Dear Library…

Come Sunday, I’ll be in a place I call ‘home’ in every sense of the word! The mere thought makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I badly need the change of scene.

Last night, while on the verge of falling asleep, I remembered something that I had wanted to write about. I read something a couple of months ago and made a mental note to blog about it whenever I found time. But then, I got busy (like always) and the ‘note’ was pushed off to some corner of my mind. Only to resurface as a half-conscious thought, last night.

I came across this article in The Guardian about libraries – how they were ‘in danger’ and about a campaign that invited readers across the globe to write “love letters to their favourite libraries”. The idea had an instant connect with me and I knew that I wanted to write one, too.

My love-letter is to a very special library, one that does not exist anymore. Sometime in 2004, when I was in 8th standard, our school campus was relocated. While the library was, technically, shifted to another place, it wasn’t the same as the one we had in the old school. That library will always be a part of my fondest and most cherished school memories, for reasons more than one.

So..here goes!

Dear Library, 

You might not remember me but I could never forget you. They say you always hold your first love as a dear memory. I think that applies for libraries as well. Atleast for a bookworm like me. 

You were my very first library (and love)! I remember getting a glimpse of your interior sometime when I was in 1st or 2nd grade. Since then, I couldn’t wait to get inside and check out all those books. Finally, when I did enter the room, a year or so later, I was on cloud nine! It was love at first sight!

Dimly lit, with a mysterious air that hinted at all the treasure troves (read: books) waiting to be discovered, you had an old world charm about you. I loved spending time there, amidst shelves and shelves of books. We used to have a Library hour once every week and I remember waiting for it so eagerly. Waiting to meet you, to explore all that you had to offer me. Crossing your threshold was like entering into an entire new world, a space where everything else ceased to exist. It was just me, you and books. Even the air smelt of books, old and slightly tattered, adding to the magic. 

You introduced me to Enid Blyton. I couldn’t get enough of Famous Five and the Five Find-Outers. I kept yearning to see more of you, and read more. You helped me take the first step into ‘Bookwormland’ and guided me along the journey, delighting me with the beautiful classics you held. I remember those years as a blur of Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, E. Nesbit (to name a few) and gems like Anne of Green Gables, Pollyanna and Jane Eyre. 

I could never thank you enough for all that you have done for me. In so many ways, you made me what I am today. Hell, you might very well be the reason I write! Even though we had to part ways, I’ll never forget the time I spent with you, the happiness you gifted me. I know I never told you, but I love you; I always will. I believe you knew it all along. Every time I see the present library, or any library for that matter , I think of you and miss you. This is my way of trying to give back atleast a tiny bit of what you’ve given to me. 

Yours,

An ardent reader/admirer

In the Wake of the Void…

People keep coming into your life. It’s all part of the ride. But then, meetings inevitably lead to partings. And, you know what’s the worst part (atleast, for me) when a person leaves, be it for the time being or for good? The void they leave behind…that inescapable hollow feeling when you sense the empty space in your life that they once occupied. As much as I love being with dear ones, I hate having to confront this void.

As mentioned in the previous post, my sister was here for a few days. She left on Saturday. And I was left face-to-face with a gaping hole that was the remnant of her presence here with me. Coming back to the room, knowing I was going to be by myself all over again…it was hell! Next day, I couldn’t bring myself to go out because I knew I would be reminded of all the times we had passed by those paths in the past few days. So, I stayed in.

Later, sometime at night, I had a talk with Kiran. I was surprised when she mentioned something along the same lines. She said that the worst part about people stepping out of your life was the memories they left behind. All you have to remember them by are those memories. My youngest sister, Ann, also said something similar – “The pain will be there as long as you are surrounded by stuff that reminds you of them.”

I might get over this situation in a couple of days. But it led me to think of all the friends I miss or have lost contact with…friends who have left a void and faded off, the intensity of it diminishing with each passing day yet refusing to disappear completely. And I felt a little lost. Disoriented would be a better word, I suppose. Take a moment and think of every single person who has moved out of your life, whom you miss in your own ways…and you might understandMemories what I’m talking about. Isn’t it disconcerting when you ponder over how much everything has changed, right from the person you are to the people in your life? That’s precisely what I felt when I had this train of thought yesterday.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I miss my sister. I miss some of the people who had been with me at different points in life. Nevertheless, I guess I’ve learnt to live with this emotion and all that it entails (writing helps immensely!).

