Rest in Peace

Today I lost someone really close to my heart, someone whom I looked upto and had shared great memories with during my childhood. Though he was just another officer among the many in my Dad’s Unit, he was like a family member to us. As he is now gone, I wish to pay him a tribute by means of this letter. So here it goes:

Dearest Gautam Uncle,

I can’t tell you to how cheated I feel, for destiny has cheated me of your blessings and your company. When I heard the news today morning, I was misled into believing that you had just met with an accident and were hospitalized, leaving a shred of hope for me to pray for your recovery. What I wasn’t told was that you had left us the very minute of that accident, and had attained the heavenly abode . I don’t blame Dad for keeping the news from me, as I know he was just trying to protect me. He knew how closely knit we were as a family and that the news would break me. As a matter of fact, it actually did. Since morning, my laptop screen is stuck to your facebook page, which has messages from loved ones pouring in. I somehow didn’t have the courage to put in a few words myself, so I just stared on. I can’t think about what Aunty and your sweet little daughters must be going through, but I know this that your family is my family, so you shan’t worry.

It’s the part of being in the Army fraternity which makes you complacent towards death. It is like staring at death so often that you get quite bored of it after a point of time. But you fail to account for the fact, that when death actually strikes your loved ones, what would you do. I have never lost someone so close to me as you were. Hence, I am a little sad, a little heartbroken. It is hard digesting the fact that someone you knew so well, and met so often shall not be there for the remainder of your life. You will never hear their voice again, nor will you ever see them again. I flinch at the thought of what the ‘ Unit Get Togethers’ would look like without you quipping in , or how our family trips would be like without you being there.

You were always my favourite in the Unit and you were my go to guy for all the ‘masti’ in the boring Unit parties in Ranchi. As I grew up a little, and you grew older, you were still my favourite. When we were in Hyderabad, you were still as crazy as ever, inspite of becoming a proud father and having more responsibilities. I knew that my weekends would always involve chilling out at your place, and somehow that made me really look forward to them. For the voracious eaters we were, you were my source of all the different non-veg cuisines around in Hyderabad. From being driven around in your car to bouncing around at the Unit’s Basketball court with you, I have one to many memories with you which I can never forget. Now, I am 21 years old, still struck by the magnificence of the Colonel who was an ace at Golf, and could beat anyone down in a game on one-on-one at basketball. Words can’t describe to how terribly I will miss you, but then to what we have been taught by you and the likes of you, Soldiers and their families must learn to move on.

RIP Colonel Yogesh Kumar Gautam,

3rd Batallion the Bihar Regiment,

Indian Army

Died in Jammu & Kashmir

Staggering Back to Life

man on a bridge1

There hasn’t been a single day that he hasn’t thought about her. Maybe out of fondness or out of anger, but her name continues to slip out like a cursory mantra. It used to be a scintillating expression once, but it’s just a curse now. Once revered a genius, known for his chivalry and class, he now finds himself abhorred by acquaintances and friends alike.Ever since they heard him shrieking into the night, howling to the wolves the name of his girl he had loved so much, his life has been an abyss of inebriation with sore eyes wondering through the smoke of cigarettes, trying to find her in the haze. That day, he had broken through the thresholds of emotional pain. He chastised himself to tear wounds onto his flesh, hoping the mortal pain would subsume the emotional grief he was laden with. Though deep down,he knew that was near impossible.

The mystique that seemed to surround her and her name, was now a macabre symbol of his solitude . While his sorry state evoked a sense of responsibility in those around, and even validated his six-month hiatus reeling over prints of old film in his one bedroom apartment, his recent sudden outbursts  nipped people the wrong end. It was as if his mind had shut itself and he now found himself like an animal trapped in a hole, in the plinth of darkness, not being able to comprehend anything . His weak mind with lack of subjectivity had been cascaded by thoughts of  her. Result, he had lost his existence to her, and every word he mouthed were in fact her.

Not long ago, he longed to be home with her, lay in her arms and caress her with love. He had hoped for them to get  married someday and to see his children bear her eyes. To how prudent he had been in life, checking boxes at every stage, he thought his dream was close. But then, fate can never be the next checkbox you tick.

