25.

Today is my ‘lunar’ birthday, it seems. It didn’t feel like a birthday, to be honest. Definitely not a milestone like the 25th. The social constructivist part of myself laughs at this seemingly arbitrary calculation for an arbitrary number of years of existence that is deemed so noteworthy. Yet, as my ‘actual’ (oh well.) birthday looms just around the corner, another part of me – more difficult to label – titters excitedly. Why are birthdays so important to me? Perhaps because it is the only day of the year that I am so self-aware: a day that I know for sure is going to be remembered for ever; rather, has to be remembered; hence, has to be worth remembering. I have tried my best to make my birthdays these spectacular, perfect days that stories can be spun out of decades later. I have mostly failed. The failed ones are remembered in sharper clarity, unfortunately.

So here I am, once again, trying to make this one special. The failed birthday cynic in me scoffs and is already wondering what can go wrong. Some loose threads have already begun to unspool. But I shall not be daunted. So, I’m giving myself the best birthday gift I can: time to write. Write about what it means to be 25, to be flung beyond the cusp of adulthood that I was long hanging on to. Write to celebrate my learnings and reflect upon my mistakes. Or should it be the other way ‘round? Write to remember. Write to recover. Write to let go. Write to invite others into the conversation. But mostly, write because I love to.

Adulthood.

The other day, as my best friend and I were crossing the road, a group of preteen boys called us ‘Kaku’ (roughly translated as Married Aunty). We were offended, but later joked about it being the lowest point of our year. But it happens. I sometimes catch myself in the mirror and think, when did I grow so old? I have millions of grey hairs. But not the wisdom that comes with each strand. I behave like an adult but I have to remind myself of being one, at least once a week. It hasn’t sunk in yet. When did it happen, I wonder? When did I finally become an adult? Was it after I got a fulltime job, and my first salary? Was it when they let me inside a bar after checking my ID? Was it after I cast my first vote? Was it after my first sexual encounter? Was it after the first time I experienced intimacy, and relished it? Was it after my first experience with a loved one’s death? Was it the first time I drove a car? There have been so many firsts! And yet, none of them exclusively made me feel very grown up. I think adulthood is a process of adaptation. Of slowly unpeeling layers of yourself – and the pain and exhilaration that come with it.

I don’t feel like I am on the edge of a precipice anymore, though. I’ve jumped in, and am learning to swim. When swimming gets tiring, when the current is good, I float. But not for long, or else I’ll drown. So, swim I have to. It is a vast sea of loneliness at times. Other times, there’s too much company. I’ve stopped being afraid of loneliness. There was a point when I started craving it. Maybe that’s when I became an adult.

Love.

Falling in love, to me, is the easiest and most difficult thing. Easy because it just happens. Serendipitously. My most prized relationships have been ones which unfolded without us even realising it. And love is most difficult because it is not easy to love someone so constantly, so completely. Not even myself. Not even life. And yet, that’s what we are expected to do. I’ve realised that I love people contextually. I love my boyfriend in certain situations. Does that mean I don’t love him in other situations? Not necessarily. I just cannot see him in certain contexts. There are times when I desperately want to love him but cannot. There are other contexts where other people, other ideas overpower my heart completely and claim it as theirs. I love feminist theory because it allows me to see a completely new dimension of the world – one that has already been right there but never perceived, never realised, never understood. It allows me to see so starkly the workings of power in a society which invisibilises it by hegemonically normalising it. Like I have some sort of superpower, a supergaze. I love thinking about what we do once we gain this gaze. Do we bask in the glory of possessing it, gazing down upon lesser other who don’t? Do we try to spread it to more people, infecting as many as we can with this supersensory perception? Do we attempt to change what we don’t like (but care enough about)? This is my question. I think I’m in love with this question.