Considering it’s the end of the year, I thought it would be the right time to put out this post. For everyone who has been/is part of my life, thank you for leaving me with a treasure trove of memories. I miss you in my own way. 🙂

 

[ P.S: For all the assholes who were in my life, the above message isn’t applicable to you. But yeah, thank you..for all the lessons I learnt, the hard way…for being the reason I could recognize your kind, later in life. You’re lucky I’m stopping at that. ]

Rain, Rain, Come Again :)

It’s night-time. Dark, silent (almost) and a tiny bit eerie. I don’t remember the last time I stayed up to blog. Since afternoon, there have been so many thoughts in my mind that I can’t help but sit down and let them out. Considering how lazy I can be, it surprises me that I’m staying up to write about some random thoughts I had earlier during the day. Maybe the fact that I could not go to sleep without doing this shows how much of an impact these thoughts have had on me.

I had been feeling quite low for the past couple of days.

Today afternoon, while walking back home with a friend, it started drizzling. It wasn’t unusual (it has been raining on and off during the past few weeks) or sudden (it has been cloudy for a couple of days). But it changed something within me. It felt good. I felt an urge to stay out in the rain for a while longer. It evoked a kind of happiness in me that I can’t seem to explain. It was not an overwhelming emotion…just plain happiness. A good feeling within, just a sense of being content and happy with wherever I was at that particular point in life. I went up to the terrace and sat there for a while. The rain had stopped by then but I knew it wouldn’t be long before it returned. At that moment, sitting there, watching the sky and lost in thoughts, I felt a deep sense of contentment with life. Almost like I was living solely in that moment. Even though I believe in the concept of living one’s life fully and in the moment, I have to admit that I hardly ever come across moments like this. And when I do, they touch me far deeper than ever; they leave me filled with thoughts that demand to be let out! (Right now, I feel flooded by so many thoughts, I don’t know which ones to let out!)

Since it was the rain that led to this “outpour” of thoughts, I suppose I’ll let rain take the limelight here. Today, while it was raining, I had so many thoughts going through my mind…and when I paid attention to these passing thoughts, I realized that they were mostly vivid memories, all related to rain. Some of them were almost long-forgotten. I thought I’d list out a few, to pore over on some other rainy day.

Rain reminds me of:

1) How I used to long for rainy days during childhood. I loved floating paper boats in the puddles, getting drenched in the rain (although that rarely happened) or just listening to the rain falling outside. Since rain wasn’t very common, I used to love whenever it rained, even if it meant mess and mud and dampness.

2) Schooldays! I loved going to school on rainy days. Inspite of the fact that I hated getting my feet wet, I enjoyed rainy school days. I used to love the small puddles on the school ground. Not the messy corridors, though. We used to make excuses or happily carry out errands for the teachers, just to get out of class and go out in the rain.

3) Quite contrary to school time, I hated rain during college. Perhaps because there was an excess of it! I dreaded going to class on rainy days. I hated the muddy paths, the drenched uniforms, the cold, everything! One distinct memory is of an instance when one moment, we  (classmates) were all walking slowly, ‘navigating’ around muddy puddles and talking, and the next moment, it started raining cats and dogs, and we ran to find shelter, splashing mud all around (need I add we ended up looking very much pitiable).

4) Songs. Experiences – Every time it rains, the first song to come to mind is Unnai Kandane (Parijatham). It has become almost synonymous to rain. Apart from all the memories of travelling on rainy days or of curling up in the bed, listening to the rain outside, another rainy experience I’ll always remember is the one I had while I was at Kochi – going up to the terrace with a PGmate/friend and enjoying the rain.  Evidently, it was good enough to make me blog about it. The memory and the post, in particular, have immense significance for me!

5) And now, rain will always remind me of today and the happiness it brought forth in me. Because it happened at a point when I badly needed it. Or perhaps, because it made me see things I had been overlooking, like the need to be happy by oneself.

So, what does rain remind you of? 

 

 

This and That… – Basically, Thoughts

It was Onam yesterday, and I got two days off from work. Since I’m away from home, it was mostly like any other day, nothing special. When I spoke to dad, he asked

English: Pookalam during Onam days in Irinjala...

me what was happening for Onam and I had nothing to tell him. Because there’s nothing happening over here. And that made me think. All these religious or cultural festivals mean nothing to me. I get a holiday, which is great. And…well, that’s it. I haven’t felt an attachment to any of them that would make it special for me. And why? Because it was always the presence of my family that made any day significant for me.

Christmas is my favourite festival and time of the year. Now, when I try to understand why, I don’t have an answer. I’m not religious, I don’t attach any significance to the beliefs or practices behind Christmas. But it is special, nevertheless. Very much so. Because it was always special for my family. They made it different for me. Their enthusiasm, interest and spirited approach to the festival is my most vivid memory connected to it. Which is probably why it has always been so exceptional for me.

