Thoughts on an unkempt night

#1

Yesternight, it was so cloudy and the sky looked so vintage. From my vinyl dreams,  I played ‘Bringing It All Back Home‘. Some albums are so well named.

I was listening to Mr. Tambourine Man and I knew I was walking home. To a place where music was plenty. To a place where melodies held meaning. In it, I smoked, I danced with alcohol and planted daisies of all my favourite moments. In it, I played Dylan. Because all nights need music, love, and red wine.


#2

Some nights are like that. Isn’t it? Like fresh stardust served in crimson plates. Like dreams making sense. These nights, you can smell the universe. The spaces between the stars. These nights, you can see the puzzles of life coming together to paint the bigger canvas.


#3

We all need these nights where we could crush ourselves alone into the cocoon of solitude and mirror what has been lived. We all need these nights where the midnight breeze could touch our souls only to remind what it feels like to be alive. Like standing on the hilltop, these nights lets you see the whole. The whole of yourself, alone and lost in the vastness of the world. So then, you can scream and shout and maybe, lull yourself because everybody is sleeping.

Even when they’re wide awake, the world doesn’t care. Why would they then, when they are sleeping?


#4

Have you ever thought how you would live a day without these nights to end them? Or rather, how you would sleep without a day to wake up to? We believe that we have a world every moment, now, then and for later. The things that we take for granted. Sigh!


#5

For now, picture yourself on the seat at the far end of your room, with a book in your hand and a smoke in your breath. Looks like a cosy frame.

Looks like you are living the moment.

Now, pause.


Featured image credits: Tumblr

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Morning Minutiae – Jan 8, 2019

A few days back, I woke up with a strange but beautiful longing for the past. While in Chennai, I had lived a fine Sunday routine. Of waking up early and grabbing that corner seat in the mess, having sambar vada or my favourite dosa with a hot gulp of coffee. After buying a cycle in the final year, all my Sunday mornings meant I woke up at 6 and grabbed my tote with a #nowreading book and earphones and rushing to the mess. The sun would have just risen and the roads welcomed me with a warm and gentle psithurism to the day. I would slowly enjoy the beauty of unpeopled routes and spaces, with illusory rich Tamil conversations playing background raga to my experience.

This memory forced me to look back and cherish the faces and moments I had left behind. A group of young hopeful 43 teens had come together for an Integrated Master’s course in Humanities and Social Sciences. We were abundantly thrilled when we came to this new home of ours. With backpacks and luggage stuffed with utilities and craps, we had committed ourselves to relocate to a completely new ecosystem, one that would eventually pave way for our magnificent tomorrows. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we moulded ourselves and each other here. With academics, love, travel, food and self, we learnt day by day what we were made of and what we could make us into. I consistently shunned the appeal and allure of my college years. I invariably believed it was a space of hatred, competition, judgement and heartbreaks (all kinds). For all I knew, I saw people around me changing, inside out, for good and bad. I thought I would never want to be in this place again.

Looks like, I was wrong. With this yearning on that morning, I realised that I have been in a constant and consistent denial with my feelings. After graduation, no matter what I forced myself to believe, I had profoundly missed this familiarity. Of bodies donned in saris and faces with mookuthy‘s sparkling on them. Of the next-door smells of mallipoo and masala dosa. Of people whom I had seen and been with for almost half a decade. Of a camaraderie so truly and cosily etched in time. That part of me that I had thought would never miss this place had, in fact, became a part of me, that I have no option but to miss it eternally for the life after.

Currently working in a city 750 km away from Chennai, I am laboured to live a different life with a different routine, all for a different purpose. Here, I wake up to a different language and a different taste of chai. This makes me believe how weird existence is, how little of ‘us‘  is in ‘our‘ control, how painful both constant and change is. Could I have stayed back in a place that was once my home? Would I, if I had been given a chance? What is more poignant and possible, flowing with time or flowing with roots? Or, are they the one and the same?

………..

PS: This yearning gathered me to write again, to articulate again, even if my words haven’t married the right grammar or grasp. This piece is full of flaws. But for once, I want to accept it. That it is not correctness but authenticity that matters in expression. Kindly pardon the mistakes and gibberish et Merci d’avoir lu!

∗Feature image credits: tumblr

The color of winter

(This piece was penned last winter. But as Chennai summer has been making me yearn for the December winds, I had to come back to read this. Because sometimes words could be time machines. They’ll help you switch seasons. )

I was born on a rainy December midnight. My mother is still fond of the story, of how I began, of how I gave her ‘chills’ since my birth, of how my cloud-cracking cries dissolved in the midnight monsoon. She still remembers my first smile. “Soothing like a Vicks rub”, she says. “Not anymore”, she adds with a giggle. She shows me the old albums, hunted hard from the backyard of the good times. It was colored a pale winter white, my smile, warm but detached.

