Fifty days

Some real advice on love… and arranged marriage 🙂

Hello!

Two strangers. complete opposites. There was no way we could have been together. Except – fate works in mysterious ways.

It all began with a phone call. My dad handed me a phone and told me to speak to him. No pressure. Typical arrange marriage scenario in today’s Indian household. After getting over the shock of my parents trying to set me up with a “suitable groom”, I decided to have fun and see where it goes.

Little did I know that I had just walked into the trap. I never believed in love; it was just fairytale for me – limited to children’s storybooks. I mean, common I was surrounded by people who fell in love and out of love every few months! That’s the reality of our lifestyle. We try to run from everything – from relationships to responsibilities. I was no stranger. I was running from marriage, after all, it…

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Trapped in mirrors

Growing up, most of us are taught that we’re “different”, we’re unique, that we’re our own person. While that is not entirely wrong, it presents this skewed notion that we’re somehow isolated from our environment. Looking around me and within me, I have come to realise that we are not that different after all, and we’re certainly not separate from our surroundings. We’re constantly looking at the people in our lives and the experiences we come across to help us build and see who we are. Our environments are essentially our mirrors, and more often that not, we find ourselves trapped in their definitions.

A girl who wants to be “pretty” but doesn’t look like the definition of “pretty” according to those in her environment will never see herself as pretty. A boy who wants to be “rebellious” but doesn’t fit the definition of “rebellious” according to those in his environment will never see himself as a rebel. So, we strive to become what we want to see in our “mirrors”, moulding ourselves according to a certain niche in the society that we live in. And if somehow, we fail in that process, we feel excluded, left out, alone – a bad different.

But is it really so bad? For most of my life, I felt that I existed somewhere between flawed and full of potential. I felt that I did not fit in the ‘group’ that I wanted to in school, I did not experience a college life that I was ‘supposed to’ live, and that I did not become a person that my environment expected me to.

In the end, I said “chuck it all” and decided I was different, but that’s where the irony comes in. There’s a niche to how “different” is supposed to be too – and I found myself trying to adapt to it.

I could go on and on about the mistakes I made and what I did and how I behaved, ever since I was a teenager to the present point in my life, to mould myself into what I saw in the mirror, but that’s not the point. Looking back, I only see years and years of trying so hard to “fit in” and “be normal”  and “be like so and so” by doing numerous things that I probably didn’t even want to do, or by saying things that I didn’t even want to say.

And last night, as I struggled to meet a crazy work deadline, I realised I was fighting so hard not because I wanted to but because I was expected to. At home, at work, with friends, with family. I was expected to abide by perfection – that had somehow become my mirror in the past few months – and when I couldn’t, it drove me crazy. It was like waking up from a dream – learning the difference between what I really want for myself and what others want from me. There’s no harm in trying to do good, to be good, but the definition of good – that is one that should be defined by my experiences and my ideas – because I am me and not my mirror.

I don’t want to be understood by everyone and to desperately adhere to what is needed from me. I don’t want to be trapped in the definitions of my mirror. I want to break free and understand myself before I spend a life blended into my environment without a speck of personality to call my own.

Confessions of a Book-a-holic

I stumbled across a random post on Instagram today: “Name one feeling that you miss the most right now?”

The question made me stop and think. You hear often of missing something or someone, but missing a feeling… now that’s different. The answer came to me after a few moments of retrospection though.

I miss the feeling of being absorbed in a book, of travelling to another land while sitting curled up on my favourite spot on the bed with a cup of coffee by my side, of being so engrossed in the pages of a novel that everything else fades out of my mind.

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Reading and books have always been, and will always be, my life source (besides coffee 😉 ). Yet, I realised, owing to the daily routine I’ve found myself wound up in, I haven’t been able to make much time to do so.

Even if I do manage to squeeze in 10-15 minutes of reading before heading to sleep everyday, the feeling is not one that I described a mere sentences prior – my mind is not carefree, I don’t find myself travelling, and I fail to be entirely captivated by the words in front of me.

The difference that it makes to my being may be unnoticeable to others, but not to me. I realise I’m more easily upset, definitely more emotional, a lot less relaxed, and a lot less affectionate on a usual basis. My sister could probably vouch for this behaviour.

