Things I Need

I need a lot. I need great coffee shops, beautiful sunsets, and tedious road trips where I sing myself hoarse. I need a few hours a day to sit idle and contemplate every aspect of my day. I need long walks in the chilly night sky, I need a terrace where I can sit with my memory box and relive the days I miss. I need to sit by a stream and listen to the songs that touch my soul. I need books to live a few hundred times. I need to cycle through what looks like a tapestry and I need to eat food that makes me feel thankful for it. I need to get out of the real every now and then, and surround myself with the surreal. There is so much I need. But most of all, I now realize, I need people. I need other people, because I need to be surrounded by the living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe in something better, something more complex, and profound, than me.

Meet Again

I believe we’ll meet again, when we’re older and wiser. We’ll meet again when I’m a little less reckless and you’re a little more compassionate. We’ll meet when we feel ourselves flowing through our bodies, when we understand the meaning of existence and when our minds aren’t as hectic as they are right now. We’ll meet, and you’ll be right for me as I will be for you. But right now, you are chaos to my thoughts and I am poison to your heart. Right now, is not the time for us. We’ll meet again, my beloved, but I won’t say soon, for it shall take more time than a little to fix what needs fixing and mend what has been broken.

Nitin Shekhar Suman Prasad/ Lambu/ Tyrannosaurus Rex

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So, it’s the twentieth of May all over again, and there are just a handful of people who truly understand what this day signifies. College was as cliche as anyone could make it; there was drama (god, was there drama), there was love, there was heartbreak, there was friendships (that changed dynamics every fleeting moment) and more that anything, there was a hell lot of fun.

Most people who are close to me know I’m not always the heartless smart-ass I make myself out to be; I’m really quite mushy on the inside, which is why, on Nitin’s twenty-third birthday, I’m going to dedicate a post to him. (Nitin, you always wanted me to write a book about us, but let’s start off small.)

The end of every academic year brought us to May 20th, which became synonymous with epic stories being created for us to reminisce about in our old-sitting on the patio-playing bridge age. Each May 20th brought new benchmarks, and they aren’t ones we’re necessarily proud off (well, maybe a little). Year One taught us to never get ahead of ourselves and plan celebrations in advance; a teaching which we always took into account in the coming years. “What do we say to planning the 20th of May in advance? Not today.”

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I’m not going to write about each year and bore you, everyone who needs to know, knows how awesome Nitin’s birthdays are. College would have been impossible to deal with without a few people around. We had our own little world inside NIFT and it comprised of a very select group of people namely Nitin, Guneet and Subi. Prachi joined in somewhere along the way and I don’t believe we’ve ever had a dull moment around each other.

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Now I’m going to make this personal. Nitin, I remember meeting you in the first week of college and I remember not thinking too much about it. I don’t remember the exact moment we clicked, but people seldom do so I’m not going to penalize myself for that, although that would have been cool. But when I think of you, there is an ocean of memories and no time for me to put it into words. The messages we used to exchange in freshmen year could make a brilliant coffee table book. “Won’t you grant a dying man his last fish?” Still funny. I’ve worked with many people in the course of college and internships. You are, without a doubt, my work husband. There is no one I work better with, and I work quite well with most. I’m also quite sure I imbibed by randomness from you and “Bhaiyya ye wala bhi print kar do” is still my favourite file name. And I think the 11th of February a.k.a ID day was the single most crappy day an underage college goer could have. Your Tyrannosaurus Rex impression is how I crack myself up randomly in the middle of a crowd. You forget birthdays, ditch rakshabandhan, never feel the mood before you crack a joke and are the biggest twit of all sometimes but despite your flaky artist-like existence, I can’t stay mad at you for too long.

That fateful ID Day

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If anyone can Karan Johar a photograph for no reason, it’s us.
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 I’m sad we aren’t together right now, and I’m sure you’ll have many a birthdays without us around but it never truly dawned upon me till today, that college really is done with. We’re all grown up, and I’m all sappy because I can’t see you making a fool out of yourself for the entertainment of others. You’ve changed, I’ve changed, we’ve all changed. Subi’s getting married, for god’s sake! But those few times we do manage to meet, are always awesome and that’s what counts. Now, don’t beat me down for my absolute lack of humor and complete out-pour of emotions. Deal with it.

Happy Birthday, Jackass!

A Free Soul

I’ve grown up believing that India is a land of beauty and culture; there was never a part of me that wanted to live anywhere else because I loved every bit of it. There are the trillion festivals that never fail to lift your spirits, people buzzing at every corner and never is there ever a dull moment. Recently however, my views have changed.

