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Flickering Lanterns

Let's 'live' and not 'survive'.

The Sky Changed Colors.

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(Photographs taken by me. These are unedited photos. This is what the sky looked like.)

My jaw dropped as I went out, when it should have been shut closed and chattered because of the biting cold. The air was crisp and hurt my nostrils. The temperature was way too low and I was not bundled up to keep my body warm. I looked up and time stopped. Suddenly I wasn’t cold anymore. The cold didn’t bother me. I was in awe. The sky. The sky was fucking gorgeous.
Golden rays mixing into pastel orange hues which then went out to dance with flecks of orchid and specks of lilac. And as if that wasn’t enough, the sky did a live transformation into this swirl of amethyst amidst a pool of concord and I was like, woahwoahwoahIwasn’treadyforthis.
I took in the moment and then took some photographs for the gram. And then it hit me, wow. I’d never witnessed a sunrise like that, stood-there-and-watched kind of a way, since 2008. That’s eleven years. The sunrises that I did see after 2008 were where I knew a sunrise was happening but didn’t watch it happen, or passed by a spot where the sun had just risen. So I witnessed a beautiful sunrise after eleven years. That’s a lot of time to forget and to memorize. To erase and to redraw.
The last time that happened, I was on a roof that didn’t belong to me, just like today. The last time it was a Ramadan morning. This time it was a December morning. The last time there was someone I loved watching it with me. This time too, there was someone watching it with me who I love dearly: myself. The last time I watched a sunrise, I didn’t know how vast the world was. This time, it felt like the vastness of the world had the power to envelope me whole. The last time I was in awe of the moment. This time, I was in awe of the sight before me. Happiness is fleeting, but some things are deep.

– Mahaah.

Tied Knot.

autumn aesthetic.jpg

I’m extremely tired.
It’s been a long day even though I didn’t go to work. It was my day. I was the chief guest. I should have been happy. But I’m not. I’m content, sure. But the happiness that bursts onto the face of a child when they get three scoops on their ice-cream cone when they had paid for one… it wasn’t on my face.
I’m sorry I’m so tired.
I have tied a knot now, but a knot is tied in my throat too right now. I’d like to breathe a little air right now. I’m suffocated with my own thoughts. My anxiety is killing me. The tears are burning my eyes. I hope that you’d understand.
I’m really very tired.
No it’s not because I don’t like you. I don’t not-like you. If that makes sense. They don’t equate. They are not the same. We’re not the same either.
I’m tremendously tired.
I want to sleep. I really do. But I have all of this unwelcome burden on my shoulders all of a sudden. I really hope that you take away these bags when I tell you about them one day. I hope that you’d tell me to not worry anymore. I hope that you’d tell me that we can share our worries and our burdens. I pray that you’d tell me that we have four shoulders now, so why fret.
I’m awfully tired. I apologize.
You will ask me why someday when your curiosity will get the better of you. I hope that I’d either be able to tell or be really good at dodging the question. I hope that you’d understand then.
Almost dead now. I’m tired. Did I mention that I’m tired?
I faked smiles when I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to create a scene or people to talk crap about me. It felt bad. I thought that you would have made it clear to your people. You had eleven days. But I understand. Things happen. I hope you’d understand too when the time comes.
I’m hella tired.
To tell you the truth. I am tired of carrying all of this sadness with me everywhere. Don’t ask me what I’m sad about. Its a lot of things. Its this looming sadness that never goes away and probably will never go away so don’t even try. You’ll get tired like me. So don’t. Oh you still want to know? I just told you to not do that. Well. If I tell you about my mum would you stop asking? Yes? Promise? Yeah. It’s her. It’s her absence. It’s her presence. It’s her on the whole. The weight that I’m carrying willingly. I can’t let go. She’s kinda like The Goldfinch to my Theo Decker. Wait, you don’t read books so you won’t get the reference. But yeah. Thinking about her makes me upset. And I cried tonight because a photo of mine looked exactly like her young self. It was all it took for me to burst into tears. I’m tearing up right now too. These tears. Can’t stay in their fuckin’ lane.
I’m truly tired. Sorry.
I’m tired of life. I’m tired of disappointments. I’m tired of being a disappointment. I’m tired of being almost perfect. I’m tired of acting. I’m tired of expectations. I’m tired of being nice. I’m tired of staying silent. I’m tired of people. I’m tired of everything and everyone.
I’m actually very tired. Everything hurts. Ouch my back. Sorry.
I’m tired yet a bug bit me to do all of this and now you’re here and I don’t want to disappoint you or the people related to you and I don’t want you to be a disappointment when I’m not expecting much from you since I don’t even know you. Hell, what the heck were you thinking? What the fudge was I thinking? Is this even going to work? Do you see how anxious I am? What if you stumble upon this and then you start disliking me?
I’m bloody tired. I should probably sleep now. Sorry it took so long.
But hey. Don’t hate me. It’s just one of my spirals. When overthinking drives and anxiety looks at the GPS.
I’m tired and I just wanted to get over with this.
I wanted to get over with this without much thought. And then it hit me. Wait. This is real life. It’s actually happening. Shit. My brain went : What have you done. Are you ready for it? — But to be honest. I just looked at the board that hung there when we first met. The display board that quote unquote belongs to me. And there was a quote from the last episode of A Series of Unfortunate Events that said “If we keep waiting until we are ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” and I kid you not, the irony of that whole scenario, the show’s name ‘series of unfortunate events’ and the setting and the future that followed, I laughed my ass off at it.
I’m tired.
I’ll forever be tired.
But for now I’ll sleep.
And I’ll hope that when I wake up, I’ll be less tired.
And I’ll pray that when I rise from this darkness, I won’t be tired at all.

