29 is just a number.

Dear You,

You’re currently packing your bags for that holiday in Pondicherry, so it’s rather endearing that you’re unaware about how next year this time, you’ll be in Muscat.

The year will be a whirlwind of good and bad – yes, yes like any other year. However this year will be about new things, like living alone. It’ll be about falling in love again, with new places and people and realising how awful and wonderful life can be. You’ll go through some terrifying moments and you’ll make it, but you’ll have to hold on tight.

You will find yourself lonely on some days, but you will also find out that the greatest lessons in life are learnt alone.

On some days you’ll bawl like a baby, but you’ll realise that sometimes there will be no one to soothe your fears. That’s all right, because you’ll learn that you can be your greatest friend.

You will not need a knight in shining armour, mainly because you are one. But on some days, you will graciously accept help from one who is armed with a plunger.

You are crazy, so when you find someone who is wholly accepting of you (despite all your flaws), hold on to them. Remember, it’s a privilege to be loved for who you are, don’t pass that up because of what someone else thinks.

Learn to love your family and friends. They can (and will be) annoying, but life can be incredibly tasteless without them.

Accept help when you can,

Stand your ground when you’re right,

Speak up for women and DO NOT let silence be your weapon,

Say please and thank you and always remember,

The best gift you can give yourself is

Love.

Happy birthday.

Ever yours,
P

Back to the future

Dear You,

If I tell you that a year from now you’d quit your job, take a break and travel across the world, would you believe me? Well, maybe you should. Because you’re going to do just that.

2017 could seem like just another year but it will make you brave. You will learn that there is no greater joy than standing up for what you believe in and asking for what you need. And when you realise that love, happiness and peace no longer features on the menu, you will politely move on.

Moving on, however, won’t be easy. It’ll bring with it moments of doubt, sadness and complete chaos. But you don’t have to worry, because it is only when you fall that you learn to look where you’re going. You will understand this soon, but I must tell you, there is no shame in putting yourself first. No shame in leaving behind things and people that no longer make you happy. You are after all your first priority, everything and everyone should come later.

This year, you will learn to be kind and loving to the one person who matters the most – you. It won’t be an easy process, but loving someone never really is. However, you’ll manage to strike up a friendship with yourself and it’ll be the best thing to ever happen.

Don’t ever doubt that you will be loved. You always were, you always will. You might be difficult to love, but not impossible. And there are people who always love a challenge, no?

You must and you will learn to see people for who they really are. Don’t let their judgements cloud you and don’t let harsh words break your spirit. Take a break from toxic people and if the break doesn’t work, cut them out of your life.

This year will bring you closer to people you love a lot but can’t find the means to express it. Hold on to that feeling, it’ll keep you warm.

And while you sit here right now, thinking about how life is going to pan out, I’ll leave you with one last clue. 2017 might keep you at home, but when the year ends, you’ll have to get ready for a new adventure. A fresh beginning, one that involves moving to a new country.

So don’t waste your time worrying about the future, what’s meant to happen simply will. Accept your losses and celebrate your victories, and remember whatever happens you will always be enough for yourself.

Love always,
P

Arriving late.

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That’s how you drive a car. Mastering the side-eye look since the ’90s.

Of all the things I’ve achieved so far (that would be two things, not being awkward at one party is the first) learning to drive a car is the one I cherish the most.

I started trying to drive when I was three. At least, I posed like I was, inside the Fiat Padmini that my dad first bought. I knew back then that I was born to be a badass driver. But, I didn’t know that the road to being badass, would be paved with extremely disgusting drivers, bucket loads of tears and getting yelled at by mean people.

When I turned 18, I didn’t have too many aspirations, I only wanted to master straightening my hair. Since most of my time was spent doing that, I never had much left to learn driving.

But after a lot of coaxing by mum, I enrolled into a driving school and that episode scarred me for life. The teacher would grunt, spit outside the moving car, dig his nose, scratch his crotch and would also manage to ask me to drive. I was so grossed out by him that I never concentrated on driving.

My second teacher was a kind man, with a red beard and paan-stained lips. He taught me how to drive and never yelled at me. We drove around the city, by that I mean, I pretended to turn the steering wheel, while he controlled the car. He would make me stop at paan shops so that he could buy a paan for himself.
I really liked him. He would abuse people on the road, drive through the ditches and laugh at men who used to get scared of my driving. In many ways, he was a lot like me.
I finally got my license, thanks to him.

But I never ventured out in a car on my own. My family never pestered me to get married, on second thoughts I wish they did. Instead, they badgered me about driving. Sometimes my father wouldn’t bug me, I think he felt the world was safer without me as a driver.

One day, my mother bullied my father into letting me drive his car, under his supervision. That was the second worst mistake of her life, the first was giving birth to my brother.
It was early on a Sunday morning. I left home sleepy, but returned bawling my eyes out. What was mummy thinking?  I rammed into a bike, hit a passerby (he was walking on the road), wailed on a beautiful stretch of road because my father couldn’t stop scolding me and returned home a failed warrior.

After that, I stuck to autorickshaws.
But one bright day, I woke up with a new plan. I was going to buy a car. Yes, I still couldn’t drive but I wanted a car. Being a self-sustained, strong and independent woman, one who couldn’t afford to buy a Mini Cooper, I settled for an adorable Swift.