Now, every morning is as hazy as the last one, for the only thing that seems different are the rainbow pills sitting on the night study. When adrenaline gives you a high one too many times and heart skips a beat, reverting back to what is normal is near impossible. So had been the case with him, as he struggled to revert back to reality. He had tried to take it in his stride and walk away unscathed, but love is one enemy that scars you for life. So as he walked up to the bridge in the night, asking himself the tough question, was it indeed the end, his brain could only agree more. However, the vibrant beauty of the face in this wallet stared back at him, and asked him to do otherwise. Yet he stood on the edge, withering through the moist breeze. It was indeed time to put an end to this misery, and his fate would not stand in his way, nor would the water slashing 200 feet below. It was time to take back control of his life, but not by taking a step forward, but by a step backward. As he turned around to leave, he knew he would remember this moment in the years to come, he would remember the breeze.

Finding Yourself

“The day you find yourself is when you will find me”

With that line said, she left me to my solitude and miserable fate. As I stumbled to the ground, tears filled my eyes and her silhouette faded away into the blurring of the roadside lamps. Every step that she took further away from me was like the scalping of my heart, as I soaked in my sorrow and bled through my heart. For a minute I just sat there, oblivious to the gaze of those around me, ignorant of the sky that seemed dazed with the flight of my happiness, struck by a fate that seemed cursed and vindictive to my very existence, and a life I had become a victim of. I don’t know if it was the physical wreathing pain of a heartbreak, or the fact that her words had pierced through my heart, my chest suffered a searing pain. I wanted to get up and call out to her, tell her to how much I loved her and how life would be without her. But, as I tried to speak out those words, bereft of any power to resonate a sound, my lips stood pressed against each other staring at the glaring reality of the situation.

Staggering and fumbling, I dragged myself away from the grimness of the place to find some fresh air. I sat in my car and drove away from the eerie place of drudgery to seek calm, think clearly and weigh upon the reality that seemed so harsh. With one hand on the steering and other on the wine, with a vision so blurry, I sought something that was rightfully mine. Lucidity was now a novel notion, curbed by the wine, so I pressed on the accelerator to reel in the helplessness that seemed to swathe over. Finally, I reached a cliff that stared into the darkness, with blips of sporadic lights. In the past couple of minutes, from being a romantic, I wished myself a misanthrope who reveled in the fact, that lights of misery were now far away. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be, maybe it was destiny or maybe it was just my fault.

Churning the sand under my feet, I gathered myself to walk towards the edge.So I stood there, on the extremity of danger, staring at death, breathing heavily, arching towards the ultimate way.This is when I remembered it again, maybe this is how I find myself, so as to find her again.

Transition

For the DAILY PROMPT

“Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?”

By the time she reached the railway station, she was panting with sweat tricking down her face, ebbing down her breasts and drenching her completely. She had hardly been able to pack her bag when he had come back knocking. high on desperation and inebriated out of his wits. Today was the day that she had called it quit to those incessant nasty disparaging remarks that she as the lady of the house had chosen not to conform to. Aisha wanted a different life, a better life, a life with respect and a life without her alcoholic better-half.

Lately his responses to her concerns about his life were becoming vague. Was he going to loose his job, would they have to shift again or was he finally getting back on track? Sanjay had an issue with his temper and usually would spring up on everything and anything that would insinuate a repugnant remark on his caliber and character. He had come to think of life as a constant  affair of immeasurable pain, wherein he tread the path of misery alone. His love for Aisha had dwindled over a period of time, as it had become difficult for him to see her concern as an act of utmost love, but an act to rip through his insecurities  by reminding him of his acts of indiscretions and incompetence. Slowly and slowly, the cracks in the relationship had become so wide, that the wife he adored became a paddle to rub against as he swerved through rough waters in life. Sanjay would constantly abuse Aisha, both physically and emotionally. Number of occasions, he would come back really late, usually drunk. He had been going through some tough times at office in the past one year, and his professional life had started taking a toll on his personal life. Over the past two months, things had only gotten worse. Not only did he sound dejected and cheated in life, all his frustration in life would translate into forced sex with Aisha. If she would refuse, he would beat her up and do so regardless. Making love had taken a different trajectory in life and it was becoming harder for Aisha to believe that in what was once a relished as a union of two bodies and one soul, was now a relationship bereft of any emotion and was a plain carnal relationship.From being that jovial woman with an intellect, who painted a larger than life picture across her,Aisha had come to become  a submissive and passive woman, who would startle even at the sound of a bell. A fine delicate face, which once fashioned a broad smile, now had bruises and dark patches redolent of a violent life. She was loosing it and loosing it fast.

