2016 – The Year That Was

Picture Source: Pinterest

Picture Source: Pinterest

I love writing these year-roundabout posts. They make me look back at all that has happened this one year, rehash all the lessons learnt and be prepared for the year that’s coming. I remember reading last year’s roundabout post and all I could exclaim was, oh such a sweet summer child was I! Because that girl and this girl is just so much different, courtesy this past one year. 2016 has been one hell of a year, being officially the worst year of my Life till date. Everything I had ever loved and believed in, changed. People I’ve loved and lived for, left, betrayed and you can go ahead to fill in all the worst adjectives you can find, even then you wouldn’t be able to gauge the enormity of the damage that has been caused inside of Me. And yet, here I am, having survived it all.

2016 had begun with promises, with a constant worry in my head that the happy bubble would however soon burst. And burst it did, oh-so-badly. In fact, the worst nightmare of mine came true, when He left Me, this city for another city. The person who had come to define my life, had left me groping to come to terms to living alone, that too so suddenly and too early. It took me almost a year to get over him, and even now, I cannot say with 100% conviction that my heart doesn’t miss Him. But He sure taught me how to save and survive by myself against all odds, when I’d thought I wouldn’t be able to. Most importantly, this time, the Savior was none but Me myself. That would be one of the most important lessons he taught Me, when He left. Yet, I’d probably hold this grudge against him all my life, that he’d butchered the innocent girl that was Me, giving rise to a woman who no longer feared losing anything. That again however, was just a start to the tunnel that only spiralled downwards to losing so-called friends that had been the only gang of mine. Then had begun the web of trust, betrayal, disappointments and oh my, the amounts in which they were raining! I tell you, when people you thought to be your closest, reveal their ugly faces behind those social masks they wear, leaving aside the fact that they are not just horrific, but they even make you cringe thinking that you had actually wasted a huge chunk of your time behind them! That you had once given ’em a piece of your heart, only to have it stomped over, by them. But in hindsight, they were some great lessons learnt and now I can safely say, that there’s nothing that I haven’t been tried on. No one and absolutely nothing, no matter how bewildering the events might be, can surprise Me now. Been there, know that, Sir! Besides, given the peaceful person I’ve turned into, I’ve left it upon Karma to deal with them. Let Karma make its hands bloody, while I rest in peace!

This had however led to the first trips of mine, of this year. First one with the family, the second one for the family. The beach family outing had been amazing, full of fun and given my fondness for the seas and waves, they had given me constructive mental support to face head on, the problems that were going on in my life then. It had, in fact, steeled me for Varanasi. The Varanasi, with its conditions of keeping anonymity from the world, of being alone fighting it out for yourself and your family, and most importantly, making you realize the importance of Time, had changed me inside out. I no longer cared for anyone except myself. In fact, it had made me realize the value of family and that I’d say would be the most important good thing that came out of moving away from the gang of my friends. After the debacle, I have become so close to my family *touchwood* that there’s little that they don’t know about my Life and that actually makes me feel so contented. Varanasi taught me that and that, there must be space for nothing in my life except thinking of how to make my life more substantive.

So began the last year of my Masters as well and that thankfully didn’t give me scope to think about anything else than studies, which were so stressful and occupying every single moment of my life. Then came THE trip of my life, the first solo trip of mine which had been very bumpy at first, but went ahead to check off one item of the bucket list. From losing my purse along-with my college ID (totally caps my officially worst year, thank you 2016) to staying over at my bestie’s amazing place, from my appetite going worryingly down to watching the whole town stay quietly lit up at night during Christmas. From video calls of family to watching the galaxy of stars at 4 am, from surviving on only Chowmein for a week to travelling through a cloud storm, it made me grow my attitude back and went on to teach me yet another trip-lesson of my Life. If Beach had taught Me to think of ways to make Life more constructive than waste time over trivial matters or people, Hills taught Me to be selfish. To not give a damn about anything or anyone, than thinking about only myself. And that was just what I needed before the end of this year.

