Yet to begin

Holding my breakfast in hand,
Pondering, unable to take a stand,
The crumbs of the toasted bread fall
Just as the tears from the past call,
Jam, jammed in between the crusts
My head slowly thrusts,
Into the shoulder I’ve known
Aiding to the comfort came your humble tone

The things of past torment the present,
The scars from the abuse without consent,
Yet here’s a warm soul embracing me from within
Reminding me of the healing that’s yet to begin.

Passing clouds

Passing clouds

Unable to move, with a head so dizzy. I laid down and just saw all what I could see with tears blurring my vision. The window before me has my aunt’s Betel plant climbing on the back fence. Behind which is an apartment older than me with its fading peach walls. It looked like a sky scraper from where I laid. While my mind wondered what has my life turned out to be – troubled with sickness, and weakness. I didn’t wish to exist another day being a burden for others to care.

I looked above and noticed the blue sky that peaked behind the buildings of the neighbouring apartment. I noticed how this blue sky had it’s own passing visitors- the white clouds . Each cloud, white and fluffy like cotton candy that we as kids would eat. Some clouds passed away from sight within a second, others took more than just a second. But these beautiful delicate things moved around, making the sky an wonderful landscape for my blurry eyes.

I prayed at that moment asking God to make me like those clouds. Immediately the verse that resounded on my mind was how a thousand years is like a blink of an eye for our God. I realised how our life is like this blue empty sky. The clouds be it white, yellow, pink, purple or grey are the different phases of our life. The beautiful yellowish pink clouds during sunset pass away so quickly. While during monsoon the rain filled grey clouds just gloom around us like there’s no tomorrow.

Similarly the problems in our lives could be like these clouds. Some move away quickly and we are assured that God answers our prayers, and in a blink of an eye, our life is back to normal. Other clouds may linger on, and that’s when our faith is tested. The tears dry up, but the pain and the hurt stays on. But as I wipe my tears off, and all you can do during those times is to look up. There’s always something reminding you that everything will be alright.

The field and I

The burning heat from the sun and the traffic, the noise from the crowd gathered, the temple music blasting through speakers, the honking of vehicles, and the pure chaos that follows. I stood as an insignificant creature with a phone in hand, wondering what I could capture next that would be essential for our research.

The traffic of vehicles, humans and pure chaos!

There was a surreal distance between me and the field I suggested to my fellow researchers as a suitable area for our topic. I am surprised at how the space that I’ve lived around for more than ten years becomes unfamiliar once you step into it as a researcher. The knowledge as a citizen, a resident, as a romanticize-r of a city is questioned instantly when you look at a particular space as your field of study.

The romanticize-r of the city facing the humid heat.

The cloudless sky turned dark within a few minutes, and the hot loo brushed our faces. Greeted only by dust and noise, I realized that the following weeks will be more than just hectic. My friends began talking to our sample population, while I stood at a distance silently listening and observing the ever-changing environment.

The humidity and the heat from the field didn’t didn’t stop my pondering soul. I thought about the walls of biases that I built a front that distanced me from the people I wish to know and study. As the day came to an end we were drenched in sweat and the cold summer rain. Realising the need for a break we stopped for a cup of chai. Talking to my friends I found out how I didn’t feel these thoughts alone. As everyone shared their experience I understood how this project is going to be an everyday journey of navigating through personal biases, ethics of visual research and the indifferences that we as a group share.

The showers of rain over my pondering soul.

Pictures as prompts- Free Flowing/ Falling

I wish to flow with no bounds
Iridescent to most yet symmetrical to few
Shining under the hot sun during the day
Striving under the luminous light by night
Plenty would call me drowned,
Yet here I stand tall, crowned.

Free flowing, or maybe Free falling in love
The love of broken souls that
Replaces old scars with immortalized flowers.

Ol McDonald’s

Every conversation with some acquaintance reminds me of how this world is a much smaller place than we think of it to be.

Yesterday, I posted a this picture of my mother walking before me towards a Mcdonalds outlet. An old college classmate replied asking if it was the outlet at Rajindra Place. Surprised at her accurate guess, I asked her how she knew since she didn’t live around. This led to a long conversation, where we realized that we studied in neighbouring schools and would save up money to splurge at this Mcdonalds after our terminal exams.

I have always associated Mcdonalds with a bittersweet nostalgia and rightly so many of my close friends agree. Since the last year, me and one of my closest friend, after all of our purpose-less, spontaneous meet ups would find the nearest Mcdonalds to grab a tiny meal. One day we were disappointed to see the toy that was displayed at the counter for a happy meal and shared on how amazing the toys were when we were young. The middle class values ingrained in my soul let out a rant on about how coming to Mcdonalds was a rare opportunity for me growing up. And maybe now that we’re a bit old and financially better off than before, the toys might seem a bit less amusing.