Having deliberated on situation and options, Aisha could no more find reason to stay in a relationship wherein her husband no more saw her as a partner, but just a critic. She had become a symbol of his failure. So, one evening she confronted Sanjay for the dismal condition that they had reached in their life and told him about her finally calling it quit and leaving him forever. Of what followed were constant rebukes and utter violence. She was not only beaten but locked inside the house as well. Having lost her parents at a young age, Aisha didn’t have anyone to look upto and with in-laws who were not even willing to acknowledge her as their daughter-in-law, things couldn’t have been worse. So, she began writing and counting days of her miserable existence. She even contemplated killing herself, but in a place where she was already dead in her aspiration in life, physical death hardly mattered.  Deep down inside she wanted to live.

So, one day when Sanjay was out for work, Aisha made up her mind to run away. She packed her bag and took whatever she could in that short time, for he could return any minute. As she had feared, he returned shouting shortly afterwards. Only later when he realised that he had locked her in, did he open the door . This is when Aisha, completely shaken and shivering knew that the time had come. It was now or never, or else life would come catching and cut it short of the happiness it deserved. As Sanjay made way, the house opened to an empty living room with things discarded and thrown around, with an open window and a rope running down. She had run away from the shackles of his abhorrent life to see life in a way she knew how.

Probably too exhilarating an experience, Aisha was making a dash for her life and was finally smiling again. She felt liberated not at the breath of fresh air, or by the fact that there was no more incessant beating, but only because she could decide for herself. She ran towards the station as fast as she could, fleeing away from the place not even to let the old air catch her and cake her lungs with the weakness that had come to adorn lately.

She booked the ticket for the next north-bound train she could find and waited for a few minutes. She placed the satchel on her lap as she sat down on the bench at the deserted station, keeping the suitcase beside her. Nearly exhausted enough to pass out, she glared at the lights around her, which seemed to transcend from just beacons of illumination to thoughts of a future. As true perspective had come to her when she was forced upon a pedestal of pain and agony, she now envisaged life differently .With a discerning gaze, she looked at the passing by people, observing them for what they were and how different they seemed. She knew in her heart, that people were all the same, struggling in their own existence yet laughing away , taking things in their strides.

The Relic of Euphoria

Freedom

As I boarded off the subway, and headed through the alley onto the staircase, the breeze sunk me down and I was hit by that feeling again. The feeling that I have been dreading for the past one year, every enviable moment that reminds me of her. I came to despise myself that such an aberration to the beauty of the city of Delhi, has come to play such a significant part in the entirety of my ephemeral existence. I was clad with emotion and the sense of vulnerability swayed me over the edge. Regardless of how I felt, I continued to gaze across the ambiance that Connaught Place had to offer. It’s too delicate a situation, when your feet sit still, weighing you down as you walk, for every step that you take it a constant reminder of a past that no more recites itself with same fervor as it did at a point of time. Every place you see is a memory of her, and even though you desperately try to avoid the reality, it catches on. It’s hard to blame a place, for it just stands there whilst you look away and rage into a string of expletives which your mind desists. It still exudes its pleasant vibes which had once drawn you towards it, and comforted you well so as to become symbol of your love.

So, I kept walking around with a lot of random and awkward gazing. As I continued on my daredevilry, the paraphernalia of CP no more shackled me with nostalgia. Maybe it was just the weather, or the people or just the fact that amidst my stroll, I had forgotten about her or had let go of my objective strain to see the place as raunchiness of heartbreak and pain. The place which emasculated my very soul, suddenly seemed to enrich me with a feeling of rave bravado. I wondered whether the feeling that had been haunting me for the past year, wasn’t the feeling of misery and sadness, instead was a feeling of warmth and love that I had chosen to cloak in eternal sadness, for the face to that memory had become too much of a burden to bear. I had started to love this place, in fact I always did.

