“It’s so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.” ― John Steinbeck
It’s been six months since I lost my papa. (In english style, I was about to write “father” and that just sounded lame, even to my ears)
Was it sudden? Were you expecting it? Are you okay? How is mom holding up? Stay strong, be strong. It will get better. Happens to everyone. Be grateful he wasn’t in pain. He’s in a better place.
These were just some of the comments and questions that came my way. As someone who, until this, was the one sending condolence messages, feeling awkward every time I had to mumble “I am sorry for your loss”, knowing fully well how hollow it sounded to my own ears, because half the time I didn’t know the person who had left Earth, or because that’s what we are taught to say and I didn’t know if it sounded as bizarre as “How are you?” as we breezily greet people in offices or subways, not waiting for a second to hear a reply because really, all we know is to say a “How are you?” as a greeting, never really a question.
How awkward it is to reach out to someone in pain, particularly when you know them only as acquaintances, or as vague friends….when I would send a condolence message to someone or call them or even visit them, I wondered if they saw me as a fraud, because I felt so fraudulent awkwardly trying to mumble an apology, when I really didn’t know what is appropriate. What could be appropriate in such circumstances, really?
And then papa. Here one night, speaking to me on the phone, me chiding him about his habits, him telling me not to behave like a mother, and actually telling me, I am the dad in this relationship. And the next morning, gone.
Just like that.
I could dramatise everything that happened after, the phone call, the ride to the airport, the days after. It isn’t important. Not to you, anyway.
What is important for me to tell you, is this.
Every single time, if you know someone who lost someone, tell them you are sorry. I have understood this only now, after going through what I have, you needn’t have known the person who left, if you know the person grieving, even a little bit, please stand up and say “I am sorry for your loss”. It might sound hollow to your ears (like it did to mine the many times I said it) but to the one losing something, someone, it means a lot. Coming from the closest of friends to the most random acquaintances, in the moments that they reached out to me, it just meant “I am sorry for your loss”. It isn’t my loss, its entirely yours, but I am here with you in this moment, and I acknowledge that you have lost something, that you are grieving.
I cannot tell you the comfort it brought me. Not until I was at the receiving end. I remember each and every person who reached out to me, however unexpected. I even remember those who didn’t. However much expected. And some in between.
When I talk to my mum now, and we remember papa, I always tell her this. Our grief is only ours, it’s personal. My grief is personal. What it means for you to lose your partner, your spouse, is not the same as me losing papa. There is no comparison, there is no need to gather it all together in to losing that one person, who is lost to this world forever.
He was one kind of world to me, to her, another. He was so many things to so many different people, how can one roll it in to one giant ball of grief and send it out to the universe?
Grief is not something that you feel for a certain number of days or you get over or you don’t get over. It is just that. personal. I grieve in a thousand ways, every single day, and then, for long periods of time, not at all. I celebrate my papa the same way.
I read obsessively, books on the afterlife, to find some comfort, find some sign of him, just so that I can make myself feel better. I desperately hold on to things people say “He is in a better place”, “It will be okay”, half wanting to believe them, and half wanting to shut the door in the world’s face, never to open it again.
And then I look inward, and I find him a lot more closer then. It makes a lot more sense to me, to remember him in my heart, in my memories, in my imaginary conversations, in my jokes, in my ghosts. All mine.
I don’t know if it gets better. I don’t think so. Perhaps it gets easier. Or perhaps you just learn to live with it better, over time.
I don’t think you “get over” people you lose. And you should’t even try. That would be just sad. But the good news is, they get to live in your hearts, forever. Hearts with holes are better for they show there was something there, to be grieved, to be cherished.
One day at a time.
Happy birthday TwinFlame!
Someone said it right I think “The days are long but the years are short.” Time just seems to be flying since we’ve met. For two people who have been this close for this long, it is amazing how there is still so much we discover about each other and in the process, about ourselves each day.
I have leaned on you so much, and you don’t seem to get tired of it. I still can’t fathom how. Always that optimism, always that smile, always that love.
My wish last year was for you to discover your passion, chase a dream and see? It seems to be coming true.
I cannot wait to see what this and the next couple of years bring for us. There will be many good moments, many not-so-good ones, a lots of uncertainties for sure. One thing is certain though, we would be walking side by side, holding hands and taking each other along. Like always.
I love you to the moon and back. Keep shining.
It is my favourite month of the year again. I could be biased because it is my birthday month, no doubt, but its so much else. It is that beginning of winter and just the hint of festivities in the air, laden with anticipation of the season to come. It is the cool crisp air and the smell of Diwali just round the corner. It is the numerous parties that are about to begin to mark the auspicious time of Diwali, gambling, smiles and cheer. It is the familiar feeling in the chest that reminds one of home, sometimes with nostalgia, other times with yearning for what has been left behind.
