Lost all followers :(

Depressed,

I am,

I told her.

Lost all my followers,

while changing

my site address,

yesterday.

Chill,

she said,

they were

gonna leave you anyway.

–> FRIENDS… if you are reading my posts and liking them, or, you ever before liked them and still want to read me, please visit this new site (this one is badly messed up technically, so will remain defunct)

https://sundaramchauhanwrites.wordpress.com/

Thanks 🙂

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Storm.

They warn,

there is a storm coming,

so stay at home.

But,

it can’t be

bigger than

the one swirling inside me.

So I step outside…

(Image Source)

The Fight…

couplefightingunhappycheatingjpg

(Image Source)

This wasn’t the first time.

Nor will it be last.

But, this time around you see,

we dug its grave so fast…

I am sorry if I hurt you.

I hurt you bad I know.

You weren’t far behind, yourself,

and, hit me hard and low…

But, see how we took control.

We are getting so mature.

That, we only grow from here,

I am going to make sure…

The bitter aftertaste too,

we spat away in haste.

Gotta give ourselves some credit,

we spared no moment to waste…

 

Others…

images (2).jpg

(Image Source)

Her voice,

they say, closing their eyes –

was enchanting,

winning hearts.

That’s why,

perhaps,

he wanted

no one else

to hear it.

She loved him,

so, she muted herself…

 

Helping others,

they agree, clenching their jaws –

was what

she wanted.

That’s why,

for sure,

he took her away.

She readily

left it all,

just to see

him smile…

 

Her touch,

they claim, reverentially –

was soothing,

calming all.

But,

he liked

none other

benefiting.

She handcuffed

herself,

and handed him

the key…

 

Her dance,

they smile, gazing in the distance –

was divine,

mesmerising all.

That’s why,

he despised

everyone

watching her.

She drove

all her music

out

in trickles

of tears…

 

He loved her,

they say, incredulous –

and yet,

asked her

not to

love others.

But how

could she

place a filter

right at

her heart?

She knew not.

For she was

a loving soul…

 

I know it all,

I tell them,

from a

distant past,

and,

it’s been

ages since

I met her last…

 

That’s her,

they point out,

sitting

on a bench

alone.

A pale shadow

of her

vivacious self…

 

I find her,

at last,

but

no more

alive…

Where are my friends?

frienship.jpg

(Image Source)

One look, even a quick glance, at your Facebook account is enough to overwhelm you, especially if you are a struggling writer, or a struggling anybody. And, I am both, and I have just committed that crime.

In the photographs, all my friends, as I dreaded, appear to be leading a great life, almost otherworldly. A pang of jealousy courses through my veins, and I want to close the page, immediately. But, a divine intervention takes place, and my finger develops a brain of its own, and I find myself scrolling down the page. Helpless, I am forced to see more pictures. Everyone seems ecstatic about something – smiling, giggling, laughing their hearts out.

Promotions are happening.

World tours are common.

Marriages, I mean honeymoons basically, are giving people reasons to feel happy again.

Newborn babies are completing the lives of some others.

Alumni meets display the camaraderie that interestingly was so missing in the days when they all actually graduated, ten years back.

Bottles clinking. Laughters ringing. (Yes, I could hear them laugh.)

Friends. I mutter to myself, and smile. They truly are everything.

But…

Where the hell are my friends?

I mean, I see them on facebook, all right, they are there, somewhere. But why am I not with them in the pictures?

I can’t help but recall wistfully, the time when friends were all I lived for. School, college, work, and at home – they were everywhere.

Quite a contrast to the current situation.

I know we have all grown up, and today, we are all busy.

But the others still manage to meet and enjoy drinks – and hell, post the pictures too.

When exactly did I become an outcast?

Well, my work is lonely, I reason with myself. I like being within myself – contemplating, reading and writing, that’s true. And, people have a tendency to forget you if you are not social – or in today’s times, if you are not a social media addict. And, as far as I am concerned, I only post one picture a year on facebook, primarily to let all know that I am still alive, and ageing.

But, as I mentioned before, I too had life, once. I remember clearly, how it all began:

In my final year of college, my father wanted me to prepare for some extremely tough competitive exams, for a job in the Indian Civil Services. And – since that required a lot of preparation, persistence, doggedness, and focus, as he described it – I decided to opt out, almost immediately.

But, this decision still needed to be conveyed to the hopeful father. And, that required a lot of courage on my part.

Luckily, I didn’t have it.

So I thought about a way of communication where I wouldn’t need to be facing him.

Writing! I thought.