But loving people is much more difficult. Most people I love, I don’t know the answer to why I love them. And yet I still do. What does loving someone entail though? To me, (and I steal from CS Lewis here), to love is to be vulnerable. Permeable. Open to pain, and sorrow, and joy. It is also to be honest. This year has given me the opportunity to make myself vulnerable to people in beautiful and powerful ways. Some of my best conversations stemmed from this space of vulnerability. I think being vulnerable is important because it is the only act of political resistance left to me in a world that tries so hard to make me competitive, insurmountable, perfect, so geared to succeed. Vulnerability makes space for imperfections, for failures, for warmth, for empathy. It allows me to connect my pain to the pain in others and to collectively try and ease it. It allows me, as a wonderful lady told me this year, to come close to people. My pain may not be the same as another’s, but it pushes me to move closer.

My problem, however, is that in return for my vulnerability, I expect it from people too. And that’s where I’ve been sorely disappointed.

Disappointments.

Being an adult means being disappointed quite a lot, I’ve realised. I feel like everything doesn’t live up to the way it is made to be. I’ve been disappointed quite a lot this year. With life. With the choices I’ve made. With my boyfriend. With my job. With my friends. With people, in general. A question I’ve been struggling with is, how do I deal with this disappointment? Do I stop expecting? Do I stop giving? Do I stop trying? But I cannot. Maybe I should stop holding everyone else to the same standards as I hold myself. Maybe I should stop holding myself up to any standard. Maybe I should give a chance to people to please me. Does disappointment occur from my need to be in control? Should I let go of the reins, a little bit at least?

Life isn’t any one thing. It has its highs and lows, something everybody knows. So, the good will come with some bad. I cannot let my disappointment overwhelm the good left in this world, in people, in myself.

I think for the most part, I’m very proud of myself. For taking the efforts, regardless.

Transitions.

It hasn’t been an easy year. So many things that I thought were becoming my footholds to life were pulled from beneath my feet. I got my gold medal but didn’t get my dream job. My boyfriend – who had been my anchor for the past four years – was pulled away in the pursuit of his dreams in another city while I was left behind, with memories that became increasingly bitter. I took up a job I wasn’t sure about in a city I didn’t want to live in just because I didn’t want to stay at home. For a while, I didn’t know what I wanted. I had had a glorious, perfect post-graduate performance. I had made a thesis-baby I was proud of. I had won accolades after accolades. I had won the gold. I had a boyfriend who fulfilled all my people-needs and snuggle-needs. From this lovely, cosy little oven, I jumped into the fire of mediocrity. Those few months, I hated my life. I hated Mumbai, my job, my boyfriend, my friends, my life. They had all betrayed me.

But it got better. Conversations helped. Unexpected friendships and drinking sessions helped even more. As did Sahir’s poetry. Life was bearable, even enjoyable. But just as I was settling down into this cosy little bubble I had created for myself, it was burst, once again, by Life. Circumstances. Things Beyond My Control. Maybe being an adult is to realise that it’s a constant, unending walk over hot coals. We just need to keep dancing. Reinventing. Readjusting. Rest your feet a little longer and you just might get burnt.

Will it ever get easier?

[re]Births.

Okay, I realise this thing is becoming too cynical. I’m becoming too cynical. I’m usually not like this! I hope it’s a phase. When was the last time I was truly, unabashedly, unequivocally happy? It was almost two weeks ago, when I found out that one of my closest friends had given birth to a baby girl. The baby’s father is the closest thing I have to an elder brother, I’ve literally grown up with him. Her mother is someone I look up to, an elder-sister-role-model in many ways. Around nine months ago, I had a vivid dream that these two had a baby daughter who I would go play with. I like to believe it was some kind of premonition which actually came true. On Christmas Day, when I held her in my arms for the first time, I felt a strange sense of solidarity, an attachment of sorts, with this little fortnight-old babe. I wondered what it was.

