My Happy Place

Posted in It's all about the soul with tags on October 6, 2016 by Shry

He didn’t have one. So much so that he had stopped noticing it a long time ago. Is unhappiness a mere absence of happiness? Is happiness tangible? Could he put a label on the darkness that had consumed his free spirit, his very soul?

He went through life normally enough. Those who knew him, or thought they did, often associated grand words with him. Achiever, go-getter, confident, smart, intelligent, good looking. Basically the perfect package. He had felt gratified, satisfied, arrogant even, then modest. Until he stopped noticing it altogether. Until it stopped mattering. Until he sank back into his usual unusual existence.

But in today’s technology-driven times, how long can you stay immune from the emotions of the world around you? Not long. Those emotions came hurriedly to taunt him, mock him, demean him. They came to remind him brutally of all that he didn’t have, and never would. He had fallen off the wagon a long time ago, and getting back on it wasn’t even a remote possibility. Never a fan of TV, and an increasingly insane internet had pushed him deeper into his work, his books and his solitude. That was where he sometimes came close to that alien organism called Happiness. But that damned technology! It wouldn’t let him rest, would it? A random Instagram post about family and love and flowers and happy faces and countless hashtags had come like a thunderbolt from a perennially stormy sky. He hated thunder. He hated the one who had posted the picture even without knowing a thing about that person. He swallowed the bitterness, or was it envy, and immersed himself in his chores.

Over dinner, as someone switched on the TV, he welcomed the distraction for once. But that goddamn technology again! The screen filled with ads about the festive season, shopping offers for big happy families and what-not. He lost his appetite. Memories swamped him, his usual fortress of dispassionate acceptance crumbled and for once, he couldn’t escape. His mind was forced back into time. When was his last real Diwali? He could not remember. Perhaps nearly nine years back but he couldn’t be sure. He had burnt each and every mental bridge that could weaken him, so how could he recollect anything? A broken home, a lost sibling that made him lose so much more, an existence that had so nearly been extinguished chasing false love. The outer facade remained impeccable. Good grades, good manners, good job, good life. Just a hollow epitaph. He detested himself.

The diya can only brighten up so much. Where does the rest of the glow come from? He had stopped seeking these answers now. Not even three decades on the planet but he felt so old. So tired. Once as a young fool, he had tried to rebuild it all, not quite sure of the damage he felt, but sure that he was going to be alone. Seduced by sweet words and grand expressions, he had begun the lonely walk to Hell. He returned, but minus illusions and innocence. It had been more or less a downward spiral from thereon.

He could no longer be stable or satisfied. There is always always a restlessness within him. Like forever running after a train but never getting on, just seeing it fade away. When at one place, he wanted to be at the next. When awake , he wanted to sleep. When asleep, he struggled against the unceasing panic of missing the train. When at a party, he wanted to be alone, and when alone, his loneliness haunted him. When single, he wanted to be loved. When loved, he awaited the inevitable heartbreak. When unhappy, he wanted happiness. When happy…well that’s the problem, isn’t it? There was no happiness. He often thought long and hard, trying to pin his finger at that one moment when normalcy left him for good. He would do anything to return to that one precise moment. Could he erase the slate? His laptop had been giving him trouble and a friend had suggested he try ‘system restore.’ Did that work for Life?

He looks at the clock. Time owns him. As he writes, his mind wanders away to all the pending work. Files to be read,  letters to be drafted, notes to be studied, presentations to be made, meetings to be attended. But he already knows that he will yearn for the comfort and anonymity of sharing himself with a paper. Paper cannot hurt you. Paper cuts heal and are forgotten.

But time beckons him. His existence, devoid of any true purpose, yet governed by technology, gadgets and a hopeless pursuit of success (happiness?), that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, mocks him.

He thinks of those happy families on TV, and Insta and FB and wherever. He think of his own, the so-called. He thinks of the family he can perhaps make, but doubts.