Recently I have been having/craving for a tiny Pizza McPuff or a Mc Swirl at least once a week. This made me wonder if things had been different growing up, would Ol Mcdonalds still be my go- to eatery?

If I wouldn’t have struggled to save up the money to go and eat the cheapest burger on the menu with my friends after school. Or if I wouldn’t have gone to the fanciest five-star restaurants once in a blue moon and felt miserably uncomfortable. Or if I had begun to overthink the growing captivation of capitalism and questioned the impact of Mcdonaldization in my own life after attending my sociology lectures.
I definitely don’t think that I would be still Mcloving it, if it wasn’t for the way I grew up.

So now, going back to the idea of associating Mcdonalds to the nostalgic past of saving your first toy from a happy meal, or sharing that small coke with two straws on your first date, or celebrating with your friends from your first salary, makes perfect sense. It reminds me of the simple joys of life that I can find in one of my happiest places on earth!

Love Sick / Sick of Love?

A boy sends off his loved one at the airport, only for the girl to run back into his arms realising her love for him is more beautiful than anything else in this world.

A girl runs after the train to reunite with her partner whom her whole family disapproves.

A couple sit on the bench at the train platform waiting for the train that will soon separate them away for a long time.

After obsessing over these scenes from Rom-Coms, I wondered if airports and train stations are the most romantic places on earth or has fiction romanticised it to be?

I recently got the answer to my question, that is, every place can be romanticised once you fall in love! Every nook and corner of the city where you fall in love, seems beautiful. Like how the eye looks beyond the pan-covered street corner as its the place where you had your first kiss. And how the nose smells over the sweaty t-shirt under the summer sun when you hugged them tight. It’s this magical transformation that occurs when we’re love sick right?

But not everyone’s love sick at the moment, and this bring us to the next category of the ones who are sick of love. Done with the nonsense of ‘Sunshine, lollipops and rainbows
Everything that’s wonderful is what I feel when we’re together
‘ dream world. Living life as realists, the people who are sick of love perceive the world a bit differently.

And unfortunately these people often get overlooked. They could be the one informing the couple of their final train’s arrival. Or they could be one among the family disapproving the relationship by predicting the realistic future of the couple. Not always the bearer of bad news, the people sick of love, view the practical possibilities of life. The way they do not wish to be tied down or settle for anything less which reflects on the amount of pain and lessons learnt on their way.

In this whole post, I’ve added pictures of places where I fell in love, and the places where I felt that I fell out of love. It’s rare not to recall the person and the memories etched in these roads, on these trees or in these metal railings. But it’s just the bitter-sweet nostalgia that gets you to revisit these places over and over again, while questioning if your love sick or sick of love because of that person in your life.

Pictures as prompts – The colour blue

All my life I had painted my being blue,
No other colours could ever peak through
It seems weird that now I can see
What all I have missed that was for free

By painting my walls blue
I thought I’d never let you
Or anyone, come through
Yet your call,
Broke down and led the blues to crawl

Now the colour blue
Lies behind the birds that flew
As there you are painting my world
With rainbows, and sunshines to mold

One day maybe I’ll never feel blue
That could turn into something new
Maybe the first chapter of a new book
Or the last first date that we ever took.

The great “what if’s” of life

Recently someone shared me this song by Kane Brown featuring Lauren, titled ‘what ifs’. The whole song captures how two individuals who with their pasts of broken hearts, share their anxiety about falling in love with someone who could ideally be made for them.

Today my day began on an uneasy note, probably due to the erratic mood swings, bloating and lower-back pain induced by the curse of a menstrual cycle. Trying to distract my half-alive body, I began to play a few songs on my ukulele. Yet I could not tame my mind, with all the what if’s that stormed through.

Ever since I was young and learnt that life could be unpredictable, I would often spend a lot of nights sleepless wondering what would happen in my future. I would dream of a ‘white gown- chapel-love marriage‘ which would quickly be replaced by what if I don’t find the perfect gown, what if I don’t find love, what if I don’t get married itself?!’ Then on other days I would dream of a ‘independent-artist-NRI- lifestyle’ which would be replaced by what if I don’t figure out my passion, what if I get paid less, what if I end up hating this lifestyle?!

But over the past year I noticed how I stopped dreaming about both these scenarios that kept me awake all night. Probably my ability to overthink curbed my enthusiasm of constantly trying till I succeed or at least till I figure it out. So was it the great ‘what ifs’ of life that stopped me from dreaming entirely?

