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oddtree
04 January 2016 @ 01:56 am
I started 2016 in a slouch on the sofa. I had been there for a couple of hours already; UnREAL, a modern soap opera about the cynicism and calculated ruthlessness behind the scenes of a "The Bachelorette"-esque reality television show. How meta: a show about the show behind a show. It wasn't particularly sublime, nor was it particularly bad. The characters were gritty and mercurial, just like how real people are. I like the emphasis on character development on television nowadays. There is a small voice in my head that believes (and trumpets) that the more I watch, the more I will be able to learn and apply, when I eventually do buckle down to writing. I came to that realization most recently: that I haven't been writing, forgot the joy that it brings. It is so much easier to give in to the seductive blankness of written narratives. Whatever writing had been limited to Instagram, and even then, not many. An unspoken rule exists: long captions are tolerable if they are evocative, but people don't appreciate being prodded too much. Sunsets in high definition, sizzling textures, and jewel tones, they fill up just right, lighting up the mind in grey time, of pauses and ellipsism.

Reading people's summaries of 2015, their lessons and resolutions, I was being gnawed by a slight bitterness. They had a stimulating year; their lives were in technicolor!; they have flashback reels with dazzling and dizzying bursts of good times. It must be nice; I remember it was nice to have bookmarks and a cogent way of summing up the year. Neatly wrapped and packaged; that month I learnt this, and though there were ups and downs, this saltiness I gleaned from the perspiration of my clenched fists, and for the magical windows into another place: Maldives!, Nicaragua!, London!, Neptune!; the more frequent and the further the better. The best memories of life are really the days when we are not living our own (and by such deliberate design: taking leave, snapping flight tickets on sale, swapping itineraries, trawling through location tags). I am guilty, so so guilty, and even then, I don't reckon it is true. We learn things until we forget them, then we learn them again, and actually, they were never lessons in the first place, just pat coincidences and/or paranoia. Why must everything be attributable to something; why do we seek such solace in explaining or finding meaning? (Because life cannot just be a waste. We cannot bring ourselves to admit that we are destroying what is most precious, because we know not how else to handle it.)

Tis not a slight bitterness, but a full-on pungency hahaha. That, of course, I had traced to something: the inadequacy of this job. Work is deadening; it is killing me on the inside. But other jobs may do the same. At least, I get to live half a life in relative comfort now. Consolations are soft in conflicts. But that is not the reason I started this post.

It is the weird yet familiar feeling I get reading an old friend's blog. A hidden side; I had always known she was introspective but it was beyond what I had expected, almost what I had hoped for. It is comforting. It is akin to coming home, to years ago, when things were simpler. A recognizable form of sadness, no, melancholy, no, pensiveness. A younger wistfulness, of days yore, of sunshine without warmth, but still golden. It is hard to explain, but it made me happy to read what she wrote, and it made me feel closer to her, even though we haven't spoken in ages. That aha, so that's how she feels, and it was reminiscent of how she had been years ago, a decade even, as if there were signs, -through the handwritten letters, the illustrations, the stickers, indieband appreciation and adolescent jokes, pulpy things that shouldn't have mattered, that ought to have been forgotten,- a whiff of how she was, and here she is now, growing into her own, full-bodied yet also picking at her new skin. I saw her then, and I can still see her now, vaguely and barely, but I haven't lost sight, and that, I had been afraid of. The creeping fog of time, it obscures some, but the veil lifts. The veil lifts, and by some unfathomable grace, we have had clear eyes, clear hearts all along.

A Bon Iver kind of feeling (but not a well-worn and retreaded song. A forgotten gem, or newly-discovered when one expected no more to be found, a ceaseless stream of pleasant surprise, a smile to suit the night as long as the music plays on).
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♫: Alice Boman - Waiting
 
 
oddtree
20 August 2015 @ 11:22 pm
The slowly-dawning realization that you will never amount to somebody as great as you had hoped, and that paths only narrow henceforth. Full glasses be damned; time is seeping as life ebbs away.

