Strangers in the night

A flutter in once heart
A wave in another
causing ripples
in the stagnant river of life
In despair, they both meet
clinging to something
which momentarily exists.
A pain in once heart
A sorrow in another
colliding in the darkness
clutching the little fingers
only to let go
in the glory of the day.
A weakness in once heart
A vulnerability in another
slowly bandaging
the raw wounds
with their rendition
of the truth.
A wistfulness in once
A contempt in another
yet smiling
while walking
away from each other
fleeting the last glance
before turning
strangers
in the night.

Boxed Up

Someone recently accused me that I box up people too much. At first, I denied the claim, as is my habit of denying any absurdity pointing towards me. But then I thought more on the subject, and here is what I found out.

Boxing up or labeling is what we do from the moment we are born. The minute a child is born, a gender gets assigned to it. Isn’t gender a type of boxing up. Children are reared differently, how subtle that difference maybe, but there is a difference for sure. Then how we teach relationship to a child is also boxing up. We tell them who is a confidant and who is not, whom to open up and whom to not to. We tell them whom to consider their family and who is friends, and who is a stranger. Of course, all this is done to ensure the child’s safety to protect them from the wild wild world. But today, I am not concerned about it; my concern is about labels. We are taught to label people in our life, Period.

Most of you will be rolling your eyes at me, but wait till you fully hear me out. Do you have a friend? Then welcome to this another analysis. How many friends do you have? A lot? But how many of them are real friends? Whom will you call up in an emergency? Who will surely turn up at your door? And more importantly, which friend of yours will be best to deal with you in the situation of crisis. Did names pop up in your brain? Good, then look at the next line carefully.

Best Friend, Close Friend, Fast Friends, and acquaintance- You must have seen these tags on social media platforms. Now each person who came to your mind in my above questions should be given a mentioned tag.
Did you do that? If not, please do; it will help you understand more about yourself. I am assuming by now you have put these friends in each category. Congratulations, you have successfully done the boxing up.

I am not here to judge you or moralize you. I am here to show you that the human brain is accustomed to boxing up. When you claim someone to be your best friend, you have put a label on them. All other friends who will come after that person in your life will have to measure up to that set criteria. Sometimes a new person will exceed the set standards; then, you are bound to pass on the sash to this new person. And that’s how the circle of labeling goes on.

The labeling is vital for your wellbeing. Each person is bound to have boundaries, and you shouldn’t be allowing everyone to enter into your life. The walls are created for your protection; that’s a human survival instinct. You need to protect your mind and heart from unnecessary trouble. Of course, even with so much precaution, you are bound to have some bad experiences, and they will make you notch up your walls, and that’s ok. It’s ok to have high walls, it’s ok to distrust people, but then the point comes to what extent? To what extent your walls protect you? To what extent the labeling is not robbing you of better experiences? Confused, I am too, but then we have to set boundaries on labeling again.

There will come people in your life who will not fit into one label. There can be someone who opens up some part of you creatively, but they won’t be available when you need them the most. They might be the one who knows most intimate details about your soul, but they might not want to be part of your life or maybe they can’t. Yet you keep them close and remain agitated because that particular person or relation can’t be boxed up.

The funny thing is you are boxing up your love too. When you love someone, you box them in the category of a lover. Each lover you will ever have will go to that box. Whether you like it or not, your mind has done it every time for you, even without asking.

So my conclusion on the accusation is, Yes, I box up people. Boxing has kept my soul intact and my mind sane. I am a high-walled person, and I like being that person.

For you, my reader, your experiences are your treasure. Never let anyone take away that from you. If they want to prove your experiences wrong, they should provide you with better experiences rather than telling you that you rely too much upon your experiences.

PS: You are free to give me your opinions? I am open to hearing you out.

Monday Musings

In the looming darkness of a winter night, I am sitting on a red brick at the rooftop, wondering about the universe. When I look up at the blackness of the vast sky, a single shining polar star catches my attention. I find it amusing or rather bold that a small star had taken upon himself to shine when the moon had decided to hibernate in a corner until his time arrives. While I am still admiring the polar star’s boldness, I notice a small blinking light in the sky. Then I see another one coming from an opposite direction, and the way they are moving, it feels they will intersect at some point, at least that’s what my understanding of geometry says. What if they meet, and what if they don’t?

