Scared and Safe

 It seems like I go through these sine waves of anxiety and determination. I ride out the waves differently of course. It seems like the anxiety phases last longer than the determined phases. If you thought that being scared equates to being safe, you are not wrong. Think about the times, you have felt determined and done something, tossing caution to the wind. You'd have been in a pickle most of those times. 

Being scared is safe.
Being scared is okay.
Being scared means you have weighed in all the options. 
Being scared also probably means you are overthinking it.

When we say the word scared, we think danger. But it's how we perceive things that matters. Think about it as a line separating you and the danger. The part about "danger" is the opposite side of the line from you. Whereas you, on the other side of the line, are not in touch with danger. You are safe. You have options to seek shelter, to run away, to face the danger, that's up to you. But in the end, the other side of the line is safety.


It's A Wrap

After leaving home for work in 2012, going to Pune, India and then the USA, all my holidays have been time bound. It's always been a rush to meet people, go places, eat food, travel etc. Always time bound, always in a hurry. Before I knew it, the holidays would be over and I would have to go back to work.
Before all this, the way I passed time at home was writing poems, music, composing, recording, blogging and mostly on the internet doing all sorts of things, shut away in my room, shut away in my own world. It is April 2020 today and we are all in a lockdown due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. I am stranded in India after my LASIK surgery. I have been asked to not work for DB till an exception has been created for working from India. So I have time in my hands to do anything and everything else.
For a long time, I had been wanting to have a peaceful vacation at home without all the rush of meeting people and going out everyday. Getting stranded at home due to lockdown brought that with it. Days have been melting into each other and I have fallen into a kind of the same pattern as before. Doing chores at home, writing, playing music, recording etc.

What is scary about it is that there does not seem to have been any change in me from 2012.
It has been 8 years, I have worked in another state, another country and lived life to the full but here I am back to square one. Back to where everything started. Maybe it is a sign, the circle indicating a fresh start. But it is scary to see no difference between who I was 8 years ago and today. Almost a decade of no change. I've been so many places, done so many things yet I feel I never left this space as of today. It is eerily disconcerting. Being a nice, fun person is okay and everything but I went on and on with that and forgot to change. Most of my friends are married, have their own families and have changed professionally so much. I never quite progressed professionally. Somehow I always thought if I kept up my writing, singing music it would all come together one day and amount to something. It hasn't yet. Neither has my IT career wherein I still remain in a junior kind of position. I always concentrated on IT as a way to pay my bills so I could keep my hobby up. I also took up boxing, gym etc and went on a body building/toning regimen and got results there. But I'm back to no activity again. I am scared of myself today.

In the course of these 8 years, sure I have traveled a lot, made so much music, made amazing friends, started Latin Dancing, published 2 poetry books, released an album, completed certifications, got myself enrolled in an MBA program aimed to finish next year, bought my very first car, my first electric guitar. All these things done, yet a horrible empty feeling inside. Almost nauseating.
I have learnt a lot, seen so much and in my MBA still am learning yet I feel hollow and unfulfilled.

At this point, I still do not know what my future looks like. All I wanted was to have a good time in life, making music, hanging out with friends but nothing can happen without money. Money is scarce. Money is everything. Without money, there would be no cars, guitars, music, holidays, dates nothing. And as I grow older, the necessity for a higher amount of money is becoming more essential. I had my good time in life. I don't think it is going to continue anymore. It's such a state of directionless-ness that it is inexplicable.

Still, it is square one again. Maybe it's time to restart. Maybe it's time to wait and watch. Who knows?
But I have done so many things, tried my hands at so many things to earn money, to get popular for my hobbies and nothing has ever materialized. Maybe it is time to understand that I need to grow up and the fun part has to end. Maybe it is time to give up one of the boats because with my feet in two boats, clearly none have perceptibly moved. It's time to wrap up the show I guess. In any case, I have been accused of wallowing in sadness and writing only sad things n singing sad songs. Who wants that in this world eh? 

