Existence

I was never one to think, I just existed. Because existence is hard enough as it is. What with all the requirements for getting through a day. One needed nourishment, one needed sleep, one needed companionship, one needed protection for when one’s own mind is lulled to slumber, and one needed purpose. For why should one bother living another second otherwise?

Whoever designed the system seemed to have thought well ahead to keep everyone busy going behind every little thing that one doesn’t have the time or the energy to wonder about purpose and instead they trudge along like clockwork. It was genius, really. And it would’ve worked with me too, had some dumb wit hadn’t left me alone, locked in a room, taking away hope for everything else from me, leaving me with the final question – why am I here?

I should back up a little bit. I am a twenty something year old living in one of the dingiest slums of my area. I wouldn’t know if it was the dingiest of the lot because I haven’t been around, for obvious reasons.

When I was born, it was said that the skies wept. But I’ve always considered it to be more of the skies reaching out to me, caressing me in their own way. Then again, I caught fever thanks to the subsequent cold that spread. So I’m not sure which version to believe. Or maybe it is what it is and I was reading too much into it because I wanted it to be in my favour. Who knows. But a girl needs a will to live, and hence I always welcomed the rains, albeit with a vary distance given the experience with the fever.

I am a single child who mostly resides in her own head. Which really suited my parents because they had enough to scream at each other and didn’t really have the time for another living being. That was completely alright by me – I could fantasise. And that is how my childhood sped away. I lived in multiple universes, all the while my body rested on the dirt that found its way into our home that never got kicked out. Besides, it is hard to make friends when you’ve to work every minute of the day. I think my only time of leisure was when I didn’t know how to walk. That seems like a good state to go back to, however, I’ve always felt that I’m better off any moment more than any of the previous ones.

I grew up learning to make bangles, to make odds and ends as is demanded by the market. Some times it was mats, sometimes it was dresses, all the same I enjoyed the learning process and applying the ways of making one thing into another. For fundamentally, they seemed to have some underlying structure that I was beginning to get a grasp of. And while my thoughts were deep within, I tuned out every fight my parents had, which is probably why I didn’t realise my father left home until it was too late. Like a week late. Yeah, I’m not one to pay attention to external sounds.

It was then that I noticed the internal breakdowns of my mother. Not that she tried to hide it before, mind you, just that I had gotten so good at tuning everything out.

I wondered, should I have let it all in before? Would that have made anything better? The fantasies seemed a better place to live in, given that I could make things up as I wished and not be bothered by reality.

I’d taken up a job as a newspaper delivery girl by then and I had a whole early morning routine. I had to walk to the newspaper office, take my bunch of papers to supply, the address list which I knew by heart by now, and cycle my way to each place with the cycle they had so thoughtfully provided. I had to return the cycle after my rounds, of course. But I always took it for one leisure round before taking it back. They had no way of measuring mileage.

The newspaper job led me to interactions with human beings apart from my mother and father who hadn’t really set a good precedent.

The first time someone tried to make contact by giving me a chocolate, I had cycled as fast as I could away from there. The girl then left me a chocolate in the spot I place the newspaper. Food was scarce, so I grabbed it and fled. But overtime, she came closer to me each day and I found myself gazing into her face. I realised then that I hadn’t learnt how to make the sounds that people around me seem to be making. I desperately wanted to tell her thank you, but how? This was going to take effort.

That night, I paid attention to my mother. Maybe I could use the expressions she was using, but I didn’t feel like they were giving any kind of a positive vibe.

I decided to observe more human beings. Maybe someone out there would express something positive and I could learn from them. And that is how my newspaper rounds got longer. My mother was annoyed I was not spending enough time on the bangles or whatever it was we were making that day, but I was content. I could see hope – I could see myself conveying something to her. And some of the sounds I listened to, caused my heart to feel different kinds of emotions – longing, happiness, sadness, loss, the whole spectrum of it all.

Every day I’d look at her, the words becoming more and more solid in my mind and yet not completely coming out as sounds. And everyday she would smile for me. My one friend I could come home to. Even though physically, that was not where I lived.

There was something wrong in the general air though. People seemed to be upset. No, upset does not do the feeling justice. Furious, maybe?

I was seeing a rise in deaths and I wondered why. Was a disease spreading in the land? Was I in the risk of catching a fever, only, a fatal one this time?

The dead were not even given a proper funeral, they were taken away to the edge of the forest and dumped there, and there wouldn’t be a shred remaining the next day.

I did not have the luxury of distancing myself from things because doing so would definitely mean death by starvation, not doing so, however, only meant a probabilistic death. I chose the latter.

On one of the subsequent days, and I still remember the day clearly – the gloom in the air had not reduced, it was colder than it should feel like, as I went on my newspaper rounds, my friend had not come to see me. I feared the worst. I dashed back home to find that my mom was not there. She’s never really left home before.

The silence was too loud, it was unbearable. I cycled to the edge of the forest, hoping against all odds to not find what I was looking for. And yet, find them, I did. I hugged them hard, I did not have the resources or knowledge to send them off in the appropriate way and yet in my mind, I was doing so.

I cycled back home, because I didn’t know where else to go. But someone had seen me in close contact with them.

And when I entered my home, I was locked within.

