Monday, December 28, 2015

Moments


I’m a big believer of moments. I believe they happen for a reason and I believe certain moments deserve or demand to be lived differently from others.

Some moments are to be spent with and around people. Sometimes you just need that one person who will look for you in a crowd, not because they are alone and seeking company but because they know you need them. Sometimes you need that person who will talk to you, even though you have no words to offer to them, the kind of people who will wait until you are ready to speak. Sometimes you need people who love you, even if you don’t or can’t love them, people you love even if they don’t or can’t love you, people who find happiness in your smiles and laughter or whose smiles and laughter give you reasons to be happy. Some moments demand to be spent with other people, a reminder that you aren’t alone in this world.

There are moments, however, when you need to be alone but not completely alone. You need a book that will take you to places you can never go yourself. A book that will give you characters to love and live through. Or it could be a song. A song that is yours, not shared with anyone else. You know all the words and it’s a song that knows you. It’s the arm around your shoulder that lets you know the world will be still soon. Or the kiss on your forehead that lets you know everything will be alright. It could be a film too. A film you’ve watched so many times you know all the words, the lines. You know the film like it was a memory that you lived through. Sometimes you need to be alone but not completely alone. Some moments demand this.

But then… there are moments when you have to be absolutely alone. When you can’t have other people telling you how to feel or what to do or what to think of. You need to lose your way in your thoughts and not have to translate them to words. You need to be given time to focus on yourself. At such moments, you need repetitive tasks. Tasks that don’t require much effort or thought. Like looking at the night sky or birds hopping from branch to branch. Like cleaning dishes or closing your eyes and following the random shapes and colors that hide behind your eyelids. During such moments, you need songs you don’t know, songs that won’t interrupt your thoughts or remind you of people, incidents and memories. Songs that are strangers.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What does it mean to say 'I do'?

At nearly-22, the last thing I need in my life is marriage. Hell! I can't even maintain a friendship with a male for a couple of months. How the hell will I maintain a relationship or marriage? And yet, other people my age don't seem to be sharing similar beliefs. Oh, they are jumping straight into marriage and it sure is scary. So many of my friends are getting engaged or married and I'm freaking out. They are saying 'I do' while I'm still single, crying over fictional characters and binge-eating. It isn't fair, but how can I stop comparing my life with the lives of my batchmates? We grew up together. Shouldn't we be all single, crying over fictional characters and binge-eating?

So people are getting married... people in their early-20s are getting married and I scoff at the idea. I keep saying things like, 'who in their right mind gets married at this age?' and thankfully my parents agree. But all these weddings make me wonder... what exactly is marriage? I mean, what are these people agreeing to?

I used to think that marriage was stability and security. But then... marriage is no longer an 'until death do us part' deal. So what is marriage, then?

Recently, Amma was in this shop buying vegetables. I was standing outside, being of no help, as usual. While I waited for Amma, two young couples came to that same shop to buy vegetables. Now this was a shop in our town and not a grocery store or supermarket. Anyway, everyone had a basket to put the vegetables they wanted in. Both couples seemed a bit lost. Yet, they talked among themselves and decided what vegetables were needed. They decided on how much to buy. All the while I stood outside the store wondering when I'll ever be able to know how much of which vegetables we need at home.

And isn't this what marriage is? Not just buying vegetables but maintaining a house? I know without doubt that I'm not ready for that. I can't plan menus or go grocery shopping on my own or keep an entire house clean. I can't wake up before others and make tea and breakfast and open the windows and plan lunch and wash clothes and clean the house. I can't take care of myself, let alone take care of a house and another person or two. And I sure as hell can't do any of this even if I find a man who will share the chores and not think that it's not a man's job.

Marriage isn't just getting married to the love of your life. Marriage isn't a beautiful wedding. Marriage isn't waking up to the person you love. Marriage is so much more than that. Marriage is responsibility and duties and obligations. Marriage isn't something you sign your way into just because you love someone.

So how do these people do it? How are these young people managing such adult lives?

My biggest fear isn't, however, for my batchmates' lives. If they want to get married, who am I to tell them not to? How can I tell them it's a bad idea? My fear is that we don't understand or know what exactly marriage is.