– Mahaah.
(Written on 13.12.19 about 30.11.19)

Ghosts.

taylor safe and sound

Ghosts.
They latch on.
When people die.
When people move on.
Ghosts.
Of regret.
They latch on.
When people die.
When people move on.
Ghosts.

– Mahaah. (6/11/2019)

Only In My Wildest Dreams.

cozy fancy outdoor

It was a light-hearted conversation that you and I had in the dream that I had today when I slept after having struggled to fall asleep through the night. I don’t understand why you still appear in my dreams even though it has been ages since we even talked, as in talked talked, not something that we were pressured into doing as obedient kids. You and I.. I think we’ve interacted more in my dreams than we have in real life, which is not surprising at all, since only in my wildest dreams would that be a possibility. You’re a mountain, me? A stepping stone. Which you’ve left so far behind that you don’t even remember if it exists at all.
We were at this place where you were marking essays that were submitted to you and I was all like, I could help you know, I have experience and the knowledge. You knew that since you’d already read something that I’d written and you were so dumbfounded that you couldn’t utter a thing about it. But you were like let’s not talk about work. And then the conversation took off and before we knew it we’d spent a whole lot of time talking. It felt great. Normally when we meet in dreams we just take glances or say one liners or you’re always angry and I’m always crying or something sweet is going on, but that happens rarely. Maybe because I am so sure of the consequences of everything that even though nothing’s real, the aftermath of these things in reality would be a shitstorm. So of course that slips through.
At one point I pointed towards me and then towards you and as a matter of fact stated “This can’t happen, you know that right? We’d destroy each other. We’re better apart.” and you agreed without skipping a beat. It hurt but it was enough to satisfy me in a way. You said, “Well that’s.. let’s not worry about that. We’re here right now, focus on that.” and sure, I did. There’s not a thing that you’d ask me to do and I wouldn’t do. I have done things for you when you never asked for them. Remember that time when you came home to your journal closed and your pens stacked back in your stationary holder? Yeah that was me. Yes I left that brown piece of colored paper to mark your place in the journal. Remember that time when you found your room cleaned up in a way you didn’t leave it? The folded blanket and the wrinkle free sheets? That was me as well. Remember that time when you thought that your mum was putting down your cup of tea but it turned out to be me? Yeah, I’d told her that I’d take care of it and I did.
What I’m trying to say is.. I kinda wish that you hadn’t agreed to the thing that I said. But then.. Its entirely fiction so who’s to blame.

I might still not understand why you appear in my dreams. Maybe you’ve been in my mind for so long that you’ve become a part of my subconscious. Maybe I really can’t get over it even though I have. I really have and I wouldn’t be lying if I said that. It’s just. There’s no point for all of this you know. It’s a dead end street. And to refer to Taylor Swift, I don’t have a Maserati. Then who the eff gave you the permission to barge in like that? It’s rude. Just. Don’t.

Or maybe.. it’s the last thread that I have left attached with you.. should I savor it while it lasts? Idk man. Leave me alone if you may. The forgetting will take care of the rest, hopefully. One day. Some day.

“Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.”
– Boris Pavlikovsky
(The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt.)

– Mahaah.