In many ways, her birth feels like déjà vu for me. She reminds me of myself, for a number of reasons. She’s a Capricorn. Her parents, in their thinking, in their politics, and even in their relationship with each other, are akin to mine. They’ve even given her a name that’s like mine – with no surname! I see this kid growing up in a wonderful environment – a progressive, liberal, egalitarian bubble, just like I did. But it is still only a bubble! Needing to be created, preserved, protected, upheld, at all time and at all costs. Looking at her little life, I ask myself, what has changed in the past twenty-five years? How will this one’s life be different from my own? Let’s take her name, for example. Just because her mother did not change her surname after marriage, the baby’s birth certificate was rejected by the municipal authorities. Because the mother and father need to have the same surname, apparently, in our society. Because within the institution of marriage, the wife needs to take her husband’s name, according to a clerk in the municipal corporation. There is no law to validate these claims, of course, but you see, these minor discrepancies will cause you trouble, inconvenience, shame. Dare you try.

Twenty-five years ago, my parents went through the same inconveniences. The times have changed, but social customs have not. At least my birth certificate wasn’t rejected! Maybe things have worsened. All the more reason to fight. All the more reason to protest. I look at my fifteen-day-old fellow-Capricorn, sound asleep and happily unaware of her own, very controversial, name. I wonder what battles she will have to fight. I wish her all my luck and love and strength. I wish the world she grows up in the next twenty-five years will be a better one.

I promise to help make it a better one.

 

many questions, some answers…

Suddenly I’ve begun to miss my Nirman group a lot. I had these strange dreams about our entire group back together at Gadchiroli, and since yesterday, I have been feeling like running away from all this madness that we call our life- our cities/towns, the people around us, civilized ‘society’. I just want to get away from everything, back to Shodhgram’s beautiful and peaceful space and the warm company provided by the people there… and just be disconnected from the hullabaloo that prevails in this ‘urban’ lifestyle- the complete lack of privacy due to cell phones and the internet, pollution, loud noises, blaring lights, fights, apathy, greed and violence.
The blast that happened in Pune recently has shook me up and made me reflect… I don’t really know why, similar things of greater intensity have happened in the past in places I know better, Mumbai and Delhi for example… but the Pune incident just seemed so much closer to my life and so relatable… maybe because I read in the papers that 5 of the people killed were students like me gone to a bakery for a small celebration… and I kept thinking, aren’t these celebrations and ‘hanging out’ at bakeries/eateries a part of every urban youngster’s life? Haven’t there been so many occasions when I’VE gone to such places with MY friends? What if it’s me or my loved ones, the next time this happens?
I really don’t know how to deal with this fear… and fear it is, for it’s like I’ll never know where the next bomb may be kept. I’ll never know who might be the next people to be touched by the cold fingers of death and tragedy’s mocking face. They could be people I know or someone I love… and they died for what? Some lunatics claiming to bring ‘justice’ to their respective clans or communities or religions or whatever, by murdering random innocent people who could be THEIR relatives, for all they know?
I don’t understand this philosophy of violence. I don’t understand violence, basically. I am not saying I’m completely devoid of it myself; I too, knowingly or unknowingly become the cause of violence sometimes, but I don’t understand it at all. And neither do I like it. Why commit acts that are going to bring grief and pain to the world at large? What is ANY individual’s gain from that? It hurts me and makes me shiver that there are people out there who WANT to wipe out innocent lives, who are conspiring to plant the next RDX-filled bag in a spot crowded with happy, smiling people who have NO inkling that these are the last few breaths they are going to take… how can ANYONE want that?
Looking at it from another perspective, we can say it is all meant to be. My dad says that when your time has come, you shall be called. Only this acceptance will make you live your life in a much more fulfilling way. Rather than worrying about death and the how and why of it, if we could concentrate LIVING to the fullest all the moments we have, we would be much happier. True. In a way. But a question drowns my other thoughts; is there any way of stopping it? Stopping these innocent killings of people for some fanatic, delusional ‘cause’ to ‘provide justice’? And what can I do? The only answer I think comes close is that if there are people out there spreading the message of hatred, we, the other people, should spread the message of love. And I can try to be as non-violent as I’m able to in my own life. And live my life in such a way that while facing death, I shall NOT have to look back and regret never living to the fullest.
But are there any other answers? And any more ways I can contribute? If so, do let me know.
And to anyone who has lost a friend or a relative or just someone they know to a horrifying fate like this, all I’ll say is, I can imagine your pain. And just imagining it hurts so much, experiencing it must be much, much worse. But we are all together in this, standing in solidarity and bound by love, and celebrating life and mocking death.

