Monday, October 31, 2022

4058 : The wisdom of not wanting

A lot of philosophy (and friends) tell me that I should not want more. My life is perfect.

And I often think - that if my conception of life's greatness is what my life is - then I must truly hate my life na. Makes sense?

Let me explain.

If everything in life is already there, then we have nothing to fight for. And that usually means we are in a good place already. If I don't fight for what better looks like (forget the monies, and the stupid worldly wealth,....but say better coffee (yes!!), or better love or better food......) then something is ghastly right?

Why live, if you are not fighting for better tomo?

Its a genuine question.

Life always happens at the edges. Not at the center. Live at the edges, and there is joy in being perilous.

Wise men say, not wanting is a blessing. For me, not wanting is also a curse. It settles you in a zone, where you do exist - but you don't live.

4057 : The wisdom of losing.

So today I have been alone. As I often prefer to be. I have not done much work too. Blame it on lack of Wifi and place to sit.
I have used the camera a bit, trudged along, survived without coffee, (oh yeah!!) and just contemplated on how to reboot myself.

So in recent months, many different folks have told me that I suck :-(. And when you have a few dear people tell you that, its like a suckerpunch. And what do you do in that scenario. Do you cradle yourself and say its ok to be sucky?

Or do you simper and whimper in your pit of crude?

I have struggled. And yes, God knows (whom I dont believe in) that I have grappled.

Sometimes the trick is to just put your head down and fight for a better tomorrow. And thats what I am going to go. 

Head down. Coffee up.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

4056 : Dont speak

On some days, the playlist struggles. You cannot relate to quite some of your own favorites.

And then Gwen Stefani comes over and does her brilliance. The song and its lyrics are perfect for the day and the moment, you are living in. You sigh and almost want to stop time.

Always, I really feel that I'm losin' my best friend

I can't believe this could be the end

As we die both you and I

With my head in my hands, I sit and cry

4055 : This is the end....

From where I stand, the future looks bleak and blurred. I tell myself, change the lens, aperture and perspective. And fk that is mighty hard.

4054 : I met defeat at the cul-de-sac

I have heard this song, these lines so many times in the past 5-10 years. And yet, recently as I heard it again - I experienced, something deeper.....which kinda hit home. A bit like a zen koan.

The beauty of poetry is that it can drive inner awarness - through some sort of shared consciousness.

Kya kare zindagi isko hum jo mile,

Iski jaan kha gaye, raat din ke gile

Meri aarzoo kamini,

Mere khwab bhi kaminey....
Ek dil se dosti thi.....

Yeh huzoor bhi kaminey.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

4053 : Would we still laugh?

She asked, "Would you and I still be able to laugh and dance, when we are low and lost?"

"As long as we can laugh and dance about the lows, about our losses.....Yes"

4052 : Scar

There is a scar on your body. I know of it. Do you?

The scar makes you beautiful. And yet, you and I call it a scar.

There is a scar on your body. I know you know of it.  Do I really know of it?

4051 : Fast love

That moment. You figure that you walk in a different world in the context of someone you so deeply love. One day that epiphany hits you. That this person obviously sees your differences, but they are also now that conflating that with either lack of love or fading love. 

Like a slow motion glass crack in a car accident (if you have not been in one.....dont wish for it, but I promise you, thats it magical to see the glass shatter in slow motion). In real life you know that it takes less than 100ms, but as you experience that shatter, it feels like time just dilated to many seconds, many minutes.

Poetically, thats how the realization feels like. And there is shatter too. You feel your insides, and most definitely your heart (your physical heart) shudder. Just like in the crash, you can feel time slow down dramatically. You can hear the words slur, and your eyes look at the world in complete disbelief. "This cant be happening.". You look at yourself and them, from a neutral standpoint - as if this were an out of body experience.

And ask yourself - "This?", "I was fighting this hard for this?". "Really?".

Then you snap out. You think you are back onto the spring. The heart knows, though that an accident has happened, the trauma will sing lullabies to you for the rest of your life, something along the lines of....

"Now that your rose is in bloom, a light hits the gloom on the gray."

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

4050 : I live in an ordinary world

 These lines from Duran Duran's Ordinary World, so resonate with me. Phenomenal writing.

Passion or coincidence

Once prompted you to say

"Pride will tear us both apart"

Well, now pride's gone out the window

Cross the rooftops

Run away

Left me in the vacuum of my heart

4049 : Bother

I am splintered by something. You ask me, "what?"

I reply that is is nothing really, some stress and excess coffee. You give me a short reminder on why too much coffee is bad for me. You bought my spiel or so I think.

Could I have told you that, I am glitching because of you? 

Could I have told you that, its not you that really bothers me, but the broken shadow that I see on the floor.

