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Everything and everyone that stayed with me

Good Riddance

I am taking to writing as a form of expression after the longest time. What has triggered me after this long hiatus of no writing at all is a cessation of a year long period of misery and exploitation. However, as I write this, the said cessation exists only in thought and is yet to be put to effect. But I’m glad I have figured out exactly how I want to end it. At this point, it is almost becoming that the ordeal that led me here be talked about in earnest and truthfulness.

November of 2017, I landed myself in a relationship which began with the (in)famous modus operandi- ‘let’s give it a shot’. Now when two people go ahead and ‘give it a shot’, both success and failure of such an episode are equally likely, at least in theory. No one promises them it’ll be a howling success. We however, were dressed for it.

He was a very close friend who I had never thought about any differently before that night. It was the first time I was spending a night out with him (among many others in a large group of friends) on a trip to a trekking site. It is something about the shared sense of exhilaration and freedom, especially one experienced for the very first time that makes you somewhat vulnerable; I might as well say it’s almost like being a little bit drunk. It becomes easier for you to feel some emotions more intensely and to express louder and clearer. It is in this light that he asked me out, said I make him feel lucky, I make him want to be a better person. I couldn’t say no. I felt like I owed it to the moment, to the place and to the friendship that had led us there. My mind could not formulate the case against. Hell, we did superb as friends for a year so this might not be the worst idea. We were going to give it a shot.

Cut to a few weeks into this misadventure. It was December when I first sensed that we were already on our way downhill. I was beginning to see how different the two of us were. I cannot recall precisely when and how he started saying ‘love’ like it was implied. Like we were in it. At my end, no such realisation was registered. There was never a point where I felt that henceforth, I’m in love, that it has begun. He was already saying the (now dreaded) words every night to me. And I was saying them back. Simultaneously, I was also learning that his understanding of relationships is starkly contrasting with mine. Dating meant very different things for the two of us. It meant for me an augmentation of the sentiment of friendship; practiced by clearer, more frequent expressions of affection, coming to feel greater concern and offering a little sweet nothing here and there. For him, it was like practicing a new routine altogether. New habits needed developing. It was made a point that morning and night wishes be said everyday without fail. I had to religiously call him every night before hitting the bed. I was expected to think about him at least x times a day. I was expected to be a part of (or at the least, be interested in) every project/event he was going to and as a corollary, invite him to join me in whatever I was up to. Additionally, this was supposed to come naturally, which is utterly paradoxical. I found these ideas revolting. None of this made any sense. Of course, efforts were made in order to extend my case to him during the course of which I was becoming privy to many other red flags – I was learning what an unyielding conformist he was of his own views. There was little room to seed any other ideas. Nevertheless, I tried. He almost always said ‘okay, let’s do it your way for a few days’ but this this was always done insincerely.

He would often complain that I never posted pictures with him. Although, I have never been the kind to associate bonding as proportional to pictures or statuses, I whole heartedly acknowledged that he was, and that it was alright if I had to go out on a limb to make him happy. He wanted have a say in how I dressed up. (!!!) He took bitterly my immense liking for solitary walks. His idea of attachment was trying to be aware of everything I do/read/feel/think/talk about, everyone I talk with. He would often remind me why he had asked me out in the first place. I was supposed to make him a better person. I was supposed to offer knick-knacks, propose study sessions, push him into attending classes; all in all, be a constant motivation to do the right thing. He would ask me to offer incentives (applauses). He said “This is how you will get me to do the right thing. Don’t you see?” This is one of the many ways I was supposed to keep the thought of him in mind throughout the day.

This infringement of sorts came slow and hence I let it happen little by little. Obviously, many times I would choose to reject this forceful involvement but he would tell me this is how it is with him and his closest friends. And because I was supposed to be the closest, it became all the more crucial to our case. I would feel that not only is this seemingly invasive behavior okay, it is the very benchmark of attachment.

I would find myself in a mental deliberation on the daily. We were rarely on the same side. Whatever he asked of me urged me to step out of my comfort zone about seventy percent of the time. But our constant duel was that of an imposing versus an impressionable personality. Hence, everyday happiness depended largely on me taking a step back, however, intuitively. For the longest time, I was of the belief that despite my dissent towards these new changes that I was being made subject to, if I showed just a little more patience and some sense of understanding, I would be able to lead us to harmony. Unfortunately, this never was the case. Few months into this and I took the the back seat. His rules became practice. And every instance of aberration meant conflict.

This change was however, latent while it happened. In fact, I can notice it only in hindsight. It was happening without me coming to know of it. However, it was only after it began to discolor my most pristine principles that I felt the need to revolt.