Moonlight Shadow

Siddharth Gupta. Sid. Alone since he was fourteen years old. He had moved to Pune when he was 20 to study. Having completed a master's in English literature, he worked for a small advertising firm as a junior copywriter. 

He was fond of writing in his spare time. Stories, poetry and memoirs filled up page after page in his diary. he had a few friends who he hung out with sometimes. But they never seemed to want to stay with him for long. He wasn't exactly an extrovert and had trouble getting along with most people. He had had a girlfriend once - a girl he was almost sure that he had been in love with in school but she had disappeared from his life like a speck of dust in the universe. He had probably been a speck of dust to her as well. He wrote about her in his journal for a few months. She said she had gotten bored of him and the relationship. She was a great girl. He wasn't a great guy. She wanted adventure. He wanted to play it safe. It blew up.

Sid lived alone in a house. The owners lived on the ground floor. He lived on the first. He had a nice big bedroom, a kitchen and a living room and had access to the terrace as well. That was the favorite part of the house. He would spend nights up there, looking up at the sky and writing in the dim light that seeped in from the bulb on the stairs. He went to work early in the morning and came back early evening, went to the terrace and wrote in his journal, came back and see that dinner had been served, ate dinner, listened to some music and then fell asleep. Most of his days were the same. The exceptions were the days he would meet  a friend for dinner or a drink somewhere.

It was the 16th of Dec, a cold night. Nevertheless, Sid would be going up to the terrace to write. He felt particularly inspired that night. He put on a jacket and wrapped a heavy shawl around his shoulders to keep arm. He put on some woolen socks to keep his feet warm. He hated distractions while he wrote. And the cold seeping in could be a distraction; he knew it very well. As he added the final touch to his outfit, a woolen cap, he looked at himself in the mirror and smiled. Maybe he would skip dinner tonight, he wasn't particularly hungry. But maybe all the writing would change that. 

He jogged up the stairs and opened the terrace door. It creaked open. Almost immediately, there was a shout from the ground floor - "Sid, make sure you shut the door when you are done, it's cold outside!" 
"Yeah, I will Uncle!" Sid shouted back.
"He has the ears of a cat" he thought to himself.
But he was a good tenant. Uncle did not have any complaints about him. Neither did Sid plan on getting any dirt on himself. It was difficult to find houses to rent for single males like him. Single Male -The toxic combination!

He sat down against the railing around the terrace. The night was pretty lit up from the bulbous white full moon that hung low in the sky. A dog howled somewhere. He opened his diary and started writing.

"The world lit up in white
the body lit up in white
the moonlight shadow the color of the insides,
What a night,
Glory be thy name, night.
(Somehow that sentence seems the most fitting in old English,
I can never write Glory be your name, night!
What is it about the sentence? Just habit or a degradation of it's worth?
I digress.)

The shadow.
Black as my insides.
The night,
Oh so glorious!
But why is there such a feeling of doom?
Impending dominance of the unknown.
Like sickening gasps swallowed
In an upturned body."

He paused and read it. When he wrote poetry, he usually let flow whatever churned out of his head. Guess this was the flavor tonight. Doom!

"Don't worry about a thing,
It's in nature to move up and down,
to slither in and out
of view, of  touch, of peace.
Like the moon, transitioning
over a month back to who She was;
but every time She comes back,
She is a little different,
a little more weathered,
a little more forgotten 
by those with perception.

So go, get changed, change, make change
be a little different everyday,
a step up, a step down, who cares?
Keep changing your body from white
to yellow to red to blue

through the whole spectrum;
your shadow remains black."

As his thoughts trailed off, he looked sideways to look at his own shadow on the ground. He started when he noticed he wasn't casting a shadow. He stood up and looked around. What! How is that possible? There was a full moon in the sky! He looked up and saw the moon had been covered by a cloud. The wind picked up, a chilly death of a flurry! He looked up again. The clouds parted and the moon shone out again, white and fluorescent. Still a little startled from a few seconds before, Sid gathered his shawl around him hurriedly and looked down again. No shadow again.  What was happening! He ran towards the stairs. It had been an hour he was up on the terrace. By this time, dinner was usually served. He thought of food as he ran. When he reached the top of the stairs and stood under the light, he looked around himself again. No shadow! What was happening?

