Of Opinions & Indecisions, Fictions & Fables

I am not a person known for holding opinions. Because I do not have them in the first instance. This leads me to assume that I must be somewhat open-minded, for I often realise that I do not have viewpoints on a lot of doodahs. Like, what are my thoughts on the country’s current political scenario? Nothing. At what stage is someone qualified to call themselves a writer? I don’t know. When is someone’s time to make a public appearance with their performance? After preparation; lots of it. How do I react to people’s opinions about me? Barely heard them. When someone writes to the best of their abilities, why is it not okay to still refer themselves as writers? Erm…good question. What is my take on someone’s reservations about me? It isn’t until you mentioned this that I realised it exists. What do I think about my neighbour’s kid? Cute. How about their dog? He is adorable, but I am scared when he comes close. What are my thoughts about a person whom I have only met? What is there to think about it when we have only met? Would I meet them again? We’ll see. Can we go shopping? Why not? How do I feel about my bank balance? Should I? From subjects of conversations to current issues, from general knowledge to someone’s socioeconomic status, from movies to a media person’s lives, and from a person’s choice of action to the rationale behind settling for it fails to perturb me. Unless I am looking at one or more of the said points for charting the plot of a book. Such an impartial outlook is probably a reflection of the fact that none of these, except discussing things in general, interest me. If they are served on my plate, I will devour them without a second thought. However, I find there is not much I can contribute in such situations than belching a burp in the aftermath. There, I have digested your piece of conversation. I am likely to nod my head along, ‘okay’ the speaker’s facts and utterances, and add a pointer if I have one to offer.

That is all there is to it.

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Source: Pixabay

As far as I can trace my days of getting taller, I have been an indifferent person. It is only my way of expressing this indifference that has altered over the years. Think, in the flow. Walk, in the flow. Talk, in the flow. Eat, in the flow. Listen to what my well-wishers have to say, but act per my flow. Smile, despite the flow. Laugh, in the flow. And be done with it. For there is no point brooding over something that’s attended to already. What is to be gained by thinking of instances, to the extent of scrutinising, analysing and finally opining on that matter? Instead, I find it easy to be indifferent to many things. And people. Including my own. If one were to uncover a layer underneath, differences with people arise when there is a discord between our thought-processes. At such times, I go about my business without caring to look over my shoulder thereby keeping the devil, aka my opinions, on the subject at bay. Anything that I have to say on the particular leitmotif is only going to irk the other. Considering the differences in our opinions. There are no connecting dots, after all, only a parallel line. The alternative side sticking to their logic and reasoning on the subject matter does not mean I need to jump the wall to their side to agree. Lest I land up tearing down my equation with them. To be honest, if it is a relationship that matters, it must have developed over seasons of unbearably warm afternoons and chilly mornings. And with time, you only tighten the knots. Unless, we are talking about a connection that is bound on a bridge of fragility, such that a single misunderstanding can lead to fallout. Is such a relationship even worthy of being called one?

I can only wonder.

What do you do when one is unable to accept the differences and make peace with it, to the point of being adamant and influencing you over and again in their line of ideas, while veiling under ‘I am only saying this for your good? You put your thumb(s) up, mutter ‘okay’, and hope that, in the ever-churning whirlpool of fresh incidents, they forget about this one. Or better, let go.

Keep Calm & Sip Your Drink
Keep calm & quench your thirst | Source: Pixabay

Everything materialistic defined as must-haves for one’s survival is prioritised by the survivor. It must be. Depending on their belief system, thought-process and chosen mode of lifestyle. An unavoidable ingredient often linked to the pursuit of happiness is wealth. It is elementary, no doubt, for food, water and shelter. However, it is a commodity, and can consequently, be refrained from being a priority to one and all. There rests an alternative way to live with bare essentials; the choice purely based on one’s preference. Those who want to pursue the moolah go for it, despite the cause and effects. For a few, it doesn’t top the charts. Because their lifestyle’s cookbook holds a different blend of ingredients, where a paper note is probably a condiment.

Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, as long as it makes sense to its owner. The underlining fact being, to each their own.