Slowly the two lights are moving in a direction where they might collide. I wonder what does a person feels in a crash. Do they get the chance to decipher what happens at that moment? Or is it in a blink the light turns off, and you wake up in the bardo? As if suddenly changing their fate from landing on a place they wanted to be to a place where no one wants to be. Avoiding the collision isn’t that difficult in the sky, yet they keep occurring, not with flights but with other celestial bodies.

While I was sitting on my roof, wondering about a possible collision, somewhere from far off a distance, an asteroid is approaching the planet I am inhabiting right now. Yes, I am not fictionalizing it; yesterday, an asteroid named 2020XK1 of approximately 2-4 meter in size and 30 Magnatitude in height closely approached earth. What should I call it? When I think about a celestial body collision at one part of the planet, in another part of the world precisely at the Mt Lemmon Survey, they find an approaching asteroid. I don’t know about you, I find it interesting, and in a way powerful enough.

When I break away from my musings, I see a stalled flickering light in the sky, and I know that they have taken the precaution to avoid the collision. Now the two blinkings move away in their separate directions taking their awaited customers to their desired destination.

Writers Dilemma

I have a question for the writers in our community? Do you feel unease in finishing your work? I mean, does your heart starts fluttering when you know you are nearing the end of the story. I know this doesn’t happen when you write a story of 1000 words, but what happens when you are writing a novel? or a novella? or a short story of 20 pages or more? Do you procrastinate in writing the final scene?

I have not written much till now, and whatever I have written so far is not that long. I recently started a journey of writing in longer formats to test the water before I turn into a full-time writer. I wanted to see whether I have the patience and discipline to follow a routine to write every day and on a single piece of work.

Last year, I published a short story of 3500 words coming approximately to 16 pages, and it was where the journey of writing a longer format started for me. Writing a blog isn’t a challenging task, I mean, it is not easy, but it is not tough either. But when you are working on something you want to publish, it is a different ball game. You have to think of a plot big enough, your character has to be deep enough, and most importantly, you need to inculcate a discipline to write every day. And let me tell you that the last task is the tough cookie to crack from my personal experience.

You read so many writers’ interviews, blogs and sometimes talk to writers directly, and most of the writers would tell you that story evolves on its own. Very few writers have elaborate plans and use a storyboard concept for their writing; generally, these are fantasy writers. But if you ask anyone who writes literary fiction, they will always tell you they only had a seed, they watered it through their pen, and it bloomed into a book. Yes, there are still exceptions, a black sheep who might use a very different method.

So enough of my jibber jabber and pouring of my knowledge container on you. I want to listen your story. Did you ever procrastinate in ending your story? If yes, then why? And if your answer is No, then I must say you have nailed the game of abscission, my dear.

Please share your views and interesting stories in the comments. I am listening.

Path To Glory – 2

A small step, on a long staircase

A single red rose, adding charm to an empty vase.

One stick completing a bundle.

A lone flaring candle,

To tear away the darkness.

They say,

 a single stitch can save grace.

The last fast lap,

can bring you back in the race.

A single-colored bead,

to beautify a plain necklace.

A new spice can enhance the taste.

Every stone counted,

to quench the thirst of the crow.

Million of low claps

makes a roaring crowd.

A penny in the bowl of charity,

A single drop on parched land,

Afterall a summit starts,

 from the base,

Every step matters, every breath counts,

When walking towards the heavenly staircase.

At every tick, move,

At each whistle, run

The road ahead

is long and twisted,

But its the,

Tiny steps of today,

that will lead you,

on the path of glory,

tomorrow. 

Blethering Away

The brisk wind is swashing away the tiny particles from your memories. I often pick up my magnifying glass to watch these small particles move. Sometimes they collide with each other, exchanging information; other times, they maintain their safe distance, watching others’ movements. I often feel that human interactions are the same. We sometimes collide with other people, exchange feelings, comprehend them, and enjoy those rendezvous. And when the forces that were gluing us become weaker, we move our separate ways. Amongst this all, there are watchers, who witness other people’s lives, from a faraway place, never being part of it.