My gloomiest self perks up just a little bit as October hits. It makes me smile more, feel optimistic in general and reach out to family and friends. To wish them well, to catch up, to just share more than usual. And that is a good thing.
With lots of ups and downs and adult life issues in general, I have found myself full of gratitude. For people who are around, who make an effort, who help. And comfort has come from strange unanticipated corners…blog friends whom I haven’t spoken to in a while, but who still feel like old friends dropping in for a meal or a cup of tea. Online conversations that only make me more grateful that someone thought of me, thinks of me and cares enough to say hi.
The same happened on my birthday as well. I spent the day moping, feeling meh in general and by evening there were a few friends who came over to celebrate. I looked around at the bunch that has been part of my inner circle for years now and sent up a big thank you to the universe.
Because it is easy to look at life’s disappointments for too long and stop noticing the things that are good, always good. It is easy to take them for granted and not appreciate them enough. And that is the biggest mistake. To love and lose is one thing, but to keep all that has been gained is quite another. To live well, to love well and to laugh much.
Because really, what else is there?
So? How’s it going?? Monsoons are upon us and I am determined to enjoy them as much as I can. At least whatever little Delhi gets. There is something about rains that just makes me happy. For no particular reason. And I seem to need that. A lot.
I realized it when I was back home with the family to celebrate the arrival of my brother’s first-born, and amongst the happy madness that home and family is, there were many moments of quiet peace and contentment. I was instructed with the charge of getting my younger nephew (all of 5 years) bathed and ready for play school one morning as my sister ferried around the older one from one hobby class to another. Just the bounce, joy and vigour he approached the task of washing his face, bathing, enjoying the water with wonder, reminded me that all we need to be happy is to re-learn from children. We were all there once, and slowly with adulthood and responsibility and life and disappointments, lose that spontaneity along the way as more worldly matters demand our attention. At one point I found myself giggling endlessly, as he attempted to recreate bubbles from soap after he caught one formed on his hand by chance. I continued to observe him through breakfast, as he made a game of hide and seek with the omelette and bread and I decided I had been eating it one way too long. I matched him step by step, how he tried various bites of only omelette, some omelette and more bread, more bread and less omelette, with sauce, without sauce….and that meal surely packed a punch.
We hopped our way to the lift to go down the building, and made a full game of switching the fan off, then on (generally I am the maasi who’s teaching them manners and appropriate public behaviour!) and racing to the car to see who’d come first. I dropped him off for his business and was smiling from ear to ear the whole time. When I saw the building (home) approaching, I raced my sister to the lift.
It was more fun than I can imagine. Doing stuff without a reason.
And I think we all need that more often than not. So I woke up this morning, told the cook to not make any food, and radomly looked at cooking sites. I decided on a Gujarati snack called lauki muthiya and made it to utter satisfaction. Perfect monsoon food if you ask me! And then I decided I want to bake a cake. I don’t really feel comfortable around the oven *yet*, so I simply steamed it. Utterly delicious.
And then the books. So many books. Unending, unyielding books. More books before the last lot is over, and not enough time. There is never enough time. ..But fortunately, there is. Today. I am spending the next 5 days following this routine. Make a new dish (whether snack or main course or whatever catches my fancy that given morning), and I am going to read. Endlessly. Without a care in the world. Without a reason. Just because.
William Barclay said, There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.
Today, like every year, we celebrate the first. My birthday wish for you this year is that one day soon, you discover the second.
Happy birthday Twin Flame.
Kuch kariye, Kuch kariye
Nas nas meri khauley,
Haaye kuch kariye
Kuch kariye, Kuch kariye
Bas bas bada boley
Ab kuch kariye
Koi toh chal zidd phadiye
Doobe dariya ya mariye
Koi toh chal zidd phadiye…
Doobe dariya ya mariye…
Kooncho mein galiyon mein
Raashan ki phaliyon mein
Bailon mein beejon mein
Eidon mein teejo mein
Hey reton ke daano mein
Filmon ke gaano mein
Sadko ke gaddon mein
Baaton ke addon mein
Hunkaara aaj bharle
Dus barah baar karle
Rehna na yaar peeche
Kitna bhi koi kheenche
Tas se na mas hai ji
Zidd hai toh, zidd hai ji
Pisna yunhi, Pisna yunhi
Pisna yunhi patthar ye….
Koi toh chal zidd phadiye
Doobe dariya ya mariye
Koi toh chal zidd phadiye…
Doobe dariya ya mariye…
Basically to say, you must work hard and get rich, so that I can live happily ever after.