He ran down the stairs to his apartment and opened the door and turned on the lights. It was cold inside and smelled musty unlike other days when it usually smelled of dinner. He looked around again and noticed he wasn't casting any shadows again. No idea what to do, Sid made his way towards the kitchen to look for food. Weird! There was no food cooked today. He usually cooked and served dinner so that once he was back, he could eat. "Strange evening!" he thought. He ate some cookies and drank some milk and decided to go to bed. There was a slight throbbing on his temple.

He decided he'd tackle everything the next morning. As he closed his eyes, drifting off, he heard Uncle shouting from the ground floor, "Sid! Have you left the terrace door open?" He muttered a silent 'Shit! I'm gonna get it tomorrow' and rolled over to the other side and dozed off.

Uncle came up the stairs and knocked on his door once and went up to the terrace. Sure enough, the door was open, the chilly wind barging into the house. He closed it and went back down the stairs. As he came to Sid's door, he debated if he should wake the boy up and rain down holy hell on him. He decided it would be done the next morning. Sid seemed to be asleep, the light was turned off and he didn't hear a sound.

He went back downstairs and called Sid's mother and told her what had transpired. It was unusual for him to do something like that. He usually had the same routine everyday. "Just check on him once tomorrow morning." Sid's mother told Uncle. "Sure!" said Uncle. "I hope he took his medicines. Well, anyway, I'll call you tomorrow morning! Goodnight." said Sid's mother. "Goodnight!"

Next morning, Uncle went up and knocked on Sid's door. There was no response. He knocked again. No response. Taking out his key copy, he unlocked the door. He found Sid still in bed, two cans of yellow and blue paint beside the bed. He called "Sid!" and turned him over. Siddharth was naked under the sheets, his whole body painted yellow and blue, quite dead.  His diary lay by his head, open on a page where he had written in large letters:

"There was no dinner. The shadow had disappeared."


The importance of getting suckerpunched

The importance of getting suckerpunched is a many tentacled octopus. It is dangerous but it allows you to understand what feeling out of breath means so you can appreciate the air that you breathe in more.
For years, my posts have been about how I feel like the victim all the time, always on the end of a super suckerpunch from life. Truth is, it's because I am scared. I am always on my toes about anything I do and that somehow tilts into me getting punched in the throat and my gutless gut. I tried the other way, not to be scared and just being there for everyone, being polite, doing things for people, just putting myself out there. Bam, Suckerpunch to the throat and my gutless gut.
Then I tried something else - opening up about it. Boy, that doesn't seem to have helped. There was another followup suckerpunch to that.
Hence, I'll fall. Take it as it is and go down and not get up.
There's no ways to it anymore.



It's been silent for sometime now. Emotions, feelings have been reprimanded, crushed and stepped on and buried more than six feet under. A plethora of elements from hard reality has taken over and shrouded dreams, imagination and freedom. As I move forward slowly and steadily through time, there's still the pangs of guilt and regret over what I did not do in time, there's yearning to still try and do it but reality has a rope around my neck and shackles around my feet and chains on my wrists. I try to give tangible form to anything abstract but I fail, over and over. I try to be myself, then someone else in repeated pirouettes and fail and fail miserably. I act calm; inside I am torn, screaming and desperate now. I rebel with what I can to defend my stance in the ugliness that keeps punching me in my guts, guts that have no intuition whatsoever anymore. I draw blanks, at parties, at meetings, on phone calls, in conversations, while laughing, while thinking, while sleeping. I lick the wounds only to be sprayed with salt again. Leverage my coldness and be ugly. Colors are as invisible as the distant parts of the universe we have no idea about. I cuss, I curse, I swear for I am the rat, scrounging amongst scraps. I breathe hard through my mouth to consume space and scratch myself to bleed for no reason. Potential turned upside down, like garbage strewn in the aftermath of convenes of ravenous, insidious, non-anodyne nobodies. I rage and hold grudges, jealously tugging at the others' stimuli to success. I intend, to transcend, but descend in seconds, to wild ruin. It's not like me to boil I tell myself but I am a volcano beneath. At several forks, I perceive the futility but the desire to slash has taken root. I erupt, I punch, I kick and bite, I ram and shove through my gutless mouth. Empty as graves, artificial as plastic, words spew and gush without thought. I elongate and falsify, I swell and testify, for injustices to my soul are injustices to my existence. 

