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Of Thought and Rhyme

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Relationships

Breakups

You are hers
And she is yours
I have accepted that
But why does it still hurt

Maybe because there is a void
Where your love once was
And I haven’t been able to
Replace that hurt yet


My heart is bigger
Than it ever was
Since you left

There is place
For me to grow
Into my own

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The first (and the last) time we met…

He saw my book resting on the table, and used it to break the awkward silence, “What’s that book you’re reading?”

We had been texting for a couple of days. In even the most mundane of conversations, he had a certain intellectual curiosity about him which was endearing. He wasn’t just interested in knowing how was my day, he wanted to know what was the weirdest thought I had in the whole day. He challenged my notions of comfortable conversations, often pushing me in a corner and forcing me to think harder, diving deep down and enunciating what I actually thought about a particular subject, rather than having just a cursory discussion on it. In what seemed a natural progression of events, he had proposed a date, asking me to meet him if I was reasonably convinced that he was neither a kidnapper nor a rapist. And though I had found the statement somewhat conceited, I conceded.

I had reached early. He called five minutes later to check where I was, almost offended to hear that I was already inside. I saw him walking, and there were no butterflies in my stomach. But more alarmingly, there was no smile on his face when he saw me. And that worried me a little. While he crossed the swarm of people to reach my table, I closed the book hanging awkwardly in my hands; he reached over and I hastily put it down. We shook hands. He sat down. I sat down too. There was a brief moment of hesitation, as we both were trying to match up the person sitting opposite us with the respective images we had conjured up in our heads over the last few days. I was waiting for him to say something.

“What’s that book you’re reading?”

That question filled me with an incomprehensible dread. In any other situation, I don’t consider any inquiry to be a better conversation starter than one made on my books. But here, I sensed something different. There was something not quite right with that absolutely non-threatening question, but I couldn’t name what was it.

I tried to brush off the question with a casual “oh it’s called ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’…”
He prodded further, “and what’s this about? Who’s written it?”
I asked tentatively, “Do you really want me to get into that, or are you just making small talk?”
He face betrayed his words when he mouthed, “No, I REALLY want to know what is it…”
“Okay, so this is written by this author whom I am currently obsessed with…”
He took the book in his hands, and trying to read the name of the author, asked, “But how did you find out about him…?”
“…and she writes about the post-colonial life in Nigeria… Errr, her. Not him. She is a woman. I stumbled upon one of her lectures, and then a TED talk…”
He had an obscure look on his face. And his words took a disparaging tone when he said, “But how do you even google someone with that kind of name… And what does she even talk about?”
“…titled ‘We Should All Be Feminists’…”
“Feminists?! I hate that word.” His face was closed. And it wasn’t mere discomfort, it was a disdain for the word when he said it.

My heart sank in a swift motion, tumbling down deep recesses. I felt something breaking inside me. I had scripted this date in my head. Here was a man who I wanted to be with. Who I wanted to like. Who I wanted to be the person I had imagined him to be. And he was now deviating from the script! He was exhibiting that part of himself which I knew I’d resent immediately. I didn’t want him to expose it just yet. I wanted him to keep it safely hidden, at least for now. More than that, I wanted so desperately to redeem myself in his eyes. To see the same admiration for me which he had admitted before this meeting. I wanted to be the same person who he had pronounced ‘very sorted’, and not a troublemaker activist. That admission of his hatred for the F-word made my head spin with myriad conflicting thoughts. And that foreboding feeling from earlier suddenly made sense, and stood large in front of me, threatening the image of a pleasant evening that I had envisaged.

The entire evening, I was having two parallel conversations. One in my head, trying to calm that unrest which I couldn’t seem to let go of. And the other with this man, scouring for a streak of intellectual reasoning in his hatred that would exalt him in my eyes. I kept looking, but the more he talked, the more his words came laced with mainstream prejudices. I hated myself in the same moment for trying to dumb down my own arguments, tiptoeing around his ego, second guessing at every instance what might offend and please him.

