Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year Resolutions

The last year has been sort of a scorched-Earth experience for me. As an example, of the last two months that have gone by - also the time when my writing here recommenced - I've spent about 40-45 of those days at home, in bed with my computer, drowning myself in whatever media I could find. I'm not proud of this. But try as I might, I couldn't get myself to move. The closest I can come to comparing this experience is the time when I went through a bad break-up. Atleast then I had friends and a legit reason to mope. This time, no legit reason, and hence nothing to say, even to friends.

But this enforced solitude has also given me pause. It's given me time to think, time to examine what it is that I could have done differently. The truth is, I'll never know. Hindsight is stellar, but it doesn't prepare you for anything. The singular truth is that things change, whether we want them to or not. And the only thing we can do is make ourselves more damage-resistant by creating more life support systems.

On that note, I have compiled a list of resolutions that I want to keep for this year.
  1. I shall be better at how I love and what I write.
  2. I shall be healthier.
  3. I shall earn more, invest more and spend more.
  4. I shall dip my feet in an ocean I haven’t felt before.
  5. I shall not feel very sorry for myself.
  6. I shall finish what I start.
  7. I shall redo my place even if it’s a giant pain in my ass. It’s my place.
  8. I shall listen to more music. Maybe even take lessons.
  9. I shall actively work on my relationships with friends and family.
  10. I shall forgive more easily.
And tonight, I shall kiss someone who makes me laugh and wonder why I ever worried. 

Here's to a year with lesser carnage and more laughter.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Aliens Aboard!

The party season is on. And I haven’t felt more isolated than this, right here, right now. 

Over the last two years or so, I’ve spent a lot of time examining people. My friends, family, total strangers - no one has been free of this scrutiny. And simultaneously, I’ve held myself under a microscope - my motivations, desires, needs, etc. I have done this because I believed in an ideology - the possibility of freedom - and in its achievability. At the end of this year, I find myself up against a wall that has come up between me and that vision, a wall that just doesn’t show any indication of moving. As a result, I find myself stuck inside this rather large but pretty solo existence, cut off from the people out there, unable to really connect. An alien in a land I used to inhabit.

It’s quite lonely. What’s worse is that I see the people around me and I find myself not really WANTING to connect with them. The terrible part is that while normally, I'm the one who decides when I get to switch off and switch on, this time I feel helpless and out of my depth. Truthfully, I’d like nothing better than to be able to have a few laughs, to dance like no one’s watching, to use the sassy turn of phrase that’s my “move” at parties - but that Alien in my head just won’t shut up. It’s constantly saying things like “Really? You really want to know who he is? Do his torn denim pants intrigue you, or is it the fact that the 1990s seem to be back and making a home in his wardrobe?” That alien is also mean! 

Then I yo-yo to the “meaningful" ideological side of the conversation - the kind of stuff that has been my jam lately - and even there, the minute I hear someone utter the words like “You must follow your dreams”, I want to projectile vomit into an expensive dinner bowl being carried by someone wearing an expensive Vera Wang dress in an expensive home filled with expensive curios. 

When I look for comfort in the arms of an ex-lover, I can almost feel my skin peeling off my bones as the Alien says, “Really? Him? All these years of living and it’s him??” While one ex says, “Come over, let me cook you dinner” and the other says, “I’ve always wanted to find out what it would have been like if we had actually gotten together for real”, all I want to say, while desperately trying to keep my skin in place, is “Not you."

It’s like I’m going through a phase of checking the Not Applicable box in a survey that asks impossible questions like “What do you really want?” and “What are you good at?” and “Who are your people?” Somedays, as I stare at the wall in front of my bed, covered with drawings I’ve done in crayon, and I feel that if I could just lie there forever, not answer the phone or the door and just dissolve into air, a little at a time, until at the end of the day, there's nothing left of me, wouldn’t that be a good thing.

My friend told me that I'm being too maudlin these days. But I can't seem to shake off this feeling. I go to a party, or to a quiet dinner and I see the people around me and they all look like they’re pretending. Pretending to be happy or satisfied or interested or creative or chirpy or important or happy… like everyone is wearing a mask that allows just the most superficial interactions before alarm bells go off. And the thing is, I’m almost grateful for the masks. It means then that I don’t have to deal with the really scary stuff the masks are hiding.

Because if the masks slip, we’ll see that we are in truth, total and utter savages, with no real love or affection for anything else except ourselves. Or that we’re just non-existent grey limbo and all this introspection and navel gazing and life-examining is pure shit. Maybe that will be a relief. 

