Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Of Strangers At A Coffee Shop

(On Somebody's Demand)
I liked him. A lot. As a friend. As the boy who sat in the last bench and yet managed to dig up some pretty good scores. As the boy who was loved by all; desired by all; dreamt by all. I liked stopping by his class to steal a glance. I liked talking to him. I liked scrolling up numerous Facebook conversations and reading them over and over again. I liked him.
At first, back in those high school days which now roll by in a soft, nostalgic tone with a tint of grey, I liked him. That was all it was.
But then one day, I fell deeper. I found myself lost. I started wondering if he liked talking to me all the same or not. I started questioning myself whether he cared about me the way I did. I started to delve deeper and care about how he looked at me. Whenever he did, I wondered if the stories he held were true. I knew I shouldn't, but I couldn't stop myself.
Then, what mesmerized me, what kept me on my toes, what made me smile giddily for no absolute reason - was not him, but the idea of who we could be.
I was in love, or so I think. To this day, I still look for something that can convince me that that wasn't love.
Over the years, something changed - as it happens in every story round the world. Something snapped. Some feeble hope that I catered in a lone corner of my heart, withered away with the sands of time. Before I could fully realize what was happening, we were drifting far away. The Cheshire cat grins were mingling into confused frowns. Heartbreaks were no longer literal; they drew blood. Sleepless nights merged into lonely days.
I never thought that I'd be this girl - someone who cared too much; someone who felt something so strongly. I kept telling myself that this would be different.
Oh, how wrong was I!
So here I sit today, inside the very coffee shop that entraps memories of the times we spent together.
The grey and gloom outside the faintly lit café reflects my mood. Drops of crystal, clear rain slide down the glass in a painfully slow stance, painting distorted images of the world outside. Cars speed by with blaring horns, casting reflections that glisten like undiscovered orbs of light entrapped in illusions.
The red walls and chestnut tables don't catch my interest. Nor does the aroma of ground coffee beans grunting in the old coffee machine. The squeaking of sneakers and click of heels don't break my oblivion. How can they when you are sitting right next to me!
With another girl, though.
I look at both of your reflections on the misted window glass. It is rather surprising of how clearly I can make out your smiles, yet I can't trace the cars that roam right outside the window. Why, windows were made to look at the outside world! Did they sometimes reflect the inside as well?
For the first time in my life, I decide to order my coffee entirely black, just the way you liked it.
I hope you notice when the chirpy waitress places the cup in front of me. But you don't. You are smiling at her, trying to make her feel better, while I'm crumbling deep inside.
You are whispering sweet dreams of everlasting happiness to her, while I'm desperately wishing you'd turn and look at me.
But you don't.
My vision is hazy. Perhaps, it is not you. Else you'd have noticed. Or did you move on? Quicker than my scars healed?
I push away the cup of coffee and stand up quietly. I walk away. Behind me, you push away a strand of her hair and look into her eyes and fall in love. How I wish you'd look at me again and fall deeper in love this time! Your smiles are deafeningly louder. I'm blinking back tears as I walk, rather run faster.
We are both strangers now. Nobody ever told that people who had been in love could become this. Then again, nobody ever told me that people change and you've to let go.
Now I realize that these things needn't be told
You've to learn them.
As I climb back into my jeep and watch you flashing her a wink, I don't feel the same pang again. For I'm starting to let go of the thread that I had been holding for long - the one that you left, long ago.

