Monday, December 26, 2016

A Gleeful Farewell to 2016.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, December 26, 2016 2 comments

With the impending end of 2016, I'm so full of questions and thoughts. Sometimes, they are interfering with my inner peace, the other times, they are only providing a decent amount of fodder for squandering my time.

When I was writing a year-ender post last year, I had so much to tell that I literally cut down many paragraphs but this year, right from the time December arrived, I was fretting about what I have to write. Not because I have to write (which I have to), but also because these posts serve as reminders to all that I was in that particular year. Looking at the way 2016 panned out, it should obviously be the year that set its standards high for beating even the worst. But as a lot of people say...this is how life works. So, between being tangled and untangled, 2016 is a year where life happened to me. It was cruel. It made me vulnerable, but it also made me realize that a human being can be truly surprised what he can live with.

Every time I hit a rock bottom and overcome it, the survivor in me assumes that she is equipped for the worst. Another disaster, another victory, another bravado. But with every disaster, I fall flat and weep into the wee hours of the nights and try to hide my distressed eyes with copious amounts of eyeliner and mascara, the next morning. No matter how much and how well prepared I am for every disaster, I have my own share of fears and insecurities. However, like everyone, I also have an inner voice and in my case, it is a small girl who reminds me of the survivor that I am and urges me to show up. At any cost. And I do. And then, things get better. And happens again.

I remember this time in high school when I wanted to walk into a room and own it; to make conversations with absolute strangers. I wanted to be heard, understood, and more importantly, known. Despite having such strong wishes, I was meek and often too shy to even respond to the questions I was asked. As I grew old, it changed in bits and pieces, but in time, I developed an unhealthy relationship with my own self. To tame my thoughts and incoherency while building a deep connection with myself, I decided to start a blog one night around 5 years ago. I think this worked out well for me. It made me discover my voice, inner strengths and offered me a humble platform to speak. Sure, I still do not walk into a room and own it, but hey, I am getting there. As we speak, I am in the process of checking it off my list too.

This brings me to another vital factor - reading.

I always thought I'd measure my years with the amazing books that I read, but 2016 made me go nuts for one book very particularly - Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. Despite reading 75 books this year, discovering new writers and rediscovering many old favourites, I think Daytripper is something that left its mark on me. I'm totally holding on to this like I held on to The Great Expectations.

Talking about someone in past tense is annoyingly excruciating. Even more so, if it is your mother. After losing my mother in August, I've lost my wits and a sense of security. A lot of people say that I've changed a great deal, while the others comment that I have stopped sounding like myself. I was a carefree spirit in my mother's presence, but something has definitely changed inside of me after her death. I don't know what it is, and I will not try hard to put it into words, but a part of me is entirely convinced that at any point of time, anything can happen, and we're not in control of it. It is such an unfortunate truth, isn't it? We mask it by saying it's the beauty of life. But to me, there is nothing beautiful about loss. It changes and molds you in so many patterns that you probably don't recognize yourself when you look into the mirror one day. Harsh truth - it shouldn't change you for bad. The sense of security can be lost and regained, but if you lose the core essence of yourself, it's hard to gain control over it. First-hand experience, please do take it from me!

A lot of things that happened this year made me form stronger bonds with my family. I'm so grateful for that! I make it a point to take time for them now. Earlier, my friends and family always complained that I don't return calls or stay in touch, but I have taken a new leap in that too. I'm guessing they now complain that I am always texting or calling.

Sometimes, even a little amount of unwavering faith takes you a long way. I probably didn't realize that when I started seeing this boy almost a year ago, but in time, it makes me wonder about love. I've written and talked so often about it (Thanks to my unhealthy obsession with romantic comedies and dramas) and as it turns out so much of it is false because love neither comes in fancy packaging nor with tons of confetti. It probably comes in a pretty average but sturdy packaging. Or in the form of a boy who picks your battles like they're his own. I certainly don't have a knight in the shining armour and I don't ask for one. Because what I have is a living, breathing person who shields me like an armour. Sometimes, that's all I ask for. And an unwavering faith!

As I come to an end of this post and 2016, I totally know that I contradicted what I've said in the beginning - that I had nothing to talk or write about. But when I actually sat down to write, there was no stopping. So yes, here's to a slightly depressing but a great deal of learning that 2016 endowed on me. I'm not asking for a fabulous 2017, but I surely won't mind one that comes with pleasant surprises and goodness my way.

To everyone who made this year amazing and got me cupcakes, thank you. To everyone who did not, you all can have a happy New Year too!

