Nature’s most common poetry

We spend our lives chasing things that only last for a short period of time. When that short period of time ends we continue chasing the same things in new forms.

But the question doesn’t vanish with your continued negligence – The most absurd question with no apparent answer – Why are you here?

These set of virtues; to be able to see, touch, feel, hear, respond, interact, understand, modify, calculate, read, write – what have we done with that? All these exceptional abilities don’t seem that exceptional among seven billion other creatures who are capable of doing it too, many of them much better. Where does 1 stand before 7,000,000,000?

Where does the drop stand before an ocean?

But maybe numbers don’t mean much. Does the drop know that it’s beautiful on its own too? Does the drop know better than to compare itself to the ocean? Does the drop know that the other drops are not competitors but collaborators?

So do it. Don’t just keep on chasing things that you know are ephemeral. Even if you didn’t score that high in SATs, even if you don’t work for Google, even if you didn’t go to Stanford, remember that these are not your standards, these are THEIR standards. They will tell you oh-so-politely that you don’t matter. You are not intelligent enough. You are not creative enough. You are not experienced enough. Don’t let that bother you. Don’t fall for fake social diagnosis. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Was your life really about all this?”

Surely, there’s a possibility we may never find it. But the answer must be in the attempt. This experience of how you came, and how you felt and how you went again – Nature’s most common poetry – this experience of being a part of it itself is quite amazing on its own. The world is large and you are small but it doesn’t matter. What matters more is to know that the world is huge and you are tiny and it seems that it could have very well existed without you and yet you are here.

Pause, and let that sink in.

You don’t need to read this;

You don’t need more books.

You don’t need more clothes.

You don’t need to smoke.

You don’t need to eat meat.

You don’t need another cup of coffee.

You don’t need to check your phone again.

Those who show off are showing off the wrong things.

Those who are jealous are jealous of the wrong beings.

Social media is not equivalent to being social.

Watching pornography is not equivalent to having sex.

Real people appreciate better than a tap or a swipe.

That new tinder date is not the solution for your boredom and loneliness.

Some conversations are not scripted.

Some pictures are never captured.

Some moments are never created.

Look up.

Most discussions are limited to football, booze, sex, and drugs.

That doesn’t mean Purpose, Meaning, Morals are not important.

Humans are social animals.

If you are isolating yourself, you are more prone to mental illness.

Tranquilizers won’t cure your anxiety.

A purpose might.

A deep meaningful relationship might.

But most strings aren’t attached.

Time is a luxury.

Run, work, run.

Your job is exhausting.

Money, money, money.

Somehow you still don’t seem to have any.

Just more goods to show off,

And a guide to subtle exaggeration;

Moods, and Basics

“Random inspirational quote”.

Noise can be made.

Noise can be muted.

Look up.

 

The Two Parallel Lines

“Hello ladies, my name is Charles and I will be your waiter tonight,”he says in his slightly accented posh English.

We like Charles already. After all, being addressed as a lady is a rare thing. We try to return his “Hello” with equal charm. Can’t tell if we succeeded but we don’t have time to reflect on that. Happy hours are ending soon and there is a lot of alcohol to order. So, we immediately proceed to digging our heads into the cocktail menu. Beer is something that we don’t even mention once in our discussion. That is going to be ordered by default. In the midst of our deliberation over the choice of cocktails, I look at two of my closest friends and wonder how mystical and surreal being here with them actually is. But that doesn’t last long. “Six pints of beer, for now. We will order the cocktails soon,” I tell our charming waiter.

I am transported back to the time when we three were discussing oral sex for the first time. “What do you mean you put it in your mouth? They pee with that thing!” “I don’t know. I don’t know how people do that…” We three glanced at each other and let out a synchronous shudder. Now, sitting in a bar, sipping on our beer, it’s funny how we don’t seem to be affected by that shudder anymore. “So, all bases?” I am asked. “Well, you could say that.” I confess it with a surprising casual indifference. I am greeted back in the same way. “Uh! Cool.” Where has our shock been assimilated? How could there not be a trace of it? Perhaps I can find the abundance of it in the faces of twelve year old us, sitting on the bench in the classroom a decade ago. If they would have been sitting with us today, they would have killed me with disgust in their eyes. The pre-teenaged us wouldn’t just have stopped with the look. Next thing they would have done was to throw away our bottles, “What is this that you are drinking! Alcohol? We swore we would never do that!” We are perfectly fine with drinking now. In fact there’s a part of us, who can’t live without it. But we (at least I did) indeed swore that we would never consume this wretched liquid. Same thing went with cigarettes. Same thing went with broccoli. Same thing went with green tea. We have grown into liking both the health saviors and health destroyers at the same time. Well, the equation must be balanced, right?

