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Autumn of the soul

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There’s a space between the moments
Of accepting a heartbreak and moving on.
It is that void that fills the gaps
In our souls, like vacuoles.
It writes the unfinished verses,
It completes the incomplete,
It builds the broken,
Finds the missing.
It is the autumn of the soul,
Falling leaves, filling granaries.

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A letter

Two years back, I remember sitting down exactly by this window, to count my blessings. I am running out of time and I am quite busy, but I think one must allow oneself to occasionally indulge in the great fullness of gratefulness or otherwise we might as well, run out of life.

Today is an official conclusion to a beautiful two year period in my life. With an excellent educational experience offered by my professors  there are plenty of things to be grateful for. But like last time, I am trying to count these one by one. If you are reading it, you might find yourself somewhere in between. Ofcourse no names this time as well.

I remember the first day, when I received prayers and blessings from friends, teachers and family with gratitude. Because those prayers always got my back. I’m grateful that there are more people in that list today. That makes me feel rich.

The last 2 years were remarkable. It was like a tree with its roots reaching for hell, and its shoots growing higher into the heaven.What couldn’t kill me, made me stronger and I decided to write my fairy tale. Ofcourse that place had a lot of fairies- fairies without wings… fairies like the one in Abou ben Adhem.

Their magic wasn’t made of pixie dust, but it was made of little big things- like a sweet dish all the way from home, being tolerant and cooperative roommates(and neighbors, ofcourse), late night conversations, watching movies at the least likely places, a company at the mess or a meal bought for me when I least expected it. They had no spells. But they gifted me lessons on how to forgive, how to marvel in the world around us, how to see God in the night sky. They stayed and supported- a text, a mundane conversation or sometimes, just a wink. They gave me the space to exist, the way I was. I am grateful for all these beautiful people.

The last time, I counted my blessings, I remember that I did so, desperately. Today, I do the same in a state of blissful abundance. Everything seems to be the same, but the change is within and it’s solely due to the remarkable people of PU. I think the best of all the things I’ve gained in the last two years could be the awareness that people always have something good in them, that they are not necessarily, all bad.

Thank you for everything. Grateful ❤🕊

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Remembrance of a beautiful soul

Five years ago, my Jimmy died. Jimmy was our puppy. But for me he was definitely more than a dog, which I think, is a universal feeling for all dog lovers. He was my sole companion when we moved here. I always longed for a sibling and he was the only one who could satisfy that longing, albeit partially. I learnt a lot from him. I think it would be wise to say that I’m still learning a lot from him. If you know me personally and if you think that I am kind or gentle, I can assure you, a significant portion of that was instilled and inspired in me, by this amazing guy. 

♥️

He was big and had an intimidating bark. He was my Mufasa. But anyone who was fortunate enough to gain his acquaintance might still remember his endearing charm. He loved children- be it humans or animals. He was gentle with all beings. He was literally a saint. We had a poultry farm as well. Not once did he harm any of those hens, nor their eggs, though he loved eggs and chicken mixed with rice. That level of self regulation is something that I rarely see these days in and around me. He was a truly gentle dog.

He never finished his lunch completely. He’d save some for a little bird and some squirrels, who happened to be his friends. He was kind and gentle to all the animals, big and small alike. After his death, the bird and the squirrels still continued their visit to his kennel, as if they were visiting a shrine. One might argue that it’s conditioning. But usually a lack of reinforcement leads to extinction. Their visit never ceased until the kennel was later demolished. I think our preference for a reductionist view of animals is quite defensive, because quite often we see more humanity in animals than amongst us.

In the last 5 years, ever since he left us, I have had many people telling me that they love me, they care for me and they understand me. It puzzled me all the time. Because I never understood myself. So how can they understand me? Besides it is quite hilarious to note that most of these people ended up as strangers or even worse. And then there was Jimmy, who never uttered those foolish words. Yet, strangely, I have never felt more loved, more understood and more validated by anyone else other than him.  I never realized how lonely I was only because his company shielded me from it. Five years down the lane, he remains the only soul that I miss. But that is enough. Because the void is huge and I understand that he will always remain irreplaceable. I tried filling the void of his absence with people. But then, you know, they were just people. They can never fill in the shoes of an exquisite soul like Jimmy. 

👑♥️🕊

We had an amazing bond. But, sometimes, I do feel that it wasn’t enough. It is not a regret, but a feeling that it was over way too fast. A weakness perhaps, of my mind to accept reality as it is. I must admit that I had to wipe my eyes occasionally as I jotted down these words. I had to write, because I don’t think I can ever talk about it in a steady voice. 

This is where I’d like to make a request to all dog lovers and especially to people who are currently in a relationship with a dog (Don’t laugh. Trust me, a dog is always superior to a gf/bf). Spend as much time as possible with your puppy. It will never be too much. Instead, as you see in my case it will always be ‘not enough’. So enjoy and cherish the relationship and it’s magic while it lasts. That’s all we can do. We are all mere mortals.

