Of wedding shenanigans and friendships in transition

1 December 2019

As I sit here amid the usual hustle of an Indian railway station, typing this in half-tipsy, half-sober state, I am convinced that life is nothing but a string of moments woven in an erratic fashion.

Tipsy because I haven’t slept for three days straight besides gulping down three glasses of the forbidden liquid last night. Sober because the mad rush of people running in the middle of nowhere, trying to reach somewhere in their lives, is a reason enough for me to feel that way.

November 2019 has been such hell of a ride that if I post those feel-good statuses with a wishful thinking – “December, please be nice”, it will only take away from the thrill of the roller coaster I have been on of late.

I knew this day would come. I could feel it all along – this sinking feeling of friendhips in transition that often leaves people on an emotional high.

The other day I was trying to reason with this feeling during my discussion with an estranged lover, and some 15 days later, I still can’t say I am in a better place.

In fact, there is within me, a deep-rooted contentment and a seemingly ever-growing restlessness at the same time.

There is within me, an enraging storm of emotions and a vacuum of numbness that I am trying to fill with all that I have – these words that have been more faithful to me than any lover could.

Straddling between calm and chaos, I realized that it’s all a part of growing up. But acceptance? It takes its own sweet time! And in my case, it can go up to days, months and years, to be precise.

I figured that changing friendhips are directly proportional to the life phase we are in. And the wedding of someone you hold dear, in fact, has a direct bearing on the bond you share with that person.

Just like those elongated discussions about the dark side of life replaced the leg-pulling and the name calling as we crossed our teens, this phase too, shall bring something new to replace the archaic – as a reminder that at the end of the day, we are evolving.

That acceptance has never been my strong pursuit is something I need to deal with on my own. People do get married. Friendships do change over the period of time. The sooner I accept, the better it will be for my peace of mind.

“Change is the only thing constant”, I reassured myself before a deep sigh.

At last, the day I was partly excited, partly sad about was here. It came. It went by. We danced. We rejoiced. Perhaps this one day will go down in history, wherein I shed more tears than the bride. The day wherein I felt a much deeper connect and a strange sense of divide at the same time.

Some hand-holding. Some forced smiles. An impromptu reunion. And melancholic good-byes.

Our lives are never going to be the same again. And as I try to let all this seep in, the train honks behind me – it’s time for me to leave for another journey.

From this point on, I shall take with me the memories of happy moments to hold onto when I won’t be at my best in the times to come.

And I will keep moving on in life, feeling every emotion there is to feel, even if I am not able to accept right now that everything happens for a reason.

To wish or not to wish

Some relationships have no name.

Sometimes in relationships, there’s no game.

Some relationships – no matter how much effort you put into saving them – meet the same fate.

Sometimes in relationships, it’s too late to contain the bate.

Back in 2017, you entered the premises with your ever-glowing face that left most of my female colleagues conscious.

And I, a loner, was as usual so engrossed in my work that I failed to acknowledge your “charming” presence, which I was later informed about with an overt zeal.

What was it about you, anyway? Those big, bright eyes or those cutesy dimples that made you the talk of the town? Whatever it was, I knew since Day 1 that you were trouble.

Months passed by and I couldn’t realize how and when you slowly creeped into my life only to change it in ways I could have never imagined.

All those beautiful girls at the workplace and yet you always left those eclairs for the “broken one”.

All those people full of wisdom in office and yet you always chose to talk to and go out with the one who won’t even look at you, who won’t utter a word, let alone entertain your snide remarks and genius discussions.

But then there comes a time in everyone’s life when we consciously/sub-consciously let our guard down, and become a slave of our own emotional needs. There comes a time in everyone’s life when the best of us succumb to vulnerability.

It was perhaps that phase where I had finally started to feel that I could be actually happy. That healing, may be, wasn’t as impossible as it seemed.

But like every other story of a never- acknowledged relationship, this one too came with its own consequences. You were there for a reason – to make me realize that happiness was a choice. Even if it meant distancing myself from you – the same person who made me realize that – for the sake of it.