A friend understanding my existential crisis, gave a contradicting advice – to not stop overthinking. He stated how the world’s greatest inventions was born out of brains that stayed restless. Soaking his advice in, I realized how all of these stroming questions that build up into a demon of my restless nights might actually lead to something great. It is a bit scary to not think about how my what ifs could become true, (as it’s not a utopian world). Yet it’s this very demon that unleashes the confidence from within to try something that lies outside of my comfort zone.

With this I leave you all with the lyrics of the song, so you listen to that uneasy restlessness that storms you today.

You say what if I hurt you
What if I leave you
What if I find somebody else
And I don’t need you
What if this goes south
What if I mess you up
You say what if I break your heart
In two then what
Well I hear you girl
I feel you girl but not so fast
Before you make your mind up
I gotta ask

What if I was made for you
And you were made for me
What if this is it
What if it’s meant to be
What if I ain’
t one of them
Fools just Playin’ some game
What if I just pulled you close
What if I leaned in
And the stars line up
And it’s our last first kiss
What if one of these days baby
I’d go and change your name
What if
I loved all these what ifs away

Questions I ask myself today.

A diptych of a colorfully painted bridge and a flower adorned arch, in Lodhi Garden, Delhi.

(Recently while curating pictures to submit for a photography competition, I brought together this picture. What I saw was the the coming together of two alphabets from the languages I speak. In Hindi (the language of the city I reside in) the alphabet ‘त’ (t) and in Tamil (my mother tongue) the alphabet ‘ற்’ (r). I reflected upon my journey to Delhi – a melting pot of all cultures, and submitted a caption on inclusion of the diverse identities. The following paragraphs down below is something that I had written on my journal a few months back. I decided to post this today with this picture, because I feel it somehow captures what I felt on that indecisive day.)

30th November 2021

When one cannot make a decision, how does the world view them?

I have never been this indecisive as I am today. I cannot decide between staying and leaving a place that I love. A life split between the two cities of Chennai and Delhi. The love for both of my urban spaces is as wide as the shore of Merina and as tall as the Quitb Minar. The complex relationships shared with people of two cultures is liberating and coerisve in its own way.

Where am I the happiest? What is holding me back or pulling me towards it?

I never wanted to attach my happiness to a place or a person. But neither have I been able to compartmentalize my joy into a box. It overflows from space and time. Contentment is what I strive towards, yet the longing for the simplest thing can push you to make a drastic decision.

Do you think you will regret this?

I do not wish to. I want to believe that I’m right.I am right, right?

Counting the many times we’ve shared a virtual hug.

Yes, the title is a bit too long but that exactly describes what I want to write in this blog post today.

As I typed in the words ‘virtual hug’ on my whatsapp search, I found a bunch of conversations with different people in a variety of contexts. The most surprising one for me was from a conversation that occured in 2017! And here I was thinking, ‘virtual hug’ was a new addition to my vocabulary just like the other terms such as ‘omicron’ ‘WFH‘ or even ‘mascne‘.

The warmth of a hug could express more than I could ever put into words, it was that one form of expression where I would never hold back. No matter how angry or disappointed I was at someone’s behaviour, when they reach and cub me in a bear hug, magically all of it fades away. I don’t think even 0.5% of it could be as expressed through sharing a virtual hug, but we all ended up needing one in the pandemic.

As I sat reading through these long emotional texts, where I end by stating ‘sending you a virtual hug‘, I realised that even after the lockdown was lifted and one could go and meet our loved ones, the warmth of a hug shared remained pending. Long bear hugs had to now be compromised for fist-(air)-bumps and namaste’s. UGH.

With us celebrating zoom birthdays, anniversaries and even graduation, I now sympathize with my college juniors who lost a lot more. As they could never experience the real life of college – filled with never ending fest seasons, sultry canteens gabs, last minute shopping plans, soaking the sun on the college gardens and what not. While talking to a junior from my photography society, she mentioned how much she missed our photo walk sessions and how the society is almost inactive due to the pandemic. Reading through her disappointment, all I could do to console her was with by sending a virtual hug and saying we’ll go on a photowalk real soon.

But the one thing that I realised is that in my life, I’ll still be sharing ‘virtual hugs’ till I’m old and wrinkly. Not that I have any chronic infections that pushes me to live a life maintaining a distance of five feet from my loved ones (God, I hope that never happens).But it’s just how all of my friends currently live in different states. Meeting them now feels like sighting an eclipse. But in days when either of us are in a situation of crises, all we can do is share a virtual hug-a reminder of the distance between us. And that’s all we’ve got until we book a flight, travel all the miles and embrace each other in bear hug which we longed for.

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