 His death has left a wound in my heart which I don’t think will ever be healed. But I think it is precisely such wounds that sustain life, like apoptosis. I don’t know if, one day when I leave the face of Earth, I would be able to do to someone, what he’s done to me. I don’t know if I will be missed. But as long as I am alive, I do hope to lead a life that will honor him and the lessons that he gave me. 

I miss him and I love him so much. I am grateful for the time we were together.

With love,

AK♥️🕊

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My tryst with the millenial fairy tale

The Prince and Princess of Wales. For a long time they were the opposite poles of a dichotomy of love and hate. Diana was ofcourse the centre of all affection. Because weirdly, I related to her. I identified with her. Because her words, were able to contain my pain. Naturally all my hatred was channelled to Charles, just as popular media wanted me to think.

But of late, during the lockdown our family sat down to watch “The Crown”. This series spoke to me on a different level. It was essentially therapeutic for me. Season 3 revealed to me a different side of Charles. A different side to the familiar story, an untold story. For the first time in forever, I felt for Charles.

Ofcourse I do not know where to draw the line between fact and fiction. I do know, as always fictional was more lovable than real. But knowing better, I can do better. I do realize now that my hatred towards Charles was in fact, my resentment towards those who’ve hurt me, in disguise. I feel sorry for Charles and Diana and now, I find myself trying to understand Camilla.

Unlike before, I refrain from holding anyone accountable for the tragic episodes of this relationship. In a world where information is rationed, cooked and spoon fed to common man like myself, the best thing to be done is to avoid taking sides. I’d like to believe that it just happened. They are all ordinary, imperfect, fallible people, just like me- timid, quivering and stumbling before God’s grand scheme for this universe

This was a pleasant failure from my side. It just revealed to me how much of a judgmental brute I had been. It also showed me how ignorant I can be about it. In essence this failure opened my eyes to one of my fundamental weaknesses that I believe, I share with most of the human race.

This just reaffirmed my faith in kindness, goodness and forgiveness. I do sincerely hope and wish to avoid this mistake in the future. I am amused at how the story of someone whom I’ll probably never meet, has opened my eyes in a way that is so profound and intimate. I feel overwhelmed and grateful as I write this. Its humbling and beautiful.

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Thoughts during a wrinkle in time

I realize that the past is more than what I thought it was. The past, it appears, is not merely a passive parasite that sucks out the life force from our future. The past apparently is the devil to whom we have pawned our soul in exchange for the rest of our lives. I do not know (And I do not know if I am allowed to doubt it) if changing our thoughts is a permanent solution to the problems of the past. Because how much of ownership can we claim upon our thoughts?

Artwork by: Anthony Clarkson

I believe that the only way to rewrite past is by writing the future accordingly. And that does not seem to be a matter of concern exclusive to free will alone. I do feel that free will is at times a bit too over rated. Determinism is grim, unpleasant and uncomfortable like most other truths. So we’d rather be comfy in comfortable lies and everlasting denial. But the answer lies in modifying the future so as to rectify the past. And I believe this is only possible through an interplay of determinism and freewill. For the time being, the present shall be a mirror, where the past and the future, mutually reflecting the other, stands wearing a weary wicked grin.

Disintegration of Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
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A sinner’s reflection

The Genesis story has always captured my imagination. I used to wonder why God allowed the Snake into the garden in the first place. God being omnipresent and omnipotent should have known that the snake is seductive and tempting and that man and woman are rather weak. If this is true, then I think the only plausible conclusion is that God wanted this to happen.

Image courtesy: Sex Museum, Shanghai, China.

God enforces banishment to a land with even more temptations for man and woman. Something is implied here. From my limited understanding, I gather that this implies the necessity for us to sin. For sin is essential for a sense of guilt. Guilt and remorse the gatekeepers of unconscious let’s us see how as humanity, we share the same ugliness. The darkness in me, could be hidden somewhere deep inside you as well. Deep down, there are many things we share.

This realization could be the beginning of Wisdom. Because here we begin to empathize and expand our love to a sense of agape. We will forgive quickly, because we understand quickly. We understand quickly because we have a better frame of reference founded in our exploration of our own darkness, our possibility to be the same as our offenders. This is when we might be able to forbid ourselves from judging without asking ourselves in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation we might not have done the same, to quote Viktor Frankl. 

Alongside forgiveness, we shall learn to love freely, unconditionally. Love every ray, every bit of this Universe. That’s how we fill ourselves with God. We find futility in staying unhappy for love is smiling through everything. We become the grace of life. Something we must hold dear at perilous times like this.

All these are easier said than done. While writing this, I hold myself in doubt as to how far I have understood and absorbed this notion. I am unsure as to how much I will be able to put this into practice. In a world where we are constantly seduced by temptations every saint stands a high chance to repeat his history.

Image courtesy: Cocorrina and Co.

Recognizing and resisting the pull, as they say, is the only way to build muscle. Perhaps, the same applies here as well. Resistance of temptations, striving towards the ideal, prevailing over self doubt and derogation is how we reclaim the lost Paradise. Love, and only love is our destiny and the direction.