Yes, I could write all that and slip the letter under his pillow one night.

I did exactly that.

I wrote him a big five-page letter (front and back), detailing all the reasons why I was not cut out for that job (in reality for the exam itself – God, only Indians know how tough it is).

That letter, written, edited, and then rewritten several times, involved a great deal of hard work, clarity of thoughts, honesty, and focus. It squeezed every ounce of energy out of me. It was probably the first time in my life that I had done anything like that.

And, in its final finished form, it impressed someone. Guess who?

Oh God! No. Are you crazy?

Not my father. No. He was beyond the petty concept of getting impressed with his own offsprings. He was way too impressed with himself for that. It was always his fitness, his language prowess, his looks (seriously dad?), his oratory, and his achievements. From his height, it was hard to see my tiny existence, let alone appreciate it.

So, of course, the person it impressed – was me.

Yes, I absolutely loved the way I had written that letter. And, quietly that night, I left my magnum-opus in his room.

Soon enough, the next morning, my father barged into my room, and threw on my face the crumpled papers. “Good, if that’s what you want,” he snarled, his face contorted, and flushed. I know he wanted to say much more, but probably he was thinking of writing me a letter in return just to show how it was done.

I picked it up as soon as he was gone, and carefully smoothed it on my lap. As I had expected, he had molested the dignity of my beautiful letter. Circles all around marking the errors, proclaiming his victory, even in his defeat. And, on the last page, a royal dictum read:

As it turns out, you are not brilliant enough to appear for as reputed an exam as this. You should have written me a letter years ago.

I felt so relieved. I let out a deep, contented sigh. I was free!

And, with freedom had come the realization that I could write. I know, I know – the errors. But, that was acceptable to me. I could always improve on that part. The important thing was that I liked the process of writing. To express with my inner voice, that came alive and took over. Something inside of us all, is very wise indeed. I loved that voice. I began to yearn to hear it again and again. And, like that, an ambition was conceived inside of me – a far-fetched dream.

I immediately aborted all I was doing, and scampered out to share my eureka moment with my very alive friends. The ones, I was sure would care.

I found them enjoying cold drinks and snacks in the college canteen, as usual.

“What!” they all shrieked in unison, once I jabbered it all out – not the reaction I was hoping for. Every head in the canteen turned towards us.

“F**k my a*s, you can become a writer!” one of my dear friends spat. I think he took it as some kind of personal insult.

Shocked, I looked at another one, for some consolatory words. But, he couldn’t stop laughing for… I think, a very very long time. He ceased to be my best friend, right then and there.

I wanted to simply go back home, when I felt a glass full of cold water splashed hard on my face. Dripping, and angry, I looked around madly to find one of them standing with his hands up in defence, an empty glass held in one. He screamed that he just wanted to wake me up as he ran for his life.

Then, as I was about to go away dejected, I heard someone saying, “Wow! A writer. How very romantic.” This girl seemed to be looking right through the wall, at the horizon, smiling dreamily. She was instantly pulled by her boyfriend (the same one who took it as a personal insult), and given a death-stare. She never said a word about it after that. She is married today – not with this psycho, though.

Another girl, already alerted to a possible boyfriend’s wrath, just eyed hers from the corner of her eye, scared, and noticed him scowling at her, daring her to say something – anything. She clapped a hand over her mouth, and closed her eyes, shuddering.

Well, all that was good enough indication for me never to tell about my ambition to another human being. Therefore, in hiding, I kept scribbling – working all along, and gradually developing a solid shell around me that no one was allowed to enter. Friends, I told myself, were no more than distraction. They were anyway doing very well in life, and could do with one less friend. I was sure they wouldn’t even notice my absence from their world.

And, they never did…

Culture Shock Literally! (Mountain Tales # 1)

While I was still working, the phrase ‘culture shock’ was kind of an overused one around the office.

“Don’t put him on this project, he’s fresh out of college, it’ll be a culture shock to him working in that team – under that man.”

“Train people well guys, I don’t want anyone having a culture shock when they start dealing with the client.”

“She will be fine, just had a culture shock I believe, not used to working like that in her previous organisation.”

One month after my resignation, I had it myself – the culture shock – very literally. Interestingly, I knew what I was getting into, and I had prepared for it beforehand – mentally and physically. But nothing came to my rescue when it was time.

Well, I was shifting in the hills – I knew.

I might not find a suitable accommodation there – I knew.

Electricity might become a thing of the past – I knew, given that it was a small village set deep in the Himalayas.

But when I was there, for real – it was all I could do to stop myself from screaming in shock.