Then, he starts shaking with mirthless laughter, shaking his head to shake of these strange cobwebs of emotions trying to creep up on him. He pushes the pen and paper aside, turns on his laptop and to feel better, clicks on ‘system restore.’

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Unnecessary Relationships are Garbage

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5, 2015 by Shry

This has been on my mind for quite a while but the rigours of life obstructed me from penning my thoughts down. A chance phone call from some people saat samundar paar brought out the apathy I feel to the fore. I realize this is a rather radical thought-process and most people would find it uncomfortable and perhaps even offensive. BUT I find it tough to keep up with people and relationships I don’t genuinely care about. And while I am not outrightly anti-social, I am reserved. I see zero sense in keeping up pretences. I think I lack the stamina. I refuse to be bound by socially set and accepted notions of love, loyalty, fidelity, and rather ironically, Family. I wonder whether blood can be the sole link between people. Whether blood alone is somehow a parameter of anything at all. I don’t believe in this for a second anymore.

Some of my closest and most-fulfilling relationships are with people I am not linked to by blood or birth. We had been strangers wandering across the canvas of life till the days our paths crossed and souls entwined. And that’s that. They make life magical, which is not something I can say about the relationships I am expected to pay obeisance to simply by virtue of being born in a particular set or belonging to a particular group.

2015. No dearth of means that can be used to stay in touch practically around the clock. And if inspite of that you find yourself losing touch with some people, it is a testament to a shift in priorities. It is not about not having the time, having a busy job, a family to take care of, deadlines to meet blah blah blah. It is simple. You have fallen through the cracks, and are no longer in someone’s immediate orbit of consciousness and existence. It is not worth the effort to drop a random ‘hi’ through the phone or in that revered fb inbox. Accept it. Move on. But PLEASE DON’T keep up the charade of being related/friendly, because that’s a highly explosive irritant. Except trails of paper and sadly blood, there is really nothing that shows or proves a connect, and let’s make peace with it. From relatives to acquaintances, friends to foes, lovers to strangers…some relationships come with an expiry date irrespective of our likes and dislikes. And when you try to milk something that’s past its date, it becomes TOXIC. It breeds unhappiness, dissatisfaction, frustration, perhaps even madness. Let’s stop pretending that any one of us is morally bound to keep the show running. Because we aren’t. Fuck morals.

This rant has a few fundamental truths behind it. One, I do not preach what I cannot practice. Yes I have people in my life with whom I do not interact 24×7, but when it matters, I am either there, or I have a damn valid reason to not be. Rare. Because I am generally there when I am needed. Been told, FYI. Second, inspite of belonging to a field where communication is always going to be on and off, I make efforts to stay in touch with those I care about. Because for some people, no excuses work. When all else fails, I will happily write a letter just to tell them they mean the world to me.

And last, dont let the ‘I’s above fool you. This is my rant, but I know where my loyalties lie because by nature, I am loyal. Intensely. Fiercely. Fuck-the-world-ly. If you have me in your corner, rest assured I will be there even when no one is. And this is the only reason why I expect the same in return. I am not asking you to chain yourself to me. Because if chaining is how you see it as, I would rather be alone in any damn corner.

At my eloquent best- Fuck it.

Rejection of a Woman

Posted in It's all about the soul on April 16, 2014 by Shry

Woman. Beyond the anatomy of curves lies a creature with deep emotions. With an intensity that can awe or terrify you. With a passion that can intimidate or satiate you. With a need that can build or emasculate you. Or all of it.

She can feel. She could be the clever, manipulative bitch who rips you apart or she could be the devoted, loving angel. She will always be sublime. Which is why the smallest of gestures, or their lack, can topsy-turvy a woman’s entire universe.

I saw them strolling one night in the campus. It was a balmy evening, and darkness had just descended. That those two were taking a walk was socially acceptable. Because a married couple is so completely legitimate in India. Marriage is magically expected to breed love and care and concern and a whole lot of other entities with a high nuisance value. Anyhow, they strolled on and I continued on my way to my destination on a parallel path.