a letter to all my friends…

It is one of those rainy mornings… and as I sit looking out of my window at those tiny drops that sit so primly on those bright green leaves; I just come to an understanding of how beautiful my life is. Yesterday, my best friend asked me to name the one thing I would ask for if a jinni granted me a wish… I thought and thought but frankly could not think of anything (well apart from un-frizzled hair and fewer inches around the waist, lol)… and I realised that hey, I guess I just have everything I ever asked for! I have the most amazing friends, have been having those little nuances of romance throughout this year (!!!), it is finally raining in my beloved city, I go cycling every evening through the drizzle along with my friends, my HSC score was near perfect, I’ve made my family very proud of me, I’m doing something I find exciting and enriching in the coming year, I’m not confused about my place in life or my goals, rather, I’m happy and at peace with my questions… what more can I ask of life??
And I’m just going to be leaving all this. In two days. In a couple of days I’m leaving for Delhi… beginning a new life, working and living in a completely new city with an amazing woman, and having the freedom to explore a completely new dimension of life.
A part of me obviously doesn’t want to go… to break this beautiful bubble of near-paradise I’m encased in and start building from scratch. I want to be engulfed in this complacency, this warm pink glow of happiness, this too-good-to-be-true phenomenon…
We’re all standing on a precipice now, knowing that sooner or later, each one of us has to jump down… I don’t know what is more difficult… being the first one to jump or the last person to remain standing??
The thing about leaving that hurts the most is the fear that the people who are the closest to me right now will not remain so… In these past six months I’ve just sunk into so many close friendships; people whom I’d never even given a thought to, people I’d thought had moved on far away from me, are now my best friends… life’s really weird in that way.
Well, heck… all I want to say is, and seriously, I’m having a LOT of trouble putting it into words for some reason… I’m going to miss you all. Each one of you who’s touched my life in some way, made it more beautiful and romantic and PERFECT… I’m going to miss being in Nashik and hanging out at Chitrangan with Nikita and Nachiket… I’m going to miss being padeek at PnR with Tanvi and Sudhanshu, I’m going to miss the cycle-rides with my neighbours Siddhi, Shivangi and Vidhi, I’m going to miss the rickshaw travels and ‘economical’ afternoons with Chaitanya, I’m going to miss those long-houred talks with Jayati… the unveiling of secrets during sleepovers, the patte-sessions with Amruta, the badaam-saat group, playing throwball, sitting on my gacchi watching the stars and Nashik’s lights with Tanvi (who made me discover how precious my city is to me. I owe you many many thanks, dear), playing Scrabble at Nahush’s place, sitting atop the water-tanki with a bird’s-eye view of Chitrangan (how I love that place!) and the pink sunset, the sheer amount of ice-cream we consumed, tears, laughter, making gigantic envelopes, swinging, giggles, late-night phone calls, smses, yahoo-ing… sigh…
It’s just that… we have to move on. It’s always better than clinging to each other and making life worse for ourselves and the people around us. Sometimes some relationships are worth letting go, you never know, but they may come back in a more beautiful way. Oh we all dream about going to the same college as our best friends, or living in the same city… but it hardly ever works out… and even if by some turn of chance we do, we get so involved in our own individual lives and can’t BE with that person anymore… facebook and emails do help loads to keep in touch but then we just lose that level of connection we felt once upon a time… and then, slowly, the other person is forgotten… the friendship fades into oblivion… a distant dream, a cherished memory of two roads that once crossed each other…
I hope, I do hope with all my heart that I remain friends with all of you… even just for the sake of what we’ve been through together… but if not, then… well, we can always carry that flicker of hope somewhere, that after the writing on these pages has long faded, some day we might meet again, indulge in nostalgia for our lives that were, read the frayed yellowing pages of Harry Potter once more, and perhaps, be friends again. 🙂

long time musings…

I havent written in a long time, so felt like I should.

