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I turn 29 today. 20 God damned 9. 

I’m in Paris, my most favourite city in the whole world on my birthday, for the second time. My first ever trip was on my 20th birthday and I’m back as the 20s come to an end.

This trip is special to say the least. My 11 year old niece, Pumpkin and I are traveling together. It is, as she puts it, an item off our bucket list. :) I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift. 

At 29, I’m grateful. 

I’m grateful to have this bond with Pumpkin and the opportunity to explore the world with her. To see her grow and evolve, for conversations and comfortable silences. For staring at a city, both slightly overwhelmed. I’m grateful for the trust my (core ūüėČ) family places in me, and the love and care they shower. For the best set of nieces in the whole world. For aunts  who dote and love beyond imagination.

For my family, friends, colleagues and the amazing roller coaster ride that is my life.  

I’m grateful for travel,  expanded horizons, heartbreaks, brilliant teachers, farsi exams. I’m grateful for meeting people who changed my life, made it more beautiful, added depth and perspective. 

For friends who inspire, and make life colourful. For advice and kind words. For the hajaar books I’ve bought but not read. 

For Gulpatti. 

For Babajaan. 

Thank you. 

The 20s have been great so far, and I know 29 won’t disappoint! :) :) 

March 13th

You would have turned fourteen today.

We’d go for a walk, then get you a massive tub of ice cream. We’d sit on the bench in Veera Park and watch the sun set over Bombay. Baba would have shooed away stray dogs as you’d take a nap. We’d play ‘fetch’ and run around the ground before going back home.

Our life still has a Chhoutu shaped void. There’s still space under the sink for you to nap. There’s a Disney water bowl in the loft. There are memories held of the¬†gentlest and smartest dog-friend one could ever wish for.

Happy birthday Chhoutu, I hope someone up there threw you a ball and gave you a banana and loads of ice cream.

Split Second

A split second can change your life

Whether it’s eyes meeting for a split second can create an irrevocable relationship or ¬†hitting the breaks a split second too late…

A split second can undo confidence built over a decade,

A split second can cost a lifetime.

Bookshelves

I spent the last couple of hours clearing my bookshelves. As is the case with most bibliophiles, I have more books than space to house them. Having lived alone for a while, my books covered every available surface of the house but I have two room-mates moving in very soon. As ecstatic as I am with this development, the first thought is where will my books go?! The said roomies-to-be are inclined to be neat and will claim some cupboard space too, which makes today’s task very necessary.

So, I cleaned the shelves out, sorted my books and decided to put some away, to make space for the heavier academic texts and assorted books I need to teach and (occasionally) write. It was easy to put away a few books that I’ve read and know I won’t need, but to put away some was a tough decision.

Having found an accessible but storage spot for several beloved books, I could trace my journey over the last few years. The choice of books has evolved, from popular fast paced page turners, cheap romances (I loved Mills and Boon and I am not ashamed to say it!)  to books on history, culture studies, literature, poetry, gender, travel and art. There are books on teaching and learning, on design, philosophy and biographies, catalogues of museums and art shows quietly illustrating the journey my life has taken.

As ‘grown up’ books line my newly re-organised shelves, I feel a tad overwhelmed by the amount that there is to read and discover while a part of me misses the Harry Potters.

This song sneaked up on me this evening. There is something about the simplicity and honesty in the lyrics and pain in David Gates’s voice. I wonder if this kind of emotion can be synthesised and can these feelings be manufactured?

In a sticky situation, many people get tongue tied, either for a lack of words or sincerity of sentiment. How lucky for them, songs sometimes say what they can’t (or won’t) find words to say ‘bye!

Fida

I’m a hopeless romantic, but you knew that already. I’m also a borderline cynic, but you knew that too. I’m intense and easily inspired by words, music and the visual world.

You weave a spell, aur hum fida ho gaye… Old songs are the soundtrack to my life, some ironic, some profound. These songs come out of nowhere, to find me- like unse milli nazar ke mere hosh udd gaye¬†¬†that is perfect for the mood I’m at; or a few days ago when i was listening to¬†woh haske mille humse, hum pyaar samajh baithe, bekaar hi ulfat ka izhaar samajh baithe.

Sometimes i think I chase song-like experiences, creating situations for them, as if my life were a movie, with OP Nayyar’s music, perhaps Faiz’s poetry but most definitely, Asha tai’s voice. Now all I need is to find a fitting Dev Sa’ab.

Hopelessly Yours

I want to write a letter, poignant and tender. I want to pour out my heart, my soul, in beautiful prose. There’d be a poem, perhaps a sher or two. I want to write a letter by hand, on hotel stationary, in a far off place, with a bold dark ink and writing that is distinctively mine.

I’d like someone to know my letter, by the way it smells- of a pressed flower and a vague hint of cherry blossom. I’d like you to recognise me, by my choice of words, of thoughts and the story told…

Sometimes I wonder if I’d ever write this letter? If there’d be a love story that deserves to be committed to paper? Will I be moved to tears and feel the need to share?

((Hopelessly Yours may become a series– I read a letter recently, written in 1945, that was signed Hopelessly Yours. The phrase has stuck… Thanks IAK, for the unintentional writing bait.))

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