4048 : Silences

This terrible beast in me that wants silence. That wants to break free.

That just is tired of the chatter in my head, in the world around me. 

A part of me is going into some sort of plea mode. Choose the silence. This is not going to end well.

And yet, today is another day. Another baloon burst with a loud sound.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

4047 : Mothers are the best

So here is a happy memory.

Two young people of around 25 years (I am guessing) are friends. Both are men/boys. At least one of them, and his mom live in our apartment complex, that much I know of.

So picture this. Today both of them are sitting on a bench downstairs and talking. I am walking around. Their mom (who I know of, but dont know personally) returns from her morning walk, and ambles in from the gate. She sees them, and nonchalantly walks towards them. She smiles. And the other young man (who is not her son) is beaming, walks upto her with a giant beaming smile, and pinches her cheeks, both of them one by one. They hug and kiss (I mean on the cheeks).

And she giggles like a teeenage love lorn girl. She hugs both of them. I am guessing they are wishing each other Diwali.

For some reason, this warmed my heart so much.

In that minute, I wanted to be the mother, the son and the friend, all of three of them. 

4046 : Cold Coffee

I dont particularly like "Cold" coffee.

But I do make myself a cup of coffee, and then keep sipping it through the day. 

Its stale, cold and still it breathes life back into me. Its like fuel, like poison, that numbs the day. Takes the edge off.

4045 : Shine by Collective Soul

Another song that I listen to incessasantly on my low/down days is Shine by Collective Soul. Something in that song, literally sings to me. Maybe its the strange guitar riff.

Give me a word

Give me a sign

Show me where to look

Tell me, what will I find?

What will I find?

Lay me on the ground

And fly me in the sky

Show me where to look

Tell me, what will I find?

What will I find?

4044 : Creep by Radiohead

I must have posted on this song, many times in the past. Its one of my all time fav songs.

On a day like today, these lyrics take a special meaning.

I don't care if it hurts

I wanna have control

I want a perfect body

I want a perfect soul

I want you to notice

When I'm not around

So fuckin' special

I wish I was special

But I'm a creep

I'm a weirdo

What the hell am I doin' here?

I don't belong here

4043 : When the tenses mix up

As I said earlier, I have been writing a series of essays on love. The reason I have been writing this is, is more as a personal tool of finding myself than anything else. I am not doing this as a theory, I am doing this as a personal dive in. One of the things that I often ponder upon is how things break or break down.

I have a detailed personal journey of how the anatomy of a break down might be playing out. Thats not for today. Thats a long essay and a heavy read. 

What I would say today though is this.....

Sometimes the past begins to occupy an inordiantely large part of your heart. Be it an older/existing romantic love. Or be it, some phenomenal work experience, that you had, but no longer have. Its easy to hold onto what was. Like the tiger cub, once its has tasted blood, they believe they can have blood every meal. It takes courage to recognize, that today's meal might just be carcasses and not, blood and beans. 

I say it takes courage, not because we should discard our older highs, or older wins, or older friends, or older memories......instead, because it takes equanmity to admit, that the future might be nothing like the past. My current job might be a shade of what it was 10 years ago. It takes immense awareness to admit, I have changed, I am now part of the problem too,  I no longer have the skills or energy and hence..... the milk has possibly curdled.

The 2nd order effect of this is, you cannot be your best in the future, if you live in the past. Which means its hard to be great at your new job (which could be the same firm, but a new role!!), unless you decide to break free. Mentally. Physically, both. 
Unless you can admit that you carry baggage, you carry grief for what you have cannot win in the future. 
"What could be, or what was...." both of these emotions pull us back from experiencing our present. Both of these emotions act as bellwether for something that might never happen in your present. Your present could be a shadow of your past.

We all have to accept that sometimes beautiful and happy things end. They dont necessarily end well. They end in a mess. They taste like puree. Thats because we let them run too long. One analogy..... if you let any person die of old age, the death is messy and hard to see. Get the drift? Its so hard to see your parents deteriorate. Its so hard to see yourself grow old. Why? Becaue you are letting the journey run its course and the journey is so hard to see and experience, especially if you also know what "the past" looked like. 
Hence sometimes walking away, or putting distance,  lets us freeze time. Hope is....everyone can come back on a later date, and while we might still be older and infirm least we have not seen the slow excrutiating process of it. And that burden avoided, is a huge saving grace on us.

Two active parties (job, romance, love, parents, children......all of them!!) can sometimes run dry. And its important to recognize that odds state that any such partnership will run amok. While a lot of us see the breaks, we never act upon them. In my own past, I distinctly remember seeing one of my work roles, decompose to tatters in months......and I stood there like a frog in boiling water. Unable to see the decay, and almost frozen to death.
Two sides can beat the odds, but it is very rare. Almost not how this world of constant renewal is meant to be. 