As I said, I have a nasty habit of not doing the things I promised myself I should, and most of my New Year resolutions are lying somewhere in the back of my mind, rusting, decaying, and lying desolately like an abandoned book.

There are many things going on in my life right now… some good, some bad, as it always is. After all, it is because of the bad things, the darkness of life that we are able to appreciate the first light of dawn, the little things that make us joyful that we still exist in this beautiful world.

For some days my negativity was whirling itself around me and swirling itself into my life like poison dissolving into an innocent cup of tea ~ everything around me was wrong… there was something wrong with my body, I felt like I was ill, and I was whining away to friends, demanding their sympathy for my woes, not knowing what was wrong with me… not realising that maybe me myself was to blame…

There are many things in life that frustrate or frighten me… causing me to think of bad things about everyone around me as well as myself. To list a few-

Stuff that frightens, frustrates or worries the hell out of Sakhi N.A.-

~ Things happening to my body that differ from the normal state of health, like rashes, bumps, boils, headaches, nausea, not feeling alright…etc.etc. They worry me to death and I’m frightened of going to a doctor as I’m perpetually afraid of some rare obnoxious malady that I might have caught being detected. You may call me a hypochondriac, but hey, isn’t that a disease too?

~ People not talking to me, ignoring me, snubbing me for a reason I do not understand. Maybe I’m an egoist, but I need to be praised, appreciated and yes criticized too, but fairly… the people who judge me without understanding me leave me hurt and frustrated…and frightened too

~ Being said NO to, and not being given a reason for it.

~ Meanness with money.All my life I’ve been with people who won’t spend a paisa just because it might get over… well, frankly, I don’t believe in that. Money is something that should not be saved, you get it, you lose it… so when you have it, why not utilise it for something that will give you joy, albeit for that moment itself? And I also despise those people who will lend money to others on account of ‘being generous’, but when it comes to yourself, will be cautious even for a rupee. Again, this is something I don’t believe in. I’m not against being generous, but lending someone money is not my idea of being generous. Aren’t there so many other things to give away; like new ideas, old words of wisdom, or even little things that bring joy to your life… why do people have the idea that giving money to people will help them be better people?

You may be thinking… why, I did not think this girl was like this! So mean and childish and selfish! Well, I guess its true…there is a part of me that IS very childish and self-oriented… and maybe growing up is about recognising and accepting that part within you, and trying to keep it in control. As this is my pensieve, this is a process initiated by me to try and unearth this part and see what goes on here, to try and understand it, as well as keep a tab on it. This little sphere inside the depths of my mind that is full of negative energy and which sometimes bursts at unexpected intervals to pour out all the lava that has been accumulated inside it.

But, hey… here I go off on a tangent again. I’m supposed to talk about something that made me see the good side of life again.

There is an author, Richard Bach, who wrote books such as Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Illusions. I somehow have a unique and a little weird relationship with his books… I come to read them when my mind is in some kind of emotional turmoil or perhaps I am searching for some vague answer to life’s vague and yet intriguing questions… when I happen to lay my hands on one of Richard Bach’s books… and after reading them, I feel at peace with myself and possibly, a little closer to the truth I am forever seeking. Jonathan Livingston taught me the power of being different, which was, in the end, being who you are, being true to yourself and discovering your true potential and living it to the fullest extent…