The only reason for it? I’m a book-a-holic experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

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So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way to rectify this is to make my peace of mind a priority above work and routine, and return to my beloved books. After all, I’d much rather be a happy book-a-holic than an irritable addict in involuntary recovery 😛

Splattered

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt Frame of Mind: If you could paint your current mood onto a canvas, what would that painting look like?  What would it depict?


Chaos. Splatter of paint. Collage of memories. Web of happiness. Threads of fear.

Probably abstract.

I’ve undergone numerous changes in the past couple of months. They’re perhaps inconsequential to the average person, but understandably, big to me. They’ve contributed to the person I’m today, to the person I’m growing to be everyday.

Recently, I’ve spent some amazing time with loved ones – on vacation and at home – and those memories are ingrained in my mind, bringing a smile to my face every time I think back. Past days have been a series of ups and downs, but the people that matter make it worthwhile. A splatter of red and yellow. 

Retreating a couple weeks further, I’ve started a new job. My first job ever. I am still ploughing through it, finding my way in the labyrinth of the media industry, in the production world, learning the reigns, moving forward. There’re times when I find myself in a rut. And then I don’t know what the future holds. Is this where I want to be? Is this what I want to keep doing? I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out as time goes on and I continue on the road to self-discovery. A splatter of grey and green. 

Few more steps backward, it’s the big move from UK to India after graduation. Returning to live in my home country after an absence of about eight years. It’s scary, daunting, frustrating. I miss UK. I miss Tanzania. I miss Malaysia. I miss my friends. I miss who I used to be earlier. But I’m growing and changing and maturing, and more importantly, learning to accept my new reality. A splatter of brown and blue. 

Back to the present, it’s a whirlwind of emotion. I’m happy and confused and nostalgic and stressed and settled all at once. Still evolving, still growing, still moving forward. Grateful that all of this exists, that I’ve had these experiences. Taking it one day at a time colouring my canvas. It’s a rainbow. 

 

 

 

2015 in review

Thank you everyone for supporting my blog. Here’s to another year of writing and pondering and sharing! Happy New Year 2016!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 990 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 17 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Beautiful?

The sun is a vivid red this evening. You watch it set with burning eyes. The clock is ticking. Soon, the moon will be full and another day would have passed. The night would welcome you with open arms, darkness engulfing you, bringing back the monsters of your past. You can feel the clench of your stomach, the tingling in your bones, the thump of your racing heart, and the time draws near.

The silence screams in your ears, the solitude crowds your mind, as the nightmares lay waiting to claw their way out of the dark recesses of your mind. Another night and you’re alone. You should have gotten used to it by now. Day by day, month by month, year by year, it is the same. It has always been the same.

You touch the smooth wood of the cabin wall, the scent of pine infiltrating your senses. Crashing water gushes far into the distance, and the whistle of the wind is noise nestled in the neighbouring hood of trees.

You hear it all and you don’t blink. A ripple of pain but you are numb. Or that’s what you tell yourself as you watch eyes of brown stare back at you from the window. Your long tresses, which were once a dark shade of black, are streaked with grey. The lines that mar your face appear distorted in the reflection; as distorted as you. So young, and yet so old.

A crow caws into the darkening night, masking the gasp that escapes your chapped lips. The onslaught of memories, the terror you felt as the vile creatures took away your innocence, seeps into your skin.

You can’t bear to lie down on the bed, you can’t bear to close your eyes.

Your insides are burning and you want nothing more than to shatter the glass in front of you. You turn away, walking to the other side of the barren room.

Barren except for a lone frame hanging on the yellowed wall. Your eyes inadvertently fall on it. There is a beautiful girl in the picture, unmarked and untainted. Her lips are curved in a half-smile, and her eyes shine with a bright light. You watch her, stare at her, transfixed. That laughter; you have not heard it in a decade and yet it rings in your ears. That light; you have not seen it in a decade and yet you remember the exact moment it burned out as if it were yesterday.

Has it really been only ten years? You don’t know. It feels like a thousand.

But you do know.