I have been facing heat from a fair share of people since the time I quit my well-remunerated job to pursue writing and singing full-time. When Pachai and I decided to jump into it, it was an informed step we took. We had estimated the by-products that were likely to generate in the process, of which we had two options. We either deal with the arising side-effects, or I go back and find a job that would once more churn me that sure-shot salary at the end of each month. I have figured, when you choose fine arts as your mode of living, it must not be done so with the sole motive of earning. Not in the beginning, at least. Because professions in the fine arts aren’t reputed for being money-churners. The banknotes are only a corollary medium of exchange that is bound to find its course in the process.

You pursue fine arts because you want to.

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What did you see first? | Source: The Internet

Interestingly, I have faced arguments from family and friends that I articulate my opinions in an abstracted and daydreamy attitude because I am an artist. Because I write. And, sing. That, my thought-process sounds breezy and beautiful, however, cannot be abided to because it is impractical. Here I am, reduced to thinking, why cannot an artist’s thought-process be as practical as that of those logical-minded ones? When finding a job to earn money is an efficient mode of living to pay off one’s bills and loans, why can’t living in a shelter, making enough to provide for three square meals a day, and clothing one’s body with fabrics that are neither tattered nor unclean be considered practical likewise? Does my thought-process come across that fantastic when I say money is not the frontal point in my survivor’s list? Am I giving away a delusional aura to the point of seeming deranged? Is my head for real in the clouds? Believing in the existence of angels squired with halos, wings and long robes?

When I can respect someone else’s adoption of causal effects, why can’t you mine? Why is it difficult to agree to disagree with my viewpoint, and continue going on about our relationship by tightening that clump? After all, it’s only one loop that we both, as two distinct individuals, differ upon.

Only time will tell
Source: Pixabay

Only time will tell.

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Drawing a line on the Seashore is no surprise: it’s Narcissism

The golden ball of flame had begun to loom up the horizon when I saw a family of three men, two women and two kids on the terrace of our building. They stared at the sea watching the sun rise from its sapient depths, pointing and conferring. The firebomb looked flushed and had stationed itself like a statue to tune up its brightness. At first, it blushed and then turned a carroty red. Once at ease, it resumed its journey upward in the air transpiring from a glow of tangerine to a summer’s amber. As it left an undetectable trail while rising into the horizon’s heart, its control with the brightness went awry. The exposure and saturation levels began to exceed expectations to the point of becoming unbearable. The unsuspecting carrier couldn’t have been more oblivious to the process, for that’s when the family of seven left the terrace. Probably to head home. This is how mornings – and sometimes, days – used to be spent once upon a time. Being present in the mere nothings, and amidst companionship. Whether in one’s direct bloodline or the next of it.

The need to chronicle ourselves with multicoloured labels has become an insouciant part of us today. It could have started here. A single tag of a service person, a musician, an artist, a teacher, a homemaker, or a student fails to please our ego. We feel stranded with a half-baked identity when we’re asked to describe what do we do, in a single word. We choose to let the question pass than giving a perfunctory response because we can’t meet the only criteria of the answering guidebook – in a single word. We certify that jack of a figure of speech by taking pride in referring to ourselves as generalists. Such self-bestowed testimonials are the trend nowadays – as they say in the West, swag.

We are the kind who’d engage our blood and sweat (tears, in some cases) into making an entrepreneurial venture a success while indulging in our passion for learning music in parallel. Because the former doesn’t yield us with a peace of mind and the latter, as many monetary benefits. We are the type who would be volunteering for an NGO over a weekend while posting a live feed of a reinvented foodstuff like an epicure by night. Because the former is a sideline that we enjoy undertaking, and the latter brings out an edgy connoisseur in us. We are the ones who would plan an itinerary to travel for a sunrise at the tip of our country while avoid soaking in the same-process-of-the-same-golden-ball-looming-up-the-same-way in our city. Because the former grants us a social status and the latter sounds relatively plain Jane.

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Source: Pinterest

 

Social media profiles layer our existence by allocating omnipotent space to ‘describe ourselves’. Our reciprocating sentiments are no less than dilemmatic, for we find quilting into those blanks tricky. We fill the room with eye-catching expressions that serve the sole intent of drawing as much attention to ourselves. I’m no exception. An isolated tag does not rationalise our existence on this planet and hence, what we do by day and nights, the things we do by the hour and several, our itinerary for the weekend and the transition back to a workweek find their way under the ‘About Us’ section.

We seek multifaceted designations for ourselves and yet scream out for individualism. The irony at the base of it all.

