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.

Advertisements

Paranoia

A walk after dinner. The streets, strongly lit by neon and colourful lights, was beginning to slowly fill in with strangers. Her mind reeled. Thoughts raced past the reality: Strangers. Proximity breaches. Small bumps. Accidental touches. Loud noise. Disgusted looks over her appearance. Eyes over her flaws. Space, lack of space.

STOP!

One quick heartbeat. “Was it because of the climb?” she wondered.

Then there was the second heartbeat. Followed by third. Succession of rapid thuds. Hands on her chest, she tried to hold it back. Rubbing her fists in small circles over her heart, silently asking the red thing to slow down.

Breathe!

He looked at her.  “Are you ok?” he asked.

Silence. A nod.

They kept walking towards the brightly lit street.

The easy, comfortable silence between them let her mind wander. Her thoughts raced again: His disappointment when she says no. The decline of interest. The need to search for interesting communication for the lack of hers. Questions. Multiple questions. “Why is he with me? Would he rather spend time with someone else? Would he rather talk to strangers than watch me struggle vibrate my vocal chords?” Lack of knowledge. Lack of interest in common topics. Ignorance in politics. Ignorance in music. Ignorance in movies. Ignorance. Lowering self-esteem. Feeling ordinary. Wondering if he is there next to her out of obligation of friendship. Repeated nos. Repeated denials to him to do that one thing he wants to do together. Unable to fit in, again. Frustration. Questioning the very existing thread of friendship. “Why friends with me?”

STOP!

BREATHE!

Eyes closed. Fear gnawed at her hesitant heart.  She agreed to do it with him. She walked next to him in the middle of the street.

Mouth sealed. Words dead in her throat before they materialized. Discomfort ignored. Her sense and soul as empty as the emotions of the city.

Wild mess of paranoia threatened to burst out of the vein in her head.

Deep breathes. Control. Pause.

She walked on next to him, as he looked into his phone.

For acceptance.

For love.

Over The Edge

They were thick friends. Almost inseparable. Even the distance couldn’t keep them apart. They made memories, every single day, even if it was over the phone. They were that sticky, close, inseparable friends.

One day, unknown to her knowledge, he was pushed at the edge of the cliff. He stood there, silently, feeling the gravity pull on to his center. He closed his eyes, feeling the breeze gently push him closer to the edge. He swayed, but he had held on to his balance.

She was his last piece of silky silver thread that he could hold on to and pull himself out of the abyss, if he happened to tip over.

So, his mother sent him away to her. Maybe spending a week with her would help him clear his head, his mother thought. She sent him away to be her, with huge hope nursing in her heart. She wanted her son back. Badly.

Next day, there he was at the airport, reluctantly embracing her in a lose hug. She was disappointed with the lack of his usual enthusiasm. She shrugged it off and pulled him in a cab to take him home.

She tried to get him to talk. But he now preferred long silences.

She wanted to help, but she didn’t know what that worm was that was slowly digging into his brain. She only knew he wanted to talk but couldn’t find the right words.

Her patience was running thin.

She was only 24. She didn’t understand the mighty darkness that he was enveloped into. She prided herself into being practical. She prided herself into believing that everything about her was in the proper place.

She didn’t understand his inability to get out of bed or go for the long walks that they once enjoyed doing together.

He had crawled tighter in his shell. Lost to her, forever.

She failed. The guilt was beginning to build in her. It stayed inside. Suppressed. Closed.

She assumed the air of being practical and fair. He needed to hear the truth. He needed to be shaken out of his numbing tune. But he was gone. Lost in his music. And she pretended to move on as the silence between then grew. It ate into her. Her eyes had grown old.

Time passed into months.

She believed it was love. The idea of love was enticing. She was pulled into it. Dragged to make a decision. A rash one that too. She was encouraged to take it. She was also warned against it. Mostly, she was warned about the reckless risk she was jumping in. It was impulsive. She did it anyway. She thought, “Fuck this shit. I don’t want to look back in regret.”

But she did. She had lost.

It didn’t matter who looked down on her. It mattered when her mother like figure looked down on her. She wasn’t angry. She didn’t reprimand. She just was disappointed.

Hell broke loose.

She was pushed in silence. Her eyes closed. Her mind closed. A wall was built around.

A plea for help was denied.

The pile of guilt and shame kept getting bigger.

She could no longer pretend. There was lengthy silence. Panic attacks in the middle of the road. A mind that was slipping away in darkness.

In midst of this, there was a failed marriage. Battle of ego and pride. Sanctity of relationship was lost. Belief was shattered. Ideology was broken. Her last source of comfort had slipped from her hand.

Panic attacks got worse.

She went down to see him. She had lost him. He was there near her, but not with her. It felt like her heart was socked hard.

Guilt.

Went back to routine.

She was living with constant panic attacks. They owned her.

A doctor treated her without meeting her. Thrusted 12 small pills in her hands. Advised her to take one every night. It will help you sleep, he said. It will help you breathe easy, he said. But it would only numb her muscles and her senses.

Things felt bleak. She didn’t know where she was anymore. Where her mind was wandering, she didn’t know. She grew fragile. Fragile enough to let a stranger’s taunt get to her.

She found herself standing in front of her own abyss. But there was a friend, who had touched her shoulder, and unwitting asked her to stay back. It was a faint, muffled sound. But she heard it and took a step back.

