Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Thoughts, Rants, Confusion, and No Conclusion.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Wednesday, January 25, 2017 0 comments

Despite all the fun and frolic we 90s kids claim to have, quite a few things were rough for us. Either we were uninformed or ill-informed. And God forbid you're a girl, things were only bizarre for you. Where am I going with this, you ask? Simple! I was watching a TV series which runs on a plot where high schoolers deal with things that matter to them - their future, their dreams, their issues with their families and themselves while exploring their sexuality. When I was in high-school, I was alien to this. I particularly remember that we had a cohort of girls in class who took the responsibility of moral know...basically everything. Now I am not trying to take a personal dig at them, but they made it pretty hard for students to have conversations with individuals of the opposite sex. So, let alone receiving knowledge on things that you should at the right age, it was also forbidden to forge healthy relationships with people from the opposite sex.

And we all know how enticing the forbidden fruit is, don't we?

I am not really sure if the teenagers now are into slam books, but when I was one, we had a rather detrimental obsession with them. Obviously, because it was one place where you either poured yourself out. For a lot of us, it was an easy escape into a world that elders never knew of - it was a safe place where you could tell if you were crushing on the fairest of all or truly admit that you wanted to be a singer and not a doctor when you grew up. I remember this night when I had to tear my slam book to bits because my friends had written their secrets and I was worried someone might read them. That night, I tore more than just pages, I tore down the only reminder of all that we could have been and all that we weren't.

At a tender age when we're supposed to know what's right and what's not, we are often misled and made to believe things that aren't true. That having creative dreams isn't financially viable and that sex is a bad thing that bad people do, or that talking to someone from an opposite gender is a crime, and that trying to voice out your opinion no matter how strongly you believe in is incorrect. You get the drift, the sheer ludicrosity is endless! (I'm still referring to things in the present tense because so much hasn't changed yet.)

In my own little time, I've realized that we were taught different things instead. For instance, relinquishing our billion dollar ideas and compromising on our million dollar smiles. We were brainwashed that experimenting with life and its misadventures isn't a luxury we could exercise. We were taught to be cautious without logic, to remain PG13 forever, and more importantly, to stay unaware. We were implored to be embarrassed but never unabashed.

Honestly, what were (and maybe still are) we trying to get at? Be ill-informed at 15, embrace confusion at 16, turn reticent at 17, and at 18, be legally under the control of people around us and imprison our dreams and decisions in the realms to our quiet minds.

But then are our dreams, discoveries, and curiosities better confined to the inner pages of slam books and personal journals? Let's take a moment to ponder.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Twenty For a Friend.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Monday, January 23, 2017 0 comments

Too many worthless days were spent in search of a friend,
Who could fill the void of afternoon shadows.
The nights were also spent in vain,
For I found none who could ease my 3 AM panic attacks.
In an inordinately self-conceited manner, I pursued my search,
Sometimes, there was a sign.
The other times, it was just my imagination.

One evening, I was taking a stroll in the neighbourhood,
The sun was setting afar and the birds were cooing in silence.
Familiar face turned up at the park I was walking by,
Lost among those familiar faces was an unfamiliar one - a street hawker with a hoard of second-hand books.
Funny how I ignored and walked past his space for the next five days,
Because who knew I'd find what I was looking for, right there?

Late one rainy night when I ended up near his store for shelter, he insisted I take a book.
But for a person who never read, what am I to do with a book?
Leaving me with no choice, I quickly began to scan the books,
There was Munshi Premchand, Robert Ludlum, Jeffrey Archer and more.
Tucked in the corner was one Raymond Carver's book with fuzzy ends and stains,
Even weeks after I bought it, it only rested majestically on my wooden shelf.
Dust and mites became its friends and it kept gathering more in time,
Before I picked it one shameful night to discard it away.

The first page of it held a handwritten note:

"Nights are brutal and mornings are cruel.
But for all the moments that are unpleasant, fill my words and love to your heart's content."

Fascinated by the little note, I delved into the short stories hoping to find an inner meaning,
When I found none, I spent more worthless days and nights in vain,
Trying harder and looking deeper for something I had no clue about.
But when all else failed, I found what I was looking for - a friend,
A friend who sometimes was my pillow of comfort but mostly a reality check I desired,
A friend who was the best 20 rupees I ever invested in.
Do friendships always come with a price?

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Discomfort of Looking At You.

By Sunaina Patnaik at Friday, January 20, 2017 0 comments

She kept counting till hundred to avoid the discomfort of looking at you.
With a daylight of difference between what you both were and what you both aren't,
With months of space between being in love and being broken by love,
And now with just a tiny, largely inconsiderable amount of distance from where you sat,
She found her thoughts fumbling and lips trembling.

The sound of your name and the familiarity of your scent did no good to her fleeting emotions. But she had to avoid the discomfort of looking at you.
So, she looked across the room to shift her focus and the broken heart from your twisting fingers. The girl on your side was having her wine with no little interest and the man beside her was struggling with his shoelace.
She counted 5 chairs, two inflated bean bags, and an unkempt bed sheet. There were bookmarks without any sight of books and a box of vinyl records without labels.
And then there was a flickering bulb and shattered pieces of glass from last night.
She always knew your friends were wild but you, you were different. You were the solace to her calamity and the silence to her chaos.
You never liked mess just the way you never knew how to make one.

Everyone around you knew she was regarding things in the room to avoid the discomfort of looking at you. Maybe you did too, but you chose to ignore it. Even when your eyes met, ephemerally. A lot of unsaid, unsavoury words hung in the air and more importantly, the luscious days of youth you spent together brought back flashes of memories she refused to revisit.

One hundred...One hundred and one...One hundred and two...
She kept counting without a pause to avoid looking at you.
But as she sat in this room with you, living and breathing the same air as you did,
She only hoped that she could rebuild her life on words, and this time, without you in between the lines.


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