You have counted every moment, every hour, every day. You have counted and writhed in torment; hearing and watching and feeling as pain rips apart the fragments of your being, as shards of ice pierce your bleeding heart, as smouldering fire burns down the remnants of your soul. You have counted it all.

A bitter smile spreads across your lips and a million memories race through your mind. Memories of a time when you were just you, when the monsters hadn’t taken control of your body, hadn’t crushed your soul and revelled in your pain, when your days had been spent carefree, and the world was a beautiful place.

You laugh; beautiful. It is a strange word.

You were beautiful once – the beautiful, girl next door. And maybe you are beautiful today – a beautiful victim of a crime that the world says is your fault.

Why I refuse to (just) pray for Paris

When I woke up to the news of the terror attacks in Paris yesterday, I was devastated. My heart ached for the victims and I prayed for the city along with the rest of the world, showing my support through Facebook posts and tweets. When I woke up today to several posts talking about the atrocities happening around the world, I realised how wrong I was. It is not just Paris that we need to pray for, it is the entire world, it is humanity.

The deaths of the victims in France are a tragedy. I believe that with every part of myself. I believe every death brought about by violence is a tragedy, no matter what.

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Yes, the world is hurting; we have lost so many lives in the span of 24 hours. There has been an earthquake in Japan, a suicide bombing in Baghdad, deadly blasts in Beirut (Lebanon), and perhaps many, many more lost lives elsewhere due to disasters (natural or man-made) that I may not even be aware of at this time.

What is more, I cannot even imagine what the people in these places, be it Beirut or Paris or elsewhere, are experiencing right now. Nothing I do or say can even begin to solve this crisis, but I’ve felt restless and unsteady ever since I heard the news. As one of my friends put it, “So much has been lost, and for what?”

In times such as these, is it right to mourn for one and not for another? Do these places, these people, deserve this? Were they not all innocent lives lost? Does the larger impact of one outweigh the smaller impact of another? Is the value of one lost heartbeat lesser than that of ten? In the end, does it matter who is suffering where on what scale, if they’re suffering at all? Is it justified to pray for one and not for another?

(while it is oh so beautiful to see the world come together like this, it is so very sad that it takes a tragedy like this to make it happen)

Since an (unverified?) news surfaced that the ISIS is behind the attack(s), I have seen anti-Islam sentiments spread like wildfire across the Internet, and even in people around me, and that makes my heart ache. I have numerous Muslim friends, I live in a place where many of my neighbours are Muslims, and they are all such good people. The idea that they, along with others like them from around world, are being subjected to hate for something senseless and cruel committed by one terrorist group is sickening.

When the world is hurting so much, would it really help anyone to point fingers? Would violence rectify violence? Would hate cancel out hate? These are questions I ask myself as I see blame everywhere, when all I (and hopefully many others) want to see is love and support.

Really, the violence and inhumanity around us frightens me. I am a pacifist at heart. I do not understand violence. It is Paris today, was Gaza yesterday, and could be Delhi tomorrow. There is always some form of suffering somewhere in the world; those of us who are not able to do much, can at least refrain from pointing fingers and causing blame, and instead stand united and stand strong to support humanity.

In the end, all I’d like to say is, I refuse to just pray for Paris, because I pray for the world in which countless cities, places, and people burn in suffering and pain. Because it is my world, my home, and my people, regardless of race or religion.

(and I hope one day we all stop hurting)

time, space. love, hate.

Beautifully written by a friend.

The Dabbling Zone

Warning – contains references to depression and abuse.

Written for a dear friend.


{Let the world shatter below my feet while existence remains unavoidable; I am not here.}

Its essence swirls around the room like grains of sand carried through the wind, echoing in the past, present, and future, suspended in reality, pushed forward across the lands and the skies, to stop deep in my heart. Time. What about it makes us all cower in fear, tremble in corners, wish and hope and pray, and finally end up in tears? The mystical path through this imaginary world, a life without purpose or guidance, stumbling around like wanderers, desperate to find solace, to find another whose heart beats the same rhythm – why does it hold us in our grasp, enchanted, never breaking free from its embrace?  I found you as I roamed these desperate lands; unexpected, though the encounter was…

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When the story writes itself…

I’ve been away from my blog for far too long, so here’s some random food for thought!

