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Till death did us part.

by:Sumana

There didn’t pass a day you weren’t on my mind

There wasn’t an act that didn’t turn my thoughts to you

There didn’t exist a time you didn’t reside in my heart

There is not alive another soul like you

I can’t imagine a life without you

.

.

Yet here we are, 

On opposite sides of a fine, fine line

Nothing new, nothing amiss

Only this once, the line is an abyss

.

.

You dance with death

Whilst I stare from across a chasm

Living a lie

Knowing you court death

How could you leave me

To fend all alone

I know not how to live

Without you by my side

You brought out the worst in me

And you brought out the best

Yet there you are 

Caught in death’s tempest

There is no one else like you

No one I respect as I did you

Another quip, just one other taunt

Anything, anything to get you back

.

.

Whom will I thank for all that you have done?

Who will fill this void you have left?

Whom will I challenge, whom will I fight?

Whom will I grind to dust in my wake?

.

.

There was love in this enmity we shared

There was meaning in our story of hate

There was purpose in our every war

There was elation in our rivalry

.

.

There doesn’t pass a day you aren’t on my mind

There isn’t an act that doesn’t turn my thoughts to you

There doesn’t exist a time you don’t reside in my heart

There is not alive another soul like you

I can’t imagine my life without you.

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The Elastigirl

by:Rithika

This is not about the movie Incredibles. I repeat this is not about the movie Incredibles. 

Now that that’s clear, I wanted to confess something. Not that I am flexible (cough, cough)  

But

I’ve been feeling quite invincible lately. Not the cocky or arrogant type, but the one that’s been motivating me to try out new and different things. Yesterday afternoon, I solved math problems on my own. That’s a pretty big deal to me. After that, I composed a dance routine to one of my current favorite songs. Which led me to buy a very weird-looking bucket hat. How are these two facts connected? I just thought that the dance would look better with the hat. Then, obviously, I kept scrolling and found a pair of jeans appealing. Something else you should know about me is that I find jeans horribly uncomfortable. Maybe because I’ve not felt very positive about my body. But when I looked at those pants, I was like, “Chuck it, I can rock anything I wear.” 

Yeah, and it gets even crazier after this. 

I tried drawing and then painting the “thing” I drew. This was the peak of my invincible feeling because it’s one of the known facts about me that I’m terrible at drawing. I’ve actually been asked what I was attempting to draw when I was “tracing” out a leaf.  

That’s not the point here. 

I was just thinking that maybe the fact that I’ve accepted the fact that I’m awesome however I am drove me to this feeling. Or maybe I’ve actually realized that, indeed, other people do have lives and they’re not thinking about me. Any aspect of me. So, I can just wear, do, eat, and be however I like. 

I don’t know where I’m exactly going with this, but I’ll keep going on because I need the word count.  

Oh, have I not mentioned that I’ve thought of becoming a stand-up comedian because lately, I’ve been watching a lot of stand-up comedies by various people? When I said this out loud and my brother laughed at my face right away, I became sure that I was meant to be a comedian. Then I realized that my extended family or the society wouldn’t be laughing at my jokes, but at ME if I went through with the idea.  

That invincibility chipped a bit. 

And after this thought, I was sure that my brain had bid adieu. I was thinking of becoming a “foot model” who would be showing off exceptionally large-sized footwear with designs that are not available after a particular size, you understand? But then I realized that I’d have to actually take care of my feet. Regularly get pedicures and stuff. And the train of thought went off the rails. 

What I had concluded, and this is a sane decision, is that first of all, stop underrating yourselves. And secondly that, whatever “peculiar” ideas your brain might come up with, just think it through. Because being engineering students, we all know so much about so many other things that seem very tempting than actually ending up as a legit engineer.

That’s all for the “Trash or Ted Talk?” today, guys. 

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The Stoic overflow

by: Prajjwal

Dinner table conversations at home are often unpleasant. It significantly revolves around how incompetent or inexperienced I am compared to other people of my age. I realized I wasn’t worthy enough to be a boy of my age.

Back in school, I was asked to man up whenever I went to seek help during distressing times. I learned that I should pretend to be fine when I am hurt, deep within.

One day I was shamed for not winning at a competition. I had to digest the fact that defeat was never an option in my life.

There are instances when I preferred to remain silent after listening to triggering statements or derogatory opinions. All credits to my conflict phobia.

