Coming home.

Dear You,

I have been driving endlessly, through valleys that are deeper than the highest mountains I have climbed. Through sunrises and sunsets, some lasting longer than the other.

Sleep is now a distant friend, so I carry on my journey alone. Often, I reach out my hand to hold yours, only to be reminded of your absence.

Voids the size of the Milky Way stare back at me.
So I wonder, how an empty heart can feel so heavy.

I thought I was running away from the mess I created. Driving away from you and your thoughts. But they’re all staring at me from the backseat.

Gently reminding me of the pain that has attached itself to me.

I want to come back home,
I want to come back to you.

But I am lost.
And I don’t think these roads can ever lead me back.

New Girl goes to Muscat

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I really believed that I would never be the new girl again. Not in an office or in anyone’s life. Yes I had decided to remain single and jobless for the rest of my life, but life, apparently, had other plans.
While I spent the last nine months whiling away my life, I barely had any worries. Well, other than that one totally-justifiable fear of a dumbbell falling and crushing me instantly. Yes, tragic indeed. So as I went through life, travelling, eating and upping my stalking skills, little did I know that  my days of joblessness were sadly numbered.
Before I knew it, 28 years of my life were neatly folded, packed and stuffed in three suitcases and one bag. All threatening to burst out, thankfully not doing so. Some tears, a failed attempt at running back home and three hours later I was in a new city, in a new country.
Far, far away from home.
It’s just been a week since I moved here and I’ve realised that life has been crazy, but also exceptionally kind to me in so many ways. But on a few quiet evenings, when the sun is getting ready to set, I think of home. I miss every small annoying detail and I wonder, if three suitcases and one bag are all that I have to show for 28 years of existing. But then I remember that I did leave a dozen other clothes at home, so there obviously is more.
On other days I’m busy practising how to behave like an adult, how to socialise with people and smile, even though I’m panicking six ways to Sunday (or Friday, because #Muscat).
Through all of these ups and downs, I realised that I’m capable of so much more and that I can be anything I want to…
But for now (and for the unforeseeable future)
I am the New Girl.

Someday over the rainbow. 

What would it be to finally receive some closure?

Would it come to me as an epiphany? Suddenly, like a mid-summer storm, on a holiday across lands and seas? Would it feel like the dark, heavy clouds gave way to some bright sunshine that suddenly lifted the gloom in my life? Of course, you’re not going to answer my questions.

I sometimes impatiently wait for it, just like I once did for you. Heavy with anticipation, eyes not moving from the door for even a second, lest you walk in and I miss that glorious sight. But wait, how is this about you? This is about me and my quest to find some peace for what we once had and what we now do not.

The thoughts in my head, the words that don’t seem to leave me alone and you… all feel like a terrible mix and I can’t seem to contain it anymore. The former find a way to get out, strewn carelessly sometimes through letters and blogs.  But you? You refuse to budge.

It feels like I’m going to war, so I wear an armour to protect myself from thoughts of a happier time. There is no use, because the memories start playing, in bright colours, laughter echoing  while sunlight flitters in and out of your room and you rush to hold me. Then the movie pauses. I pull back the armour on and walk out.

There is no peace now, but someday on the shores of another foreign city when the setting sun gives way to the night, it’ll probably come to me.
Maybe that day I’ll watch that movie without flinching, perhaps I’ll even clap, whistle and cheer when the credits roll.
And maybe that day  I’ll get my closure.

What happened when I left.

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I was scared to say your name, I didn’t even want to whisper it.
I worried that the moment it left my lips it would vanish,
like a wisp of smoke and with it, I knew you would too.
So I let it sit, heavy on my lips that you refused to touch.

I longed for you, but the rain never came.
There were clouds, dark and heavy, but it didn’t pour.
Not even a drizzle to quench my ever-increasing thirst.
I told myself that it was okay, there have been droughts,
Most people perished, but many survived it too.

One day I  walked far and unknowingly stepped into the rain,
Suddenly everything came alive.
Death gave way to life.

That day, I took a deep breath…
And slowly uttered your name.

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.

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?

Coming home – 2

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As the aeroplane begins to leave the runway, there’s a strange feeling that takes over.
I’m happy, nostalgic and overwhelmed. The feeling of coming home, after years, is overpowering. As if all of a sudden I want to laugh, cry and smile at the same time.

When I packed my bag and was ready to leave home the last time, I tried to memorise everything. The faces, the way they smile and the small change of emotions. The old walls, the comfortable smell of home and the memory of playing around the dining table – I saved it all.

I know the house doesn’t look the same anymore and time has changed us all; and though I wish we could pick up from where we last paused our lives, it seems like the fast forward button has been pushed too many times. When I look over the city I now call home, I realise that we’ve all grown up apart, but we have grown together.

And as the plane takes off,
it finally begins to set in.
I am coming home.

Valediction.

I’ve packed my bags, with all the essentials.
Clothes, toiletries, your words and an  incredible number of memories.
The taxi is here and no, he isn’t honking,
He doesn’t seem to be in a mad rush, for now he seems content just waiting.
In a while I’ll be gone, far from this home and the city that conceived us.
I’m running away and I really don’t know why.
In an hour I’ll be gone, in an hour you’ll stir awake and find an empty house.
And no, I won’t leave letters behind, aren’t memories enough?
Years from now we’ll probably bump into each other in a city we never dreamt of,
With people whose faces we can’t conjure up right now.
We won’t say hi, we’ll smile and move on like strangers who meet on unfamiliar streets.
I look at my watch. I take a deep breath.
It’s time to leave.
I kiss you, one last time.
And I hold back a tear, as I walk away from the only thing I love.

The journey.

Love is pretty complicated.
It’s this really confusing journey and before you even decide if you want to go on it or not
Your stupid heart has already packed its bags and left.
The sane thing would be to just let it go and get lost,
But then you decide that you’re going to bring back that delinquent heart of yours and so you set out.
One thing leads to another and then you find yourself hopelessly on that journey with a one-way ticket and a road that will only take you forward.
To make things worse you find that you’re never actually going to get back that ridiculous heart, as it already belongs to someone else.
Of course all of this is just figurative but you do realise that it’s exactly what happens each and every time you fall in love.
I guess there is no escape. Once you’re on that journey there are just two stops.
And you can only hope that heartbreak-stop is not where you’ll be getting down.
Because even though that heart makes a fool of you each time, you know it’s also not worth seeing it break.
So here’s that one-way ticket,
I hope the journey is worthwhile.