Image Courtesy: Detroit Institute of Arts Museum

And to the presence in the room he said, 
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head, 
And with a look made of all sweet accord, 
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.” 
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,” 
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, 
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.” The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night 
It came again with a great wakening light, 
And showed the names whom love of God had blest, 
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest. 

Abou Ben Adhem, Liegh Hunt

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A bygone station

A note to past.

In Kariyilakaatu pole, P. Padmarajan writes:

Death is a step in the

journey towards growth

Or beginning must be

The numbness of death.

Death, I feel is the sibling or the twin of life. In fact death is the sole promise that life commits to. Yet we all die multiple times in a single life. Is it because we are all cowards who die a thousand times? Or is it just the shedding away of worn out skins?

One of the most prominent, defining times of our lives happen when we mourn the death of someone alive. Sometimes it must be one of our own selves, sometimes it could be someone else. Sylvia plath points poignantly in Lady Lazarus as:

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.
This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

Sometimes we sit by the windowsill looking out into the roads taken and not taken among the woods of bygone times. In the refined contentment of the granaries of past, chaff of unfinished businesses and incomplete meetings, remain bitter sweet, just like the cup of coffee that gives company to a playlist of Adele songs on a rainy day.

After heavy storms, at some point, fresh sprouts of life reawakens in the lap of our hearts. Days in the sun will come again through the cracks of our heart.Sometimes, it’s very easy to reclaim the people who we think are lost. But once, we regain them, we realize that they are not the same anymore. In their reflection, we realize that we aren’t the same.

Like Narcissus, we might have bloomed into a flower. Or we might see a horrible, hideous portrait we would wish to destroy. Either way, it is paradoxically comforting that it won’t stay, that we too are growing after the dormancy of death. Life and death echo each other, like a reminiscent of unrequited love.

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Dead Alive

images.jpeg-59We all die in someone’s story.

They mourn our death

While we pick eggs from the store

For tomorrow’s breakfast.

They long for us,

In autumn leaves,

Winter’s frost,

Summer’s bliss

And the promises of the Spring.

Yet when we come face to face,

On either side of the railway station,

they’d look beyond us,

The melancholy in their eyes would

Search in the train that

Came past several stations of self,

For a trace of a forgotten friend.

 

 

 

Picture: Saudade by Jose Ferraz de Almeida Júnior, 1899.

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A bygone station

A Birthday song

They say that today was my birthday.
Years before this was the first time
I made my mother suffer.
I’m engulfed by love this day,
Every year.
Some love stood the test of time,
Others were fragile fragrances.
Nevertheless, I spoke to the apparition
in the mirror this year too.
I congratulated him for enduring
Another year of a joke called life. All I know for sure is that I am one step closer to the gold deposit of death.

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A bygone station

A Confession

Light seeped in through the meticulously carved partition. A multitude of spotlights on my face lay scattered in focus. A burden brooded inside me. The Golden sunshine, fragrant frankincense and myrrh crumbs set the ambience. I sat down to listen. “ I have sinned again.” Said the voice from the other side. “ I have given myself into the greed of gluttony, the gluttony of lust, the envious lust, the wrath of envy, the pride of wrath and the sloth of pride.” Continued the voice. “ I have broken hearts. I..I..I don’t know”. The voice quivered. “ I am a sinner.” Struggled the voice. “Me too.” I couldn’t stop myself from saying that.
“ Why did you do that?” the voice asked. I didn’t knew what to say. But that question was posed to both of us. “ When did we fail? “ the voice asked in a calm way. Was it when we smiled to resist tears? Or was it when we started to speak in spite of the ugliness in our words over the sublime beauty of our silence? Or was it when we saw the good and the bad? Or mine and not mine? Or I and you? The chaotic order of my thoughts paused for a moment at the next question. “Why did we fail?” I was paralysed and nauseated together. I knew and I didn’t knew the answer. “ wouldn’t it be because we ceased to love?” asked the voice. There was clarity in spite of my vision being blurred by tears.
“ Why did you cease to love?” I asked. Thick silence from the other side suffocated me. “ was it because, you were afraid that it would hurt you again?”. Silence persisted on the other side. Could it be because he was hurt more than once when sincere love was not acknowledged, let alone being reciprocated? Or could it be that he too had to go through a stage when his innocence and love were manipulated… or perhaps, taken for granted? Thoughts clouded in my head. “Are you alright?” “ You hurt others because you were hurt. They hurt you because they were hurt. Forgive them. Forgive yourself.” I blurted out half heartedly. “Hmm.” Said the voice. I felt better.
“Do you feel lonely?” I asked. I felt as if that lonely moment stayed to enjoy our silent company. “ Yes.” The voice replied. “It’s been so long since we last met.” Said the voice. I couldn’t resist anymore. Perhaps this is the person who’ll never hurt me . Perhaps, he could be a friend for life. Perhaps, he’ll understand. Perhaps we will grow together. Hope with all its feathers, perched high on my heart. I rushed to the other side. There, I was surprised to see a beautifully crafted mirror, reflecting me in all its grandeur. I was confused, felt disappointed and then brimmed with immense happiness. God smiled at me with so much love.