Finally, its important to break out and re-examine our lives. Only then does imagination return. Only then can you hope to smile and dance with a human again in 20 years. That journey/hope deserves a chance, that journey also deserves the deep recognition, that every life plays out in acts.
It could be the same actors in every act, it could also be different.....completely beside the point though....what matters is.....we enjoy the acts and celebrate our lived lives. All of us together are actors (Shakespeare got this so apt and correct!!). 

Fidelity, commitment, making it work -  are so over-rated. An anchor has a great value. But only if you are looking to stay ashore. If you ready again to travel the world, the anchor is our biggest ball around the neck. For both the boat and the traveller.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

4042 : Whats wrong?


It does not have to be held onto,
It does not have to be clung onto,

It feels twoway, and natural,
It feels like respect and trust,

It includes space, 
It includes laughter,

It does not make you bend,
It does not sigh,

It will choose you,
It will sing to you,

It makes you want to fight,
It makes you want to delight,

It whistles a small lullaby,
It whistles like beethoven's 9th,

It is going to make you smile,
It is going to stay.

Thats what right smells like.

4041 : Even Flow by Pearl Jam

I can listen to Even Flow by Pearl Jam on repeat......forever.

Its one of the songs that speaks to me. And today morning.....I am blaring to blow the house away.

The genius called Eddie Vedder.

4040 : One by Metallica (live)

 Listening to One by Metallica live on two large Marshalls breaking glass is so phenomenal. 

I also like Nothing else Matters from the same album, like it a little more.

You can distinctly hear the stereo effect at work, different speakers playing different sounds. 

4039 : Incapable

You care immensely for someone. So much so that his/her pain is yours. You want to take it all away. This does happen with our children, our lovers, our animals......

And then sometimes, a person in this set asks you to do something, which will make them happier. As in a lover might say, "Stay, don't leave me...." and yet you are compelled to walk out or disappear. 

How do these two reconcile.

Sometimes the pain of doing that one single thing, and the 2nd, 3rd degree fallouts - drive you away from trying.

This should explain why we sometimes walk away from our deepest loves. Why we sometimes decide to separate from our parents, our spouses or even our children.

We care so much, that sometimes we just want to preserve what is left. And the only way to preserve in a war is to walk away. Walking away, gives you time to put your knives away, so that at a later time, we can all come back to see the brighter sides of the other.

4038 : Grief

Sometimes grief is not a direct atribute of soemthing or some event.

Let me explain - death of a loved one, is a direct grief. So is, loss of something precious or personal. 


At some other times. Grief is that deep sense of loss - associated with a collective or a vicarious pain. As an example, grief of growing old or intensely missing a friend from the past (who you can no longer approach), or the sorrow of having lost in a personal game you just wanted to win, or the ignominy of someone close to you losing in a battle......

My life simply has not taught me to deal well with grief. With loss. 

That sense of standing on the shore of an ocean, looking into it - and it reflecting back to you, that sense of what is no longer there. Of what you could have been. Or reminding you, that even today, you are choosing mediocrity over that simple switch of personal greatness.

Decrepitude is also realizing that life is nothing but the journey. There is no destination, none at all. There is no tomorrow. There is no future. There is the present, and sometimes the past too.

Simmer and saunter.

Friday, October 21, 2022

4037 : Reading list 2022 : #20 Jonathan Haidt's Coddling of the American Mind

I loved Haidt's book. Its a more erudite book that covers what we have always suspected.

The incentives in the society are changing. And these incentives change the society, but they also change us at the core.

A definite read. Highly recomended.

At 352 pages brings my 2022 total to 7441 pages.

4036 : Reading list 2022 : #19 Arundhathi Subramaniam's Love without a story

My second read of this little gem. I quite like this book. 

It makes you think and makes you sink too.

Definitely a book to keep.

At 107 pages brings my 2022 reading total to 7089 pages.

4035 : Reading List 2022 #18 : Charles Bukowski's What matters is how well you walk through the fire.

To me Bukowski is an acquired taste. I read him off and on and randomly, this though is one of those books that I finished. Some of it is just brilliant and some of it is intense. 

Read it, when time permits. Worth your time.

At 451 pages brings my 2022 list total to 6982 pages.

4034 : Why a poet?

Someone recently asked me, why I write poetry? What does it serve?

At my tempestuous best, I am itching to tell them the Bukowski answer "I write poetry to pay bills, and I am listed to get laid."....or something to that effect.

That is of course in my case the wrong answer, but sounds way better than my answer.

My real answer is possibly - I am lonely, and I struggle to have a real deep conversation with most people - unless I am drunk enough and its past midnight. So.....the next best thing is either journal or to write it out via poetry.

