Sunday, January 31, 2016


By Sunaina Patnaik at Sunday, January 31, 2016 0 comments

When I was a child, my family warned me to stay away from strangers. I was told that I took the advice so seriously that I steered clear from interacting with new people even when my parents introduced them to me.

Strangers were dangerous. Strangers spelled trouble. As I grew older, I understood that that to make friends, you need to begin with strangers. For years, I fumbled and struggled to make friends. I am quite sure the eight-year-old version of me would be surprised to see the number of friends I have now. But even to this day, I have to admit that making friends with an ease does not come easily to me.

I tend to be really wary of strangers. Some strangers become your closest friends, confidants, mains and majors, lovers. While some strangers might end up creating a storm in your life. And figuring out which stranger would do what is a mystery that life effortlessly slings at us. Sometimes you're in luck, and sometimes you're in for nasty surprises. Unfortunately for me, I see the best in people and hope that everyone around us is trying to do the best that they can. So, when a certain stranger comes into my life, trying to mess with my head, I still see the best in them. It doesn't matter how annoying things get in the end, I still see the best bits of them. However, there is a saturation point to it and I do get pissed when things go wrong. But when I put aside my vexation for such strangers, I see these amazing friends who are insanely caring, protective, and warm about warning me from making wrong choices. I know we all make wrong choices, but it is amazing when you are one step away from making one and your friends act as your shield. Isn't it crazy that when some strangers become the best of your friends, some ruin you? Funny how life is sometimes!

Well, there is no moral to this story except for the fact that your mother is generally right about strangers. Stay away from them!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Long Gone.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Wednesday, January 27, 2016 0 comments

It was a warm Summer afternoon. She stretched her aching feet on the tender grass by a stream. She chose this spot to write letters to him. She always chose this spot, to write him long letters of love; to write him mundane letters that hid her pain.

She wrote to him about the hens in their courtyard and about the persistent water scarcity in their village. She wrote to him about a strange sweet smelling fruit she had every morning and how she cannot wait for him to come back. She wrote to him describing the injury on her right elbow and how she missed holding his hand. She wrote to him about the beautiful, orange sunsets and how she would do everything to be closer to him in that moment.

She wrote to him about the Sun and the Moon. About the endless blue sky and twinkling stars.
She just wrote to him about everything.
Not knowing he was long gone.

Monday, January 25, 2016


By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, January 25, 2016 0 comments

I have been told that to be a great writer, I must abandon fear. I must forfeit second thoughts and embrace rejection and pain at every step of my life. And that I must put my heart where my mouth is. I have been constantly told that I must place myself in the most unusual situations and gain experiences. It might not have made me a great writer, but it, at least, made me write different things.

I have been told that to be a successful professional, I must network with the right people. I must not be mad about making tons and tons of friends at my workplace. I have been told that all the magic happens right out of my comfort zone, and often, I get pushed to strut out it. I might not have a cushy corner office like Harvey Specter, but I am known for the work I do.

But no one told me how to be a pro at maintaining personal relationships. You know what I mean? Each day, as I navigate my way through the relationships I've so far made with my friends, family, confidants, or just acquaintances, I know they aren't quite thrilling in all aspects. To be honest, I screw them on and off. I've always imagined that relationships are effortless. And that they must be as simple as the pleasant breeze. No, not like the gust of wind. Never. Every night when I am alone with myself, I think of all the mistakes I've made, and as I slowly tuck them into my bed, beside me, looking into their eyes, I ask myself what made me do this. Or that. Or the exact half-baked things I've said to people. I've always imagined that mistakes come from a deeply insecure place. From a place where the brain and heart are in a conflict. But they don't. Mistakes just happen. As we keep taking chances in life and meet different people, mistakes just happen. I mean, my life isn't an isolated case, right? We all make big, fat mistakes. Mistakes that we cannot take back, mistakes that we regret, mistakes that give us sleepless nights, mistakes that sucker punch us in our hearts. However, what are we without our mistakes?

We are social animals. Sure, we receive a cartload of professional advice but no one teaches us how to deal with personal life only because it's not algebra. You learn only when you make mistakes. Only when you choose courage over comfort. You learn that maintaining relationships is not effortless and will never be. You got to wake up every morning, pick them and work hard to make them stay strong.

And tonight, when you are tucking your mistakes into the bed beside you, don't forget to tell them a hi. Don't you forget to thank them for making you strong! Don't you forget to express your gratitude that you're no longer a dick only because of them. For they have been teaching you all that you haven't learned in school or college.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Parks and Recreation.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Sunday, January 24, 2016 0 comments

This post is not about the TV series 'Parks and Recreation' or how much I adore Aziz Ansari over Chris Pratt. It's just a tiny musing that might interest some of you.