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Artist: Praneet Soi | Kochi Muziris Biennale, 2016

Our need to be independent, tolerant and opinionated is an integral part of us, much so that we have begun to clinch gaps for reconciliatory sentiments. Accommodate, adjust, compromise – I have to think the last time I was subjected to any of these. For illustration sakes, I may not go with a visiting relative for a walk because it would upset my writing routine. I would refuse to join a get together over the weekend because, my travel plans if cancelled then, might not resurface soon afterwards. I’m selfish. In fact, our need to be doing things at all times keeps us marching on, yet desisting from an attachment to any of it. As SRK said in a recent conversation over coffee – this generation is ‘demotional’. Detached yet emotional. The outcome of a contrivance we try yielding in our favour is great. If not, we move on even so. And try harder.

Despite that self-attested sticker of being distinct in the crowd, we are in pursuit of other people. We seek an attendance in our community now and then. We look out for friendships that appreciate us, bringing along a sense of belonging.

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Source: @sarcasm_only

Motivational quotes catch our eye in a snap and hit the spot in us like a breeze. We share them with a one-word inscription only to forget about them the next day. We emphasise on yoga to the extent that we look at our mobile phones first thing in the morning. What about yoga for the eye? In a snap, we’re health-freaks and in the next, corporate smidgeons. In a snap, we’re the friend in need and the next, a traveller sojourning the wild by ourselves. Our workplace is no different, demanding us to bring to the table a little bit of everything. A niche skillset neither works nor suffices in a corporate setup today. Each of this transpires into tags that appear to be gift-wrapped in a golden paper but barely handed over. Because that box is likely to be empty. Devoid of value.

Some memes are doing the rounds on social media these days, of how our parents’ lifestyles differed when they were in their late twenties as against how our lifestyles are when we are of their age today.

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Source: The Internet

That’s likely because they did a thing or two right by belonging to a community setup. Through the choices we make, we always win some and lose some. Our parents may have forgone their voices in the grander scheme of things, while we could have found ours. While they chose to have us in their late twenties, we’re coping along fine by getting enough of ourselves. Maybe, they were meant to motor for a living, because the ambition for most was to motor for a living. For all we know, their idea of a break was indeed to enjoy a cup of chai with their group of regulars or stall near the vending machine at workplace discussing generic tactics. Back then, humankind’s purpose was by and large to exist and drive evolution. Instead, fraying on the sides with scheme(s) that failed to confide in them that the time, efforts, the sweat, blood and tears will be worth it all.

Eh, what do I know? I’m just a cynical spectator who is clueless about where to draw the line anymore. For one, sketching it on the seashore isn’t helping.

Sarcasm
Source: @sarcasm_only

 

Get Stuck or Choose to Stay

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Shards of Memories, Chunks of Souvenirs & Fragments of Echoes: Someone’s Journal on Display?

Maintaining a personal journal is a painstaking virtue. Images feed within one’s mind space tumbling one over the other, each eager and in a rush to be spilt out. The thought owner speeds up his otherwise ebbing pace of the ink dripping onto his diary’s page. He is equally browbeaten about missing to note of his day’s deeds and sentiments, lest his flow of thoughts supersedes his writing’s momentum. As a character inscribed into the pages of a diary, its penman is labelled to individual tags already. Some bestowed by societal norms while others acquired as a result of fusing a bunch of unsurveyed circumstances. A son, a spouse, father, an employee, a frequenter at the town market, a swimmer, a weekend chef amidst a handful others. Records under ‘Dear Diary’ swivel in a vortex of such quotidian tags regardless of anomalies. Well, almost.

When heaved by a catapult into a land of unfamiliarity, the process of self-discovery sets to a virgin. There is a chance, however slight that dreams translate into fidelity, aspirations glide within one’s grasp, and expectant titles become a reality. Everyone you cross by is at first a stranger, an acquaintance later. They’re convinced by ways you describe yourself. They accept your roles and titles the way you ask them to believe. Your conviction renders convention. More into yourself, than into those whom you confided in.

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The Chest of Secret Diaries: Confessions to a Doctor or an Artist? In a Bunker or a Sand Bag?