I smiled when I saw her link her arm through his. I was aghast when he extricated himself roughly from that link.

And that gesture unleashed a torrent of thought and emotions within me.

Whatever it is that a woman feels, she feels with intensity. Its usually everything or nothing. I could see no harm in two people walking hand-in-hand, married or otherwise. There was no cause for any self-consciousness. And even if there was, certain things can be done gently too. Because when a man rejects a woman’s touch, it affects the woman more than just physically. It is not a mere rejection of a physical gesture but a rejection of all the emotions that formed the gesture. He didn’t just place a barrier of physicality when he dumped his wife’s hand away from himself. He rejected their intimacy. He rejected their common path ahead.

A woman’s touch on a man’s body, when it transcends lust, is rooted in some of the most fundamental instincts known to the human race. A woman holding a man’s hand, or placing her arm around him, or linking her arm through his, or leaning on his shoulder…it implies a very high degree of trust. It is a manifestation of her expectation that he will protect her. It shows that she doesn’t feel threatened and feels completely safe in that moment. That he is there.

When a man rejects that gesture, he rejects all of this, even if unwittingly.

When he rejected her that evening, he rejected her very existence.

A woman’s rejection can only be absolute. And that rejection slaughters her soul. Absolutely.

Dilemma of Emotion

Posted in It's all about the soul on April 14, 2014 by Shry

I noticed them almost 4 years back in what was then the town’s most popular bakery. For us students, it was a routine break from the day’s tedium to go there and gorge on good food. Prices were on the rise everywhere, but our young, carefree minds tended to take a lot of things for granted. A fleeting moment of dilemma on a stranger’s face gave a brief pause to life.

I stood at the payment counter, tapping my fingers impatiently. I wanted the goddamn payment receipt. A sudden gust of warm air rushed into the cool interiors as someone opened the main door to enter the bakery. I threw a casual glance over my shoulder and saw a boy of not more than 4 or 5 walk in, holding tightly onto his grandfather’s hand. The boy was wide-eyed and it was obvious that the array of chocolates, pastries, burgers and cookies had transported him to fantasy-land. I couldn’t help but be amused. Next, my eyes travelled to the old man. Wearing the traditional white cap over his head and with a  flowing white beard, the qazi’s face had a remarkedly different expression- apprehension? Worry? Doubt? He looked around, taking in the surroundings. It was evident that shops like the one we were in had not been a mainstay in his life. It was evident that he felt devoid of armour in those swanky interiors. It was evident that even the casual stares made him uncomfortable. It was evident that he would go through the same discomfiture a hundred times again for that look of wonder on his grandson’s face.

I had long been handed my payment-slip, and I was now standing at the other counter, awaiting my order. I couldn’t take my eyes off the pair. I don’t know why. I often wonder whether I was reminded of my own grandfather.

The old man gently extricated his hand from the young child’s grip and took some money out of his kurta pocket. It was then I observed the frayed collar, the sleeves that were thin enough to let threads show, the chappals which were worn thin from years of use. Money in hand, he took the child’s hand again and shuffled over to the place where an assortment of pastries was displayed. The counter-guy rattled off- vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, blackberry, strawberry, etc. etc. I found his indifference a lot more comforting than the disdain I had been expecting. The grandfather looked down at the lad and asked him what he wanted. At being asked, his smile lit up the entire room! He looked happily at his grandfather, then at the display and pointed at a simple pineapple pastry. Definitely one of the not-so-expensive ones. The old man looked at where the boy had pointed, and also read the price-tag displayed there. The next few moments are forever etched in my mind. A look of pain crossed his wizened face. His hand closed over the money. His eyes moved to the boy next to him whose nose was firmly pressed into the glass of the display case and who was still mesmerized. The pain was overtaken by a resolute set of the mouth. He got the payment slip. Collected the pastry and the plastic spoon. Then that old back which had been bent low under the burdens of life bent down again, but this time to break a piece off the white pastry, and put it into an eager mouth of a very young child, for whom this was one of the highlights of life. The old man didn’t eat even a crumb. He gave it all to his grandson, content and happy. They left.

