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.

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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.

An Exercise

She asked Jane, “Will you do something simple for me?”

Jane nodded, as she sniffed and stifled the threatening tears.

“Will you take a piece of paper and list three good things about yourself and three negative things?” She asked watching Jane grind her teeth, struggling to compose her control.

Jane looked her in the eye. The second part seemed easy. “I could list more than three”, Jane thought as she walked out of the room.

Listening to the cries and blows of the faceless humans, Jane had succumbed to demoralisation. In her mind she was on her knees, heart broken. Lost. Without a purpose.

Jane, after leaving the room, had sworn that she will not go back to her. Yet the exercise haunted her. The point she was trying to convey Jane, had touched the right spot. Yet, she failed.

My dearest Jane, you beautiful soul, why can’t you see what I see when I look at you? Try and you will find yourself seeing yourself in a different light.

Jane, See!

That Sweet Lullaby

The mother held her baby in her arms as she rocked her gently. She sang that sweet lullaby in her soothing, gentle voice. Her dream of wanting to be a singer was fulfilled. She had an eager audience. Her daughter calmed down. Her breathing became regular. Her eyes heavy, until it was unbearable to keep them open anymore. She was finally asleep. But the mother continued to sing. Repeating the verses, enjoying the lyrics as she imagined dedicating each words to her daughter. Singing her emotions to her. Till the song slowly faded on her lips. Her eyes rested with the trailing verses. 

The day came to an end. Another battle won. All that mattered was her baby daughter in her arms.

That Goofy Face

There’s always this boy. I had a minor crush on him. Then we became, sort of, friends. Every time he opened his mouth, I would always feel that I like him lesser. But then, no matter what he said, this tall boy, when he would smile his full goofy smile at me whenever he passed me by, I could feel my heart do a double somersault no matter how hard I suppressed it. His smile was big and always seemed​ to reach his eyes. 

I would avoid his eyes every time we passed each other by. Especially if it was more than once in a day. Because he smiles his big smile every single time! Even if he was annoying and taken, his smile was contagious. His smile would leave a smile on my lips which would pass on to the next person passing me by. 

He is unaware and it will stay that way. It will be my little secret corner in a small room in my head: He’s that goofy faced friend, who notices it all, and makes me smile unwittingly ever time he smiles. And my day gets better.

Mindnight Lullaby

The room was dark. She had just closed her eyes in an attempt to fall asleep. But suddenly there​ was a gush of strong breeze. The curtain rose in the air, sending the wind chimes in a tizzy. And then she heard someone jump. Startled, her eyes opened with a start.

She consoled herself that it was her mind playing dirty tricks again to steal her sleep. Stopped the anxiety before it burst out of control.

The breeze blew again bringing a relief on this night of hot summer. The wind chimes tinkling in a rhythm. Lulling her back to sleep. 

Her eyes drooped shut.

All was silent again.

That One Kiss

She would rush around the rooms of her house, her mind swirling in turmoil. Her elder daughter’s marriage was failing. Her younger daughter refused to settle down. She found no comfort in her husband’s words, rather they flared up her temper even more. So she rushed around, busied herself in work. She overworked at her hospital as a consultant. Her patients choosing her over other doctors, because of her soft, patient and sweet nature, provided her no comfort. This success was nothing. She threw herself at the kitchen to not let her thoughts overtake her sanity. Her home was where she could be herself. Even if she held herself back, she was herself. Her impatience, her irritation and her tiredness would spill out in her tone. 

This one day when her daughters were going out together they saw her brows crossed. She had her hands on her hips as she came at the door to close after them. The younger daughter called for the lift. Neither of the daughters would dare, but the younger one pushed the door open while her mother was closing it. She looked annoyed. The daughter rushed near her and planted a kiss on her right cheek and ran off to a safe distance near the lift.

The kiss seemed to melt her bitterness away. Her brows were uncrossed and she couldn’t help herself and she gave a reluctant albeit a big smile. 

For a while, in that moment, everything was perfect and fine again. 

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.