Sometimes i think i liked myself better when i wrote horrible horrible things on this blog. It was a safe space where i could be myself – niceness and propriety and the quest of beauty and perfection be fucked. It was a place where i was free of the trap of being likeable. I could be as intense as horny as awful and as fucked up as i wanted to and it would reflect the space in my head at that time really really well. My heart would never become a coffin of buried words and thoughts and emotions, i could approach each day with a clean slate.

But i am not that person anymore. I cannot articulate what is going on in my head anymore though it is not due to lack of trying. I am nice and polished and kind and calm and superficial.

But today i am going to try.

I am going to name 3 emotions that i am holding together at this very moment without any justification or explanation for them.

A. I am very angry. Not really angry, but i need someone or something to blame very quickly. The only thing i can find to blame is my luck and my decision-making. The realisation dawns on me that we are not cut out for this, neither of us.

B. I am terribly sad and disappointed at myself and my partner. One through arrogance and the other through ignorance, do not deserve to be where they are.

C. More than ever before, today, this day, i am afraid as i have never been before in my life.

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A simple rule of writing is that on days you cannot write anything beautiful, you shouldn’t write anything at all.

Writing is a sort of a mirror. A snapshot of a mirror. A sort of a bathroom selfie of your head of a particular day or time.

And why would you want to record ugliness?

Letters not to read – 1

My darling.

Today i want to tell you about the day you made us proud. Or rather you made me proud, your mom expected that of you, she being a natural in things you are a natural too. Or rather, you made us both proud but i am the one writing about it, so i shall hog the space for myself.

This is how it panned out.

Your sisters taught you a beautiful kathak dance on your vacation for you to perform in your annual dance competition. 8 days before the competition, when you submitted the pen drive (which incidentally i made as usual at the very last moment before we caught the bus), your teacher found the song too vulgar inspite of you pointing it out that the song was a tribute to kanhaiyya and specifically mentioned him in its lyrics. She wasn’t wrong to be honest but here you were stuck without a dance and no one to teach you except your mom.

After an entire night of YouTube searching, your mom found a song and surprise surprise, you both agreed on something at the very first attempt. When i came back from the clinic you excitedly showed me the video of the dance. I didn’t say anything to dampen your enthusiasm but i couldn’t help wonder if the steps weren’t too tough for you to learn even in a month, and here you had just 7 days.. The steps in themselves were quite intricate and the tempo, the transition from one to another was too quick and too smooth for you.

“Beta pick some steps from your previous dance where the steps on screen are too tough”, i said. You nodded but knowing you i saw you weren’t too happy.

Day 1 – Afternoon. “Papa i learnt the steps of the first 20 seconds.” And you clumsily showed me the first two steps.

Day 1- Night. “Papa! 40 seconds done! If i do 40 seconds everyday my dance will be ready in 3 days”

Day 2 – Afternoon. “Papa are you ready for a surprise?”

And there it was. Done. Complete. Almost unbelievably accurate, though i am not a reliable judge of either kathak or whether steps were copied accurately but then neither are your teachers.

Your mom still wasn’t happy – she wanted you to work on facial expressions a bit more, but she will be.

And me, i wanted to hug you and crush your bones out.

For two reasons.

A. You did it by yourself. Everything. Independently. You needed no one, no help in learning a dance which to me seemed utterly out of reach. As you grow up, you’ll realise that the lesser people you need for anything at all, the better. Something drove you internally unlike all the other kids whose parents have to push and cajole and who hire a dance teacher and a choreographer. You did it super quick and to perfection.

B. You didn’t let your parents’ underestimation of your abilities stop you or slow you down or sow doubt in your head.

As you grow older, beyond an age you can comprehend now, you will need things that stay with you even when you stop believing in them. There will be times when you will realise you stopped believing in things which you didn’t ever think you would. And dance is one of those things which will stay with you even when you think it has gone. I am glad you’ve befriended it, and i hope one day you teach me to dance. I’ll write again when you make your own steps for a performance and now i know better than to underestimate you, so maybe it will be sooner than we think.

And come 27th, when you perform, it really doesn’t matter whether you win another medal or not. But we both know the outcome, don’t we?