On one occasion, after a hot debate on something relating to feminism and empowering women (which is something I thoroughly enjoy talking/thinking about while ‘feminism’ is a word he particularly loathes) he said to me that the reason I’m a raging feminist and ‘wrongly’ believe woman can achieve anything (I’ve always thought of a woman as nothing greater and nothing lesser than just another human) is that I may have been nurtured with incorrect ideas because my mother has brought me up single handedly, and I have never seen the correct division of labor between a man and a woman in my family. This felt like a blow at my most strongly held standpoints and I was going to do everything to protect it. There are numerous such instances where I remember having felt that his company is not only unconducive but many-a-times even injurious to the ways in which I wanted to grow.

On good days, the friction between us was less severe but it was never absent. An underlying deterioration of our temperaments was always taking place. He was able to accommodate even lesser than before and I was beginning to crawl out of my shell of passiveness. I was becoming less patient and more disobedient. This increasingly rebellious behavior (which was in fact, nothing but me reverting to my previous, real self) was seen as a sign of a love that was fading away. He said I was becoming narcissistic. During this time, I was called unkind, dishonest, hypocritical (-numerous times) and occasionally, and to conveniently sum it all up, a bitch. (At present, I am in a position to see the reason in such a response—it is justifiable. But one must understand that this revision of self was merely the withdrawal of a bonus.) What followed were exceptionally unwholesome episodes of gaslighting, guilt-tripping and eventually coaxing me back into the exact alter ego I was now trying to rid myself of.

For long, I went back and forth, ran around circles. I was constantly made to live under the colossal pressure of accusations- ‘you don’t love me enough’, ‘you don’t care about me enough’ ; as if this was promised. But good God, did I ever gather the audacity to say this to him. I always said I do. And instead of telling him the truth, I tried to alter it. I found myself saying bizarre prayers- Dear God, please make me fall in love with him for real, the way he wants. All other possibilities had become insufferable.

There was no silver lining, however hard I tried to find one. We weren’t able to appreciate each other’s qualities anymore and we were aware of the loss we were enduring. He was never happy with me and unfailingly made me aware of all the traits he wished his girlfriend had and how I had failed every litmus test. This fact speaks for itself. Inspite of this, he wanted me to keep trying- as if there existed some critical value of retry count that would rewire my psyche. Consequently, I wanted out but he never did. (This fact itself has led to countless disputes.) Whenever the question of breaking up was raised, he projected this surreal optimism that we could make it. Nine out ten times, he would inspire this hopefulness in me too and for the remaining instances, disagreeing with him was juxtaposed with immense shame of treading over his hopes. I tried very little.

Even sans conflict, we weren’t compatible with each other. He did not like me on evenings I was chirpy and whimsical. He would make this distastefulness known and I took this as an intention to ground my vibe. Admittedly, this may sound like an overplay but by that time, I was sufficiently motivated to find flaws in our relationship. On one occasion, he rained upon me for having gone several hours without exchanging a word—I was painting in a singular prolonged sitting. He berated me vehemently. I apologised but silently resolved to never allow him any insight into my creative thought process ever again. He hated that I had no time for him during finals week and I didn’t try very hard to make any. I wanted him to understand and accommodate but now, I wasn’t trying to make it easy for him. There was not a single aspiration that we shared. There was absolutely no reason to believe that at some point in the future, we were going to be better than we were then. Our problem was not temporal.

In the later half of 2018, no new developments took place in our equation. We had attained an equilibrium. It was now established that he was a guy who was a constant complainer and I was a girl who was always feeling apologetic (‘Sorry’ had given us mental fatigue.) We were both tremendously unhappy but we had found some sort of peace. However, once a blue moon it would hit me how much I hated what we had become and on those nights I would raise hell.

In the last few months of 2018, we were going berserk. We were more volatile than ever before. Our feuds were lasting for days without losing momentum. At the apogee, we suffered from an acute inability to communicate. Every conversation proved catastrophic. I was in absolute sense of despair. My friends could tell it from my face now. I used to have this recurring thought- how I used to aspire to be free spirited, liberal in thought, soulful and happy (if being a sunflower were a concept, I’d call myself a sunflower, honestly.) I used to make room to nurture myself. I used to able to walk unapologetically out of toxic environments that I didn’t deserve. And now I had allowed negativity and grief too much space in my life. This felt so much unlike me. From only looking at the magnitude of grief now, regardless of it’s cause, I wanted this to end at any cost. (I wished he thought like this too but he called it immoral.) I was going through the worst phase of my life. I did not know where the exit was. Then on one morning, with the umpteenth fight of that week, he said I had pushed him off his limits and we broke up for real. It was a racing certainty. I wasn’t taken aback. I was familiar with this feeling because it wasn’t the first time we had brought ourself to this point. And of course, he held me culpable. This I had foreseen too. You pushed me off my limits. Weren’t the both of us already pushed miles beyond our respective limits for many months now?