The book I read most recently is called The Bridge Across Forever and is, at heart, a simple love story. But the best part about it is that this book is a story of love that actually happened!!! For me, after feeding myself of chick-lit, the pink and starry romances that only exist in dreams and such, left me with a constant feeling of depression that I was never going to find me ‘The One’ because perfection is such a rare thing nowadays and anyways perfect guys exist only in books and movies…

But then this book came along… describing a simple story of two people who found each other, and who are growing with each other as life gives them new things to discover every day… It was a story telling me that love can be as simple as being with someone else, being true to yourself and the person you are with. Above all, it gave me the hope that I would find someone, out there…my Knight in Shining Armour… all I had to do was keep my eyes and my heart open… not setting store an idea or image of ‘perfection’, as things may not be what we expect them to be…

These books, they leave this wonderful feeling inside me… sometimes you have to appreciate the power of words… written in prose but betraying the rhythm of poetry… words that are written from the soul and hence reach the soul of the reader, like lilting music, to leave a mark that will be forever remembered, forever cherished… and be the wisdom that will travel down many lives, many ages… a bit of the truth ~

I feel open, not hidden behind the numerous masks that I build around me almost every waking moment…and sometimes also in sleep(!)… I feel that maybe, maybe there are people in this world who understand me, the person I am without my masks…my filters… and who realise that this is the beauty of the world!

The opening lines of The Bridge Across Forever ~

We think, sometimes, there’s not a dragon left. Not one brave knight, not a single princess gliding through secret forests, enchanting deer and butterflies with her smile.

We think sometimes that ours is an age past frontiers, past adventures. Destiny, its way over the horizon; glowing shadows galloped past long ago, and gone.

What a pleasure to be wrong. Princesses, knights, enchantments and dragons, mystery and adventure… not only are they here and now, they’re all that ever lived on earth!

Our century, they’ve changed clothes, of course. So crafty have appearances become that princesses and knights can be hidden from each other, can be hidden form themselves.

Yet masters of reality still meet us in dreams to tell us that we’ve never lost the shield we need against dragons, that blue-fire voltage arcs through us not to change out world as we wish. Intuition whispers true ~ we’re not dust, we’re magic!

