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Downswing Days

I’ve realised I mostly come on here and write on days I have something happy to report. Be it my physical or mental well-being or a step forward in the right direction, be it any aspect of my life. I do it with the firm belief that sharing is caring, that someone out there might read my pieces and smile, take heart and hustle on. Indeed, your kind comments have proven it to be so.

Yet, on days when I’m not feeling my best, I refrain from writing, either feeling vulnerable at the exposure or feeling like an imposter for having written all those uplifting, self-care advocating posts when I cannot simply gather myself together. Today is one such day. Half of which has passed.

The other half, however, I am committed to change today. I will address you on days that I am down. I will share with you my darkest thoughts, sorrows, fears and words. Why, you ask? Because maybe, just maybe, someone out there might read my pieces and smile, take heart and hustle on in the knowledge that we all have our ups and downs. Our moods have upswings and downswings. And yet, nothing lasts forever. I know I will get back into the right frame of mind soon enough. And you will see the difference. As would someone else who’s currently berating himself for feeling the way he is currently and admonishing himself for not being strong. It doesn’t take strength to plaster a smile on your face and pretend everything is okay, winning accolades and love from everyone around. It does take strength to accept there will be days when you won’t be at your best, that it is okay to take a break, take more than a few moments to be with yourself, accept your feelings and let them live out their life cycle in you in a healthy manner and, most importantly, it takes sheer strength to try and love yourself when you’re on the brink of self-hatred.

So today, I am willing to acknowledge that there will be days when I’ll be an irritable, slobbering, whining, selfish mess. But that is till my mess. I own it and will overcome it. I will live through it to better days. And I will do so without assigning blame to others around me when their behaviour ticks me off just because I’m in a mood. I will heal without damaging another’s mental health. There is a heart big enough in me to love them and myself. I will be real.

What do you say to that?

Let it Snow : Book Review/Recommendation

December is just around the corner and my heart is lit up like a Christmas tree because it’s time for all the snowy, holiday romances to serenade me while I sit ensconced in a warm quilt, with a cup of hot chocolate and “I am dreaming of a white Christmas” playing in the background. (Yes, I am the queen of long sentences. If I ever decide to write a book, my editor would be in for quite a tough ride)

Anywhoooo, I cannot go on without spreading a little cheer. So, if you’re like me with a warm, toasted and slightly melted marshmallow of a heart, I have a beautiful book recommendation for you! You might remember this one from it’s cover release that I posted some time back! Well, I went ahead and read it because the cover had me hooked.

It’s called Let it Snow by Cassie Cross and here’s my no-spoiler (well, a little spoiler), honest-to-god review.

It has got, in no particular order:

  1. Best friends (adorable ones at that) growing to realise they’re in love but scared of sabotaging their friendship.
  2. A road trip of dreams.
  3. Cut short by a blizzzzard ensuing in being snowed in, in a nondescript town.

My only complaint from this book is that the character descriptions at the very beginning are too stereotypical. We have the ex-jock (career ended due to an injury), muscular, handsome, knows-how-to-cook guy who loves to take care of his best friend, one who forgets to eats veggies, is stuck in an overworked, underpaid situation and loves all things Christmasy.

Other than that, I am happy to report that the Grinch’s heart really did grow three sizes on reading this. It is definitely a good way to get into the holiday spirit!

Please let me know if you do read it so that I can discuss it with you, because eeeeeep, ’tis the season to be jolly.

(People looking for a longer, detailed review can please email me. I did not know how to write more without spoiling anymore of the story here.)

Memories of Midnight

It’s rare for me to be up past midnight these days. I’d almost forgotten what it feels like. The all pervading calmness – silence broken only by my own deep breaths. Silhouettes of my imagination flitting in and out of the wall. The squeaky leg of my bed formed a security blanket in its warm familiarity. While the mirror on the dresser glints a shade too ominously, to be avoided if I can help it (for it draws me in so strongly).

The ceiling, though, is my own version of the starry nights. It’s cracks, my constellations. Although I’m sure the twinkling if merely a reflection of my eyes.

I’m lost and enraptured. Wanting to feel it all. The twelve chimes coming from grandfather’s clock, standing tall in the corner, are my only tethers to reality. Once they’re over, I’ll close my eyes. It’s such a good thing to be alive. Better still, to feel alive. A chime, a snap, a clap, a tap and it’s all gone.