Finally, I learned to tune myself with the norms and rules of society so that I could fit in and get some kind of validation for my existence, and this was when stoicism entered like a dreaded monster, extending its bloody hands to cover my mouth and cloud my emotions.

According to Greek philosophy, stoicism refers to the teachings or the ethics designed to lead a happy, virtuous, and wise life. It is regarded as a powerful tool for those in pursuit of perseverance, self-discipline, and master, or in simpler terms, it taught people to be free from any kind of passion, and unmoved by grief or joy. History’s great minds believed in stoicism and sought them out. 

Even though the core idea of stoicism is lucid and relevant, the modern version of it seems hyper-polluted. 

Society’s paradigm is quite a complex subject. As you grow up, you are expected to be the ideal man or woman who is capable of handling responsibilities without any flaws and mold into perfect shapes and sizes to please the people around us. And, this is where the misappropriation begins. You tend to suppress your agonies and hardships without any display of emotions, just so that you can avoid getting called ‘the fussy one’ and when you fail or break down, you silence yourself with phrases like Do not give up, Keep calm and move on when in reality, it just starts to snowball and multiply your miseries. 

The societal norms which define the dichotomy between genders have posed an unspeakable threat to the modern world. At places where patriarchy reigns, you can find a crisis of affection, especially in males. They have no female companionships except for the ones at their home, thereby tricking boys to signal their masculinity. They tend to follow the same rituals for generations unless cooped.

I too am emotionally sterile at times. I constantly worry about the visceral way I cringe when I talk on video calls. I waste my time significantly in “What others might think about me?”, unaware that this very notion has the potential to cripple my existence one day. No wonder, Gen-Z has mistaken the word depression for sadness, failing to realize the existence of a thin line between both. There are days when I feel that I missed a great number of opportunities to express myself, cry, voice out my opinions, vent out my feelings. Maybe I was just afraid of grief, which might make me look weak in front of other people.

It is exhausting to keep up to the expectations of people around us, especially at times when you are grappling with your internal self.  It is worthless to bottle up your emotions and choke yourself with unforeseen consequences. We as humans have the power to express our inner self, vent out our opinions. It has a cathartic effect.

Stoicism is brutal. It is capable of taking a toll on one’s mental health. You may opt for silence, but the echoes inside will remain and thrive, to haunt you forever. 

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A piece of peace

by: Netra

Everything around me was dull. The light glowed dim, at least to my eyes. The pale blue bed sheets, glass tubes and bottles, surrounded by freshly painted walls and no windows intensified the silence surrounding me. The air-conditioned room was unbearably cold. I was claustrophobic, but staying in the room was my choice. It wasn’t my fears that worried me at that moment, it was the expressionless man lying on the bed before me, draped in white hospital gowns, and an inhaler tube plastered into his mouth. It was the first time I’d ever seen my restless, talkative and constantly complaining dad lying still and unresponsive on a hospital bed. He was even more afraid of closed spaces than I was. I felt breathless or had headaches, but my father would puke and panic. I watched silently, internally picturing my dad freak,  jumping out of the bed to open windows and doors in his hospital gown. I smiled, tears welling up in my eyes. 

My father was brain dead. The doctors did say there was a 1% chance that he could survive if a miracle occurred. But thinking practically, I knew that was not possible(despite watching a million k-dramas where brain aneurysm patients somehow survived). A ruptured vessel had completely flooded his brain in blood. Nothing could be fixed. I’d already let my imaginations run wild when I’d heard “ blasted blood vessel”. There was no point crying over spilt blood.  

I scanned my father meticulously, memorizing every inch of colour, texture and hair strands on his body. I needed to remember for almost another 70 years( my father would have been proud if I’d memorized so carefully, inorganic chemistry, for my college entrance exams). I placed my palms into my dads. It was cold but not as cold as a dead person’s. If I turned off the AC, would he become warmer, would life magically flow back into him?  Would he wake up?

The nurse had said his sense organs are still functional, so technically he can hear, feel and taste everything but not process it. So, I tried experimenting with his ears first(Yes, I am kind of crazy). My dad had an obsession with radio Indigo 91.9(If you’re a Bangalorean and haven’t vibed to this radio station, shame on you). He would go crazy every time Trevor Daniel’s falling came on the radio. So on a low volume, I played the song and placed the speakers beside his ears. I stared at his eyelids, toes, and fingers expecting at least a slight movement. No Response.