We meet so many people in life but it’s only a few of them, a part of whom we carry with ourselves, as they leave us/we leave them. You helped me shed my emotional baggage at some point, and in the very process, left me with a ton of new load to carry along in my next stride.

I’m not saying you are a monster who trampled on my emotions for his fear of commitment. I’m not saying that you are a horrible person who only cared about himself and his reputation. All I am saying is that by the end of it all, you left me with cuts deeper, and thoughts darker than before.

All I know is that you reaffirmed my belief in the same lesson a past lover left me with – “to put myself first, no matter what!”

And two years later, as I am writing this today, I am all the more convinced that “happiness certainly is a choice”. That nothing and no one can make me feel like shit unless I want it/them to.

So, thank you. For playing your part – even though it was for a brief period of time.

Yesterday, as I saw you in my Instagram feed, doing what you do best, a part of me just smiled with pride – for I had made the right choice.

Today, as I again contemplate whether or not you deserve a birthday wish from me, I can actually hear myself sing that “people are but a sum of their experiences”.

I hope someday you become man enough to tell her about everything she deserves to know. Till then, keep enjoying the best of both worlds, regardless of whether it’s your birthday or not.

Why I don’t want to get married

She knit-picked her deepest desires & neatly wove them into a once-beautiful string of love – the one that was too fragile to stand the test of time. A string, the broken ends of which only remind her why some say love is never enough.

People ask me why I don’t want to get married and I have no answer in particular that would satiate their quench for the “undesirable” truth.

If at all it helps, then no, this isn’t my reluctance to shoulder responsibilities that come along with the institution of marriage, but my recently developed distaste in human relationships that keeps me away from possible heartbreaks and a seemingly perpetual saga of sadness that follows it.

If at all this counts, then take it from someone who has been on the other side during the “golden years” of her life that are now only reduced to sweet nothings.

Memories of a bittersweet past in which lies the root cause of her denial to accept the reality.

Memories of the times when she knit- picked her deepest desires and neatly wove them into a once beautiful string of love.

Memories of the time when she dared to dream of sharing a future with “him” – the only boy she kept loving, even years after he left her to ruin at her peril.

Memories of those times when she carefully crafted a list of all the songs she wanted to be played during her pre-wedding shoot with “him” – the same boy who walked out on her eventually, leaving behind him a trail of broken records and melodies that now sound more like horror songs.

For some inexplicable reason, Din shagna da no longer leaves goosebumps oh her skin and nights in white satin no longer makes her cringe. And unlike the earlier times, she now cries everytime she hears John Mayer sing the heart of life is good.

Because this might be true but it sure doesn’t feel like it. If only, replacing a real person was as easy as replacing a toy in childhood. Then may be, just may be, I too, would have been married “happily”.

To put things in perspective, just like Lady Gaga, I don’t know what love is. I clearly don’t, not anymore.

Tables have turned. But who is gaining out of this conundrum?

You were absolutely right on point when you told me last night that tables have turned now. Indeed that is the case.

Life has come full circle. For you. For me. For us.

Last night, I found myself on the other side of the table, wondering what did I do to piss you off, and believe me, I kind of had a deja vù. My response? “Nothing at all”.

You keep saying that you are no longer the person I fell in love with; the person whose indoctrination I follow till date, sure. But why do you have to repeat the same thing over and over again?

I’m already convinced you’re not. Why? Because the person I knew used to put himself first. Or at least he tried to. He had the kind of resilience the best of men would feel envious about.

But this man? This “changed” man I was talking to last night reeks of self-doubts, and behaves like a lost cause. While in reality, he is not. And he knows it too.

What’s worse is the folly-dipped counter-advise he gave me – “get married and fix your life”. Really?

You don’t get it. Do you? Some things are broken beyond repair. You can’t fix them, and so you decide to let it be.

People do change with time, but the goodness inside then doesn’t just vaporise over time. Their basic traits don’t just disappear with the colour of photographs they carry in their back pockets. The strength to fight the dark is always buried inside us, all of us. All we really need to do sometimes is dig deeper.

Because we aren’t lost stars!