We meet different people at different junctures in our lives. Some uplift us. Some ruin us. And some, we don't even know the significance of their existence in their lives, but let's not waste these 500 words on them. I became friends with someone during one of the worst phases of my life, and no surprises here, I found him around me every time I hit rock bottom. Which happens a lot, by the way. This friend has always been the one I've had meaningful conversations with. As it turns out, we all come with a set of flaws, and so does he. Unfortunately, in his case, he underestimates himself. Actually, he underestimates the entire cult of nice guys. Nice guys have this understanding that women do not pick them and that they finish last. In one of our conversations, he stated that women might not enjoy his company, whereas they might absolutely thrive in the company of men who are all about discrete business. This rather half-witted concept originated from a movie where a certain actress advises the protagonist on how women will be happier with a man who is an epitome of a forest, but will feel spiritless with someone who is like a park. The writer has portrayed this theory quite beautifully because that's what writers do and in the pursuit of writing something extremely lovely, he might have sounded romantic but not realistic.

Let me tell you this. Forests seem intriguing. With full of secrets, you love maneuvering it at every corner. But that's that. Forests are amazing for vacations or yearly trips but life isn't an adventure. When we are done with the adventure, we all return back to our cozy comfort of taking a stroll in the park. Would we ever stop liking that simple joy of life? No, we won't, because, after a long day of tomfoolery, it's a paradise to spend a moonlit evening in a park. And forests? Well, no one needs a goddamn adventure every evening. It only gets darker and scarier.

P.S. If you’re stuck in a dilemma where you have to choose between a park and a wilderness, by all means, go for the park. There’s nothing challenging about wilderness after you tame and understand its secrets.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

But, Are We Just Pretty Faces?

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, January 23, 2016 8 comments

This morning, when I was looking at my image in the mirror, I vividly remembered my school days when my mother would cajole me into using an acne cream. Let's get you a facial. Use this cream. Moisture more. Keep moisturising. Your skin does not seem so radiant anymore. I've heard this all from her and when I looked into the mirror this morning, I totally knew that I transformed -- from the girl who barely used a moisturiser to a girl who carefully goes over its ingredients before buying one. I have changed while running from high school to filing college applications, maybe somewhere between falling in love and out, while seeking validation and not caring for it, I have changed so much. From the girl who would shyly use a lip balm to the woman who effortlessly smears a red lipstick, gosh, I've changed. For better or worse, I have.

This change is not a bad phase, though. It surely isn't a sweet smelling Shea butter stage that will wean away soon. I reckon, the amount of time I spend looking at my reflection in the mirror could be quite unhealthy. Is it just me or does it happen to you too? The filthy thing about looks is that we all crave it, but we do not want to be known for it. "Am I just a pretty face? Why don't people think I am more than just that?" We are all slaves to emotions like this. And there is no way you could get yourself out of this. It is just like a roller coaster. It does not matter even if you're standing at a distance, staring at it, the roller coaster is still scary. But when you get on it, you love it. You get hooked. Taking care of your looks and basking in its sunshine is just that.

When we read books and come across characters that are beautiful, nay, not good looking, we are amazed. My favourite fictional characters of all time, Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester, were never portrayed as immensely good looking ones. To be fair, Jane was a plain Jane. But they both had interesting minds and spoke those minds to each other. Similarly, our beloved Sherlock Holmes was not dearly known for his looks until Benedict Cumberbatch glorified his character with his looks and high cheekbones. When I was a child, I hated 'The Ugly Duckling'. My mother still teases me that I cried every time someone narrated this story to me and even when the ugly duckling transformed into a beautiful swan, I wasn't okay with it.

In an era where we carefully photoshop the acne on our face and take a million selfies to perfect the art of pouting, I shudder to think that I haven't just joined this bandwagon, I've also endorsed it many times. Of course there is nothing wrong with it, we got to change with changing times, but how often do we think that there is an interesting story, a real person behind a pretty face. I have this friend who is so handsome that, sometimes, it pains to look at his face and wonder how every facial feature is so beautifully carved. But when I went beyond his looks and understood him, there was more beauty to him. It was innate, but it was truer.

This is what happens when we know people for their true selves. Maybe then, we would pick our friends and partners based on their virtues. Because relationships between people are not based on grandiosity. But despite it, and despite it only.

However, I'll still use the moisturiser. Keep moisturising. In the end, we all have to listen to our mothers, don't we?

