, I am sharing my short story with people who gave me honest feedback to date on my writing adventure. I hope you will once again share your honest feedback with me.  

Hazel : The untold short story of a ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances

Three ways

Sitting here, in dark,

I watch you,

Bathing in luminous pale light,

You glow,

With sheer whiteness,

Like a moon.

And I ponder,

The what ifs.

Will this proximity,

blur your innocence,

Or,

The purity of your heart,

will snuggle me.

Does my darkness,

Holds the power,

To engulf you.

Or is it other way round,

Where,

your light will seep in,

Filling the hollowness of my heart.

Will this,

Crossover jeopardize everything,

Turning your world upside down.

But what if,

The world looks glorious,

Upside down.

Or,

How about,

meeting in the middle,

Where your shine,

Sprinkled by my grayness,

As a silvery beauty.

What if,

The dark of my side,

Will open the chain,

Of your phosphorous glow.

Or,

Is it that,

Somewhere hidden beneath,

All the layers,

Of our worldly views,

there is us,

In all our nakedness,

Entwined,

Twin bodies,

With just,

one soul.

Building a simple,

Three way street.