Lonely Tunes

My bestie recently asked me what was the one thing that I absolutely hated about my life in Riyadh, for I lived there while growing up for ten odd years. For a while, this question took me by surprise…people always assumed that I loved it out there and ended up asking me what I missed about that desert city.

I took a moment to think while fleeting images went past me – a sea of people in black and white (literally, for Saudi men wear a white, free flowing white gown-like attire and women wear Abhayas – the black cloth that bundles them up, covering them completely.

I thought about being away from my grandparents and missing them.

I thought about Riyadh’s oppressive heat, and the boring school life I was subject to… And then it hit me hard.

‘Loneliness’, I replied.

Not having friends of my age in the society I lived in, being at a mentally stimulating age and not having someone to share conversations or games with, not being very rich so as to afford novels and books often, it tore me apart, little by little.

It’s not like I didn’t have friends – school was great when we had lunch hour or free period. But once the clock struck 1.30, that was goodbye to your friends, unless you wanted to chit chat over long calls (which again wasn’t very welcomed by the folks).

I had a few Kannadiga friends that I looked forward to meeting, but that was usually once or twice a month and fun while it lasted.

On a daily basis, I whiled away time with imaginary characters, played stupid and cute games with my baby brother, and kept wishing for some adventure. I was introduced to comics a little late, for I consider 3rd grade pretty late. I took to reading Tinkle comics, Champak I used to loathe, but reading anything felt like a good time pass.. I graduated to Archies, and thanks to my then best friend’s mother, who worked in our school, we got permission to borrow some books on a weekly basis. And then we ended up taking Noddy. What can I say, I missed the whole concept of libraries like hell.

Then I graduated to reading Women’s Era magazines because they would inevitably be at home and I just needed to read something, anything! To be honest, I read quite a few controversial things that made for a good laugh but loneliness – you can’t put a name or describe the feeling… these things persist.

I thought things would be great upon leaving Saudi, and returning to India… That I’d be able to meet and host friends who are quite like me and whose ideas would entice and encourage us to be great. Unfortunately for me, no such thing happened. Reality was that, I was seen as more of an outcast because of my earlier background and I didn’t belong to their groups…

It’s hard being lonely and it’s enough to push you into depression. I know that now but then, I tried to desperately fit in, dumb down, act bitchy and mean to be accepted, found one friend, who happened to be a guy, and you can imagine how that would turn out for a teen?

Ugh. Life sucked. In the end, I cared a damn and gave up on everyone that I was trying to befriend. I cut them out of my life the moment school ended and haven’t regretted my decision since.

I grew friends after that.. When I stopped trying, and I just was. I’m an introvert, so I still have a small circle but that’s completely fine with me. I do wish sometime that I’d be more outgoing and befriend more people.. I talk and meet people, but I think genuine connection is so rare.

But I cannot be more grateful to the people who are in my life.. I’m really happy to have friends who are smart, motivated, dedicated and wholly good people with a good heart. We question our friendship sometimes and then I realise, despite everything that that are, they’re mine.

That’s really all you sometimes need.

Cheers!

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A life wasted…

This was written a long time ago. I’m only sharing it now because sometimes your art needs expression.

“I feel so lost, like an abandoned bird.
All I want to do is wipe my past.
Like clearing the mist, that is cast on glass.
That once cleared, will forever vanish.
I want to be free, of the guilt that isn’t mine,
But holds me down, like it’s sown in me.
What a bygone thing it is, the feeling of joy.
All I can do is stare at a blank.
A shroud so dark envelops me how.
I fear I’ll never see the light of day.
The simple things, that made me gay.
I’m afraid I’ll never cross its way.
What was my sin, O pray tell me ??
For an eclipse, this size to fall on me.
The innocence of youth, you stole from me,
To give me only sorrow and pain,
My only wish now, is to die in vain.
For you to remember, I’ll etch on my grave,
A life that is wasted in your name ………”

 

Time will tell, or will it?

I’m sitting in the middle of the playing field. There’s a cricket match going on ahead of me and there are enthusiasts flying kites behind me. I’m caught in a pensive mood. The kite flies over me and a tiny bird flies with it too. It looks beautiful, a perfect evening.
There’s a lot of work to be done but I’ll just strategize now. The effort will be put at the nth moment.

The guys flying the kites are so happy.

Now I know why. The whee-whee got to me and I joined in the hullabaloo. Getting a kite high up is a difficult job but once it’s up, it’s simply amazing. I held the quivering string in my hand and it felt so liberating. Ironic because the kite is bound to me and I’m not letting it free really. If you think about it, that’s rather sad. However, let’s leave it at the liberating bit. Don’t want to get too caught up now, do we?