Early this week, I was at the Kochi Muziris Biennale. As a novice to travelling solo and visit all things artsy, there came across acquaintances with whom I shared a thing – our presence at the Biennale. Conversations made way, some small time and others relatively sizeable where I was asked of my profession. Here lay a chance to be an individual bearing a blank slate. Here was an opportunity to shed the past of my association with a multinational corporation and establish myself into the creative space. Because this is the dream. The best part of the approach was the credibility and validity of it all without dubious questions or scrupled reservations.

Discerning listeners’ expressions was an experience when I introduced myself as a writer. A few pairs of eyebrows shot up, their portrayal of encouragement and (in some cases) scepticism vulnerable. At times they knit together as a stretch of poorly done stitches as if the listener was not sure of what they’d heard. Some brows stayed neutral for they’d either come across a writer as often as they lunched, or had wanted to understand the extent of the craft’s practice. A conversation went on to confess if I did anything aside from writing. Pursuing my other interest of learning music invoked him to refer to me as an artist. La La Land, indeed.

These brief escapades of self-establishment were a great deal. Not because they were meant to boast but because they are someone’s unrealistic tags in their now. Itsy-bitsy conversations allowed them to believe in a world of interpreting their dream-like label(s) into a grounding fact. These were individual moments that reestablished someone’s conviction in that blindfolded leap of faith they had taken despite their world turning its back on them.

Mine.

In the course of the Biennale, reaping perspectives and drawing parallels was irrefutable. But tripping over a self-actualised title – a surreal first.

Sorry, Not Sorry

I am a sceptical person. I self-limit the need to express my views and opinions; the wish being negligible in its existence. Partly because I am not comfortable talking in or to the public and partly because my perspectives fail to confide in me. My points of view do not reward me with any self-confidence. Or with anything positive for that matter. I feel great about them. No second thoughts there. But not when I need to share them with someone. I guard my outlooks with a fierce privacy lest I give them away, even if a little unwittingly, for a spin of mockery. I am apprehensive of being brought to the fore; under the limelight of any kind. Whether in my presence or in the lack of it. I shy away, wanting to camouflage with the painting on the walls or into the floor pattern. I wish nothing more than to disappear in those moments at the snap of a finger leaving behind a whiff of smoke. Or, maybe nothing at all.

I am tongue-tied when it comes to enunciations. Of, for, and about, anything. It leads me to the reasoning that articulation is not my forte. Instances have more often than not directed me to not doing a good job of them.

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Steer on, for there is light at the end of every tunnel

When I finished Under Graduation, reality hit with a jerk. I was not ready to face the drone of concrete jungles. I was on the brink of hitting twenty. With a skimpy general knowledge, measly data handy about career options, and the internet just beginning to gain traction — and therefore the lack of it — I chose Post Graduation in Business Administration. I knew I was not interested. But I could not fathom what I wanted career-wise. I did not know if there were courses to get creative. I did not know if the world paid for any jobs that did not include crunching numbers in banks or stocks and share markets. The sound of it is dreamy. But I also knew that I did not want my studentship to end that soon. And so, even if not the best of choices, I agreed to a Business Administration degree. Because that meant winning back my student life. Even if for two years. On the flip side (read: the course front), little did I know what I was signing up for. The bottom line lay in my disability to articulate to my parents of the time I wanted, to grasp my area of interest. I failed to tell them that I was looking for more creative options. I did not express me being okay about taking a few weeks, a month, or a few, to discover what I wanted to do. Even if that meant letting go of an academic year.

Two years of extended studentship. Not the best of educational choices. You win some. You lose some.

Musée Rodin, Paris
Choices hold the authority to a ‘what if?’; always

Verbal communication — or my lacking in it — make me defensive. I stutter and stammer with an always-active-word-search-bar in my silver cells. Trying to give a vocalised perspective to my viewpoint. But I fail at it. Miserably. Time and again. Even if I manage to string aloud two sentences resonating with my thought process, a cynical side questions me if the listener has perceived it the way I intended it to be. I run out of tolerance at my inability to word my thoughts, suit up into a defensive mechanism, and throw the ball back in the asker’s court. This happens a lot particularly when I am eliciting elaborations about abstract subjects. An idea, an event or even a domain. I enjoy spending time amidst visual art forms. If someone were to ask me what is at an art fair and the reason I want to visit it, I would be dumbstruck. I would not know what more to say other than it’s nice. I would find no way to phrase my thoughts, that is, if there are any! I love music — I worship it. What about a melody, a rhythm or a song makes me go gaga, I do not know. How can you not like the song? or What is there to not like about this song? is the question I am faced with. I cannot justify the feeling of being, that abstract art forms give me. I must either be let go without too many I-am-only-trying-to-understand-your-perspective questions or stay back because I am unable to suppress someone’s curious qualms.