©

My first long post…

I am going to use this blog as a Pensieve for myself, and hope you who read it use it as a looking-glass, and I haven’t said ‘mirror’ because I know that my life, even though it may be very similar to yours, is still not so exactly the same that it will ‘mirror’ yours. I just want you to read my postings with an open heart, a clear mind, to explore what exactly my life is all about and if possible, try and find a hint of reflection of your life in it. A very important year in my life has ended… and I am going to treasure it in my heart. For this year was the most eye-opening, the most memorable and the most beautiful year of my life. I sometimes wish that I had a Pensieve to store all my thoughts and memories in, which, at leisure and in solitude, can be re-visited and those priceless moments can be re-lived. Well, lets start it this way- if I had a Pensieve right now, which would be the moments from last year that I would like to re-visit, to re-live, and try and gain a little more understanding from them? Firstly, I would like to name last year the Year of New Endings and Old Beginnings. Last year many things that I really cherished in life saw their end. Harry Potter is the most obvious thing of course… now Harry Potter is a series of dear books that I been literally feeding and nourishing on for the past five years. When I finally held in my hands the last book, Deathly Hallows, on 21st July…it was the most beautiful feeling in the world. I was experiencing extreme happiness, bliss, wonder… but filled with this dull pang of sorrow that kept coming, bearing down on me, sort of like this voice inside my head that kept telling me, you’re not going to get this again, you’re not going to get this again… and by the time I finished the book at 2:30 a.m. (reread the 19 Years Later at least thrice) I was so sad and sleepy and just not ready to accept the fact that 21st July had ended, Harry Potter had ended, it was actually over, I knew what happened, I was just done with life that moment. I crawled into my parents’ bed with a grumpy “its over”… JK Rowling has given us such a magnificent end to her books…each character’s story is nicely tied up in the end, with a sweet, heart-warming ‘Happily Ever After’ to keep us dreaming about Harry, Ron and Hermione and their lives…so yeah, a day that I would really love to re-live would be 21st July, full with all my excitement and anticipation and grief.July was truly a magical month for me. It was also the time when I met two people who, though I didn’t realize it that time, have become two of my best friends and the closest people I have in my life. I think the date was 12th July, just right before Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix movie was released worldwide (I think by now you must have realized that my life is generally chronicled with reference to the Harry Potter series, and thus you may be able to realize how truly difficult it was for me to plan my life after The Ending). It was such a chance meeting, and I didn’t even know one of them so well, yet, we met…and it was incredible! We were just talking for hours and hours in this little café-cum-bakery and we realized we made such a perfect little trio. All the three of us were extreme Harry Potter fans, so I guess the ending of it was good in a way as it fostered a new friendship between the three of us, and a very beautiful one, that too! The T3, as we call ourselves, has been through a lot of ‘stuff’ this year, but none of us can deny that it was one of the best times of our lives. Especially those 4-5 hours at Puffs ‘n’ Rolls. Those hours are again, one of those memories that I really wish to swirl up in a Pensieve and drown myself in…Some other things, equally important, include my board exams, and the times I spent with two incredible women who not only taught me lessons in Mathematics and Marathi for the boards but also took me into the hitherto unexplored realms of numbers, calculations, and literature in my mother-tongue. They are the ones who introduced me to people who are considered the founding fathers of math or Marathi, but who I found to be very boring till then…I sincerely owe a thanks to them, for really being the teachers who learned with me. As I talk about my board exams, there’s one more thing that comes to mind. I don’t know if I have done the right thing, as this year I discontinued my home-learning- something which I was immersed in for the past three years- and joined Junior College. I must say I don’t think College is really that formal, for we have 0% compulsory attendance required, and even if we just give the exams and not do any classes at all, it hardly makes a difference. This choice for me was a hard one, as it made me question not only my own beliefs, that is, what I was very passionately believing till that time, but it made me think about the relationships I shared with all those who were a part of my school-walk-out decision and who were encouraging me to not give that up. It was difficult for me, sometimes I felt like a hypocrite caught between two totally opposite ways of thinking, on one side I had my grandmothers and relatives who felt I was losing all chances of getting a ‘good’ career just because of my stupid choice to not study in a formal school, and on the other side were these people who were very passionate about their anti-school, anti-institution beliefs and who were constantly into questioning me about why I was giving up my lovely freedom for a godforsaken institution just to obtain some ruddy certificate! This pent-up frustration morphed itself into a boil, something that came out on my body when I was in the jungles of Greece.  Now, a boil is something I am very prone to, some people say it is deficiency of sulphur, some say it is due to a lot of heat inside my body, some just shrug and say they have no idea what a bloody boil is. I think it occurs to me when there’s a lot of frustration within myself, conscious or unconscious, and which, when not let out by a proper channel, becomes this boil which manifests itself into any part of my body, and which, let me tell you, is EXTREMELY painful. This year was my biggest one, and it was a total of 30 days, 30 days of horrible pain, torture and trauma before that goddamn thing burst and all the pus started oozing out along with my tears… and then it was over. I decided I would join JC, no matter what anyone said, as it was MY decision and only I was responsible for it. And so I did.I think I will remember this year for one more thing, and not a nice one it is. I was faced with my first experience of eve-teasing, if it can be called that, it was just plain stalking. Thankfully I was with one of my friends, but she was as inexperienced in these things I was, so the best thing we could do was go to the closest known house in the vicinity and explain our situation. Then we were safe and escorted to the warm comfort of our homes and it was never done again. But it left me with a deep, long-lasting fear of people who can hurt me, and my innocent belief that Nashik, my city, is devoid of such people was horribly shattered. And I was, still am, left with this continuous fear, whenever I step out of my house alone I am scared, scared that someone may be following me, someone will pass rude comments at me, whistle at me, and I feel ashamed about it, guilty even, that I can’t do anything about it except hold my head high and walk away. Sometimes I really wish, there’s this burning desire in my heart to just slap anyone who does that, slap his dreadful life out of him, but again, I’m scared… I’m scared of my inferiority, I’m scared of my fear… and sometimes, I just don’t know what to do about it.Coming back to more pleasant topics like friendship, I had to face another ending this year. It wasn’t the ending of a friendship, it was just the end of a phase…and I am still in the process of starting a new one. One of my best friends, my closest friend, and I mean physically close, as we were staying in the same building moved away to a new residence this year. She still is in the same city, and we see each other almost everyday, but something just changes…as you realise that it is no longer possible to just go calling on her to ask if she’s going to accompany me to the grocer’s, or seeing her without her teeth brushed and hair combed if we go out for early-morning walks, you sort of realise that is never going to happen again. But still, as they say, ‘distance makes the heart fonder’, I really hope the new year will bring a new phase, a new dimension to our friendship.

