Thursday, 25 February 2010

"Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded."

We are not in the business of bursting bubbles. And we should not accept such a mantle. In these times, it is the highest feat of the imagination to be able to preserve your own faith. These are not people to be torn down, but people to be admired.

When, and less cynically, if, fall they must, let it be at someone else' hand. Bursting bubbles is the easiest thing in the world. But have you ever tried to preserve one? It takes the meticulousness of a surgeon. And then you get to walk away knowing you just bent time. You extended a moment by the sheer force of your goodwill.

That's at least a week's worth of that good feeling, right there.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


People have often told me I'm a sucker for pain. That in my dealings with people, I show a worrying lack of self-preservation. "Are you crazy? Do you not remember what she said to you?" "How far do you need to fall before you realise he's not good for you? What will it take?" And I have always said that grudges are not my thing. Neither are hostility, vengeance and issuing comeuppances. I'm not very good at any of those and I'd much rather read comics and worry my dog than hatch complicated plots to bring about someone's downfall.

And that is the truth but it's not the whole truth. Because I have been to the other side. Experienced the kind of anger, hurt and bitterness that you can will to become something physical and tangible because calling them 'feelings' doesn't even begin to describe their potency. And they caused me to say things that, to this day make me wilt a little even if I just hear them used randomly or playfully. One day, that person on the receiving end dropped dead. And how bitterly theatrical is it that earlier that very morning, I'd woken up to the vacant, white, summery feeling of forgiveness?

Then on I promised myself I'd let go, a kind of atonement if you will. And once I began, I didn't stop. In time, quite Gyuri-ly, I lost sight of my reason and took it to the extreme. Soon it became a game of 'show me what you got, I'll still come back. You cannot shock me.' And to my horror I found that there is no dearth of people willing to take you up on that kind of challenge. A point that was finally brought home to me only very recently.

For the first time in years, my very dormant sense of self-preservation took over and the only words I could hear myself think were, "you went too far."

Good thing is I'll never be that angry 17-year-old again, screaming, thrashing and foaming at the mouth. Because she grew up and was introduced to their effortless replacements: sarcasm, irony and stone-cold indifference. Don't get me wrong, I still have impossibly high levels of endurance but now they come with a tipping point. Just that you won't see it coming, you'll only know when it's there.

You went too far.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The colour of Not There

You paint houses for a living. Wash walls with colour. Bring life to something listless and dull.
So what happens when the child of the house stumbles up to you, and asks if she can paint too?
Your hands inside her pants in exchange for a few brushstrokes seems a steep bargain.
You're a painter and with your bare hands you've painted her over forever.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Stay still

I find it's all very well to say that you must keep the ground beneath your feet. But what if all you've ever been standing on has been broken tiles at precarious angles? These days I have mustered a level of quietness that is a far screech from just a while ago when I was climbing up walls. Still I cannot say I know how

There's too much going on around us. A couple of kids walked into their favourite bakery and got blown to smithereens. A baby who doesn't know that his longstanding Tummy Ache is actually liver cancer. Less dramatic events like excruciating deadlines, falling hair, heart marauding loneliness.

There is greatness too, I'd be a fool to deny it. Complete strangers being able to spot in you what only should have been visible to lifelong companions. People showing up to their jobs every day for love and precious little else. Supernatural endurance? All miraculous.

It's just marrying the two that has got me in knots, you know. How do you make it through your day? What do you focus on? If it's just everything close to you, you stand in danger of becoming grossly insulated. If it's the world at large, you could start feeling very badly like a whiskey at 10 in the morning. Is the ability for balance a talent - you either have it or you don't?

It seems to me we all have to reconcile what we thought everything would be to what everything is. For now I take respite in the fact that I try, every day, I try.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

If there is anything I want right now, it's the ability for grace. I think in my dealings with people I've managed to let near me, I generally think it's alright to have them see that unfettered, potentially vile side of me. I imagine that if they've come this far, they're willing to be privy to the awfulness as well.
Which they often have been and grateful as I am for that, I have abused it from time to time too. In the process I have been nicer to people who've never really cared for me, and the handful that have, I have tested them over and over again.
I always feel the need to test people who make it halfway across that moat that separates me from the general noise of the world. In the bargain I've let go of grace. I have spat, hissed and pummeled at them with fists, detailing their every failing, poking crudely at their every weakness. To fall like that from your own grace is painful. To step out of yourself and watch yourself become everything you hate, is frightening.
Over the years, after the disappointments and going through the motions, it gives me some solace that I have begun to get better but I'm not nearly as close as I'd like to be.

Monday, 1 February 2010


I just finished reading Marguerite Alexander's Grievance and it has been quite a revelation. Apart from its actual plot, politics and characters, the larger strain of the book is grief and how people deal with it. On being dealt a personal blow, some people might spend years walking about with a sense of injury, believing that that particular incident has forever entitled them to no longer be accountable for what they do thereon. If such dastardly fate has been visited upon them, then it's only right that they go through life with more concessions than those who've had it better.

Others spend the rest of their days dealing with it with exemplary forbearance. But dealing with it so consciously that it erodes their naturalness, because every moment is spent on guard, manually and mindfully 'managing' their emotions. They can't relinquish control and ironically have done the exact opposite of what they'd set out to do - let the incident define them.

And then there is, in my personal experience, people who do neither, choosing instead temporarily gratifying and often self-destructive diversions. Still others will ply themselves with self-assurances so hollow, meaningless, even facetious, that you're frightened to think about what will happen when they do eventually crumble.

So what is the right way to deal with something bad that has happened to you? Do you keep running till you find you're all alone? Do you make it you get-out-of-jail card for everything? Or do you just let time take the reins, letting it choose how and when you will finally be free?