Over here, so far away from my family, all these special days have lost their charm, for me. They don’t mean anything to me, except a lot of dear memories. There are so many other aspects or elements in life that have significance for you only (or mostly) because of what it means to your loved ones.

Tuesday was an awesome day! For the first time ever, I went clothes-shopping by myself. I’m not a fan of shopping. I don’t enjoy shopping, especially by myself, and especially for clothes (none of this is applicable when it comes to books). It was an impulsive decision. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I got back, there was nobody at home. I can’t tell you how super-happy I was. I got some quality time for myself, after so long. I didn’t know how much I had missed spending time by myself, with absolutely no one around. I used to get enough and more of it, while at home. But over here, getting some time all for yourself is like a treasure. So, I made most of the two hours or so I had. I shouted (shouting has a liberating effect, for me), sang out loud, danced around, talked to myself, spent sometime looking outside, sipping coffee… And, had 2 delightful hours by myself. 2 hours that gave me an enlightening thought – I’m at a most beautiful point in life, a phase that I had longed for. And I’m truly enjoying it. The past 2 days have proved, with all the more emphasis, that life does give you what you want/ask for.

Strangers Breed Homesickness

Most of my friends were really happy after reading the previous post. Maybe I should write more of those – happy, chirpy posts.

Just now, while chatting with Ann, she asked me why I wasn’t posting anything. I told her I didn’t know what to write and I didn’t want to post nonsense. She, being far cleverer than me, pointed out that our mind is never devoid of thoughts, that all I had to do was pick one, write about it. And then, it struck me – she is right! There are such a lot of thoughts in my head. Now, when I sat down to blog, all the thoughts came rushing into my mind. And I don’t know what to write about.

Ann was telling me about how I used to post everyday, once upon a time…and how she used to love it. Well, I miss those times, too. Those were times when I used to stay back at the college lab until 8pm just so that I could blog in peace. Times when I couldn’t go a single day without blogging (which was kinda bad on you readers, since you had to read all the bullshit I came up with).

I think I’ve gone down a notch in terms of confidence, because you need a hell lot of confidence to write shit and publish it for the whole world to see. And now, when I think of doing that, I hear this voice in my head pulling me back, telling me I should not do anything that could make my readers hate me. You know what? I’m done listening to the stupid voice. Because, more than pleasing readers, I’m here to write, find happiness in it and just be myself. So, I took a decision. I’m not going to try too hard to please anyone, I’m just going to write/blog and be happy. Makes sense, right?  🙂

There are times when I miss college very badly. More than the place, I miss the experience of having familiar faces all around. I knew people, they knew me. There’s a certain sense of comfort when you’re surrounded by people you know, finding some familiar faces everywhere. Like there’s always someone or the other you can go to, you are not alone (unless you want to be). That’s something I miss about college.

Over here, I see so many strangers while walking to and from work. I meet so many strangers at work. Strangers I’m getting closer to. But strangers, nonetheless. And it gets really distressing, sometimes. You don’t know if you can open up, trust or be yourself with someone. After a certain point, you get tired of being careful, and wish you could let your guard down. You long to see a face you know, a face that would beam with recognition on seeing you. I’m going through that phase right now. The initial excitement of being at a new place, meeting new people and all that has subsided (begun to, actually), giving way to the homesickness that I had been ignoring all this while.

I miss people, being around people I know. I miss my family. I miss places, knowing where to go, seeing familiar places & spots. I know it will pass. Until then, I just have to deal with it. 🙂

Have you ever experienced anything of this sort? If yes, how did you get over it? 

Why I Want Last Night Back

[I don’t know if the title makes sense, but that is exactly what this post is about!]

Remember New Year’s Eve? If ever I got the chance to relive a day in my life, I used to think I’d choose that day. Well, not anymore! Yesterday, I had one of the most unforgettable days of my life…a day that I’ll hold special and memorable (and a lot more, actually) forever! Sometimes, you meet people who touch you in such irrevocable ways, like they become etched into your mind! People with whom you can connect at an extraordinary level, feel absolutely comfortable and happy, open up without thinking of rights or wrongs. Last night, I got close to a couple of people who fit into this category. It was out of this world. Nothing else could ever describe it better.

I went out for a movie with my colleagues and then spent the night at the place where a couple of them stay. Since I’m so into new experiences and making most of opportunities, I had decided I didn’t want to sleep at all (wanted to make most of the night). I spent the entire night talking to the others, specifically two awesome guys! It’s after a long time that I got to have such a detailed conversation. We spoke about a lot of stuff…and at the end of it, I was speechless! I didn’t want the day to end, I wished time would stop or something. 🙂 But you know it didn’t. Good things don’t last forever.