A lot of what I write is either my own experiences, or perceived experiences, or in some rare cases, vicarious stories. The idea in all stories/poems is to highlight the human plight, and the celebrate the human victory in choosing the right, or the choiceless choice.

I recently found/wrote one of my best poem. Now thats for another day :-)

4033 : Broken words

She told me at length, that her past was (is) broken. I heard her out. I felt for her. She seemed bothered, her past was interfering in her present, or so she felt. Especially in her ability to decide or even cremate. 

One day, when I have the courage, I am going to walk upto her and say - 

"Your past na..... Have heard it in some measure. Dont claim to understand or rationalise it. I am always around. I do have few questions though.

Your past, does it belong to someone?
What language was your past written in?
Did you tinge your ink with lime? How else did you get used to the constant sourness?
Do I need to see the cracks in your tongue, to understand your story?

What size is the blackhole in your heart? Does it have a Sun?"

4032 : My heart is a mess

That day, almost at midnight, we hunted down a pack of cigarettes from a source - almost like two junkies desperate for our next fix.

You had this wild side to you, you would always say, "if we cannot find a pack when we want it, what is the fking chance, that we will find our desire or happiness. Its one way to definitely know, the dice are loaded from the start.". Almost as if, this was your bellwether test for how probability odds are stacked up.

We found a few chairs in that middle of the deserted alien town. We lit up our first lines.

You inhaled and sighed and said with a huge sardonic smile, "Today we survived in this war. Tomorrow we shall fuck the enemy."

I played along, "What if, you are my enemy?"

She laughed the skinniest laugh - and said "Thats the most slithery pick up invite I have heard. Dork. ". Thats when it occurred to me, that it could be an apt pick up line too. My original driver was just trying to be poetic....and here I was - having shot off one hot line from the quiver. 

I smiled along. "Maybe. So?"

"Nerdy Nitin.....When you want something, ask for it - like a puppy who canoodles you for a slice of your breakfast plate. Make it obvious. Don't come sideways. Most things cannot handle a side impact.". She paused and smiled and said, "Frontal or rear might still work."

"What if, all I want is the enemy to look at me, one gaze before she kills me?"

We lit out second light - each of us. Something I had just said, made her flinch, I was not sure what it was. Was willing to wait for the night to reveal the darkness.

She spoke, "Is that what you really want?. The look. Roxette fan, eh?"

I broke into a loud guffaw and bear hugged her. That moment further melted both of us. 

As we rested on each other, silence ensued, and we were onto 3rd soon. Both staring into the exhaled smoke. 

I said, "You know, I could easily spend this night, just finding patterns in your smoke. I wish I had the camera to capture the smoky world you just puffed away."

"What do you see in that haze?"

"I see a 40 year old behaving as if she was 16."

"I am older."

"You are a fking teenager. Thats all I know. You would hungrily make out, if life offered a chance."

She laughed and lovingly rested her head on my chest and said, "That I would do anyday". Post a significant pause, she added, "I could never build my life the way I wanted to. So today I do make out, just to get a semblance of control back."

"Fking convulted."

"Asshole, fk you. Have you ever lost in love? Or in life?"

"Do I look like Alexander the Great?"

She smiled wickedly and said, "You look like Champak the Chu****"

I laughed and stared into her. She was looking ahead into her smoke. We were onto the 5th each by now.

She spoke, "Sometimes all you want in this life, is for someone to look at you with love. Actually, let me correct that, you want someone, you love, to look at you with love. Not even to love you back. Just look back into you.....and you know, how fking hard that can be?"

She stubbed her stick with finality, that "this soiree is now over".....Looked at me deep in my eyes, and smiled with deep love and endearment...and then added, "You have no idea how far I would go, if I could somehow get him to look at me with love. Just for that single gaze."

She tugged my jacket and we started the long desolate walk back to our rooms. My hand on her shoulders, she arms around my back. Two free radicals, staring out of the trenches, with our hammers all cocked up. Remember, we had to fuck the enemy tomorrow.

4031 : Me vs you

You have lived a life defined by others. Its not just the words or thoughts, its also the snaking in, sometimes. You wanted to fit into the world You wanted to fit into this world. You wanted to fit into his(her) world. 

Today, when I am no longer trying to flirt my way in. I realise, its hard to wash away acquired habits. I still sometimes talk, as if you were around and listening. I find myself looking at the mirror and searching for your validation.

I can't wish you away, but I do so wish I could piss you away. Your gaze is today a terrible burden on me.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

4030 : Greenwashing

She once told me, please dont tell me about your other friends. It makes me immensely jealous. 

Since that day, I have always smiled when I hear the mention of the "Greenhouse effect".

4029 : The ignominy

You are such a disaster,
Thats what she told me,

And here I was, I had always wondered,
What does a terrible disaster look like?

