TWO MINUTES OF SILENCE

The sun was down and the sky had enveloped herself in an orange layer. Soft as marshmallows, the clouds were in a jiffy to get back home. Every one seemed in a hurry. Some bickered over auto rickshaw charges and some argued about the country’s state of politics. A dog looked bored and tried to doze, but he was rudely kicked at by a boy dressed in tattered clothes which were a tad big for his size.

But they were not in a hurry. They walked, hands entwined and shoulders barely touching each other. She looked at the board. Her train was on time and would arrive in another fifteen minutes. She sighed as softly as she could, she did not want him to notice. But he noticed not just the sigh but the turbulent waves within her…and him. He held her hand a little more tightly. He knows…she knew.

She was leaving today. Far from Chennai and its sweltering heat. The day he had entered her life, the heat had stopped bothering her. The sweat was not as awful and the breeze had a certain comfort.

He on the other hand had started exploring food other than idli-sambhar, music other than Lalgudi Jayaraman, and known the warmth of a woman in ways he had imagined he never would.

In a few moments, it would all change. To what, they could not imagine or rather did not want to decipher. Silence had taken over them.

The train arrived. Was that a slight twinge, almost a pain they both felt? Or was this the emptiness that lovers spoke about? What was that numbness in the throat, the wetness or the lack of it in the eyes? The throat seemed stuck somewhere between a million words and muteness.

She was the first one to let go of the grip and board the train. Someone pushed her as people made their way in. Someone was gesticulating angrily at her. A dog barked viciously at the train. The sun and the clouds did not want to be witness to this moment and had chosen to let go of the brightness. She stood at the threshold, looked at her watch and back at him. Two minutes for the train to go.

Two minutes of nothing and everything. Their eyes locked tight just like their bodies last night.

I love you.

I love you more.

I will be back.

I know you will.

I want to spend my life with you. 

I want to spend all my lives with you.

Wait for me.  

Needless to say.

They smiled. Words are after all a facade. Silence can speak, scream and put raging thoughts to rest.

Two minutes of silence.

 

Big Wolf & Little Wolf: A saga of friendship

2017 is about to end. If I look back and introspect, one aspect stood out for me: FRIENDSHIP.

Some friendships have made me ponder…a lot. Some friendships have accepted new terms and some friendships have become dope for me. As some are making an exit, some are arriving. Choosing family is way easier, well you don’t do much about it, do you? But friends are your choice, or is it? Is it a conscious choice? Or is does it just happen, like love? Is it a happily ever-after? Or is it a book of accounts, too many additions and subtractions, so bugged that you just give up and accept.

Let me lead you through a story.

Once upon a time was a tree. Under the tree lived a Big Wolf. Once upon a time lived you in your own sweet life. Days passed by and one day, (not an ordinary day) a Little Wolf appeared. (Tiny, but bright blue, unavoidable and distinct) And then one day, you meet Alpha. Someone you thought was insignificant, but soon you released she is not. Alpha is unavoidable and distinct. The Big Wolf was terrified by the possibility of the newcomer being bigger than him. You are skeptical about Alpha. Alpha is a stranger, what if Alpha is better than who you are. Without we realizing, there is that little boss called ego in all of us. But as the little wolf comes near, the Big Wolf is relieved. He is smaller than him. He is no competition. He is reassured. You are reassured. Alpha is warm. She  is no competition. At first, the two wolves weigh each other silently and slowly the timidness of the Little Wolf makes the big wolf secure. At first, you and Alpha weigh each other, share stories and slowly you feel Alpha also is twisted in her own way. You are comforted. The ego is at rest. Days pass by and the Big Wolf observes (to his surprise) that the Little Wolf is following him everywhere. He had assumed the Little Wolf will walk away. You assume Alpha will be like the others, she will be on her won soon. But no, she is right there everyday. The Big Wolf watches as the little wolf struggles to climb the tree. He feels non-threatened and awestruck to see the Little Wolf’s courage. You watch Alpha face her own struggles and you feel one with her. Non-threatened and inspired. Well, you also have your own struggles. She is no different. The Little Wolf accepts the small morsels of food offered by the Big Wolf. The Big Wolf watches in satisfaction as the Little Wolf gobbles the morsel given to him. Alpha seeks out for help from you in non-favourable situations, vents out and looks up to your opinions. And you feel satisfied. You are important. 

