As The Dream Ends…

(This was a poem I wrote a while ago… thought I would share it here)

In that moment just as I awaken
Neither a dream nor a reality
You are there like you were never gone
More real than you ever were
More painful than I care to remember

You smile like you did
To make me feel it was all good
My heart yearns in response
Even as my brain hurries to awaken
To tell me you are not real
And perhaps you never were

You take me back to the places we were
As my dreams rush to fill in the moonlight
The silence your voice bought
And reality has nothing to say
Against the hope of that beautiful dream

It is but a moment
As I come into the reality
Smiling about us

Only to realise in another moment
It was all nothing but a dream
And my heart begins to weep all over again
For the dances we never had
For the things we never said
For the things we never heard
For all the things you didn’t say to make me stay


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Procrastination

How many times have we told ourselves that if we got through this one assignment, we would begin the next one well before the due date? If only we had a rupee for every time I heard that… or I told myself such things.

Today seems to be particularly suited to writing about this… I’m seated here with a huge mug of tea, post-midnight, working on a presentation that is due tomorrow morning. The presentation this time includes a lot more complex stuff… like really proving yourself.

It reminds me of all those occasions in uni when I’d be sprawled in the living room, music blasting in my ears till there was absolute silence, working away on my laptop till the sun came over the horizon. I would gulp down yet another hot chocolate, take a searing hot shower to wake me up further and head to the uni. I’d grab yet another coke, make a fabulous presentation – surprisingly – and then head home on that blurry yet very trippy second wave.

It isn’t just on assignment or presentations… procrastination is on everything. Making appointments with the doctor, the dentist, the tailor, the mechanic… waking up and getting ready for the day, cleaning the room, calling people and doing things…

Why do we delay these things? It isn’t laziness always… There could be reluctance, sometimes. Or hesitation… But shouldn’t we have learned from all those missed opportunities and rushing?

Nobody in India is ever on time. Which is good sometimes for me. I turn up five minutes late, they turn up 15 minutes late. And I would’ve made up a thousand stories or apologies in my mind but they don’t say a thing. They casually sit down and start off the conversation.

I guess that does go hand-in-hand with etiquette and manners. It is not done to be late. If you are ‘unavoidably’ detained, send a text or call beforehand and let us know how late you would be. I do that. I generally know how long it’ll take me to get somewhere and all the things involved, so I manage to give people an hour’s notice at least. Except sometimes, when I’m meeting friends.

And as I’m talking about manners… here’s a thing everyone needs to be taught in school now – cellphone manners.

Do not talk loudly on the cellphone. That is sort of like chewing loudly or with your mouth open.

Do not text/answer calls constantly when you are with other people. Yes, when you are with friends and you get a work-related call, we all have to take it sometimes. But what really annoys me – when people sit in front of me and are constantly texting someone else. If you are here in front of me, why not pay attention to me? If you really wanted to be with the other person, then you should have. Do not insult the one sitting in front of you by giving them a fraction of your attention. And no, messaging that person when you are with someone else does not make up for it.

Little stupid things that we never learn.

And now i’m going back to finish my work. Hopefully today.

(Btw, I have a Facebook page for my photos. If you know who I really am – like many of my readers do – look me up :-))

Birthdays

General harbingers of joy (or depression, if you are beyond a particular age) – Birthdays.

In my world, the celebration starts at midnight. Calls start pouring in,  messages pop up and there are also times when friends surprise you with a birthday cake. But I’ve been constantly hearing “this is the best birthday” ever so often these days that it makes me wonder how one can get to the age of mid-20s without having at least ONE memorable birthday in their life? Am I the spoilt brat here?

The first such statement was heard when we were in college. My friend said he’d never had a cake in his life. I was quite surprised because he has a naturally gregarious family. And we were also in our late teens and those are the times to make such memories.

But now, flipping through the albums on Facebook, I wonder if the site has made our memories for happy times shorter? There is an overload of images on FB – both ours and friends. So every new image instantly replaces the previous image and blurs those memories faster than they were meant to be blurred. Or if a fabulous birthday only one where photos can be taken?

Some of my best birthday memories aren’t even on FB. They were absolute surprises and beautiful. In fact, I have very few photos from last year’s birthday and that was one of the rocking ones.

But not just birthdays… everything. There are constant photos of us clubbing, eating out, chilling… and there are so many! And each one has a photograph to remind us… and for others to comment on. After a while, does it all sink into the ocean of ‘that happened’?

