Fragile

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I let the wind steer me. I rose higher and higher, and felt the exhilaration of my flight. I was lithe, and I floated merrily. On a journey whose destination I knew not. From up here, the world looked beautiful. The wind was my companion. I laughed with it while it whispered comforting notes in my ear, even as it ruffled my hair and entwined its hands into mine. I loved the firmness of its grip- firm enough to hold me in its embrace, and delicate enough to let me float, my being intact. And then I floated into this beautiful garden. A man sat in the garden, gazing at the skies, dreamy-eyed. I floated towards him. The wind was suddenly still, as if anxious. But I floated merrily, and landed on his cheek. I broke his reverie. He took me gently in his hands and fixed his dreamy eyed gaze on me. The wind suddenly picked up strength and propelled me. I floated, crying and protesting. The man chased me. I wanted him to own me. The wind protested, but gave in to my tears. It quietened and I floated down and settled on a leaf. The man took quick steps and took me in his hands. He clasped his hands tight this time. I screamed from the pain it caused, but he didn’t seem to hear. He finally unfolded his hands, and there I was, crushed to my soul. He seemed upset. And then he just brushed me off his hands and walked away. The wind blew. It picked up my damaged being and propelled me on. I cried at the memory of that one moment I lay on the hands of a dreamy-eyed man…the magic of his gaze…the feel of his hands on my delicate being. He made me feel exquisitely beautiful.
But he knew not that the most beautiful things in life are just as delicate…as fragile’, whispered the wind.

Love?

The 14th of February, 2014.

‘My dearest and the most beautiful lady of my life, Happy Valentine’s day…’
This text surpassed every other text that came my way today. I really did have tears in my eyes coz I think I must be God’s favourite child to experience all that I experience…including the abundant love in my life. I just thought of the texts I had received today, most being from friends whom I have known for such a long time that there is a certain mellow tranquility and bliss in these relationships. I am awed at how love changes hues and shades as time runs through…and how each of its shades is just as beautiful.
In your teens, it is so dopamine driven. All those moments of endless palpitations and starry eyed trances. That phase of life when you sought love a whole lot more than it sought you. And then, over the years, you mellow down and learn to let love seek you. A feeling of calmness descends and you begin to find immense value in those holistic dimensions of love that almost make you feel that you have rediscovered your childhood. Those sublime relationships where love is rarely a spoken word- relationships that carry those familiar remnants of the early years of your life, much before you were exposed to the bitter truths of life and much before you had learnt the art of survival and defence in a world of opportunists. Relationships that help you keep in touch with the self you thought you had lost to time and life.

At long last, I am aware that I can own nothing and none in this world, save for my perceptions. I am in acceptance of that. This acceptance makes every perception so precious that I feel the need to record all my perceptions and capture their magic in the words I pen down. Ironically, it is when you stop feeling the desire to own and possess that love floods your doorstep. And this time, it is to stay. You lose the fear of losing coz now your needs from love are modest. When you outgrow the fear of losing and the complexity of needs, love transforms into the effortless flow of a river.

This awareness has taught me the true value of perception. We differ only in our perceptions- by the manner in which we encode our experiences and internalize them to recreate a world within our minds. At the end of the day, it is only electrical signals that are generated within our brains, but I am awed by the difference in the way each one of us perceives the same phenomenon. How even a ripple in a pond creates a ripple in my mind…how a drop of sunshine lights up my very being…how a whiff of memories can heal the deepest wounds of my soul. I almost feel guilty for not having captured my perceptions, for fleeting they are, and I have wasted them away. Yet, a precious chunk of them still lies lovingly tucked away into the memory box in my mind. If I can just get into the mood and sort through them, I shall still find enough to write for a lifetime. It is one of the things I want to live for. Write out my life. Simply because with me, my perceptions shall die too. And I wish to immortalize them.

And finally to the one who sent me that text, albeit transient in a realistic sense, you shall remain the most phenomenal perception in my mind. May life treat you to the very best!

Can you spell ‘happyness’?

That was another time…another life. Growing up in the warm cocoon of the protected world that only parents can build for their children. The city was the same, but it seemed to acquire newer colours as time ticked by. As we grew up, it let us into alleys of life that were unfamiliar, but strangely exciting. There was that desire to break free from the reins of control and taste the exhilaration of freedom and independence. It was a carefree world where struggle and responsibility were alien. Life seemed to overflow with youthful happiness. Amidst all the excitement, exhilaration and warm companionship of people who were in the same phase as me, there was no room for unhappiness. I was in love with myself and with the whole world. 
I thought this was happiness.

A different time…a new city. I had outgrown the purposeless flights of adolescence. I loved this new city and its people, albeit in a different way. Here, the streets always brimmed with people. People who walked fast…people en route to their work…people who had dreams to chase and goals to achieve…people who had no time to bother about the passers-by. There was something totally infectious about this pace and spirit. Nothing was ever still; everything seemed to move all the time, but it all moved in synchrony.

I found myself gradually blending into this ocean of people. Sometimes, I  felt a part of them by the way little things in my life were borrowed from  the routine of their life. Like the way I rushed to work in the mornings, grabbed a croissant and coffee, and devoured it even as I walked. I learnt to run with my coffee, fish out the card from my bag and swipe even as my hands were full. I learnt to run down the stairs and hop in just as the doors of the train slammed shut. In the train, I could sit down and sip my coffee…leaf through the newspaper or read the book I had been reading…or even dab in a little make-up without having people stare at me!

