Tuesday, June 28, 2016


By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, June 28, 2016 2 comments

It is raining delightfully as we walk towards the parking lot. Everything looks beautiful and bright. The green trees look greener, the red car looks lovelier, and the people look like they have nowhere to go and nothing to rush about. You make a usual comment about the weather and I nod. I am in awe of everything around us, from the place we leave behind to the place we now go towards. The raindrops make a playful pattern on your window panes as we settle down. It is a sight too good to overlook, so we sit inside, engulfed in silence and the gentle pitter-patter of the rain outside. I tell you how much I love to slack off in a weather this dreamy and you tell me about the pile of work that is slowly accumulating at your desk. As you take my hand into yours, I know there are things you wish I'd say and things that you already know without saying. I know you keep telling me that there's a lot of time ahead of us. But time is slipping away, quietly and quickly. Days have turned into weeks. And weeks into months. The seasons too have changed. From a horrible summer to a magical monsoon. The next season might bring our way everything or nothing. But if it brings nothing, will you still remember this moment of solitude? Will you still think fondly of the moment we spent in the parking lot of a cafe we'd visit only when we have nowhere to go, not worrying a bit about the future or what tomorrow brings our way?

Monday, June 27, 2016


By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, June 27, 2016 0 comments

I guess I have always underestimated the power of distance. For me, distance has invariably been horrible or something that one would do to punish their loved ones. Or maybe since I resort to means like that, I consider it to be a horrid thing.

As it turns out, I was just not introduced to the perks of distance and its tormenting charms. No, really! There is a thing like that, and you wouldn't understand its crazy existence until you experience it. Everyone is a victim of bad forms of distance but the good forms? They come in time, and in lots of forms. The good, amazing distance comes in the form of meeting a certain someone after a really, really long time. When I say really long time, I do mean a 'really long time'. The remarkable and yes, the good distance comes in the form of sharing your chocolate cherry cake and hot chocolate on a rainy Monday. It might totally come in the form of conversations and vague music playing somewhere in the background which doesn't bother too. And of course, in the form of words too. Because words are important and distance, the good distance is always filled with words.

Some bad things might turn into quite a surprise, sometimes. Who knew?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Not Those Average Friendships.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, June 21, 2016 4 comments

My mother just returned from a reunion with her high school friends. They have met after twenty long years. Though some of them are in contact, a major part of them have gotten in touch a few weeks ago only because of Facebook, and of course, the WhatsApp groups. The internet is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, I am surprised at the remarkable things it introduces to us.

When my mother got in touch with all her high schoolmates, I did not fathom that their whole class would come together for a reunion. Twenty years is a long time definitely and one cannot be convinced that the entire class would actually come together. Well, they did. All of them. All thirty of them. My mother did not stop talking about her friends after she came back. Just like in all high schools, there is the helpful one, the planner, the envious one, the bully, the class leader, the conversationalist, the high achiever, the low-key one, and you get the drift. Looks like the 1970s and 1980s weren't so different after all.

I've always imagined that after you reach a certain age, you stop having friends, mostly because you move on with the other phases or life or move to different cities. I'm afraid, countries! But the fact that two of my mother's friends flew in from the USA, practically shattered all the myths I've built around the reality of friendships. I mean, we are clearly talking about people that withstood twenty years of friendships without any issues whatsoever about geographical restrictions. It gave me a new hope that no matter how old we get, and how well we master the art of pretending that we are all grown up, there is always a child within us that yearns for childhood. It makes us yearn for the high school days because what's more eventful in anyone's life than high school?

This brings me to another thing, it is people who make things like this happen. Not the Internet. It is just a highly powerful medium that amazing people use to their advantage. It's spectacular, right? The kind of things that friendships make us do!

And oh, this time, I have a song for you: You're My Best Friend by Queen

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Things We Do Not Intend to Do.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Sunday, June 19, 2016 0 comments

The things we do not intend to do are often the ones that creep into our lives without a warning sign, said someone to me. I do not think so.

The things, the real things we intend to do and end up doing are mostly something that lurks in our mind for a long period of time. How else would you convince your strong mind to do what's insanely unhealthy for you? Last week, my friend committed suicide. It is a heartbreaking moment, especially because I've known this person for over 15 years now. I have a distant yet very familiar images and memories with this friend, who certainly made me laugh out loud at certain moments. Always full of life, nobody really knew that something that terrible would occur. I mean, who would predict something like this? Who would assume that a twelve-year-old child who'd often forget math homework would grow up to forget the value of his true self? Why would anyone suspect that the person who brought a lot of us together in several instances would give up on his amazing self?

This brings me to a highly important matter - the struggles we all go through. They are real. They are painful. They are often incorrigible. We might not understand the amount of affect our struggles might have on us, but the fact that life tends to bring each one of us to a brink of losing ourselves and giving into the pain is tangible. At every stage of life, I might add. I do not want to sound philosophical or preachy when I say it. The world is a difficult place to live and in many parts of the world, people are living with an abysmal amount of despair, but always hope for a better tomorrow. That is all we need, right? A better tomorrow. However, how can we yearn for a better tomorrow if we refuse to build a firmer and beautiful today?