It’s very rarely that I get to meet guys (or anyone, for that matter) with whom I can have proper, mature talks, without bothering to think about what I’m saying. So, I truly enjoyed last night. I wish I could tell you more, because I’d love to commit to memory each word we spoke. I was super-amazed by the level of connection and similarities I shared with them. Apart from that, why I loved this night so much is because it moved me, touched me in ways I cannot explain. I have never thought up so much within one night! 🙂 And I’d choose to relive last night, if I were given the chance! Without a second thought!

But, like every great day, this one came to an end…and I was struck by a realization today morning (shattering the dreamy happiness that yesternight had created). You meet people who share a great chemistry with you, people who are meant to be part of your life. But, it’s almost like you know you won’t have a chance to experience what it’s like (having them with you). Does that make sense? OK, let’s put it this way. You meet people who are perfect to be part of your life…but, well, there’s a but! I know I’m not being very lucid, but that’s the easiest way to explain what I have in mind. There’s a but involved! Realizing this has kind of dampened my spirits today morning.

Anyhow, maybe time could work wonders. 🙂 I never seem to lose hope, right? After all, what do we have in life other than hope for a better tomorrow?

Physics, English & Roots

As time moves on, we tend to forget the causes and reasons which made us what we are today – experiences that taught us valuable lessons, people who influenced us in significant or trivial ways. Of course, we may not completely forget them. But as we move from one phase to another, we leave behind a considerable lot. And we don’t always look back to think of what made us what we are now. They become fond but distant memories…

A couple of days ago, I met a handful of people who played a remarkable role in having molded me into the person I am. Even without being personally close to me, they have had a very deep impact on my thoughts, likes, dislikes and perceptions.

Kiran is here in RAK. We met up on Saturday. I had a great time with her…talking nonsense, joking around and catching up with each other. She is one person with whom I can (comfortably) alternate between being stupid and sensible…and utterly stupid, again. And know I will never be judged. That day, we made plans to go to school the next morning.

🙂

As decided, we reached school sometime in the afternoon. I had gone there last month with Saba and some other friends. But this was a different experience. I did have to face some probing (and irritating)  questions about what I’m going to do next. Nothing new there, of course. Atleast it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

Anyway, Kiran and I met only a select few teachers – those we really like and share a good relationship with (ruling out a couple of exceptions whom we had to meet). All the teachers we met were genuinely happy to see us and we spent some ‘quality’ time with them. While each teacher asked Kiran about her course, college and stuff, I was lost in some thoughts.

It’s been 3 years since we passed out of school. We have changed to a certain extent, be it physically or otherwise. But the teachers we met looked the same, and spoke to us with the same intimacy as before. It was almost as if time hadn’t passed, as far as our bond with these teachers was concerned. Looking at them, seeing their love and happiness, I realized how I grew into the person I am.

I love Science, Physics in particular. I wouldn’t say I know a lot about it, but I love it like hell, and try to learn more about the subject. I met the teacher who is the reason for this love (I hated Physics until 9th grade). She taught us Physics in 9th and 11th grades. She is an amazing teacher, takes a lot of effort to make sure the students have understood the portion taught… The way she explains the concepts, laws, theories and stuff led me to see that Physics could explain a lot of things in life, things that I had overlooked as normal or having/needing no explanation. And then, there was another teacher who taught us Physics in 10th and during the first few months of 11th grade. I admit his classes could get super-boring. But I adored him, absolutely ADORED him! And that just led me to love the subject with added fervour. I met him also, while at school. He is still the same…almost made me wish I could sit in his class, once more. Seeing both of them made me realize how and why I began loving what I love… It was something like going back to  my roots.

I also met the English teacher who taught us in 10th and 12th (and took some

Note the pun! 😛 This was a poster put up in one of the classes; found it while checking for some school photos.

random classes in 11th, I think). I wouldn’t say she is my favourite English teacher, but yes, she is someone I really like. She isn’t the one who made me fall in love with language (English, specifically), writing, poetry, imagery and words. But I did enjoy her classes a lot; they were fun (= some yawning, crazy jokes, lots of mimicking)! 😛 And she did teach me English…which means atleast a part of what I know right now is due to her efforts. But what highlights her in my memory is something else. She taught us Ode To The West Wind in 10th grade. Since then, it has been a favourite poem of mine. Even after so many more having been added to the list.

Seeing those teachers was like going back in time (especially since they didn’t look very different). So…what I’m trying to say is…sometimes, we forget how we began liking something, who/what influenced a certain habit of ours or basically, how we grew to be what we are right now. Going back in time helps reconnect with those reasons, those roots. And why that is necessary? No, I guess it isn’t necessary. But there could be times when you lose touch with who you are, how you got so far… The roots will keep you alive, and help you grow into who you want to be. 🙂