Now I know,
Obviously someone like me
Someone who does not see
The crack in his mirror

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

4028 : On your going away

Walking along a street. A memory hits you. Of someone. And its a very powerful memory. You look around for a few seconds. Now what triggered that. Is there a name or a color around that could cause that?

Nada. You are now confused.

Take a deep breath. Hints of colonge or aroma of a particular perfume, enter your nose. Aaah....thats the trojan horse that did it. That smell is so unmistakably like someone.

When people leave, they dont leave. Let me explain. They might be gone from the physical time frame. They might also be gone forever. 

And yet, they leave behind smells. You can smell them in their favorite food. 

They leave behind words. You remember their favorite words and sentences. And next time an innocous idiot uses the same words, it hits you. Hard. Like a suckerpunch. 

They leave behind ideas. Once you know that he/she (the one who is gone) does not like creamy pasta....even if you liked it yourself....the next time you see it or are served it.....the mind flinches a bit. 

They leave behind so many trails. Its like walking in a minefield. The more intense the person, the more sprayed are the mines. It can almost lead to a mental anxiety. What I am going to find of her, if I walk down this street or this room in the house?

Also, no one ever counts the bodies. We eventually remember that we used to function well without them, and now we struggle a bit to operate. 

Their legacy - what they truly leave with us with(or leave behind) us being empty shadows of ourselves.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

4027 : Coffee on my soul

Picture this. Its late evening, almost night. I am sitting in a dear friend's room and sipping strong bitter coffee. This is my second glass. The previous mug is still sitting between us.

She is on the bed, happily cross legged and I am stretched out on the couch. Wearing striped pjs and a home tshirt, she looks like she is in her toy town. I know her well enough to know that she is always in a zone for nonsense, and always in a zone to admonish me for something I am fking up.

So much for being crazy besties.

I realise, its late and I am hinting at wanting to wind the night down. So I ask her, "Where should I keep these mugs?"

"Leave them there.", she says in her typical curt business like tone. I give her the look of askance.

She retorts in Hindi," This is not my home. You can leave your shit there, literally your poop,  if you want, and someone will clean up later."

Ok, I get the message. I now politely tell her, "Let me at least wash these cups, you will need them for your morning tea."

Her eyes light up and she says, "Wait, give me the cup which you used earlier.". I dutifully hand it to her. She looks into it and says "Aha.....there we have it."

"What?", I ask. 

"The patterns at the bottom."

"You know of coffee patterns?"

She is now visibly offended. "I learnt how to read them.". 

In disbelief, I say, "You?....I have a Turkish friend, and I can still imagine him doing this. You from crazy half assed town in coffee residue? Do you even get craft coffee in your town?"

She gives me this tired, motherly look....after a few seconds says, "Done with your fk all racial commentary?"....."Ok here goes, I learnt this from a friend at my first place of work. She was originally from Qatar and possibly picked it up there."

She continued, "And by the way, its not called reading the patterns, its called divining."

Not to be left out, I said, "Its called tasseography."

She again paused, gave me this infinitely frustrated look and said "You na, are such an intellectual fucktard, you will know what a gear is called, but never learn to drive the car."...."Asshole....", she muttered under her breath.

Now I am trying to win her back, so I say, "Accha chalo divine karo" (Now proceed to divining).

Now part 2 of this story starts......



She stares deep into that cup for a full few minutes. As if, she was really some fking expert in this art. Then she looks up and says, "Amit, you are about to fall violently in love with someone."

Me, being the eternal flirt, I say, "Aha, finally. How long have I waited......With you, kya?"

"Fk off, and focus. This will be a girl, that you have not met yet. This might happen in the next 12 months. It will mad, heart pounding, pulse ripping love."

"Ok, so, I am going to meet someone in the next 12 months and fall madly in love with her. And this is a person I dont know yet......Should I be happy or worried about this?"

"Worried. If I were you. This kind of love, is bit like opening a puzzle pack. Once you have opened it, hard to put it back. Takes in immense effort. Of course if you do do it, the rewards are immense."

"So should I, then stay away from all women.". After a smile and pause I added, "Of course, this does not include you or the other existing women in my life."

She now gives me this fixed gaze, "Fker, what is it that you dont understand." 

I am still listening, she continues. 

"Are you a 15 year old? Love happens when you least expect it. You will fall in love with a fat, haggy looking person - and yet to you she will look like she is some actress. Love creeps up when you least expect it. This fking emotion makes all of us irrational. When you fall for this girl na, I promise, I will be amusing myself to death on the side."

I look down into my current cup for a few minutes. Silence from both sides. The last dregs are still left. I gulp it down. Walk upto her, hug her, kiss her and tell her "Goodnight, off I go now."