No, I don’t know where I’d go, I don’t know if i plan to go, but a certain part of me is left disgusted. The concept of “Live and Let Live” is lost on the entire population, which is beyond my understanding.

“Vegetarians deciding which meat non-vegetarians should eat. Spinsters deciding how many children women should produce. Straight people deciding the limits of gay lovemaking. Actors commenting on medical ethics. The uneducated running education ministries. Politicians deciding which films should be released on which Friday. Clerics and pujaris debating on how much science is okay for schools. Half-pant-wearing uncles deciding on the length of teenage girl’s skirts. Rapists commenting on the morality of girls they rape and murder.”

No, I wasn’t the one to pen down these words but no others explain the state of our country better. Women are being judged for how they are dressed rather than on what they have to say and men are questioned on the basis of what they do instead of what they represent. No one, and I mean no one, has the right to do anything without jumping through the hoops of their family, schools, teachers, friends or colleagues.

I now figure myself a free soul with a non-conformist view on life, one I can’t shake no matter how hard I try. I believe in the freedom of spirit, where everyone has the right to live life the way they feel. I want to live on a beach and take long walks in the evening or read a book in a cafe in France. I want to have some good wine and get high on invigorating conversation . I want to be able to write with a paper and pen and paint my body on a huge canvas with nothing but a palette knife. I want to meet interesting men and lose myself to them without being questioned for it. I want to be a human being, in love with another human being. I want to go around the world finding first editions of my favourite books and read as much as I possibly can on the way. I want to be able to take in the world when I still have the chance but the chance slips through my palms and I wither away in this godforsaken country where nepotism wins and talent dies.

Urbanization went the wrong way, we had it right in the 70’s. My wants are innumerable but my rationality cuts the path. I know one must earn their daily bread and for that one must do many a things one does not wish to. I’m a dreamer, maybe even a coward for not being able to find a way, but someone has to pay the bills. So here I am, a free soul in a bonded body, which will burst out and engulf me whole some day. That day however, is not today.

A Reminder

“Quit assuming others have it better and you have it worse. Everyone suffers tremendously in life. It’s rude to belittle someone’s suffering, thinking yours is greater. Don’t judge someone’s suffering as better or worse. A dark life can be lived brightly because pain gave great perspective and wisdom. An average and easy life can be its own kind of tragedy; suffering a mundane deadness. A great life can spoil under great fortune. It’s hard having nothing, it’s hard having everything. It’s hard. Suffering is very personal and cannot be measured by someone from the outside. Everyone suffers in different ways. Life is not a suffering contest; the contest is for compassion.”- Bryant McGill

Being 22

We’ve just graduated and are still getting used to being accountable for ourselves. We work in offices and squirm throughout the day because we still aren’t used to the idea of sitting in the same seat day in and day out. We’re still getting used to the fact that everyone we knew throughout college are no longer a few minutes away. Although we wriggle in our seats throughout the day, the idea of not doing anything even for a single one of them makes us uncomfortable. Friends and relationships are no longer the center of our universe; they’re sadly just a part of it.

We spend most of our time thinking about how to make life more worthwhile and not nearly enough of it actually making it so. We still waste our time in the same way we used to during college, only now, we feel guilty about it too. Everyone around us tells us to chill out because we’re still in the prime of our lives and have a long way to go, but we still feel restless because we aren’t young billionaires. Parents mean more to us and we have a mature relationship now. We spend way less time fighting with them and that feels good. Drinking the nights away are still a lot of fun, only hangovers have started to catch up to us. Going to office hung-over doesn’t appeal to us as much as going to college the same way once did.

Talking about ourselves openly as we did a couple of years back isn’t that easy any more. In fact, meeting new people seems more like a task rather than fun. We’re getting set in our ways. We no longer dream of the one; instead we find someone we can tolerate just to make ourselves feel less lonely. Eventually that too crashes and burns but it doesn’t hurt as much as breakups once did. Getting excited about something or someone has become close to non-existent which troubles us more than anything. We want some excitement, we want something new, but we don’t know where to find it anymore.

Laughing out loud isn’t something you do once a day with your friends over the lamest jokes; it happens rarely and when it does, we remember it. Going out every night after work isn’t fun; it’s tedious, but staying in doesn’t appeal to us either. We’re confused out of our minds but we’re too stubborn to accept it, even to our closest friends. We think, we over-think, we even obsess over how we want our lives to go, but never do we once consider the possibility that it might not be the time for us yet. Maybe, just maybe, we have to let the pieces fall and hope they make sense. We’re older and a tad bit wiser. It’s honestly the very beginning and figuring out the end might be more difficult than we like. But a wise woman once said, “It’ll all be worth it in the end, so let it be.”