You left me five years ago and some two and a half years later, someone left you for reasons better known to the two of you. But I never pricked those wounds and you exactly know why. Because getting older doesn’t just involve growing long beard, but it also means letting go of hurtful memories of the past by outgrowing your fears.

You know what? Telling me that “what goes around comes around” isn’t helping our cause. Infact, it is only piling on the layers of regrets we may not be able to take off from the walls of distance we have built around each other.

You don’t get it. Do you? That your self-destructive approach is pulling me back to the time I would rather forget, except that I don’t.

You want me to move forward and yet you keep holding my right foot down with your hideous acts. After all this, the least we could do was to be honest and fair with each other, even if it meant being vulnerable at times.

But no, I was wrong. The changed man (or the sensitive child inside you) won’t even allow us to behave like friends, I guess. Instead of being forthright, that stubborn child will either keep beating around the bush or hide behind deleted texts. He doesn’t realise that he is becoming the girl he despised several years ago; the one he eventually left in search for peace, and in order to make something better out of his life.

No one can help people who don’t want to help themselves.

Earlier, you used to lift my spirits by holding the searchlight for me. Now, 6-7 years later, I found myself in a similar situation with the only difference being that you won’t even allow me the common courtesy of doing the same thing.

Don’t worry. The joke’s still on me. And I get it.

I must have surely been one hell of a woman to keep up with, which is probably why you won’t stop playing this game of hide and seek.

The tables have turned, sure. But who is gaining out of this conundrum?

An ode to horrendous nights

Preface: This is an ode to the horrifying nights I still witness in the aftermath of a traumatic experience I had in the past.

It’s a dark and cold night. Something that triggers the memories of a past that I should rather forget, except that I don’t.

I’m not saying that the loud noises of those sirens haven’t suppressed with time, but what I am trying to tell you is that there still are days when I wake up with chills in the middle of the night whenever I find myself being pulled back in that moment.

I’m not saying that I am not glad that you returned my books that day – an excuse that you conveniently used to your benefit just to be sure that I was okay, but what I am trying to tell you is that I haven’t been able to turn a single page from any of those books ever since that day.

I’m not saying that I don’t have reasons to thank my stars for having you in my life at a certain point in time, but what I am trying to tell you is that I sometimes wished upon the same stars for driving you out of my life.

I’m not saying that my heart wasn’t full of gratitude towards your friends who came to our rescue in an embarrassing situation that we had landed ourselves in, but what I am trying to tell you is that even though my heart felt it, all my other senses failed to express it at a time when it was really needed.

I’m not saying that we were completely wrong that day, but what I am trying to tell you is that I have NEVER felt so ashamed.

I am not saying that I have forgiven myself for being so reckless, but what I am trying to tell you is that never before in all these years of my life did I feel so helpless.

If only I could go back in time and change even a bit of that, I would have saved myself from demons of guilt & regret dancing to the tune of embarrassment during those long, sleepless nights when literally nothing makes sense.

Of forgiveness that you never sought & closure that we never got…

What bothers me so much till date is the haunting memory of a choice that I never had; the very realisation that I never really had a say in all that happened five years ago.

You made a decision for both of us, unilaterally. You decide to walk away, and so that’s exactly what you did, much while forgetting that it takes two to call it a relationship. But where was my right to choose? When did I have a say in all that transpired and how!?

Not that it matters to you anymore but what hurts me most till date is the closure I could never get. And see the irony of my life, I can’t even complain to you about that.

YOU decided to stop receiving my calls. YOU decided to block me on all social media platforms. YOU completely shut all our mutual friends out. I am sorry, but where was I in the whole picture, all along?

Was I not part of that relationship? Or was it that you were the only one experiencing hardships?

I understand that what we had (not sure if I should call it love) was too fragile to stand the test of time. But seriously, was it that bad, that by the end of it, I even lost the right to be in the know of things?

You sure do remember that it was only after a month or so when I actually realized that you were not only moving out of that bus stop that day, but rather moving away from me. And it was even later when I came to terms with the fact that for you, there was no looking back.

If only you could realize that what I really needed back then was the right to decide; the right to at least have a say, if not make a choice. And what we really need even now, I repeat, is the closure we could never get.