As I began the slow walk back towards my own room, it occurs to me, that love indeed comes softly. You dance like you waltz and then you pause at the edge of the room. You peer out. Is that love? Is love that feeling you have when you miss someone, but she is long gone? Is love that strange throb in the heart, when the person is still very much around, but you know, that world is out of reach? Or is love, just looking inwards and telling yourself, that when you live life with an open heart, every moment is love?

I reached the room around 11pm, and grabbed my third cup of coffee, which I sipped slowly for the next hr. 

Alone, as I stared out of the window - into that dark, sultry and empty river.

Monday, October 17, 2022

4026 : Reading list 2022 : #17 1Q84 book 1 and 2 by Murakami Haruki

Re-read one of my fav books (though only part 1 and 2), part 3 is still pending.

Murakami is my goto person when I feel lost. In addition to Milan Kundera and Javiar Marias. There is something smooth in this fiction, and yet rocking like a sweet lullaby.

Read - to just find your peace again. At 820 pages bring my 2022 total to 6531 pages.

4025 : Reading list 2022 : #16 : Finished volume 2 of Hitler : Nemesis 1936:1945

I now have some interest in history. This book was interesitng, but riddled with too many operational details. I was in it for the history, not for the battle details.

A good read though, a reminder of how falliable humans are.

At 1115 pages brings my 2022 reading to 5711 pages.

4024 : Tears

We spoke some very difficult things that day. In the car, during the walk, and even during our long silences. I struggled so much with the chat, not because of the desitnation it was headed to, but because of the journey. The slow trudge to banality.

Finally, at some point, the talks died down. With no more possibility.

I remember, awkwardly, reconciling. Thinking to myself, if this is what it feels like, then it can't be good right? Good conversely though, is a two way street. And today felt like wewere on a one way street, where both of us were still driving in opposite directions.

Walking away, I approached the nearest machine. - pressing a button for a coffee. My goto panacea for earhtly escape. As the coffee was being readied, I felt the urge to pee. In the restroom, an involuntary shudder in my stomach - almost the kind which you have when you profuesly weep (and hence have to gasp). I was not weeping yet.

Walking out, I gingerly picked the coffee up. Tomorrow the world would still be round. The sun would still shine. The rain might still fall. My car would still drive. And yet, something irrevocably had changed. That feeling of change, was flooding my insides. A deep heavy sense of my complete inability to stop the slide. 

They say water eventually finds its level. Do tears too?

4023 : What color is melancholy

A poet friend of mine posts on twitter, asking - what color is melancholy?

Got me thinking. 

Its easy to say its black, but melancholy is not that dark. It has curves where one can sonder. Its a kind of missing, that is fueled by the heart.

Definitely not colorful. A purple (as an example) is the not something I think of as melancholy.

White. Maybe. But then, melancholy is never that in your face. Its a creeping feeling that is there, but most of the times, we might not admit to it ourselves.

Brown. Coffee is where I goto when I am either missing or reminiscing. But then, thats personal.

So, back to the start. Color of melancholy?

Its a missing that syncs with the heartbeat. Its a collage of many shades that lament the possibilities of what could have been. For me, that empty nest, for which I grieve, can have only one color. 


Sunday, October 16, 2022

4022 : Tangled up in blues

You only lose if you love...or something to that effect as Mary Oliver would it.

The challenge of love (not just romantic love), it could also be you being totally addicted to your work (like parts of me definitely are) that the edges blur. Work (as an example) slowly seeps into all aspects of everyday. 

As an example of edges blurring.....some of my better everyday friends are at work. I might still not have a long history with them, but yes I do immensely care for them, and enjoy their company.

Now here is where the wicker meets the dynamite. Sometimes as the edge blurs, we blur too. Once you see no difference between work and personal - you treat work as personal. Which means, you fight to win with the same passion as you fight for the other to win. While that sounds good - it also means (on the flip side) that this is potentially a dangerous game.

As you lose at work, you will also lose big in personal life, almost in the same moment. How do I know?

Well...lets say, the best way to savor a macaroon is to eat it.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

4021 : Singe me

That day, as they were eating our meal - she ordered piping hot jamuns. Something which he didnt like as much, but dont hate either. He did not even realise that the sweet was scalding hot.

He cut a small portion of it, and like any good lover, he offered it to her first. She opened her mouth - took it in and the color drained off her cheeks. That's when he realised his mistake. 

He almost froze, but quickly in a fraction, said, "spit to onto the plate". She kept nodding and gesticulating with the hand, eventually smiling as her eyes had begun to water from the physical stress. 

"Are you ok? I am so sorry. I should have checked.", he said.

"Yes....umph....umph.....cough cough.....yes, I am ok. Its fine."

"Do you want to rinse it down with water?"