Right side up – 2

It is a unique belief throughout history that we humans who haven’t seen war or devastation or hunger for 70 years irrationally hold.

Even the last war for our own country was fought 20 years ago far away on an unrelated border and its been 47 years since our people have had a real war.

Peace feeds delusions. Peace fattens us up the way a goat is fattened before Eid or a Turkey before Thanksgiving.

And the belief is – Tomorrow will always be better than today.

Let us not call it a belief. Let us call it a conviction, it is that unshakeable in most people.

Tomorrow will always be better than today. There are better things to come for us. If today is a bad day, we tell ourselves that its just an off day.

We are in a perpetual bull run of life, with a couple of bear signals and one or two major selloffs but generally, our life is going to get cushier, we are going to get more successful, the people are going to get more rights, more equality, justice, blah blah blah.

And we make this belief into a virtue by saying you cannot live without hope. But that isn’t hope, what good is hope without preparedness?

And we make the same fallacy about our individual life, we believe that the pursuit of whatever is a noble goal which cannot but help being fulfilled in the long run.

And we become cushy, fat, complacent. We drug ourselves with the anesthetics of familiarity and comfort and that dull feeling of pleasure which is absence of thought and general merriment. When we become too numb, we take a stimulant shot of a holiday or sex which only lasts so long.

And those that think things aren’t hunky dory – we label them sick with a disease called clinical depression.

But what if your life isn’t a straight uphill climb, a straight velocity graph with y axis at infinity going on and on?

What if the party is over and no one bothered to tell you this and all you have left to do in life is wash the dishes?

What if the best, the very best your life could be is right now, this week this month this year this decade? That things are NEVER going to get better than what they are today, at this very moment?

Why are we afraid of entertaining this thought? That maybe we have reached the peak and all now is a plateau followed by downhill? Why are we do afraid of letting go that one thing, that single thing so dear to us?

The goal isn’t to be a cynic or a sceptic. Both are as idiotic as being an epicurean or a hedonist, whatever your fix maybe. Maybe the world will never read kierkegaard but there has to be a middle way.

And the only middle way, the only thing which is there in your own hands, the only goal worth pursuing in life is to get stronger tomorrow than today.

That’s it. Be stronger tomorrow than today.

Be stronger physically tomorrow than today. Work out, be physically stronger. People do idiotic things like cardio workouts and crunches and sugar free diets and all nonsense when the simple way to look at exercise is something that makes you stronger. Cardio makes your heart stronger. Crunches and crossfits and aerobics and pilates and zumba make your core stronger. Lifting weights make your muscles stronger. Climbing mountains makes your will stronger. And so on.

Be stronger mentally today than yesterday. A situation in which you would have reacted a year ago would maybe draw the exact same urges in your head but strength is always in what you do than what you think. The goal is to be stronger today than yesterday, and expect worse tomorrow than today and strengthen yourself for it. Chase out every delusion in the farthest recesses of your head as ruthlessly as you chase a cockroach out of your house.

Be stronger emotionally today than yesterday.

Be stronger financially tomorrow than today.

Be in a stronger relationship tomorrow than today. Those cords which aren’t strong enough, those invisibly fraying or those that appear to be fraying while actually being as strong as yesterday – don’t pull too hard on them for support – they aren’t there to bear your weight. And at the same time, weave as many webs as a spider so you can float in air on many rather than hanging on few.

The best is not yet to come. The best is over. Done and dusted. There’s nothing more to look forward to.

So be strong. It sounds like a nike commercial but wisdom in this modern age isnt found in books, it’s apt that the wisest sentences are the cringiest and no one listens to them because they are always on tv. It’s how our age is.

Of fat men hanging on spider webs and believing they are floating.

Right side up – 1

No one ever said life was fair. Life is inherently unfair and time and again it is good to be reminded of this simple fact which we know but often forget.

To take decisions under uncertainties and often living with unknowables is the one thing that often separates the men from the boys. And the only way to get the ability to do that is by being thrust into uncertainties time and time again.

And often you learn that sometimes taking no decision under uncertainties is the best decision.