Of What We Actually Mean

For most of my life, I've wanted to be alone - far away from the drone of noises crying excitement; away from the blaring horns of buses and cars; away from the busyness that surrounds life.
At times, I'd wish the ground would open up and swallow me inside into a world of maddening oblivion. In those times, everything felt hazy. Every step I took made me feel immensely tired. Yet I wanted to run away to some place where nobody could find me.
"I want to be alone," I'd tell them when they'd coax me to attend their parties.
"I want to be alone," I'd tell them when I'd be fighting the adamant tears from escaping.
"I want to be alone," I'd tell them when they'd ask me if I were okay.
"I want to be alone," and they'd quickly scurry off in a desperate attempt to give me some space. They'd always respect my decision and desire and wouldn't bother to ring me up until I did so.
Now that I think of those times, I find myself wondering if I really wanted to be alone.
When I told them I wanted to be alone, a part of me feverishly craved for someone to stay behind an offer me a shoulder to cry on.
When I told them I wanted to be alone, I wanted someone to stay behind and hear me out.
When I told them I wanted to be alone, I wanted them not to leave.
When I told them I wanted to be alone, I meant, I didn't want to be.
I agree we have complicated notions. Complicated emotions.When we are, in fact, bubbling with so much to say, we cut short with a simple 'Nothing'. When tears prick our eyes, we blink them back and smile. When we are hurting deep inside, we still manage to pick ourselves up and walk.
It is about knowing what those sweet nothings hold. It is about knowing what those smiles hide. It is about knowing that no matter how strong a person pretends to be, they still have a vulnerable side.
And how I wish, back then, each time I'd uttered, "I want to be alone," someone would have pulled me into a hug and whispered, "No. I know you don't want to be."
Perhaps that would have solved half of the problems of the world...

Of Not Yous

...So one fine night, I asked her something.
"Have you ever had an instance in your life that has changed you?" I said.
"No," she replied.
"Anything interesting or inspiring?" I pressed.
"No," she said again.
"Something?" I asked.
She kept quiet. Her eyes wandered momentarily, staring into the far horizon. The evening sunset gleamed in her eyes.
"Interesting," she mumbled. "My life has been way too interesting. I have been broken to pieces and have managed to glue it all together."
Her reply surprised me. For all these years I had known her, she had never been like this - so lost. She had always been the bubbly teenager who knew what to speak and when; how to dress right and for what; how to live life and for whom. She was this tiny quantum of energy and never before had I heard her so ... defeated.
"You don't sound like you," I told her.
"Wow, that's new," she said. "Why?"
I shrugged.
"It's just that deep, dark, sad has never been you," I said.
She sighed. A ghost of a smile flickered on her face. A sad smile.
"If only someone asked," she said in a low whisper. I heard her, though.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Of The Person Not-In-The-Frame

We owe it to someone. For the soul we carry today. Maybe we don't know who or maybe they've got no idea they've changed our lives. They need not themselves be that important or not even that remarkable. For the closest of friends we have today, for having a friend who we can confide our secrets in, for having a person who knows everything about our life starting from The Bed-wetting stories to The first kiss, we owe them. The person we're so grateful to has no idea about it. Nor do we. Isn't that strange? Like, someone responsible for the human being we are today doesn't even know he's in the frame.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Of Time That Heals

There's always a reason why people are the way they are. There's a reason why they chose to react that way. They didn't do it out of choice. Did she sound annoying? Maybe she had already faced the worse. Did he not care about what you felt when he walked away? Maybe he didn't want you to go through the pain all over again. Did that guy make you feel uncomfortable?  Maybe he was not taught how to respect one's comfort zone. Did she forgive you when you had expected her to slap you? It's because she knew forgiveness would strike you harder than a slap. You cannot really judge somebody. Not even then, when you've gone through the same stuffs. People have different reactions. They say time can heal anything and everything. But what if the healing requires some selfless sacrifices and painful decisions? You never really know how deep the wound is.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Of Trying To Predict A Day

So here I sit, penning something down as the day slowly merges into a slow silhouette of iridescent figures. Like every other day, I sit and wonder how quickly the day has passed and how I could never do the things I had planned. Yes, I do plan a lot. You'd be lying if you say you don't. It's more like a natural human tendency to stay prepared for everything that may come.
We are always ready for the worst.
But, in the same breath, we must realize that each day is filled with surprises. Some days will sweep us off our feet while some will crash us down, ten feet under!
No amount of planning can fully prepare us for what is about to arrive.
But that is life!
It is uncertain. It is a mystery. Yet, it is magical.
If we are hurt, we will heal.
If we fall, we will stand up.
And if we find ourselves lost, we just have to remember that there will be light.
Why so much planning then?