When I catch up with friends, we manage to recall the most mundane of incidents (for most part). The people we meet and the unique way we associate them with an event. Now, it is all like in Memento (or Ghajini for the Indians)… a polaroid.

This might seem strange coming for a photographer… but the need to catalogue every single moment of our life is kind of… weird. And unhealthy. I like to be able to recall a night without photographic aids. The birthdays I mentioned… some parts that totally rocked – I don’t have any photographs of them outside my mind. And they’ll probably stay with me forever.

Dreaming

The urge to spend more hits only when you are close to being broke. Is that a suicidal/destructive instinct that is deeply rooted and surfaces only in moments such as this? But somehow, only when you are intent about zipping up your purse, all these beautiful things you want start passing in front of your eyes.

My shopping list?

– A leopard print skirt – I wouldn’t probably even wear it… I never felt like wearing it. But now, I saw someone wearing it and hey! I want that.

– Leopard print boots – now this, I definitely want. And have been on the lookout but India never caught on that animal print craze that swept the fashion world last year.

– A black formal jacket. Make that a formal suit. I hate wearing jackets… particularly in summer (which promises to be sweltering hot this year). But I want one.

– A proper bag – okay. This comes under necessity… if there are designers out there listening, mark this down. I want a bag which looks cool and is big enough to fit my camera – by which I mean the SLR, all the other knick knacks a girl gotta have, maybe space for a lens. Yet it should not look shabby or too huge… would be better if it were a sling types. And yes, enough sleek compartments so that I do not have to dig through it looking for all those small things that I dump in my bag. Sigh… might as well ask for world peace, eh?

– A jacket… with multiple pockets

– A pretty white dress

– A press red dress

– A frilly red skirt

– The perfect white top

– The perfect formal white shirt

yeah I should stop torturing myself.

Where are the cutesy flea stores in this city?

That Which is Personal

I was at a photography event over the weekend. One of those creative awards thing… except this time, it was a little more personal because I had submitted a few entires too. I wasn’t sure if I would win… and I wasn’t particularly bothered by it either. I wanted to look what were the entries that would be shortlisted and maybe even win.

I expected brilliance. Particularly in the age of edited photographs and extremely illusory brilliance. I see so many awesome photographs, which aren’t real. They perhaps do not even exist, even by the standards of illusion we sometimes measure photographs.

But the ones that won were… plain. Like the ones I perhaps shot on my phone for my blog on a day there were nothing. Some were similar to installations… juxtapositions or a way to portray the existence of something through something else. The shortlisted entries weren’t particularly impressive… maybe because I was expecting something ethereal. Perhaps as a story line, it made some sense.

But it still seemed… amateurish. True, the images had potential. The exploration of sexuality is a powerful tool in any medium. As are social issues or environmental issues. But I expected… quality. Simply because we are bombarded by photoshopped images constantly. Every magazine, every portal has these photos. So it was refreshing to see these images, with a message. But it did leave me a little confused about quality that was expected in the awards.

Not to mention, every time people say “we had some awesome entries and we found it so hard to decide” I feel like rolling my eyes and saying get to the point. That sort of diplomacy just rings fake.

The other entries, though, were quite interesting. Creative writing… poetry and prose. Short stories and more. If the awards had to be decided the way one read a poem, I’d probably give it to this beautifully dressed woman, who had a throaty voice and really knew how to read a poem. The one that won was someone who didn’t read it that well, so I wasn’t paying that much attention. (yeah that sucks but i’m only human!).

And then there was the Kannada creative writing section – newly introduced. I have grown up with poetry reading. I have heard some awesome poetry in my life. All my life, I have heard certain poems with lines being repeated… and that was the why poetry was to be read, least in Kannada, though everyone said such lines should not be repeated.

Sometimes, I think you have to let go of that rule. The problem here is the people did not know when to let go of that rule. The first guy was good… with almost the right amount of stress and a nice diction. The woman started off better than the guy and then completely ruined it by repeating every line of half the poem! Bah!

But it was beautiful to hear such clear diction and clean Kannada being spoken. If you are someone native to this land and understand the language, you realise how rare that is. Even I don’t speak that clean a language anymore. Slang does ruin a language sometimes.

It was an interesting evening… and I realised I have lost much patience for ceremony. The platitudes, the generalisms and all those words that are an important part of this business.