Sad. Beautiful. Tragic.

lonely

No, not the song. Not track 12 of Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album Red. Just three adjectives that hold a deep meaning. Three words that refer to something huge in my mind.

I remember the time when I didn’t have friends because I was the shy kid.
I remember the time when I had friends because I was the talented kid.
I remember the time when I didn’t have friends because I was the socially unavailable kid.

We run in circles all our lives. We go straight 180 degrees and then back to 360. Or do we? Am I stretching it too much? It will break if I stretch it too much.

Here’s to people I’ve shared my life with and don’t anymore. The reason being them leaving, me moving on or just being my own person and not putting effort in keeping up with them. It was a good time with y’all.

But something still pokes my heart. Something does. I don’t know how to word it because it is that elusive. How about trying. Lemme try again.

It sucks knowing that you thought that there was something between the two of you but in the rolling credits you find out that there actually wasn’t. It was all in your head. It was all your misinterpretations. Because what you thought was something – was really nothing. Nothing at all. The worst part is that you watched the entire movie thinking something entirely different and it ended on a cliffhanger. No amount of re-watches or revisits can change the fact. It’s gone. It’s done.
Pack your emotional baggage and leave.

It sucks knowing that you’d like to share what goes on in your head or in your life but you can’t because you can’t. Zero shoulders to cry on. Zero ears that listen. So you either end up with your journals or WordPress.
Spill the tea and wash up the mess.

It sucks knowing that your friends were your classmates. There with the wind and gone with the rain. The lit candle was only a spark, nothing more. What you thought would last longer turned out to be an iPhone cable. (Laugh at my dark humor). But isn’t that the thing with people. They are there for a time to serve a purpose, teach you a lesson and then go.
Feel your heart wilt and slowly die.

The beautiful part though. You somehow find your own worth in your own eyes within your own place with your own self. And somehow… that’s a win.

– Mahaah.

None of the Dim Voids.

lonely forest

It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting.” – Jennifer Niven, All The Bright Places.

The title for this post is the opposite of the title of the book that I mentioned above. To me it’s the opposite. The exact-almost-opposite. The word-to-word-literal-opposite. Since to me if a place exists, then its opposite is going to be a non-existing place, which is going to be a void. Nothing. Blank. Absolutely nothing.
I tried to look for the exact word but I couldn’t find one, for the opposite of places. But this is not what I’m here to write. This train of thought is pretty fucking wild, isn’t it?

I kind of hung onto this line in the book. It’s true. I couldn’t deny it because truer words have never been spoken. Maybe they have. Taylor Swift is best musician of all time. Gah. Can I finish writing what I’m thinking about before losing control over it? For one second? Man my brain is an annoying piece of trash sometimes.

So yeah. Back to the point. What was the point? Shit. Wait. Lemme just skim a few words.

Yes. Yeah. Okay. Got it.

You know, when you’re the person who’s chill and never really loses their shit, people don’t expect you to actually lose your shit when you’re losing your shit. I’m not referring to flushing the toilet right now. I am referring to it metaphorically. Urban-metaphorically. Internet-metaphorically. However you like it.

When you’re feeling sort of empty and this wave of nothingness hits you, you’re not supposed to show it on your face or in any way possible. “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.”, just like Elsa’s father asserts. People don’t seem to understand what you’re going through if they can’t see it. For instance, if you are covered in smallpox or have your leg wound up in a cast, they’ll surely feel sorry for you and might even utter some words of consolation. BUT. If you black-out during an exam for various reasons that are not visible or physical, then you’re surely a dumb kid who didn’t prepare for the exam in the first place. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Stuff that happens inside one’s head matters just as much as stuff that happens outside.

When are people going to understand that?

How can you make people educate themselves about this without freaking out about it or treating you in a weird, fragile, alienated way.

Maybe all you can do is… Haha. Did you really think I’d say something along the lines of a solution? YOU WISH! This is South-Asia, people. Brown people don’t understand shit. Especially if they are older and not from your generation.

Maybe all you can do is… not do anything at all.

Or.. wait. You could recommend them All the Bright Places. To read. To understand. To learn.

– Mahaah.

Misophonia.

book reading in bed

(A Sequel to Bragging.) 

