…want to feel pure adrenaline!
…want to jump off a plane at 15,000 feet and experience free falling to the earth!
…want to see a shooting star!
…want to really, really, really laugh!
…want to really, really, really cry!
…want to tell someone my crazy life ambitions!
…want to fulfill one of my crazy life ambitions!
..want to find something that I love so much, it even keeps me awake at night! Somehow Anu’s words have never stop ringing in my mind for seven years now!
…want to go back to kick-boxing!
…want to take a wrong turn somewhere and discover a completely new, untouched, pristine land!
…want to get back my 4 AM friend!
…want to stop putting on a brave and smiley face all the time! I remember this famous line in a musical- flowers wilt, apples rot, thieves get rich and saints get shot and God don’t answer all our prayers a lot.. 😛 Hell, that’s true and I know life goes on, but that doesn’t mean I cannot sulk about it! 😛
…want to use a lot of swear words.. 😛 I know that’s not me, but I still want to do it.. 😛
…want life to imitate a Hindi film!
…want to believe that keeping the faith works..
..want to learn how to live alone- 3 years with roommates and I’ve seriously forgotten how to enjoy my own company!
…want to read a book in one entire sitting!
…want to live a day without a cellphone!
…want to break eggs or throw oranges or yell real loud or punch someone real hard!
…want to go to London!
…want to feel the goosebumps on my skin just before a performance on stage! It’s been over a year!
…want to lie down under the sky and watch the stars (maybe I’ll do that tonight.. :))
…want to work on a lathe or milling machine!
…want to go into a bubble- nothing else exists!
…want to feel total control!
…want to work super-hard!
…want to see a miracle happen!
…want to eat fondue!
…want to land up at the airport and take a flight to a random place!
…want someone to believe in me!
…want a pet cat!
…want to make plans!
…want to feel inspired!


The Bench

Blame fiction writers and film-makers for romanticizing gardens so much. He who plants a garden, plants happiness, they say. Great love is born here, even greater loves end here. Legend has it that Newton was sitting in a garden when he was hit by that famed apple and the story of gravity was born. No one even considers the fact the Newton was working on the theory of terrestrial gravity for nearly two decades- what is important is that it all came together during that afternoon walk in the garden full of apple trees. The Book of Genesis credits the Garden of Eden as the place where the whole of the human race initiated. People build gardens as dedications for their loved ones. You know my favorite garden scene in a movie? It’s one of those last scenes in (500) days of Summer, where Summer meets Tom for the first time after she gets married. That dialogue still rings in my head – “You weren’t wrong, Tom. You were just wrong about me.”

Me? Oh, I’m a bench- the tiny, inconsequential element that no garden is complete without and yet, is always forgotten. There are no love ballads written about me. No bench is ever used as a metaphor for life, love and happiness. I’m sure there were no benches in the Garden of Eden, but let’s go back to the Newton story- what if Issac was sitting under another bench and the apple had never fallen on his head? He still would have figured out the laws of Nature, of course, only maybe a decade later.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m usually not the jealous, attention-seeking type. I agree that I per se, have no aesthetic appeal whatsoever. People come to the garden for the trees and the flowers and butterflies and ponds and the like- I am only a functional element placed for the sake of convenience, a mere prop. There isn’t a lot you can do with me too- I come in two types, wood and metal. There could be a simple or more ornate version of me- but that’s about it. But would people spend as much time in a garden if there were no bench? Probably not. Most of them don’t like to get their clothes dirty, so they wouldn’t sit on the grass, although I agree that is more romantic than a bench. I am the one who hears all the stories, sees the love and the pain and the fear and the passion. I feel for these people. I know these people……

“I’m sorry, Aaliya.”, he said.
“This is all I wanted. For seven years. All I wanted was a heartfelt sorry. So, I should say thank-you I guess”, she replied, pensive look in her eyes.
“I guess I was a kid back then. Naive and stupid. I should have stayed.”
“You shouldn’t have stayed, you should have fought. There is a difference. And you should have been honest with me. I deserved that much.”
“I know. But why didn’t you fight longer then, Al. You knew how messed up my mind was then.”
“You think we would have lasted any longer? A year more, maybe. But a lifetime? Nahh.. We are structured very differently, Nits. You need a punching bag and a Gibraltar. Someone who’ll be there when you think the whole world is against you. But you don’t know how to be that for someone else.”
“That’s not true.”
“It is. And you know it. Anyway, that is not of any consequence anymore. We have both moved on far bigger and better places. This day is just an ending our story should have gotten years ago.”
“Are you happy?”
“Yes. More than I can ever imagine. Whatever happened, did happen for the best.”
“I know. And I’m happy for us”
“Bye, Nits. Have a good life.”
“Bye, Aaliya. I’m sorry again.”

She smiles. They get up and leave. They were my favorite couple. And I remember feeling the pangs of helplessness when they ended things right at this spot seven years ago, almost to the day. That was the day I wished I had arms that could move. So that I could give one thwack to Nits and ask him to stay. So that I could give a bear hug to Aaliya when he left.

