A Tiger’s Walk

The monsoon had just begun. The constant drizzle and patter of rain had made the forest lush and green. Sitting in the open safari jeep I could hear different sounds: the bark of a cheetal, the challenging hoot of a langoor and loud chirping of cricket, filling the silence of the jungle in perfect harmony.

The road was wet, muddy and slippery. The guide had just taken a turn in one of the narrow roads, hoping to spot something wild for his fellow passengers. Another jeep came back from the opposite direction and halted in front of us. Some communication was exchanged and before we could gather what had happened, the guide had swiveled the jeep around and sped in another direction. He hastily explained that he had gotten an intell on a spotting of something rare and exotic in the forest in the middle of monsoon season: a tiger.

We came to an halt in front of a man made lake,which was couple of meters away. And we waited. Silence ensued to prevent any startling. There was an occasional clicking sound of the DSLRs that every enthusiastic photographer had pointed at the ready. Everyone’s eyes and lenses were at the lake, waiting to spot the tiger. So were the passengers in the jeeps ahead of us.

But the tiger took its own sweet time. It did it’s own thing. It continued doing whatever it was doing. Unfazed by the onlookers. It was as if, the world ceased to exist after the lake where the jeeps stood waiting.

Mintues passed by.

The impatient city dwellers started clicking their tongues. The girl next to me zoomed her camera and started scanning the lake area, using her camera as a makeshift telescope. We were still unaware of the Tiger’s exact whereabout. So we waited. 

Suddenly there was a yelp. An indicator for everyone to look in the direction the finger was being pointed.

The tiger was on the move. This majestic beauty, in its grand splendor…

It walked slowly, in its own pace. Patient and in peace with itself.  Unruffled and unmoved by the countable eyes that were piercing on it, trying to look at it’s every single move. But, it just kept walking and crossed the road till it finally disappeared in the greens of the jungle. Unaffected. Peaceful. Content. Maybe these were the Tiger’s state of mind.

This was the majestic Tiger’s walk. Teaching me, silently. Answering me, subtly.

Standing Out

There was this constant chatter of confusion rattling inside my head. A constant question bouncing, asking myself everyday, “Who am I really?” Though uneasy, it felt relieving to speak out my opinions and feelings without being afraid of being judged for the wrong reasons. But still, the question remained: how much of me can I risk being shared? How much of me felt comfortable in my own skin?

And as an answer, while waiting for my shuttle in the evening today, I saw this white hibiscus inhabiting in between this wild growth of leaves. I had to double take to notice it, but I did. The white beauty stood out brilliantly when I encouraged it to step out of hiding. 

And the best part was: I loved it even more when it was standing out with its own elements. It didn’t hurt my sentiments one bit. Just like that, it felt natural to accept the white in between of dominating green.

Nature answered my agitated mind, and helped me take a step away from the anxiety of wanting to please everyone arould myself by becoming into a version they liked. Losing my essence in the process.

I’m at peace with all of me at every moment now. Most importantly, I’ve begun accepting myself the way I am. At least a little more than yesterday.

Her Adventures with Mismatched Socks

She was meticulous, organised and obsessive about perfection. She was diagnosed by her friends as a specimen with a mild case of OCD. She refused and claimed to be healthily obsessed. It was just her fond love for symmetry and unblemished perfection.

Accepting the unsymetry wasn’t tough, but it made her nervous. One day, she decided to brave it, and she wore two different socks to work. Grey on the left and black on the right. Since she wore ballerinas, they were pretty much visible. 

She glanced at her feet every now and then, but then the day went by without anyone pointing her flaw out. Rather, no one noticed it at all. There was this vague feeling in her head of being watched, scrutinized and judged for her mismatched pair, when everyone around her were busy feeling the same about their mismatch and living in their own heads.

It was impossible for her not to think of the mismatched pair the entire day, but it was not that difficult to accept the mismatch either. It was as simple as that. Acceptance.

She chased the perfect symmetry in life so furiously, that she had missed seeing the beauty in the other powerful but ignored things. Like: Her mother’s love. Her mother silently listening to things she wasn’t speaking out loud. Her accomplishments. Her aging parents. Her own self.

If accepting this unsymmetrical mismatch could, if not silence, tone down the restless voice in her head and let her get going the entire day, why not the same with the mismatched unsymetry in herself?

This was her first step towards being a little adventurous, in her own little way.