She wasn’t expecting summer to arrive early since she hasn’t even had more than two cups of coffee in the past couple of months. Moriya doesn’t have great fondness for summer, but its what you get by living where she does. It’s summer most of the time. “zzzzzzzzznnnnn“, she waves a hand over her right ear to shoo away the mosquito that’s rehearsing its annoying and lame opera. It’s perfectly quiet in her room where she’s reading the book that she’s been reading since the day before. She’s glad that she doesn’t like reading from physical tangible books – because page turning makes sound, doesn’t it? “zzzzzznnnnnnn“, the mosquito from before interrupts her train of thoughts again. She feels a sharp streak of pain on her forearm and she smacks that place on her skin. “Ouch. That was wild.”, she mumbles to herself as she rubs her forearm. She picks up the reading from where she left off. “zzzzzznnnnnn“,  she hears again and that is it for her. “What the hell?“, she almost yells at the bug. Moriya throws away her device and gets up to spray some insecticide around her room.

She gets comfy in her bed once again. Its good that she has a good number of pillows and stuffed animals to keep her company and to make her bed a place that she never wants to leave. She picks up the device and starts rereading the paragraph. But she can’t. The focus is lost. The narrative is nothing more than a loose thread in some ripped jeans. This is why she hates sound when she’s reading. Or when she’s having some “me-time” as the internet calls it. She decides to google what’s the term for it. It’s just sound. Why the hate? Hate is a strong word.

Misophonia“, which literally means the hate of sound.

Ooookay. That’s a cool name.“, Moriya mumbles to herself. But still. She might immensely despise sound but does she exactly hate it? She’s not so sure.

Has she been always like this? She thinks of all the times that she just wanted everything to be quiet and it wasn’t. Was it too much to ask for or was she being entirely irrational? Most probably the latter. But she might have her reasons. Everything has a reason. Be it emotions towards something or anything basically that just… exists?

She thinks back to her time as a child. Living in a building right next to a busy round-about where cars kept screeching and honking and rushing. Living beside the shop of a carpenter whose mechanical tools always made noise she couldn’t tolerate. Living with a family that was always loud and chatty. She started to dislike noise – an extreme form of sound – while she was still pretty young. It’s probably why she despised crowds as well. She remembers the time when she wouldn’t want to meet with all the people in her house gathered for an evening, or unfortunately for an entire day. She reminisces the time when she would rather stay huddled in her room, alone, just to save herself from all the noise and loud banter. It was a fragment of her personality. She despised noise.

Moriya grew up with the same fragment of her personality. The only difference was, she never really admitted it out loud. Hence, the people didn’t know that it was a part of her as well. Maybe people do that while growing up to fit in – anything that they don’t like, they pretend to like. That’s how the world works.

But it didn’t have to anymore. Not any longer.

It was just who she is. Someone who doesn’t like sound unless she wants to listen to that sound. Someone who hates noise when all she wants is some peace and quiet. Someone who wants people to respect that part about her.

Moriya now knew, “Misophonia” was a word.

– Mahaah.

 

 

It’s complicated.

pastel desk

 

We are strange girls, Mahaah. We want. And think about wanting. But at the same time. We don’t want. So we think about not wanting. Complicated stuff which we complicate further while trying to convince ourselves it’s more complicated than it really is.“, someone close to me at the time said this in a text message that she sent. I found it scribbled at the back of my notebook – the one in which I write about my life’s happenings – pretty irregularly. I usually smile, shake my head and move over in instances like these. But this time around, it stuck. And struck.

Complicated stuff which we complicate more, eh?

I find it hilariously miserable how when you think you’ve got a solution about a complicated situation, you work on it, and right before that moment of hitting enter (that’s a metaphor); everything falls apart. Because even though you were on time, according to your plan of action; you were a little too late.

So what do you do?

Think about not wanting, right?

But that’s the question. Do we? Do we move on? Is it easy to move on?

And. If it is easy to move on. Was it ever “complicated” in the first place?

I have no idea where I was going with this. I guess I wanted to make a blog post to mark something in history. About the plan not working.

Taylor Swift said, “Good girls, hopeful they’ll be and long they’ll wait.” but forgot to mention, “And they’ll keep waiting. So move on, bitches.” Period.

Bragging.

teen anxiety.jpg

(A sequel to Investment.)

