She was always used to strange dreams. Dark, morbid, heart-wrenching dreams which would leave behind their vestiges in her mind for days as if she didn’t merely dream them. She was used to them, and yet never quite used to the impact they had on her. Nobody understood that the dreams had long ceased to be a fragment of fantasy; they had each become an experience as real as anything else.

But this? This was different. She felt an overwhelming emotion that she could not explain for quite some time until, like a wave, it hit her. It was as if it had all happened to her in a century long past. It wasn’t deja vu, she knew how that felt. This was as if she was reminiscing a night in her life so far back in her past that she couldn’t trace it.

This was nostalgia. But how could that be?

She was as old as she knew herself to be now, but she knew this was a different world. Everything looked new. It was a world she didn’t recognise at first glance, but somehow something told her it was home.

She was angry with him, and such a familiar rage that she felt certain was her own; but she knew it would die. Not just because he was the love of her life, but more because she despised remaining angry. As he pulled her close, the two others, a boy and a girl, smiled. They were together again, the four friends, and time ceased to exist from that moment. This was forever.

So they ran, as the sun disappeared, to the hill and laid down, waiting for the red and golden fireworks. They knew the world would soon invite the wicked like it always did. They knew everybody else would keep hurrying, for although time didn’t exist, clocks did. But they didn’t care, for theirs was to laugh in unreal moments of freedom, live in unbearable moments of lightness, and love; simply, extraordinarily.

And she knew this wasn’t a dream. This was a memory.


P.S. What if I say that this is not fiction?

Ah those two syllables

My friend and I, sitting on the stairs right outside our college canteen in a wonderfully breezy weather, were exchanging epiphanies, because isn’t that what we young-adults do best! (I have a problem with calling myself an adult, more on that some other day). I had dressed myself in a magenta kurti, jeggings and black pumps which were quite definitely not pain-free. But I liked them, a lot in fact. She said I looked pretty, and teased me about it. That’s when we hit upon this conclusion at the same time – we have never, ever dressed for a guy in our lives.

Maybe that has something to do with the fact that both of us are single. Maybe not, really. But one thing is for certain, we have never dressed with the objective of impressing a guy. And I am saying this because I see girls all around me brimming with insecurity, not because they don’t consider themselves to be pretty, but because a guy (or in general, guys) doesn’t consider her to be pretty.

I won’t lie to you, I did give it all a thought. Rather lots and lots of thoughts. Because, frankly, I was curious – am I, just like so many of my friends, insecure about my self? And I realised, not so much. It’s not that I never feet bad about my body, or that I never complain about how thin my hair is. It’s just that I don’t cry over it.

And the reason I have never mourned about it is because I have never felt that silly need to look pretty. Not that I don’t like to look pretty, don’t get me wrong, because I do. I have only come to that place where I know I can’t change the way I look, and even though sometimes my face looks all bloated and double-chinned with a forehead full of acne, it is OKAY. I still look quite nice.

The point I am trying to make is, I wasn’t born to simply look pretty. But that does not immediately become equivalent to not caring about how I look.

And hence what follows is that whichever day I plan to suddenly dress with a bit more care and time, I do it just for myself. I look into the mirror and feel good because I like it, not because I think someone else might like it. Life is already way too complicated without adding the lengthy predictions about another human being’s opinions about your attire.

I guess it’s the feminist in me talking. I do hate it when self-proclaimed feminist frown upon well-dressed women. I don’t believe that feminism is suddenly not caring about how you look or leaving behind every desire to wear a really beautiful dress or feel a bit girly. Rather it is not feel an unearthly urge to do it all for someone whose opinion won’t change your life around one bit. Go wear makeup and a cocktail dress, just do it because you want to.

The strangers in this city

Today, while my friends and I were walking down the streets of Calcutta, I saw a woman with her son walking on the pavement. The little boy was holding a raw coconut, bigger than both his palms could properly carry, with more care than he would give to even a Hotwheels truck. They walked up to a lady in tattered rags sitting at the end of the pavement and the woman looked at her son and said, “Go on”. He held it out to the lady. I saw the look on her face as she exclaimed. And I saw the look on the little boy’s face as well. And I can’t get it out of my memory.

We don’t do this enough.

The playgroup in my street

It’s always a beautiful day to save lives

You know how some people, absolute strangers, walk into your lives and say something that takes your breath away? And how amongst those people, some end up saving your life?

Anis Mojgani, Buddy Wakefield, Phil Kaye, Sarah Kay, Andrea Gibson, Derrick Brown, Shane Koyczan. These are the people who have saved lives over the world with their words.

The simplest of words.

I said to the sun, “Tell me about the Big Bang”. The sun said, “It hurts to become”. – Andrea Gibson

And they pull your heartstrings so hard.

The answer?
The answer comes in the form of a handwritten letter from the moon.
It reads:
This is brutally beautiful.
So are we.
This is endless.
So are we.
- Buddy Wakefield

And they will reach you and hit you, no matter who you are.

Poetry is produced by the cerebrum, which is pink
And the vocal cords, which are red
And if we spelt out our poems in blood
No-one would care what colour they came from.
- Phil Kaye

And even make the most un-weepy girls like me tear up.

I don’t often believe in angels, but on the day I left
Louis pulled a feather from his pillow and said
This is for you,
I half expected him to say
See, this is the first one I grew.
- Shane Koyczan

Because you teach us something we’ve known all the time, but never felt.

What made the beauty of the moon?
And the beauty of the sea?
Did that beauty make you?
Did that beauty make me?
Will that make me something?
Will I be something?
And the answer comes:
Already am. Always was.
And I still have time to be.
- Anis Mojgani

You have been doing nothing less than saving lives.

wait until
a year from now
where you say,
“Holy fuck,
I can’t believe I was going to kill myself before I etcetera’d…
before I went skinny dipping in Tennessee,
made my own IPA,
tried out for a game show,
rode a camel drunk,
skydived alone,
learned to waltz with clumsy old people,
photographed electric jellyfish,
built a sailboat from trash,
taught someone how to read,
etc. etc. etc.”

The red washing
down the bathtub
can’t change the color of the sea
at all.
- Derrick C Brown

I owe you, every one of you, so much.