Diwali: Another year of difficult choices, another month of bargain!

The month of Diwali was here again.

Another year of difficult choices.

Another month of bargain.

“Why do you want to go home on Diwali?” My boss asked.

Looking for an appropriate answer to his (stupid) question, I stood there dumbstruck.

“Why do people go home on festivals after all?” I wondered!

May be he is right.

Or may be he doesn’t have a life beyond work!

Whichever the case was, he still gave me a choice, which was not.

“If you are off on Diwali then you will be working on Christmas and the New Year. Are we clear?” He asked.

So now I had to choose between Lord Ram and Jesus.

Why do I even have to do that?
Why does it have to be this way?
Seriously, have I really reached this stage in life where I have to choose which incarnation of God do I want to celebrate with most zeal and fervor?
Is this all happening for real?

And while I was struggling to look for answers to all these questions, my boss clicked his fingers, asking me “what? Where are you lost?”

In a fit of panic and disgust alike, I shrugged and said: “nothing boss! I choose Lord Ram!”

(He burst into laughter as if I had cracked a joke.

I thought aloud: Boss, the joke’s on you!)

Anyway, the bargain was done and the deal was made.

I somehow managed to negotiate a three-day holiday to be with my family on Diwali.

But two months from now, when most of you will be relishing the plum cakes while lighting candles and listening to Carols inside a church, I will most likely be sitting inside my office, whining over this time when I was made to choose between the incarnations of God.

So for now, Happy Diwali y’all.


And it’s a wrap…

Sitting here in such a large hall, typing this out at the cusp of dawn, I have come to realize that change is the only thing constant in the world.

It was about yesterday only when I was checking the restaurants that offered midnight delivery to my workplace.

“My workplace” – I can say it now, but I know it won’t be the same 4 days henceforth.

There is only so much you can do about the decisions you make in life.

For the difficult choices you make for yourself during perilous times are often the ones that give you life-altering moments.

I look around this perfectly lit place and sigh.

Unlike all my previous night shifts, there is an unusual calm today, and this sinking feel in my heart just won’t go away.

I tell myself: “It’s perfectly normal. It’s okay. Everyone leaves their first job at some point, on some day.”

So what if there won’t be late night pizzas and choco lavas to relish much while bitching about the people I don’t like?

There is a whole new bunch of experiences awaiting me as I am about to enter into a new phase of life.

But before that, let me be on the roller coaster of emotions, and feel all that my heart wants to.

Let me be anxious, let me be nostalgic, let me be afraid of the unknown, but most of all, let me be full of hope.

One last night.

One last time.

That moment of honesty..

The alarm in my phone goes off. It’s 5:02 in the morning. “I need to wake up but before that isn’t one supposed to sleep?” I ask myself secretly.

Needless to say, it’s the memories of you as usual, doing what they do best. Pushing me into self-loathing mode, with each flashback from the past killing my self-respect.

I have to be in office by 7am and yet I am contemplating not sleeping till the cab comes. The ghosts from a shared past with you are frightening enough as it is. I don’t need these memories playing the bad cop and arresting my peace.

Back in time, you are already down to level 2. All those kisses for no reason have surely worked wonders for you.

A friendly touch here and there is only a testament to the fact that you are trying too hard. And for God Knows what! You had my undivided attention since the day you asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday.

And as we steal glances for the umpteenth time, I can clearly see that desire burning in your eyes. Holding my hand in yours, you coax me into telling you about my past life. And as you saw me timidly trying to change the topic, you looked me right in the eye to tell me that you won’t talk to me if I don’t open up.

For a moment, I felt perhaps that moment of honesty was the only thing that ever mattered.

They ask me what love is, and I sigh..

They ask me what love is, and I am left with a blank face, and a hollow heart, the deep-rooted emptiness which echoes through my thoughts everytime.

Love? I sigh.

It is the lifetime of wait.

For that one person to return, who, you know, will never look back again.

Love is strengthening.

It is gathering all your broken pieces again, fixing them to create something so beautiful that your vulnerable heart grows fonder in awe.

Love is enduring.

It is facing the same person who has broken you, day after day, till the time you become indifferent to the hurt his mere presence causes to your being.