I’m not keeping any expectations out of 2017, that it’ll finally bring in everything that I need the most in my Life. In fact, I’ll keep doing what I’ve learnt this year: Keep surviving it. Prepared or not, 2017 can definitely expect some tough resistance outta Me against all kinds of obstacles and challenges, for I’m not going to give an inch without fighting. You must have already noticed that unlike the previous year, I didn’t mention the good things that happened this year. Lets just say that, they were bare minimum and the little I got, I don’t wanna jinx it up too. Also, unlike 2016, I’m going to draw up a resolutions list for 2017, because I’ve realized, I like being busy. I’m not gonna waste my time after any future scumbags or trivial matters, because my mission now is grooming the one I see in the mirror, into one of the best person out there, so that I can one day look up to myself and be really proud of myself. Now, it’s not about being worth of anyone, it’s about being really worth of the standards that I’ve set for myself. That’s the mantra now, because really YOLO.

2016 has been officially the worst year, sure. But it shall remain the year I’ll never forget. For breaking and remaking Me.

Happy New Year, everyone. May The Forces be with Us, this new year. May We ourselves, become The Force.

NON-FICTIONAL FICTION

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This happens to be a not-so-famous dialogue from a very famous Hollywood film.  Couldn’t identify? No? Okay.

Right, so this happens to be from the film The Matrix (1999) and even though this conversation between Agent Smith & Neo is not so famous, but is closer to my heart.

Sometimes, when sensitive people fall into depression, people who perhaps fail to grasp their sensitivity, laugh at their backs and call them, “Empty”.
“She is so empty, ya.”
“God, crawl out of this empty life of yours please, will ya?”
“Oh, I get so bored with this empty, boring life of yours.”

with the general consensus being “Get a life, dude/babe!”

What has always piqued my curiosity is, how do you define emptiness? Can there really be any universal definition of what can be called emptiness?

Most importantly, when you are calling someone ’empty’, can you really put your hand on your heart and call yourself ‘not empty’/’full’/’whatever-you-call-that’?

Think over it and let me know, please?

 

On a personal note, this past few weeks has brought along several epiphanies for me. And with epiphanies came in a big change. Thank you world for the love and hatred alike. They have been crucial for the change, which was the need-of-the-hour. *smiles*

What change? Let’s wait and watch? For, even I am eager to witness the change happening!! *grins*

COFFEE TALKIES – 3 (AN ECSTASY)

“Good Morning!”, came the sing-song voice of Elaine, while Shoi was entering her shop. Elaine, her assistant was a local native and a very good friend of hers who had helped & supported her much since the time she had moved to this part of the world. Shoi returned back her part of the greeting & taking her coffee cup, sat on her chair, massaging her temples. Damn Him. Damn Him. Damn Him. Shoi muttered under her breath.

Since the time Shoi had replied back to his message after successfully resisting it for weeks, Ayan had been unstoppable. It didn’t matter to him to explain his absence. It didn’t matter to him that Shoi might have even wanted or deserve some sort of explanation behind his errant behaviour. It didn’t matter to tell her about his present whereabouts as well. Of course, it also didn’t matter to him that Shoi had refused to share any details of her present daily life to him. Not that she had shared the details of her past life though. But ’twas as if nothing mattered but him. So always full of himself, Shoi frowned, sipping her coffee. It totally deluded her even now as to why had she even replied to him in the first place. But truth be said, Shoi hadn’t been able to resist accepting his truce, for it had been one. Or maybe, Him.

It had been quite late at 2:30 am that she had gotten to sleep the previous night. Why? Because the great Mr. Ayan was going all guns about the future projects that he was going to be a part of. Shoi could have feigned tiredness & conjured up some excuse to retire for the night, but she just couldn’t. Because his happiness was infectious. He was infectious. And Shoi had been smitten. Precisely why everyday now she has been waking up, with red eyes and throbbing headaches on lack of proper sleep.