Suddenly my carefree spending felt like a burden I no longer wanted to carry.

In that moment, the old man and the child were a lot more richer than most of us.

Rgnul Speaks’ Interview with Shreya Sood.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 9, 2014 by Shry

Rgnul Speaks’ Interview with Shreya Sood..

Messy Affairs

Posted in It's all about the soul with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2013 by Shry

Yes that’s exactly what affairs tend to be. Messy. Affairs of the heart, that is. But in a social sense, an affair alludes to a relationship between two individuals that occurs after social and moral boundaries have been breached. They are the consequence of willful transgressions. But I am not entirely convinced with the moral (nee religious!) argument people generally advance. As a society, we tend to look at things in black or white, often ignoring the grey in the middle, the consideration of which is an absolute must. But when it comes to affairs, especially the extra-marital ones to be precise, we ignore the grey. We Need to ignore it, because examining it would throw open a Pandora’s box that would involve emotions, social mores, psychology, need, want and acceptance. And that just won’t do, would it? That won’t suit the society that thinks of an ‘affair’ only in terms of lust, sex and cheating. But the bitter truth is that when we reduce an affair to just lust or sex, we trivialize to a point beyond redemption. We lose the grey, which is so inherently required to make us more sensitive, understanding and perhaps responsible too. Because an average person doesn’t wake up one fine morning and decide that he/she wants to ‘cheat’ on their spouse! An affair might or might not have lust as its undercurrent, just as there is an equal probability that the undercurrent, the aim being sought is simply comfort, acceptance, security, perhaps love and quite certainly an ever-elusive happiness.

A married woman is ‘involved’ with a man not her husband. Call her a whore, a slut, a woman devoid of character for having desecrated the sacred institution of marriage. Oh look at her cheating! O she will rot in hell! But perhaps, beneath the obvious is a terribly lonely and broken woman. Perhaps she is battling an abusive marriage. Perhaps the man she is ‘involved’ with is not just ‘bedding’ her, but maybe he listens to her when she speaks, comforts her when she is shattered, holds her when she is crying and above all, respects her because she IS. And there is that urban yuppie with a fantastic job, married to a gorgeous goddess. His life has all the pretense of an idyllic postcard. But maybe deep within him is a vacuum that seeks not a body to satiate itself with but a soul to embrace. God forbid if this ‘adulterer’ is ‘having an affair’ with a woman who is married to! And even if she isn’t, he has already been labelled by the self-appointed feminist brigade as the typical chauvinistic pig who heartlessly cheated on his lovely wife with a woman who ‘isn’t worth it’. Nobody bothered looking into the shackles his unhappy and loveless marriage is, held together only by a marriage certificate but otherwise as empty and vacant as death. Or somebody else who is caring for a terminally ill spouse, but needs someone to take care of their own scars, somebody to go home to when it is all over.  Or somebody who simply got tired of making ‘it’ work. Or someone who is simply stuck with a real monster!

Perhaps certain transgressions are wrong, while some are not. Justifications might or might not suffice. Hell, they might not even be needed! Perhaps black is white and white is black. But to lose sight of the grey would be to lose sight of our inner selves. And maybe chasing happiness (but not skirts) is not really a crime. Judging people should be, though.

Perhaps a ‘it’s complicated’ might be the dusk before the dawn.

30 Greatest Quotes About Women

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2013 by Shry

Aaaahhh well said! 😉

Thought Catalog

There are only three things to be done with a woman. You can love her, suffer for her, or turn her into literature. Henry Miller
Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men. Joseph Conrad
I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others. Amelia Earhart
Women kill me. They really do. I don’t mean I’m oversexed or anything like that — although I am quite sexy. I just like them, I mean. They’re always leaving their goddam bags out in the middle of the aisle. J.D. Salinger
And yet women — good women — frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep. Charles Bukowski
As usual, there…

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