Somehow, even after breaking up, which indeed brought us some peace, he said he wanted to be friends although there was little rationale in this expectation. I do not need to emphasise at this point, why even being friends was impossible now. I couldn’t fight it anymore and said I’ll try to revert back to the friendship we had in the very first place.

So, this is us today—two people in a frantic effort (one more resolute than the other) to revert back to a state of affairs that hardly exists anymore. At least, this is what I think. He says I’m a loser for not trying hard enough, although I think I’m really just thinking more astutely than he ever can. Maybe he never needs to be this astute. I think now, that his perception of relationships and people is too ideal, he’s too hopeful for permanence and I’m too fickle minded to fit in his plot.* But everyday I hope he finds his likes, those who have the innate ability to endure what I did and find the pot of gold that I couldn’t wait for (for I did not believe it exists for us at all). I admit I made countless mistakes myself. I cannot entirely rule out the possibility that he might be right in some version of our story- in a version where “love you too”s were said meaningfully or in another where I did not make promises I knew I couldn’t keep. But I think we’ve run out of time now. I wish to sustain friendship but I know it is a far cry, and I want to help him out too but within the limits accordant with my own peace of mind.

Even today, we do not make each other happy. He whines beyond my tolerance. I go way beyond my capacity to please him, very often scarring my own welfare and in vain. I have consumed huge parts of my everyday life trying to mitigate losses that we have incurred. I am running out of time for things of greater importance- I have lost chances to make friends, to visit places, to meet family, to paint, to read, to make diary entries, to love, to grow, to make better mistakes. Of course, his story will match mine at this. He has incurred colossal loses too, he just feels it was all worth it. Well, it wasn’t. My relationship with him now has dropped to a lower priority on my list. In pursuit of my well being, it has become evident that I may have to cut all cords with him in near future and for the first time in three years, I feel I have the strength to do this. This is oddly a great news, which cannot be justified without this story that goes behind it.

*I like to think of his mindset as the earliest formulation of a theory- one that stands correct for the ideal world. For such a theory, we have ignored the constraints that exist for the real, harsh world. It’s easy to be gone about but does to entertain pragmatic irregularities. He could not assimilate anomalies of a singularity such as me, however perfect it looked in theory. (Pardon the obscure metaphor but I have studied applied sciences for half a decade now.)

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An Ugly Letter of Love

Sometimes when I want to tell people I love them, I take a little too long in picking my words until they mix in my mouth like spoonfuls of bitter syrups; purple and green and brown. It is a turmoil that I can’t can’t let out. I feel my mouth sealing itself with inability and handicap. I really wish I could articulate it a little better- these words that overwhelm me. I wish I could write it down for you- on a delicate rice paper in an ink pen, the perfect metaphors, the right words, every stroke ending in a beautiful serif. I could even pluck a flower that I would enclose in it. Every time I try, I feel the agitation. Every time is a failure of expression. The paper tears in places because I’ve written and overwritten way too many times. Because I’ve striked off, bubbled out so many words that kept failing me. It comes off so ugly, my words and metaphors intangible. I imagine you reading it. And then I know how I’m gonna have to stop you at every point and tell you what I meant there. In the anxiety I fill the margins and tear off corners. There is so much I feel but it comes out in words that give you tastes of all things but sugar. It a handicap to not be able to write in a language we all speak. 

Sometimes, I also wish you understood this. That I love you in a way which was so overwhelming, it came off wild and unforgiving. It came off in torn pages that could never make it to your inboxes. It came off in all ways, but beautiful. 

Mother

My fingers tremble as I write this 

After what happened today, the things I did, I am beginning to realize the immensity of my wrongdoings, and the audacity of yourself.

I cannot begin to put in words my regret. You put me at the centre of your universe and I decided to be a black hole instead of a star. You are greatest entity I’ve known in my life and you put me in a position where I could effect you this adversely. I am nothing. I am absolutely nothing, not remotely worthy of this. I am ashamed and now devastated with the thought of the things I did. I had so many chances and I treaded over each one like it meant nothing. I have nothing left to give you. You gave me everything 

Today I am realizing how magnificent a human being you are. Life only gave you hardships. It only put you in the worst circumstances. I wouldn’t survive even one of the forty years of struggle you gracefully came out of. I never think about it. You never talk about it. I should’ve known. I am a fool, I am a fucking fool to have made you put up with my worthless rantings. You didn’t deserve any of this. It’s a shame I even have to say this. 

