To live a life unimagined.

It's the little things that take you by surprise. Living in a city you'd never have imagined living in before, a year and a half ago. Coming home to an empty flat after work. It turned into home the day you stopped searching for intruders as soon as you entered. It turned into home the night you left your knife in the kitchen, instead of keeping it by your bed. Buying vegetables instead of fruit because vegetables are cheaper. Refusing to buy a tub of  ice cream because it's too expensive - it could get you two days' worth of food. And then blowing up your money anyway, in a shady bar after work, with colleagues. The little things. Walking to work, to work, not college. Having to do things even when you don't feel like doing them. Having to think and to write when you can't, you just can't think or write, and then you learn - the hard way - that you don't have a choice. Dishes.

The little things make you soar. A cup of coffee, early in the morning, on the balcony, before the world's started to stir. Ecstasy. All those cliches about sunrises and new days and mornings? They seem true in that moment. Green tea, in the same place, on the same spot, when the world is drifting off to sleep. It seems so mundane, but it's part of a constant search for peace. And peace, you're starting to realise, comes in tiny parcels. Moments of quiet. Seconds of harmony. And yet, it matters. Cleaning the house. Dusting and sweeping and moving mattresses and doing the dishes and restocking the fridge and tackling bathroom drains. You were never cut out for domesticity, but it's teaching you something college never did: discipline.

There's nothing particularly exciting about this life. You're not making much money, you're living a hand-to-mouth existence, work tires you, it tires your brain, so you put off that phone call to an old friend, you don't pick up the book you've been planning to read. You don't travel, who has the time. But no, you've travelled through people. You're friends with people you didn't know existed six months ago, you've learnt how to like people without being their friend, you're constantly baffled by their stupidity, their intelligence, their quirks, their humanness. It's another important lesson that this year of being on your own, and trying desperately to carve your place in the world has taught you. You can travel through people, not just places. 

But still. It's not an exciting life. It's not the kind of life you imagined for yourself - you're not traipsing through London's streets, you're not editing books in Delhi, giving life to untold stories. You're not studying history, you're not writing, you're not doing a lot of things you imagined doing. Instead, you're doing something you vowed as a teenager never to do: coming to an office, typing things on a computer, sitting under tubelights. (But there's a secret they never tell you. An office can be more fulfilling, more exciting, more thrilling than any seashore if you're doing what you love.)

And sometimes, often when you're doing something incredibly boring, the realisation hits, such a physical reaction that it makes you shiver. You would never, ever have imagined this life two years ago. You would never have predicted it. And that, oddly, is comforting. It might not seem as exciting as the lives you haven't lived. But you've remained true to yourself in one essential way: you're building your own road. By yourself. And you don't know where it will take you. The way is hidden by new dreams that are still being born. 



Once again, I feel like writing (okay, I don't, I'm just putting off writing radio scripts). And once again, I have nothing to write about (okay, I do, but I don't feel like writing about that). So I will write about my mother because that's always fun. Especially for my father.

She just left Bangalore after paying me a week-long visit. Here are some excerpts.

1. "I irritate you? *I* irritate *YOU*? Believe me, I don't irritate you as much as you irritate me. NO, YOU IRRITATE ME MORE. NO, YOU. NO, YOU. NO, I AM NOT BEING CHILDISH. STOP IRRITATING ME."

2. "Fine order the cookie, but don't expect me to have half of it. I'll just have a bite, you have to finish the rest yourself."

*Five minutes later*

"Oops. I think I ate half the cookie. How did that happen?"

(I didn't know either.)

3. "Fine, if I nag you so much, I'm not talking to you. Nope, I'm not going to say a word.

*Ten minutes later*

"Baby, I don't want to go away. I'm going to miss you. Huh? When did I say I wouldn't talk to you?  I don't remember that. Babyyyyy....."

4. "I think it's time to close a door on that relationship."
     *Five minutes later*
    "If you want, I'll buy you a ticket next year so you can go to him and fix things."
(This swinging stance went on for a while. She was more confused about the aforementioned relationship than I was. But I'm happy to report that I talked her through it and she's in a better place now.)

"It's important never to judge a book by its cover."

*A little later*

"Eesh. Why is that woman so FAT?"

"You know I've gotten better looking as I've grown older. And I think that's going to happen to you too. So when things are bad, baby, and you need a reason to keep going, just remember that you're going to improve with age. Doesn't that make being alive more comforting?"

(It sort of does.)

"Don't drink, baby. You're not supposed to drink anymore. Stick to soda, okay?"

I come home, alcohol free. She's leaping around with a glass of wine.

"I think I'm drunk. Tee hee."

But the weird thing is I miss her already and I miss her everyday.
Well, okay. Most days.



Days like this.

There's nothing I enjoy more than having existential crises and feeling that life is futile and locking myself up at home, chain smoking and feeling sorry for myself. But on a day like this...on a day like this, I wake up in the morning and feel sparkling, glad just to be alive. Light filters in through my window, littering my room with promises. On the walk to work, I notice things. The sharp outline of leaves on trees against a fresh sky, the intensity of their greenness. The scent of mangoes and of wood from the dilapidated carts they're piled up on. Stray thoughts of people I love; there are so many people I love.Catching a glimpse of my reflection on a shop window and feeling rather pretty. And some sort of elusive, tantalising feeling that I'm at one with the earth. That it knows who I am, although I don't. That it knows who I'm going to be. And because it knows, I don't have to worry, I don't have to be anxious, I can just let things unfold with time. Sometimes I'll float with the tide, sometimes I'll swim for the goal. I spend a lot of my time feeling as though I'm fighting a battle against life, but on days like this, on days like this, we agree to a truce. Or perhaps, I'm hit by the realisation that we're fighting on the same side.

Until tomorrow anyway.

P.S. And, on top of everything else, this just arrived from PM and my dad. Ah, days like this.



I've been wanting to write for a long time, but I have nothing to write about. Actually I do, but not stuff I want people to read.

Anyway, just to keep this blog going.

Last week, on my way to the gym, I noticed my shoelace was coming undone. I trip a lot even when they're tied properly, so I didn't want to take a chance. I bent down and was busy tying it. (It takes a lot of concentration for me to perform even ostensibly simple activities like this.)

I felt something warm on my cheek, something warm that didn't smell too pleasant. I looked up. A cow was standing next to me. Sniffing me.

That's pretty much the most exciting thing that's happened to me the past two weeks.

Just keeping you posted.