 

large (1)With the shop being mildly crowded by the morning tourists & Elaine charming and managing them effortlessly, as always, it was the faint ticking of a clock nearby that drew Shoi’s attention from her logbook. Finding something amiss, because she had no such clock in her shop, she started searching for the source. And just then, she spotted one on a cup with an open book lying beside it on her window sill. Surprised because she didn’t remember keeping anything like that there anytime, she moved to see an absolutely beautiful, intricately designed cup, a retro-version, vintage clock, replete with a white bow and a small white rose. Admiring such an unexpected gift, she had just opened the book, when she found a note attached to it. Intrigued, she went on to open the note, which read: There’s no goodbye till I see you again…. A date, m’lady?

 

It was as if her heart had missed a beat. Shoi knew it all in an instant. Someone had slipped this gift by her window sill in her absence and she, Shoi gasped loudly, apparently knew this someone. He had been here. Ayan.

 

 

This post is the third installment to the fiction series Coffee Talkies. For the previous story installments, here are the links:

Coffee Talkies – 2

Coffee Talkies – 1

Enjoy and do take the pains of letting me know about your reviews regarding the story.

 

COFFEE TALKIES – 2 (GRUMPY ACCEPTANCE)

 

It was quite late at night when Ayan came back to his hotel and flopped down on his couch, completely drained and exhausted. Barely able to keep his eyes open, he checked upon his phone’s messages. None from her. He sighed. So even after a week since he had first messaged her after a 5 month long hiatus, she has still been holding her grudge. Punching in the good night message, Ayan smiled. Forever stubborn and headstrong Shoi. In this 5 months, there hadn’t been one moment when she hadn’t crept up in his mind. Why, it felt just like yesterday when he had unexpectedly stumbled upon her in one remote Indonesian beach.

 
11720558_656226241179420_112486274_nAfter a sleepless night, he had been out wandering on the beach early morning, when he had first caught sight of her and to his surprise, found his breath taken away. Looking out at the beach, she had looked like a demure femme fatale who could kill without the slightest suspicion of yours. She wasn’t gorgeous in her looks as much as the power that emanated from her. And all this Ayan had felt without even knowing her. He had went up to her and introduced himself as the travel journalist working for the National Geographic. She had introduced herself as Shoi Ray, an independent woman with a successful jewellery business, with her shop overlooking the beach. Having found someone who knew her way around, he had asked for her help in his work. She had acceded reluctantly, if not very enthusiastically. Treating her as just another native of another foreign land, Ayan clearly hadn’t expected her to change his life.

 

He still vividly remembers their farewell moment at the airport. How those 2 months had went by, he still couldn’t fathom. Shoi hadn’t said a word about asking him to stay back. But in some corner of his heart, he had expected her to. Not a single drop of tear nor any traces of broken voice had been there on part of her which might have given away her feelings for him. For he damn well knew she had, but had stoically refused to show. Instead, she had looked straight in his eyes and said in a clear voice, with a smile, “Goodbye, Ayan. May you live your life forever as a hippie without any roots anywhere behind.” Ayan had somehow managed a smile and never turned back to look at her even once. For then, she would have seen the tears that were falling limply on his cheeks.

 

 

The night’s silence got broken by a single beep on Ayan’s phone, who was oblivious of the same, being off to the dream land already. The sender’s name: Shoi. Message: “There’s no goodbye until the next hello, huh?”

 

Photo Credits: The picture in this post has been used with complete consent on part of the beautiful girl in the picture named Debolina, a college friend of mine. Without this picture of yours, this part of the story would have lost a chunk of its magic. Thanks a ton for lending it.

 

This post is the second installment to the fiction series Coffee Talkies. For the first story installment, here’s the link: Coffee Talkies – 1. Enjoy and do take the pains of letting me know about your reviews regarding the story.