Simple, isn’t it?😉
That quote above can sum up a Libran for you. I am sure there are stereotypes associated with sun signs, and I have spent numerous days/hours of my young life reading Linda Goodman no ness, but I have associated myself as a “typical” Libran, for what its worth. Ritzy shared the following post with me, and I read it, re-read it, and was actually stunned to realize every word holds true. How I love deeply, and hurt equally deeply, how I am a bundle of sunshine and the epitome of sadness itself…all contradictions in the same person. How the tears flow freely, and need to, often, and how grave injusticies in the world without any direct connection to me, are enough to make me angry or sad beyond the usual.
So yes, even in the virtual world, read the following, and you will know me. Rarely do we come across a piece written by another, that can sum up you so well. This does. Re-blogged from here.
“We love the things we love for what they are.” ~ Robert Frost
A Libra longs for partnership, it is her heart’s forever-wish; but to love a Libra, you must love her completely.
A Libra will need space; she’ll need freedom to be who she is in any given moment. She wants to suffer, celebrate, hate and adore who she is. These things are always changing and often conflicting, because she’s constantly discovering new pieces of who she is.
She’ll never tell you something critical straightaway, instead she’ll sit with it until the perfect words ring true in her heart and ever-so-carefully move into her mouth. Even then, she might write you a letter. Because the intensity of her feelings can make the speaking of words such a task.
She loves words. She loves the magic they hold, the way they can free her (and so few things can).
So to love a Libra, understand that the words always matter—they are the brush strokes of her heart. She won’t lie, she’s no good at it. She won’t brag, for she holds words in too high esteem. Your words must never be cheapened through unfulfilled promises or patronization. If your speech is unkind, she’ll remember and the words will never hurt less.
She’s an artist,, through and through. But a Libra, to survive in the world, must find her medium. The words, or paints, the delicate, mindful crease of a freshly-made bed—it’s all art to her. Beautiful pieces of anything. She needs objects and sounds and smells and textures to resonate with that place deep inside that says, “Yes. That’s it, now it is exactly right.” To love a Libra, you must know this.
She’ll need her art like you need your breath—without it, she will lose track of who she is.
You must watch the curve of her mouth; her lips will purse (ever-so-slightly) and when they do, you can rest assured that her mind wanders because her heart is not still. You’ll notice her eyes are far away; in that moment, you must let her go there—to the place where the words find their way to the air—but not for too long. She’s always in danger of escaping for too long.
She seeks stillness.
A Libra will love her body. She’ll hate her body too. But you must love it, you must always love it. You must look into her eyes and smile. Move her hair from her face so you can get a better look. You must touch the places that hardly get touched: her neck as she does the dishes, her collar bone as she types at her desk, her hip as you stand in line at the grocery store. You must weave the ordinary with the erotic. Slide your hands firmly over every inch of her skin as if it were the first time you’ve ever touched her. You must touch her. She’ll crave your embrace and wither without it.
She needs romance. And so many kisses.
She needs to be whisked away to see the world and she needs a comfortable home to return to.
She’ll cry. A lot. She’ll cry and you won’t know what’s wrong. She won’t tell you what’s wrong, not at first, because she might not know. There will be times when she simply needs to feel sadness, she needs to feel the struggle of being alive, even when you both don’t understand.
Whatever it is, she feels it more.
The weight of her fears, her curiosities, everything: of being human, of responsibility, of hate and violence and injustice, of beauty and lightness and breath, all of it. It frighteners her, but amazes her too. So she’ll need time and space to explore, to dance and to fall apart, because there is nothing more lovely than a Libra experiencing the world. She sees magic where others do not. She needs to believe in magic. Ferociously.
And when she finally turns 30—when the leaves are changing and she feels most herself—you’ll be mindful of her feelings; because, even if it isn’t a big deal, it is a big deal and the tears that stream for no particular reason come from a place of shame in her heart.
To love a Libra, you must celebrate; you must celebrate her, life, the amazing, the plain, everything and anything.
To love a Libra is to love the very essence of love, warts and all.
There’s a delicate balance—a perpetual tug-of-war—between feeling fierce and complete against feeling soft and frail. Always trying to reach that impossible balance, she never quite knows who she is.
To compensate for the not-knowing she’ll please everyone around her. She’ll accommodate others and fix situations until you resent her for it; but, to love a Libra is to see that her self-sacrifice, no matter how destructive, is how she loves. Her bleeding heart is how she finds her place in a world that can be unkind; it’s the way she can claim some shred of control—she believes that kindness is what matters most.
A Libra needs you to push her toward self-care. She’ll never choose her needs first, so you’ll have to teach her this craft. You’ll need to teach her that putting her needs before others is not the same as selfishness, because she sees selfishness as ugly.
Ugliness scares her.
Her heart will break often. Her heart will feel lonely and sad about many things, but you must never be the one to break it completely.