I need new words to live by.



I want to find and burrow in a Faraway Tree.
 
 
oddtree
21 June 2015 @ 02:37 am
It is already more than halfway through the year. I have barely written anything; the days have only been filled with doing. Of late, it has been training five times a week, feet coated with calluses and an unshakeable smell of sweat and gritted effort, floorball too, wild and carefree and hearty laughs, and work. Always work for the most part of the day. It has been ten months, going to eleven, but I am still not used to it. People never do get used to it, probably. It appears to be a flesh-suit that ones step into and zips all the way up. Latex maybe, some material that constricts and stretches and pinches at the very being of you. But I am being far too negative. After all, I don't know what I want (just not this very much). Some days, I get ideas of picking plump cherries in New Zealand. Doing graduate studies in Edinburgh. Living in a house made of windows amidst a prairie. Hobbling down cobblestone. Hardening up a twitch of the lip and scribbling into a journalist's notepad. Staring wide-eyed and compassionate and nodding, while running over the island doing Good, touchable and measurable Good. But as the list grows longer, the realization that time is essentially limiting looms more definite. Of these options, possible at this very moment, they will mostly come not to be. They are very beautiful chaff, very distracting, very calming, but ultimately, chaff. And of course, I would be swayed by the winds or be drowned out by the trumpets of 'reason'. Cash is king; you can't go anywhere without it, this is the capitalist drivel cementing the mathematical calculations- how would one eat? where would one live until eighty? what about loans and debt and interest rates?-, and should you pay no heed, should the cogs run free and beckoning, the resultant insecurity will be crippling. And I'm not as brave as that, not as motivated. I have barely written for five months after all. How would I subsist on words which don't even appear on blue moons?

Life is comfortable now. It has been wonderful. Modern society creates the giddy flutter which people love to entertain. I pack my calendar with bullet points and demarcate the time allocated to this friend, that outing, and summarize the time with nouns and adjectives and capitalized verbs. "Amazing waffle", "LAUGHED SO HARD", "tips from coach". I don't ever look back though. I don't have time to read through everything again. Every day (for the past month), I rise at seven, reach work at eight, lunch is at one, leave work at five thirty, reach home at six fifteen, take a thirty minute nap, train from seven-thirty to ten-thirty, home by eleven, bedtime around twelve, and rinse and repeat and rise with resistant limbs. The three weeks in Japan already feels like an impossible dream. It was glorious, and it is incredulous that two months had already passed since I set off. Another realm, the hours were golden even with rain and torn maps and hesitant half-Japanese, and the people were sunshine, warm and giving, so giving with their time and their tales and goodwill! When one goes on holiday, everything is interesting, and somehow, it gets reciprocated. You become interested and interesting. I drank in the mountains, the lakes, the seas, the sprawling urban frazzle like a steaming iron, and smiled and said hello to people, and sipped tea as I listened to a hippie exult about India, and strutted across the railway matrix as if I knew the place, and dropping stories with nouns and adjectives and capitalized people with what they had told me in five minutes, and ran into hugs of old friends, and stuffed my belly with happy sighing food. I was spell-bound every day, as if goggles had been snapped on and I was leaning forward, beyond a train window and taking in deep breaths of spring air, nose buried in flower pockets, and ah, this is how life should be: awake and engaged, and ever so often, on a train speeding towards some anticipated-but-unknown.

But I do like the stillness of some days as well. The evening that I remember and love the most: lying haphazardly on a too-small bed, a tangle of fingers and arms and legs, and it was still. Unstirring and snuggled and contouring waves on a resting scalp, and breathing in syncrhonicity, breathing in the same warm air, and it was quiet after sleepy giggles during dinner, and it was just us, eyelashes and cheeks and temples, and tiny kisses and a constant soft rustling. A hum in my heart, a harbour in the darkness. Tender like home.

And bedtime calls.
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♫: Leon Bridges - River