Reconciliation with my blog…


Hello again,

This is going to be an attempt to reconnect with my blog. So many things have been said and left unsaid over this one year. Of course, a whole chunk of it went to my personal diary. Strangely, I find myself writing a lot in flights. It’s like an overflow of emotions, words and ink – all at the same time. Like, I must do it! So, my dairy has been a witness to this weird trait of mine. I mean, who writes in a flight?

Anyway, these diary writing episodes have also been a reminder of the fact that there’s nothing like sitting down with your pen and paper. It’s an incomparable experience. It cuts out all the distractions and clears my mind. Except that I miss the auto-corrects, word suggestions and modern editing features as such.

Looks like I am going to be here for some more posts. Also, need to update my music blog which I had started off with so much passion.

This post is going to be as short as this.

Wandering Sonata

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‘An almost unfinished love story…’


It was a cold wintry night at New York City. At the late hours of the night, the air was filled with the distant sound of fading sirens and the crisp movement of slow moving cars in the neighbourhood alleys.

The secluded room on the inner wing of St. Anthony’s hospital was quite cut off from these happenings. Inside Room Number 306, all you could hear was the on and off beeps of the heart monitor and the deep breaths of the sole patient there.

His name was Joel, who was brought in during the afternoon after he collapsed complaining of a chest pain. Joel, a professor of Nuclear Physics at the State University was a man in his thirties. He was a handsome man with an athletic build and a charming voice. Students thronged to his classes just to catch a glimpse of him while he delivered some of the most spectacular lectures. His knowledge on the subject matter of Nuclear Physics definitely showed how well read he was. Joel was passionate about his work and his life basically revolved around it. People often wondered if there was a woman in his life. Since there were no obvious signs, they told each other their own versions of his love story.

Right outside Room Number 306, seated on the visitor’s lounge, there was a lady waiting for him. A still figure clad in a black dress and constantly staring at the hospital clock, she sat there quietly. Her lips and nails painted with the reddest ink, almost blood red; a tear drop escaping her eyes along with the mascara which begins to wear off her eyelashes. She wasn’t quite dressed for a hospital visit. Her attire made her look like a runaway Broadway actor or an Angel of Death.

The hospital staff were so engaged in their night duty that they barely took notice of her. Perhaps, they thought that she was his wife or lover. Nothing that was unseen or unheard of for a typical hospital scene. It was just another day at the hospital; nurses were checking their calendar and paging their husbands or families, resident doctors were on their usual rounds and just the aura of silence that reminded people that they were in a hospital. Like I said, nothing was unusual about that night.

Inside the room, as Joel stayed unconscious, his physical self as alive as that of a sleeping man who’s not quite sure about when he’s going to wake up again. His skin was pale and almost transparent. You could spot the delicate movement of blood sluggishly flowing through his green veins and his chest rising up in between those fragile gaps of time. Even in his state of slumber, he could still feel the piercing pain of his heart that was gradually spreading across the rest of his body, killing him like a slow poison. It was almost like something was trapped inside his heart and it was struggling to find a way out of its undue confinement. He had to release it or keep it with him forever until the last breath left his body.

Inside his mind, there were these dark bubbles that slowly changed colours and opened up a series of visions in front of him. These were his favourite memories; his mother’s smile when he went to attend his first day at the university, the first lecture of Nuclear Physics, the scene of him laying down in the grass and looking across the Chapel, and that’s when it all started. He saw her for the first time…

A girl in green shirt and jeans, coming out of the lecture hall; she had eyes like the ocean and a smile like a beautiful butterfly flapping her wings. Samantha was a senior year Literature student and quite the popular girl from her batch. She looked at him and gently nodded her head. This became a daily ritual; the exchange of nods and smiles but just that.

Joel just liked to be a distant admirer because he was very afraid about how he felt about her. Every night, he would see her in his dreams and almost all his idle moments drifted away towards thoughts of Samantha. He was quite sure that she mustn’t have ever thought about him like that. Perhaps, it was an infatuation that definitely showed signs of a growing obsession. He became more scared of his feelings. She was a senior and most likely she was dating this guy from her class. He had seen them together many a times.

Samantha had another story. She was quite sure that she was in love with Joel. Almost every day, she would think about him and how perfect he seemed. When she heard that Joel was studying Nuclear Physics, she was even more impressed but kind of intimidated by his knowledge. He seemed like a polite and intelligent boy who was definitely sure about what he wants in life. Maybe, he liked sticking to this routine of silent and distant greetings. She was nothing more than a senior for him. If he had thought any bit more of her, he would have come up and spoken to her. Why wouldn’t he? She kept wondering and confided all her feelings in her diary. Perhaps, that’s the way it was supposed to be. Incomplete, unsaid and left like that. Samantha was a shy girl and she would never gather the guts to confess her love for Joel.