And this can cause us a lot of trouble. I mean, you are agreeing to this lifelong contract with someone but you don't even fully know what terms and conditions you have agreed to. And more and more people are excusing adultery and they accept that a loveless marriage is reason enough to cheat on your spouse and it's terrifying that people with such beliefs are getting married.

Because here's the thing. When you get married and you invite a bazillion people to your wedding, it can easily be the best day of your life. In fact, you can get married without a fancy wedding, and it can still be the best day of your life. Yet, when you realize that, while you love each other, you aren't meant to be husband and wife, and you go your own separate ways, then you are no longer just two people in this world. Your kids are affected, your parents and families and your friends are affected. You can't and you shouldn't take marriage lightly. It's so much more binding than that. It's so much more than a simple signature or grand wedding.

So don't say I do just because you love someone. Don't say I do just because your parents think it's high time you got married. Even if your culture or religion says that you need to be married by a certain age, you shouldn't be tying the knot until you are ready. Don't say I do because it's your duty or because society expects you to. Don't say I do for the wrong reasons.

There are enough and more right reasons to say I do and even if it takes time, you need to wait for those reasons.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The last message

While I'm not proud of it, I certainly don't even try to do anything about my inability to reply to messages. I always find some excuse and beyond a few hours/days of feeling guilty, I don't even care about the messages I don't reply to. Last night, I came across a Tumblr that was all about last messages and they were heartbreaking. Some were goodbye messages, but most weren't. They were simply messages that unexpectedly became last messages. Sometimes the conversation didn't continue because of death and other times because... It just never did.

And going through the posts I realized how any of the messages in my inbox could be a last message and it's sad that they can be. It's even sadder that they will end up being a last message simply because I just didn't make an effort to reply to them.


For the past few years, I made new year resolutions that I sealed in an envelope and only read at the end of the year. I never opened the ones I wrote for 2014. That envelope, covered in dust, remains unopened, unread. Each year's resolutions included 'make new friends and lose none.'

I don't have a lot of friends. I mean, I don't have a lot of friends I actually talk to. It's just that I can't maintain conversations and they exhaust me. I get along with very few. But worse than my inability to make friends is my inability to maintain friendships. I've let just too many people go, and most of the time, they left because I told them to, for no reason or fault of theirs. I just get overwhelmed sometimes and there's no way to get around that feeling other than by losing a friend or someone I care for.

So every year, I promise myself to make an effort and not let go of people. But each year, I break that promise. Each year, I think, 'this year, I will make sure no one goes from being someone I talk to everyday to someone I never talk to.' Each year, I end up losing more and more friends. And I think it was just meant to be but... I don't want any of those messages to be a last message. I don't want to lose someone just because none of us made an effort to just click send.

So I hope that 2016 will be different and that even if I don't make any new friends, that I won't lose the people that are part of my life. I know I can't always expect the other person to make the effort, but if I do fail to keep this promise, just know that I really didn't want your message to be the last between us. And that sometimes, even when, and especially when, I tell you to leave, I still do need you and care for you.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Days like today

If you know me or have read any of these posts (this or this) or any other rants about social situations, you'll know that I don't handle social situations or socializing that well. I'm more than happy to stand against a wall and hope that, in a miraculous turn of events, god sends me an invisibility cloak.

I'm shy, awkward and scared of talking to people. Don't get me wrong. Regardless of what I say, I do love and appreciate it when people make an effort to talk with me but there aren't that many people I can talk with. It's just the way I am and I really wish more people would accept this and understand that talking or being friendly takes a lot of effort for me.

My inability to make friends or conversation means I spend a lot of time alone. It's not that I don't have a lot of friends. I have enough and more friends but not all of them are people I can talk to. There's also the case that these are people I mostly speak to online. I rarely meet them and even if I do, I usually spend more time alone than with people.

Since my recently unemployed status, I've been spending a lot of time alone. At home, it's just me and Jayawathi and she rarely disturbs me. Johnny meows every now and then but that's about it. I'm online most of the time but I rarely talk with people.


While this is a rare occurrence, the notification terrifies me. As crushing loneliness is, I like being alone. I'm not good at talking to people and so I prefer silence. And this isn't because I don't like people. I love people. I just don't know how to talk to people and believe me when I say that the struggle is real. It's not fun to want to say something but be unable to say it because your system refuses to speak. It's not fun when people ask you to join in the fun, take pictures or just talk with them when you can't because you just can't and not because you are tired or sad or not in the mood.