My heart hurt a little. 

Never mind, I told myself, my dad had always been a little deaf. Another ridiculous idea floated into my head.  I wanted to pinch him, if he could wake up, he would wake up then. It felt like committing a crime as I had to avoid the nurse’s eyes. I carefully dug my nails into my dad’s arms and pressed, deeper and deeper, but he didn’t react. I kept pinching, with each pinch, my heart hurt harder. I couldn’t swallow the fact that he wouldn’t wake up. 

 As I was busy secretly pinching my father’s arms, the neurosurgeon appeared.

“Hey, you are the daughter right. Where’s your mom?”

“ She’s waiting outside,” I told him. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, only one person was allowed into the ICU at a time. I felt slightly fortunate, I didn’t have to watch my mom scream and cry in front of me(If there’s one thing that made me cry, it was watching my favourite people cry). But my luck didn’t last long. 

“Oh no, that’s ok,” he looked at the nurse. “Let her in too,” he ordered. 

5 minutes later, my mom appeared. It took 5 minutes because she had to wear the disposable cloak, disposable mask, disposable hat and disposable gloves before entering the ICU. All thanks to the virus crisis. 

My mom, with her red, tear-drenched eyes, walked straight towards my father.

“Wake up, look, your daughters here. Your stupid careless daughter. You don’t want her being careless for the rest of her life. Wake up, watch over her and yell at her till she learns!” (It was just like in the movies).

My heart hurt unbearably now and tears clouded my vision. I silently cried beside my mom, still pinching. I had a long life ahead of me and a lot of new people to meet, but my mom would be so alone. I could tell she was trying to think about anything but the future.  

My mom was being a little scary. The three nights my dad was in the hospital, my mom, who hates being touched, hugged me so tightly while trying to sleep, the fact that there’s a 5% chance that brain aneurysms are genetic seemed to bother her more than it did me, she kept checking on me every 5 minutes. 

Three nights, we let him survive high on medication, so his heart would keep pumping at least until my brother arrived from the US. The last thing any of us wanted was my brother to come home after almost a year to find his dad no more. I wasn’t allowed to tell my brother anything about my dad’s condition either, he was travelling alone, couldn’t risk giving him tragic information. 

At 3 a.m, an hour after my brother visited my dad in the hospital, we were told the medication wasn’t helpful anymore. His pulse dropped rapidly and his heartbeat one last time.

That was the second time in all my life I heard my brother cry. 

“None of you are to blame. He was just unfortunate. He was born with a weak vessel in his brain. Some things can’t be controlled.” The doctor had said. But there must be a reason. Our quest for reason is what makes us human, after all. 

Since there wasn’t any physical sign as the doctor had mentioned, “It is undetectable. It bursts when it bursts”, my mom and I began exploring other kinds of signs. The lockdown was a blessing in disguise so that we could spend more time with him in his last days, maybe we visited our native out of the blue last week because he wanted to meet our relatives one last time, maybe we never celebrated birthdays as the others do because someday someone was going to leave the world on one of our birthdays.

But there was one sign that bothered me the most. It was an incident that happened the day before my dad was taken to the hospital. 

I was filling out details for my college application and I picked up my dad’s phone to get an OTP, that instant his phone shut down and I’d jokingly commented, “ What is this? Get a new phone. This phone looks like it’s going to die any day, just like you.” My dad didn’t like spending on fancy devices. He would spend loads of money on healthy foods and buy himself tons of fancy t-shirts and sports shoes, occasionally get us what we ask for but never upgraded his gadgets unless it falls very behind in technology.

My dad laughed and hit my back,” What did you say? I look like I’m going to die any day huh?”

At that moment it felt like a joke. It was like telling a healthy 6-year-old, he was going to die of a heart attack soon(My dad was nutrition and diet-obsessed and quite healthy for his age).

I replayed this incident in my head countless times and each time felt more bitter than the previous. I knew deep down, this incident had nothing to do with my father’s sudden death but it still bothered me, the absence of signs had made me look at otherwise irrelevant things. My mom didn’t know about this conversation. I wanted to tell her, but I couldn’t. I was too scared. My mom was rational enough to know I was not the one to blame but talking about my dad and death might tear her apart.