What is it that’s stopping me from telling the world that I genuinely love it and for once I wish it would love me back? Maybe it’s the thought that it does, in it’s own small ways. In the way the clouds break into rain to soothe my soul and bring peace and rhythm to the otherwise tumultuous rigours in my mind. In the way the little sprouts seem to stick out of no where to let me know that life can arise amidst a dreary setting. To let me know how beautiful it is to live. How wonderful is it that listening to a particular series of beats brings one to a known setting, and can make one feel emotions even without words.

I don’t have a place I belong to, but isn’t the universe for me to explore?

I don’t have a face to come home to, but isn’t what I’m yearning for spread across every speck of living being?

Maybe this requirement of needing a home and a person to come back to is just an extension of the ego of the self. Maybe all one needs is oneself and the knowledge that every little thing around and within put together is a whole, nothing else. Maybe coming to this realisation will cease my existence because to exist means to yearn for love and support, home and comfort and that is lost once the meaning behind it is lost. Once the meaning that a word held is lost, it is nothing but a connection of syllables – it does not exist in consciousness anymore. Maybe that is why we are unable to process things beyond a certain point – it is a kind of a suicide mission and the mind tries it’s best to protect itself, for survival is key to evolution.

But why life?

The devotion of suspect x by Keigo Higashino – A Coffee Table Book Review

I stumbled upon this book as an unintended consequence of the winter. I’d stopped going to the library and realised I was in dire need of something to read. I couldn’t imagine a time when my reading habit stopped. Looking for suggestions, I asked my college magazine editor to send me something he felt was a gripping read, a thriller, maybe because I wanted my attention to be retained by the book, given that it had been a while since I read. And that is how I got the pdf version of the book.

It starts with a mathematician walking down the streets and making observations as he goes along and evolves into murder (yay). But not just a crime to solve, no. A crime that is then obscured by the genius of the mathematician and the subsequent unravelling of it by a colleague of his, a Physicist, at par with his intellect. It is wonderfully written with a commendable plot. One feels the emotions played out and although some of them are unusual, they can be sympathised with.

This book is also what saved my mind from the boredom of waiting for my codes to run and from not realising the numbing of my fingers as I stood, waiting for the bus. (It is currently around -3 degree Celsius here).

Longing

Walking aimlessly

Amidst a crowd

Wondering

If my companion to be

Was anywhere around.

Was he looking for someone, too?

Yearning for an anchor,

My heart felt like it had stayed

In the bottom of the sea

For far too long

Someday,

I wanted to say

“You are the song I never knew I needed,

The one I can’t live without,

The rhythm to my everyday moments,

The one I love”

Out of the frying pan, into the freezer

This is a narration of events undergone by a woman who mostly lived in a tropical climate with temperatures ranging from 20 degree to 35 degree Celsius moving to a place where temperatures range from 20 degrees to negative range.

The people native to this place are so used to the climate that they walk around with summer dresses while I trudge along with my layers of clothing and winter jacket and boots. When the temperature drops by a degree, my body reacts to it physically. I ended up with body joint ache one day and I woke up thinking “this is what ageing ten times faster must feel like”.

Of late, I feel like I’m getting used to the temperature. I was out when it was 4 degree Celsius – with layers of clothing, a furry ear muff, and a warm furry muffler around my neck, obviously. And gloves. My hands still felt cold and it didn’t help that I needed to take the gloves off to check google maps. The rest of me felt warm and nice though.

As per forecast (which is usually on point), it is going to snow in the coming week. Looking forward to my first snow experience.

I’ve made a list of winter essentials (also, winter stuffs are cute. If I don’t die from the winter, I’d be cute throughout):

1. Winter jacket – I’d looked for one with water proof exterior and furry interior so that I don’t get drenched when it rains. It gets quite windy so umbrella isn’t enough. Also, it would be hard to dry the clothes. So having something water proof that you can brush water droplets off is a good idea. Fur on the exterior does look adorable but I think it’d be hard to manage if it gets drenched. Also, preferably get a long one for more protection. Helps both against the cold and the rain – you’re exposed in lesser area.

2. Winter hat

3. Ear muffs – Gives an extra protection to your ears

4. Head band – Covers your ears and forehead.

5. Gloves

6. Mittens

7. Muffler – A wider, furry one is good because it can be used to cover your mouth and nose and keep your face warm.

8. Thermals

9. Fleece lined leggings – I find these better than thermals. Possibly because it feels softer with the fleece.

10. Fleece lined pants – This is really comfortable to be worn in your home. Looks quite informal.

11. Fleece lined sweater – It has such a soft interior that it feels so smooth on your skin.

12. Warm sock – To wear with the boots

13. Sock boot – I don’t know what it is called but I call it a sock boot because you don’t wear a slipper under that. It’s just the thick sock.

14. Comforter

15. Blanket

16. Boots – Check for grip of the soles – it should stay it’s ground on ice, as well. Look for water proof layer on the exterior. Preferably no fur on the exterior, but fur on the interior would be warm and nice. The soles should be good enough to prevent water from seeping through from below. It should also be a good insulator from the temperature outside.

My boots from India

17. Winter clothing – there’s quite a difference between the clothes I got from home and the winter cloth I bought here, it feels so warm and nice that I don’t really feel like changing it the next day to my other clothes.