It Is What It Is

Did I get too comfortable?
Or was it my vanity?
When everything was at my finger tips
I walked away
Leaving everything behind
Should I blame it on the youth?
Or do I call it a wondrous risk?
Embarked on a journey born from an infatuation
To see it crumble at my feet
Most often I look back
And wonder what could have been
The places I would have traveled
The heights I would achieved
Only if I would have waited, a little while longer…
But I wonder
If universe turned back time
And granted me this wish
Would I have done anything different than this?

That One Hug

They stood on the porch at four hours past midnight, as their paths awaited to be diverged again. Their adventure had come to an end. With time, the familiarity that the distance had deprived them of, was discovered in an unknown land. With time, the comfort of being themselves with each other had fallen in comfortably like that one missing puzzle of a jigsaw.

When it was time to say their goodbyes, he held his hand forward while she glared at his formality. She opened her arms timidly and he took a step forward and gave her a hug. This was not a drunken state of mind hug. This was a conscious hug. And his hug conveyed everything that maybe his words couldn’t for the last three years of knowing each other over long distance.

That one hug, opened up a box of suppressed emotions in her. But she hid her face in the dark as she saw him sit in the car and head towards the airport. She walked away towards the elevator before he could see her again from his car.

But that one hug…

The pretense icicles in her heart had melted. There was acceptance of deep attachment to another human being. She was overwhelmed and surprised with the enormity of the feelings she had for him.

She held back the dry tears that threatened to break from her eyes. She thought maybe sleep will make it easy to bear. Maybe sleep will make the ‘momentary’ feeling wash away, she thought. She went and slept on his freshly made bed.

The morning after dark was cloudy with light drizzles. The enormity of being able to feel so deeply had still successfully caught on with her as she boarded her cab towards the airport. She confided in her friend, who sat next to her with her arms on her shoulder, as she began to understand that she was simply missing him. She had gotten used to the unasked assurance from him. The unasked fulfilled promise of being by her side, no matter how, when she needed him the most. She had gotten used to his presence around her during their adventure together. As her friend held her, she let go of her pride and felt hot tears flow freely from her eyes.

It was finally the acceptance of a beautiful bond that they shared – friendship. It was a pure, unadulterated, unselfish, maybe a little selfish, friendship. It was the acceptance of letting go of her controlled boundaries and acknowledge the special place he held in her life. It was this acceptance that made her determine to make an attempt to show her emotions like he did with her all the time.

To be honest, she had taken a while to realize the emotions of his hug. Once the feeling of his arms around her shoulders was gone, only thing that remained was the warmth that he had left behind. Maybe this was their last goodbye after all.

The Adventures of a Bluejay

The river flowed peacefully, reflecting the shimmering golden hues. The Bluejay spread it’s wings wide in joy as it glided over the vastness of the river, enjoying its crystal clear pureness. This was better than a dream. It felt like it is a free soul. A soul in a quest to explore. The vibration in its wings emaneted the power within.

It flew dangerously close, taking in everything the nature had to offer. Then suddenly, it saw something. At the corner of the river lay a crocodile with its mouth wide open. Resting. Minding its own business.

The Bluejay felt a feeling rise in it. That feeling was boosting its confidence, slowly tipping towards arrogance. The Bluejay scooped a stone in its break and threw in the crocodile’s mouth. The stone lodged itself in the crocodile’s throat, causing the poor beast to choke and choke. It chocked till it pushed the stone out of its throat with a powerful cough. The Bluejay snickered and flew away from the scene before the crocodile recovered and realised what hit it.

Was there a little bit of arrogance, the observer wondered. What had overcome the gentle Bluejay? Was the arrogance because of its smooth sailing success that caused it to belittle the crocodile on the shore?

But the questions had to wait.

The Bluejay kept flying, now with its eyes closed. Letting the wind take it wherever it blew. And soon enough, the Bluejay bumped into a wall and was on the other side of the world.

It was a world where it’s legs were chained in an invisible cage. It was a world where it was controlled at the whims of the unseen voices. The Bluejay was subjected to sadism by making it a playing of a boy who loved to beat up his toys.

Karma smiled.

The Bluejay wished for the other side of the wall, to see the river again. It flapped it’s wings, struggling to break the chain, desperate to breathe in the air of the world he was thrown away from. To feel the familiarity of success and ease of acceptance that came along with it.

The Bluejay promised to remember humility if it broke free and gave a powerful tug to loosen the links in the chain. But the chain wouldn’t budge. The lesson and its essence were being stubborn and insisted to live bounded to the Bluejay’s feet. Forever. A glaring reminder. Maybe that will keep it down, the observer thought.

The Bluejay felt the its energy ebb out. It felt the weight of its own past action beginning to sink in. It felt like a terrible dream.