But what good was a car that wasn’t being driven?
My car sat in the basement for three months before the battery died and then, once again I burst into tears.
This time, I woke up with another life-altering plan…
I WAS GOING TO DRIVE MY DAMN CAR.
For three months, a new driver patiently taught me how to drive to and from work.

Everything was rosy again: I had nice shiny tyres (thank you, daddy) a car that smelt of plastic heaven, a stereo that played some sweet music and a cute face that made sexist oafs ask me if my father bought me my car.

It’s been three years now since I started driving. I was no 18-year-old who was excited to get to places, I was a 20-something, who was tired of arguing with autorickshaw drivers and a little tired of relying on people to pick me up from work.

For now, I have many more miles to go… because I just refueled my car.

Letters with love.

pp

A letter from my 27-year-old  self to my 26-year-old self. 

Dear Me,

Stop. Breathe a little.
Wait. Don’t rush, deadlines are for your newspaper and there is no need to get anxious, but you being you, will do just that.

Can’t wait to see how turning 26 would be eh? It’s amazing, said no one ever. Because it really isn’t that different. You will still panic every time you need to drive up a slope but you will make it to the top, exercise regimens will be a dream and you will sleep through them and yes, yes, you will get to travel.

You will meet new and amazing people, some will break your heart, some will leave with a piece of it, but you will always be loved. Life will take weird turns, the downs will drag you down and beat you black and blue, but the ups will liberate you.
You will NOT exercise, you will NOT. Shame on you. Tsk tsk.

February and March will bring with it surprises, love, gifts and people. March will be one of your favourite months. You will meet two kittens and will fall in love with them, whether you adopt them or not will remain a mystery.

No matter what you do, you will find your way back home – figuratively and well, literally.

Don’t stress over the small things because you will make it through all of them.
So why don’t you eat that extra piece of cake, enjoy the new year, go all mental and laugh out loud?

Also, before I forget.
Have a happy, happy birthday.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello there. 

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Hello,

What is this existential crisis you’re dealing with? I heard the going has been quite tough and you’d rather read and like (and perhaps tag your friend in) all those intense quotes splashed across your newsfeed, than just confront the person causing the emotions the said quotes speak of. That’s a long sentence, eh? Yeah, but so has been that nagging feeling.

Please. Stop. No, I just said no. Moving your life to another city is not an answer. You’ll just have a new city where you will carry all your baggage and then watch as it sits in your room collecting dust, just like that old bag you can’t throw away. And don’t you forget, love might not succeed in keeping you sane, simply because it was never meant to.

So stay. Stay and deal with problems. You’re an adult now. Yes, you don’t behave like one. Sit down and stop biting your nails. See? You just proved my point.
Don’t run away from your problems, love, they’ll chase you. Stop, look them in the eye, give them a cookie or two and befriend them.

Then, when you know you’ve done everything you could,pack your bags, don’t forget to add at least five sets of clean underwear,
book a ticket to where ever you want to go… and leave.

Love always,
Me.

Yearning.

The yearning is back.

We’re at different ends of the world with time zones that are obviously crazy. I sleep when you’re awake and you’re sleeping when I’m busy at work. In between all these crazy hours and miles and miles of distance, there are words and sometimes love that is being carried to you.

Some days they arrive soon, other times they take a day and sometimes a day turns into another one, but they don’t arrive. I wait, not too patiently… I wonder if you do too.

As I wake up in the morning, sometimes early and sometimes after my alarm is tired of crying out, I think of you. I wonder what kind of sights you’re seeing, the bright summer sun, forests, rivers everything you’ve dreamed of. When the thought of you begins to seep into my mind, I try to distract myself, because that’s not how 26-year-olds behave. Then I dive into the white noise, for the rest of the journey because my thoughts begin to drown the music that’s playing.

The mind is such a tease, sometimes it replays memories just to throw you off guard. You try to push them away but they’ll find a way into your life. You can get so busy that you forget to eat, but you won’t forget about them. You  can hang out with friends and family and watch movies and cloud your brain with unnecessary information, but the thought about him will scream out at you like a neon light. You might ignore but you can feel the glare of the light burning through your eyes.

The yearning is back. To meet you, to see you and to hear your voice.
The yearning is back to hold you, hug you and finally say hi.
The yearning is back…
When will you?

Taking a chance.

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I’m watching the rain drops race against each other on the window pane.
What does that have to do with what I’m going to tell you? Nothing.
I wish I had a steaming cup of tea in my hand, then again, I wish you were here.

Have I told you this before? The thought of falling in love with you is so terrifying that I’d rather sit in a room filled with butterflies. Well, not a room filled with butterflies, perhaps a gigantic room with one butterfly and a huge open window. And you know how much that would terrify me.

Thinking about giving you my heart and hoping that you won’t drop it and break it, is  scary. It’s another thing that I have already handed that stupid heart to you (strictly metaphorically) , along with whatever little sanity was left in my life.

You’re wonderful, you really are, which is what makes this falling in love business that much more scary. You give me so much, but you hold back too. It’s like a kite. You let go of the thread and that helps the kite soar high, but you always hold some part of it back to keep it from flying away.

Let me in, darling. Let me see your scars completely.
We’re both in this together and I can’t stand out for so long, because it’s beginning to get cold.

I’m petrified of the prospect of falling madly in love with you.
But that process has  already been set in motion.
And there is nothing I can do about it.