The imp.

“I do not wait for unconsciousness to force my eyes shut. The moment the blue truck hits my bike and sends us flying in the air, I let go. I close my eyes, refuse to hug myself and hold on to the shattered pieces of my being. I stretch my arms, loosen my grip and let myself fall on the concrete. When I said I wanted to be a grounded person, I didn’t mean this, gosh!

My left arm hits the ground first, dislodging itself from my shoulder. I hear the bone break before I feel the dampness of the blood on my neck. It is strangely comforting. The warmth of the sun and the pool of blood are soothing enough for me. I open my eyes and see a right hand, palms up and dipped in blood. I try to hold that hand when I realize it is my own. That brings up a chuckle and some blood right out of my mouth. Sometimes, when you’re broken, you can’t always hold your hand, pick yourself up and get on with life. Because sometimes, you really are broken. I make myself laugh from the inside, I refuse to look up or cry for help. I stare at my severed palm and try to make out the lifeline hidden in that blood somewhere. I watch the blood pool beneath me getting bigger. The blood moves around in perfect, steady curves. I decide to trace its boundaries with my fingers. I try to move my fingers; only the forefinger moves. Soon enough, my eyes start to close, so I let them. I am being lifted up by some strangers. I don’t like that. One of them climbs on top of me and tries to get my heart start beating on its own. Suddenly, my eyes are wide open. It’s so dark. Why is it so dark?

I am lying straight. I should move to my side. I can’t move to my side. I try to move my forefinger, I can’t do it either. I feel the heavy weight on my chest. May be the strangers are still trying to save me. But, why am I at home? I try to shift my gaze from the roof towards the stranger sitting over me. I have to keep staring at it in the darkness to make out what I am looking at. She is crouched up on my chest. She’s so tiny. How can such a tiny person weigh so much? The heaviness is killing me. She smiles at me. The pain is killing me, I try to say. But no voice comes out of my mouth. She continues to smile ear to ear. What’s happening? Why can’t I move?  I yank my neck to my right, a hand waves at me. I keep staring in that direction, but it’s just the hand. I try to close my eyes and go back to sleep. I can feel my body shrink. I want to ride a bike and get hit by a blue truck. I want to be able to choose my demons.

My home is full of people, so many people. I don’t recognize any of them. “Hello, who are you?” I ask one. She keeps her hand on my shoulder. I break away from her. I bump into several people in the process, making me sprint away faster. I am running away from my own home. I don’t want to run away. My eyes open up again. I stare to my right, the hand waves. A smile appears above it. I look to my left: two faces, smiling ear to ear, shaking their heads. I try to look away; my neck is so stiff. Someone help me! I try to shake my arms, my legs, neck, anything, everything… Nothing moves, except those faces, smiling at me. I struggle like that for a few minutes, or hours? I try to shout, but all I get is a steady stream of teardrops trickling down from my eyes.”

I stare at the words. I stare at them long enough to strip them off their meaning. I stare at them till the wish to be in an accident and get extremely hurt lays bare, till the shamelessness of writing it down hits hard. I stare at the words that fail to communicate the experience of several regular episodes of sleep paralysis. There’s no relief in being stuck, there’s no relief in running away.  The words dissolve into the randomness that is this moment in life. The forced expressions, the obvious, suggested humor in the work melt into the chaos, taking that last bit of shame with them.

“I want to be able to choose my demons.”  Seriously? Accident would be a trick of fate; sleep paralysis, just a bump in the natural process. But writing and having written? What weird imp is this? I wait for a moment of realization to strike. I wait for this random blackness to move just a tiny bit aside to let the bright light blind my eyes, giving me something more than the clichéd dark-and-light imagery. But deep inside, I am happy with this cliché. It’s dependable and encouraging at the same time. It’s always there, even when it’s not.

The words mock me. They mock me for all the times I used them at places I shouldn’t have. Wait. I refuse to take that shit. I write some more to hit them back; because I would use them again at the same places if I had a chance to do over again. Am I playing with them or am I the one being played with?

Let Go!

Writing – the simple act of putting your thoughts down in words. Seems easy? Well, it’s not. If you think I’m talking about the everyday writing that almost all of us engage in – taking notes, copy pasting for projects, writing tests and the like – then I respect your ability to think simple in this exceptionally complicated world. But no, I’m talking about the kind of writing that forces you to think, that forces you to create, that forces you to express. Nope, not easy.