My mother thinks I resemble the season I am born in. Winter. Cold and bold, subtle, solid and slow. My skin has always been dry since my birth. My heart too, sometimes. I have all shades of winter in me. I could be the smiling snowman or the sad December sky all at once. I could be the mellow and the merry, the colors and the white all at once. I contained it all – all the winter I possibly could.

My twentieth winter is my fondest. Dad took me on a trip to Oppenheim, a small silent village in Germany sandwiched between the breathing hills running low and high. For the first time, I saw snow in my eyes. I slept in it, dreamt in it, and breathed it. For once, I knew our eyes weren’t enough to drink the magic of this universe. I wandered around the snow-clad silvery streets, hugging the moonlight and talking to myself for hours. I came back to the wooden house with galaxies in my head and heart.

Wonder is my winter emotion. My senses are always amazed and overwhelmed at what this season does. To flowers and faces, to lone benches in the park and to kisses in the dark. The colors of Christmas, the smell of snow, the crackers of the starry sky and so much more. Winter makes me a poet.

At home, winter reminds me of the unbearable lightness of all things that ends well. It marks the end of the year and it’s time to prepare the balance sheet of your black and white‟s. It is a chance to introspect, forgive and prepare. Like a blank white paper, it gives you the colors to paint new beginnings.

I can’t wait for this winter to begin. It is all that I wait for in a year. I can’t wait to cuddle between the cotton pillows and wake up to a coffee at the window. I can’t wait to count the white marigolds and paint them in my favorite mauve. I can’t wait for all the lives to take a pause. I can’t wait to lie on my back and watch the moon and stars, smiling in their sleep wears. I can’t wait for the winter to begin and pass, changing me for a time that could last.

Did I tell you? Winter is all I wait for. It is my most favorite feeling. And I guess my winter looks like that. As happy and contended as my most beautiful smile. Yes. My winter is the color of my smile.

MY SERENDIPITY : PART 2

 

After you,
Corridors have become my favorite home.

I go there morning and night,
sometimes to talk to the stars
and at times,
to fly love letters and kites.

Sometimes, I watch the sun rise and set.
Like us often, they were in love but never met.

Sometimes, I watch the birds march in bands
singing songs of unknown lowlands,
The mother hugging her child and clapping hands
looking at a world they never had.

I watch every mundane sight
beneath the mauve of the evening sky,
plotting the purple the sun has left behind
and waiting for the world to wave its goodbye.

After you,
Every breath is a magic.
Every sunset is a meaning.

Like a glass jar of all golden fireflies
trapped in my yesterday’s dreams.
or a postcard of all memories
lost in lifestreams.

After you
Every moment is a find.
And I am glad
I am alive.

I wake up to wake up to wake up
So I could sleep with your voice on the other side.
With your silent smile written on mine,
with your hands taking me to
your dreams lying beside.
Oh dear,
I remember.
I met you at a crossroad
With a big bean bag – smile.
With it,
I knew I had found
A song that’ll stay
for a while.
A love
That will scent of chamomile.
A feeling that will run like the Nile.

I didn’t believe in Gods,
Playing chess games from above.
Neither in stars
Crossing paths for the lives below.
But now I do,
For that, I thank You
My Love.
Thank You.

 

 

 

1

(I wrote this exactly on Jan 1 ’18 but being the little luftmensch I am, I kept it aside in my drafts and bookmarked it or something. But my New Year Resolution is to clear and clarify the clutter of my incomplete notes. Always better late than never.)

Who decided what started where? 

Zero? One? None? 

Where do we begin? 

What is so new about a ‘New Year’ after all? It is, like any other game of numbers and time and space, a belief of a beginning. Sun doesn’t wear shining Rayban glasses to celebrate. Neither do the rivers flow backwards nor do the birds swim. Time still flows. Moment by moment. Amidst all the colors and crackers in the sky.  Nothing much is new. Except for the opportunity to believe in new. The change isn’t in the truth but how we get to perceive it. Every New Year is one Grand lie. A hopeful and Zen-like lie nevertheless. The good kinda lie.

So here’s alilluftmensch wishing you an amazing lie lying ahead. Clear your eyes. Wash your face. Wake up. See things for what it is. Know what to accept and know what to not. Be aware. Conscious. Know your breath and the borders of life and death. Know your luck. Know this moment, right here in your eyes.