While I don't go there often, I love Cup Cafe with all my heart. This isn't because I like the food or drinks or the people there. I love them, but that's not why I keep going there. Cup Cafe is my escape from the world. Whenever I need to escape from people, I just go there and the place makes me appreciate aloneness.

You see, society seems to think being alone isn't a good thing. Asking for a table for one isn't something we can all do. It's as if being alone in public means you have failed as a person and yet, there's nothing better than being alone. When you are alone, you don't need to pretend or have your guard up. It's just you and nothing or no one else matters.


As much as I deny liking anything stereotypically girly, I love flowers. The first time I took home flowers, one of the van ladies asked me if it was from someone special. When I told her that I bought them for our house, she was quite surprised. Turns out, flowers need to be received and not bought for oneself. I can't deny that even I make jokes saying, "I can't believe the only way I get flowers is if I buy them," or "I'm so forever-alone that I have to buy myself flowers."

But why can't I buy myself flowers? What's wrong with that? Why are we so afraid of taking part in anything that suggests or implies we are alone? Why are we so afraid of loneliness and being alone?

A week or two ago, I was alone at a cafe and I was just glad that there was no one to talk to me. It wasn't that I didn't want to be interrupted but I just needed to be by myself. After that, I had to meet a friend and I walked towards Vihara Maha Devi Park and everyone else was with someone. They were with friends, spouses, children, parents or lovers. Everyone had someone and I didn't but it didn't matter. I was glad I didn't have anyone with me because sometimes, you need to distance yourself from people.

And you need to accept that not everyone can be with other people. Some of us struggle to maintain relationships and we can't always be there for people. We struggle to talk to people and we prefer being alone. There's nothing wrong with this and there's no shame in being alone.


But then there are days like today or last Wednesday, when I enjoy being with people. On Wednesday, I laughed and talked with people I had met just a few weeks ago. I talked with people I love being with. I spent time with people that are, sometimes, the reason I await the beginning of another day.

And today.
Today was great. I was alone for the first half of it. I was alone in the sense that I was surrounded by people but I seemed to be invisible. No one knew me and no one spoke to me. I was happy being a person that no one saw or cared about. It made me feel insignificant but it also made me realize how life isn't all about the people you know or talk to. Whenever people boast about how many friends they have or how many follow them on Twitter or how many relationships they've had, I rarely feel envious. I mostly want to tell them that none of that matters as much as how much they've enjoyed life, with or without company.

And I'm beginning to appreciate life in a new and perhaps, better way. I'm beginning to love the little things in life; silly jokes and silence and long walks. I'm beginning to notice the small gestures and the shared smiles and moments. Life is better when you forget the world and just live and be yourself.

And today.
Today, I met with friends. It wasn't planned as such. I don't know about the others, but I sure didn't wake up this morning knowing or even, hoping I'll have such a wonderful day. You see, I've been drowning in an ocean of uncertainty. While I mayn't admit it, I've been so afraid that maybe I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I've been so scared and life has been nothing like it was before...
But today, we went back to those days when we could just laugh and laugh for no reason. We laughed at the lamest jokes and we laughed until our tummies ached. We made jokes and teased each other and we were happy.

And the best thing about today was that no one cared if we were a bit lost in life. No one asked us about our plans and when we would take the next step when it came to work or studies or life in general. No one made us think of any of the bad days. None of that mattered. All that mattered was that we were there, together, and we had the best time ever.


And as much as I love being alone and as used to loneliness as I am, today, I was thankful for friendships that matter and happiness that comes with no strings attached.

Maybe today or Wednesday or any other day I've thought was great or amazing won't be enough to keep me afloat in this world. They won't keep away the down days. I will still struggle with unhappiness, an inability to talk or make friends or even smile, sometimes. I will continue to drown in uncertainty and I will continue to be scared about the future.

But for now, days like today are enough. And for now, the people I love are enough to make me want to make the most of life. And this is important. It's important to have something, whether it's happiness or relationships or music, that is enough. And I'm glad today existed. I'm glad Wednesday existed. I'm glad that the people I know and love exist because without them... well, without them, I wouldn't have tummy aches after laughing too much. I wouldn't have tears in my eyes after laughing at the lamest and silliest jokes. I wouldn't have a reason to smile at the most random (and often, inconvenient) times.