Because right now, I’m just exhausted being me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Letter to the Future Love of My Life

Dear You, 

I say this with the utmost affection and love and respect, but you’re going to have a few very confusing months ahead of you. But you’ll get through them like a champion. You know how I know this? Because the others didn’t.

I started this note with the intention of giving you a few pointers about how to navigate the hot mess that is me. And I just realized something - almost all my pointers are about what the “other guys” said and did or didn’t do and how to avoid the nastiness that followed. I was going to tell you about how I’m a disaster and have trust issues and will mostly need a lot of patience and understanding and how my standards are too high etc - and then i realized that I was only repeating those things that the others have said about me - the others who are NOT the love of my life.

So why try and fit you into a box vacated by people who are just not good enough to be compared with you? This is not to say that you won’t have your set of problems with me, but I’m guessing they will be problems I haven’t thought about or tried to fix already. They will be new, and unique to your set of deal-breakers and nothing I do or say will prepare me for them. What will happen is that when you come into my life, I’ll finally know what it is that everyone has been going on about - love? Pfuitt! What is that? And you will show me and I will be speechless and terrified and awestruck and so grateful that you found me. 

All I can hope for is that I won’t bolt before the words have even settled into their meanings and I hope that I won’t see the actions and the intentions of all the Boyfriends Past in the words that you say. Because you will be the love of my life, and that makes you a pretty unique person. 

So as  favor to myself, I’m going to try and write down my end of the deal, my part of what I think would be an immensely awesome relationship deal. When times are tough - and they will be - I want you to let us take a breather and remind me to read these words again:

  1. I promise to trust that you are the love of my life and as such, you have my best interests at heart.
  2. I promise to remember that you are what I have been waiting for my whole life, the one who gets me in ways that are scary and fun and nightmare-inducing and joyous.
  3. I promise to try and fight fair. Try. In case I don’t, please know that I already know I did something wrong and you can bet I shall apologize very quickly if I haven’t already.
  4. I promise that all my apologies will be sincere.
  5. I promise that I will improve my cooking. Cooking for someone is one of the ways I express my love for them… and I’d like what I cook to be good for that reason.
  6. I promise to always try and tell my truth at any given moment. This is honestly the best I can do because I’m also someone who takes time to process my feelings and to arrive at a concrete truth. But the minute I do, you will know that too.
  7. I promise to remember that you’re not perfect and that it’s not a bad thing. The important thing is that you’re just perfect for me - even on those days when you’re trampling every nerve in my body to breaking point. Particularly then.
  8. I promise to remind myself that you're not a mind-reader and you deserve to know what I'm thinking and how I'm reaching life-altering conclusions about my.. our life. I promise to try and include you in my mental life.
  9. I promise to remember what I loved about you in the early days and what I love about you today and that agreeing with me all the time probably wasn't on that list ever. 
  10. I promise to remember to kiss you - like, really kiss you - at least once a day. No carry forwards. Even on days I don't feel like it.
  11. I promise to pay you at least one heartfelt compliment everyday. Because sometimes I tend to keep it in my head. I say, "Wow, he is really bright..." and tend to forget that I didn't say it out loud.
  12. I promise to be flexible about this list, and keep adding and.. adding.. because I really do want you, and am willing to work at keeping you.
Almost every second day, I’m with some friend or the other at my neighborhood watering hole. And most days, the conversation flows around work, and who's doing whom how well and for how long… And it’s so boring. Like… pointless. And I realized something. I’m so bored with ‘doing’ and being ‘done’. For now, I’m in the mood for romance, for whispered stories in bed, for full body kisses - you know, the kind where your whole body is held and the kiss is deep and all-consuming - and for that feeling of fearlessness…

And I want you to know. You’re it. You’ve given me all these things. And if I'm the love of your life, then we're on the verge of The. Best. Romance. Ever.

