The Devil’s Handshake

Easy way out at times, rather most of the times, is deceiving. It might seem shorter. It would also appear to provide a respite, because would seem to be very convenient. Very, very alluring to jump on it when that bus stops in front of you and imagine all the lighter days ahead.

Untill you take it.

Most of the times, it will leave you with a broken back and an irritated soul.

Yet, at times you would hesitate to let the easy way go. Even if it’s the right thing to do.

Let go.

Better to walk down the hard path with a satisfying journey than shake hands with the devil.

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Embracing “Noise”

The “noise”, as I called, bothered me. It was chaotic in my house. Bedtime was the time where “peace”, as I called it, was cherished.

Silence and calm was much craved for.

One day, I got what I wished for: A full day and half of silence and calm.

But after an hour, it was unbearable. It felt empty and hollow. I had thrived in this particular chaos, I realised. The one or two hour of silence before bedtime was perfect and enough to recharge.

I realised: I missed the life in my house, that thing that I had once called noise and chaos.

What good was the peace without family and their voices and TV channels booming in the home? What’s anything without their existence?

Bread Samosa

I was on a vacation in Hong Kong. We had spent the day walking. It was a very good and satisfying day. It was so good, that I had found my old appetite rumbling in my stomach. And that appetite brought this strong craving on my tongue: a strong want to eat India Chat. I had traveled down from India to explore this place, and yet this thing in me wanted to eat desi street food. But, I kept mum. Thinking this isn’t what he would like to eat. And yet, this man, to my great surprise and happiness asked, “Would you like to eat dahi puri?” I was wondering if he could read my brain waves.

There in Hong Kong, when we were eating the dahi puris with some addition of samosa chat, I got hit by this strong wave of nostalgia:

I would wait eagerly for my parents to come back home from work. I would be in the garden with my pupper. Waiting for them to walk inside the green gate, just to run close to whoever comes home first and ask, “Can we have bread samosa for dinner?” The day we would have it was like a picnic at home, but at night. Would be noisy, cosy and fun. Like some kind of celebration. The walk with my father to the shop to buy fresh out of wok samosas. Holding his fingers. Walk back home to eagerly eat the hot samosas, flattened and pressed firmly between two breads. And the satisfaction once the first bite was savoured…

I missed it.

Then today happened. We were out, my father, sister and my niece. While each ran their errand, I entered a small shop. One place which came close to making samosas like the samosa shop in the place I grew up. And I had the question in my head again. I turned around to find that my father had followed me in the shop with his cup of coffee. I asked the same question, “Can we have bread samosa for dinner?”

He smiled. Maybe the nostalgia had hit him too. And he answered saying he was just going to ask if he should get some bread for the night.

It was a celebration again. This time it was for my new job. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate.

Somehow, the mood was better. Like we had grip on something and that it wasn’t lost. I saw the old me. The old, easy bond I had with my father came back. He was happy. Genuinely happy. Happy to do this. Let his grown up be a child.

We were excited.

My mother was excited when I told her. It made me happy. Somehow the atmosphere felt familiar. It was warm, cosy and celebratory again. Though it was disastrous: the samosas were too spicy for our taste, yet it was the emotions that mattered.

It was about the simple pleasures. Most of the time works like a charm.

The Face in the Mirror

One dark room. Faint shimmer of white light falls in the room. Bright enough to make out the faint silhouette of the things in the room. At the left corner, there is a mirror hanging on the wall.

I stood in front of that mirror, in the almost darkness. I could see my silhouette. My hair. The faint shape of my face. I could see it. But, I couldn’t see my eyes, my lips or anything that defined my face.

Blank.

Have you ever stood in front of a mirror like that and wondered when all your features are wiped clean, what would be your identity? Would a description of ‘what makes you’ by a trusted friend satisfy you? Would the shape of your eyes or the plumpness of your lips define you?

I found myself standing in front of the dark mirror longer than I should. Trying to squint my eyes and see if I can still see something. Maybe a ghostly shape? At least a faint sketch of my eyes.

Nothing.

I wondered, why did it matter so much?

Then I asked myself, “Who is she?”

The defined face in the light or the silhouette trying to discover and define herself in the dark?

I walked away with no answer.

The uncertainty still remains. And I’m learning to be ok with not knowing right away.

The Friend Who Cared

He had met with an accident recently. He had hit his head. It was so severe that he had no recollection, not even of the accident. A month’s worth of memories was blank to him.

I had met him at my workplace. I liked his simplicity and naivety, his innocent approach to the world and the strong hope he bore and carried in his heart about humanity and his trust in them. It was refreshing to see it and let hope take birth in me: A sense of wanting to trust.

His head injury had taken a toll on him. I couldn’t meet him. Rather, I didn’t want to meet him. I wasn’t sure I could see any human in that state.

Then, one day he messaged. A wonderful surprise. I didn’t think he even had the mindshare to tell me his story of what happened that fateful evening. But he did. Ugly truth and all. He opened up, kept his heart out on the table and bared it all. I was at loss of words.

He messaged me again today. To tell me his success towards recovery. Mentality, emotionally and physically. He even told me he is catching his fears by its horns and marching forward. He’s taking his time, but there he was. Ready.

Now, we aren’t close friends. We are just friends. Who smile, wave and wish each other at work. Maybe have small talks now and then. But not close enough to have this conversation. If I were in his place I would have thought millions and millions of times before I wrote an open heart message. When he told about himself, he sounded a bit like me. Yet, he did take this step, which I wouldn’t.

One would wonder, “Why the heck is he telling me this?”

Some would think, “Wow. This man is strong.”

Some would genuinely wish him well.

Some wouldn’t give two hoots about it.

Yet, he got out of his comfort zone and he shared. All his vulnerability exposed. I know the effort and courage he would have mustered.

He was that friend who cared enough to share. Cared enough not to care what me or others would think of his message.

He cared enough to trust me and share a part of his life with me.

Tough Decisions

One fine Sunday morning, when I was making French Toast for my father, I wondered – What am I doing with my life? Is my decision the right one? Did I make the correct move to accept a job that would shake my life?

And then, I heard my 2 year old niece talk to her mother. She had trouble making her own decisions. She wondered out loud with her mom – Should I wear the blue underwear with Lola on it or the red underwear with a yellow teddy on it?

Tough decisions.

Simpler times. I wish I can go back to making such decisions.

Yet, I love our lives.

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?