“Forgot to ask, how was it though?” one of my friends asks. “Ah, what sex? Comme ci comme ca. Okay, I guess?” I reply. And like that we go back to our drinks. We are perfectly fine with boys asking us out. Back in school, that was a big deal. I suddenly get the flashbacks of some of our conversations from school – “What do you mean, you are chatting on messenger?” “Well, we have been doing that for past two weeks. Every day.” “What do you mean every day?” “Well, every day.” “Do you have a crush on him?” “No” my friend said blushing. “Is that a yes?” “No” My friend said nodding affirmatively. Wow, back then it used to be huge. “What happened to the guy you met on Tinder?” I ask her. “Meh” she replies. “Still talking even?” I ask further. “Yes” she says. “Then?” I ask. “Meh.”

By now we all are sipping on the last few drops of beer left in the bottle. Our eyes are droopy and our voices heavy and our conversations solely in English. “I am not drunk okay” my friend says. “I am never drunk okay,”the other friend replies. Yeah of course. English though – Ah! It gave me such a hard time in school. All those people with their fancy education in private high class schools spoke such fluent English. I envied them deeply. It was devastating because it took a toll on my public speaking skills. I was so scared of English. That insecurity is lost now. There are greater things to worry about.

It’s surreal in a way that we three are still this close. There were so many other people back in school with whom I had felt I had a ‘deep connection’. They are nothing but a name in my Facebook friend list now. How weird is this. I think you don’t choose friends but life chooses them for you. There are people who connect with you and to each one of those people there stand thousand others who don’t. It’s a bit tricky to find those people who know you like their favorite book. You might find a connection in some moments with a particular person but you have little control over its expiry date. People enter in your life as intersecting straight lines. They come, converge, intersect and diverge. On the other hand, there are people who never intersect but they run parallel with you for the rest of your life.

“Three Classic Martinis, please.” We have finally decided on the cocktails. Charles nods and throws a brief glance at the empty beer bottles at our table as if wondering whether we should be drinking more. Fifteen minutes later, he would be serving us another round of Martinis. The beer has already got our heads buzzed. We are laughing over stupid jokes. We are endlessly taking selfies. We are wondering how painfully overpriced the french fries are. Soon, we will head to the dance floor and dance for three hours straight with basically everyone present in the club. We are going to discuss this night for weeks, maybe years. We are going to be amazed how amazing it was. But for now, I just look at these two people and cringe at my cheesiness but it’s true – they do mean the world to me. These two fuckers are my parallel lines.

*

How’s life in England?

“So, how’s life in England?” My phone notifies me of yet another text bearing the same question I’ve heard daily since the past two months. And I am left wondering, yet again, how the hell do I answer this?

How’s life in England? Each day, I wake up with a slight hangover because somehow I have developed a habit of mistaking beer for water. The morning begins with me brewing a tasteless tea and slicing an apple, often along with my fingers. Then I connect my phone to the speakers as I eat my so-called breakfast and start preparing my lunch. Two months back, cooking was my least favorite task and now it is my top choice for procrastination. I chop vegetables while dancing to some 2000s rock. I still don’t know how I manage to pull that off. The day progresses as I finish cooking my lunch which is almost never completely consumed by me. I leave some curry for my flatmates. And by the evening, there’s no trace of it left. My utensils are cleaned and neatly placed back in my shelf. Cooking a little extra so that you don’t have to clean? I figure it’s a pretty good strategy to go by. But this is not what you want to know, do you?