Having recently ventured into the realm of writing Original Fiction, I’ve discovered that although I’ve pre-planned my story, it can take a completely different turn than I initially anticipated. I have got all the details mapped out – this is going to happen in Chapter 3, this is going to happen in Chapter 5 and the story shall end with this in Chapter 25.

Then, when I’m writing, my characters start writing themselves – the plot takes twists and turns I hadn’t planned, and before I know it, the chapters are off on a completely different tangent and my story is continuing way past Chapter 25.

That, of course, is a hypothetical example. Yet, I’m sure one or more of us have faced these scenarios sometime or other while writing. I certainly have, be it while writing my novel, or a short story, or even just an article.

After much reflection, what I’ve learnt is this. You might think it’s a bad thing that you’re going completely off-direction, that you don’t know anymore where your plot is headed or what your characters are turning out to be – but is it really a bad thing?

In the end, the keys can’t type for themselves or your pen can’t write for itself. It is your own brain (and heart) behind it, so instead of trying to cling to the plan, I’d say, let it flow – let the creativity break through the carefully planned barriers and let the imagination run wild. Because sometimes, that’s what a story needs. Not just stories, in fact – any piece of writing.

As Albert Einstein rightly said, “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”

Unusual Sights in London

I have been in contact with Reader’s Digest and they have asked me to graciously host one of their posts on my website. Hence, the post below is written by Robert Reeve from the Marketing Team at Reader’s Digest UK. Definitely an interesting entry that I’m happy to host on my blog! Enjoy:

Unusual Sights in London

Looking to spend a few moments in London this summer? Then you might be interested in some of the more unusual sights London has on offer.

Although the capital has plenty of famous locations to visit, these hidden gems are definitely worth a visit too, and they offer beautiful backgrounds for travel photos – not to mention a lovely relief from the crowded city streets!

Leinster Terraces Fake House Fronts

London’s street can sometimes seem like a façade. In fact, some of the house fronts are exactly that.

The neighbourhood near Leinster Terrace at W2 is a beautiful area, but not all is what it seems. The houses at 23-24 Leinster Terrace were actually built simply for painting a pretty image of the neighbourhood for the new underground trains that passed by the area!

York Watergate

Houses located on the Strand used to have the luxury of having gardens fronting the mighty Thames. But in the 1860s, the Victoria Embankment was built and the view was gone forever.

Although you won’t be able to enjoy the palaces, you can still find an old York Watergate within the Embankment Gardens. It’s a beautiful little structure to photograph on a sunny summer day.

The Old Operating Theatre Museum

If you are into museums and the human anatomy, then you’ll probably love the Old Operating Theatre Museum. It is the oldest operating room in Europe and provides great insight into the medical profession back in the day.

The theatre is right next to the unique Herb Garret – both stunning and informative sights to visit, if you are ever roaming around the Southwark area.

Lloyd’s Bank, Law Court Branch

If you are exploring Fleet Street, then you need to pop into one of the most extraordinary cashpoints in the world. The Law Court Branch building for Lloyd’s Bank is completed with stunning decorative features. You’ll find it hard to believe you are actually entering a bank!

St Bride Foundation Library

Everybody knows the British Library, but if you are looking for something different, you should consider popping into the St Bride Foundation Library.

The library is located close to Fleet Street and its origins are deeply rooted in providing the street’s journalists with resources and creative tools. The library, chosen as one of the best British libraries, organises regular exhibitions and talks to inspire you – a perfect pick for budding journalists!

The Stone Nose of Admiralty Arch

If you are hanging out in Trafalgar Square, you might want to zoom your camera towards the Admiralty Arch’s northernmost arch. Around halfway up the wall you’ll see a tiny nose.

Similar noses are found around London, especially Soho, and they have been surrounded in a number of cool urban legends, but the appearance of the noses is thought to have been an artistic protest. Rick Buckley wanted to highlight the expansion of London’s anti-crime closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera schemes with these fitting little objects.

Do you know any unusual sights in London? Give your recommendations in the comment section below!