May this year be of smiles that stays.Of more letters, things to say and of kind lovers, their eyes with rainbow rays. Of morning flowers greeting you every day in Uber cabs lost in their ways.Of moments playing Sitar sounds of Parvez. Of all endless possibilities. Of all that could.

’18.

Let’s go!

 

dolce far niente

PRE-READ: Dolce far Niente in Italian literally means sweet doing nothing. This poem means nothing to me. :3 For days and nights, I have been wondering about the art of idleness and the experience it creates. I first thought about this whilst in a conversation with my cousin who said that there needs to be an absolute purpose in life, that everything needs to attain something. Nobody won the argument because duh, we were arguing for nothing. (XD) This poem is only an attempted tribute to the power of nothing – to the ability to look at a flower and just stare at it until you have to stare at something else. We are constantly told to feel and think and act. Maybe we needn’t do it all always. Maybe all we need is nothing. I understand this involves a deeper philosophical question. But this poem here isn’t interested in providing an answer. Because: please go back to the title.


 

Can I write about nothing?

Not about flowers and flamingoes.

Not about daffodils and diamonds.

Not about songs, sunsets, and sadness.

Not about sense. Not about madness.

Can I write about nothing?

 

Not about the emptiness.

Not about the holes in my thoughts.

Not about the vacuum sucking my dreams

in the early mornings.

Not about the days without mundane meanings.

Can I write about nothing?

 

The world is running.

Rushing.

Like a time-lapse video.

I can see movement.

I can see life.

I can see faces, truths, and lies.

But I still can’t see a thing.

Can I write about nothing?

About the nothing in everything?

 

The nothing that makes nothing,

takes nothing and

takes us to nothing.

 

The purpose without a purpose.

The goal without a goal.

The life without a life.

The nothing that is

everything wrong with everything.

 

And then,

I could talk about my favorite kind of nothing.

For it, I die.

My heart cries,

and crave.

For it, I am a slave.

 

The nothings in the depth of the still lakes

where silver swans make love, ripples, and waves.

The nothings in the smiles of the girl on the yellow chair

playing with her rainbow hair, flying in the autumn air.

The nothings in the cries of the baby and the mother

and the secrets that they sigh to one another.

The nothings in the mountains that echoes to the skies,

the music of the stars dancing Zumba at midnights.

 

Can I write about nothing?

The everything in nothing.

The plenty in pauses.

The love in hate.

The light in dark.

The white in grey.

The every bit of life that’s hidden.

In metro’s that never comes

to pick up people to places that are never there.

In stories that happen

in dreams and goes to somewhere.

In murmurs of the past

locked in museums, where people wonder of memories

that are never theirs.

 

 

Can I write about nothing?

About writing nothing?

About doing nothing?

About thinking nothing?

 

About the fullness on an empty white slate.

About the beauty of the Earth not yet awake,

About the charm of living for living’s sake.

 

Let me write about nothing.

For it is all there is.

For it is all that everything is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The five things I know how to write.

I know how to write.

I write letters to lost lovers, to forgotten friends, and to abandoned alleys. I write letters to the moments I betrayed, to the chances I left astray. The date and place are insignificant. Because I think of them every night and day, everywhere and in every way. I live with them. I am them.

I write shopping lists with shimmering soulless check boxes. Self-esteem is always the theme. Like everybody else, I go shopping for the things I don’t have – a smooth fair skin, long glossy hair, clothes that hide my flaws, fruits that tone my faults, and a sense of self. (In this particular order) They eat my budget every time, especially the last one. I go shopping to make myself feel better on a dull dark November day, often to fill my closet of unnecessary things and feelings. It gives me a purpose. An empty one. I do it nevertheless.

I write postcards every once in a month and send it to “Arundhathi Moh, 69C, Surya Sen St, College Square, Kolkata, West Bengal“. Yes. To myself. To remind me that I exist and sometimes, happily. I love the wait that keeps me glued to the rotten door of my 30-year-old apartment. The excitement is magical and the fulfillment, orgasmic. No lover has ever given me the same pleasure. The pleasure of finding myself.

I write post-it notes – of favorite Atticus poems, Bukowski Quotes, and Elliot Smith songs. I stick it on people’s hearts. At least then they’ll know that I care. The effect of it won’t stay for days. But sometimes, it’ll leave a trace. Sometimes, that is all I need.