It’s been quite a few months, I tried to write it down, tell strangers about it. I couldn’t tell my friends, I was afraid it would make them feel uncomfortable. When I run out of things to do or shows to watch, my thoughts drift to this little piece of peace I will never be able to get back unless I tell my mom. Significant or insignificant, I believed my mom deserved to know. Would telling my mom make me selfish, or would it be the right thing to do?

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Growing Up

by: Muskan

I’m turning 20 next week which means that I’m growing up but it feels like I’m growing older, although I haven’t even begun to experience my youth yet. So I sit on the floor of my bedroom at 3 am caught between looking forward to my youth and looking back at my childhood. And I’ve never been good at decisions so I convince myself that I can do both. I can write a eulogy for all the parts of me that did not make it out alive and a love letter to those that did. I have no balance, it’s a funeral or wedding in my head.

  I stop to remind myself that this one is only a birthday and I’ve had 19 of these before but the problem is that I can’t remember growing up. I can’t remember when my mom stopped chopping my food into tiny pieces at the dinner table, or when she stopped checking on me for brushing my teeth every morning. I can’t remember when I stopped asking for goodnight kisses or sliding into my parent’s bed after having a nightmare. I can’t point out when adults started cursing around me without apologizing, or when I was allowed to make my own decisions. I don’t remember things changing.

I don’t remember when my morning routine changed from getting out of bed for breakfast to staying in and convincing myself that I am enough and I’m hardly convinced, so I repeat it like a prayer throughout the day in every mirror that I face. And I’m making an effort to face mirrors more often. 

I spent my teenage years being obsessed with how I looked and feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I’m very resentful and I’m very angry at myself for that, I had so much potential, energy, and drive but instead of doing anything that I wanted with that I directed all that fire inwards and burnt myself up, and tried to make myself beautiful and perfect. Now I’m planting wildflowers in that same ash, not because they grow beauty but because they grow happiness through thick and thin.

I believe that there is a moment in your youth when you don’t belong to anybody. A moment when I’m not really a daughter, a sister, or anyone’s partner. When I’m not related to anyone at all so that I can madly fall in love with myself. But I can’t love myself if I’m resentful at versions of my past, especially when I’m alone. I repeat at my reflection that I am more than a shrine of my past traumas.

So I owe the biggest apology to my past self because no one’s crueler to her than me. I forgive her because I know that she was only trying her best. And I remind myself that she does not define me, rather she will always be the context for who I was becoming, who I am today.

And I thought that I would have finally found happiness, but happiness and acceptance aren’t interchangeable. I still need to unpick parts of myself that I’ve created to protect myself, skin so thick that I wouldn’t drip with blood in case I brushed up against something. And I still don’t know what happiness feels like without the impending wave of sadness to hit like a tsunami. All that I do know now is that I’m not scared anymore, to grow up, to grow old, or to grow young, because nonetheless, I am growing. 

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Onam:A perspective

by: Joshua

I don’t really know how I’m gonna start this but let’s see how it goes?

I’m not a Malayali, so I was clearly shocked when I was tasked with writing a piece on Onam. I was asked to write about Onam from my perspective and thanks to my ‘mallu’ peeps I have some content.

Also, I’m guessing almost everyone knows why Onam is celebrated but just in case someone is unaware, I shall specify. Onam is a harvest festival usually taking place around August and September. It is celebrated for 10 days with various festivities and activities. 

All the knowledge I have about Onam is from my ‘mallu’ friends(all “amazing”). My best friend is a Malayali, so growing up I spent a fair amount of time at his place, chilling. I spent last Thiruvonam(last day of Onam) at his place and I was a bit surprised looking at the food(Obviously I’m gonna talk about the food). Essentially, I don’t really eat vegetarian food much and it being a festival day, well….there was only veg food, so I was a bit like umm…okay…

The meal is called Sadhya and is eaten over a banana leaf. I sat at the edge of the table, getting ready to eat when one by one the dishes were served and instantly filled the entirety of the leaf. The amount of variety was insane and really overwhelming at first. I don’t remember what the dishes were called but I have to say, they were DELICIOUS. I rarely say this for veg dishes but they were amazing and I was stuffed to the point where I couldn’t move(whew). 

