People ask me why I keep visiting Goa, over and over. I tell them there are multiple ways to see the same place. Even a mirror reflects only one angle at a time, you need to turn and twist until you see the whole picture.
Goa is a place where energies combine – sex meets spiritualism – and one feels a general sense of belonging. It got me thinking whether it’s the place that makes the people, or is it the other way round? Maybe people don’t really belong to any place, they belong unto themselves. I seem to belong everywhere and nowhere. I constantly find myself in the strange and eccentric company of musicians, poets, models, entrepreneurs, creators, and I am merely the onlooker, the dreamer, the realist, the observer, the invisible writer in a crowd of outliers.
Today I sit in one of the hippest cafès in Goa, typing away on my laptop – the only brown, rotund, tar-smoking, coffee-drinking city-dweller on the brink of death and external existential crisis, among a sea of white, fit, tan hippies smoking pot, braless, fearless, babies on one hip, dreadlocked and loose-lipped, and for a minute I experience the familiar dread of not belonging – but only for a minute. How shallow of me to pass judgment from the outside, how obtuse of me to label the aesthetic as empty shells, for I have found pearls in the most unlikely places.
And so I just relax the furrows on my brow, sink into my chair and put on a smile. At least for this morning, I am comfortable in my own skin and happy to just be me, and for now, that is enough.
My room is a mess. The mess used to feel like home earlier. Now everything feels a little alien, like I’ve taken over someone else’s body, someone else’s chaos. This is not my mess. I want someone else to claim it. Every morning I empty the pile on my chair on to my bed. Every night I put it back, but I add a bit more to it. A little bit more, just enough that it doesn’t spill over. When you forget something, you have to retrace your steps in an attempt to remember it. Even the most inconsequential things can jog your memory. Like the sock dangling over the full-length mirror, or the empty coffee cup that’s left dried stains on the desk. I’m in a loop, revisiting my life in an attempt to fill in the blanks. None of this is real. I have already lived, and now I’m just waiting, waiting for the end of the circle, the beginning.
I was sitting in my usual corner in the café, when I noticed something interesting. A woman was sitting at the table opposite mine, quite unnoticed by me until the person she was waiting for showed up. The door opened, he walked in and she flashed him a brilliant smile that shone in the semi-darkness – pearly white teeth, dimpled cheeks and wrinkles around her welcoming eyes.
I cannot remember the last time I smiled that way, or was even smiled at with such delight. I realize I greet people with curt nods and save my smiles for the moments that are truly deserving. And now those moments have simply passed me by, waiting, hoping and finally surrendering. I have amassed my own smiles, my own unabashed laughter, affection and naiveté. I realize I’ve been trading silly for sullen and smiles for scowls.
I do not remember leaving a trail back to my store of smiles. Maybe I can trade my frowns again. Maybe I shall dance in the rain again. Maybe someday I will smile for no reason and make that my moment to treasure.
Our shadows tangle
into an obscene dance
thousand caresses take flight
in half a second’s glance
I’d mistaken midnight nudity
as penchant for the perverse
but your soul sucked out
the poison in my verse
and my silhouette
bathes in the moonlight
it stands tall and pure,
yet eclipsed by the night
Is this how you see me –
just a unicorn shadow,
a darkened face in
a distant window?
But I’d rather be a silhouette
than a mere reflection
I’d rather be words
than a lilting temptation
I no longer recognize the person in my own photos. Am I to believe that a certain assortment of pixels on a screen is an exhibit of my face? I can’t spot the blackened lips, freckled nose and the derisive contempt in the left eye – are you sure that’s me? No, stop pointing a camera in my face, I can’t trust those things any more. Or mirrors, for that matter.
Describe me, will you? I want to know how I reflect in your mind’s eye. Am I only partially visible in your spectrum of light? Do you notice if I turn slightly blue, like a gloomy afternoon in the middle of winter? Do you see me dissolve into a conversation and disappear from within the crowd? Do I turn red when you make me blush? Do you ever open your eyes while kissing me and get the feeling that I’m not there? Are my tears transparent? Am I laughing when the corners of my lips turn up and my eyes wrinkle in mirth?
Dilate your pupils and look at me. Look, and then tell me something that is not merely a reflection on the wall or a puckered face on a screen.
Here’s the funny thing about rants. No one wants to hear them, much less read them on blogs. Rants rarely make sense. They exist purely for our own satisfaction. We rant because we would much rather direct our wrath and scorn at some poor unsuspecting bloke than the ones who caused it. The good thing is, the title of this post makes it clear that this is a rant, so feel free to ignore it. I won’t be mad, I promise.
I have a dash in my bank balance, followed by a three-digit number. That dash represents negative balance. I’ll do the drum roll myself, thanks. The last three months of unemployment have thickened my skin, shriveled my balls (figuratively speaking) and sharpened my pride. But I’m not running for the hills, not yet.
I wrote a short fiction piece and sent it to a few magazines for publication. I am looking forward to being rejected, not because I am a pessimist, but because I know it is not great writing, and I know I can do better.
There are days when self-doubt creeps in and I forget what I am doing this for, I wonder if there is even a purpose. I am tempted to succumb and take up a measly job doing something I hate just so I can enjoy a fat pay check that allows me to eat fancy food, drink alcohol every weekend and travel as an excuse to find myself. However, on most days, this experience exhilarates me because every moment has only made me stronger. I thought I had wasted the whole year sinking into some private hellhole of depression, but I have learnt to love fierce and dream bigger.
The point of this particular rant, ladies and gentleman, is this – I don’t think I’ve hit rock bottom yet. I am not done sinking, but I think I’ll survive. And here’s a comforting thought to leave you with – after rock bottom, the only way out is up.
Instagram is depressing me.
I overheard a couple at a café the other day. The girl wanted to travel the world and take pictures everywhere. So the man painted her a beautiful picture of all the trips they would take together. In the end, he promised, “Baby, I will make you the queen of Instagram if that’s what you want.” Now, isn’t that just lovely?
Instagram is now the countryside home with a white picket fence, the Everest for the aesthetics and an unsolicited portfolio of kids and booty.
I get it, people. You want to strut your stuff and share tidbits of your fascinating lives with the world. Just… don’t share every minute of it. Save some of the most important moments for you and you alone.
I was moved to tears today, listening to Maxim Vengerov performing Sibelius. I was lost in the music and I shut the world out. Such moments come rarely to me and they mean a lot, because they remind me that I can feel. This is the link if anyone wants to check it out.