I am only a bench- ornate and metal, painted black. I have no wordly wisdom and no greater purpose. But there’s one quote from Shantaram that sums up life as I know it.

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears. In the end that’s all there is. Love & its duty, sorrow & its truth. In the end that’s all we have – to hold on tight until the dawn” 

Shantaram was her favorite book. Aaliya always read this out to Nits. Unfortunately, he never really got it.

Can’t Fight Time..

दिलों में तुम अपनी बेताबियाँ लेके चल रहे हो तो जिंदा हो तुम
नज़र में ख्वाबों की बिजलियाँ लेके चल रहे हो तो जिंदा हो तुम
बेताबी is good- it just means that you stand to lose something. It means that something is important enough that its absence affects you in some way. Having said that, I think as you grow older, you also realize that patience is seriously a virtue- there is a right place and a right time for things to happen and sometimes, you need to just trust that the process will fall in place when it has to. Unfortunately, I think I can be a real kid when it comes to this- I have always hated the dark. I like to know where things stand. In terms of my own life, I like to map out my career and life goals- at least make a tentative plan of action for how things should be. In terms of others, my actions more than compensate for my lack in being articulate about my thoughts and feelings. If I trust you and like you and make you a part of my inner circle, then you will know it through my actions- simple and straightforward. I hate those devious games people play in order to control someone’s mind and feelings. And I hate people who can never take a stand- especially when their decisions are interlinked to someone else. I guess it is this love for clarity and organization that helps me like my job as a project scheduler. But being in scheduling also teaches you that almost nothing is ever supposed to go as per plan.. 😛 The ultimate purpose of curveballs is to show up when you least expect them so that you can invest time and energy in figuring out how to dodge them. Things can never be as clear as black and white. Goals need time to pan out, people need time to take decisions- and the smart person knows how to accept that as a fact.

The bigger the investment, the better the returns. The little caveat in this philosophy, though, is- how does one know what is worth giving that time to? Scientists invest years in a particular project hoping against hope that their time and effort will not go in vain. People devote half their lifetimes to a relationship because they want it last till eternity. Till death do us part and all that.. But some times, things just don’t work out. People break up. Experiments fail. But the circle of life dictates that you take these setbacks in your stride, pick up the pieces and restart all over again. This is fine too- some times a clean slate is all you need. But starting from the bottom of the ladder also means that you need a lot more patience and perseverance to climb to where you were before and go beyond that. And god forbid, you reach the open mouth of a snake again! This game can get really frustrating!

The poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling is one of my all time favorites. There was a time I used to read this out to myself nearly every day. This is my favorite verse –

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools..

Life is full of so many layers- you figure out how to unravel one of them and before you know it, another has taken it’s place. I’m not complaining- the fun is in fitting together the pieces of this puzzle.. But sometimes, just on one of those days, you wish someone would just show you how the final picture is supposed to look like! 🙂

P.S. 1. – Blogging in the middle of the work day?! – Not good! But it’s Friday! 🙂
P.S. 2. – Typing out that initial verse in Hindi was super-fun!

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens..

Hmmm so I’ve had enough of the philosophical posts.. One thing I’ve come to realize is that the mind is very complex- I think it likes to complicate even the simplest of equations.. And no matter how hard you try, the only way to untangle some knots is to just let them be- sometimes the answer just pops back at you after a while.. So, wanting to write something cheerful and simple.. I remember this game a friend and I used to play whenever any of us felt a little low.. We’d just close our eyes, clear our minds completely, set the timer to five minutes and then start listing out the things that make us feel happy- no thought, no deliberation and no logic.. She isn’t with me right now, but I’m still going to play this game by myself..

So here goes- cannot close my eyes and type but still…clearing my mind…setting the timer to five minutes.. Its 11:58 PM..

My cat back home in Pune
Long conversations with close friends
When Monday morning meetings get canceled..
Pehli baarish
Whatsapp messages that make you smile in the middle of a hard day
When a new cooking experiment turns out really well
New York City
Fall colors in the east coast
An idea or project that captivates you so much that it even keeps you awake at night
Not having to always spell out every feeling
Kesar pista kulfi
Being on a creative high
Setting up an apartment
Old photographs
Sunday morning coffee
Planning surprises
Getting surprises… 🙂
Chats on the balcony
Grey’s Anatomy quotes that just fit the mood of the day
Being able to click a really good portrait
Reading archived emails from days gone by
Holding hands
Refrigerator magnets
Light snow that floats around like tiny wasps of cotton
Uplifting music
Random smiles
That feeling in your gut that tells you something is right
Vanilla milkshake

Alrighty, time’s up, mind is happy and it’s time to sleep.. Shubh ratri everyone.. 🙂


Disclaimer: This post is named Stromboli because it’s lunch time and I’m hungry and I am craving Stromboli.. This post is not even remotely related to food. This post is not about anything actually. I’ve just been having a very confused past few days and I’m trying to string my thoughts together because I’ve always been better at writing than speaking.. Having said that, my thoughts are so tangled right now that I don’t think even writing them down point-wise is really going to help me- but it’s my blog, so what the hell- I’m still going to give it a shot.. I apologize in advance for the random post- something more concrete in a few days- I promise.. 🙂