She smiled her wicked smiled and said, "I would rather cool it down with a tongue."

He smiled sheepishly, too.

Today he is much older, and yet he knows if he got a chance, he would give up something precious to just sit with her - do exactly the same mistake again, extract a very similar response - and drown in that blue feeling of being so in love again. 

Footnote - He is addicted to Dylan, but does not trust him - "strike another match, go start anew.". He also knows that he is never going to find a "match" again.

Friday, October 14, 2022

4020 : Vulnerability

So I was writing something about vulnerability, in one my private notepads. As I was writing, it occurred to me that being vulnerable is a strange game with even more strange rules.

Vulnerability means to me the ability to be honest and fragile in front of someone else or a group of people. The ability to stand and admit that "I am gay" (if you are that is), or "I am a compulsive liar" (if you are that is....) and so on....and then to also proceed to meditate in a public verbal way around this situation. Almost being figuratively naked with someone.

If that is a good simple way to think of vulnerability.....


It's usually very difficult to be naked (figuratively) with someone, with whom you have an axe to grind (from the past) on even on one attribute that you want to talk about. For example, I cannot tell my spouse "I am a compulsive liar", if she already suspects that I am being one.

I mean, I could still tell her that, but it will become a confession instead of a vulnerable chat.

And hence the only real people you can be vulnerable with - are the people who take the extreme (almost explicit) effort to take judgements and personal tribunals (and tribulations)  off the table.

If this insight is true, that should explain - why some of us find ourselves so lonely and utterly marooned in this world.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

4019 : My soul

There is a little black spot in the sun today,

Its the same old thing as yday.
Its my soul up there.
(Parts stolen from Sting)

4018 : Green me up 2

From the previous post.....

Dogs are the best examples of animals (who we can closely observe) who live in tune with their chemical feedback loop. 

And what would it take for us (for me) to live like that.

To truly listen to the body.

4017 : Green me up 1

Human beings evolved most of their chemical responses (in fact all of their responses) as an addendum to their bias to survive. So our feedback loops are very good ways of learning what will make us survive.

So salt, fat and sugar - in moderation will make us more resilient. The dopamine loop says so.

Silence and mental peace gives you cycles for deep learning. The serotonin loop tells you that.

Emotional connect with another human being helps you deal with the world. The serotonin tells you that. 

Get the drift? In the same vein.

Joy in any form or shape, helps you deal with your world better.

Poisons (coffee, wine, tea, whiskey, smoke....) all help numb the negative chemical of everyday. 

So...point being.....

Why do we resist a lot of what is good for us? Agreed, in some moderation. But we almost detest some of the above, right?

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

4016: "My" lives of others

I am talking to someone who tells me - that "if my dad knew I was in love with this person, he would kill both me and them."....

Of course, the "killing" is figurative. Though it is hugely illustrative of the agency problem in our lives. Recently I sat through a thought experiment - where the person conducting it, said - "I am speaking to 60 of you. There is a good chance at least 20 of you won't like me or my ideas. What stops you from walking out of this discussion right now? Say fkoff and just go. Have a lovely lunch with friend instead."

In that moment, I truly wondered, why do we tolerate so much shit in our lives. I can speak for myself. I do. I am polite to a point of taking on personal hurt. I give up my loves to accommodate someone else's puritanical impulses, I give up my freedom for being in someone's control hair. I make my food choices so as to not hurt the table. I give up my happiness, at the altar of my own agency. So often in just a single day.

Since that thought experiment day....I am nowadays magically aware. I now realise that I did not choose my parents, or my kid. And yet, I allowed the ecosystem around me to grow. Which means I chose my spouse, my place of work, the table I sit and eat at, my social media connects - and if that is true....I am often choosing the wrong people. The one who interfere in my own ability to exercise my agency. 

The point being, the people who are closest to us, can sometimes be also the most belligerent in this aspect. Not because they are evil, but because for them the boundaries are blurred. You(I) have allowed that to happen. We are partners in that crime.

Two truths I learnt in the past few years. Agency is strongly linked to happiness. A man (or woman) will happily see their house burn down, if they lit it themselves. Second, a life bereft of agency in key matters, is utterly joyless. Try arguing this out with me!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

4015 : Plague

A plague on both my houses.

(Today I have said this phrase at least 20 times. Its like a Zen Koan to me. This sentence means very deep things to me!!)

Sunday, October 09, 2022

4014 : Feels like a coffee out

As I am sitting writing today, I remembered stealing this cup of strong Irish coffee (I had requested no cream, and extra double espresso shot!!) with you (in some crazy part of New England). You had gleefully warned me, that this could be lethal :-).

And I smiled clumsily - and said, I need this drink to go through the day. 

"I am that bad, ah?" you said.

"No, you are so bloody fab, that I need to remain sane, restrained and yes, take my edge away."