Friday, January 22, 2016


By Sunaina Patnaik at Friday, January 22, 2016 0 comments

During sunrises and sunsets,
During the seasons of rain and cold,
During sombre and flamboyance,
During the charm and pain of love,
During solitude and chaos,
She built high walls and mountains around her.
She did not want to be found.
She wanted to be lost in her whimsy little world.
She just did not want to be found.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Silly Brain, Torment Me.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Thursday, January 21, 2016 0 comments

As I type this, it is 2:02 by my watch, and it will obviously be longer by the time I publish this post. I do not remember when was the last time I woke up in the middle of a night with an uneasy feeling. But when I did, I had no other go but to wake up and write. So, what is it that's keeping me awake at this hour? What is it that is scaring me? What is it that's not letting me sleep with no inane thoughts eating me up? I have no absolute clue, but I do not want to fight it.

And you, you silly brain, devour me all that you can. Torment me all that you can but I am not fighting it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Right Kind of Wrong.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Sunday, January 17, 2016 0 comments

During all my writing classes, the most recurrent thing I have been told by my professor is that I do not put myself out there. That I constantly fail to write about the things that truly trouble me or touch me. I have been told that I come across as a person who is scared to show the insecurities and vulnerabilities. Sometimes, I argue that I write about my fears and insanities on my blog, but he just says that it is barely anything.

I do not want this to sound as a rant because I am willing to meet him mid-way to agree that he is almost true. Or absolutely true! The other day, while talking to a friend, he told me that I am introverted in certain situations aka selectively introverted. And trust me, I do not want to be that. But being an extrovert hasn't been my forte too.

I would like to make a reference to the countless times when I am told that writers gain experiences, they take risks, they meet new people, observe them. I observe people too, I notice their quirks but I am definitely not the one who is famous for taking risks, striking a conversation, or be the first person to initiate almost anything. As much as silly I might sound, I am always worried that I would make a plain fool out of myself if I'd do something that I'd generally refrain from doing. To confirm my worst fears, I stumble upon several articles or testaments on how spectacular or eventful Hemingway's or Scott Fitzgerald's lives were. Well, yes, they all kicked ass! All the great people have and I am not kicking ass, clearly. I'm just running from one time zone to the other by wallowing in moments of nothingness, and pretty much doing nothing to live the wildest of my dreams. If you're wondering if I am gaining any experiences, I must admit that I am. We all do, don't we? Some of us decide to put them on paper. Some do not. Experiences are not limited to writers or musicians only. And they are certainly not limited to people who claim to have creative pursuits only. Every person is creative.

Here's my theory, though. My experiences are quite juvenile at this point of time, I agree, but I do not want to rush into making a cart load of them right now. 'Right now' should stop for me. I want to breeze into my life slowly and experience things with no plans whatsoever. I am exhausted with things happening so rapidly all the time that I want to go anti-Supersonic now. However, let me get back to square one now. My professor was absolutely right, I need to put myself out there more often and try to have meaningful conversations with people. It is time I look at things with a different perception and not be scared about writing things that could be slightly troubling. Let's hope I'll do things differently this year and gain experiences on my way.

I am certain I should be doing the right kind of wrong.

P.S. To my family that reads most of the things I write, you guys have nothing to worry about. I am not talking about doing stupid stuff.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

What If We All Looked Alike?

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, January 16, 2016 11 comments

I have been wanting to write something today but cannot think of anything.

Why does this happen? When you want to write so much, there is no time. And when you have time, your brain decides to be dysfunctional. Sure Hemingway said that writing is all about sitting at the typewriter and bleeding, but today isn't one of those amazing days.

A while ago, I was talking to a friend who asked me if I would treat people differently if I were a different person. Honestly, I am not known for my best behaviour always. I am a slave to my mood swings, and it could get a little tough to keep up with my whims and caprices. So, would I treat people differently if I were someone else? I do not know. Maybe I would. Maybe I would not.

On a slightly related note, I have a different question. What if everyone in the world looked alike? Would you then treat your fellow human beings equally? Would first impressions and appearances matter then? Would you then compliment a person's beauty based on their ideas and thoughts? Would you then put an effort into understanding the soul of a person that is carefully veiled behind their face? Would you then differentiate yourself from the person next to you with more than just a face? Because you and I are practically just the same, and our window to the world is our heart. And matters pertaining to heart are always pure.

I do not know how we would treat each other even then but the world might be a better place to live in. I'd vouch for it.

P.S. Dear God, I know you have better things to do than read my blog, but if you just happen to stumble upon this post accidentally, maybe you will consider my plea of making everyone look alike in your next evolutionary project. It's time to jazz things a little bit, isn't it? Or just make the world dark where people are forced to have meaningful conversations with each other by not looking at each other? I mean, whatever you think would work. You know the best, obviously!

Monday, January 11, 2016

New Beginnings.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, January 11, 2016 0 comments

I have amazing friends. I think of all the wonderful moments I've spent with them and I am constantly amazed at how lucky I am for having them. Especially, when one certain friend travels all the way from a different country to make you feel better. I mean, who does that? How was she able to do that? And why, just why did she do that? I admit I'm quite self-centered. I am flawed. I barely pick my friends' calls. Sometimes, I talk to them only on my whim. I take them for granted. I cancel the meetings they plan ever so carefully. And I never apologize for the wrong things I do. Or say.