These particles are the watchers of our life, who remain interested in us, but never get the chance or the courage to have a conversation. All their life, they remain an arbitrary object in the life of the admired. The sun rises and sets; the withering leaves take the place of hot summer days, and decades pass, but they remain there, as a constant. Their interest in you might not necessarily be romantic; you just have piqued their curiosity. Now they move across social platforms to catch glimpses of your fleeting life.

If you are a celebrity, you might call them a fan or a follower, and if its BTS, you say army. But if you look deeply through your lense, you will realize we all have a bunch of watchers in our life. If you are Indian, you always have neighbors, some long lost distant relatives, who tend to follow you across social media, and know more about your life then your parents. And if you are not social media friendly, they might keep an eye through human chains. They are unknown faces, who coincidentally came across you, and now hold a little interest in the ongoings of your life. They might be your anonymous readers, your art collectors, a view on your not so famous youtube vlog.

As the day turns grey, you walk into a coffee shop for your fill, and you stumble into a stranger who looks familiar yet unfamiliar. Maybe they are your watcher, looking furtively at you, as your admirer. Or perhaps they are still contemplating your importance in their life. Sometimes the watcher particle might lose interest in watching you. The reason could vary from too many to watch in their list to gluing with some new particle.
They silently enter and leave your periphery, leaving absolutely no footprints.

Then someday, some random persons tell you about the existence of these particles. You are initially surprised, then slowly absorb the laid information. Now a new desire has spurt in your heart to know this stranger, who has left your orbit. Stealthily, you walk into deep dark woods, cleaning up the hung webs, and plunge into the ecstasy of walking into a fresh stream.

Steadily, you leave your elliptical orbit to ramble into another’s. The watched becomes the watcher. And so they say, the life moves in circles, it seems they might be right, after all. The number of particles in the universe remains constant; they might just be changing positions.

Treachery

Two weeks back, on a sunny afternoon, she got a call. “Rhythm, there is a new task for you, check your mail, and report to Headquarters immediately.” Before she could ask any further questions, he hung up. Hurriedly, she got out of bed and packed her bag to visit the Headquarters. 

She has been working as Pennyweighter for a man called Jack. It started as a game when one day she painted a replica of Salvador Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci and replaced it with the original and earned her first Billion dollar. No one noticed this theft except Jack, who had his eye on her throughout the auction night. To keep his mouth shut, he took thirty percent of the total payment and asked her to join his monkey business. 

Rhythm was an orphan from the time she can remember; she shuttled herself between orphanages and different foster homes. It made her skeptical about people and their intentions. She considered trust as the first step towards self-destruction. That’s why she always kept herself one step ahead of the others in the game of life.  

The auction is in a palace with an invite-only guest list. The world’s best security surrounds the castle. Rhythm is not exquisitely beautiful, but you couldn’t resist looking at her when she walks into a room. She is a hummingbird amidst the crowd of white swans, small yet colourful with a melody to melt every heart. She is wearing a simple vintage white dress; a matching fascinator adorns her long, tied hair. With the elegance of a princess, she walks down the hall.

Holding a glass of sparkling champagne, she moves towards her destination. In the centre of the room on in a beautiful pink coloured glass box lies the lustrous Kohinoor. While she is still rehearsing her plan, a tall man clad in a black tuxedo walks towards her. “Isn’t it beautiful,” she looks up at the speaker and nods in agreement. He laughs and whispers in her ear, “I know, you are planning to steal it.” Bewildered, she takes a few steps back. But he pulls her back and gazes deeply into her eyes and declares, “You are soon going to fall in love with me,” and walks away casually, leaving her befuddled. 

She calms herself and looks around for the man. She has to execute her plan before the mysterious man returns. She stealthily pulled out the replica and tapped the left corner of the case with a laser beam intact in her nails. A small opening appears, she surreptitiously replaces the diamond with the replica. While the crowd is busy laughing at Prince’s jokes, Rhythm walks away with the Kohinoor.

She picks up her phone, said, “Please bring the car to the gate.” She crossed the room briskly. A smile of relief adorns her face when she sees the Rolls-Royce at the gate. But before she could sit in the car, the tuxedo man stops her. “You cannot leave now,” she politely rejects his advances and says, “My car is here.” A wicked smile plasters his face, and he utters, “But you haven’t seen the real Kohinoor yet.” She splutters with an ashen face, “What about the one in the hall.” Smirking, he replies, “Oh, It’s just a replica. The original one is inside a safe, shown only to VVIPs.” 

