Lost and Found

Sometimes, I feel distant to myself. I am taken in by events happening to disconnected people. False happiness directed to disconnected events happening to someone, someplace elsewhere. Suddenly, I am all for coming out of the spell cast by that false smile. Suddenly, I know I have moved far ahead, or have being left far behind. Suddenly it's all about me, and not what other people have to do with another set of other people. Suddenly, I realize I am lost in a communication breakdown. I am lost in messages and sms that dont reach, I am lost in emails that bounce, in calls that are not returned. In missed calls. In wrong email ids. Suddenly, I know I am typing the wrong words, offering the wrong shoulder, crying for the wrong person - am in the wrong time and wrong place altogether. Something tells me I am waiting for the thing that has long gone by, past me, past in time. Everything points me to the same.

In the past 3 years, when I really did bother about a few things and persons around me, I seldom found anything or anyone taking a few steps back to come back to me. I pulled myself along. I dont remember giving a second thought to similar beings before that ever. I think I am moving backwards. People cut down on more people with time and age. After a few years, I know what will matter dear to me would be my credit card number and my company privay policy. Atleast under the normal scheme of things. And then I would be wasting a few hundred bucks talking about my best friend's latest failed affair. Or planning out the next holiday. And I know neither of them will ever mean anything to me.

My life is a an hour long power point presentation, which I have prepared for a bloody many hours, but have been asked to sketch out the murky details in five minutes, from a 6-slides-a-page handout. I am clueless what to stress on. These are details, but you don't have time for that, sir. I think all you wanted to know was a gist of everything I did, that's what we all want in this tearing hurry to move away from each other, the gist of things. Sometimes, we try doing that on people also, and we fail. To understand the gist of someone.

Oh, you just lost me. All I need is a blank screen in front of me, making no efforts to hide its indifference towards me.

Here starts the downturn.

I was just given the juiciest piece of news possible. A female senior from school is getting married.

The question is, how did she even get there?

After you get married, can you still drink with your friends at the sleaziest of all pubs? Can you still make a fool of yourself on a skiing trip? Can your friends still call you at 6am? Can you still be the drama queen? You can certainly have no more flings or blog about cute guys.

Or can you ... ?

And what about all the single TV nights, unkempt bedrooms, movie marathons, bingeing on junk food, chain smoking, depriving yourself of sleep for days together and the silly temptation to skip a bath?

Yes, the bus full of fat pink babies is a very lovely site. I encounter it on my way most days. Very agreeably pullable cheeks, extremely furry baby pink pullovers. And caps and shoes and et cetera. But certainly it's not attraction enough to throw in the towel.

Date A Girl Who Drinks

Date a girl who drinks. Date a girl who knows how to have fun. And by fun, meaning there’s almost always alcohol involved. Date a girl who knows how to let loose, how to go wild. Date the girl who would let the tequila take over once in a while, because a girl who drinks knows she’s just human, and that it’s acceptable to not be in control all the time.

You might bump into her in the club. Dancing with her girlfriends, a beer raised in one hand and a cigarette on the other, while her hips certainly not lying. She’ll be dressed very provocatively in a little black dress with a pair of snake skin 6-inch killer heels. Watch her and you’d see a girl living her life ludicrously, surrounded by her friends who would eventually leave to ‘go home’ with some guy they just met. 

Go up to her and introduce yourself. Buy her a drink. If she orders a Scotch neat, applaud her, and give yourself a pat on the back because a girl like her doesn't come around often. Dance with her, hold her close. Feel her body pressed onto yours, your breath mixing with hers. Learn to let go. Let go of yourself. The same way she let goes and let the alcohol win. She will look at you with lustful eyes, her hands gripping your shirt instead of vodka. She would lick her lips and look at yours under those heavy curled eyelashes. Kiss her. Then take her outside, by the back door. Leave her breathless. 

Or if not, you’ll see her in your local pub, sitting alone by the bar with a bottle of whiskey. She’s probably been there for a while, on her third glass or so. Sit two stools away from her and then ask her whether she thinks the bottle is half empty or half full. Stare into her eyes because you would see that she’s thinking, not with her mind, but with her heart. Then instead of answering, she would smile that little smile, and offer you a drink. Sit beside her for the rest of the night. Don’t make a move on her just yet, because a girl who drinks is also a girl who knows when a guy is interested. She’s probably have encountered countless of those. So a guy who’s being real, not trying to impress, is absolutely a breath of fresh air.

