Where does the pain come from,
when everything is so shiny and perfect?
It’s almost as if I want to be sad.
and I keep asking myself, why can’t I heal?
Just let go, set myself free from all the scars and ghosts that haunt me?
And the answer is simple, really.
We love playing the victim. Or atleast I do.
There’s something intoxicating about the madness that courses through my veins every time I watch crimson flow down my cuts onto the bathroom floor.
There’s comfort in my deep, dark hole. I’m the only one who knows every nook and cranny down here. Nowhere else is safer.
When I was younger, I used to look in the mirror and wonder, who could ever love that face?
Growing up, I realised that it’s easier to lust after the face than to embrace the chaos.
Sometimes, I catch my reflection on the window of some passerby’s car, and I just loathe everyone who claims to love me.
Because no one even knows me.
Do you know what that feels like?
One word. Lonely.
I’m desperate to be understood but I won’t ever spill any of my secrets.
I want to be loved but I don’t ever let anyone close enough to look through the smokescreen.
I know I’m long gone before dawn and you wake up all alone.
But do you really think I care?
And yes, I know that I’m distant. But you’d get lost in a minute if I let you in my head.
I’m fucked up.
The pain sets me free.
It feels like there are a million stories out there.
Uncountable, like the stars that dot the midnight sky.
At some points, the threads of these stories intersect.
And that’s where we exist.
You are the colour of the cardigan your mother wore to college, the first dish your grandfather made for your grandmother, the shade of your father’s eyes, the city you grew up in, the city you dream of moving to.
In the end, we all become stories.
So it goes, I’ve always been fascinated with the art of storytelling. And as I grew up, the subject of my interest moved from fairy tales to ghost stories to the history of famous empires to the history of my own life.
I love listening to the stories about my family. For me, it’s an enchanting idea how the plot lines of the lives of two generations of people before me can melt through space and time and change who I am, today.
When you do get to listen to these narratives, the key is to look for the details. The hint of surprise in your grandmother’s voice when she realized ice cream cones are meant to be eaten, the hint of nostalgia in your mother’s voice when she describes the house she grew up in, the tremor in your grandmother’s voice when she talks about her mother…these facets of the story take you there.
You truly live your past.
Understanding these stories is like untangling so many spools of yarn. Every moment is an answer, a reason for things being the way they are. They pass by without us realizing, but someday these glimpses will become stories. And they will mean something to someone else looking for answers.
1. of or characteristic of people as opposed to God or animals or machines, especially in being susceptible to weaknesses.
See, the thing is, ever since you’re a kid you are asked to shut your mouth every time you burst into tears.
Your Mom looks at you helplessly, your Dad calls you weak and walks away, your friends call you a crybaby.
So you grow up to believe that emotions are your Achilles heel. You figure out that maybe tears are a show of vulnerability and you learn to cry yourself to sleep, hiding them from the world so that you no longer embarrass your parents.
But then one day you’re hanging out in the cafeteria with your friends after college and one of them says,”You dont ever cry, do you ?”.
On the bathroom floor at 3 AM.
Because that’s what they taught me.
So, instead of raising humans, the society ended up raising a generation of kids who don’t know what to do with the mess in their heads.
We ask for food when we’re hungry.
We ask for water when we’re thirsty.
What stops us from asking for love when we’re hurting ?
I think it all started with The Coffee Bean and the Tea Leaf.
You see, in a middle-class Indian family, tea is customary but coffee is a luxury. For me, it started out as a part of an extensive airport ritual. I’ve always been mesmerized by airports, they have a way of making commoners feel important. Important enough to make us buy overpriced, fancy coffee. Our ‘ritual’ involved grabbing Lattès with my father at The Coffee Bean and the Tea Leaf, followed by a visit to the bookstore. There were moments when I’d pause sometimes, mostly while in the store – with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee blowing steam onto my glasses in the other. I’d look over to the Buisness aisle, watch Dad reading a magazine and wonder if any other state of time could ever be this pure.
For someone so caffeine-driven, it’s a shame to admit that I never really learned how to brew a cup myself until I moved into a hostel. There are times, rare early mornings, when while fixing my coffee, I flashback to the last time I had a cup back home. It was the day before I left for college, my last evening in the city I had called home for the last fifteen years. I sat down with two of my best friends, all three of us sipping from our mugs. We just sat there in the quiet and watched the sunset paint the sky golden, then lilac. And then, suddenly, all the colours faded to grey.
I guess that’s it’s best perk after all. Apart from keeping me up all night to cram notes for the End Semester, and being a comfort after I’m drenched in the pouring rain.
I can always make myself a cup, close my eyes, and pretend that I’m back on that rooftop with my friends, under a golden sky, watching the city fade away.
Or at the airport, with my Dad.
That’s all it takes to feel like coming home.