There's no one I'd rather be than myself, but I don't know what that means yet. 



Halfway through 2019 and life has changed so much in the smaller pictures. In the bigger picture, it is still the same; I found some writing from 7-8 years ago where I have complained about being lost in life and being unhappy at my job. Fast forward all these years, I have moved cities, countries, continents and nothing seems to have changed in that scenario. All I seem to have done is made myself happy in the present. The future, as it were, remains untouched and un-thought of.

So what went wrong?

Did I get so carried away about living the moment and being in the present that I totally forgot what to make of the future? I didn't think I was that dumb. But now there is evidence. I lived the moment with people who are not even in my lives right now, who are settled and well off and happy. Pennies for dollars- that's what I traded. Sure enough, I got to travel shitloads, I moved to USA, I got to watch all my favorite artists live on stage, I released an album and two books of poetry and was asked to celebrate all the small victories but at the end, I realized I am still where I was 7-8 years ago when I wrote that piece. I talked about myself being someone who was good at nothing and dipping my fingers into everything but never really polishing or honing any talent whatsoever. I admit it still holds true. Of course, I have some experience of the adult world now but I am still trying to fit in somewhere and still have no idea, where that somewhere is.

I don't know if things have changed for the better or worse - I do live better but I live alone, I do get to earn more money which helps me get a lot of experiences in life but I don't have family or friends to spend it with, I do get 24 hours to myself to do whatever I want but I get those by myself without anyone to share it with, I do still have to work at a job I don't have a knack for in an industry I am burnt out in but I can't immediately make a switch because I have no experience or anything to fall back upon mostly because I wasted my years living in the moments and ignoring what my future would look like.

This is a big revelation, whoa - some post form 2011 echoing with the same emotions in 2019, I don't think I know quite what to make of it.  


In a room full of people, I love you.

 "You know how you're supposed to feel all tingly and romantic when he says "I love you" to you the first time?
I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with you. "

Well, I didn't. I panicked.

We were in a room full of people, people who were my close friends - it was a small party- but no one knew we had been dating for a while. The secretiveness of it made everything more exciting somehow.

We were talking about a new dress I had been designing. Suddenly, out of the blue, right in the middle of the conversation, he said with the greatest ease, "Hey, I love you".

I just kind of got caught by surprise and then I got anxious. Panic crashed onto the shore in waves and spread through my body in an instant. I looked around frantically to check if anyone had overheard. I really hadn't been expecting this!

No one was near enough to have overheard. "Whew!" went my brain.

I turned back to him and smiled. "What a smart idiot this one was! Springing it on me out of nowhere! Making sure no one was around", I thought.  He had chosen the moment wisely. It also seemed that he had expected the panic and was waiting for my reaction patiently. He grinned cheekily at me.

"I love you too", I whispered.

"You're so beautiful." he whispered back, staring straight into my eyes and tucked a strand of hair behind my ears. And with that, the goosebumps rushed in.

From those days of hushed and secretive "I love you"s in rooms full of people to today when here we are here, standing at the altar, in front of everyone, not one bit of the excitement has diminished.

Scared and Safe

 It seems like I go through these sine waves of anxiety and determination. I ride out the waves differently of course. It seems like the anx...