specks of dust

we are the forgotten comma,
and the neglected semi colon;
we are like words of gratitude
not conveyed, never felt.
we yearn for a moment of glory,
a touch of honour and a whiff of fame,
but we forget to be happy,
what a terrible shame.
we are all specks of dust
floating upward, frontward
in the light,
while our life takes off,
and we miss the flight.

Trance

about my parents

i am eighteen years old and only in the past couple of years have i realised how utterly grateful i should be for my incredible parents. there have been days when i wasn’t an easy child to deal with, but all i ever received from their end was love. their parenting has been blood, sweat and tears, in the purest sense.
my parents have raised my sister and i gently and patiently, appreciated our every achievement, no matter how small the scale and acknowledged our every effort. their upbringing has got me well acquainted with the feeling of being loved unconditionally, sans any terms and conditions.
in my years as a pre-teen, my relationship with my mother wasn’t as healthy as it is today. but since the past decade she has grown along with me, even more so. she has always been a kind and loving woman, there’s no denying that. but since her indulgence in spirituality, my mother has transformed into the most calm and collected person i know. her mental and emotional strength has sky-rocketed, so much so that she can not only bear the weight of my father’s, my sister’s and my burdens but become the unexpected sunlight during rainy season. to see my mother radiate positivity under dire circumstances and spread comfort to everyone around her is astounding. there are days, however, when her unfailing optimism irks me, because on sometimes i just want her to agree with me and say, “that sucks, my dear”. but after all that she has done for me, i would do whatever it takes to see her happy and proud. now that i’m leaving for college, she’s been remembering my childhood days, when all it took to make me giggle and gurgle was raspberries on my stomach and tickles on my chin.
my father is a gentle man, especially when it comes to me. it makes me a little sad that he’s not around as much as i would like him to be, but that’s okay. i understand his commitment to his work; being a doctor isn’t easy at all, particularly not when you’ve got hundreds of patients lined outside of your cabin, waiting to share their troubles. he may be seated on the sidelines, but he’s the best cheerleader i’ve ever had. he is easily swayed by others’ opinions, but he also gives a lot of importance to what i have to say – which i appreciate so much; and he always prioritises my happiness. no matter how many birthdays i celebrate, my small hand in my father’s soft and tender hand will forever be one of my favourite feelings in the world.
parenting is a mammoth task, but massively rewarding if done right. but here’s the thing – you don’t raise your child with the goal getting something in return. that makes your child a liability waiting to be balanced out. my parents have given me the freedom to do study what i enjoy, pursue what i’m good at – no matter the scope. i can’t ever thank them enough; my happiness is linked with theirs, there’s no otherwise. i aim to please my parents.

italy

once upon a time,
in the year Two Thousand and Seventeen,
on the Seventh day of May,
a fair, young maiden voyaged
to a land far, far away.

she was spirited and eager,
because never before had she journeyed
to the strange and vast expanse of the west;
an impromptu plan at it’s finest,
the dame found the news hard to digest.

art, history and breathtaking beauty,
few words used to describe this land of Italy;
to breathe in the unfamiliarity of a nation
the girl had only read about in tales,
was an experience not nearly justified by this narration.

in truth, the trip’s primary purpose
was to make her grandfather forget
the sombre memories and to help him remember,
the sweet tales of his beloved darling
and the time they spent together.

the adventure was to cover cities three:
Venice, Florence and Rome
over the span of one week;
planned with guided tours and trips,
every day they got to see something unique.

in the city of canals she walked on water,
tasted the temperature drop from day to night,
she sailed the open sea and heard the waves call;
between narrow streets she skipped and observed,
always in awe of the unusually plump pigeons perched on the wall.