Love is forgiving.

The person who brought you more pain than happiness – just to make peace.

Love is letting go.

Of all the hurtful memories even when your insides are screaming not to.

Love is being kind.

Even when your ego is tearing apart the humility inside you, each time.

Love is pure.

It not only dips your heart into affection, but submerges your soul.

This month, last year..

September 10, 2017:

K: Did you ask him for the morning shift?

A: Yes, I did and he said okay.

And, we have finally progressed to WhatsApp. (*Claps)

K: It’s ME, not WE.

September 11, 2017:

A: Feel hungry

K: you can always treat yourself.

A: I am saving up for your treat. It better be grand now.

Kriti, Have you even decided the venue yet? Tell me, where are we going for your birthday?

K: I checked some places online, listed few options. Help me choose on Saturday?

A: wait a second. You are in shift tomorrow, right?

K: yes, I am.

A: we can go downstairs when I come; and talk. The roster will be out too by then.

September 12, 2017:

A: I will go, cook something for myself.

K: you skipped dinner? You could have ordered na…

A: you weren’t there. Eh!

K: does that even make sense now? So you won’t order if I am not there?

A: No.

It’s too much work. And then you don’t know whether to offer some to people sitting next to you or just eat selfishly.

You are my order girl.

K: That’s not a very appropriate term, I would say.

A: That’s what you will be on your birthday.

September 13, 2017:

A: Thanks (For the Chocopies).

It was a very nice gesture.

K: 😊

A: You do so much for me. Now I have even more reasons to look forward to on your birthday.

September 14, 2017:

A: So, which places?

K: Let’s just forget that I shortlisted any. Essentially coz it’s not a short list to choose from. (Shares screenshots of the bookmarked places on Zomato)

A: Wow! You made it so easy for me. Just 36423 places to choose from.

Let’s go to Handi pure vegetarian. Ghaziabad.

K: I told you some of these bookmarks are ages old but no. You don’t listen to me.

A: can’t I use an opportunity to crack a joke?

September 15, 2017:

A: Mote (fatty), what’s up?

What did you do on your day off?

It was so congested in the front row today that we all had to squeeze in to make way for one another.

By the way, did you decide anything then? Are you calling everyone from work then? Do you think they all would be able to make it at the same time?

Oh! And did I mention that….

(**Kriti interrupts him and punches him with a sarcasm so tight that he is now tighlipped.**)

A: I am warning you. The more you mess with me, the more beers you will have to treat me with on your birthday.

One more punch (of sarcasm) and I am adding more beer(s) to the total bill you will have to pay.

September 16, 2017:

A: Well, of all these places I think we can go to Nehru place. There’s LOTD and Social there. I hate Hauz Khas – too many people there.

And by the way, I will pay my share. It’s not a treat.

K: Cool! You can go alone in that case.

Treat yourself. Pay for it. Come back. Text me to tell me how was it.

A: *Note to self – Don’t piss off Kriti*

September 17, 2017:

A: Calling everyone?

K: I believe, technically, it will be just the two of us.

A: And i thought it would be better if two people discuss many many things rather than 6 people discussing how fucked up our jobs are and trying to overcome the social awkwardness

K: Duly noted. And btw, I know why you said that it will be so boring with all the people from the workplace showing up on my birthday. Ofcourse, I know what you were suggesting.

A: That was quiet bitchy of me though. Wasn’t it? 😛

K: Things we do to get what we want.

September 18, 2017:

A: What happened? Tell me quickly.

K: You must be tired. You should sleep.

A: I will keep asking till you feel better or till I feel miserable.

K: I have a lot to learn from you.

A: I am suddenly feeling sleepy.

K: Me too.

A: I was in half mood to eat one of those Chocopies you gave me, but decided not to.

K: I can’t stuff it in your mouth now. :/

A: Wouldnt that be so great? If only you were here.. I would make you put some chocopies in my mouth and then sing me to sleep.

K: Woah! That escalated quickly. Aren’t you the biggest wannabe alive?

A: Aren’t we all?

September 19, 2017:

A: Tomorrow is the day.

Happy Birthday in advance (just in case I doze off early).