This story of silent love continued till the day Samantha got married to this businessman from UK. Her life changed and so did Joel’s. Samantha left town and entered into the social life of British culture. There she learned more about art and met many famous writers, actors and other artists. Samantha started taking a keen interest in theatre and pursued her career as a theatre actor. She wasn’t the same old shy Samantha anymore. Now, she was a bold lady and a famous personality.

But one thing remained unchanged, her feelings for Joel.
Joel never forgot her. He joined the state university as a professor. He grew more handsome with age and women would line up to spend their nights with him. But Joel never changed. He kept his love life private and humbly declined the attention of his female admirers. Every night, he would read some poetry or novel just to learn more about the life of artists. He kept track of every show where Samantha performed. He still loved her very much. So much was still unsaid. But it was too late as she was somebody else’s wife now. She had a different life and he had his solitude to keep him company. Their worlds don’t meet. It was a classic case of ‘inertia’.

One morning in June, his life turned into a greater tragedy when he picked up the morning newspaper.

June 06, 2004 – The New York Times

“Broadway actor dies in a car crash just after delivering her life’s best performance. The world mourns Samantha’s sudden death.”

Now, Joel lost all his chances to tell her that he had loved her all her life. After a few days of grieving for his beloved, one day he collapsed in between his lecture. That’s how he landed up in Room no. 306.

The woman outside the room was actually his ‘Angel of Death’. Samantha had come for him. She kept waiting for the moment where Joel would take his last breath. The wait seemed too long…

Suddenly, there was a loud noise of a car crash next to the hospital building. Samantha ran up to the terrace to see what had happened. The hospital security ran right after her. ‘Listen! Lady you can’t go up there!’

But she was too quick. She looked down at the street and saw the body of a small girl hanging out of the car window. It was time.  She closed her eyes and sighed.

The guard was right behind her.

She turned around and said ‘Not today, Sir. Maybe, tomorrow… It’s the little girl’s turn today’.

Then, she jumped down from the terrace and started falling slowly into the deep embrace of darkness. Black wings sprung out of her dress as she fell down, one level after another, further towards the streets. From the streets, she looked like a ‘Falling Angel’ draped in black finery. She was the messenger of death after all…

Back in Room 306, Joel wakes up in the morning. He’s a 24 years old Joel again, who studies Nuclear Physics at the state university. He wakes up gasping for breath. He’s going to tell her today…

By 

Neelanjana Barua

The tug o’ war – Logic vs Emotions


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Perhaps, I’m still a little too young to understand the tug o’ war sort of relationship between logic and emotions. On top of that, I am a woman. So, solving this complex equation was not going to be a smooth ride to begin with. Even as I write today, I must confess that I’m not quite there yet. But then I said, ‘Fuck it! I am going to write about it anyway’. And let me tell you that when I write, I fall back upon my experiences. I firmly believe that there is no greater teacher than one’s experiences, however good or bad. They are like lessons that need to be worn like badges with no lesser pride.

So, let me begin by stating the most obvious fact – ‘Emotions are scary!’ People are in fact so terrified of emotions as though it is an incurable disease; it is almost like exposing your weakness right in front of the world. Somehow, like the idea of walking stark naked in the streets or, like extending an open invitation to those who can hurt you. So, people choose to raise their guard up in order to hide their fragility and keep life simple.

On the other side of the wall, we have this hard hitting and solid counterpart called logic. In his land, there are only two acceptable answers – ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. There is no room for any grey area as he likes seeing things in black and white. He says, ‘one’ plus ‘one’ is equal to ‘two’ and there is no further debate. So, relying on logic is definitely easier and safer. It gives us this sense of clarity and comfort that we are headed in the right direction. He is that part of us that functions like a machine. It will only be fitting to call him Mr. Sorted. As rational beings, we applaud ourselves due to our ability to think logically and take decisions.

Like most of us, I find it convenient to stick with logic while making most of my life changing decisions and it has never really failed me. Or maybe, I haven’t noticed it yet. But then again, can one be ever sure about such things?
Growing up is a challenging process and one is often intrigued by so many questions that arise with changing situations and the ever so evolving ‘us’. I am fairly certain that most people have pondered upon this ‘logic versus emotion’ squabble and probably, are still looking for answers. Maybe, there is no definite answer after all.

We try all sorts of things to get this relationship right. Sometimes, we think it is best to compartmentalize the two of them. But can we really do it? I mean, I have tried it. In fact, I had been through that phase where it seemed like the right approach. It does work at times and sometimes, you have to start all over again.