To capture a Libra’s heart is to capture her heart forever. There are no partners more committed, more attentive than your Libra. You mustn’t ever take her for granted though; for a Libra’s heart will grow uneasy when neglected, her heart will close and you risk never finding your way in again.
Her heart knows the secret to everything. Protect it.
Sometimes she’ll feel lost. She’ll need hot tea and blankets, black-and-white movies, and no conversation. Other times, she’ll need people. Parties and midnight walks and deep, frenzied conversation—she likes literature and science and philosophy best. She likes whiskey too. To love her, you’ll need to know that.
She’ll need constant reminders that she’s a lovely being, that she’s loved—better yet, adored. She needs mindful smothering, she needs adventure. A Libra wants autonomy, but can’t stand the thought of being left alone. You must learn to accept her, even as a contradiction.
She’ll require decisiveness, as she has none of her own. She’ll surprise you with spontaneity and you’ll admire the commitment she shows to her heart’s content. But if she has time to think, any decision will be painful—be it where to eat, what to wear or who to love. This will frustrate you, but you must try understand. For her, there is no such thing as an obvious choice.
Loving a Libra means loving love itself. She loves everything about love: the connection, the discovery, the heartache, the ecstasy, the very idea of love—it’s all the same. She yearns for the safety of partnership, but she thrives on the excitement of love’s uncertainty.
She wants passion.
She can see the good in almost any person, but in a lover she requires intelligence and humor. There is nothingsexier than wit.
She hates discord, because it makes her feel vulnerable; but to love her is not to worry too much, because she believes in forgiveness and trust—enough to repair almost any injury done to her. When you fight with a Libra, she’ll be certain that every fight is the end of everything and this will destroy her a little; you must remind her that every argument is an opportunity for growth—it is the beginning of a new everything. Loving a Libra means knowing there are few things more important than make-up sex.
She loves falling in love, so to love a Libra you’ll have to fall in love time and time again. She’ll require perpetual evolution, and inspiration, and a little dose of sin.
To love a Libra you’ll need to see the good intention that she always has in her heart; to ignore this well-meaning piece of her is to deny her a personal truth. She cannot survive without this particular truth. When she’s awful, or rude, or arguing because she’s right—and she’s usually right, because she’s a Libra and it’s in her nature to be fair and just and indisputably right—you must breathe. Then trust her tears and her words to be true.
She cares too deeply to ever inflict intentional harm.
But if you witness the flash of anger in her eyes, you must let her rage. For gentle, compassionate Libra will storm fiercely in the face of injustice. You must allow her the space to be a warrior when her heart tells her it is time to fight. You must stand beside her, admire her devotion and believe in the cause—see it for what it is, a manifestation of her heart’s deepest purpose.
Believe in her and she’ll believe in you too.
She might be cast as an introvert. She might be tagged an extrovert by those who know her best. Neither matters, as long as she feels connected to what surrounds her.
When a Libra is happy, she can take over the world. She need only be equipped with the proper music, laughter and her smile.
The trick is in keeping her there; for in that moment is an ocean of contentment that only her huge heart can appreciate. If you can keep her in the moment, you can keep her forever. But the Libra mind will drift and worry. It will linger on the wrong that cut her too deeply. She will scrutinize over the words you used, or the words that went unspoken. She’ll wonder about security and what each embrace or touch or quarrel will mean in the long-term; to love a Libra, you must gently guide her back to the now again and again and again.
Libra blossoms in the joyful now.
She believes in the goodness of people, in magic and (above all else) in happily ever after.
To love a Libra, you must believe in her for everything she is.
What has always amazed me about Urdu poetry is how well it captures emotions. How the hardest of truths are married with lyrical prose, how the poetry is special because no matter the state one is in at any moment…. happiness, sadness, joy, helplessness, loss or love… there are words that resonate how you feel or how a particular emotion captures your heart and life…
The beauty of urdu poetry lies in its universality…. And that always reminds me…no matter how different we are…inherently, we are all the same. anyhow, when your own words are not enough or struggle to weave themselves together to articulate where you are, who you are, how you feel, you can always borrow another’s.
har gha.Dii Khud se ulajhanaa hai muqaddar meraa
mai.n hii kashtii huu.N mujhii me.n hai sama.ndar meraa
kisase puuchhuu.N ki kahaa.N gum huu.N baraso.n se
har jagah Dhuu.Ndhataa phirataa hai mujhe ghar meraa
ek se ho gae mausamo.n ke chehare saare
merii aa.Nkho.n se kahii.n kho gayaa ma.nzar meraa
muddate.n biit gaii Khvaab suhaanaa dekhe
jaagataa rahataa hai har nii.nd me.n bistar meraa
aaiinaa dekhake nikalaa thaa mai.n ghar se baahar
aaj tak haath me.n mahafuus hai patthar meraa
– Nida Fazli