Saturday, September 26, 2015

Give Up, Romantic.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, September 26, 2015 2 comments

I am your regular girl.

I want to be in the sort of love that I can swoon about on Instagram. Yet I want the sort of love that I want to hide from the rest of the world.

I am your regular girl. I am confused about the sort of love I want.

Contrary to the popular belief, I am not really a huge fan of good looking men. Not that I really mind them, and I don't really disapprove of a wonderful man with brains at the right place and has a beautiful face too. Some perks are good. 

My idea of the perfect man is the one who could woo me with his words. As a writer, I love soaking into the splendour of words that sometimes ruin me. I sign up for things like that - men who are all about words. Unfortunately, about no action.

No, I don't like the mysterious danger that lurks along with that sort of love. Because that isn't the kind that goes on Instagram, remember? For years, I tormented myself looking for the grand, maddening, I-will-kill-you-with-my-love sort of love only to realize it was too bad for me. So, one fine morning I wiped my slate clean.

I wrote, no expectations. Zilch. Nada.

The days turned sunnier and rosy. That's when I met him. In the beginning, he seemed like a person I could easily avoid. But, he ended up being in my face most of the time, and no matter where I went, he was available at every nook and corner of the earth. Maybe he made himself available for me. Maybe he did not. I hated him for reasons I could not even fathom but hating him was easy. So, I hated. Avoided. Ignored. Hid. Ran.

Things changed, of course. You must have watched enough romantic comedies to figure out what happens when a mysterious guy walks into the life of a girl smoothly and glides away just the way he walks in. He didn't even belong to the section of guys I liked, and no don't remind me about wiping my slate clean. I could give a lot of reasons, but the fact was that I was heartbroken again because the words I fell for were the ones that drowned me in the end. Now, I would blame all the movies and books I've devoured, and sometimes went overboard with picturing what if my life would be like if I was a character from a book. Fiction ruined me, just the way I ruined my expectations with the most unrealistic forms of love.

The sort of love I was looking for did not happen to me though it happened to a lot of people around me. I stopped believing in the sheer presence of love and the ways it could alter the definition of my life. What was I thinking anyway? My life wasn't like 'Notting Hill' and it definitely is never going to be like 'Say Anything.' So, I had to separate love from my love life and live my life.

Sadly, some things are not meant to be. If I was Taylor Swift, I would have sung a sad melody for you, but I am not and don’t fancy Taylor much, so I figured I must Instagram the heck out of my life and never bother about a guy I’d put on Instagram. The clouds seem blue all over again.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Of Writing Letters and Pen Friends.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, September 19, 2015 11 comments

I was eight when I made a first pen friend. I distinctly remember writing letters and posting them in a red-coloured post box that was a little far from home. I made two more pen friends over a period of time and wrote different letters to the three of them. I loved receiving letters with doodles and smileys on the corner of the letters. Sometimes, they came with shimmering stickers, and they were more loved. One summer vacation, I visited my grandparents. That year was warmer than usual, and the flowers in our garden were blooming better than ever. I began writing letters to my friends -- I wrote to them about how I relished the mangoes and sorbets that my grandmother fed me, and I wrote to them complaining how my brothers never let me play cricket along with them, forcing me to be a silent spectator every time they played. I narrated in detail how much I loved taking early morning walks along the stream and glide past the high walls embraced with colourful bougainvillaea trees. I remember very well, that I suggested them to read Enid Blyton's books which happened to be my latest found love then. I guess I still remember the contents of the letter only because they were the last letters I sent to them. As soon as I returned home after the vacation, my father was transferred to a different city. In the process of worrying about a new school, new uniform, and new classmates, it absolutely slipped out of my mind that I had to inform my friends that I was moving to a different city. What's worse? I lost their addresses too! For a person who moved often, and changed seven schools, losing things wasn't new. But this time, I was rather displeased with my carelessness. Because there was something comforting about writing letters to people whose names and faces were unknown. We had pen names, remember? There was something ethereal about friendships that withstood miles of distance. And there was something funny about describing how your dog would attack the cats and receive a response that talked about such simple things. That is the magic of handwritten letters, I believe. When I was in school, I knew a lot of people who had pen-friends. I read a lot of such stories too, in a magazine called Gokulam, which was pretty popular after Tinkle. I barely see anyone writing letters now. I am afraid, I see no one. The fact that people have forgotten the art of writing beautiful letters makes me cringe. Why did we stop writing letters? Why did we stop describing the beauty of nature in letters to friends who aren't familiar with the weather in our part of the country? We cannot blame WhatsApp and Twitter for this. They still do not warrant the excuse that we stopped writing letters. I could be really selfish when I am hoping one could preserve the lost heritage of writing letters; wondering if we could ever bring back long, handwritten letters into fashion. The joy we derive from reading letters that we've received as children is quite something. I think even when we get old and have a troubling eyesight, there will be nothing more comforting than words and letters that talk so much about our history and the life we lived. 

P.S. This year, I have written three letters and received two.

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