[Thought 1]

Have you ever felt like there is so much to do in life and so little time? Like not in terms of long-term, well-defined goals per se, but just things you want to do. I read blogs of random people at times, and some of them are very open about what their dreams are- some want to learn French, some want to reach the base camp of the Himalayas, some want to sky-dive or write a book or open a start-up venture.. I have such goals too, but it’s just that I’m not very vocal about them. But one thing I’ve always wondered is- it’s very easy, no let’s rephrase that- it’s easier to write or define things you want to accomplish at certain stages of your life. But very few actually follow them through and reach a stage where they can successfully strike them off their list. What distinguishes these people from the rest, who just make a list and store it in a keepsake box and then open it a few years down the line and lament about how time has flown by..? Is it mere talent? Nah, can’t be that simple- Talent is useful in terms of achieving your full-blown life goals in your profession or family or social life. But in most cases, these goals take up so much of your time and energy that the other less-significant, personal, yet important items get sidetracked. I think most of it is about motivation- the will to practice and persist until you succeed. But then again, motivation can be internal or external- for some people, their inner fire is so strong that no amount of resistance can stop them. Others need people to push them. Like in the case of writing- as G correctly pointed out- it’s easier to write when you have interesting people around you to talk with because a lot of these conversations actually generate ideas.. Again, with internal motivation- it stems from how the society around you has been- have you always been pushed to give everything a shot without fearing failure or have you always been asked to test the waters before jumping? In the case of external motivation, it’s all about being at the right place at the right time.. I can go on about this, but the idea is that a full-blown FMEA can be done on what distinguishes the achievers from the regulars. But in all it’s veracity (;)), it is also nearly impossible to develop a set model for these kind of habitual achievers. This whole concept scares me because of the uncertainty associated with it. How many items am I going to be able to cross off my list? What if the mundane concerns of day-to-day life completely take over these crazy ambitions?

[Thought 2]

Choices. Since the time philosophy was invented, pseudo-smart and consciously verbose people have professed about how the choices we make define the path of our lives. The thing about choices is that sometimes the right thing to do can be very different from what you want to do. Like you have two paths to choose from- A and B. A is the path of least resistance- logical, safe, more than 40% chance of success, possibility of pleasing more than 60% people. Those are good odds. But A is just blah- it’s not what you want from your life, it doesn’t excite you, you know that a small part of your brain would probably regret it always. B on the other hand is how you have always wanted it to be- you know that if this works, then it’s a jackpot- but there is no way of knowing if it will work or not. And sometimes, time is not on your side. What do you do? Still give B a shot? Or go with A and then try to convince yourself to find the excitement and inspiration in it? Maybe things take a turn and you realize eventually that A was the right thing to do after all. But it’s a gamble.. Okay, I’m not battling with such dramatic issues in life, but every decision you take is a miniature version of this problem- A or B, safe or risky, normal or exciting? Stupid philosophers wasted time in writing those crappy quotes- thoda time solution ko define karne mein invest karte toh the world would be an easier place.. 😛

[Thought 3]

So I was thinking about the weirdest quotes from Hindi movies that I remember and somehow the following one from Maine Pyaar Kiya always is the first one to pop up- This was after Mohnish Behl sees Salman Khan and Bhagyashree in his party together- so imagine the scene- All three are drenched in rain (can’t remember why it was raining, actually maybe they’re just sweating..), Mohnish is angry- I think he was trying to lootofy the izzat of Bhagyashree and of course, Sallu bhai is the knight in shining armor.. So woman is crying in a corner, hero is wild with fury and villain is insulted but also glad to have proven a point.. The dialogue goes- “Prem, ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ban sakte. Yeh toh parda hai parda.. Kapkapati raaton mein dhadakte hue dilon ki tadapti hui aag ko bujhane ka…chupaane ka..

Waah waah- kya dialogue hai! Don’t ask me why I remember it so well though- I wish I knew! 😛

Another dialogue that is my all time favorite is from Kal Ho Na Ho- “Hasna hai toh Rohit, rona hai toh Rohit, magar pyaar karna hai toh kisi aur se.. It’s not going to work anymore, Naina..” Hmmm the plight of being stuck in the “friend” zone… 😛

[Thought 4]

Have you ever met a person who has challenged you more than anyone ever has? So you meet them and get to know them and every time, there is a new facet to their personality that amazes you and frustrates you at the same time- you wish you could be like them, but you also know that you could never be like them.. I can’t spell out the feeling correctly, but I hope you get the point.. I have always been very good at understanding people but characters like these are so difficult to sort out..

[Thought 5]

I really feel like doing something impulsive. It’s been so long since I’ve just done something in the moment, just because I felt like it !! 😦 Maybe I should ask G to get that liquid nitrogen from his lab.. 😛

[Thought 6]

Sometimes I wish I could behave or act like a typical girl, just for a few hours- I don’t know exactly what that means, but that’s why it’s a random thought.. 😛

I don’t exactly feel sorted right now, but can I please have some Stromboli?