And then, there’s that crazy moment when you finally get inspired by all those ‘I CAN DO IT’ motivational videos you’ve been watching on Youtube since 9th grade and suddenly feel the urge to share your work with the rest of the world. This is where you enter a new level in the game and things get tougher as you decide to give people an insight into the most personal of your thoughts and notions; thoughts that were, until now, tucked away in the safe haven of your bizarre mind (and your personal diary, which your mother probably checks everyday for updated information). Oh boy, not happening.

It is scary. Yet, if you ask me, writing was the most comfortable activity for me back in school. I remember my 6th grade English teacher telling me, “It’s okay if you don’t understand a word of science, you can always take up writing which is a science in itself.” I took her golden words too seriously and completely gave up on science. But disappointing the poor lady further, I never tried enhancing my writing skills either and merely ended up scribbling a few random lines in my diary every day.  What I did realize, however, was how liberated and unrestrained those little frivolous moments of random scribbling made me feel. I loved the feeling and greedy as all humans are, I wanted more out of it. So a lot many monotonous years later, when a friend suggested I write for a blog, I thought to myself, this is it. This was my chance to move beyond the pale yellow pages of my diary and maybe find that ‘more’ I was looking for. Needless to say, I was hugely excited.

2 hours later, however, I had decided against it and had successfully entered a stage of ‘post-excitement depression’ (don’t think I’m weird, we are a whole community of people who suffer from this condition from time to time), except that the thing I was excited about never transpired and I directly landed in the stage of depression (okay, now you can call me weird).  So how did I finally end up posting on this blog?

I had started making a long list of possible things I could write about when it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I’m not ready for this yet. I am the happiest when I write, yet I had always kept it personal. A little introspection, amidst the constant inflow of depressing thoughts, and I realized that what I was actually not ready for was not writing on a larger platform like this or any of the other issues I mentioned above, but for the reactions, feedback, views and comments that would come after. Yes, I wasn’t ready to be judged on my writing by people I didn’t even know.

But the very same thought highlights the triviality of the entire issue. Does it really matter if people you don’t even know exist judge you for something you love doing? For all you know, you’re probably going to hear from them just once in your life and if they really hate what you do, they wouldn’t even bother noticing it in future. Problem solved!

There’s no better way of looking at this. We live in a society where most people have assumed for themselves the right to judge whether a particular individual’s action is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘interesting’ or ‘worthless’ and so on. And what’s unfortunate is that most people subscribe to this judgement, seeing it as a measure determining their success or failure. I understand that our country’s judiciary is largely corrupt and you feel for your countrymen (and women), but seriously, taking up such a huge responsibility of passing verdicts on every individual’s behaviour around you just to serve your country well is going a little too overboard, don’t you think? But then again, people tell me we live in a democracy which (on paper) gives every citizen the right to express their views about every possible thing on Earth. Well okay then, let’s take these views exactly as what they are: just views, nothing else. Let’s not give these views the power to bow us down and shape our course of action, our worth and our idea about who we are. Let’s learn how not to care.

Just imagine how easy life would be if the society’s opinion ceases to matter to people. A girl could dress as skimpily and as ‘provocatively’ as she wishes to, not caring about who she ends up provoking because that’s really not her problem, as long as it makes her feel confident about herself and survive Delhi summers. She could sleep with a 100 different men if she wants to, or one, without giving two hoots about being called a slut or a bore. A man with a perfectly straight sexual orientation could freely talk about and shop for feminine products he likes, unaffected by people calling him gay. Same-sex couples could go on romantic dates too, hold hands, kiss and sing for each other, while only feeling sorry for the Uncleji and Auntyji sitting at the next table and staring, clearly missing out on good food. And writing enthusiasts could write whatever and howsoever they wish to, without worrying about not having used enough fancy words and the hate mails they might receive.

This is exactly what I managed to do. I moved from being a victim of the ‘Fear of Judgement’ to becoming someone who has learnt to just let go and not care. I am here because I have finally come to accept the fact that people will always judge and perceive others from a self-constructed prism of good or bad, simply because they can. They may laugh at, love or hate what I write. But the best I can do is gladly accept this wide range of emotions coming my way and continue believing in myself. So here’s a shoutout to all those who are suppressing the urge to kick off something that gives them pure heavenly happiness, simply because they’re afraid they might not be accepted by those who’re already too good at it or those who aren’t brave enough to initiate it. Honestly speaking, as long as you’re not a candidate contesting elections, public opinion should really not bother you. Hell, even the candidates don’t care anymore!

So go ahead, don that two-piece bikini set you’ve been hiding in your closet since last summer, take up that low paying job you would love to do and even vote for Congress if you wish to! Life is too short to think about what the world thinks, because your only source of acceptance should be YOU. So breathe, let go and just do it!

Happy reading! Happy judging!