K: (Disappointed at the early wish, and unsure of the life-changing moments tomorrow (20th September) was supposed to bring, she says “ok, bye.”

A: What’s wrong?

K: (Sighs) Nothing.

4 years and counting…

Yes, this is another clichéd yet mandatory post that I have to write on the eve of your birthday – not only to wish you the best in life, but to remind myself that despite your absence, I am still alive.

First things first.

1. It’s been four years since the space between us grew so much that we couldn’t recognize each other from a distance. And yet each time that I close my eyes, I see you holding my hand.

2. All the letters I wrote to you are still lying unattended just like those feelings that creep up every now and then, demanding the closure between us.

3. I pause, and look back from where I started. Gathering all the broken pieces of my being, trying to fix each one of them, one day at a time.

Sigh. I have definitely gained a lot of insights. Like how forevers just sound perfect in all the romantic novels and those clichéd conversations and how the concept of everlasting relationships only exists in the world of writers.

4. I’m certainly on the verge of reaching the ‘Pinnacle of Success’ in my career but it still feels hollow inside, and only my heart knows why.

5. I still use earplugs and cotton buds whenever people bitch about me or talk behind my back, but the cotton roll you gifted me right before you left me is still packed as it is. I’m afraid it won’t be sufficient to contain all the voices of hurt and frustration that your absence filled my heart with.

6. This year, I didn’t buy you any birthday present. And it is not because the memory of you is slowly fading away, but because I am running out of space to store all the gifts and cards I have been saving for you in all these years. I waited for you every year, and you never showed up.

7. Ever since you walked out on me, I used to secretly wish that something or the other happen(s) to me so that I cease(d) to exist.

But today, when the doctor diagnosed me with tuberculosis, I realized how fragile this human life is, and it occurred to me that may be, what we shared with each other was just a lie. A lie that seemed so real at one point in time that I premised my entire existence on it.

But then one day, you walked away, decided never to look back again. And that was it.

The show was over. The curtain was lifted. The only thing no one noticed was that the protagonist in this story fell really hard from the roller coaster of emotions, and hit her head so bad that the casualty was her individuality, and the cost that she had to pay was her sanity.

8. Every year I write to you, not because I secretly keep hoping that my words will reach you, but because I know that deep down inside, somewhere in the marooned corner of your mind, you wish to read it too!

9. We fell apart from each other and yet we are growing together. I know that my insecurities will never serve any purpose just as you know by now that I have never loved anyone just as much.

10. Four years have gone by and yet my heart is still stuck on that boy who was waiting outside my college on a cold night of January 2011. Waving at me from across the road with a dimple on his cheek and a Harry Porter-like smile on his lips. And the next thing I knew was that the fireworks inside my heart glittered more than the ones exploding in the night sky.

Seven years hence, a part of me still wants to believe in the depth of his feelings and the righteous streak inside him, and I know that no matter how hard I try, I can never hate him.

As each year passes by, it makes so much more sense as to why it all happened, and I, I just can’t seem to stop loving him.

To the one who, knowingly and unknowingly, taught me so many lessons.

To the one who changed my entire perspective towards life…

Happy birthday, (my) starlight. I hope you shine the brightest.

The day he told me how he wished we met early

And I still laugh at the time when he once told me covetedly how he wished that he met me early.

There was a subtle honesty in the undertones of his inadvertent confession. And as much as I wanted to hold myself back from taking pride in it and rejoicing the very moment, I just couldn’t bring myself to resist that one rare chance at happiness.

And the next thing I knew was that the oxytocin and the endorphins inside me were bursting at seams, ready to go places.

It was after a long long time that I had witnessed my heart grow fonder and how.

As I now look back to this day, I wonder if he really meant it. Maybe he didn’t. But maybe, he did. After all, he had nothing to lose there. Or did he?

I, on the other hand, still keep wishing that I never met him in the first place.

Even though my mind knows that all this was probably for the best, but my heart perhaps isn’t ready to accept it just yet.

Half-a-year has gone by and everything has moved on just as fast, but a part of me is still stuck there. Alas!

A part of me is still stuck in the stage of denial.

And the whilrpool of all the good memories we made together unabashedly puts my faith on trial.