Like I said, I still don’t have a definite answer nor does anyone else. However, I pretty sure of one thing – the best place to be in is where the two circles intersect. We need them both. Without logic, we aren’t as rational and without emotions, life is plain dry.

If it weren’t so, why do some of the most logical decisions don’t feel right? And why do things that click emotionally are often devoid of any known logic? Maybe, that is why some of the best things are unexplained.

Sometimes, I have overtly relied on logic and didn’t feel the need to look at things from an emotional perspective. Maybe, there was a sense of detachment somewhere. So much, that logic had gained precedence over emotions. But then I asked myself, “If it is all about being logical, how do we explain our strong need for assessing value in people? Why do we look for trustworthiness, loyalty, love, empathy, honesty, respect, at all?” These are not just ordinary qualities which can be tightly explained by reasoning. These are the very branches that blossom from an intensely laid foundation of emotions.

Even though we need some sort of pragmatism in our lives, we also need to trust our hearts. Without cherishing our vulnerable side, we will not just shield ourselves from all the pain but also keep happiness outside the door.

Quote: “The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart” ~ Lao Tzu.

Question for the readers: Do you agree? Do you have a better take? Shoot!

The thing about ‘Comfort Zones’…


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The fine learnings of life can make you come across certain ideas, you would have otherwise resisted a long time ago. But then, as you step out into this world to have a taste of its various experiences, your preformed notions or beliefs either crumble down or melt away as you undergo transition. Speaking of these ideas, which form the very core of our belief systems, how do we acquire these ideas? The explanation revolves around the clear domain of our inherent attributes, family values, societal influence, education, peer groups and most importantly, our response to these experiences. This of course, differs from individual to individual as it depends on the extent to which one may be open to such experiences and openness, is a mind situation. Keeping a broad mind and allowing it to adapt to changing circumstances are primary to soaking in the best that life has to offer. Our capability to do so, defines our comfort zones.

Now, there is a lot of dispute over the concept of ‘comfort zones’; some say it feels like home, while others say it hinders progress. Come to think of the supporting side, a student often ends up liking those subjects which fetches him good marks easily. So much that, he starts gaining a supreme sense of confidence with these subjects and there, he establishes his comfort zone. Later, he might even be inclined to take on a career path based on it. Nothing is really wrong with this logic. But this does not necessarily imply that he has made the best choice because there may be other fields that would have suited him just well. This is where the argument against comfort zones begins; the student begins to feel so much at ease in this zone that he refuses to give other subjects a try. This reluctance to take chances with a new area of knowledge ultimately limits his intellect and growth.

Let me tell you here that I mostly vouch for the other side of comfort zones but of late, I have been wondering if there is a need to reconsider my stance. Yes, sometimes we do need our comfort zones. Not just because we are exhausted or lack the drive to learn anymore, but because sometimes, we need to remind ourselves about who we are. It is very important to remember one’s roots and where we come from; what do we stand for and live by.  This is the starting point of the picture we’ve begun to build so dearly all our life; it is essential that we check if our story is in sync with the plot and the characters it had begun with. Do these characters still relate? The characters being – the ‘old you’ and the ‘new you’ and have you walked miles away from each other? If so, is it for the better?

Only our comfort zones can spell out the truth here. In our comfort zones, we are in harmony with the universe and some of the most difficult questions in life are answered when we are at peace with ourselves. Although I agree that our comfort zones are not immune to the touch of time, still, some of our most intricate traces remain secured here.

So, once in a while, slow down and take a walk down that old-forgotten lane. Knock on the doors of the house, you’d once lived in and just watch out for the person who opens the door. Is it the same person that you meet? Do you feel at home? The answer echoes in your heart.

 

P.S – While you are there, don’t get too comfortable.

 

 

Chasing distractions…


I have been contemplating a few ideas for quite some time now. It involves the world, its people, and most importantly, the life we envisage for ourselves. The word “life” brings to mind, a variety of thoughts; I can think of colours, green leaves of a tree, a lively smile on someone’s face, a soulful song, a child’s innocent laughter or for that matter, a runner finishing his dream run. So why should our lives be anything less?

Some of the most interesting people I know are dreamers, who are in love with many things. It just takes a fifteen minute conversation with them and you can spot that glint in their eyes. They speak from their heart and it reflects on their face. Unlike the typical pragmatists, the dreamers do not follow a so-called pattern of behaviour or life. Let’s say, dreamers are not really the ‘sorted’ ones. They can’t be programmed to follow a particular goal that has been set by the world. The quality of ‘being focused’ is not their strongest suit. Having said that, I find the concept of ‘focus’ very limiting, although, I shall not challenge its significance. It surely has an objective role to play for the purpose of accomplishing something in life. However, I have a fascination for the other side of the coin, the idea of ‘distractions’.

