Free Writing – piece 1

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.

Count your blessings

This piece of writing is a purely personal one that just leads me to marvel at my own brilliance at fooling people with my “mad-hatter grin” as I would like to call, despite the numerous growing frustrations and aches within my heart. I have always held that my life is one open book. But now, after hearing a very close friend of mine remark that “I’m very blessed to have such a happy life”, I began to think differently. Had I so successfully masked my tears? I definitely deserve a pat, then on my back. Well if I were to dwell on my frustrations, trust me, like every other average human being, I too have experienced my fair share of difficulties. Imagine being at a point when your very future is about to be taken away from you. Imagine that all you have ever dreamt of since you were a bright eyed eighth grader was a career in law and there comes a stage in your life when you have everything in life and then suddenly the bubble pops! The future looking bleak, constantly wavering between tears of frustration and self-pity and anger at Fate. That would sure take a lot of guts to deal with and come out unscathed, still retaining your optimism. But you know what? I just somehow did manage to come out unscathed and un-scarred in anyway, either emotionally or psychologically. Perhaps my ability to always be optimistic despite clearly being nearly defeated played a very big role, perhaps the unconditional love and support given by family and some precious friends also helped in not leading me to a breakdown, perhaps I still have Fate to thank for being merciful to me after dealing me such a hard blow. Anyway, coming back to my topic, that remark of his made me think deeply. Perhaps my life was not as much of an open book as I thought nor was I perhaps as easy a person to read as I had always believed myself to be.

This remark of his made me think of another thoughtless remark he had made to me during another of our long chats, “How come you are so immature in life?” and I was totally stumped. Well, I’m not exactly the epitome of maturity but I didn’t deserve this!!! Just then sensing the growing silence at the other end of the phone, my friend who knew that he had inevitably put his foot in his mouth tried to apologize making things worse and then finally giving up rephrased it this way – “How come you are always so cool and never take anything too seriously?”. I then said “Ah, so this is what you wanted to know.” I told him that to be quite honest I have never quite figured how I manage to be cool when everyone else around me is losing their head and stewing in panic.

That night as I went to sleep, I found myself unable to sleep. Somehow, his question was sticking out nastily not allowing me to sleep. At last, at three in the morning, I found the answer after having rejected several answers such as “I’m cool because I didn’t care?” -not true because if I did not care about my future then what did I care about? Nope, didn’t make sense- or “I’m cool because I don’t realize the consequences fully?” –possible but no- or “I’m cool about things because I have never really felt the heat? – Again possible- but the right answer finally came to me. It is simply who I am. My coping mechanism never lets me dwell on sad things for long and manages to find a bright side to every dark thing. That helps me fight my battles, never tiring emotionally because I’m my best friend, coach and mentor. There might be some people who might relate to this kind of statement that I have made while others might think it plain presumptuous on my part to say so or those who would think its complete rubbish what I just said. Either way, when I conveyed the answer to him he told me that he admired me for my ability to be childlike and yet coolly tackle situations and that it was a very precious gift.

Either way, when you come to think of it, life is always as blessed as you make it to be. It is up to us whether to wallow in tears of self-pity or toughen up, keep the smile plastered firmly on our face and surge forward bravely with hope in our hearts. We can find happiness only if we recognize it for what it truly is, instead of chasing after some crazy illusions of temporary happiness.

Come with Me

Come, Come into my world

Take my hand and walk with me

I will show you how the lights sparkle

I will show you where the shadows fall

 

See the fields rippling with colour

See the splashes of black and white

See the greys, and the hopeful greens

And, don’t forget my sepia toned dreams

 

It is strange, tricky and treacherous

But hold my hand, and stand still

For the demons lurk awhile

Waiting to grab their fill.

 

Let’s free the barriers,

Keep the demons at bay!

Our fingers dance along nimbly

A familiar melody once again plays.

And everything falls back into place.

By:

MVK.