After a point, the conversation became so dragged that we both were looking for opportunities to call it a night. And when we finally turned to go our own ways, I didn’t want to take the decision of not seeing him ever again. I still wanted to overlook that part of him, replaying over and over a scenario that could have been – if not for that opening question.

But I didn’t have to struggle for too long. The next day I received a text saying, “Hey, I don’t think this will work”. I almost sighed with relief. It was truly a luxury to be abandoned the moment anything went wrong, I now knew.

5 events that made me a stronger person in 2013.

So the birthday month is here again. The last year has been a roller-coaster ride, with many events helping me become a stronger person than I was earlier. Five of them which had the most impact on me are listed below, in chronological order:

  1. Getting back with an ex. Always a great idea. Reassures you of the decision-taking ability. And leaves no scope of regrets and what-ifs. If it had to work out, it would have worked out in the first go. But good to be sure. No hang-ups or remorse that “oh, maybe I didn’t try enough!”. Also, a wonderful reminder of what you don’t want in your life!
  2. Playing a bridesmaid. From sneaking the groom in the bride’s room before the ceremonies to playing the gatekeeper; from taking care of bride’s outfits to holding her hands while mehendi is being applied; from feeding the bride to dancing non-stop; from distinguishing the buas from the chachis to demanding shagun from the groom; from weeping inadvertently at the bidaai to making sure bride’s mum doesn’t shed many tears – it’s all just so much fun. And the fact that you can’t feel your legs at the end of it only makes you appreciate the hard work that went in making of the fun.
  3. Losing a loved one. Jimmy taught me to love. Before he came into my life, I hadn’t experienced the pure emotion of affection for a nobody. He arrived, and things changed. He would sleep beside me, wake me up with his soft nudges, motivate me to be fit by demanding a brisk walk every morning, eat from my hands, wait outside the washroom lest I disappear, hug me silly on my return from classes, ride on my Activa with me, cry when my bags were being packed, stop eating when I was away, wait in the balcony when he knew my visit was due, spread his silky hair all over my wardrobe and be characteristically himself. But he gave in to a fatal lung infection, and we had to put him down. I will always remember him as my green-eyed lover boy, teaching me to be generous and selfless in giving love and affection.
  4. Facing death. And having the narrowest escape. Enough has been said about it, won’t repeat it here. But undoubtedly, the most scary, scarring and life-changing experience I’ve had till date.
  5. Moving back in with parents. After almost six years of being on my own. Too early to comment on it, as I’m still coming to terms with it. But can very easily say, it’s difficult. Too damn difficult to cohabit with folks, when you’re used to a resounding solitude.

Perspective

Was talking to a friend about relationships. There was nothing new that was said, but these things struck:

You might like someone who knows exactly who you are and what you think, but you might love someone who’s the polar opposite.

You don’t look for them or find them, they happen.

Hmmmm.

 

Judgements and then some

 

Super-emo post alert. Read at your own peril.

 

This one is for all of those people who express emotions ranging from scorn to disgust to sympathy to disapproval to plain old surprise when I say I don’t hate him.

Maybe it is abnormal in your world to be at peace with the fact that things did not work out between two people. But in mine, there is no other way, but to be at peace.

Why should I let the circumstances drive my feelings? I cannot ‘unlove’ someone just because the social norms ask so of me.

And mind you, it does not mean that one is stuck up, and cannot move on. There is a very subtle difference between being at peace and holding a grudge. While the former allows you to be objective, the latter makes you think endlessly about what could have been.

The former makes you appreciate the other person for what s/he is, the latter makes you begrudge her/him for what s/he is not.

The former makes you care and be sensitive, the latter makes you frown and be reckless.

Many a times, the former is mistaken for a simplistic name for the latter, while in reality it’s not.

And you can call me ’emotionally unstable’ all you want, but I know not of any other way to be. If that’s unacceptable to you, be my guest and continue to express whatever concerned emotion you are used to expressing. I’m tired of justifying myself, and this is my one last attempt at doing so.

I do NOT want your judgements. Thank you very much.

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