Memories of Lost Things

A note to a school friend, half finished

A pencil with a scented eraser on top

A box of chalk, puffing out dust

The honour of a group punishment, for we bred no snitches

A bottle of water, shared by many thirsty mouths

A tiffin box, emptied, far before recess

A vine of bougainvillea adorning the playground gate

Beckoning us with its cheerful pinks

As calls to come back home, fell on tiny, deaf ears

Skinned knees and bruised elbows

Toothy grins and a complete lack of egos

A toddler’s wonky waddle

A pre-schooler’s biiiiig sentences

Playful nursery rhymes

Story and nap time, inarguably the best of times

Temporary squabbles, permanent friendships

Emotional drama preceding all field trips

Just memories yet

But memories still

A treasure trove

Locked against its will

Come childhood friend

And steal again a few moments from with me?

Can you guess that I came across a half finished message hastily scribbled in an old notebook today and I got lost. Lost in the memories of the things I’ve lost along the way. And yet gained so much that my heart could explode!

Memories of that which we have lost are curious things- weeks, months and even years may pass without any recollection of them and then, quite suddenly, something will remind us of a lost friend, or of a favourite possession that has been mislaid or destroyed, and then we will think : Yes, that is what I had and I have no longer.

Alexander McCall Smith, The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party

Labour of Love

I read somewhere today that there is plenty of work for love to do.

What a simple statement and how very profound. It made me pause in awe of its full meaning. Truly a wonderful motto to abide.

So let’s get busy loving in these lives we’re living because there’s plenty of work still remaining.

A few of my favourite words

Home – a noun, a place, a pet, a person

Love – a noun and a verb, a feeling, a blur, a butterfly, a happiness, a heartbreak, a skipped beat, a life

Sorrow – a moment, fleeting, a temporary emotion, a lapse, a regret, a hurdle, overcome

Hope – an emotion, illogical, a wishful thought, a dream to hang onto, a force, a reckoning, a silver lining, a friend

Happiness – you create for yourself, a building block, a foundation, a motto, a theme, well-lived, well-loved, well-laughed

I tried something different today. I feel it’s still poetry. Tell me your thoughts on it, please? I’d love to see your interpretation of this piece. And maybe make such lists a regular feature.

Yes, All Men

Dear Men (yes, all men),

Today, on the occasion of International Men’s Day, I will not belittle your entitlement by questioning why you deserve a day to celebrate you. I wish to celebrate you every day just as I wish for you to cherish every woman, man, child, person on earth.

I wish that you’d find the strength to overthrow the shackles of toxic masculinity that has burdened you as much as patriarchy has smothered women through the ages.

I wish that you may realise how empathy is not a sign of weakness but of sheer strength. It takes courage to be able to put yourself in someone’s else’s shoes, because we as humans have always put ourselves, our experiences and opinions foremost.

I wish that you may identify the conditioning you’ve been subjected to about how a man should behave, dress and think. I hope that you know it’s you alone who gets to decide what’s right or wrong, what to feel, say and advocate.

I wish you may be able to see that you’d be loved in equal measure even if you are unable to don the mantle of a protector at all times. Your vulnerability is not a chink in your armour, it only makes you more human and loveable.

Most of all, I wish that you would get to just be. The person that you are. Without being boxed within the definition of a man. I’d love for you to live and laugh freely. Feel freely. Express freely. Love freely.

Happy men’s day!

Love,

Varnika

To-Do

Do one thing today that makes you happy but you’ve been putting off since forever due to paucity of time.

Do one thing today that’s good for your body – be it hydrating every hour, a quick walk round the block or standing while working. Any thing that could make a difference to your sedentary routine.

Do one thing today that grounds your mental stability. You could meditate, take a power nap, chat with a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with, watch a hilarious movie with family, or treat yourself to some hot chocolate while listening to your guilty pleasure playlist.

Do it. Remind yourself who it’s for and why caring for yourself is alright.

Do something for yourself today and let me know. Then see yourself inspiring others like the wonderful person that you are!

Sensory Overload

November nights have never been this cold before

Nor winter’s silence so profound

Never before have faraway sounds carried through so clearly

Jarring me awake more often than not

Nor has sleep come so heavily for me

Waking up, an entire struggle of its own

I wonder if there’s more to this than meets the eye

Or simply that I’m noticing more

Or maybe even feeling again after a numbness which had dragged on for years

Is this November different for you too?