I must say…I feel like saying, that I have made some really good, close friends in this year. A certain part of me, a very pessimistic part, is afraid to say this, as you see, I said the exact same thing three years ago about some people who I am no longer even in contact with…but I feel, truly feel, that this time I have found my true friends. I do keep an open heart and acknowledge that in the future I don’t know if these will remain friends, some may go and some new ones will come, but right now, I am happy. I have three people in my life who I can call by ‘Best Friends Forever’, those are Amruta, a girl who’s been my friend since we were not even 2 feet tall, Tanvi, someone who’s been my friend for a long time but it was only this year that we really became close and Jayati, someone who just…totally understands me and the both of us have had some amazing conversations…

I feel all three of these friendships are not dependant on spaces like school or college, they are beyond that, and the only connection is that of the heart. And I really would like to acknowledge them and thank them for the incredible role they play in my life, (and this is the only time I am taking someone’s name, otherwise I don’t really like doing that much)Some more things about my life which I feel like writing… I know this is getting a bit longer than usual, but I really need to sit and pour out my feelings right now. I just feel very guilty about some things from last year too. This guilt…mostly comes from the fact that I have not been able to live up to some of my expectations I have for myself, and once more, I have succumbed to one of my worst enemies- inconsistency. I started this year doing a lot of new things- learning web-designing, playing table-tennis, but for some reason, I just drifted away from them. It always happens to me, I really like something, take it up, within a few months lose interest and then leave it. Maybe I am not passionate about it as much as I should be, or maybe it is just that I am disinterested, I don’t know. But it leaves me with a heavy feeling of guilt inside myself. I feel I have disappointed many people, indeed I have, and especially my parents. I feel, when they have done so much for me, be that buying a new guitar, TT bats, talking to people about letting me intern with them…and I feel like I’ve let them down…and then I feel like I’ve let myself down, my ideals, my beliefs… Its like, you really feel so bad about it its eating you inside, but then outside you appear to be cool and not caring. And I keep asking myself these questions…what can I do to make myself more consistent, more disciplined? There are days when I just don’t do anything, anything productive, I just sit and let my thoughts wander, I read old books, and I am lost…there is nothing exciting, challenging, nothing that makes me want to get up and  go do it, go immerse myself in it. But then I ask, how do I NOT depend on external sources to motivate me to actually get some focus in life, how can I find it within myself?  When will I know, understand, what I really want to do in life? Why am I just drifting? Unfortunately…I haven’t gotten any answers as yet…and I am still trying to seek them. I hope the new year brings some to light…and that I get some focus in life.I think I will end this chapter here… there are still many things to say, but they will come later. I feel I haven’t written so much as I need to, but I hope this journey unfolds itself slowly… so I have to pause here. I am hoping, praying that my negative points flow away with the old year and the new one brings out some new things inside me for me to explore, appreciate, and understand.