I wanted to give you happiness and I have not taken a single step in that direction. I never did anything to make you proud. I am a very very very sorry daughter. I haven’t given to you a fraction of a fraction of the rewards that you deserve. 

Every one in your life right now very conveniently cuts a piece of you for their own comfort and your benevolent self thoughtlessly offers itself away. You do not deserve this mistreatment mumma. You deserve to be out first by all of all. You deserve all the joys of all the universes. All I gave you was frustration and anger and defeat 
You’re a winner. I haven’t met anyone you has come even remotely close to the achievements you’ve made in your life. It’s amazing. The things you went through had the potential of breaking bones if it were someone else. 

You suffer every fucking day. And there is nothing I did to undo that. There if fucking nothing I ever did to make you happy. With this little time remaining, there is only so much that I can do now. 

I want to scream at the top of my lungs right now. I want to tear through the sky and deafen every ear of every person who ever did you wrong. I want to put you on a bed of roses I want to give you everything. Every fucking thing you ever dreamt of. Whatever it was you wanted as a child but couldn’t have. Wherever it was you couldn’t go. I want to take you places I want to teach you maths and science I want to make you eat amazing food. I want to buy you presents I want to make you proud. I want to be a doctor. I want to be with nani for as many days as you like. I was to buy you every fucking thing from every store we ever went to but came back empty handed and half hearted. I want to give you sound sleep at nights and easy mornings. I want to do all your work. I want to say prayers for you I want to bring you flowers I want to do your hair. I want to give you a bigger house to live in, I want to read to you all the books you like. I will bring more and more plants for your garden and I will water them eveyrday,  all you have to do it watch them bloom and get bigger and prettier. I will make your breakfast everyday and I will fucking kill each and every person who pesters you at work. Fucking kill them. I will rid you of all the awful parasites mumma. You deserve NOTHING of that sort. 

Cleansing 

Right now, if I could disengage my head off my body and shake it up a little bit, get rid of all these emotions, I would.

All these sharp objects that abrade on the insides of my skull, that fracture it in the same places over and over,

These objects as dark as carbon, as heavy as mercury

That have accumulated on the corners where no cleansing has happened for the past 3 years. I would remove it all.

And every part of it that is stained, I would blot it out spotless.

In the folds of my brain, I would intricately run a brush, blow air until I can’t anymore.

And from the other end of it, I would spiral out all the black and grey fibers of my confusion.

In places where the bones join, where little space remains that this slime has made its way into, I would wipe it away till my sleeves turn black.

Till the skull is an immaculate white

All layers of tarnish will be peeled away

Wafts of smoke will be fanned away

I would get rid of all these thoughts that anchor me,

All these screens that let no light in
If for once I could detach my skull

If for once, I could stick a finger in, I would clean the blackened anatomy of my head. 

Slackening

One evening you told me you didn’t like to talk about yourself. You didn’t want to tell me how you spent your day. You didn’t want to tell me how you spent your summer.

You said you wrote a diary,

I said I’d like to read it.

You smiled at me.

You smiled like I smile at an acquaintance from across the road. A smile that says sorry that I won’t walk over to you. A smile that is so frail it barely masks the fact that twenty feet is too much an effort for you.

It was the last I was sure I had you.

Closely Spaced Lines

I cannot decide which leg to cross over the other, I’ve switched over eight times now.

And I can’t stop drawing these closely spaced lines all over my little notebook page, whose position on my lap, I cannot decide either. 

Portrait or landscape. 

It’s a little bit blurry- whether or not you’ll be coming here today. No, you didn’t say you will, I only wished you did.

These closely spaced lines do not touch. Except in some places where I like to curve them in wicked ways and that only happens a few times, for a few lines, until I can’t do it the same way anymore. There, they meet and although, that was unintended, I do not like to part them away. 

Are you coming here today? A place on my left is left vacant. Because when you do, I like to put my pen down. I hear the music a little better and the noise a little fainter; and I sip my coffee oh, so slowly. 

So this place on my left is left vacant.  Are you coming here today?

Because when the lines meet, although that is unintended, I don’t like to part them away.