You laughed with your head tilting backwards. The uncomfortable laugh of knowing that someone loves you so deeply, and yet pays you a back-handed compliment. 

This was an era when I had still not fallen in love with strong coffees. I remember sipping through this brown poison slowly over the next few hours. Almost struggling. You meanwhile finished 2 more shots of espresso - and that vivid picture has stayed with me till today.

My memory fails me for many bits from around that day, but I clearly do remember thinking - if you can manage so much fking coffee, you can only be many assed more crazy than me. Who sits with a friend and chomps on such strong stuff.....I knew, I needed to get my edge off, what demons were you fighting?

I did have a good guess then, and I have a even better guess today.

You were desperately fighting that feeling in your head. One that stemmed from me. 

Final score. You won. We lost.

4013 : What is love?

I have been writing a series of personal essays on love. And hell no, not yet ready to publish them here. They are for now deep intense personal meditations.

One thing I realised, that even in romantic love (or as some call it "sexual love").....physical intimacy is such a small part of the journey. Its probably in single digit percentage (as in if we drew a pie chart of the arc of love) and hence freakish by the amount of attention it dominates.

When you really want to be with a person, you want to see her (I am straight and hence "her" here!!, but replace with your fav gender) smile, laugh, talk...... You essentially crave to just spend time doing quite literally nothing with her. You admire her ability to laugh on the silly everyday, and you croak at her ability to throw a tantrum, and then shudder at her proclivity to walk around with a cleaver......get the drift?

Essentially the point is - love for such a large part is "mental" for someone like me. The physical aspects of it, starting with the hugging, kissing and possibly eventually sex - are all just simple real world manifestations of the deep mental connection. They could be present or just be completely absent (consider a remote attachment as a thought experiment). 

Would the inability to physically hug, alter your attachment to a person. Hell no, in fact it would massively possibly amplify it.

Its hard to sustain love just on physical proximity (at least for a person like me). I can deal with the reverse, which means I can sustain love just on the mental strength of being "rando" companions. 

I am classified as a sapiosexual, but that is besides the point, right? 

I fail to find any sustainable advantage to a relationship that is rooted in anything but mental. The key word here is "sustainable" and "advantage" should be read as joy, happiness, spontaneity and trust.

Thought experiment for each of you - where are you on this spectrum? Yet :-).

Saturday, October 08, 2022

4012 : Tigers by Eliza Griswold

 Came in via twitter and just so apt for my day today.

4011 : Music and its association

I had posted on this earlier. I always go back to music, when I am in the throes of something. Music is my memory marker.

For example - Amy Winehouse will forever remind me of Amtrak and some sweet bitter memories associated with it. I fell in love with Amy over the Amtrak - and everything from that time (and the people) are associated with Amy.

Dylan is associated with a time when I was way down in recent years. Dylan always helps me bounce back.

And then I just heard the line in one of my fav songs..... "Kitha guzar aayi, raat ve"....and my heart broke into the most sad wistful smile that I have conjured in recent years.

4010 : Loss

I have been meditating on the nature of loss or losing. So, imagine this - you find an ingot of gold - say a few days ago. You are happy, it shiny, its beautiful. Its makes your life a little more meaningful. 

You have never had an ingot of gold ever in your life. You have only heard of it. But now, since the past week, you have it. On your writing table - sitting there radiant and engaging with you whenever it can.

Today, as the earthquake occurred, the land gave away and the table and the ingot are both gone. Drowned in a sea of rubble.

You are no worse than a week ago (other than losing your beloved table too!!)...and yet it feels like the world just ended.

Our minds and bodies plays strange tricks on us. Why is the ingot of gold so critical for my survival? If that is not true, why does it feel like this loss is such a heavy cross to bear? Why can't you just rationalise the ignot, for what it was, a transient happiness?

Loss is worse than grief. Grief is for the past. Post the closure. Loss is present continuous.

4009 : War

Everyday is kind of fun. Esp my everyday.

It makes you feel like Churchill somedays and a fascist facsimlie on the other days. 

Land mines surround you in a blind zone. As you detonate, lose dangling arms, fry your own realise, you this probably don't enjoy this zone - you are so overwhelmed at being bombed from all three sides ( I cant see my behind - hence not "four").....

....and yet, this is all of my own making. One inch at a time, I constructed this beautiful war.

4008 : Trapped

That feeling of being trapped. In your body, in the vortex of the moment.

You learn to recognise your losing cycles, put your head down, become a turtle and march ahead. The slow cadence to the sea, your eventual freedom. Of course you can be swallowed along the way, by a snake or a croc. You can always die of hunger. Move because thats the only game in town.

Meanwhile, tomorrow, the band must play a wedding song. And I will be the money man.