So, amongst the crowd I walked with my new found endearment for CP. For the new found wisdom was too captivating, a jovial me walked through the crowd with a new feeling. Now and then, I would feel the urge to go back, for maybe the feeling was too overwhelming that my wretched heart could absorb. But then I would force myself to carry on and loose myself in the moment and in the crowd like a faceless lovelorn creature who had somehow found a key to bypass the deceptive heart and its ways.   The feeling was her blessing, for she has made it special. She may not feature in the picture of my life anymore, but I knew one thing, the place which once stood as a relic to my love shall forever remain so. The feeling I had sensed at every minute with her by my side, had become a part of me. This feeling had beset a feeling of dismay at a point of time, when her betrayal clouded the love that I had found in her. But, when I finally gave in to the idea of fate, the cloud evaporated and the warmth returned.

I will return to that place again, and you shall see me with my strident steps, embracing the air like a carefree child. I will know no sense of fear, rather will blaze away in the sun with my candor and euphoria to live a life of love again.

Love and all that shit!!!

We vulnerable creatures and are miserable existence, the lovers, the lunatics and the stalkers…too many add onto the same frame of events and it becomes difficult to survive. It is in the very nature of human being to seek resolute company of others, evoking a sense of belonging and seek a new meaning to life. This feeling sometimes goes the distance and builds up to something even more potent, than mere physical presence, the misnomer chosen for this popular emotional perception is love. But then, let’s not talk about the negative gloomy aspects of this notion, which seems to ensnare more and more every day. As is believed, love changes life forever, should you actually fall in love.

If you were to go to any braided hair, Bob Marley look alike, and ask him about the idea of love, he might tell you whilst blowing cannabis off on your face,  that there is nothing to love, if there is emptiness in the souls. One doesn’t need to find meaning in a relationship, but seek meaning in the union of it. When that slacks off, there is nothing left, but sheer agony.

In the course of history, many have tried to articulate love in the best way one can. One of the best narrations on the same is by Louis de Bernières-

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.”
― Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

There is something really crazy about love. Here is a fun fact- the day all the shit above starts making sense as if to evoke an urging moment of madness, where you feel you have understood everything there is to know, YOU ARE IN LOVE.

 

Let It Go

“Was it hard?”I ask.

“Letting go?  Not as hard as holding on to something that wasn’t real.”

-Lisa Schroeder

Many a times I sat down thinking, how difficult can this be. It’s not the most difficult thing in the world and definitely not a Sisyphean task that would have even Gods shiver. But as days passed by, the answer to this pertinent question continued to elude me.

Its funny how the way the human heart works. In the literary sense, the heart throbs to the beats of love and fills your life with blossoming flowers ,the fragrance of which levitates you into heavenly bliss of ecstasy and passion. As you celebrate the love that brims over in your heart, all your desires and aspirations revolve around it, and the agendas to life take a spin. But trust me when I say this, the heart is more powerful than you think. It’s not only about love, but your life that the heart conquers.

Control the mind

I will share with you an incident which may not be of so much significance, but in terms of knowledge gained, I learned something new and something wonderful. A spirited retired octogenarian officer from the Indian Army on a wheelchair, shared with me the wisdom that I hope to bear with me through out my life. We had met outside a medical examination room at a hospital, where he had come for a regular check-up, so had I. As we both waited in the waiting room, he told me of how one who controls the mind, has the power to change everything around him. He told me that the only way he has continued to cheat death and stay healthy has been by fooling the mind. Fooling the mind by a surge of positivity , not only to force the negativity out it, but to instil a sense of calm by believing that everything is bound to be temporary and undue writhing and clamouring shall bring in no edifice to your situation. He told me to how just by believing in positive outcomes one can build roots for eternal happiness.

We lose our heart to the travesties that strike only because the intent to take control in lost. But then, you have to learn to believe in yourself when the whole world doesn’t. It is the that you take control, for if you don’t then life shall make strides in the wrong direction and you will end up losing what you have left.

Reflect, don’t compare

Most of us have been through relationships, which though seemed magical in the starting suddenly took a twisted turn towards a bitter end. It wasn’t that we didn’t try hard enough, but it just felt apart. Such experiences end up making us bitter, and wanting to close out the whole world just to protect ourselves. But then you have to realise that not everyone is the same and not every avenue leads to the same outcome. You have to maintain your faith for if once lost, will only lead to misery.