Remember we all have that one friend who ditches every plan? Yes, I am that one friend. I wish I spent more time with my friends when I was in college. I wish I had broken my 'I will not meet any friend on a Sunday' rule for them. I wish I told each of my friends how much they matter.

I am not the one who takes lofty New Year resolutions. For me, a fresh beginning can begin anytime and I do not wait for the New Year's eve. But this year, I gladly took one. This year, I will make it a point to make more time for my friends and meet everyone I haven't met in 2015 or in 2014. The list is long, but I am all willing to make amends.

It is time for a new beginning.

Friday, January 08, 2016

What Is Your Story?

By Sunaina Patnaik at Friday, January 08, 2016 0 comments

Some stories are fascinating. Some stories are compelling. Some stories are heartbreaking while some are comical. Some stories are engaging while some are aloof. Some stories are stirring. Some are beautiful, and some are enlightening. Stories come in a lot of forms, they are conveyed through various mediums. They are sung, written, made into movies, but every story is powerful.

My obsession with stories and their charm began at a really tender age. I remember relishing stories right from the time I've heard the first story. During one Summer vacation, my grandmother narrated Ramayana to me, in parts every night before I went to sleep. There was no looking back after that. I would ask, plead, force my grandparents, parents, uncles, and aunts, and everyone I knew to tell me stories -- to tell me all that they heard and read. And then, I took to reading. I discovered a new world through the words of various writers. I loved Binya's world that Ruskin Bond created or how simply stupid Ramu and Shamu were!

It was an entirely new world and I wanted to devour everything I came across. But I've also harboured a nasty habit of envying characters and some stories. Often I would imagine myself as a character from my favourite stories. I desperately wanted to know how Pip felt when he left everything behind and moved to London. My love for Great Expectations is eternal yet I envied Pip, you know because he had the opportunity to live in a city that did not belong to him. I wanted to be there, witness it, just watch how he transformed from a young boy into a man who knew his priorities and values. When I was a child, I also wanted to be 'The Little Prince' and ridiculously wrote that in school essays that asked me to write about my future plans. Sure, I was too young then but it did not stop after I grew up too. When I read 'Pride and Prejudice', I wanted to know how it would be to be Elizabeth Bennet, to be loved so dearly by Darcy, or how amazing it would be if I were Watson, accompanying Sherlock Holmes in all his adventures and misadventures. What a delight would that be!

I did not stop with just that. I wanted to listen to the stories that people would tell. When my friends would tell me about something, I always wanted to know more. I would yell at them "Start from the, no, do not cut down those details," or I would ask them if there was more to the story and if they were hiding something. I would gently nudge them to let me into their world. Into their stories. Sometimes, I would envy the stories or the lives that people around me would live, have lived. I find myself rushing to do a lot of things at a time, greedy for doing more and living more only to realize that I am already living one. That when I wake up in the morning to go do a job that I love, it is a story. Or when I meet a friend after ages and talk like we talked yesterday, it still is a story. Everyone around us is entitled to them. We are all diverse individuals, bubbling with stories full of hope, love, joy. Stories where you have a tingling feeling after you kiss a boy in a certain emergency exit, or when you sit under the moonlight when your friend talks about poetry. Remember the kind of stories we all lived when we would spend a night with our friends or siblings after an examination or the one where we walk on the streets of our hometown with our cousins while eating an ice-cream. I mean, there you go! There are so many of them.

Maybe I did realize it a little late, but the best stories are often not told, read, or written. They are experienced.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

You Could Not Wait.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, January 05, 2016 0 comments

You could not wait
to grow up and live your
wildest dreams and funny nightmares,

You could not wait
to transform from
an unsure girl to a determined woman,

You could not wait
to read books that weren't meant for you
and write poems that ruined you,

You could not wait
to understand the difference
between being loved and loving someone,

You could not wait
to get your hands dirty
or fall for the one who left you in the dark,

You could not wait
to get your heartbroken or meet failure
at a crossroad you knew so well.

You could not wait.
You just could not.

But you do not have to be that woman.
You do not have to be the woman
who lets someone write her story,
You do not have to be the woman
who gives up on her dreams because of a gory nightmare,
You do not have to be the woman
who waits for someone to resurrect her broken tower.

For you were born to build.
Even if you are building alone.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

How Does It Feel?

By Sunaina Patnaik at Saturday, January 02, 2016 0 comments

How does it feel to smile when you want to cry?
How does it feel to laugh when you want to break down?
How does it feel to stay when you want to disappear?
How does it feel to love when you feel torn apart?
How does it just be you?


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