How’s life in England? Well, mostly it’s the blue sky and chartreuse grass spread across remarkably vast stretches of land. Each day I discover a new breed of dog. Each day I come across those cars that I never thought I would see in three dimensions with my own eyes. Each day I meet different kinds of people. And almost each day, I write about them in a small cafe with a small blackboard placed at its gate happily flaunting the beautiful handwriting and the supposedly reasonable rates of different kinds of coffees. Hours pass by as I type random stuff on random things and before it gets too cold (and it’s not even Winter yet!) I return to my kitchen to enjoy a multi-cuisine dinner cooked by flatmates. My kitchen is not a particularly attractive one. The dining table is almost never cleaned. Sometimes, the refrigerators stink. Noone is ever able to find his/her plates or spoons or coffee cup on time. When one of us burns food accidentally, we don’t pray for our own safety. Instead we pray for the inefficiency of the smoke detector. I look at the small exhaust, the electric heat stove, the rarely used oven, the toaster that partially works and the silver platform that’s turning grey – This kitchen is as ordinary as it can be. I look at the people I am dining with. This kitchen is my favorite place. But this is not what you want to know either, is it?

How’s life in England? Whenever the sun shines outside my tiny window my heart swells with happiness and hope. And then I think of the pending work, my spinning head and my heart immediately sinks. My table is splashed with my clumsiness. I am running out of clean clothes to wear. The bedsheet of my bed is beginning to stink. The mattress has given me a permanent back ache but I love my tiny little corner. My cupboard is bare but surprisingly, I don’t hate my limited collection of clothes. I am slipping below the poverty line slowly but steadily. However, somehow I don’t hate my depleting financial state. I am not sure why I am here sometimes. To write life? To live life? Sometimes my room haunts me too – to make it more eerie, there are unexplained bruise marks on my limbs. My financial burden haunts me. My insecurity and uncertain future haunts me. My dreams haunt me. But I am here anyway, I guess, happily haunted.

Days in England – It was clear sky a second ago and it’s suddenly raining. And despite the unpredictable weather, I can safely predict that it would never rain when I do have an umbrella with me. The cloudy night sky is bit of a shame but at times when it is clear I can almost get lost among the diamonds shining above, along with the silhouettes of the trees caressing the edges of the river. And then there’s the moon. The same moon I wrote a letter to saying that I would do what I love to do and in some surreal way I am still keeping that promise. I like to picture myself looking at this satellite somewhere someday in the future and instead of the moon, I like to believe that I would be looking at my own present self. We would briefly acknowledge each other, smile and whisper, “It is going to be alright.” The moon is my imaginary time travelling machine. When I look at it now, I suddenly see myself searching for it through the clusters of buildings back in Vadodara or strolling under the moonlight through the peaceful beaches of Goa during my final undergraduate year or picturing nose or eyes on it during my kindergarten days.

How’s my life? Each day I am going older. Each day I am learning something new. Though I can’t specifically point out the change but I can still feel a certain kind of novelty running through my blood. Life in England – It’s the walks among the pretty homes in red bricks. It’s playing with the amber leaves lining the footpaths. It’s being marvelled by the sparrows with orange necks. It’s walking through the trails lining the river. It’s catching a brief experience of forest and making an escape from urban life during those walks. Living here is modern and ancient at the same time. I am simultaneously falling in love in Swedish beer and cutting masala chai found in the streets of India. I am simultaneously falling in love with butter croissant and Latte and also with freshly cooked potato paratha made by my mother back home. I am amazed by the quiet and peaceful locality but at the same time I sometimes miss the crowd and the cacophony as well.

It’s writing, so much writing, reading, scribbling, dancing, drinking and being terrified of the fact that these days are disappearing much faster than they should and also the fact that I would miss this more terribly than I can ever imagine. My life in England? Well, honestly, life seems to be chasing me instead of I chasing it for a change. At first it was overwhelmingly surreal. Now, it’s overwhelmingly busy. Like the gas compressed in a cylinder, it seems like a whole lifetime has been squeezed into a couple of months. Weeks are long but yet they fly by. And sometimes all I do is breathe and watch yet another sun explode into thousands of shades of Crimson and Magenta and all those hues that I can’t even name.

“So, how’s life in England?” My phone is still beeping with that whatsapp message.
“Good.” I text back.