In school, all our teachers would wear the traditional white and gold saree and we would have a huge pookalam(flower rangoli is my best description) in the lobby. The best part was even the teachers who weren’t from Kerala would join in and celebrate, showing their love for Onam.

Okay, so I took a break in between writing this piece since I was out of ideas but I think I might be onto something small.

Since I joined VIT I’ve met a lot of new people and made quite a few mallu friends. These people are so annoying yet so chill, especially this one character(inserts upside-down head emoji) but I’ll tell you about them some other day. So essentially they’ve introduced me to Malayalam media and I wasn’t really expecting it to be so good. From movies to songs and even a youtube channel. Coming to my point, so the aforementioned channel is named Karikku and they make hilariously funny videos in Malayalam(since I don’t understand a lot of it, I use subtitles) and they have like two videos based on Onam which feature short stories. They show how bachelors miss celebrating Thiruvonam with their families and try to make things work among themselves but don’t really succeed. It also involves various plot points which make it hilarious. Towards the end, they are shown united and together and how the spirit of oneness bonds them together. Just like it’s shown, Onam is a festival that is fun when celebrated with one another, with friends and family. My friends have opened my mind to new experiences and I thank them for that(if not for them I don’t know how I would’ve written this piece). Unfortunately this Onam I won’t be able to go have Sadhya(inserts crying emoji). I do not exaggerate when I tell you how tasty it is but it is yummmmmm. 

I don’t know what more I could add to this but considering I went from eating Sadhya to talking about a Malayali youtube channel and I am surprised I had things to talk about. Honestly, never have I struggled to write a piece like this but at the same time, I genuinely loved writing this. Lots of memories came running back to me while I was thinking about this, made me a bit happy 🙂

Happy Onam to everyone and especially to my Mallu Kuttis( the word means small)<3. Hope y’all have an amazing time!

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A Tale Of Two Nights

by:Tharun

14th August 1947

Loud noises of the Gypsy Jeeps were echoing in every alleyway. Alleyways stuffed with people as far as the eye could see. While most of them were rushing to listen to The Man in White speak, a few seemed to be making their way out of the crowd, almost as if they were looking for something precious that they had just lost. Pandemonium. This was the only possible way to describe the night, right in the middle of which was a young girl. Orphaned at birth, she had never known a life of certainty. While many had tried to foster her through the years, none of them ended well. Yet again, she was back on the streets. Although this wasn’t unusual for her, she could sense something very different this time.

She looked weary of her journey. She lost count of the days for which she had been on the road in search of a home. At one point when she thought that she’d found one, she was told that they could only take her brother in. A brother whose existence she didn’t even know about till that moment, but the loss of whom felt as if she had lost a part of herself. Many miles and several horrifying visuals later, she had finally reached where she was now. She didn’t really know if she could call this place home, but she was too tired to go any further. 

The people here looked no different from what she’d seen. What was different about them was that they seemed to have a strange sense of hope. The kind which could be easily mistaken for unrest. She heard someone yell that all their troubles had come to an end. She scoffed at them. Although still a child, she knew not to fall for this illusion; she could see with her own eyes that nothing had changed. Buildings were being swallowed by flames and people were being slaughtered for fictitious reasons. What was funny was that everyone knew this, yet their desperation for hope superseded their ability to sense the horrors of reality.

Suddenly, everything went silent. People stopped right where they were and the Jeeps turned their engines off. The only thing that the girl could hear was the faint voice echoing from the loudspeakers. Someone said that The Man in White had started speaking. Everyone was listening to him as though he were instructing a new way of life. Though she had never believed in hope, the fact that everyone else did, comforted her in a way. Reassured by this, she shut her eyes with a feeling that things would change for her this time, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. 

14th August 2021 

It’s dinner time and everyone is glued to the television. With a plate in their hand, they’re listening to the interview of The Man in Blue, Olympian Neeraj Chopra talking about his historic win. As the interview finishes, everyone is forced to get off their seats by a lady, who just seventy-four years ago was a scared little girl. 

The same girl who once feared for her life now runs a proud household. She has children, friends and family whom she can confidently call her own. Truth be told, not much has changed for her. It’s just that the years have given her the strength to keep a straight face while dealing with troubles. One of her sons succumbed to Covid while gasping for breath. She listens to her friends talk about the way they are subjected to mental and physical trauma at their homes. A few years after that night of 1947, someone once told her that the brother whom she was separated from was actually two people… or something like that, she can’t recollect exactly. Every day she helplessly witnesses her children quarrel with each other for the same reasons that she had seen seventy-four years back. The only difference is that now they pin it on her honour rather than the other person’s cowardice. 