Try to get her number. Because a girl who drinks doesn't make her a girl who sleeps around —as the stereotype would go. She deserves more than drunk sex and the sneaking out the morning after, avoiding breakfast, avoiding complications. She deserves more than half-assed texts and booty calls. She deserves more than the promised "I’ll call you" that never comes. She deserves more than lust. She deserves more than love. Because a girl like her doesn't rely on love alone. She’s smarter than that.

May it be luck or fate playing with you that you meet this girl, take a chance on her because chance is all you've got. She might not be the one but she’s one in a million. Yes, there are other girls out there —decent, principled, better even. And this girl right here is the embodiment of incompetence, carelessness, and concupiscence. But she will make your wildest dreams come true, that none of your prim and proper girlfriends would ever dare to do.

Don’t trust this girl because she will betray you. But trust this girl because it’s a big risk to. She will be unfaithful to you for she had and will screw other men like she had screwed you. She doesn't expect you to stick around for long anyway, so don’t assume she’d commit. She will call you up only when she’s bored, bored of her friends, bored of her work, bored of her life. She would come running to you only because she needs something, something new, something different, something real. She’s selfish like that.

Don’t fall in love with this girl because she won’t do you any good. But love this girl for reasons you cannot understand. She won’t encourage you to do what’s best for you, instead she will seduce you into immorality. She will fuck you up and mess with your head. And when you’re lost in thought, overpowered by your own fears and feelings, she will be there for you. She will knock on your door at two in the morning with a 6-pack Heineken. She will say cheers with you and drown with you, because she knows how it feels to be alone, to have no one but alcohol to turn to. She will stay, let you get drunk in your problems, then she’ll drag you across the floor into your bed, tuck you in and kiss you goodnight.

Don’t worry about this girl because she’s certainly not thinking about you. But worry about this girl because she knows she can survive —and that’s the greatest threat she could ever hold against herself. Worry about her because she’s so used to detaching herself from everything and everyone around her. Instead of depending on liquor, show her that it’s okay to depend on someone for once. She probably won’t give up alcohol for you, but she will let you in in her impaired world. She would spill all her secrets and expect you to not care. She would cry to you and rant on her pointless existence. And then she would laugh, like nothing ever went wrong. And then she would thank you. She may not remember everything you said the morning after, but she would remember that you were with her. And for this girl, that is more than enough.

When you find this girl, run away. Run away from her. This is the kind of girl your mother warned you about. She has nothing to offer you but a shitload of baggage her life is cluttered with. Because a girl who drinks knows reality. She knows how fucked up everything and everyone is. A girl who drinks is just a girl looking for escape. Be her escape. 

When you find this girl, run away. Run away with her. This is the kind of girl your father fell in love with but didn't marry. She has nothing to offer you but the great elation of being under the influence. She’s a whirlwind of sober thoughts and drunk judgement combined. She definitely won’t give you a bright future, but she would leave you a memorable past. And in the short time you would spend with her, she will give you one thing in return —she would be your escape.

Years later, she will crash your wedding, intoxicated. She will call for a toast —a bottle of whiskey raised— for you and your beautiful bride, retelling all the drunk nights you can’t remember and all the crazy sex you had together. She will destroy your life one last time as your betrothed exits the church in tears. She will curse the priest and all your quintessential guests in the house of your God, laughing as the security tries to escort her out. She’ll blow you one last kiss before she disappears out the door, out of your life. Then you’ll find yourself smiling and running, not after your perfect wife-to-be, but after that damaged girl who drinks —that bitch who wrecked your life. You’d see her sitting two steps down, dressed very provocatively in a little white dress, a pair of leopard skin 6-inch killer heels in hand, and the whiskey on the other. You call out to her and ask her why. She would turn around, stare into your eyes, wondering if you think that it’s wrong, or do feel that this is right. She would take a swig. And then she would answer you, and tell you that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter whether the bottle is half empty or half full. What matters is there’s half left —and that half is yours.

Then she would smile that little smile, and offer you a drink.

The Hungry Mind

A hundred pages into Hungry Tide, I have made up my mind - visit Sunderbans. When?, is a good question.

There is something about books, that makes me feel inferior. Especially, books I haven't read. When I go to Crossword, I am bombarded with fits of self-indignation, because there are so many books, so many best-sellers just waiting to be picked up and flipped. So many of them holding words of poetry and passion, re-takes and retributions, giving forms and words to things hitherto unsaid in my mind.

