To be or not to be

It’s nights like these

when I feel like

an irony living

within itself

radiating love

yet

feeling unloved.

It’s night like these

when I can’t recognize

what tomorrow holds

or recall

what yesterday held.

I feel

like an insect

crawling through

the leaf of life

threatened

that one would

step over me

intentionally

or unintentionally

and I will not

be able to handle

the weight

for long.

It’s night like these

when I truly feel

the brokenness

raging within me,

questioning

whether to be

or not to be.

And I don’t know

when I’ll be whole again.

Or if

I will

be whole

again.

-Muskan Lamba (14.06.2017)

Warmth is slowly engulfing me

Dark days.

I can’t swim,

I can’t rise.

I am defeated

by the weight

of my own

shoulders.

I can’t carry myself

toward the light

I willingly see at the end of the tunnel.

Why do I feel trapped

when I know deep down

there’s a world inside

perhaps tens or thousands

that I fail to

acknowledge?

There’s a light inside

but not bright enough

for all the dark places to be lit.

And there’s warmth, too

but not warm enough

to push aside the coldness for too long.

They say

make warmth your friend

and it’ll solemnly protect you.

But, what if

it’s the exact opposite?

What if

the cold is who I must befriend?

What if

the warmth is only here

to engulf me?

What if…

5 favourite quotes of the week (7/52)

1. I used to see a butterfly in my mind’s eye every time I heard the word ‘transformation’, but life has schooled me. Transformation isn’t a butterfly. It’s the thing before you get to be a pretty bug flying away. It’s huddling in the dark cocoon and then pushing your way out. It’s the messy work you have ahead of you; of making sense of your fortunes and misfortunes, desires and doubts, hangups and sorrows, actions and accidents, mistakes and successes, so that you can go on and become the person you must next become. The one who doesn’t wallow in her own despair. -CHERYL STRAYED, Dear Sugar

2. The year of letting go, of understanding loss. Grace. Of the word ‘no’ and also being able to say ‘you are not kind’. The year of humanity/humility. When the whole world couldn’t get out of bed. Everyone I’ve met this year, says the same thing ‘You are so easy to be around, how do you do that?’. The year I broke open and dug out all the rot with own hands. The year I learnt small talk. And how to smile at strangers. The year I understood that I am my best when I reach out and ask ‘Do you want to be my friend?’. The year of sugar, everywhere. Softness. Sweetness. Honey honey. The year of being alone, and learning how much I like it. The year of hugging people I don’t know, because I want to know them. The year I made peace and love, right here. -WARSAN SHIRE

3. You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life. -WALT WHITMAN

4. I don’t know much of grace. I don’t know how to accept love when it arrives at my door. What I do know are quiet moments. Moments that do not demand an answer. They simply exist. You know them when you feel them. And you’re okay with them. Because they’re all you have. -CHRISTOPHER POINDEXTER

5. Think about this for a moment. People sparkle and shine when things are going well for them. They are bright and full of color, basking in the light of the sun. However, when it is dark out, when things are going badly, only those with a light within themselves will show their true beauty. The others, while still there, are nowhere near as beautiful, as their light has gone dim. By keeping our light on, we help to strengthen ourselves and others. Not by trickery or by pretending that nothing is wrong, but by being a light for others despite what is going on in our lives. We become an example of perseverance and strength to others who might be having doubts. Those with an inner light are like lighthouses to those who are lost in the darkness. That light helps to reassure them that things are alright, or that they can be endured. That light helps them find their way, and guides them towards their goals. That light can be a life saver, or a comfort in their final days. And by keeping our own light on, we can also comfort ourselves. We can remind ourselves of our own strength, and our own will to continue, even when things seem particularly dark. Sometimes this can be the most important reason of all to keep our inner light burning brightly. -UNKNOWN

The power of thoughts

This became my favourite building while I was in Tokyo last year. It was right next to my hotel. Everyday, when I waited to cross the road, I’d capture a picture of it. The building intrigued me so much, even though there was nothing too interesting about its structure or appearance. It had reflective glass windows and they reflected openness to me. The building didn’t have a particular image of its own that I remember of. It only reflected what it was surrounded by and as a result, kept changing. 

I can relate this to how we as human beings are nothing but a reflection of our environment. Or to put it the other way around, the environment which we surround ourselves with is very often a direct expression of our state of mind. In an article that I read a few days back, it emphasized on how our life keeps a track of all our thoughts – thoughts are like seeds we’re planting in the brain. 

It’s our tendency to subconsciously ask ourselves questions like, “Why am I so unhappy?”, “How come I can never get ahead?”, “Why are other people so much better off than I am?” or “Why am I not good enough?” And I’ve realized this through and through that life is bound to answer all of these questions. For instance, when you constantly complain about being sad and ask “Why me?”, life will tell you exactly why it’s you, making you notice the unhappiest of moments and then motivating you to make further disempowering assumptions. If the questions you ask are negative, the answers will always show up as you being unhappy, no matter how many good things happen to you. You’ll only end up focusing on the bad. 

You can’t keep your thoughts a secret from the environment, they’re like the best buddies ever.

I swear we are one. But, are we, really?

Dear you,

So much is happening, and I am open to the good. But, is the good open to me too?

They say the person who occupies your mind while you’re looking at the the sea or the sky – that’s who you are in love with. 

Today, when I stepped outside my house, the sky was roaring your name. Rawr-ing as we used to call it. Patches of silver, tints of blue and subtle greys here and there reminded me of the baby heavens in your eyes. I don’t let myself think about you, but when I do, there’s no way out. It consumes all of me. 