It’s been close to a week since I got back to college and I’m food sick. The feeling of blah-ness that you get when you look at the mess menu, you cannot understand it unless you experience it and so I went to the city yesterday to quench my thirst for a tender coconut. Yell-neer or nariyal pani has been an organic comfort food for me from the very beginning.

My association with this goes back a long way when I was about 6 years old. I lived in the south end of Bangalore then and there was a strong, hefty woman who would hack mercilessly at the edges of a big coconut and offer the sweetest ones to me. It was 7 bucks back then, a far cry from what it is today. It’s safe to say that I was

It’s safe to say that I was happily addicted and loved both, the sweet drink and the artistic way in which hewed it. Why, at some point, before flying back to Saudi, I remember telling Dad that we must explain to the lady, why we won’t be back for our daily routine for a long time. Dad was pretty alarmed, he obviously didn’t think it wise to disclose personal matters to strangers. I didn’t understand it back then, why not? Don’t you think she’d miss her regular customer I wanted to ask.I’d become so like him some day.

How was I to know that this is a life learning… You rarely say goodbye to people, some just drift away and you’re left with a quivering string..

I’m not here to talk about the benefits of tender coconut really. I just needed to get some stuff out of my head. There’s enough entertainment in it to last me a while. I just dreamt that Reya had flown off to Iceland and was enjoying the blissful locales at -18 degrees celcius. Yeah, who remembers details like that?

I haven’t read a book since the new year began and I’ve been suffused with a lot of strange thoughts. Changing relationships, inexplicable feelings, un-called for sentiments…Perhaps its is true that you only think so much when you are in a deep and seemingly un-intellectual stage, aka, the stirrings of depression.

I love the mornings here. I don’t normally pray but when I see the sun rising here, the horizon becomes so beautiful that a prayer of gratitude usually comes into my mind before I know what has happened.

It’s a great place to be… but this boat too will be rocked. Sooner than I think, or later… things will evolve. At that time, how strong will I be? How will you cope?Only time will tel.

How will you cope with changing environs and unsteady tides?

Perhaps time may tell…

 

 

 

Kinare…

I have been in love and I have been depressed. It’s the one phase of life I never want to go back to again. My mind resonated with despair and darkness. I kept my pictures black, the status dreary, and my smiles were without soul. I smiled. And I laughed so hard. And I kept telling myself that I was all right. It was going to be okay. And once in a while – every other day I would break down. For something, for nothing, I didn’t need a reason. A bit of silence, an advertisement that played with emotions, or random incidents with friends because some days I just wouldn’t be able to exist. I remember a vivid incident. I remember sitting in the canteen, plans being made for an imminent trip and I broke down for no reason. I remember it vividly, sobbing into my arms and hoping no one knew. I was, but an ostrich trying to burrow its head.

This phase was also when I bonded. I tried to avoid the deep gaze that often came my way, because I was scared that if I let it touch me, then I would succumb into the vacuum that I was trying desperately to fill. It’s surprising just how dependent I was. How everything that I wanted was linked to the one person who got me into that state. Suddenly, even Bollywood’s cheesy romances became too much to handle. I stopped going to the movies. I had few friends, but I couldn’t confide into anyone. Even when I finally did, I found it oddly embarrassing. It was so comforting to be present with someone who had no idea of the turmoil in your mind. You could just be a listener, smile at the right places, interject, and respond if you felt strongly enough about something. It was nice to have someone, who was in a happy bubble. It gave me hope that I could get there too.

Yes, even the best of the people hide secrets. The best of us may have battled the oddest circumstances in life and risen from it. You’ve always admired and loved Dumbledore? Can you think of how much grief the biggest tragedy of his life gave him? He never showed it and his brother assumed that he was never bothered. The worst situations in life? That’s what builds them to become stronger and wiser. Something that even a cup of Horlicks will never give you.

The winners, the happiest people that you know of, they wouldn’t tell you things not because they are over it but because regardless of how much they’ve left behind, some things will always be a part of you. The trick is to make peace with this part of your life. Don’t let it overshadow your choices that nothing of your individuality is left in your decisions. That’s the ultimate irony if you don’t objectively decide what you want to do in life.

You won’t just wake up one day and decide that you are not depressed. That’s not how it works. It will take effect only when you put in effort. If you’ve been listening to tales about how depressed people sleep a lot, call it codswallop and get out of bed. Start empowering yourself, slowly but surely.

That fire in your belly, it has been subdued now. But light that smoke again and show yourself that you got it. Be you. Don’t be anyone else, but you.

Khud hi to hain hum, Kinaare.

Kaise honge kam, Kinaare.

Hain jahaan hain hum, Kinare.

Khud hi To hain hum. Kinare…

~As told to me by a friend~shore-at-sunset-590-706