I write journals every day before I lull myself to sleep. In there, I question my day, my chosen ways and tell myself “It is okay”. I question my life, my luck, my ability to love. I question until I am tired of asking myself the same questions over and again. Until the ink of my favorite fountain pen dries by the meaninglessness of its content.

They show me the graphs and statistics of my blood and bones. They reek of my fires and failures, of my passion and power. They are the Holga of my self and soul. Light leaks and bent blurs, they show it all. That is when I take my shopping lists and finally check the boxes.

I write. I write for myself. That’s the most selfish thing I have ever done. That’s the best selfish I have ever been. I write.

 

My Serendipity: Part 1

 

I remember.

I met you at a crossroad

beneath one September sky,

next to Cubbon where Amaltas fell by.

My face dipped in diamond moonlights,

Washed by wishes of dandelions flying high.

 

Amidst busying buses and banal lives,

Rusty faces went by.

But I could only see one smile.

A curve with a Cannabis – high.

 

Your smile like a cozy big bean bag, I could just sleep in it.

Our hearts were playing Kodaline, and

For a moment, the moment smelled like a lifetime.

Like a peach potpourri of all favorite dreams of mine.

 

We rode through the city lit in sodium lamps

not knowing if we belonged yet, hand to hand.

Silences sang their indies and jazz.

We danced in tutus and paper hats.

 

Crossing lanes of Deja Vu’s and doubts,

sighing at the unsaid on every roundabout,

we reached the uncertain happiness of your penthouse.

And, we kissed

Until it rained in our parched broken hearts.

 

I could see a fairytale, smiling afar

in the in-betweens of red blanket strands,

in the flickering scented candle bars,

in the ease that painted your face, so chiseled, and

in the monsoon that showered in muted drizzles.

 

But with this love, I am filled and full

With this love, I don’t know what I could.

Maybe, for now, we could rest in each other’s hearts

And sing lullabies of Beethoven and Mozart.

We could live in each other’s eyes

and hug so tight until we die.

Or just maybe, just-just

maybe, we could ink and art

a forever tale that’s close yet apart.

Or baby, we needn’t think so hard

Let’s just breathe this moment, sweetheart.

 

 

 

Forget-me-not

I was.

I was eyes wide awake on a Sunday picnic

in the silent meadows of Bouillon,

drinking the green and all that was serene.

I was ears at the Santorini seasides,

spying on the in-betweens of the wave to wave sighs,

On secrets that came by the shore, only to subside.

I was lips, painting gardens of Holland tulips,

being a momentary -van Gogh to my beautiful Bulb Fields.

I was day-dreams dallying with the dashing French lilies,

swaying with the wind, in ways with no hint.

I was a thousand threads of golden brown hair

Flying in the seamlessness of a September Seattle sky,

waiting to flow in slow snowflakes on the mighty Cascades, so high.

 

I was.

I was kisses washed in sunshine and moonlight.

I was countless rays of hope in a bell jar of golden fireflies.

I was rainbows of stolen souvenirs and hitchhiked memories.

I was infinities of tomorrows and unbroken vows.

I was a truth, with a heart so pure.

I was everything that could endure.

 

I am but also I was.

I was everything before this moment.

I was a melody of thunderstorms nobody heard.

I was a room of locks in an invisible cloak.

I was a lullaby of all little things this moment is made of.

 

I am but also I was.

I was and I was and I was.

I am, for a hundred reasons.

But I was, for so much more.

And, I beg you

For all the times you forget to remember me for what I am,

Forget me not, dear, for what I was.

 

Forget me not, for my silence that stayed in your shouts.

Forget me not, for my words that filled your torn full stops.

Forget me not, for my myriad colors that lit your black&white’s.

Forget me not, for my fire that fuelled your cold insides.

Forget me not, for all this and more,

for that is all what I was and I will be in your yores’.

 

I am but also I was.

I was and I was and I was.

I am, for a hundred reasons.

But I was, for so much more.

And, I repeat

For all the times you forget me for what I am,

Forget me not, dear, for what I was.

 

My Friend-indeed

It’s only very recently that I started questioning and considering how I chose and maintained my friendships. It was one thing I took for granted 24 hours, 7 days a week until something about that changed. It took me one best friend to remind myself that it has got to change – how I see my friendships, how I let it be.

Our friendship sailed one winter night. We had coincidentally crossed paths after another mundane philosophy class and decided to have some narangamuttai from the rickshaw-shop next to the hostel. I don’t remember much from that conversation. And, I blame my ridiculous memory for that loss. But I remember the picture – of both of us sitting on that ledge next to the rickshaw-shop, our smiles beneath the moonlight, our laughters promising to echo for long. We sensed a sharing of good vibes and sentiments amidst the casual talk. We were bonding; one story at a time and the bonding seemed surprisingly familiar. As if it was there for a long time, hiding within the unseen boundaries of time and space. The closeness came like a wind; easy, breezy and invisible but felt. I knew I had had a conversation with my would- be best friend, then and there.