And sometimes I felt connected to them by the perspectives and attitudes I was unknowingly borrowing from them. I had begun to think…dream…define personal and professional goals. I was on my feet all the time. There was always so much to explore and experience. The city had so much life…so much character. More importantly, I loved my sense of productivity. For the first time, I felt I had wings.

In the evenings, when I walked across the bridge, I would glance at the river…and the beautiful city that was built around it. It seemed to suddenly mirror my own life. It made me feel good about my life…it made me fall in love with my life…every single day. Life was full of zeal and optimism…happiness uncorrupted by the negative sentiments of those who surrounded me. For they too seemed happy with who they were. Back then, I thought this was happiness.

The jolt finally came. This time, it was a small town…a new set of people.  Adversity struck. Without warning, life revealed its true colors- the harsher side that I never knew existed. I was unprepared. Like quicksand, the circumstances sucked me in. They never abated, they just deepened and worsened. They never gave me the opportunity to recover or even make sense of what was happening. Life snatched away from me those simplest of joys that I had always taken for granted until then. And it was only then, when the very ground on which I stood, was taken off from under my feet, leaving me hanging in the air, that I understood what the real problems in life are and what life truly encompasses.

The sadists and opportunists struck; I was the perfect victim. They were like scavengers…like vultures that hover around a dying man, for they smell death. I was sinking, and when I looked up, it was to see faces lit up by the possibility of my drowning. Perhaps that was the moment I woke up. Until then, I had been in denial, and the denial had at some point, given way to a numbness that could only be called meaningless existence. It hadn’t been easy to stand up…to stop pining for myself…to take the first step forward. I stopped thinking or feeling for myself. The emotions had consumed me. I redefined my goals. I started from scratch. During the day, I chased my goals, oblivious to my predicament. At night, I was so exhausted I would sleep even before I hit the bed. I learnt to retort to the scavengers by raising my standards even higher. There was never the time to think of the deep mess I was in. Never the time to see if I was sinking or floating. There were moments when my heart beat so fast that I thought I would collapse from fear, but I never really acknowledged my fears.

And then, there came a miracle. At the worst of times, when I expected a hand on my shoulder, a hand that would hold mine, it never happened. At a time when I had already learnt acceptance and was anyway too preoccupied to ask for miracles, there came this miracle. A miracle that made me pause in my steps and sit down, for I suddenly realized how exhausted, overworked and depleted I was. I suddenly realized the magnitude of the burden I was carrying on my shoulders. I suddenly saw myself in new light, and felt overwhelmed. Then the tears started coz not a soul knew the intensity of the moments that had been entirely mine. And now, this miracle made me look back at those moments and finally feel their pain. And thus I learnt that it is only this moment- when you construct happiness on top of all the pain you endured, that defines true happiness.

Camouflaged!

I had never really aimed at being ‘different’. I had only wanted to be inconspicuous. Like the birds and animals that visit my garden. With bodies that borrow the tones of the earth, they easily blend into the dull brown and grey of their surroundings.

There are those hopping birds that visit my garden every evening when the sun begins to set. A squirrel that lives somewhere on the roof of my house, makes its appearance, taking small sniffs as it contemplates its steps. Encouraged by the sight of these birds, it takes quick steps and joins the flock. From a distance, they all look alike for they have the same skin tones. The birds are now busy hunting for tiny worms or millipedes that might be crawling beneath the bushes and trees. They take no notice of the squirrel. The squirrel, secure in its camouflage, hunts for seeds or grains that might be lying about. I sit really still for I do not wish to disrupt the integrity of their world. This is the world I love and understand. These creatures are busy in their individual pursuits, totally oblivious to each other…

And yet, there is a silent understanding among them- an unspoken regard for each other that maintains the integrity of their world.

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As human beings, we all have our individual motivations, passions and goals. So aren’t we supposed to be in happy pursuit of these? Instead, we are forever judging each other and attracting attention to ourselves in what is nothing short of narcissism. Why can’t we peacefully coexist, like these beautiful creatures do?

I have never really craved to be the object of attention nor have I craved for applause. I have always loved my anonymity the most- the freedom to just be. I have been most comfortable secluding myself where no one can find me-

Where I can smell the roses in the garden…

Where I can be kissed by the breeze…

Where I can have endless conversations with the sky.

I would rather be the touch-me-not that grows in the wild, obscured by the wilderness, than be the lotus that stands conspicuously in the middle of the pond. I would rather be a part of the shadows of dusk and watch the lights in the distance, than stand conspicuously under the lights on the dais. It is in this camouflage that I am happiest.

It is not when people look at me that I am happiest; it is when they fail to see me as distinct that I am happiest. I am happy when a nomadic girl in all her raw and unrefined beauty can still find something of herself in me. To me, that is a far greater compliment than being told that I am beautiful. I am happy when an animal or bird walks past me, not in the least perturbed by my presence. I am happy when a child fails to see the adult in me and lets me into the world that he or she carefully guards.

If only every human being woke up to the fact that the most beautiful vision of the world is not when the lights are on us, but when they are on everything that surrounds us, the world would be a beautiful place to live in! Only then can we really see the world for what it is and be enthralled by it. Only then can we be in love with the world and with our own selves. It is only when we reflect the beauty of this world that we become beautiful!