I feel older. Restless. Tired. Confused. And scared. Scared most of it all… I have a path and I am headed on it, but when I wake up in the morning, I feel tired. Of course, that could just be that I need to change my pillows and put clean sheets on the bed. But… the red tape of life is bogging me down.I wish I could find a pair of huge scissors to just go chop chop chop and clear away this debris to find that clear path to what I am supposed to be doing.

I remember those dreams of old… which have changed so much! A lot of old friends are swinging by… and they remember those conversations and ask “so how is that going” and I surprise myself by laughing and say “oh those dreams have been replaced and I’m looking at something else now.”

Some people are confused… because they couldn’t believe I would abandon something I spoke with passion about. Some are confused. And some, that small rare breed, understand that dreams do change… that’s the only way they survive. It isn’t defeat. It is simply the way we are… all those things we learnt continue to shape our dreams.

I’ll leave you tonight with a line I heard at the poetry reading that haunts my mind – “She dared to tread those lands where even the Gods had abandoned”

Tears

The urge to write strikes again when the mind is curiously blank.

So much emotional drama in the past few hours… Perhaps it has been similar to the whole year. All the ups and downs. Have I grown more as an adult? I really don’t know. I feel I have, for the first time. I feel… sober. Silent. Perhaps giving in to my silent side more.

A friend today accused me of not emoting enough, which I thought was ironic because I never shut up. Or I’m always dramatic. But the truth is… when it comes to some of the bigger things in life, I perhaps go silent. Withdraw into myself. Why? Perhaps some of it is ego and some of it is pride. But I think most of it really has to do with self preservation.

As he spoke, I realised I wouldn’t change that either. I like myself for most part, the way I am. I have made peace with the bad parts of me. The rest of it… I think I’m quite awesome. Maybe it is the silence that drove some people away… but then there are plenty of those others who have stayed… and simply because they took the extra minute to really look. Nothing that comes easy is really valued in life… and that holds true for me, for you, for a job, for a life and everything else.

I have often complained that people do not see the ‘real’ me… but what I forgot was I project this image. Consciously. And most people never have the patience to look beyond the surface. So I really shouldn’t be complaining. Because some people choose to take another look, or take another moment for a longer look… why is that necessary? I can’t remember the answer to that one… because my friend’s questions are still lingering in my mind.

Maybe it is practice or maybe there is a really good reason for it… either way, that isn’t going to change either. Sometimes, the truth is best hidden… or best discovered in its own time.

Maybe I am more like a guy… not wanting to talk till I am pushed to the wall… Or not wanting to talk till some point. Maybe I just want to prove that I am strong… or maybe I am just scared to ask and hear a ‘no’. I do ask… when it really matters. that is something that I’ve just begun to learn.

And tears… they are supposed to be a woman’s strongest weapon. Pity that I don’t have enough left to waste on trifles.

Death

A friend died today.

He was as old as me. As us.

I guess I knew there was something wrong when a friend pinged me and asked “did you know him.”

It was already in the past. Even through the haze of a vacation, of a peaceful day and such, I knew it was past.

I wish we could say we do not expect deaths at this age. We might be 25 but there have been those friends lost to accidents, to sickness and to sheer fate. It doesn’t make each death less potent.

I had mostly lost in touch with him. Every now and then we would catch on Facebook, when he would comment on something on my profile. Or I would laugh about something he did. That was what we  mostly were… Facebook friends who had been college buddies.

There were times when I thought I would call him and didn’t. We forget. We forget so many things when we are busy running around to make something of ourselves.

The thing is… life is never as long as we think it is. And we can never get anything done… Maybe we should send those messages when we think of them, take that leap when we feel we should.

Edit: Ironically, his FB page is a memorial right now. FB allows you to write messages and immortalizes that page. A nice thing of FB’s behalf. FB was what keeps so many of us in touch in a world when memories are so short. Yet, the grief is too personal to share on a wall.

His life, the minutes of it can be traced out on that wall. His last message was celebrating the weekend and the plans he had… merely 24 hours later, he was dead and the first “R.I.P” message appeared as a comment on that status message. Is that morbid? Is that just damn freaky? Is it scary that we are so much in touch with someone that every minute of someone’s life can be cataloged on a social network? Or is it a celebration that we knew that he was happy in those last few moments? Do we want to know?