Yes, I’ve been bitten by this bug but thankfully, I can look beyond its negative connotation. ‘Distractions’ do not merely imply the lack of focus. They are like the key that unlocks the deadlocks of the mind and lures you into the world of unknowns. Without distractions, there shall be no curiosity nor any finds.

I have realized that I’m blessed with just one life, where I want to fit in too many adventures. I’m talking about those things that make me feel alive. I want to write, learn to play the keyboard, sing, compose songs, click pictures, open a shelter for animals and bring about at least one visible change in the society. The list just seems to keep expanding with the days and my interests remain scattered. I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing as I no longer seek any validations. It is more important for me, to keep doing things that make me feel alive and happy. It’s not about merely following the buck but about passion for life.

This is a journey of many roads and directions; the one without a map and driven by the wave of uncertainties.  I intend to take this route and while I pack my bags, I don’t want to leave anything behind. I guess, I was never meant to be a light traveller.

 

 

Delhi Musings – Lost & Found in the Capital…


Over the last few days, I felt the urge to write about something. I didn’t really know what in particular but I had this feeling that ‘something is coming up’. Should I write about an eventful day? But then, which day exactly makes up to this mark? The thing is that it doesn’t really matter. If thoughts line up in a flow, it needs to be put on paper. That’s how it should be and that’s how this post is going to sound like.

So, I had set out early in the morning to catch up with my good friend, Sanghamitra. She had marvelously chosen to travel on a tight schedule and we were left with just one hour in hand. Someway, somehow we had to make it work. So it was settled that I would meet her directly at Nizamuddin Railway Station, somewhere I’ve never ever been. I did my homework and asked a few friends about the closest metro station to that place. This query landed up with a varied range of answers. Someone said, Janpura, while the other said Jor Bagh & of course, ‘Google Maps’ said something else. I thought I will eventually figure out the route like I always did in Bombay. Sounds simple enough, huh?

Finally, I chose to stick with Janpura which falls on the violet line of Delhi Metro and impatiently waited for an autorickshaw to take me to my destination. I was told that Nizamuddin was just a ten minute drive away from the Janpura metro station but hello, where were the rickshaws? I could spot none and at the same time, I was getting late. This called for a quick thinking moment and then, I saw a lady approaching me with a smile on her face. Did I know her? No. But she seemed like someone who would be aware of this area and could help me find my way. She was kind enough to guide me through and asked me to take the bus instead of waiting for an autorickshaw. Ummm… a bus? Well, I don’t like buses and I had a thing against buses in Delhi. I was almost certain that I will never travel by a bus in Delhi. Paranoid, you can say. But it seemed like it was not an option anymore. So, I quickly boarded the bus that she had gotten into as it specifically said ‘Old Railway Station’. The lady was actually quite sweet as she went out of her way to help me out. She insisted on paying for my bus ticket in spite of my repeated requests of not doing so. Well, she won and we had a short conversation on our way. Her name was Anishka who hailed from Chattisgarh but was in the capital for the past 8 years. Long run indeed, I thought. A few minutes later she had to get off at her bus stoppage so we waved our goodbyes and I was again on my own. The bus crossed several stoppages and it was only then that I felt the necessity to enquire about where we were headed. And guess what? I was on the wrong bus! Plus, I was getting late! Ugh! My friend was already there and I had to make it somehow. I had absolutely no clue where I was and my phone GPS couldn’t come to my rescue due to the poor network reception.

After taking a few mixed up directions from the bus driver, I got off the bus and managed to find an auto. I just started hoping that the autowala will fix my travelling woes for now. Thankfully, he did. Finally, I reached Nizamuddin and exchanged a tight hug with my friend. Oh there we were! We made it and still had an hour in hand as I decided against attending my class. Over this short span of one hour, we tried to fit in as many stories as it was humanly possible. We talked, we laughed & we parted ways with a sense of contentment that we did the best we could.

Now, I had to head back and this time I wanted to keep my travel plan simple. I decided to go with an autorickshaw ride and it was a good choice considering the new places I had seen on the way. I started listening to “Set me free” by Hindi Zahra. It felt as though the capital was opening up her heart right in front me and I decided to go with the flow. I gave Delhi a chance to charm me and well, she did.

I was lost but found adventure on the way. Amidst the chaos of the busy streets, I sensed the rush of some happy chemicals flowing into my system. My heart was in sync with the capital’s beat. It was then when I realized that contentment is a strange feeling. It shows up unannounced and fills in the void in our hearts. It’s like spotting a happy cloud and soaking it up before it clears. Although it’s a momentary feeling, it’s definitely worth cherishing.