He held out his hand, unwilling she grabbed it and went inside. They walk into the elevators, and the man pressed the button for the top floor. On reaching the top floor, they walked straight into a brightly lit room. There, on a high slender, wooden table sat the Kohinoor laced in a red velvet cloth without any other protection. She freed herself from his grip and moved towards the table. She picked up the magnifying glass from the side and examined the diamond. She turns back and asks, “Why isn’t it inside a secured case,” he laughs and says, “A thief would never be able to enter inside this floor without my permission.” Leaning in, he kissed her rosy lips. The kiss felt like melting sugar; the more she devoured, the more she craved his luscious lips. And when he gently pulled away, there was a fire of desire in his eyes, engulfing every tiny molecule of her body.

He held her hand, and they silently walked in his suite; he called his Butler and said: “The Night is over for me.” Keeping his phone aside in silent mode, he ferociously kissed her nape. They were like a well and thirsty traveler to each other; the more they drank, the more they craved, filling their body and soul’s insatiable desires. 

The next morning when she woke up, the only thing she remembered was his handsome face in the moonlit night, the gentle breeze ruffling his dark brown hair, his synchronous breath, and the reassuringly slow and steady heartbeat of his heart. 

She got out of bed and went to the bathroom to take a shower. When she came out, she saw a message on the side table saying, “I am in a meeting, don’t leave without meeting me.” She smiled, liked a fool in love and got ready, and moved out of his suite. She was leisurely walking around when she heard a peal of laughter; inquisitively, she walked towards the incoming voices. 

When she peeped in through the slight gap of the door, she saw two-man talking obnoxiously. To her horror, she realized it was Her Man and Jack, her boss. And they were talking about her. “I told you she would fall for me; no woman can resist aristocracy, now we will have both the diamond and the insurance money.” 

Jack asked, “What about her?”.

The Man laughed, “She will go to jail in case of robbery, but not before I get the money from the insurance company.” 

Tears rolled down her eyes; she was right all along in not trusting people. She moved back into the suite and changed into her biking gear, which she kept handy for emergency escapes. She left the place, leaving only a note for the deceitful men. 

“Leaving right now, but my surprise awaits you tomorrow.”

The next morning, the world woke up with Prince’s news in police custody for the missing Kohinoor’s treachery.

Yugen

When the wind keep rushing and the plant slants in the direction of gushing rain, a fog surrounds you. As far as your vision takes you, there is only fog, and beyond it, a world untouched by these tiny droplets. You slowly take your palm out of the window and let it soak the weather. But that is never enough, gradually you take your face out. The lashing rain takes the burning heat away from your body. Relaxing the furrowed brows and turning the corner of your mouth upward. An electric wave of calmness starts enveloping you. Now you can focus on things beyond the heat of the burning summer. You see, the drops fly foxing on the black wires from one transmitter to the other. When you look up at the dark gray sky, you see a blank canvas. You wonder where did the flying beings go. 

Are they hiding beneath some shady surface, or still drenching themselves in the sky’s freedom? When you look out, below your window on an awning, you see a pair of pigeons, watching the rain’s dance.

They both are busy fluttering their wings. They don’t pay any attention to your cooing calls. You get lost once again in the beauty of nature and its various beings. 

Nature always has been an inspiration for writers, especially poets. Famous poets like Robert Frost and WB Yeats have written various poems on the beauty of nature. Nature can turn you into a more thoughtful and kind being. For me, nature has always been a force of calmness to my utter inner chaos. A walk in the woods has always decluttered my thoughts. The grass’s dewiness, the sun’s auburn beauty, and the brightness of the full moon in the sky are the zenith of zen. Yet there are times it so indescribable in words. I, at those times, start envying painters and photographers for capturing it to the nearest perfection. 

Nature has always been a healer. Whenever the inner conundrum drifts you away from self, take shelter in nature, but walk alone. Enjoying solitude while being in laps of nature makes you one with the universe. In the vastness of this world, you find yourself as a speck of dust. This realisation of being nothing makes you braver while strengthening your inner capability to accept the ever-changing real world. 

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” – Henry David Thoreau

PS: The Japanese word yugen refers to the awareness that the universe is so profound that the emotions we feel when we try to contemplate it are too deep and mysterious to convey. 