“But I’m not that person!”, the Bluejay cried and it finally opened its eyes. The Bluejay found itself perched on a branch of a tree on the riverside. The river still flowed peacefully, now reflecting a subdued orange hue of the setting sunlight.

A dream had opened its eyes. It was a much needed humbling fall after an aggressive rise. Saving the Bluejay from falling into its worst fears of turning into something that it couldn’t itself recognise at all.

Him, Her and Her Journey

He stood with his legs apart, his hands on his hips. He stood there in the middle of no where. Maybe he was in the middle of a desert. Maybe in he was in the middle of a national highway. Maybe. Right there in the middle, he stood on her way, patiently. Waiting to greet her.

She saw him. Panic gripped her heart. The space within the confines of her car seemed to suffocate her. She wanted to burst out of the door and at the same time wanted to stay in the pretense security of the four metallic doors. Her hands tightened on the wheels and she pressed the accelerator to keep moving.

But, he stood there, wordlessly demanding her to slow down.

“Do I have a choice?”, she asked herself as she slowly brought her car to halt. He was there on the other side of the door. Her hands still on the wheels, she slowly turned her head and looked at him. His face bore no signs of emotions. His eyes, yellow in colour with a small dot for pupil, spoke loud and clear. The black soot that he had spread around his eyes with his fingers added to the ferocity of his steady, cold gaze.

She was trapped in the confines of her fear. Her mind drew a blank. The flight response seemed to start kicking into her. Yet, she sat there, facing her storm.

“Would he cease to exist if I close my eyes?”, she wondered.

“Would he disappear if I breathe in slowly and deeply?”

“Would he ever go away?”

Her heart raced. He had managed to control her. He was successful in making her forget about her journey.

Her head started spinning. A bead of sweat broke on her forehead.

“Breathe!” she reminded herself.

She started begging for him to go away as panic gripped the core of her soul.  At that moment, an agnostic prayed for things to be fine again.

Her eyes remained tightly shut. She knew now she had two choices, as usual. One – to let him, her fear, crush her to nothingness and let him hold her hand and take her into depression. Two – face him head on, confront him, accept him and fight him, and continue with her journey.

“Breathe!”

What would you do?

And then, she opened her eyes and…

Pining After Long Shots

That’s the thing about hope – it makes us dream and get ahead of ourselves. We give our best, putting in every last bit of our will, fully aware that it’s a long shot. Aware that there is a fair chance of that something not working out. But we anyways give our everything in because we believe we have got nothing to lose. Slowly gambling on the our fragile heart’s naivety and letting it get ahead of itself. So we dream and inadvertantly start hoping, pining and praying asking, “God! I hope it works out.” Making it seem more like our ticket out of the current​ misery and our ultimate happy spot. Suddenly, there is so much to lose: A trail of dreams and the whispered promises on the dependencies… Forgetting that there is a fair chance that it might not work out. Maybe, it was the audacity of our confidence which made us forget about different scenarios. Maybe it was something else. 

Then there is a slip. Your gut picks on the vibes, and we begin to pray, “God! I hope I’m wrong about that!” But then, hey earth to… reality is the ultimate truth. This is life. In mum’s wise words, “You won’t always get what you want. However bad you want it. However desperate you are about it. But don’t forget to live. Don’t forget to be happy. Give your sincere shot. And don’t forget to nurture your patience.”

And then, there comes the wait. The wait to let it pass, the news to sink in and the final acceptance of reality. Till something else comes along and the cycle repeats.Maybe the next time, pining, hoping and dreaming about it would not be so bad. Maybe this time, it would be right time to receive.

Till then, don’t give up.

Everything will be ok.

The Sheep Behaviour

The longer you convince your brain to believe in something, more the possibility of your brain beginning to accept it. The louder you scream to yourself that this is it, the stronger the conviction message gets sent to your brain. 

Must be careful of what we try to convince ourselves of. We all end up acting and accepting like sheeps on the “ultimate truth” without giving it another thought. Maybe thus becoming extraordinary ordinary.

Indifference on The Mango Tree

The wind of changes has blown, yet again. You have found happiness, in the arms of another. There is no room for sadness, regret or hate. Lives have moved on as I stand still. Watch all the ghosts of past swish by me. The wind of changes has blown, faster than I could handle. I sway with that force. And I’m perched above that mango tree, watching you hold her hand, and slip a diamond ring on her finger. Claiming her to be yours. Forever. There still is no room for sadness, regret or hate. But for indifference. Plain, numbing indifference bringing in that calming silence. That’s when you know, the wind of changes has blown, yet again.