Loving you is its own kind of feeling; never gets old, never gets rust. It’s a new experience every day, and I deeply cherish this feeling, even though I made it hard for you to reciprocate it. It should’ve worked the other way round, but not seeing you for sixty three days has made forgetting so much harder than it already is. You have a certain vibe of your own and I don’t think anyone can ever get close to radiating a glow similar to that of your smile. It’s still vivid in my head and bustling inside my heart.

You pulled me into a box full of forevers and shut its lids close. Now that we are apart, I’ll be waiting for you. I could spend an eternity waiting if only I knew you were coming. You have been so close to me yet so far. We’re like the two sides of the same coin. I wonder if we’d ever know ourselves for who we truly are. We are the opposites of the same magnet, different pages of the same book, petals of the same flower and wings of the same bird. Always on the verge of meeting but a bleak division sets us apart. 

I swear we are one. But, are we, really?

On happiness

..and then it occurred to me, maybe happiness is really just one of the simplest things to find. Maybe we have just been looking for it in all the wrong places.

I don’t like comparing my life to a roller coaster ride. It’s cliché. There are days I feel stuck and there’s no way out of self-questioning and over-analysing. Such days aren’t everlasting but they kill my vibe. The fact that the very next day I have to start all over, feeling positive and happy, does not make sense to me because at that moment, it seems close to impossible. Happiness feels like a distant destination. But I am tired of explaining to myself and the people around that happiness is not an end point. It’s not a goddamn (spelled earlier: doggamn. sigh.) destination. 

It’s hard to understand but when I think about it, it makes perfect sense. We are always chasing something to achieve ‘happiness in the future’. It’s such a flawed concept, constantly thinking ‘soon I’ll be done with my exams, and the stress will go away’/’just a few more days until holidays, and then I can go back to being my joyful self’/’I wish I get an A grade in math because that’d make me ecstatic’/’I want to get that guy slash girl, s/he’s my key to ultimate happiness’/other xyz stuff we think might help us be satisfied with life. 

There’ll always be one reason to seek ‘happiness in the future’. But happiness is not about tomorrow, not about the day after; not about what you have or do not have; definitely not about the possibilities of the future. For a long time it seemed to me that happiness is ‘on its way’. It was not until a series of disappointments that I realized there’ll always be an obstacle.

The right time to be happy never comes, even if we look forward to it with all our might. The right time doesn’t have to come. It is now.

5 favourite quotes of the week (6/52)

1. As Estha stirred the thick jam he thought Two Thoughts and the Two Thoughts he thought were these: a) Anything can happen to anyone. and b) It is best to be prepared. -ARUNDHATI ROY, The God of Small Things

2. There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences. -WALLACE STEGNER, All The Little Live Things

3. In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart. -ANNE FRANK, The Diary of a Young Girl

4. Not everything is supposed to become something beautiful and long-lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to show you what is right and what is wrong, to show you who you can be, to teach you to love yourself, to make you feel better for a little while, or to just be someone to walk with at night and spill your life to. Not everyone is going to stay forever, and we still have to keep on going and thank them for what they’ve given us. -EMERY ALLEN

5. But just because you can never reach it, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth looking for. -NORTON JUSTER, The Phantom Tollbooth

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5 favourite quotes of the week (5/52)

1. How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. -ANNE FRANK, The Diary of a Young Girl

2. There is a loneliness that can be rocked. Arms crossed, knees drawn up, holding, holding on, this motion, unlike a ship’s, smooths and contains the rocker. It’s an inside kind — wrapped tight like skin. Then there is the loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive. On its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place. -TONI MORRISON, Beloved

3. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are. -J. K. ROWLING, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

4. And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good. -JOHN STEINBECK, East of Eden

5. Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living. -JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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5 favourite quotes of the week (4/52)

1. You may not see it now but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way. Why, when a housefly flaps his wings, a breeze goes round the world; when a speck of dust falls to the ground, the entire planet weighs a little more; and when you stamp your foot, the earth moves slightly off its course. Whenever you laugh, gladness spreads like the ripples in the pond; and whenever you’re sad, no one anywhere can be really happy. And it’s much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer. -NORTON JUSTER, The Phantom Tollbooth

2. There’s so much more to life than finding someone who will want you, or being sad over someone who doesn’t. There’s a lot of wonderful time to be spent discovering yourself without hoping someone will fall in love with you along the way, and it doesn’t need to be painful or empty. You need to fill yourself up with love. Not anyone else. Become a whole being on your own. Go on adventures, fall asleep in the woods with friends, wander around the city at night, sit in a coffee shop on your own, write on bathroom stalls, leave notes in library books, dress up for yourself, give to others, smile a lot. Do all things with love, but don’t romanticize life like you can’t survive without it. Live for yourself and be happy on your own. It isn’t any less beautiful, I promise. -EMERY ALLEN

3. Life happens in a certain place for a certain time. But there is a great surplus left over and where will we stow it but in our dreams? -RANA DASGUPTA, Solo

4. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. -MAYA ANGELOU, I Know Why The Cage Bird Sings

5. I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart: I am, I am, I am. -SYLVIA PLATH, The Bell Jar

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5 favourite quotes of the week (3/52)

1. The most important thing in all human relationships is conversation, but people don’t talk anymore, they don’t sit down to talk and listen. They go to the theater, the cinema, watch television, listen to the radio, read books, but they almost never talk. If we want to change the world, we have to go back to a time when warriors would gather around a fire and tell stories. -PAULO COELHO

2. Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had. -F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, The Great Gatsby

3. You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons. -NORTON JUSTER, The Phantom Tollbooth

4. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. ROWLING, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

5. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. -J. K. ROWLING

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