Reflect upon you past and don’t repeat those mistakes. Don’t think about the past only to dwell in the unhappiness that pervaded in those times, just learn and move on. You also need to understand that your life is your own, and you are the only one who understands it most. Don’t have others narrate their half hearted attempts at something meaningful which lead to a disaster, and let  them clog your mind with negativity. We all are different and that is the way of the world.

Let it go

I have spent days, weeks and months to contemplate in this regard. Is there a particular moment when you realise this is the moment when I need to let it go? …..No

There is no special  moment of enlightenment when you shall realise this. Rather, it depends on the moment when you let you heart play a little role, and let the brain decide to what is good for you. It is hard, but then you need to think that all this time lost to futile thoughts, is it actually worth the effort. I am not saying that an incentive should be sought for caring, but then, but then, do you think when you look back in time and think about this moment, you will be able to think that I did the right thing to hold onto those thoughts and let the reality just slide by………….I don’t think so.

 

 

Motivation.Belief.Desire.Intent

We aren’t perfect in life and a testament to that is usually the blinding forces of sorrow and wrath which engulf us on and off, setting us towards the darker side of life where we agonize and antagonize. We perceive every opportunity as a hurdle in life and dwell in indolence to let that moment pass, only bereaving and hoping that something magically might set things straight in life. We believe in anybody who pleases us with goodwill of our gracious non-existent abilities and talents, while turning deaf to the voice of our true saviours who have the courage to criticize us for our shortcomings.

Have you ever lost someone dear to you, only because you weren’t willing to step up? Have you ever felt that you could have done grasped onto an opportunity, but didn’t, only to regret it later? Has there ever been a moment of rage when you stormed towards the mirror, and looked eye to eye with the person in it and told him, that everything things that you stood for is slowly fading away because you couldn’t take control of your life? Well, like I said, we aren’t perfect. The best things towards absolve ourself of such moments is to accept our faults. You may go on blaming the whole world for all that happens to you, but in the end, you realise you were that one at fault all along. How could you let that happen to you in the first place? I’m not saying that you need to pick up those boxing gloves and box your way to everything in life, I just believe that we are the creators of own destiny, and there is no room for blaming anyone else for our faults. 

Motivation as it is, is not something you objectively get your hands onto. It is something that drives you, pushes you to take that crucial step towards what you believe in. It is that force which tells you, how to push up from that 10th mile to that 11th mile, not because you need to prove me wrong, or the world wrong, but because you need to celebrate yourself. You have to keep going not because it is essential for survival but because you know if you don’t, there is the life of mediocrity standing right behind you with it’s arms wide open to embrace you as you lose. What lies back there is peaceful, oh Yes..very peaceful and equally warming…but not at all challenging. Motivation doesn’t need to come from someone else, it needs to come from within. It needs to come by placing that fact that you were born to serve a purpose. You maybe no believer in God or any other superpower, but do remember that the Law of Nature entails that, either stand up for yourself our be a prey to its diabolic love. Have a peaceful life which is basically nothing than a misnomer for a defeated purpose and nothing to show for. Come as a baby, die as a blip on the timeline of eternity.

Belief

Mind is extraordinarily powerful. Powerful enough to subdue you into complete misery where you contemplate the end to your life, powerful enough to make a man rise from his ashes. Without belief, the mind doesn’t serve its rightful purpose, it never gains its true potential. If power doesn’t, logic doesn’t, desire doesn’t, than its the belief which helps us walk through those tough times. 

Desire.Intent

Desire and intent are two factors which may break you or make you. Dwell in an idea, fantasize about it because your power of imagination allows you to..But never pass it off as reality for that surreality will kill you. Frame you desires which are prudent and which test you. But desires are essentially what we imagine, not what we want. These desires have to be backed by an intent, without which the desires have no relevance. Desires which don’t transcend into reality will stick with you forever . The only way out is to act on it, or you shall indulge in self pity wherein you tell yourself you never deserved it and settle down for less and regret with pain.

 

Get you act together, for life is short. Nobody is born great, it’s a choice you exercise.