In my 20s I wasted way too much trying to be pleasant. With age I have become more comfortable with not always being liked by everybody, and being more honest. I still find myself saying, ‘maybe,’ when what I really want to say is, ‘no.’ But life is too short to waste on being anything other than true to ourselves, and why would one not want to experience the sense of liberation that comes with speaking one’s mind.
I just realised that I did not even wish you guys a Happy New Year, in my last post! Such bad manners. Forgive me. But better late than never. :). Happy 2022 dear readers. Hopefully, it won’t be a bugger all mess like the last couple of years. This decade needs to get its act together.
A little poem to ease back into the newsletter routine. The last few weeks were tougher and busier than anticipated, but the good news is that the kiddo is recovering well from her surgery.
This disease and its treatment are both designed in the very bowels of hell, and we (and many others) walk through it on a daily basis. The simple act of facing another day with hope, and not giving in to despair can demand every ounce of energy one has. The fight against the rage and envy that one invariably feels when we wonder, ‘Why me?’ ‘Why my kid?’ or as we watch everyone else live their cancer free lives, corrodes my insides.
At the same time, it has taught me patience and how to live in the moment. Of course, the journey is not yet complete – we have a few more months of radiation and support chemo to get through. Right now, we are in the testing, scanning and planning stage and by God! it is the most frustrating stage as we wait for everything to line up before treatment starts. But at the end of it all we have the carrot of being cancer free dangling at the end of the treatment stick.
However, we all hope to have some semblance of a routine back in our lives once this phase of the treatment commences, sometime next week.
In the meantime, on The Wheel of Time front, I have reached Book No. 11. It was tough going at times because I was irritated as hell by how the female characters were fleshed out – almost all of them were irritatingly stubborn and arrogant. And not one single woman simply crossed her arms. She would cross her arms under her bosom. Every. Single. Time. Despite that I could not set the books aside because the story gallops ahead. Am yet to watch the show though… maybe after I read all the books.
And you are angry at her for being careless and silly
You are angry because you wanted to write
and now… and now,
after a whole day spent being mum,
when you desperately wanted to write,
you have to be mum for another half an hour.
You are angry because you feel this way.
You are angry because you had shut the door
that hurt her finger.
All the logical explanations about
she should not have kept her finger there don’t cut ice.
She’s old enough to know better doesn’t cut ice.
You are angry because you were so tired
that you scolded her for placing her finger near the door.
You are angry as you watch those tears stream down
because of all the things you can handle on earth
her tears are not one of them.
You are angry because you are tired.
You are angry because she doesn’t blame you.
You are angry because she agrees with you
– she was being careless.
Damn it! You are angry.
Motherhood is one bloody ride
You are angry because you can’t forgive yourself.
This is a poem I had written a few years ago. I love being a mom. It is a full time job. I love writing. It too is a full time job. There are only 24 hours in a day. Final result – I was often left feeling frayed and irritable trying to just hang on to some sense of identity.
Now as my daughter battles a rare sarcoma and recovers from a surgery, I am left amazed at how much we take for granted and how ridiculously small and unimportant everything else looks when we are brought up hard against mortality. I can’t relive those years again, but I have promised myself that going forward I will slow down enough to enjoy the moments – with my family and by my own self. To hell with what the world thinks a successful life should look like.
erasers and those sticky notes, I never seem to need.
A special honoured place
for that smooth grey veined pebble
from Beas’ violent, rocky bed
each vein a secret tale just for my ears.
On a panel below it a happy picture of us.
A raised platform on my aged table
to hold my favourite books and those old
jam jars enjoying their second innings,
as home for my pens, pencils, a leafy twig
and a ragged peacock feather – a gift from the kid.
An open window to look out at greenery
that spills, vulgar in its excess.
To be able to breathe
the fresh fragrant mountain air
as it wafts in, lazy on a morning breeze.
A lonely, winding path
through tall mountain trees
the fog a not-so-distant dream
as the sunlight trickles in, warming patches,
even as the moss reigns in the shadows.
The sound of crunching leaves
as I make my way through a lattice
of light and dark; spinning ideas –
tall, shy and fantastic, to spill on the pages
waiting on my beautiful old wooden table.
My Pinterest board has about 31 images of my dream writing zone. They all have a few things in common – the tables are wooden and old, they are placed near a window and the view outside is green. The value of greenery is only truly understood when you live in a desert city. I tell myself that I would be a better, more prolific writer if I had the ideal conditions. By ideal conditions, I mean at least 4 to 5 undisturbed hours, endless supply of tea, and perfect, inspiring surroundings to write.
Reality is far from it. If I get an uninterrupted hour, it is a very good day indeed. With regards to tea, I am luckier. Mom and dad are visiting, and I do get tea on request. As for inspiring surroundings – on a good day I can see the Arabian Gulf in the distance, but on most other muggy, dusty days, all I can see is a chain of under construction high-rises, and empty construction plots promising more of the same, and I want to scream.
This poem is an ode to my dream writing zone, which is more than just a writing table. 😊
It is so damn hard to write at times. Life, and if I am absolutely honest, all those TWOT books, overwhelm, but thanks to this newsletter, I am writing something at the least.
A theme I like to explore through my poems, and a novel I hope to serialize soon, is guilt. As part of my exploration of the theme, I wrote about white lies – those we utter, and those we sometimes commit by staying silent. White lies are always accompanied by justifications – often valid ones. But what if truth is absolute and ruthless in its purity? Whether you believe in absolute truth or consider truth to be relative, sometimes our defences and justifications for our half-truths and truths withheld crumble and we are left staring at what we have become.
Anyways… do let me know what you think of the poem.
This poem was written in response to a prompt on my writing group. Walt Witman wrote, ‘I contain multitudes.’ And now our grief is reflecting it too. Layers of grieving. Even as we all struggle with the pandemic, some of us are also fighting parallel, personal battles in our own little pandemic induced bubbles. Nothing will ever be the same again – a cliché but true. We have all lost our innocence, and every day I mourn for what could have been, even as I am grateful for what is. This poem is my attempt at depicting my grief for that loss, because I can begin to manage things, feelings and vague notions only, and only when I write it out.
I am what you call a 2 a.m writer. My best ideas for stories and dialogues come to me when I am slipping from one sleep cycle into the next. I groggily reach for my mobile and open OneNote to type in the idea. Sometimes it is just a sentence and sometimes a para.
Earlier I’d not get up and pin the idea down, certain that there is no way I could forget this gem. Come morning, all I could recall is that I had had a good, maybe even a brilliant idea, but I have no clue what it is. After the first two times of not being able to recall the ideas, and the resultant kick-your-own-ass anguish, I would just wake up and write the damn idea down. At least, I could now go back to sleep peacefully and wake up to something interesting.
Most of my 2 a.m ideas have done me good, except for this one time, when I had an idea to solve, and I mean SOLVE, the problems facing the world. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. I got up and typed in my solution and went back to sleep relieved that when I wake up the idea to solve all our problems will be there in my OneNote. Waking up, I opened the note, and my solution was just one word – Bananas.
I am sure it is a code. Or maybe we are all supposed to eat bananas. Go figure!
Would love it if you’d share your ‘Bananas’ idea :).
Am slowly limping back into social media. My novel’s final draft is almost done, and I now realise that it is not the final draft. I want to make a few more changes… Aaargh. To paraphrase Deepak from Masaan, “yeh drafts kahe katam nahi hote bey?” (Why doesn’t re-writing come to an end man?)
So, to not hate myself or my book (yes that’s possible when you live with it 24/7) I am blogging and posting again…