“I want to visit the Biennale in Kochi.”
“What’s a Biennale?”
“It’s a large-scale exhibition or a music festival that happens once every two years.”
“What’s at the Biennale?”
“It’s an art fair.”
“What art?”
“Visual art. There is a website. I can show you the details.”
“That’s okay. Why do you want to go?”
“Because it’s good to learn perspectives. I feel great in the company of visual art.”
“What kind of visual art?”
“Paintings, expositions — there are artists of different cadres. It’s okay if you don’t want me to go. I can stay at home and plan for something that’s available in the neighbourhood.”

This was a recent conversation between Pachai and me when I expressed my interest in visiting the Kochi Muziris Biennale.

Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi | Photos: Bragadeesh Prasanna

I wish there were options for information, particularly responses, to be given in writing. I find it arguably easier to carve my thoughts into a written form than in having them communicated orally. Sometimes.

Preference to stay quiet and write. Skip an option to strike a relation and (re)bond. You win some. You lose some.

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Kochi Muziris Biennale, Kochi | Photo: Bragadeesh Prasanna

“In a Minute, there!”

A couple of days back, I was returning after catching a teatime movie show at a nearby theatre. The night drew closer as I was reaching home. During the short walk from the bus stop to my apartment, I noticed a star in the sky playing catch-up with the moon. It looked brighter than usual, this star. The eyelid of the otherwise clear skies was drooping. Gradually. And mechanically. The shift in its hues was rapid and had surpassed from a grimy grey to a spotless black in a matter of minutes.

The moon had settled, free from premonitions. As if it were allocated its favourite couch. Irrespective of, and indifferent to the time lapse transpiring in its background. That night, the crater-impacted disc had rented a hammock’s guise. It was propped against the heavens in a curvy stupor. Three-fourths of the moon had sunk under the black horizon, while the rest peeked out cheekily. Lying perpendicularly to the earth, it showed no interest whatsoever. Neither in its whereabouts nor surroundings. At first glance, one could have mistaken it for being lethargic. But its attitude spelt nonchalance. Blithe could have been its mood. There was a lull in the atmosphere that surrounded it. My attention shifted to the glowing limb that was trying to reach the moon. Or so, it appeared. If the star were personified, it would have looked as if it was flailing about its arms and legs. The moon could have been completely unaware of its efforts. The might and luck it was putting in, to come at par with the moon. The star could have believed the defendant to be its destination. Which, to an uninformed onlooker appeared a few inches apart. Near, yet so far.

What do we know.

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When the star was particularly close to the moon | Credit :: @showcasemassive

Mahavir Singh Phogat, an Indian wrestler and Olympics coach, begins his daughters’ – Geeta’s and Babita’s – training in the sport in their school days. Wrestling is the spine of Dangal, the movie I had watched at the theatre that afternoon. Dangal in Hindi means ‘wrestling’ or ‘to wrestle’. Childhood yields when left to self-exploration. If a juvenile mind is refrained from doings, which to any kid sounds luring, it wavers. In the movie, not only does the father step in as the girls’ coach but also abstains them from indulging in spicy, tasty and street food. He introduces chicken in their otherwise vegetarian eating habits to supplement for proteins. He directs the earth is their source of entertainment, and the only television channel they must flick through. And that, the sands of time are their props for playtime. As kids, both girls dislike the ‘boxed’ outlook. They begin to feel that they have lost their free will. Mahavir Singh wants their lifestyles to revolve around his vested interests in wrestling, but tables turn. One day, the quick-witted lasses delay the alarm to abandon their practice. A friend’s pre-wedding celebration gathers significance over another day’s dose of physical exertion. Needless to mention, Mahavir Singh Phogat isn’t pleased.

