Of a thousand thoughts

Thoughts float. It’s never that no one is not thinking, but I am always thinking a thousand things at a time. My thoughts wander farther than an Albatross’s flight without landing. Before people start speaking, I make up their present and future in my head. I miss out on people’s names. Because when they’re introducing themselves, I am thinking about what they’re going to say next, even though I remember their first impressions, because that’s what they made me feel for the first time and first times are important. For instance, do you remember the first time someone texted you and you clicked right away even though you had never known them before—like trying on a long-sleeved sweater for the first time in the trial room and feeling like that wool was especially knit out for you. One of my closest friends and I had our first encounter via text. It wasn’t a coincidence because we knew we were going to the same college—which is precisely why we texted each other in the first place—but we didn’t know our fate would be so intertwined. We were set up like friends try to set you up on a date with their friends—except that it was my father and her uncle who set us up. Two young girls from the same city were going to college all on their own to another city with no prior experience of living alone—you were bound to need good company. And so contact numbers were exchanged. We were expected to like each other, although there was no pressure. But by the end of six weeks when met each other on the college campus, we recognized each other amongst hundreds of kids like we had known each other since forever—and no there had not been any exchange of pictures before; I didn’t have a Facebook account.

So when I’m looking at you, I am trying to listen to you and nod at appropriate times but I am also thinking about what you’re thinking, other than what you’re saying. Are you looking at my nose that I don’t like, or my eyes that are trying not to blink, or my mouth that constantly keeps moving for the lack of doing anything else, or just generally looking at my overall face, which rarely happens for people? (If I am not thinking about these things, then I have probably a close relation with you). I’m also thinking about what you will say next, because you will find me completing your sentences for you. But if that happens, that would only mean two things—either you’re older and I respect you, or you’re someone new that I’m trying to be really polite with. But I often wonder about what people think when they’re looking at other people and talking, because sometimes talking can be very distracting. Other times, people are just like me.

There was a time when I tried to look at people’s feet while they talked because I had read somewhere that that the direction of your toes meant that your interest lied there. So if you talked to my friend but your toes faced me, you were not interested in her. But my experience told me that was not true. People’s toes face the direction of where they have to go next, not necessarily where they want to go next; their direction also changes with their movement, there is no hidden meaning.

My thoughts when I look at people also think about their privilege or lack thereof. Of whether the haircut they had, was allowed by their parents or if they are the master of their own little decisions. If the Hilux Revo they drive is the fruit of their own earning or if it was transferred to them by their dad by virtue of his wealth.

My thoughts wander about a million things when I talk to you. I try to remain coherent but there are inner monologues that I’m always trying to respond to—nothing to do with you, just my own head trying to remember a sad song from four years ago whose lyrics I can’t remember, along with nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine other things.


Of Organizing

In my struggle to make sense of this otherwise unpredictable world, I had always resorted to organizing things around me. I knew I couldn’t control time, so I naturally became its treasurer.

I would organize my work bag IMG-20181103-WA0053-1once a month, save all my receipts, undo my closet twice a month and redo it, clean all the surfaces regularly that I would come in contact with, stack books over one another either by their themes or titles or size, make elaborate notes of readings so neat and organized that some of those are still being used by my younger siblings; give away clothes and shoes I wasn’t wearing anymore to clear space, and categorize pieces of cleaning cloths based on things they would clean. My workspace would always have all the things I needed and not an ounce more. I would either shred papers I didn’t need or reuse them. I wouldn’t call myself a clean freak but I had a fascination for organization–obsession if you would. My computer has layers and layers of folders organized into themes, categories, dates and time so I would never forget what happened when.

But then a point came when I started to forget—things, minute events, scheduled work, deadlines—replaced by memories that I wanted to suppress. It wasn’t all of a sudden, but I all can remember is, I slowly began procrastinating on my organization, because I was scared to admit that the disorder around me was due to chaos in my mind. What was once a source of contentment was slowly turning into mayhem. It was deeply disturbing and impeding—more like blockages in the veins but I had so much to do and had so little time. In a haste of losing, and disbelief of what I had already lost, I began setting reminders and alarms and sticking scribbled notes to things to remind me of what I needed to do.

At a point it became so overwhelming that I couldn’t trust what I had written for myself. So I decided to return to organizing. I began from scratch. Little by little. I emptied my bags. Washed them. Filled them first with things of necessity, then of leisure. Made new playlists while listening to old ones, to remind me of passage of a lifetime that once was. Transferred years of data in a hard drive should my computer decide to pull a stunt like me. Undid and redid my wardrobe on the basis of frequency of clothes I wore. Gave away some. Deposited my old receipts and cleared my workspace both at work and home. Felt my head a hundred pounds lighter.