COFFEE TALKIES – 1 (A DISBELIEVING SURPRISE)

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Like all mornings, Shoi had woken up at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m, went for jogging at the park and after her punishing ritual of exercises, been back home at sharp 6 a.m. She’d made her morning coffee, black straight and jam toast in the breakfast, just like any other day. Cupping the hot black coffee cup with both her hands, she pulled up both of her feet on the seat end of the chair, her favourite sitting posture and sat musing.
She’d earned quite a reputation in her family and friends circle, being a ‘living machine’ leading successfully, an independent but drab life, straightened down to every small detail. Hearing ’em, she used to give a mere shrug. Wasn’t as if they were wrong. Excitement in Shoi’s life was zilch. Work was her favourite hiding place, where she used to slog days and nights, for the fear that whenever her mind found itself free, it used to inadvertently take refuge in her past, when she wasn’t this person.
He’d drop in every morning, deliberately late (to make her wait) for the coffee, which he found distasteful and the toast, which only worsened his appetite, as he claimed (“You’ll be burned in hell for treating a guest in such a way!”, he’d spat, with a puckered frown on his face), yet drop in anyway. He’d walk her to her shop, despite her innumerable attempts to dissuade him and again walk back her to her home in the late evening. Why? Because he wanted to be ‘in form’ and what better than to walk with a just-average-looking girl. She’d be offended, turn up her nose in the air and fasten her speed, trying to leave him behind, much to his amusement. Among all other things he used to do, she liked the good morning and night messages. She had grown warm to the habit of waking up and sleeping to them.
Snapping back to the present, Shoi sighed. He always had to return back to torment her, didn’t he! 5 long months since they have had any contact and she still couldn’t forget him. She shouldn’t have let down her walls and let him in, she berated for the nth time. For when he’d walked out, he’d broken every piece of her. Yet she’d held her pride. She hadn’t went back to him, begging. After all, why would she? They technically didn’t have any rights on each other, to want the other person to stay back. After all, they were just strangers. Yet every piece of her mind and heart had wanted him to. But he hadn’t looked back even once and she had let him go.

The coffee had turned cold, the toast half-eaten. She swore an oath. Now her appetite had gone for a toss as well. Fantastic. Just then, her mobile chimed an incoming message. Surprised, she looked at her watch. 6:40 a.m. Too early for anyone to be awake and message her, except… Nodding her head disbelievingly, she reminded herself. 5 months, Shoi. Just let him be, now. Huffing a disappointed breath, she retrieved the mobile from the work table and widening her eyes, almost frozen a stance, fell back onto the chair in disbelief.
“Good Morning.” – Ayan.

Christmas Melancholy

christmas-light-collage

He teased her yet again, trailing kisses down her chin. She moaned, whispering, “Yess…”. He touched her and she rose to meet him wantonly. Kate found herself rising to this levels of paradise, gripping the sheets tight. And suddenly, he stopped. By the time she opened her eyes, he was gone. Just like this. She groaned in frustration and threw a pillow in some corner of the room. Yet another unsatisfied dream.