She feels the hope which people once shared is now transformed into something different. It has now changed into arrogance. The arrogance that breaks off a friendship. The arrogance that threatens others to prove its supremacy over them. What hurts her the most is when one of her own children is labeled an outsider. As someone who toiled for years to build this family from the ground up, she feels she let down that little girl who for once came close to believing in the concept of hope. 

Everyone in the household is excited for tomorrow. It’s one of the only days where all of her kids spend time at home together. She personally has mixed feelings about the day. On one hand, it reminds her of the story of a little girl who grew into a beautiful person against all odds. On the other, it reminds her of hope. The same hope which is now synonymous with unrest. She fears for the lives of her own. She wonders if the Man In White lied to the people that night. 

There is one thing that she is certain about. People are not evil, they are simply misguided and afraid. In 1947, her house didn’t have a head. Now, there are far too many, with all of them tugging about the roof in a separate direction. She knows the cost at which her freedom came. The tears, the bloodshed, the unbridled sacrifice that she had to witness to even think of a probable future, let alone a prosperous one. She only hopes that people realise the struggles of those who gave her and many others the chance to have a place to call home, rather than glorifying them mindlessly. But then again, she never fully believed in hope.

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Live in the moment

by:Abhinav

Have you ever thought of what will happen to all your dreams and goals when you die? All the places you wanted to go, all those trips you wanted to go on with your friends, and all the other things you wanted to do. Where will they all go? You will never know. Because you won’t be there to try and achieve them. It is really good that you have your future all planned with all the things you want to do. But you never know what life has in store for you. It can be good or bad. Living in the present sure has its pros and cons. One major advantage of living in the present is the fact that you don’t have to bother about what happens in the future. Not that you do not care about what happens in the future or that you don’t care about the repercussions of your present deeds. It just means that your mind is free of all the things that may or may not happen in the future.

This is especially very true for people like me who tend to think a LOT about things that may happen in the future and get shit scared about stuff that has a 0.001% chance of happening and do not look at the better outcomes which have a higher chance of happening. I tend to believe in the worst that can happen and keep my expectations low regarding any future event. This has sometimes clouded my judgment and thought process which has affected me very adversely when making decisions about stuff that matter at the moment. This can also bring out the frustration you feel about something that you think is going to happen in the future (say, a bad outcome in a test you gave) at the wrong time and on the wrong person.

This in no way helps anyone and is counterproductive. One solution to this is to stop thinking of things that may happen in the future. We can surely prepare and brace ourselves for things which we can control to some extent, like a VERY difficult test that is scheduled sometime in the near future, by planning ahead. But certain things like exam results or the fear that you may get infected in the global pandemic and damage your lungs to an extent that you may not be able to take part in the cardio heavy activities you always wanted to do. The 140.6-mile Ironman you always wanted to finish will remain a dream. The 1000Km bicycle ride you dreamt of going on in your 12th grade will remain a dream.

So what do you do? What can you do about the uncertain future? Nothing. You just have to live the moment. The 140.6-mile Ironman may not be possible in the current situations but what you can do is a 42.2K run. A 1000Km bicycle ride may not be possible with the fitness and equipment you have right now. Maybe try for a 100Km ride or even a 70k. Slowly reach the goal. But do not waste your time and energy dreaming about a shiny and happy future. The future is never happy. Life keeps surprising you and the surprises are not always pleasant. If you keep thinking about when to start, no time seems right to start.

What I want to say is, the future is not in your control. Sure, you can plan all you want but no one can say what is going to happen in the future. Who knew 2020 was going to be all at home and who knows what 2021 is going to be like? Act on your plans and live in the moment because you can never live the same moment twice. 

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is yesterday and the other is tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live.”

~ Dalai Lama

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A VALLEY IN TIME

by:Chitteshwari

I’ve been thinking about why I am unable to do the things I want to. There is some disconnect in the circuit between the part of my brain that wishes and the part that acts and I’ve spent the last year wanting to fix it. Wanting to fix it, because like I said, to do isn’t possible. My problem keeps me from finding a solution, which is to say, I am the hurdle.