It’s just that sometimes, I may need to be reminded. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

How An #FBCHAT Changed The Face Of Indian Daily Soaps - for 45 seconds

It all started when I posted a normal, run of the mill update on FB. My friend Shorey, a lover of all things TV and now into crowd funding for worthy creative projects, pinged me. What follows is a tiny look into how free-wheeling 21st Century Indian daily soaps could look like - if WE had any say in it :D

(Warning: Some colloquial Hindi)

Naalaayak! Kaam waam nahi hai……. FB pe timepass ho raha hai
(You worthless piece of poo-poo.... wasting time on FB)

Haan, true hai ji
(Yep, that's true)

uff!!!! yeh aaj kal ki ladkiyan….
(Gosh! This generation's kids......)

haan! Yeh sach hai!! Main aaj kal ki ladki hi hoon!
*sounds of chudiyaan breaking*
(Yes! It's true.. I AM a kid of this generation!
*sound of shattering glass bangles)

*close up of shocked faces in slow motion, repeat with color change*

*Cue heroine running out of room in tears*

*... Hero crying in one corner so no-one sees him… So metrosexual macho *ugh*

Mother in law immediately updates Facebook with #familydrama

Sister in Law calls Heroine LS and tweets #whatabitch

And says "my poor bro is trapped #blindlyinlove"

Heroine's family immediately deletes the whatsapp family group and starts another one

Meanwhile the heroine's sis secretly looks for guys for the Heroine on Tinder

And discovers the Hero's Tinder Profile!! *Cue more tears and horror

The heroine's brother BBm's all his bros to go and beat the crap out of the Hero….. After all GPS tracking is easy.. His best friend is a techie

But his friends say "Dude, you're still using BB?!" And immediately unfriend him

Sub Plot starts….. The bro starts stalking his BFF's GF on her secret MY Space page….…...

Where he finds porn clippings of her and her brother - who, mid scene, discovers he's adopted and loses his libido…

What will Happen now? Will the Heroine’s brother’s best-friend’s girlfriend choose someone else to fill the gaping hole IN HER HEART!

(this is becoming very modern age NSFW)

Cut! Cut!…. This much is enough to sell it to the producer…..


This will be our Story….. 'Script of the Year' Written on FB chat
*Cue Awards

Chalo, tum funding organise karo, main likhna shuru karti hoon
KISNE kaha ki FB pe timepass hota hai??
(Awrighty then, get the funds organized, I'll start writing the show.
Who said one only wastes time on FB??)

Maybe this is why no one gives me a job on TV.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Freestyle Dreaming

I was in England and Prince William and Kate were getting hitched. I was part of the wedding party. It was pouring buckets and the grounds were slushy and horrible. Everyone was out in their wedding finest, but the weather just wasn’t being a sport. Two miles away, there was an inn. There was food and music - well, bangers and mash and lots of ale - and hot fire and room for all, if you counted the barn. Harry was late as usual, grinning his cheeky grin, and you could tell that William was losing his cool. Kate’s minders had their hands full with keeping her gown as white as they possibly could, given the squelchy mess she was walking through. I told Harry about the inn, and the plan was made - Prince William and that Kate girl would be wed at an inn….

… I open my bank statement and am not surprised to find just how much in the red I am. There’s a pile of bills to be paid, I look around my house and count off the repairs needed, and then do a quick math in my head - mostly subtraction - and find that the money in my account is more than enough to do all that. It’s almost like the bills shrunk or the money expanded without changing the numbers in the little boxes. Or maybe I’ve forgotten how to do math…

… The crack of the cricket bat against the ball in the green wide open fields of Surrey comes as a surprise to me. I see two people - teenagers really - playing at one end. An umpire looks on. There is no one else around. The Umpire turns to me and says that it’s a shame that one will kill the other, isn’t it? In the distance, Sean and Phillip laugh and play cricket…

… I’m running and it’s late. I’m late for a meeting…

… I’m running on the treadmill. The counter reads 12 km/hr. It’s fast. I’m planning to push it further. But I’m getting tired. I can feel my legs wanting to stop. But the treadmill is speeding up. I could be the Flash or I could be a hot mess tossed off the treadmill and slammed into the wall behind me…

… The meeting takes place in the outdoors. The director of the film - a new chap - wants to “feel the space” as we discuss the script. I’m wondering how he knows the space, given that he hasn’t yet heard the story. Then he starts telling me a story - predictably, of his childhood. I wonder why everyone thinks that theirs is a story worth subjecting millions of people to. Then I look down at my laptop, and the words printed on the screen and I see my childhood and heartbreak and laughter and loneliness all tied in to the fictions I tell others. I’m privileged to do so. I lean back and hear his story. It’s not tremendous, but it’s worth telling. Like all other stories….

I wake up. It's still dark. My cat is curled up next to me under the blanket, my arm around her soft warm body. I feel her purring. And just before I close my eyes, I see that all is perfect with my world.

Tomorrow is another day.