She had reached out to her phone, thinking of giving him a call. She typed his name and then locked her phone. She couldn’t give him a call. Someone, whom she could reach out to at any time of the day or night. She needed to speak but the words were stuck in her belly.

Her mind was losing its strength to hold on.

Panic attacks came with added wandering thoughts. Scary thoughts. Thoughts that gave her ideas. Made her believe in disillusion. Pushed her. She was close to touching insanity.

She was tipped over the edge.

She stood over the end of the abyss ready to make her final lunge.

But before that, she had to speak with him. She had to reach out to him. She had heard he was doing well now.

She plucked her courage and spoke to him. She spoke about how vain she was. She spoke about how she had failed with him. She spoke how the pressure had buckled her down. She spoke about her guilt of not being able to help him. Of all the guilt that had eaten her away. The unspoken love. Trying to me up for the lost time. It had only taken her 3 years.

She felt lighter after speaking with him. With every tear flowing down her cheeks, she felt her chest getting lighter. The pile of guilt seemed to slowly disappear.

It felt like she was getting her business in place before the deed was done. With this thought, she went to bed.

A rested sleep after a long while.

The next morning, it was worth being alive.

The Time I Survived

Yesterday, I felt my end was near.

There was a sharp, shooting pain that took birth from my ear till my chest. Numbing my face, making it difficult to speak. 

Fear rose in my chest, leaving the tiny red beast within the confines of my rib cage in a tizzy. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Yet, I could feel it. My end was near. 

There was a serene acceptance. Almost embracing the fate that seemed sealed within the confines of my mind.  

I wondered if you would remember me. I wondered if you will look at my typed out words, resting in your phone and feel loved. I wondered, if my words would help you feel cherished. I wondered if you could finally feel me next to you.

The day sailed by, without any physical incident to the little red beast. It was still beating. By night, it slept restlessly. 

Then there was dawn. 

I had survived.

But my words still hung on in your phone with a silent hope in my being that those words would still have an effect on you, which I cannot define.

Is Everything Fine?

He had seen it. It was supposed to be an unmentionable incident. Yet, he reached out to her and asked her, “Is everything fine?” 

She ignored his question, doubting his concerns. Avoided him at all cost. But his persistence to know couldn’t match her will to stay aloof and she broke her silence and said a feeble, “Yes, thank​ you for asking.” It only took her three days to look him in the eye with the answer on her lips. Even if a white lie, which he knew, he seemed to let her easy.

Maybe, he really did care. Maybe he just wanted to know the story. Her mind raced again, overthinking on full swing. This and the incident. Taking control over her and her mind. Her heart raced. That familiar unease. The familiar irrational fear gripped her.

She reached out for that tiny pill in her bag and popped it in her mouth. Waiting for the med to kick in. She closed her eyes as it slowly took over and eased the anxiety that had gripped her soul. Unaware that he was still watching her.

His voice steady he asked, “Promise me you’ll not take too many? Promise you’ll never abuse it?”

Startled, she opened her eyes. 

Calm. She assured him and realised he really did care. Warmth seeped in her heart. The effect complete. Sealing the trust in the growing friendship.

Everything was certainly fine.

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.

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…

My Time Off

The feeling of vastness, of adventure, of challenges, and of distance is so powerful that a momentary, feeble beat in the heart fades away. The sight of which used to send my heart racing now feels like a distant memory. The memory threatens to dissolve in the midst of nothingness as time passes by, the feeling of vastness, of adventure, of challenges, of newness and of distance sticks on. It makes things easy and straightforward with the right amount of focus on the “important” things.

Now the question is, now that I’m back tomorrow, will he manage to set my heart racing when I lay my eyes on him?

My Time With Bose

I, like everyone else in the world, had a bucket list created, maybe, when I was 18. I listed out my wishes, pouring out everything that I desired,  and then forgot about it.

Then, one day tired of all the disappointments and the sense of my world going out of control, I stepped inside a Bose showroom. I had to get the control back. I had to make something work. I had to get at least one thing that I had been pining for. So, I walked in. I stood by those beauty and made my choice. I didn’t look at the price tag and I just bought it. Couple of days later, I came by my old post where I had made my bucket list. Owning Bose was one of my wishes.

Maybe it didn’t happen the way I had dreamed it to be. Maybe, it happened when I was not in the best of my state. But it did happen. I guess, it stuck in my subconscious. Maybe this was running at the back of my head, “If I can’t get him, I can take control and get this.”

So my Bose was adapting to my personality. It got it’s own skin. It got recognized. It got admired. It got everything that I had. I was a proud owner. It became an extension of my being. A place where I could lose myself.

Then one day, it was taken away from me.

This was a second heart break. But it still didn’t seem to affect me.

I looked for replacement. Love never dies. It just gets transferred to another being/thing.

Couple of months later, I got the same Bose. I couldn’t help myself. It was like getting back to my ex, but at the same time a shiny new one. It was such a relief. The sense of being back in the comfort zone. The feeling of being happy –  I didn’t want to miss that anymore. I didn’t want to compromise anymore.

So I owned it again.

It was like a second chance. I started being cautious. I started caring about it more. I didn’t take it for granted. I didn’t want it to be stolen from me again. I got to relive it again. All the good stuff. All the addictive good stuff.

That made me wonder, do we really realize the worth of things around us only when we lose it?

When is that we stop appreciating things?

And if we get the lost thing back again, after some period of time, would we actually change or go back being the same us we always were?

I guess, I will know it in time. The moment I will stop being conscious about it.
—..