As soon as the bus halts at my stop, I find myself rushing to cross the road. Forgetting my fear of crossing roads. Rushing like a mad woman to climb the three tiny steps and stand next to this jolly man with his hair parted in the centre. Just this. The man with the magical stall of wonder. My Pani Puri walla.
He nods his greeting and silently thrusts a small bowl made out of dried leaves in my hand. He puts on his gloves, takes a puri from the stacked heap, cracks it open, fills it with masala aloo, dips it in the spicy tangy paani and places it gently on my bowl.
The first Puri, when it touches my tongue and cracks open in my mouth, the flavours explode! Melting away all the frustration and stress of the day. I feel comforted. Sometimes, this spicy beauty soothes my soul better than the saccharin words of my dearest friend.
The flavour brings out the vivid colours of the darkening night skies, and as it starts refreshing my soul I can finally hear things around me. Till then it’s just my Pani Puri walla filling my bowl with my beloved street food, comforting me silently, without understanding the chaos in my mind.
By the end of maybe ‘one plate’ or even two, I don’t even feel guilty about my indulgence.
Rather, I feel happy. Content. Comforted.
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.
The setting was perfect. The sun had just set. There was a hint of rainy clouds coupled with a light breeze. The sky was the shade of dark navy blue slowly darkening to black.
I was nearing my block, that’s when I saw them. A couple. They must have been in their late 70s. The first thing that I noticed was the way they held each others hands. She had a firm grip, maybe helping him balance. Maybe holding herself steady. Or maybe, just holding because she wanted to. He had his walking stick in his other hand. They walked slowly, one small step at a time. In perfect sync.
I couldn’t help but smile.
Even for a cynic, with all the distrust in the world, looking at them couldn’t help but for that moment believe that things could be as real as that couple who had grown old together and still seemed to be very much in love.
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.
A moment of madness,
Triggered by something that caught your attention
Maybe a lost forgotten dream
Maybe a lost forgotten aspiration
But that one moment of madness…
Born out of a whim
And you want to leave it all
Pursue it till your soles are sore
Give in your last drop of energy
Till everything that was carefully built
Crumbles silently to the ground
Giving reasons to silence the mind
Forgetting all the logic and rational
And for that moment, one moment only
You decide to follow your heart
It may take you closer to your dreams
It may fulfill your fantasies, or
It may lead you to disaster
It may lead you to your destruction
It may lead you to desolation
But in that one moment of madness
Born out of your whimsical desires
You feel that you can have it all
Have you ever noticed, how fast your heart beats when your body is letting you down? The faint flicker, that manages to beat out of this body, making you realise how fragile this heart really must be.
Time to close your eyes
We go to bed, every night, confident that we will wake up next morning and carry on about the plans for the day.
We go to bed, every night, loving our bed, the soft pillows and the rush of sleep that would take over us. Draining all the tiredness of the day.
We go to bed, every night, thinking tomorrow everything will be all right. Not suspecting sleep at all. Not suspecting our own bodies at all.
Sleep is a stranger yet a known entity. Yet we embrace it every night. Lovingly. Eagerly.
This is trust. To let ourselves let go of all our inhibitions and lay peacefully in sleep’s arm, confident that we will see the next sunrise.
That is trust. Period.
She blinked twice, trying to adjust to the new sensations of this something grownups around her called – the light. It was night, but for her, her day had just begun.
She opened her eyes and tried to look around. It was still blurry, but that didn’t stop her determination to explore.
Finally, my patience was rewarded and she saw me. Our gazes locked for split second and she cooed in her beauty as she turned her head to look beyond, unperturbed that she was now in my arms. She was only 5 days old and she was already trying to sit up and look around.
She sighed and wigged her way up to the curve of my neck. Her tiny hands latched on the neck of my tee as she squiggled and moved around till she found my heartbeat and rested her head on it. She blinked again, this time sleepily before she drifted off in her wonderland listening to my steady heartbeat.
I felt my thoughts ceasing to exist the moment she pulled herself closer and hugged me with all her might in her sleep. I was aware, yet unaware of my surrounding. I could only hear her steady breathing in the midst of all the beautiful chaos around me.
She was, like her mother loved to say, in pure state of zen. Unaware how infectious she was with her state of zen-ness. I was overflowing with love. Love that I once feared was beginning to slip in scepticisms. But here I was, bursting with it and yet I was still.
She gave me peace.
It was cold and cloudy. Weather was as gloomy as it could get this winter afternoon and she was wrapped up in her favorite colorful striped blanket listening to her steady heartbeat. It was beating in its own rhythm and it sounded wet to her.
Lub dubb. Lub dubb.
She closed her eyes and concentrated on those two sounds sung by her heart for her ears only. All her thoughts had slipped out of her mind.
Lub dubb. It beat steadily. And it had slowed down a little.
Before she knew it, she had slipped into some beautifully painted world of her imagination. It was wild and limitless encouraging her to let it run as freely as possible. She was so lost in the faded pictures and colors of her ideas and imagination that she didn’t realize that she had slipped into deep sleep. Her heartbeat was a faint murmur to her ears now.
And then she suddenly saw him, not his face but his presence. He was perched near her legs, enjoying reading a book with her. It was beautiful where both seemed to enjoy each other’s company even in silence. She smiled and rested her legs over his and returned to her own book.
And again, within her dream, unknowingly she has slowly slipped into a dreamless sleep. She had felt his presence shift next to her, still there with his book. She felt safe.
Time was still in her dreams. Somewhere in that stillness of time, she felt his lips on her cheeks. A soft peck which had left the touch of his lips even when his presence left. It was one of those little things they shared in their lives together. It still felt new and it felt very real. So real that she opened her eyes and touched her cheeks. The skies were still gray, but there now was a smile on her lips.
She pulled the blanket closer to her chin and closed her eyes again. The voice in her head mumbled one soundless thought over and over again, leaving her with the feeling of asking her to believe. Basking in the beauty of her dream, she slowly began to drift back in her sleep with a renewed hope slowly taking birth in her heart.