What if, Geeta and Babita had gotten their way? What if, they had left coaching in an excuse to relish their girlhoods? What if, their father had given in? What if, he had let go and not expressed his displeasure on finding the girls at that social gathering? What if, they had stealthily grabbed edibles they weren’t allowed, even if morsels? What if years later, they had wanted to pursue the same sport they had abandoned in their youth? What if, they had hesitated in the wake of a tomorrow to begin giving wrestling serious thought? Could their father have supported them? Would they have received a similar training from him as they did when they were in school? Could they have achieved all that they had already done by then? What if, after years of education, they had discovered of their interest in wrestling? Would they have swung about their arms and legs to reach out to their moon? Just like that star?

Procrastination is that best friend who never ceases to bring along excuses to cover up our rear. When it deserts us, we continue to exist. And tell tales of how it turned out to be a vicarious villain in the name of companionship. Every. Single. Time.

Each morning, I set the alarm at five o’clock to practice singing and writing. The silence and pale skies help to focus. It’s a boon to hit the snooze button in the mornings. I feel grumpy thinking if it is time already. It turns into a bane when I wake up two hours later. The loss of time fetches a hangover so bad that the day feels drab. Disorientation sets in and works like that snake-charmer humming their listless tunes. You feel like you are left with no options than to dance to them. We led ourselves to it, after all. The silver lining in the horizon peeks out, and you find yourself in the middle of making a resolution. That you’ll no longer be an idle mind in the wild. Finding no one in sight, you bump your fist into the palm of your other hand. You’ve struck a deal. You’ve made a pact. With yourself.

Only that, the instance repeats. The next day.

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Source :: Internet

Margazhi in Chennai, also known as the December Music Season, is a month to hop from one concert to another. To watch live music and dance performances. It brings together artistes drawn and created from sticks long and short, new and old. They are discussed at length. And sorted into the viewers’ files of likes and dislikes. The fine arts fraternity, a person’s journey to make it to the centre stage, and their performing nuances are coffee time banter for many concertgoers. What if, these performers had befriended procrastination every time it had grappled them? What if, they had prioritised a degree, a job and household over years of learning, unlearning and rehearsals? What if, they had not imposed boundaries on their lifestyles to maintain and enhance their modes of expressions? Would we have had examples to cite today? Would we have had inspirations to look up to? Would we have had quotes from who’s who to help us self-drive? The ones we copy on post-its and stick on the inside of our wardrobes. To motivate ourselves.

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Source :: Internet

What if, that star in the sky were personified indeed? What if, it had received just a little help to make it to wherever it wanted to? Could it have done it?

Or, would it have left hope because its help had delayed this time?

To Visit,​ or To Not Visit?

It’s a different story when mum visits over.

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Your presence lingers just like the chimaera of a shadow from the afternoon sun

A cleaner house, a more organised routine, timely meals, and household chores running like a set of well-oiled machine. As kids, there never went by a time when we were left to starve. There never came a moment when we had to pick and wear the same clothes we had dumped in the wash tub yesterday. There never showed up a week when we were late for school. And there never went by a year without new clothes. We took our basic needs, which Maslow has so mindfully defined, for granted. Or, so was the case with many of us.

When age plays its card of reasoning, the tables turn over, and the daylight of it all cracks on us. While accounting for mum’s ubiquity. There is a need to consider all domestic pursuits with the same effervescence. Whether, the regimental mundane or the infrequent extraordinary. It can mean obliterating those lacklustre cobwebs that are beginning to claim their reign across the ceilings. Or, freeing the living space from impending pests and insects. It can involve restitching her clothes from where the seaming has long retired. Or, restocking the refrigerator as so to avoid running out of supplies. It can intend having her routine health check-ups done. Or, ensuring she consumes her after-meal medicines on time. The list of to-dos pulsates as faithfully as the heart pumps blood into the system. In the midst of which, the household dailies are the one arm. And the need to assimilate any me-time with a diplomacy is the other.

The wake of this sojourning pit stop fetches a realisation of selfless dedication. And we find it to be all right if she decides to take some time off. A trip into the hilly valley canvassed with a flowing stream nearby. Or, paying a visit to the near and far relations. Attendance at a social gathering, even if it means compressed absence. Or, spending a few days with another of her offsprings. This is the me-time we crave for. The chance to unwind from the paradoxical routine.

Sometimes, I feel amused at the thought of the concept of time off. Because of its out-of-the-blues prominence. Because of the stressed insistence we make about its presence. Because it was an abstract conviction in days when we grew up. So acclimatised are we to our lifestyle today, that anyone stopping over for a stay becomes nothing short of a moral obligation. And we take our time coming to terms with it.