Very soon, we became a constant presence in each other’s lives. Every moment together was a new lesson learned. Every sigh and lie, every move and groove were one side of a rubik’s cube of our soul solved. We were slowly learning code languages to our feelings, our mental ceilings. How beautiful it was to slowly fall into that deep abyss of friendship and love together, with our eyes closed, hands held, all safe and sane.

A year passed. I had my first heartbreak. I had changed. I smiled differently. I looked different. I was all scars and wounds, inside out.  She had her share of twists and turns, experiences and moments too. We were a year older, supposed-to-be- a year wiser. As much different we were as individuals, we had also accumulated heaps of similarities- favorite series to talk about while sipping the evening Madras coffee, favorite insta-celebrities to stalk together, favorite destinations to travel to, favorite kala chashma-wearing-pastimes to assure our carefully hidden craziness, favorite frames from the hostel corridor to look at in seated silence,  favorite routines to cover up for our otherwise humdrum life calendars.

There are moments in life when we realize some friends are not our just-friends, only good for hi’s, bye’s and everything in between, but something more, something in superlatives.With her, I had plenty of those. When every time she knocked on my door to join me in my hurt and pain and when every time she walked with me on my lone wanderings and escapades from hurtful realities, I was rejoicing in the bliss of having found a best friend. A somebody whom I could call my person, a somebody whom I could run into anytime for motherly-advises, brutally honest suggestions or some sweet-cupcake-compliments. A somebody whom I could trust without thoughts and love without the fear of loss. Somebody who would tell me on my face to get my shit together, somebody who would spend minutes and hours to find a perfect matching  pair of kurti and jhumkas only to make me look prettier the next day, somebody who would come running to hold my hand and pat my soul in sudden occasions of life crises- be it when I had to walk alone next to an insensitive ex and his girlfriend who were busy hollering their newly found love in loud laughters. Or be it when I was crying like a waterfall in a sudden burst of overwhelm caused by yesterday’s overdose of sleeping pills. I had somebody to go to. To share my sins. To sing my smiles with. To burrow my sorrows. I knew I was lucky, too lucky to have found that person.

But when life goes on, in quick flashes of wild and turbulent god-knows-what is happening shots, you forget these realizations. You forget your facts. You lose track of what you HAVE when hurriedly searching for what you COULD HAVE. The ‘imperfect’ in me committed the same mistake of giving up on that somebody solely because it took me an ounce more of sincerity and effort to maintain it as beautifully as it always was. I settled for failure in fear of losing another person. I forced myself into believing that if I left first, I could save myself the pain. But with time, I learned that I was becoming the very person I had hated with all my heart. I learned that I was hurting my favorite person in fear of getting hurt.  I know that a hurt once caused is caused forever.I know that apologies and negotiations can only lessen the burden of your chances to go to hell. No sorry can take back the act. No sorry can undo the mistake. I KNOW. The broken glass is always broken, even if it is repaired with golden filling. But my enlightenment came later and I thought I lost all possibilities of having it back. But despite the ups and downs, our friendship is still sailing, assuring me that some sorry’s and stories could be different.  Sometimes, second chances are justified.

She taught me to take care of friendships – whom I choose to spend time with, whom to trust and love, whether to make promises of unconditional presence or not and if yes, for whom. She taught me to be emotionally independent, to guard my heart and soul by myself. She taught me to be bold and brave to face my fears when they come my way. I am thankful for every single time she didn’t attempt to hide her anger at me. I am thankful for every time she made me think about things. For every time she made me pause my rushing life and asked me to breath silences in slow paces. For every time she reminded me my rights and wrongs, goods and bads. For every time she believed in me. For every time she gave US another chance.Now, I know beautiful things happen only once. But if you truly deserve it, the best and the beautiful would guarantee you a chance to prove your worth.

Now when I make passing remarks to her about her abundantly awesome aura, she shies away with the compliment not knowing how to handle it (Yeah. She is cute like that). I don’t think she understands how beautiful she is, inside out. I don’t think she understands how she has changed my life. I hope she could see her existence from outside and see why I appreciate it so much.  One day. Some day.

 Also, meet her. My Shu.

 IMG_20160816_132220

Love, love and love,

Pu