Florence was the city where history came alive,
a certain Leonardo telling the girl of the tales of his city;
she drank wine and tasted pure cheese,
and gave in to the illusion of the leaning Pisa,
all the while grateful for the blue skies and cool breeze.

the eternal city was architecture at its ancient best,
ruins she had never seen so grand;
she savoured silence in the chapel Sistine,
and devoured the beauty of the Vatican,
but before she knew, it was already day Thirteen.

next day, she was on the voyage back home
with a second case overflowing with memories,
her grandfather’s heart was content, it was plain to see.
a scrapbook filled with tokens of the city,
her lips stretched wide, saying a heartfelt grazie.

baby’s day out

I’m going abroad for week this summer, with my family. When I learnt of this impromptu plan, it was probably the best news I could have received in between my boards. What escaped my already air-bound mind was that, we have to apply for a visa. My mother and I were supposed to go to the visa office together but we secured an appointment on a date when she was out of town. I had to go alone. Once my father explained all the proceedings and handed me all the important documents, I wasn’t so nervous anymore. Just a week ago I had been to the passport office alone and exited successfully. Not to mention I’d turned eighteen two months ago. I thought, “I can do this, how hard can it be?”.

It was 12:45pm when I reached the visa office, and things started off just fine: I was allowed to enter without the appointment receipt, our travel agent’s guy was around during the initial stages to help me out. Once near the waiting line, I was escorted to the lounge – air conditioned, free Bisleri water bottles and cookies, that sort of thing. I must’ve waited for about half an hour during which I tried to study for my psychology exam. Tried here is the key word, because I was distracted by the stares of some very important looking men sitting with me in the lounge, muttering in Telugu which I failed to understand. Soon enough, one of the attendants – Mr Singh – approached me and asked for all the required documents. Fifteen seconds in, he tells me we’ve filled in the wrong visa application form. My heart sinks. While he leaves to get the correct forms, I call up my father who says he’s on his way to help me out. My sunken heart lifts itself up – “This isn’t too bad. I’ll get past this.” I start filling the forms – with a pen I borrowed from one of the very important looking men, who knew he wasn’t going to get it back anytime soon – and my dad arrives twenty minutes later. Once everything seemed in order, he wishes me luck and I go back into the lion’s den, while he left to attend to the patients he had left hanging at the hospital.

I wait for an hour for Mr Singh to get back to me. During this hour, another family seated themselves in the lounge – mother, daughter and son. The daughter seemed to be around my age, except I was not dressed well enough. The son, probably about twelve or thirteen, had in his hands a sleek black iPhone – and I’m just being paranoid but, I almost felt like he discreetly clicked a picture of my tired face and made a meme out of it. But then again, at that point, all the negativity had planted itself into my mind so I must be getting ahead of myself.

The hour become an hour and a half. I didn’t go look for him because not only was I shivering in the AC room but I also had to use the loo – desperately. But, I didn’t want to leave my spot, just in case he happened to drop by the moment I left to relieve myself. Tapping my foot against the hard wood floor, I tried to distract myself by skimming through my neglected textbook. In the cold. While my bladder was whining as though it already didn’t have enough of my attention.

At 4:40, Mr Singh finally got back to where I was. Two minutes in, he groaned and looked up at the fancy ceiling of the lounge and informed me that my travel insurance documents were wrong and a few extra xeroxes were missing. My sunken heart plummeted. He breezed through my other documents and kept pointing out the little errors that had slipped my father’s mind and some that were never informed by our agent. I explained everything to my father on phone and I did so at a whisper. Not because I cared of what the other aunties and uncles in the lounge thought of me, but because I was on the verge of tears. Mr Singh was staring down at me – almost pityingly – and that made everything worse. I blubbered out incoherent words to my father and at that moment, I felt like a little girl whose hand had slipped out of her mother’s in a crowded bazaar. “Why are you crying, ma’am?” Mr Singh asked me, annoyed. My throat was blocked and my eyes were wet with tears, I was ashamed of myself for crying so easily.

Mr Singh, meanwhile, was sure that my visa application couldn’t be completed today. He told me to come back tomorrow. He didn’t understand that I had wasted nearly four hours which I should have spent studying for my final exam. Afraid of crying even harder, I just nodded to everything he said. Once he left and the stares of everyone else in the room had shifted onto something a little less interesting, I called back my father. He was upset, not with me, and he knew I was overwhelmed. Speaking in the kindest voice, he told me that he’d be there in another twenty minutes. And so I waited.