A lifetime gives us an airtight container worth of opportunities to undergo first-time experiences. We cherish some. And pay our last respects to a handful. No container, yet, is ever enough to collect and bottle those ventures that we engage in with mum. Considering, the memory of every one of her stays is an experience of a first-time. Whether cherished or swept to a corner of the mind.

These days her attention is elsewhere that is sponging a significant chunk of her energy and time. For she is visiting my younger sibling and taking care of my year-and-a-half-old niece. On days when the sun shines on the tropics, it would not make a difference. But today, I couldn’t have cared less about unwinding.

They say, learning to give in and give away is an acquired trait. You tend to pick it up when you have a younger one around. One can be the centre of attention for only so long. Maybe, it is a phase you’re meant to grow out of.

Honestly, I’m not there yet. For, I feel the blister of an old-school sentiment brewing within me while she is away.

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Jealousy.

Photographs: Paris, Kashmir, Kodaikanal

And the Wait Goes On

 

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Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

Waiting for feedback is like reaching the theatre an hour before showtime. You know you’re early. And yet, the optimist in you wishes that someone would miraculously flick on the movie then. You indulge in restless fingernail-scraping. And try to listen to the negligible sounds they make when rubbed against each other. However vain, the attempt to kill the time might seem.

When you’re working on a piece that’s in anticipation of feedback, you try your best not to slip. For instance, there is a tendency to craft a write-up with extra caution when you need to send it for feedback. You double-check the draft for suitable sentence constructions and grammar. And then, edit it over. Inadequately pleased, you give it another bout of mowing and pruning. Finally, there comes a moment when you throw your hands up in the air. Not to utter Hallelujah, but to interject surrender. That, it is time to make your submission.

And then, the waiting begins.

You tap your feet. First the left and then, the right. You count the number of times you’ve 20160909_160245_copydone it, and equalise it on the other. You head to the kitchen and fill a glass of that odourless, transparent liquid. In slow motion. The little splashes of the spilling water fascinate you. You find it funny how you never paid any attention to this convention earlier. You take an incumbent sip. For you do not want to give away the air of being unoccupied at the moment. In the hopes of having passed a half hour in the kitchen, you race back to your room and check your phone. Doubtful of the internet detecting on your mobile, you wake your laptop up from its sleepy stupor. And refresh your mailbox with a constant, annoying ticking sound. A little part inside you can’t help feeling but dejected.

You want to get back to reality. Having emailed the article six minutes ago. You try to forget about it and move on. Like Ross’s and Rachel’s concept of being on a break.

A growing anticipation piles up within. You pore over the piece even after having emailed it, to check for errors. Even if you don’t find any. Even if it’s including an unnecessary comma. The prospect of a third eye commenting on your work is exciting. At the same time, it is inclusive of a waiting period – an anxious feat when you are at the receiver’s end. You’re eager to receive an input. Because this is somebody unrelated to you by blood, telling you, that you have talent. There is a possibility that the same person transforms into your audience tomorrow.

sundown

Another day strolls by, calling closure, and paving its way to the ink-dipped skies. The sun dyes its near-and-dear ones with a lazy shade of tangerine. Its quotidian absence beckons to the descending twilight. Although you do not like the sound of it, you drag your feet off and lift your lazy rear from the chair. To get on with all the pending and impending chores. A couple of hours pass by. The need to feel in control quashes the need to have obsessed over an email all this while. The former wins your inner tug of war. You feel better and get back to running your errands with a renewed zest.

Just before turning in at night, you give your phone a cursory glance. It is no more than a habitual nightcap. There are a couple of notifications. But deep down, you know your eyes are looking out for just the one.

There you see it. And hear your heartbeat thump simultaneously.

The much-awaited email is lying in your inbox. You check the time and notice it had arrived forty minutes ago. Now, that’s far from being qualified as a damsel in distress. It was a busy evening after all! You check an active chat window that has an acknowledgement of the sent email. In the snap of a finger, you push all the floppy emotions that consumed you through the day to the quayside. And respond with a coolness that you didn’t realise you had in you all this while.

As you’re ushered into the theatre, you succeed in discerning the faint sounds made by rubbing your fingernails. They need to be barely a centimetre away from your ear. Hallelujah!

Photographs: Paris, Chennai