You can lie to yourself for all you want, but deep within, you know there are demons that still need to be killed. The demons of remorse and guilt that wake up from slumber only to haunt you each time I cry your name in pain.

I’m not trying to play the victim here because I know that I too have wronged you in more than one ways.

I’m not fighting you on the decision you made for the both of us, several years ago. I am willing to bury the hatchet and let go. But are you?

Tujhe hasaana mujhe apni responsibility lagti hai..”

Do you remember this dialogue you once quoted from an Ayushmann Khurana-starrer? Or have you forgotten this too, just like everything else that you promised you never would? Well, I don’t think so. Go, convince yourself that it doesn’t hold true for you till date. I dare you!

I’m willing to let go of the hurt you caused me with your decision, but how do I let go of the feeling of betrayal I have been living with all these years when you chose to stay quiet as your newly-found love interest insulted me with her early morning texts on my WhatsApp?

I’m sure you are aware about the kind of venom she spewed on the back of her rising insecurities and mounting fear back then.

But mind you, I wasn’t aghast because of that. What really buried a hole in my heart that day is how conveniently you chose to let it all slide, as if my very existence didn’t mean anything at all.

And after all those years of sweet nothings, the least you could do was to show some respect for someone you once held so close to your heart. Alas!

Telling you that I was disappointed in you will only be an understatement. You could have done so much better, R.

By the way, there’s a reason why I chose to stay silent on that unfortunate morning of 2017 and someday, you will know it.

A part of me still wants to forgive you for an apology you never tendered, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t bring myself to do that.

What you and I need right now is forgiveness, even though we may not deserve it. Closure, like I said, is the only way forward as far as I can see it.

What I really need right now is for your countless memories to release me from their captivity. I have been chained to them for far too long and it’s time I set myself free.

What you really need right now is to stop playing this hide and seek and let me go, completely.

For the sake of our sanity and to finally make peace, can we?

Reminiscing ‘Karvachauth’ shenanigans

“Such kids we were back then!” I thought to myself as I laughed at the naive child inside me who was jumping up and down with joy at the idea of fasting for that ‘someone special’ – you, and wishing a long life for him.

It’s been eight years since you kissed my hand as we sat on the grass under the moonlight on the night of ‘Karvachauth‘.

It’s been 96 months since I last ‘surprised’ you so much that you couldn’t decide whether to be mad at me or feel happy.

It’s been 2,920 days since you put an end to my fast with a cadbury nutty, because that’s the best we could do as 19 year old kids.

My goodness, what were we thinking?

Reminiscing about those moments to this date and typing this down today, I do realize that I haven’t been an easy person to be with. Infact, the stubborn child inside me has given you a really tough time, and more often than not left you with literally no choice.

Now, the obvious question arises: why I am writing this today. Why after so many years? Especially, when we aren’t even together anymore. But you see, that’s the whole point of it all.

Eight years back in time, that teenage girl who could barely make it to her class on time had woken up in the morning at sharp 5. Why? Obviously, to stuff herself with the food from McD that she had saved a night before, only to be eaten as ‘sargi‘ the next morning.

I mean, come on! Seriously? What was I thinking, really?

That stubborn girl, who was ‘madly’ in love with him, couldn’t really see beyond ‘them’, and therefore couldn’t quite understand the difference between right and wrong or good and bad.

But this woman in her late 20s knows that whatever she did as a teenager had consequences that she wasn’t ready to bear.

That kid stuck in the mould of old was so full of herself that she couldn’t go deeper into the intricacies of a relationship, which obviously fell apart, eventually.

But the woman writing this down today knows that most of her desires back then were unreasonable and her behavior unacceptable.

One such instance being the one quoted above. Therefore, I am apologising to you today, for all those painstakingly difficult situations you had to tackle because of my difficult presence in your life.

I still remember how this one desire of mine to break my fast after seeing you gave you quite a difficult time, and how you still chose to fulfil my wish, risking your own integrity and goodwill. And that is something that will keep reminding me that despite our differences, I have been privileged.

It may not have been a perfect karvachauth after all, but it will always serve as a reminder of all that I eventually lost.