I’m still working on remembering stuff. But it’s so much easier. Because I’ve accepted what happened was the best it could have rather than questioning why it really happened. I know some things are not in our control and time will fly but we need some reins to make sure things that are ours—our imagination and the space that elevates it—remain that way.


Chapter 26 – New Beginnings

I was reading a few days ago how the best writers we’ve had in history happen to be those who have chosen to open up about themselves. And it left a deep impression on me. Great artists were mostly those who struggled half of their time trying to search for their identity, failing and learning, trying on new things, and repeating the cycle. Some of these artists endured failure for years, until they were known for their greatness. And in the long run, it’s the greatness that has defined them.

Self-discovery is hard—it’s like building a wall of legos, block by block. One wrong block and some bricks fall down. You have to put the right blocks at the right places. It’s excruciatingly challenging. However, unless we acknowledge our reality, our struggles, and come in terms with who we really are, we can’t be honest in telling the stories we want to tell. The stories I’ve wanted to tell for the longest of time, a lot of them challenge my own thinking patterns. Rather than answering my questions, they further confuse me—about my reality, my sense of self, of things I believe and want to believe. And there are things, I’ve been scared of writing because they show too much of me—of my naivety and sensitivity, of things I believe in, and of the things I love.

But I’ve considered this—it’s these vulnerabilities that make us human: fear of being rejected, the fear of trying, the fear of that answer that has been stopping us for years to ask the question, those periods of darkness that make us wish for the light, the fear of loving without being loved in return. Trying to act strong would make us one, but only in short term. For long term, we need something to rely on: we need courage from within. Putting ourselves out there in spite of fear of failure is being courageous (an amazing friend told me). It would kill us (if you’re awkward like me), but if it doesn’t, it’ll surely make us stronger.

My best friend, miles away from me right now told me a few days ago that she wanted her opinionated cum passionate friend (who used to feel every single feeling in the world) back. And she was right. I hadn’t changed. I had simply chosen to hide. I was like the last drop in the faucet that wants to fall, tries really hard, but the forces from inside despite all the gravity stop it from splattering.

And so, I resolve to share. It’s a road to self-discovery and you’ll help me achieve it. There would be struggles, battles (both inward and outward), failures (for sure), love and hate, a lot of thankfulness, some whining, a lot of music related posts, some conversations with coffee and chai, some extremely deep posts (so deep you’ll roll in them), my journey of faith (that waivers sometimes but is mostly the only reason of my survival and peace), my opinions (those give me life!), but mostly, my coming back to being myself again.


I’ve never been good with words. I always have to struggle with them. Think of a perfect word before uttering it. I marvel at people who are good with words. All these writers baffle me. They always remind me flowing rivers, never submitting to obstacles that come in their way, taking away everything that comes in their way, molding it as it comes.

And yet I choose to write. It’s probably because I have always been the one with overwhelming emotions. Emotions that are hard to control, emotions that are so overpowering sometimes that if I don’t get them out, I feel they would burst out of me. Anger, love, possessiveness, grief, disgust, joy—and yet I’ve learnt all these years never to express my emotions at full. People are never honest at receiving them. And my honesty has never benefited me, which is why I have learned the hard way and I’ve chosen to write. Thus my writings are mostly about situations which are trying to portray an emotion—or at least I try to depict them that way.

As humans we are always trying to find easy solutions to our problems. We take shortcuts, fail, take another wrong cut until we finally find a safe route, a route in the right direction. It wasn’t until very late when I found out that I could maneuver my way to writing when I couldn’t cope with my emotions. And it was even later when I could muster courage to show people what I had written. Until then I was an anonymous nameless person who would write on old papers, hidden diaries and anonymous blogs. I remember the time I had to deliberate for days before I gathered courage to show my writings to my friends and ask for their opinion. Gladly, they liked them which paved a way for my publishing a blog (this time with my name). Later, I began voicing my opinion through my writings whenever I felt angry or happy or filled with disgust. But I always kept underestimating myself even when I was offered editorial posts for my college club magazines and journals. Because I was never at par with how I felt and how it came in writing.

I’ve never been proud of myself, for I know there are times (almost always) when I begin writing inspired by emotions and then put the full stop at the end of the last word, I am looking at something which did not expect it would come out to be. It shatters me every time when I disappoint myself, promising I would try to do better so that I keep going. Other times I leave things in between.   

It’s like trying to defeat an opponent for a long time, but the opponent wins each time. And guess what? You’re your only opponent.