One day, the Big Wolf went far from the tree, through the fields, probably in search of food. He comes back in the evening to find the tiny blue dot, the Little Wolf gone. He is no where to be found. And one day, Alpha is not her usual self. She seems distant, aloof. The Big Wolf feels uneasy for the first time in his life. You feel uneasy for the first time. This little blue dot was after all not that insignificant; the Big Wolf realizes as he feels sad and empty. What he had thought was tiny had fulfilled his blankness, but he never felt grateful about it. You realize Alpha was not just another person. She has taken up a place n your silently silently but strongly. A lot of space.

The next morning painfully arrives. The Big Wolf promises himself that if the Little Wolf comes back, he will value him, give him more food than the tiny morsel, give him more space to sleep than the corner of the tree. You understand that Alpha is not just an ordinary person. She actually completes that black hole inside you. And you promise yourself when Alpha is back to normal, you will treasure her, for now you know she is your equal.

And just like that, one day the Little Wolf comes back. And just like that one day Alpha is back. She seems normal and your heart dances again at her being your friend. 

The Big Wolf did not think twice before saying, ‘Where were you? I missed you. Without you I was sad.’ The ego is no more to be found.

You don’t bat an eyelid before saying, ‘Alpha, you are important to me. I don’t want to lose you. You are a very dear friend.’

The Little Wolf said, ‘Me too.’ The Big Wolf is relieved.

Alpha says, ‘Me too.’ You are relieved. 

And so it was decided, the Little Wolf will stay. Just that he is not little anymore.

And so it was decided, Alpha will stay. She is not the insignificant other anymore. 

 

You can read this beautiful, heart warming story of loneliness, ego, solidarity and acceptance here. 

Take care of the animal in you

The last two days have been stressful. To our utter horror, we found  three of the four birds  we have, lying dead. They had been pecked at and mangled mercilessly, while no one was at home. The culprit was a hawk; it flew off immediately when I reached home and opened my balcony door. The last bird was silently sitting in one of the corners. I could see it shivering out of fear. We call the bird cage their home because that’s the place where they have a swing to play on and a ladder where they go up and down. They would chirp, chirp and CHIRP till we stop talking and look at them. Which is when they suddenly become quiet. It’s a place where they feel safe and secure. They are lovebirds, one of the most demure and pretty birds, and easily fall prey. I still can’t talk about my birds in past tense.

We were devastated. ‘This is why you should not have pets’, my mother said with tears in her eyes. ‘It’s too painful to watch something happen to them.’ We all cried.

Our immediate attention went to Moli, our survivor. Turn by turn, we went and sat near her. We kept talking to her. I read my book the whole evening sitting next to her. My husband and I gave reiki to her. My mother kept calling her ‘kanna’. I kept asking her to eat and drink water. My husband missed his violin class just to be with her and worked from home for one day. The kids kept checking on it and shed silent tears. We left everything important for her. And that’s when it struck me.

I had read this article some time back. It speaks about something so simple yet profound. I understood what it wanted to say, but couldn’t relate to it practically. But when I took care of Moli, I perfectly understood what it meant. (Pets are a deep catharsis to the soul) It is a beautiful write up on what it actually means to take care of oneself.

Let me quote my favourite part of the write up:

I try never to forget three words the great Cole Porter wrote: “We’re merely mammals.” Hundreds of thousands of years before we developed our complications and neuroses, we were just another warm-blooded life-form trying to survive in a difficult world. When we forget that fact, we suffer. We get trapped in the shame and blame of our human minds and neglect “the soft animal of your body” (as Mary Oliver so beautifully calls it). But what makes us think we’re so special that we alone—unlike any other animal on earth—do not deserve loving care?

Sometimes the only way I can pull myself from the edge of terror or self-hatred is to ask myself, How does my animal feel right now? Then I notice my racing heart, my trembling hands, my shortened breath, my knotted stomach, my shaky legs, my clenched jaw…and I say, “This is no way for an animal to live.” I ask my animal what would make her feel better. A walk in the sunlight? A friendly voice? A treat? A nap? My animal teaches me how to take care of her, and she shows me how to care for myself.

Isn’t that so simple yet breathtaking? It was for me. I asked myself when was the last time I asked my animal how I feel right now? (I feel the most honest answer comes to our mind as soon as the question is asked.) The answer that came up was ‘not in a very long time’.

I admitted that I have been quite busy asking others about myself, letting them create opinions about me and in turn get hurt, and this includes very dear ones too. I have also been self critical, a tad too much, pushing myself when I actually need not have.

I do go through these phases of self probation, when I read a lot and feed myself to understand myself better. Each time the result has been positive. I am sure this phase will also will fruitful.

P.S: We got three new birds last evening and we have a happy bunch again. Amen!

BTW, do catch up with the complete article here. Savour it and devour it word by word. It’s worth it.