It's 4 am and I am allowed a bit of nostalgia. 

I remember early school days when I used be in a books circuit. We had a complex network, with even more complex rules of give and take for all the Enid Blytons and Agatha Christies we could lay our hands on. I did manage to read quite a handful of them. I fell in love with Timmy, and I would actually envy the elaborate gastronomical arrangements accompanying every outing. Some of Agatha Christie's are timeless. Didn't like much of her detective series though, liked the stand-alone novels more. There were the occasional classics, some of which I read on my English teacher's recommendation. My first "fat" novel was The Scarlet Pimpernel. Not easily forgotten, I still remember I was completely taken in by the romanticism. After this, fat books were no longer the dreaded territory. Kim, Great Expectations, Heidi, are still fresh in my mind. Though often rebuked for it, I did read hordes of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews and even some of their combo missions. Harry Potter Series and Lord of the Rings followed soon.

Then I stopped. The so-called entrance examination preparation chucked out all these frivolities.

I am happy to be getting back to what I best suck at - my social skills :D. Books are the best excuses to seclusion, and then you can even pass the rare sagacious comment a la Fountainhead or An Equal Music.

This is unending. Right now, I am holding steady to at least a couple of novels and 4-5 books of non-fiction. Happy. :)

Date A Girl Who Writes

Date a girl who may never wear completely clean clothes, because of coffee stains and ink spills. She’ll have many problems with her closet space, and her laptop is never boring because there are so many words, so many worlds that she’s cluttered amidst the space. Tabs open filled with obscure and popular music. Interesting factoids about Catherine the Great, and the immortality of jellyfish. Laugh it off when she tells you that she forgot to clean her room, that her clothes are lost among the binders so it’ll take her longer to get ready, that her shoes hidden under the mountain of broken pens and the refurbished laptop that she’s saved for ever since she was twelve.

Kiss her under the lamppost, when it’s raining. Tell her your definition of love.

Find a girl who writes. You’ll know that she has a sense of humor, a sense of empathy and kindness, and that she will dream up worlds, universes for you. She’s the one with the faintest of shadows underneath her eyelids, the one who smells of coffee and Coca-cola and jasmine green tea. You see that girl hunched over a notebook. That’s the writer. With her fingers occasionally smudged with charcoal, with ink that will travel onto your hands when you interlock your fingers with her’s. She will never stop, churning out adventures, of traitors and heroes. Darkness and light. Fear and love. That’s the writer. She can never resist filling a blank page with words, whatever the color of the page is.

She’s the girl reading while waiting for her coffee and tea. She’s the quiet girl with her music turned up loud (or impossibly quiet), separating the two of you by an ocean of crescendos and decrescendos as she’s thinking of the perfect words. If you take a peek at her cup, the tea or coffee’s already cold. She’s already forgotten it.

Use a pick-up line with her if she doesn't look too busy.

If she raises her head, offer to buy her another cup of coffee. Or of tea. She’ll repay you with stories. If she closes her laptop, give her your critique of Tolstoy, and your best theories of Hannibal and the Crossing. Tell her your characters, your dreams, and ask if she gotten through her first novel.

It is hard to date a girl who writes. But be patient with her. Give her books for her birthday, pretty notebooks for Christmas and for anniversaries, moleskins and bookmarks and many, many books. Give her the gift of words, for writers are talkative people, and they are verbose in their thanks. Let her know that you’re behind her every step of the way, for the lines between fiction and reality are fluid.

She’ll give you a chance.

Don’t lie to her. She’ll understand the syntax behind your words. She’ll be disappointed by your lies, but a girl who writes will understand. She’ll understand that sometimes even the greatest heroes fail, and that happy endings take time, both in fiction and reality. She’s realistic. A girl who writes isn't impatient; she will understand your flaws. She will cherish them, because a girl who writes will understand plot. She’ll understand that endings happen for better or for worst.

A girl who writes will not expect perfection from you. Her narratives are rich, her characters are multifaceted because of interesting flaws. She’ll understand that a good book does not have perfect characters; villains and tragic flaws are the salt of books. She’ll understand trouble, because it spices up her story. No author wants an invincible hero; the girl who writes will understand that you are only human.

Be her compatriot, be her darling, her love, her dream, her world.