In a thoroughly hard way, I've realized that human beings are slaves to their emotions. I admit that I often find myself in a dark zone, just like a lot of people out there. I believe there is a way out, though. Sure, it is a maze but coming out of a maze isn't hard either. Especially with people and lot of help available to us.

So, I am using this as a medium to urge people to fight for a better tomorrow. That a single bad thing does not have to lead to a desperate act of impulsiveness. There is a lot to do in life, we haven't even seen the tiniest part of it yet. There are amazing things we could do with our strength. We could create, recreate, build, rebuild - some of the greatest things and joys of life that human beings and only human beings are capable of doing. Let's please use this power to live a life that we all dreamed of as 8-year-olds.

Here's something useful. Facebook has launched a suicide prevention tool. If you come across a friend's account whose posts indicate they might have suicidal tendencies, you could help them. Youth Ki Awaaz has written a very helpful post on this, that can be accessed here: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2016/06/facebook-suicide-prevention-tool/

I believe everyone must know and make this tool known amongst the people we know. Seek and give help, whenever required.

And to my friend, I really hope you lived a life longer enough to have your own happy ending. Your time wasn't done yet. May your soul rest in peace.

Monday, June 13, 2016

On Turning 25: Work In Progress.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, June 13, 2016 4 comments

I turned 25 a little over a week ago. Which is the age for the new midlife crisis, by the way. Funnily enough, I am not very thrilled about it. I might have crossed yet another milestone with the most important people by my side, but the fact that I am turning older is catching up with me. I know 25 is not too old. A writer I know was telling me that turning 30 is far worse. But I am not anticipating the worst yet.

When I was 17, I badly wanted to turn 18. I wanted to belong to the adults club, be eligible to vote and to make my choices. But being my parents' kid, I now realize that making choices and doing things at my accord is still a luxury that I am never receiving. Even at 25.

I thought it was just me, who wanted to do everything, just everything before I turned a certain age. The obsession with remaining young and being able to do myriad things simultaneously isn't something that is mine alone. A lot of us believe that youth is the elixir of our lives. We talk about our college days with a spark in our eyes, nonetheless with a twinge of regret in our voice. "Oh, I wish I did a lot more than what I did when I was in college!" "Everything amazing in my life happened only when I was in my final semester." "I should have fallen in love when I was a teenager." "Life was so easier at 18." These are some of the most common things I hear my friends uttering. Like I already said, mid-life crisis is the new quarter-life crisis. My mother keeps saying that I was a six-year-old child when she was twenty-five and that she had bigger responsibilities in life - like managing a menace of a kid, and taking care of the entire household. (Thank God that our generation has exponentially transformed. We make our lives first before being a part of others lives.) I do not want to dwell on it much, actually, but the previous generations were neither obsessed with remaining young nor were they wary of responsibilities. They, in fact, wanted to grow old pretty fast. Being young, or let me put it this way, being recklessly young is a charming phase of our lives. It is probably one of the fewest phases of life where we are taken care of yet have the freedom to get away with most of our faults claiming that we are still young. Such are the conundrums of life!

The other impediment of growing older is that you begin to count your achievements. On a regular day, I am quite complacent with where I am, though I dream high and push myself a little more each day. But during my birthday, I freak out. I fill my head with inane thoughts. Always wondering if I am enough. If I am going to make it big someday. If I am ever going to see all the places I want to, be more and do more. I guess, after 25, your birthdays are pretty much a reality checker for you.

This birthday has been slightly different. It has not just given me a list of things to accomplish, it has done a lot more. It reminded me that I do not have to rush and fall flat in a hurry. I can walk firmly, enjoying the breeze and the bougainvillea trees around me. That I can stop and stare at the things that catch my gaze, and that I can surely spend my time reading more to grasp the splendour of words and Literature in a more pronounced manner. That I can keep moving forward as long as I am going somewhere. And more importantly, that I am a work in progress and there is a long way to go. Lots of miles to walk. Lots of stories to tell. Lots of lives to live.

Being 25 made me recognize that I'm just a work in progress!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Meant to Be.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Wednesday, June 08, 2016 0 comments

He sat across her in the coffee shop in a bookstore.
No one really knew what came first - the coffee shop or the bookstore.
Blissfully ignorant of the great world around him, he gulped down rounds of mojitos while mocking her love for books.
The world around him slowly transformed.
They parted ways.
She turned cold. And he, a stranger.
She moved across the world and found a new coffee shop with no bookstore.
He wandered off to a land where no one really valued books. Just like him.
Things evolved. People metamorphosed.
But the bookstore and the coffee shop still stood beside each other.
Years later, unmoved even by the biggest tribulations and renewals around them.
Some things are just meant to be, aren't they?


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