The afternoon is warmer in some place; The winters are harder in some place.
While we shiver under the blanket,
They smile through the fog.
The scars are more stubborn in some place;
The weeds are sturdier in some place.
While we cry over ours,
They tend theirs as flowers.
We pamper our bruises;
They are grateful to be able to breathe.
Our fights look invincible, Others’ battles, feeble.
Sometimes all we need are binoculars, and we will see how the grass is far greener on our side.
There are monsters of the world, and there are demons of your own, each one prodding you to the direction of their victory. One elaborating evil, the other, promoting a tit for a tat. You’re never torn between them. But the good news is, there are angels too! Both around and within you- they strive to be seen. They’re pushing their way up to you all the time. Help them up. Don’t give yourself the luxury to be torn between the good and the evil. Because you know better. Because kindness comes to you more naturally than revenge. And because it takes light to douse darkness!
Every once in a while, there will come a catastrophe that will turn all that you had built to pieces. There will come a hailstorm so violent that it will shake your very belief in creation. There will come a landslide of such intensity, that it will take with it everything you knew as yours. If that isn’t enough, the disaster will come when you are peacefully asleep in your belief that your shelter is good enough to protect what you own. It will come in the middle of the night so that you won’t have the time to collect in a bag the little somethings that the world would identify you with. At the end of it, you will be left groping in the dark, looking for some wall familiar, some furniture that you had custom made, some plank of the roof you trusted your life with. You will be yelling to be found out from beneath the remnants of what you had called home.
All this, while choking under the rubble that once made your safe heaven.
Today, we talk about freedom the way we talk about the morning tea- essential, but mundane, insignificant, taken for granted. But on certain days, this kadak chai hits you hard and you develop a whole new perspective.
I was captivated and kept in bondage by my own beliefs, insecurities, fears. I bought things I didn’t need, to impress people I didn’t like. I would walk tiptoed on roads because if I tripped, it would be the end of the world. I’d dance within the limits of the beats and fill my playlist with ‘popular’ songs, even if my insides cringed at the cacophony. My face would smile under plastic make up at parties till the high heels made my feet hurt.
I had never let myself open to the idea of freedom; freedom would mean being all by yourself, not having anyone to approve your dress, your hair; not having anyone proofread what you think. It took me an age to realise that that was the whole point.
Freedom is not marked by a date in history, nor symbolised by the hoisting of a flag. You are as free as you let yourself be. The realisation was gradual, but it was revolutionary. And one fine day, I decided to set myself free. I allowed myself the freedom to go wrong. I freed myself of the compulsion of having perfection as the benchmark for life. I let the world see my weakness. The more I let the essence of freedom seep into me, the more I realised how much I had missed on, all the while pretending to be happy.
Once the disguise was out, it was so clear that off-guard is beautiful, that happiness can be raw and it doesn’t have to thrive under the veil of pretense. With freedom, came overwhelming joy and it became a way of life. In one of those ecstatic moments, it occurred to me that my feet didn’t hurt anymore!
P.S.: Thanks, Lamiya Dohadwala!
You will be standing on your terrace; in awe of the stars and wrapped in your idea of infinity. You’ll throw questions at random: with your faith unaltered, your belief undaunted. Pitted against the hollow dark, you will hope for miracles. You will put all the trust you could gather into the speckled universe and be ready to wait for infinity to work wonders on it.
Your questions will pass every star and will bounce against the endlessness.
And the answers will come. Not as one whole, but by the millions. Before you know, you will have the unnumbered, brilliant twinkles for answers.
And you have scars and bruises. Each one, distinct yet overlapping. There is little place for unscathed skin. Doesn’t mean that you have taken all the wrong steps and tripped on each. You don’t get to blame yourself for each cut- you have to accept that some wounds were meant to be. They were teachers, that helped you learn, love, grow. Sure as hell, there are beautiful tattoos etched in the right places on you to remind you of the happy times, the wonderful people and the enriching times when you lost yourself to the euphoria you were blessed with. The tattoos are meant to be forever. And there will be times when some cuts will fall precisely across the colourful lines joining the tattoos. Don’t be afraid to look through them, because, in the end, not only will those gashes become a serene part of the happy times, they will immortalise them.
The air that tickles the back of my neck, the deep blue of the sky that refuses to dim, the drops that fight their way down my glass windows, the perpetual chuckle of the water against the tin roof bring with them, memories of paper boats in mucky puddles, of clattering teeth beneath enchanted eyes, of hair dripping with water, of praying for a rainbow with every but of shower, and of waking up scared of the thunder bout embracing the rain the next morning. What they cannot bring back, are those times.