If you find a girl who writes, keep her close. If you find her at two AM, typing furiously, the neon gaze of the light illuminating her furrowed forehead, place a blanket gently on her so that she does not catch a chill. Make her a pot of tea, and sit with her. You may lose her to her world for a few moments, but she will come back to you, brimming with treasure. You will believe in her every single time, the two of you illuminated only by the computer screen, but invincible in the darkness.

She is your Shahrazad. When you are afraid of the dark, she will guide you, her words turning into lanterns, turning into lights and stars and candles that will guide you through your darkest times. She’ll be the one to save you.

She’ll whisk you away on a hot air balloon, and you will be smitten with her. She’s mischievous, frisky, yet she’s quiet and when she has to kill off a lovely character, when she cries, hold her and tell her that it will be alright.

You will propose to her. Maybe on a boat in the ocean, maybe in a little cottage in the Appalachian Mountains. Maybe in New York City. Maybe Chicago. Baltimore. Maybe outside her publisher’s office. Because she’s radiant, wherever she goes. Maybe even outside of a cinema where the two of you kiss in the rain. She’ll say that it is overused and cliched  but the glint in her eyes will tell you that she appreciates it all the same.

You will smile hard as she talks a mile a second, and your heart will skip a beat when she holds your hand and she will write stories of your lives together. She’ll hold you close and whisper secrets into your ears. She’s lovely, remember that. She’s self made and she’s brilliant. Her names for the children might be terrible, but you’ll be okay with that. A girl who writes will tell your children fantastical stories.

Because that is the best part about a girl who writes. She has imagination and she has courage, and it will be enough. She’ll save you in the oceans of her dreams, and she’ll be your catharsis and your 11:11. She’ll be your fire-bird and she’ll be your knight, and she’ll become your world, in the curve of her smile, in the hazel of her eye the half-dimple on her face, the words that are pouring out of her, a torrent, a wave, a crescendo - so many sensations that you will be left breathless by a girl who writes.

Maybe she’s not the best at grammar, but that is okay.

Date a girl who writes because you deserve it. She’s witty, she’s empathetic, enigmatic at times and she’s lovely. She’s got the most colorful life. She may be living in NYC or she may be living in a small cottage. Date a girl who writes because a girl who writes reads.

A girl who writes will understand reality. She’ll be infuriating at times, and maybe sometimes you will hate her. Sometimes she will hate you too. But a girl who writes understands human nature, and she will understand that you are weak. She will not leave on the Midnight Train the first moment that things go sour. She will understand that real life isn't like a story, because while she works in stories, she lives in reality.

Date a girl who writes.

Because there is nothing better than a girl who writes.

How to be Perfect

Get some sleep.

Eat an orange every morning.

Be friendly. It will help make you happy.

Hope for everything. Expect nothing.

Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room before you save the world. Then save the world.

Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.

Don't stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don't forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm's length and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass ball collection.

Wear comfortable shoes.

Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.

Plan your day so you never have to rush.

Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if you have paid them, even if they do favors you don't want.

After dinner, wash the dishes.

Calm down.

Don't be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.

Don't think that progress exists. It doesn't.

Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don't do anything to make it impossible.

If you feel tired, rest.

Don't be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel even older. Which is depressing.

Do one thing at a time.

If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately. If you bang your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20 minutes. you will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and gravity.

Do not inhale smoke.

Take a deep breath.

Be good.

Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.

Do not go crazy a lot. It's a waste of time. 

Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to drink, say, "Water, please."

Take out the trash.

Love life.

Use exact change.

When there's shooting in the street, don't go near the window.

It's Time to Take a Wrong Step

Smoke fills the spaces within. Purple haze filling a sepia mind. A hollow laughter cracks from the dark side of the moon. I stare at a slice of it. It mocks at me. Life in pieces, juggling to fall in place. These are not thoughts searching for words, these are thoughts without words to describe them. The pit gets larger. People jump into it, in a trance. It's a bullfight between men. They push, they hit, they are lost among themselves. Bang, shove, fall, stamp. Mosh. Or look up to the flying lights. I count 5. High is one feet above the ground. I am there, soaring.

Wish you were here, shouting down the street. Thud. Bonfire. Oh carol, why are you so insanely melodious? Moonlight on a dull, placid lake. I turned to look, but it was gone.

I am generally high. All it takes is a cup of coffee, a couch, and Live 8 video (Pink Floyd). It's worth more than 50 bucks of beer. Or two tequila shots.

Running over the same old ground, how I found the same old fears. Come out of the loop man, it's time to take a wrong step and watch the fun.
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