I don’t miss home,

Of course I don’t miss home,
Though it’s cold out here but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I miss the warmth.
Of course I don’t miss home,
Yes, I confess that the green bed of my dorm,
The matching duvets and pillows aren’t as somniferous as the violet hues of my room,
The humongous pin board bears such a vast scope for creativity,
But I admit it seems that I have left it all behind on the walls of a small place that I am not supposed to think much about.
But still I don’t miss home,
Not when I look through my tiny window and remember how large it used to be.
I don’t miss home,
I am too happy to bear such delusions,
After all the beauty of my surroundings hasn’t even sunk in,
The notion that I might be sharing same time and same space as this place still lies dangling as a mad hypothesis,
I haven’t properly forgotten the crowds, the dust, the hot weather of the past,
I haven’t even forgotten the sweat, the noise, the boredom, the four walls confining my life,
I haven’t forgotten that the food wasn’t always this tasteless,
I haven’t forgotten that the water used to cheaper than alcohol,
I haven’t forgotten about the time I had to waste,
I haven’t forgotten the anticipation, the butterflies, the apprehensions,
Regarding what that could now be called my present,
I haven’t forgotten much,
Despite being here,
I haven’t forgotten anything at all.
Though the dates in my calendar keeps rapidly changing,
Perhaps I can sit here listening to the same downtrodden playlist,
With my pen and a few things in my head to reminisce,
I can sit here for eternity or so it seems,
I can sit here pretending that the time is frozen.
So I don’t miss home.
I don’t miss it at all.
When I wake up tomorrow,
It would still be incredibly hard to believe
That I am here
Miles away,
In a strange beautiful land,
With strange people,
Under strange circumstances.
Some call it bold,
Some call it cowardly escape,
Some call it love,
Some call it outrageous stupidity,
Some exclaim in disbelief,
Some silently mutter in jealousy,
Some say “You don’t deserve it.”
Some say, “You are worth every penny.”
Some, so many,
All these people in my head,
Who travelled overseas on free tickets with me,
An entire world,
An infuriating celestial miracle,
Obnoxious electrochemical reactions inside my brain,
These people and I,
My room, my pen, the blue blue sky,
Beautiful things, beautiful places, beautiful beautiful faces,
That I peek through my invisibility cloak,
That I look at in wonder,
That I look at with curiosity,
That I look at in boredom…
Happy places, laughing faces,
Of course,
Of course it’s too early to miss home,
Too early to miss the recent past,
Too early to miss the current present.

What is this?
I,
Caught up in a few fucked up tenses,
Trying to make some decent sentences,
Stringing along the pearls of words,
Trying to weave a good fabric through some odd phrases,
Living the life,
Denouncing it at the same time,
Awed, and indifferent,
Amazed and hurt.
How nice! How wonderful!
How enigmatic! How treacherous!
How confusing! How difficult!
A simple question;
A lost answer,
And all this adventure in between –
“What do you want, dear heart?”

***

A love letter

Dear,
How scandalous and embarrassing of me to anticipate for the day when I will be able to speak to you again,
when you are not supposed to exist,
when your charm is something I should easily resist
But look how glittering you are!
Even the dawn can’t make your presence disappear
How tempting it is to touch you,
even though it’s a common knowledge how toxic you are
How attractive it is to pursue you,
even though it’s widely known how forbidden you are
O Honey! O Darling!
Why mustn’t you desert my heart?
You bring death to my life,
You bring life to my death,
You bring love, you bring hate,
You bring joy, you frustrate,
You destroy, you create.
Are you even real?
How embarrassing and scandalous of me to be influenced by you so much,
Wasn’t my life already complicated enough?
No, it is pointless to accuse you
Because I think you make my life simpler instead.
You are blood into my veins,
Air that I could breathe,
Despite your debatable actuality,
You mean,
You exist,
As if nothing else matters.

***

Dead lives,

Dead lives, dead leaves,
Scattered across the grey streets,
On a soulless journey to nowhere or everywhere
with the winds sweeping them onto different destinations
With the time decaying them back into life;
Just so they could fall lifeless once again.
What do you hope to find in this circular maze?
How are you different from other carbon corpses?
Dead eyes, dead voice,
After all, a beating heart was never your choice!
Like the stones, like the deepest ocean bed,
You are silently waiting for the end ahead.
Hush!Hush!Hush!
Don’t think it too loud!
Hush!Hush!Hush!
The stars might overhear!
Time might end today or after infinity,
But the blood must continue running stale in your veins
The thoughts must wander lost always.
Dead leaves, dead lives,
sleeping indifferently on the streets at nights.
Make sure there’s never anything to see
Make sure that the eyes are always wide shut
For if they blink open, if they ever do,
It will all come fiercely rushing through,
in all its unfairness,
tearing apart your blissfully protective wall of indifference-
The storming life,
The warrior love,
valiantly destroying your ignorant existence,
Your living death.

***