Do you ever have one of those moments where… You are in that moment but also, you are observing yourself and the people in the moment like someone peering in through a frost caked window pane? When you are experiencing the moment, but also watching it play out before you like a movie? I have often felt that way. Like I am in two places at once. Belonging someplace, and being an outsider. Actor, and Director of the moments in my life. Much of my life has been an inner strife between wanting to spread my wings, soar and never look back but also about chasing the concept of home, a place where I won’t peer in and for once, I can be at peace. Just belong. Just enjoy. But with advancing years, something I am coming to terms with is that home isn’t something to be chased. It is something you find. You can only be a Seeker. Home is something that’s made. Home is like Asgard. And life? May be it is about evolving from Midgard to Asgard. A spiritual journey of integrating the duality represented by the qualities of both, Loki and Thor. Becoming worthy of the metaphoric Mjolnir. What is the Mjolnir that you are striving to become worthy of, this year?
As a new year comes around the corner, I want to write a little about it. Not your perfunctory New Year’s post. This is part of my morning musings today, when I was thinking about resolutions. Whether to set any. The theme I have set for 2018 for myself is progress. Push out that which does not belong, change only if present behaviour is detrimental to my own welfare, or that of the people I care for. Or, humanity at large in terms of shaping the bigger picture. Friendships are growing more fragile than ever, people are drifting apart. It is an ophidian line of people. Too many people packed in a rat race. In an age where the social Internet fosters an unreal, unnatural sense of intimacy and belonging while in reality creating an environment of codependency. How different are they from those we form in our real lives? And sometimes, it is those friendships that are staying while the old ones, the offline ones are paying the price. Did real get mundane? Is it reeling under the burden of catching up with the exciting possibilities offered by the social Internet? Yes, it is exciting to have these mental sparks go off in what I imagine is a nonstop, psychedelic sequence of neurons firing off, bouncing off the stimuli offered by a faceless entity on the social Internet. But behind those faces run strands that are dripping, masked by explosions of colour. The social Internet feeds into this frenzy of being satiated instantly, you don’t mind who is dealing you the good stuff as long as you are getting some. The real deal though, it is like a plant. It needs to be watered and cared for, after some point it becomes self – sustaining but are we in too much of a hurry to develop these new bonds, put the effort into them? And somewhere between who you want to be seen as, who you want to be and who you are, is where you are at. The greater the distortion in your multiple frames of perception from your reality, you start to feel like an outsider. Like looking in on someone’s life. Except that someone is you. So this new year, (I am going to) stop looking in and go out. Engage! Live your best life! Happy 2018, everyone. May this be one of your best years yet.
What? Could they return to being friends? There was this weird undercurrent of… A little something else. Like a little zap that he felt when he shook hands with her at the airport. They walked out in companionable silence. He tried to fill the silence with some insipid enquiries about her flight, the flight food and she made the same enquiries about their plans for the day. She had about two days. And then she would be gone. Back to their existence, where the words would float back and forth on a screen. It was a strange friendship between kindred souls who couldn’t have grown up more differently. Differences spanning time and distance couldn’t have erased the inexplicable similarities between them. They had rounded the corner of the airport. “We will hail a cab from around that side” he pointed across the road. She suddenly felt nervous about rhe traffic. Different city, different rules. She looked at him unsurely. He moved to her right and a bit in front of her, as he guided them across safely over to the other side. She smiled in gratitude and said “Thanks”. He teased her for being a scaredy cat, and the awkwardness melted. She laughed readily, teasing him back about his insipid remarks at the airport. Soon they were chatting like the old friends that they were. Over a slice of cheesecake as he elegantly wiped at his mouth, he observed her. Her eyes seemed a bit dilated as she looked at him directly with her honest, unflinching gaze and smiled in that lazy, lopsided manner. Her cheeks had a bit of a rosy sheen to them. Interesting, he thought. He seemed to be leaning forward completely towards, fixing her with an earnest gaze that made her ears feel a bit warm. He appeared to be taking any chance he could, for their fingertips to brush. Curious, she thought. There was a point in time where all speech was suspended, and they understood perfectly without words what each wanted. “I have to go.” She said abruptly, and got up. She paid the bill directly at the counter. They walked out, side by side maintaining enough distance for a third person to walk with them, between them. “I think there is this lovely hexagonal shaped garden you would really enjoy.” He said, in a pathetic attempt to rekindle some communication between them. “I am actually feeling pretty beat, I think I will head back to the hotel now. It was nice meeting you.” She said and waved him off, as she got into a taxi.
He didn’t know why he felt so disturbed as he sat on the steps, booking his own cab home. She thought of texting him. Deciding that it was a fruitless endeavour, she put her phone on silent. The cabbie had good taste in music; she closed her eyes and enjoyed the music all the way back to her hotel. She ignored her phone that buzzed incessantly with messages. Yep. Eight messages. All from him. Upon reaching her hotel and finally lying in bed, she checked the messages. He had sent her links to some nice places in the city for her to check out. Nothing about a second meet or asking to join her. She smirked and made a decision.
“Would you like to join me?” She texted him and smiled on seeing what he sent in reply. “Yes, we would :)”
Yesterday, the sixteenth of July 2017 I attended a writing workshop conducted by Rohini Malur and Queer Arts Movement India (QAMI). I had a great time, meeting new people and an adorable dog that wandered in. So, the workshop began with a free writing exercise, sort of stretching out the mental muscles in order to keep them limber and flexible before embarking on the journey, for the day. The only rule we had was that we had to write without pause. The topic was Movie Character. The timer was set for five minutes, and here is what I wrote:
“She is this amazing, free spirited woman. She gets up to all sorts of shenanigans with the boy next door, who wants to be a writer when he grows up. I like her because she is relatable in that we both want to live our own lives, unshackled by societal expectations. She leaves home at a very young age, to pursue her dreams. And boy, does she have a LOT of them. It is not that she is just confused about what she wants to do professionally, but she wants to do many things. She has one vision of herself, standing before a cheering crowd and receiving all the fame, and adoration as she belts out tune after tune. She has this lovely, scattered energy about her, which is what the aspiring writer falls in love with. Unwittingly, each day the friends grow closer, as they both are in the same city. They are new there, and don’t have anyone but each other to lean on. So the duo help one another with their professional aspirations, she becomes his muse after a fashion. Eventually, the inevitable does happen. The two friends fall in love. But while he is okay with taking their relationship to the next level and obey the diktats of society in doing so, she is not.”
The timer ran out here, and I had to stop at this point else I would have been able to flesh out a great deal about the external conflict, and the internal conflicts that threatened the friendship, the relationship as well as the growth that both characters have to undergo before they can come back into each other’s lives once again. Indeed, the brightest dawn follows the darkest night. But setting all that aside, let’s continue with what happened at the workshop. We had to guess which character each person had written about. Nobody got mine. You know why? She is the every day woman. She is striving to live her life, pursue her dreams while subsequently wanting to break free. She is extraordinarily ordinary. She is you, she is me.
There in lies the beauty of it.