Sunday, November 29, 2015

November


It’s the last day of November, which means that tomorrow will be the beginning of the last month of 2015. It’s been an interesting year but an all about 2015 post will be better at the end of the year. Today, it will be all about November.



This month, I left my job and spent the month at home. I didn’t look for another job, which I sort of regret now because not having anything to do is frustrating. But I’m happy I finally decided to leave this place that was always like home to me. It was time and while I still love the place and people, I shouldn’t have been there any longer.

In October, I promised myself that if I wrote 30,000 words of ‘my story’ by the end of 2015, I would take a year off work and focus on my writing. I completed NaNoWriMo, something I didn’t think was at all possible and so I now have a 50,000 word story. It’s nowhere close to completion but I’ve at least taken the first step towards finally writing a story. You see, I love writing and while all these stories keep clouding my mind, all I write are articles, blog posts like this and poems. I struggled with actually writing stories. 50,000 words, for me, is a huge achievement.

On Saturday, I had one of the best nights of my life. I attended the UNAIDS event to commemorate World AIDS Day, my friend and I received certificates of appreciation for our articles and then we met with Amma and Aiya and had amazing dinner. After dropping her, I was in the backseat, Aiya was driving and Amma was riding shotgun. The music was good, the wind was cool and everything was peaceful. I was calm after a long time and I was smiling for no reason. I was so tired and so sleepy but I was happy. There’s nothing more you can ask for in life, is there?

This month I went back to feeling like a teenager, which I won’t go into detail about, but I’m happy to know that I have some emotion left in me. I’ve turned into this grumpy person who is always frowning or making faces or being mean/sarcastic and I needed to know that I can be all ‘sunshine in a jar’ too.

November also taught me that people can’t be trusted and that it doesn’t take a very long time for friends to go from being on your side to turning against you. I learned that people can be vicious and cruel. They may gossip and tell tales and lie, but I also learned that there are really nice people. There are people who will wait with you or listen to your rants or just know when you need cheering up.
I also realized how easy it is to be replaced. I won’t go into detail but it hurts when you realize that you have been replaced before you were ready to let go of a place or person.

I’ve always liked being alone but this month made me appreciate solitude and the peace and quiet that comes with it. In November, I got through Faking It, Awkward and a season of Gossip Girl. I watched YouTube videos, studies for semester finals and still wrote all those words. This was possible because I spent day after day at home, with no one besides Mr Meowing to disturb me.

(In case you are wondering, Mr Meowing, as his name suggests, is a cat and not some random man who lives at home.)

November was also a month of good films and good music. The Colombo International Film Festival was held earlier this month and I couldn’t go for more than three films but they were all amazing. And since I have all this time I home, I also watched quite a few films I like. And I know, I said earlier that I watched Faking It, Awkward and Gossip Girl but please believe me when I say, they were mere distractions from certain things I need a distraction from.

This month, I also realized how important it is to listen. It’s easy to nod your head or hmm haa your way through a conversation. But to listen and be listened to, it’s important. When you don’t listen, you miss out on a lot of things and it’s important to listen.

But I also learned that sometimes, you need to not listen. This isn’t when someone is talking to you but when people don’t have your best interests in mind. Dogs may bark, but you are an even bigger idiot if you bark back.

I also learned the power of friendship and how a simple thing like making Christmas cards for people you haven’t even met can make you feel so much better about this world and life. I learned that sometimes all it takes is a smile or a silly joke to make things alright for you. People can be vicious but friends, friends make life worth living.

Talking about Christmas cards and crafts, this month I sewed a bag. Yes, that’s right. I sewed a bag and I’m incredibly proud of myself. And if I managed to sew a bag, well, then there’s no doubt that pigs can fly.


So there you go. November 2015 as I lived it. It was a month of plenty of ups and downs, but I’m glad I lived through it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The best kind of people

The best kind of people are those who don't care that you have zero pictures with them. They are the people who put their phones away when they are with you and don't check-in at places and tag you in those posts. They are the people who don't care if you didn't wish them for their birthday and understand when you forget something about them or need time and space away from them. They are the people you don't need to introduce to your parents or other friends because they've already heard so much about them. They are the people you have long conversations with but don't necessarily talk to every day. They are the people who are thankful for your existence and those whose existence you are so thankful for.

They are the people you can have late-night conversations with or just walk side by side, in silence. They are the people who don't force you to be someone you aren't. They are the people you can trust to not break your heart or let go of your hand. But they are also the people who don't try to hold your hand because they know you don't want to. They are the people who are there for you, not always, not all the time, but when you need them.

They are the people you can share hilarious jokes with but also rant about the silliest things.



The best kind of people are rare and yet, they do exist and sometimes, we forget how fortunate we are to know such people.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Arrivals and departures

In life, we can't stay stagnated. We need to move on and on. But moving on means leaving something or someone behind. We usually don't realize this until after we have decided to move on. Moving on or moving away doesn't necessarily mean moving away from a person or place. Sure, when you move from Sri Lanka to the US, you leave a place and people behind. When you change your place of work, you leave behind friends and a place you loved like your own home. We move on from states or stages of life too. This is what makes birthdays important. It marks an arrival as well as a departure. When you turn 13, you arrive at this amazingly beautiful, scary, confusing and messy stage of life. But you also depart from childhood.

We don't get to make that many choices in life. Today, I came home in a crowded train and the compartment I was in smelled vaguely of farts. It was stuffy and I would have rather been in a bus, three wheeler or better yet, the staff transport van I had traveled in since the beginning of 2013. Yet, I had no choice. I had to survive the train ride, and I did.

I would love to spend 2016 traveling and discovering the wonders of the world. And yet, I have exams which I do need to pass. I can choose to let them go and go back to university in 2017 but how practical was this? Would it be wise to delay my degree? It wouldn't, so the dream to travel will have to be put on hold. Just for a while, until I can make that choice.

But once in a while, you do get to make a choice and you need to make the most of it. Today, on the way home, I thought of the most recent choice I made. Some people pushed me to make that decision two years ago. I wanted to make it a year ago but for various reasons, I changed my mind. Today, I knew I was leaving a state of life.

It's not just about being employed or unemployed, single or married, educated or not. It's also about being happy or sad, excited or bored, interested or not. We don't always get to choose how we feel, but sometimes we do.

Today, I'm oddly calm, even as I realize what I'm leaving behind. I'm leaving behind a lot, but I'm also moving towards a lot. Sometimes, we don't make the best choices but we need to make them in life. We need to grow and in order to grow, we need to take chances. I'm ready to trust in fate and let the universe take control for a while.

Maybe I'll end up in a deep pit and I'll have to ask help to get out of it. Or maybe... Well, let's see how it goes instead of making assumptions.

These past few days, I've been struggling to write. I would start a post and then abandon it because it was going nowhere. Or rather, because I couldn't tie the strings together and end those posts. Three years of journalism isn't much, but it made me believe that beginnings and endings are important. Articles need a great start and a great end. The rest matters too but the rest is easier to write than the beginning and end. Now I realize that with posts like this, there can't be a grand conclusion. And there need not be. I can't end by telling you that good choices lead to great things. I'm just beginning to make these choices. I don't know what's in store for me. May be the grand conclusion this post deserves is yet to be realized by me.

Maybe a future version of me will read this post and know just how it should end. But for now, I'm happy to leave it as it is.