My dad made everything right, even before he arrived. He asked the authority responsible to e-mail him the correct travel insurance papers and got them printed out. It wasn’t until he arrived and I saw the Frooti bottle in his hand, that I realised it was 5:15 and I hadn’t eaten lunch. No wonder my head was pounding. Before I could register anything else, he had his arms around me and as much as I appreciated the gesture, it just made me burst into tears. My hands covered my face and I could feel the stares of those around pierce into me. My eyes were shut tight and my sniffling was loud; that was when I knew that I hadn’t had such a bad day in a very long time.

Once my eyes were dried and I had had a sip of the cold Frooti, I went back to the counter. It had been five and a half hours since I’d been in that office, and the other attendants had started recognising me, wondering what I was still doing loitering around. Another lady attendant and Mr Singh approached me and started rechecking my documents, once I told them that the correct documents are all there. Just when everything was okay – I realised that in all this flurry, I had misplaced my passport sized photos. “They were right here, I swear.” I said. I spent five minutes scanning the glassy floor, frantically searching every piece of my belonging. “Lagta hai aapka aaj din hi kharab hai.” (Looks like, your day itself is bad), Mr Singh said with a reconciling smile before he helped me in the search. By then, I think, he had understood how shaken and inexperienced I was. I was sure I had searched my backpack at least five times, and on the sixth time, there were the photographs – inside the small pocket in the front zip.

From there on, everything went accordingly. Mr Singh and I shared a few smiles and that put me at ease. I didn’t want to be the reason for a government employee’s bad day at work. At 5:45, I was out of the place. I ran my hand through my hair – that had become tangled in between all the haste and worry – and I was sure that the one strand of hair that left my scalp was because of the immense stress and worry I had felt in the span of six hours. I sat with my father outside for a little while, so grateful he was there. When I reached home and walked to the elevator that would take me to my floor – it was already there, waiting for me. It was almost as if the universe had pity on me and made things a little easier. What a long day it’s been. But, the trip should be worth it, yes?

the land of floating hearts

on some days she travels,
from the roots of her grounded mind
to the land of floating hearts;
where exist one’s true loves,
and a pair for the heart.

on some days she travels,
away from the home of her steady mind
to the land of those in love;
she wonders patient yet afraid,
will she ever find a place?

on some days she travels,
over the barriers of her loneliness
to the land of the enamoured and entwined;
she gets a touch of of the warm breeze,
where they say, love is in the air.

on some days she travels,
leaving behind her worries and ambitions
to the land of those loyal to their love;
she yearns to feel her hand be clasped,
by someone she’d never have to share.

on some days she travels,
with her heart on her sleeve,
to the land of of floating hearts;
where exists one’s true loves,
and a pair for the heart.

ma

it is late in the evening – the sun has
one foot out the door; reluctant to go,
she leaves behind a splash of colours to
remind one, of her crimson warmth and glow.

with my petite frame shrivelled with failure,
i sit on the edge of my bed, and i
wait for the light of my sun to return
to help assuage my pain, and pacify.

her scarlet poise fades a little when i,
greet her quietly, words lodged in my throat;
one breath later, she’s battling my despair,
her arms round me, the strongest antidote.

my head pressed against her chest, eyes shut tight;
yet, stubborn tears escape and roll down fast,
discolouring her once red blouse to stale
burgundy: a change in weather forecast.

wiser than most, kinder than many, she
proves passively powerful once again
as she bears the weight of my heavy heart,
teaches me to conquer my mind and reign.

my distorted view of success she mends,
with her gentle words and nurturing smile;
from one of callous comparison to
faith in oneself and a journey worthwhile.