I had never seen before, a place more in contrast with the one I had lived all my life.

Didn’t I choose exactly to feel like that? I thought while looking down at the valley. The lush green terraced-farms looked surreal. For a moment, I felt like jumping on to these step-like farms, and reach the river below. But then suddenly, I realised the disconnection this place had with the world. I couldn’t recall how I reached there. It felt like I would never be able to leave this place. A deep sense of isolation overwhelmed me.

‘You are going to live here, sir?’ asked the taxi driver, peering down the side of the road. ‘What happened?’

He continued, looking at the peaks in awe: ‘How does one live here anyway? Where are the houses? Left Delhi for this place? Why?’

I swivelled my tension-filled head to look back at him. He saw my frightened eyes, and quickly added, ‘Well… you must have had your reasons.’ He handed me my bill, collected the money and raced off – back to Delhi. My Delhi.

Pushing bushes out of the way, I clambered my way up and down on many a precarious stone steps to unearth the houses and the people living in them. I must have covered the whole village and the village below that, and the village further down the hill next to the river. Somehow, I managed to find ourselves a home. A good enough home to survive the place, and the winters.

We shifted soon afterwards – my wife and I along with our son – and began the torturous period of adjustment.

The abundance in which the time was available to me now kept my head confused for some time. I couldn’t read, and I couldn’t write. Only the TV series ‘Suits’ had what it took to provide me the required relief.

The evening brought with it the night, lurking behind it, which in turn unleashed the darkness – the darkness of the quality I hadn’t previously witnessed. Not a thing visible. Looking out of the window, I might as well be looking at a huge black wall. No movement possible at all. Trapped I was…

‘Why did we choose this place again?’ I asked my wife, enjoying the light inside our room.

‘Solitude, or something…you wanted. You were fed up with the corporate politics, unhealthy lifestyle, pollution. You constantly complained about the lack of time, and quietness. You said you loved nature – mountains, trees, rivers. You wanted to go for contemplative evening strolls – ’

‘OK… OK. that’s enough, thanks!’

‘I have more if you want. You cried for a whole year before deciding. So we have no lack of reasons. Just let me know.’

‘Yeah, I will.’ I picked up a book to read.

‘Contemplative evening walks…’ I muttered to myself, and looked outside. It was only six in the evening. ‘How will I walk in this darkness? Why the hell did I choose this place?’

‘I heard ya..you need an answer..?’ My wife looked at me, smiling, and came closer.

‘No thanks, wifey! I kissed her and headed for kitchen to prepare tea.’

 

(Image Source)

Passionate Souls

passions2

Blessed are the people

who aren’t passionate

about anything.

They will lead

ordinary,

comfortable,

even satisfying lives.

The passionate ones

are deeply connected

to their souls.

They are a

danger to themselves.

For souls seldom

worry about

the needs of the body.

(Image Source)

Loneliness – No More…

“Hey! Get up,” I flung a pillow at my sleeping friend.

Ajay was still sore from a fresh breakup – his first this year, and was sprawled on my sofa mourning for the last two days.

Groaning slightly, he stretched his head out from under the blanket, and cringed when light from the window hit his groggy eyes. “What?” he complained, “Would you let me die peacefully, at least?”

“You’re eating a little too much for a person dying,” I said, looking at the table littered with the leftovers of all that I had in my fridge, once. “Get up and go back. I can’t keep a hungry deadbody at my place any longer.”

He gathered all his might, and managed to prop himself up on his elbows, and turned his head towards me, before slumping back on the couch, with a thud. “Pity this lonely soul, you cruel man,” he cried.

“Yes, I do, and I have a good news for you.”

“What!” He sat up with a jump, and stared at me. “Did she call?”

“No. But there is this news… ” and I slammed the paper on the table in front of him, toppling the empty beer cans that rolled down to the edge, and tumbled on to the floor.

IMG_20180118_093455.jpg

“A minister for loneliness,” he laughed weakly. “That’s interesting.”

“Yeah. Things are changing, man. Your loneliness will be a state affair now… if only you manage to settle in the UK.”

“Well”, he said after reading the story, “I am not sure she is for youngsters as well. It’s for old people.”

“I am sure she is. Your kind is on the increase – the lonely heartbroken youth.”

“Okay. I got your point. I am leaving. Just one last favour, and I will never bother you again.”

I smiled knowingly. He was getting his wits back.

“Can you ask your dad to sell this house and get me some pounds? I belong in the UK, not India where no one is worried about my loneliness.”

“Done. Now… get your dirty ass off my couch and leave.”

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