Also if you are interested in reading poetry on nature which soothes your soul, check out Nico’s blog. His poetry has always helped me.

Anecdote 1 !!

Yesterday, over a cup of tea, my mom told me an anecdote. Something strange happened to one of her friends. A few months ago, she lost her sister to cancer, and within two days, her brother in law also died. After his wife passed away, he refused to eat and drink anything and eventually succumbed to dehydration. By the time help arrived and they took him to the hospital, he was already dead.

The story made me wonder, is it possible to die of heartache. Did the man die because of the loss of love or loneliness? Or was it fear of being alone for the rest of his life? Can you turn this lonely in two days? Does old age turn your heart a bit weaker, that losing someone can lead you to death?

And then, there is this Indian view of things on everything, where they proclaim couples who die naturally in a very short span of each other have an eternal bond. They say such a pair have true love and can’t bear the separation. They are declared as soulmates, leading them to leave their bodies almost together to rejoin each other in heaven.

I, on the other hand, have questions regarding this theory of love. I right now don’t believe someone could die of a love loss. I mean, if you start boozing or taking drugs in sadness to a level which can lead to death, then that’s another thing. There was a time when I was naive enough to believe in death’s theory due to love. Right now, I know it can turn you sad, make you feel like you are dying but believe me, you will not break. I have seen all kinds of people come out of it. It might turn you into a poet or painter or a lyricist; after all, there are artists whose first work came out of a heartbreak. And then there are established artists who create masterpieces from their losses.

There is one thing I truly believe in that love loss changes you as a person; something within you turns off like a switch which no amount of happiness could ever switch back on. Things might change, people might find love again, but the loss always leaves a scar, however small it might be. And from time to time, when we are alone, we dig deep inside to look at that scar. We try to rub, touch and feel the spot, sometimes to relive the moments and sometimes to feel the pain.

Love loss is not about losing a lover; love loss is about losing anyone you loved. It can be your friend, your pet, your child, or your parent. I know enough people who have lost someone very dear at a younger age, and they still carry that pain inside them. The void never gets filled. There comes the point where people even forget the face of the person they are missing, but they never forget the gamut of emotions the memories evoke in them.

Eventually, the memories dim, and you have to dust them up to catch up with the precious fragments. If you ever truly loved someone, the vestiges remain. Even an Alzheimer’s patient in the wake of consciousness could recall some precious ones.

“Love never get lost; it remains hidden in the labyrinth of human emotions.”

On another note, I am sharing a beautiful art, which came out of someone’s loss.

PS : Maroon 5 served tribute to their late manager Jordan Feldstein, who died unexpectedly in December 2017 from a pulmonary embolism with this beautiful song, Memories.

How Human…

The silver knife in the pool of redness was lying in the sink. Among all those dirty yellow dishes, there were spots of red. And then there was this day-old curry smell, with a hint of fresh blood smell.

Sometimes we cut ourselves, and sometimes others cut us. Sometimes it’s physical, while sometimes it’s emotional. Sometimes it’s apparent, and sometimes it’s a little obscure. Sometimes its words said very non-nonchalantly, that slit you apart, leaving you to writhe in pain, with paleness left behind. Most often, the malefactor is unaware of the consequences of their words. And sometimes they are, and they intentionally go on, causing the massacre. Sometimes its revenge and sometimes it’s their idea of fun.

Alizah, who has recently converted herself into a human, was unable to comprehend this capacity of human hatred. She has witnessed their love for each other; this aggravated malice was unthinkable for her newly adapted human brain. In her race, they killed each other with a touch, when someone crossed the written code. But she realised that human though considered killing an offence and called it murder, took great pleasure in throwing heart-wrenching words. And no one is to be blamed if someone dies of bad words. Those who die because of words were often considered too weak and unfit for human society. There was no social code that found death with words as murder.

Closing her eyes, she tried to recall the medication to stop the bleeding. In her veins, there was still some element of her past life, which was capable of healing injuries, caused by humans. Holding her wrists, she concentrated on her black molecules, which slowly stopped the oozing blood.

Today she was able to survive and heal, but who knows for how long will she be able to bear the atrocities of humans? Whether the love of millimetres, provided over short spans, will turn the hatred of litres. Only time will tell whether humans can be real humans to a non-human.