Venus, Earth or Mars, we are all the same:
different worlds that orbit around her –
our source of power, love and optimism;
she keeps us grounded, safe and together.

norwegian wood

Contrary to popular belief, I found Norwegian Wood written by Haruki Murakami quite disappointing. Maybe I just failed to understand the profound meaning Murakami has tried to convey about loss, unrequited love and nostalgia. But in my opinion, the book is merely a compilation of baseless (and greatly detailed, *cough*) sexual scenarios and poor – or rather – unexplained, transitions. I can’t disagree that Murakami has written the book simply, and thus beautifully: the use of certain words and phrases is quite endearing. It’s one of the things that made me want to continue reading. The plot however, seems to descend deeper and deeper into darkness and depression, which appeals to me on very few occasions and in this case, it did not (for example, despite the downright tragedy and trauma described in The Kite Runner, it’s one of my favourite books). I suggest you don’t read beyond this point if you haven’t read the book and are meaning to do so because I’m going to rant a little about the characters and their endings.

Toru Watanbe: Very simple guy; a little too ambivalent perhaps. But in a way, it added to my curiosity and made me want to know what he would do next. His simplicity made him quite unpredictable which I did enjoy. Apart from that, Toru is depicted as very indecisive man, but only when it comes to his love life. He’s very clear about certain things such as his outlook on life – it’s easy to understand this from his disagreements with Nagasawa. But when it comes to the women in his life, all of his rational thinking seems to exit his mind, which annoyed me to no end (but really, who am I to talk about indecisiveness). This confusion of his particularly annoys me when he has to decide between Naoko and Midori when the latter is obviously better suited for him – let’s face it, as dreamy and angelic Naoko was, she wasn’t the best lover. Also, what’s up with him and Reiko sleeping together? I don’t get that part one bit; it was completely unnecessary – or am I missing something?
Towards the end of the novel too, Toru is confused about his whereabouts when Midori asks him where he is. To those who assume he committed suicide – majority of the novel is a flashback and thus he can’t have killed himself. Sure, the ending has got several metaphorical connotations and I think Murakami wanted to leave the readers wondering, or wanting more, but Toru ultimately comes across as someone who is lost.

Naoko: It took me a few chapters to actually understand her character; Naoko is very cryptic and not necessarily in the good way. While she’s suffering from the loss of companionship she had with Kizuki and is absolutely shattered when he decides to commit suicide, Murakami has shaped her character to appear very weak and dependent (on Toru). It frustrating how she’s a natural tease and leads on Toru which I guess results in his indecision. Another reason for his confusion could be the unspeakable things she does with Toru, who’s her (dead) boyfriend’s best friend, but then again, Toru’s to blame as well. It’s with this particular character that I feel the transitioning of the story isn’t very smooth – her expected yet abrupt intercourse with Toru, her finding refuge in the sanitarium, her shift to a legit institution and then finally her abrupt suicide – maybe I feel so because I read the book with lots of intervals in between, but still, it’s as though there’s something missing. Maybe I failed to interpret her anguish correctly. 

Midori: A very eccentric girl, this one; if I said Toru is unpredictable, this girl was something else entirely. There are more than a few times in the book when her words made me backtrack and my jaw drop. Compared to Naoko, she’s fairly independent and one thing I liked most about her is she knows what she wants. I believe that she’s a better choice when compared to Naoko because, well, she’s straight with her words and thoughts (seriously, I don’t think she has a filter) – but even that sort of confuses Toru’s feelings towards her. One thing that was a complete turn off however, was that it seemed almost as if she forced Toru to love her. In the beginning of their friendship – even when they grow quite close to each other – Toru is clear about his feelings towards her which are purely platonic (this is easily proved even after his attempt at trying to invoke any sort of sexual feelings he may have deep inside about her). If I’m not wrong, I think he even mentions somewhere in the book, that he considers her to be like his little sister? I feel that he didn’t romantically love her until she forced the idea on him. Poor guy, Watanbe. But I suppose none of this is Murakami’s fault, maybe he wanted to portray his character in such a light. Although not something I particularly liked, but it was definitely unique and refreshing in a way.

ps: Someone’s who’s read the book, please explain to me what “How much do you love me?’ Midori asked. ‘Enough to melt all the tigers in the world to butter,” means?
I know it’s a reference to the book The Story of Little Black Sambobut how exactly do the tigers chasing each other (and then melting into a pool of butter) express how much Toru loves Midori?