Somewhere, in the abyss of her consciousness, she could hear some hushed whispers from down the hall. She groggily reached out for the clock, and opened one eye. 6:00 a.m. She cursed an oath and wondered, what the hell could her folks be cooking up in their minds, at so early a winter morning. She would have given it a miss, had it not been for the calendar, her eyes caught on. She jerked up. 25th December. Christmas day for the world. For her, a day that changed her life forever, three years back.
Brandon had went to his office, promising he would be back shortly, after a snag in some electrical lighting system had been found in the office. It had been their first Christmas after marriage and they had ensured that nothing was left amiss to make this a true celebration. No wonder, Kate had been disappointed, but then, work was work. Before leaving, he had given her a bone-melting kiss and winked, which said, wait for Me. Wait, she did. Till the midnight. And even more. Even then, no news had come from him. No phone calls, nothing. Zilch. Tensed because it was out of Brandon’s character, she thought to switch on the radio and make the time pass. All other family members had already went long back to retiring for the night. Just then, she heard the news. Due to a deep fog, there had been a major accident and a pileup of cars indicated numerous amount of lives had been lost. She shrieked and moments later, she and her family had reached the accident site. Not having spotted Brandon’s car, she heaved a sigh of relief. Apparently, her joy was short-lived. The rescue cops informed that along-with the pileup, two or three cars had gone down the ditch. They feared one of those were of Brandon’s.
Even after three years, she trembled whenever she thought of those times. It had taken her almost 6 months to return back to normalcy. Things had been black-and-white until that thing….had arrived. She pushed back its thoughts at the back of her mind and unmindful of where she was going, she started for downstairs.
She was met with the kind stares, some damn-right pitiful of her. She always despised these times. She might have been a little hard on them, because after all, all they wanted is to help her, in whatever ways they could. “Kate, umm, we were wondering if you would like to go outside today. You know, some bar or something. Mingling with new people…” Kate’s mom trailed off. Kate released a breath and said, “Thank you. I really appreciate your efforts, but I’m actually fine. I don’t have a problem really, with all the Christmas tree and celebrations.” She smiled and tried to put in weight in her statement. A lie. She will always be bothered by Christmas.
She remained cooped for the rest of the day in her room, giving the excuse of office work. Who was she kidding? She had been through the whole day with Brandon’s memories, fiddling with his clothes, going through their albums. Anything to get closer to him, in whichever way she could. When had she dozed off, she didn’t have an idea. When she opened her eyes, it was already dark.
Waking up disoriented, her eyes fell on the frame of Jesus, which had been put up on the wall. Brandon’s favorite. He’d strongly believed in Jesus and would have celebrated with great passion today, she mused. Had he been here. She stood before the frame and stared. Stared at Jesus. Could she again believe in him, like she did, when she was with Brandon?
She tiptoed down to the hall. She didn’t want anyone to see, she had dressed up lest more questions came in, for her to field. There had been no reason really for dressing up. Yet, she had felt something moving inside her, in that moment with the frame. A resurgence in Faith maybe. Something which she was unable to tap. She found herself right under the mistletoe, in all the sneaking she was trying to do. In a flash, she moved. No, not the mistletoe. Too many memories. But the Christmas tree by the fireplace? Could she handle that? She closed her eyes, her chest heaving. Too much to go through. Just then, memories floated in her eyes. Memories with Brandon. How they kissed under the mistletoe every Christmas midnight. How they used to decorate the Christmas tree together.
Where did time pass, she knew not. It was as if she actually relieved those moments. These memories were all that she had of him. Maybe, she actually could contend to live with them. Maybe, Life wouldn’t be such a struggle, after all. She smiled, picking up the gifts her parents had left for her, until she spotted an envelope with them. Her heart skipped a beat. It had come again. Something which had terrified her, in the last three years. Hands shaking, she opened the envelope.
“Merry Christmas, my Cat. With Love, your Bran.” In exact Brandon’s handwriting. Nobody except Brandon used to call her Cat. Nobody knew, in fact. It had been their private names they had given to each other. After the first envelope, she had almost had faith that he was alive. Her Bran was alive. Yet, she kept the envelope hidden from others, lest others thought that she had made it all up. She hadn’t left any stones unturned as well, trying to trace the envelope. All, to no avail. She had lost all hopes, until the next Christmas, when again another envelope had arrived. Now, the letter somehow gave her the shudders. She steeled herself. Not this time. Whether it was that moment with the frame or anything else, she didn’t know. All she knew is, anybody trying to get her, wouldn’t be able to. She would survive. Live for her Bran. Celebrate Christmas. A tear slipped from her eye. She whispered, “Merry Christmas, Bran”.