Every month or so, I am struck with a breakthrough about some behaviour pattern, either of mine or others in general. Sometimes the breakthrough is a new problem that I’ve recognized and at other times, it’s an explanation – why it is the way it is. The solution, however – how to try and no longer make it a problem – is a never-ending mystery.

I’ve been told I use a lot of fillers in my speech. Words like “like”, ”um”, ”uh”. Words that apparently have no relevance or hold no meaning. Words I say because there are vacant spaces in time and I want to plug the holes. Words that I wear as a mask, as I try not to make it obvious that I am oblivious to my own train of thought. 

There are also a lot of filler spaces in my day, big chunks of time in between finishing one activity and starting another, spaces that don’t really count as rest or work. They simply exist, adding (again, apparently) no meaning or value to my life. Something usually referred to as a waste of time. Is it true though? Can anything you say or do, not amount to anything? Isn’t every activity that you do or don’t do, propelling you further, nudging you just a little bit harder towards the person you are becoming?

Before starting this piece that you are reading right now, I started (and deleted) more than a few drafts, because no other thought was coherent enough to expand itself to this word count. And despite the little corner in my head that is skeptical of myself, I know that every word I have ever written, even if it was erased almost immediately, has lead up to me writing this sentence here. What I’m trying to say is, there is an understated struggle lying in the underbelly of every single day, and the seconds that go into wading through that river aren’t worthless. I recently watched a video about how these filler words in our speech are not just important but are irreplaceable. While a pause could indicate an abrupt end, your um’s and your like’s let the listener know that there is another word that is on its way. Words that say, “Wait, I’m not done yet.”

Which is to say, every time you spend an hour on your phone in the morning before you get out of bed, it’s an hour that indicates that there is something significant incoming- that you are about to begin the series of events which will start your day. There is a deadly pandemic around us and life feels like it has become static but this is just the filler before the calm (yes, I made my own version of “the silence before the storm”). Something is approaching; something aglow with possibility and hope. 

I know there might be sentences in this piece that don’t add much to its meaning (Whatever I am, I am self-aware). But even after I write the last word and begin my process of editing and proofreading, I know they’ll stay. After months and months of the biggest writer’s block I’ve ever faced, these are the paragraphs that whispered to me that something worthwhile was on its way and that I must wait.

You could consider this another small breakthrough, where I have gained an understanding, a new perspective on an old issue. I mentioned earlier that I never find a solution, only an explanation at most. But when explanations make you realize that your problem isn’t even a problem in the first place, who’s to say that you can’t call them solutions?

Categories
Day Family feelings Friends life Love personal Poem

Oh, family mine!

by:Sumana

Your small fingers used to close around mine

Clutch them in a nervous grip

We would waddle along side by side

Braving the world, time and tide

That time you flew off the swing

My heart stopped dead

I fell down right next to you

Wishing I could share your pain

I was proud, so proud

To have you by my side

And now you’re a stranger

Oh blood of mine!

I know I hurt you so

When I told you I wanted a brother

I know I hurt you, by word and deed 

When all you ever did was look up to me

I know I loved you so

Still do, still do, so much it hurts

Only I forgot that I was acting quite contrary

I wasn’t there when you needed me

Oh! I should have been

It hurts,hurts so much when you turn away 

I wronged you, kicked you when you were down

Fought you for our parents’ love

Only, someday it crossed a line

A line I failed to see

Now you have not the will nor the patience 

To hear my pleas, my apologies

Now I’m left all alone

Wondering if you would forgive my follies

But Why should you

You are younger and I was cruel

Oh brother, my brother!

Oh blood of mine!

That day when I realised

That all life must one day end

I did not panic, did not cry

Only wished that you would live and I die

You used to call me cutie pie

Like I was all that mattered

Every time you berated me

You  left my heart in pieces

I gave u all the trouble I could

I used to drive you to anger

But I never once cried

For I knew you loved me still

Oh mother mine!

That day I heard you were hurt

I knew unadulterated fear

I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think

I wished it was me instead

You were my rudder in the storm

My fount of unconditional love

Be it a good day or a bad one

I could always count on you

Oh father mine!

I knew then, as surely as I do now

Nothing keeps me this side of the veil

No dream, no goal, no glory

But your love

Oh family mine!