P.S. Thank you for reading this unavoidably long post.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Beginning, In-between, and Ending.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, December 12, 2016 0 comments

Page no 319,
there was a forgotten coffee shop in the bylanes of a street that was used only for evening walks,
every evening, it was adorned with lights and its brown bricked walls held paintings of exotic places,
candles were lit on every table,
the visitors were few, but it was a secret getaway for a lot of people.
Most of the evenings, he walked in with her but today was different,
they walked in and out separately.

Page no 14,
there was always a new place in this part of the town,
sometimes a cafe, sometimes a night club,
people bonded over coffee and fell in love with each other over dances and music that'll be remembered for years.
She walked into one such new place, after taking a last look at herself in the mirror,
Dressed in white and blue, he stood on his feet as soon as he saw her.
A lot wasn't spoken on that day, the music was too loud and they were too shy,
the first flush of love, I remember, is always like that.

Page no 249,
happiness isn't the only prominent story of our lives,
melancholy and joy come in equal parts,
unfortunately, we fail to welcome them both in similar fashions.
We question sadness but accept happiness without any iota of doubt,
but together, he and she revelled in joy and got through sadness.

Page no 457,
a room that overlooked gigantic snowy mountains and a sunset that spread its oranges and yellows across the sky,
cups of tea were strewn across the table where they put their feet up,
it was cold but the setting sun's warmth and their intimacy did all that a thick blanket couldn't.
Stuck in a moment of love amidst nature was a dream they dreamt together, many nights ago.

Page no 75,
the drive to the unknown roads between brown hills was long,
but the longing to reach there was stronger than anything.
In between the setting sun and the music they carefully chose for the drive, they stared at the city they left behind,
there was a lot of silence and no words involved,
but there were bits and pieces of everything people new to romance ever wanted.

The beginning, middle, and the ending - we imagine all stories must have them.
We imagine our lives must have them and we do.
But not necessarily in the same order.
When we are all brewing stories of our own, just remember not to measure it in the scales of beginnings, middles, and endings.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Monday Morning.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Tuesday, December 06, 2016 1 comments
There was nothing enticing about this Monday morning. I wore my usual black pants with a white shirt. I applied my usual mascara and tangerine coloured lipstick. I picked my usual coffee and newspaper from the local cafe before proceeding towards the station to board a metro to my workplace. It was yet another mundane Monday morning and I was definitely not looking forward to it.

As I was waiting for a friend to join me at the station, I noticed a man sitting on a bench. He was rummaging through the contents of his bag as he muttered something incoherent. There was something awfully plain about him. Something awfully regular. I spent more seconds gazing at him as he finally fished a paperback out of his bag. He carefully plucked his spectacles from the inner pockets of his bag and drifted into his own world of reading. He was probably unaware of my presence, of people walking around him, of the man selling tea behind him, of vagrants collecting stray pieces of paper near his feet. He was oblivious to the arrival and departure of trains as I was oblivious to everything around me. Not very often you come across someone who pulls you into their world at the very first sight. Not because they have exotic coloured eyes or great hair. It is mostly because they are your own flavour of people.

I wished I could talk to him, though. It would have been brilliant, wouldn’t it? To forego the responsibilities of work and walk to the closest coffee shop with him. We’d eat breakfast and talk about how much I loved Woody Allen movies while he’d tell me how he did not like a particular movie of his. We’d order more cups of coffee while he’d excuse himself to smoke. He’d come back to rekindle forgotten memories and lost conversations; we’d talk about our first loves and first jobs. And when we’d walk out of the coffee shop, it’s a little late in the day and we’d decide to watch a movie. In the darkness of the movie hall, I’d look at his otherwise imperfect features in awe while he’d run his fingers on my wrist sending tingles down my spine. We’d look at each other in the darkness like we’ve known each other for days. I am afraid, for years! In the evening, we’d spend hours on my balcony staring at the sunset while sharing crammed secrets. He would tell me about the girl that broke his heart brutally while I’d tell him about the painful death of my pet.

It wouldn't have been perfect but it would have been something.

My reverie of thoughts was easily broken with a tap on my shoulder. My friend was here and it was time for us to leave. The awfully plain yet the perfect guy was not to be seen anywhere. He must have left when I was tirelessly concocting stories in my head.

As I boarded the metro with my friend, I told her, “I saw the perfect guy for me.”


“I should have told him a hi, ” I sighed.

But some stories were only meant to live in our head while I was meant to ruin my life with some more Excel sheets today.

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