It was a cool breezy morning when Moriya was hurrying her way through the stairs of her house and Morris stopped her and Hunzel for a first-day-of-school photo shoot. She wanted to be in school on time, still, she complied on the insistence of Morris. They took a few photographs and then she left. On the way to school, which was at a walking distance, Moriya felt nervous about her project that she had made last week as a part of her summer vacation homework. Morris had helped her paint some of the white figures from the reference sources of ancient history. She was supposed to write a report on one of the ancient ruins in the country and about the civilization that they belonged to. The project guide lines had been a little tweaked for kids who couldn’t visit such places, for instance, help from textbooks or encyclopedias was acceptable. So she went with it and did a project on Moen Jo Daro. She had painted a poster dark brown – enough to make it look like an old piece of leather – and had drawn some illustrations on it with white paint. For the borders, she had sewn jute strings into the poster to make it look ancient. It looked nice enough to get her an A and she felt pretty proud about it. So she put it in a paper bag among all her other summer vacation homework booklets and hurried for school in excitement.
The school walls seemed newly whitewashed as she walked through corridors to reach her classroom. She put her things on a desk in the middle of the room as it was empty and nobody else was there to claim it. She plopped down and patiently waited for her new class teacher to arrive. It was the first day of the new school year, hence everything was changing anew. After her new class teacher had taken attendance and introduced everyone in the class to each other, she went out to come back in again with a stranger whom no one else had met before. Turned out, it was a new assistant that was supposed to be hired as the vice principal. Moriya’s class teacher introduced the new woman and asked her to sit on one of the desks. By now, the whole classroom was full of 40 students – still she made space and sat down with the principal who was there to test her abilities.
Moriya’s class teacher asked everyone about the summer vacation homework and if anyone had brought it with them. Moriya, being confident for the first time in many years, raised her hand. “Yes Moriya? You’ve got something?“, her teacher tenderly asked. “Yes.“, she replied. “You’ve done your homework?“, she asked another question. “Yes ma’m. The entirety of it.“, she answered. “So would you come on out and give us a look at your Social Studies project?“, the teacher asked. “Like right now? A presentation? I am not prepared.“, Moriya shied away. “Yeah. No it wouldn’t be marked so there’s nothing to worry about. Come on.“, the teacher prompted her to come in front of the class. She stood up with the poster and the report in her hand and proceeded towards the soft board where she could pin it up.
She looked out at the class. They were all intently looking at her with interest. Moriya was up there. The scaredy-cat Moriya. She hadn’t done that before hence it was nerve wrecking for her. She had an audience. Anxiety was eating her alive. Still, she sucked it all in, took a deep breath and started speaking. She was in the middle of her presentation when the woman who had come there for her job as the vice principal, interrupted her speech.
Wait a while, Moriya.“, she adjusted her tone to an evil witch’s one. “So you are saying that you went to Moen Jo Daro?“, her voice was ringing in Moriya’s head. Moriya thought that she had screwed up. All her fears stood in front of her as Death Eaters. Moriya didn’t know what do say or what to do. “No but-“, Moriya started to speak but before she could complete her sentence, she got up and came close to where Moriya was standing and continued, “Class, this is what the Unit One of your Eighth Grade English Textbook calls “Bragging”. When a person doesn’t have something and lies about it.”, she paused. “Moriya here, is the perfect example of Bragging.“, she uttered in a condescending manner.
Moriya wanted to say something in order to justify her project but she couldn’t find words or the courage to say them. The whole class looked at her with confused faces. They didn’t know what was happening. There was nothing wrong with taking help from books, then why was this stranger being a beotch?
She just stood there frozen and scared of what might happen next. Being an extrovert on the first day of school hadn’t worked out successfully. Two tears trickled down her eyes.
Her class teacher came forward and asked Moriya to go back to her seat and took the new woman with her to the corridor outside her classroom. Moriya proceeded towards her poster to take it off the soft-board and went back to her place with a heavy heart. She was rolling the poster when her class teacher came back and apologized for the eventful presentation. “I’m so sorry. She didn’t know about the leniency. I told her and she felt really bad about it. I’ll get her to apologize to you.“, she said frantically. Moriya still didn’t know what to say. She was embarrassed. She felt like she’d failed. Something inside her had broken and shattered into a million pieces – maybe self-confidence. She was clueless, yet very aware. Taking some control over her wavering voice, she said, “It’s fine ma’m.

But was it fine, really?

Moriya didn’t see that woman again in her life, except for the one time when she was at school and she tried to recognize Moriya and it was nothing more than a second long eye-contact. The whole experience taught Moriya a lot of things. It taught her how to jump right into stuff without preparation done beforehand. It taught her how you could fake it till you make it. It taught her how she could do what she wanted to do if she had enough faith in herself. But the fact remained. Moriya was scared. Moriya was scarred… and Moriya then knew, people could be ignorant arses.

– Mahaah.

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