Dance.

image

My fingertips tap the table top,
Your fingertips match mine.
In the veil of making music like that,
And in the veil of the red wine,
Your fingertips seek the touch of me
On my wrist they trace a line.
As if calling for a dance of two
I smile as I read your signs.
Then we hook our hands like that
And in the hour to rather dine,

We slow dance to a gentle song
We slow dance for as long,

As the candles fall to their knees,
And wind makes its way
Through the drapery we never turned down.
Until I hear you say,
Again, from the tap of your fingertip
This time around my nape.
Sultry, prurient whispers
Oh, the ways in which you play.
And wait there till you come close,
And caress my locks away.

And plant a kiss, a gentle one
Our slow dance’s on a rerun.

You take my skin for canvas
And sketch some beautiful things.
Then reel me about and hold me under,
Back and forth we swing.
I hum a sweet song for us,
You keep me close and sing.
We only pause for kisses and smiles,
And for the moment that they bring.

You hold me pinned up to the wall,
Our slow dance makes no sound at all.

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Return

Walking that way
Slowly, I know you are thinking
Don’t go that way, I had said.
You look back and I can tell.
Feet heavy like I’m holding
Stopping,
Head hung in the dead weight of the misfortune
That led you here.

Walking,
Slowly, now dubious,
I’m dropping hints.
The leaf that stir says what I said
Stop, don’t go that way.

If you are looking for a sign,
That’s what your timid heart does-
Looks for signs glowing in the dark
Like plastic stars that hang from your ceiling,
Gawking like you would, at them,
They keep you avid until the night draws you in,
If you’re looking for it,
This is one. The wilted rupestrine lily
Wilted is all you see.
And that’s not what you want to be.

Walking,
Erratic and unaware,
Enticed into the thicket. Capricious and
Delightful as it is, to your eyes.
Only deceitful, mine know.
Its arms open like waiting for you
To fill them, before you realize
How a cold bloody knife waits to slay.

You face a screened nemesis,
Flimsy covers in bright colors,
But don’t you see
How poor an imitation it is
Of the butterflies that dont fly there?

On my side is the light,
Not mine, not His
The light is yours, you left it here.
Return.
Discern.
Stay.
It grows goodness in your gardens
And runs a tiny creek,
And the flowers here don’t wilt like that.

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Dearest Best Friend

Dearest Best Friend
It is not everyday that I tell you this but I hope you know what you must mean to me. You know, there’s always this one person you want to do anything for, unconditionally, and the one who you always wish for. Well, you are one of those for me. I may not have done any big things for you so far but in the back of my head I’m always doing the well wishing and the prayers that you will never say for yourself. And when needs be, you can be sure of me being by your side, you can be sure of someone who will do everything within their capabilities to give you the slightest of help. I really really wish for the happiest things to come your way. No matter how much it burns my ass. I genuinely want you to be happy.
I have spent way too long a time next to you and you have come too close to my heart. I don’t even think we are having any of those “you’re going to forget me when college begins” talks. I think we’ve outgrown that long ago and now there’s no turning back. I’m sure we’ll find ourself on the same grounds even ten years from now.
I cannot begin to describe how many million little things I’ve learnt evolving with you, and it’s way more than just the physics numericals or tech help. I don’t even think many people get such humans to be a part of their lives and if I begin to think of it this way, I feel immensely blessed. You are one good reason to think that life’s easy. For a long long time now, you have been on the same boat as mine in many situations and I may have not picked your traits but they never fail to amaze me. Despite all trouble, your calmness is contagious. It may not kill my restlessness all the time but it always makes me feel like it’s making a promise that things’re gonna be okay.
In all those times when everything was a blur, thank you for clearing the mist, always. And for helping me demarcate between the right and the wrong and for fixing things when I had already been stupid. I have been a disappointment so many times- I can’t even count that far and it takes a man with so much patience only as you, to stick around nevertheless. Thank you for never losing hope in me, thank you for always finding one way or another.
I can never stop irritating you it’s like fuel to my existence (I’m serious) but at the same time I cannot stop boasting about you with people who don’t know you. I can talk endlessly about your good-guy side. I can easily say you are just the best person to be around.
I’m glad we became friends. So much that I don’t want to put it in words and fail myself in trying to do do. Carrying on like the wreck I am would’ve caused me so much harm without you to fix things.
And I do realize how this is going to give you diabetes or repel you miles away, (Chill. I swear it’s 100% platonic) but sorry to say how I mean every word of this. If you want we can never speak about this (until on one of ours funerals?) I will assume you’ve said ‘thank you’.

With all the love in the world,
You expected I’d say my name?

P.s. This was not supposed to make you laugh, if it did, cancel all this. I hate you.

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