I don’t know if I have readers yet. There are likes and views, but comments are still a far-away fantasy. I need to work harder and smarter to make my writing resonate with you. But irony thy name is life. I am not writing to impress you. I am writing for myself, for my soul, to quench my thirst. This blog is my only pious and sacred space untouched by outer influences. This is me, pure and naked, sans any masks. This is me laying bare my heart and soul, into the unknown, to the strangers and acquaintances, alike. Why?
Because I feel stifled. By the noise around. By so many viewpoints, opinions and judgements that I don’t know what makes sense to me anymore. I am losing myself to the world. A world that has not made much sense to me ever. I feel lost, like I always do, for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I have felt lost at birthday parties. I have felt lost among friends, among foes, among strangers, among family. I have felt lost in crowd, in loud and authoritative tones, in achievements and failures. I have felt lost at my workplace, at relatives’ homes, at big and small gatherings. In short, I have felt lost at every damn place and situation.
Were there times when it seemed I have found myself? Yes, aplenty. Watching a sunset, the moon, the stars and the beautiful night sky. Walking in a garden among soft, gentle, delicate flowers. In my own company. In silence. Sitting on a terrace watching the vast expanse of life in front of me. Watching a flower bloom, birds chirping in a garden. Reading a good book where characters felt relatable and vulnerable, just like me. Watching a TV show where life was as challenging and rewarding as it is in reality. I have found myself in a warm lovable hug. In the company of hearts that understand me. But Irony thy name is life. In all the situations where I seemed to have found myself, the words always failed. They felt too small to be used. Then why did I choose words to liberate myself? Because that’s the only way I know. Irony thy name is life.
I have never been a great vocalist. I have failed mostly whenever I tried. I am not good with convincing people. I am not authoritative. I will voice my opinion and step back leaving you free to choose your way. I will speak, debate and argue but to a certain point. Afterwards, I will recoil. I will keep myself last in the pedestal. Amidst dissenting voices, I will always take the blame for not being right. I will question my feelings and will always give you the benefit of doubt. I will not try to unearth my inner voice voraciously if I feel the surroundings are hostile. When I am surrounded by too many people who think alike but contrastingly different than me, I will prefer to let them have their way. I will choose peace rather than the burden of explaining myself. I am still learning to stand tall among dissenting voices. Still hurting and learning.
Irony thy name is life. I am writing to share myself with you, adding one more voice to the already prevalent sounds around you. Irony thy name is life. But I am daring to expose my true self. I want to share uninhibited. I don’t want to make it perfect. I want it to be honest. I don’t want to look for the right words to make you understand better. I just want to lay bare. In as simple words as I can. I detest complications. It’s my need but not what you may want.
So listen, if you please, listen! It’s getting rarer, the quality of listening. Irony thy name is life. I don’t want to listen to anyone anymore, but I am asking you to listen. But listen for yourself, and not to listen me. Listen to see if it resonates with you too. Do you feel the same? But why should you? You are not me. But I sometimes do. I feel stifled. Just sometimes, when my soul gets lost amidst the maddening chaos all around.
The irony was palpable. Sitting in an air-conditioned room, eyes glued to a large screen LED TV fitted with Firestick, and watching Malgudi Days being played on Amazon Prime. Even otherwise reticent A couldn’t help being amused at the presence of technology all around that took him back in time (almost three decades) to be part of 10-year-old Swami’s life and his struggles. Nostalgia engulfed the air in the room. Emotions overflowed. Scenes from childhood emerged right in front of A’s eyes. He turned around the head again to acknowledge the magnitude of the reality that was slowly sinking in. Digital era had brought him closer to memories of Doordarshan era when entertainment was way different. When life was way simpler. When we were kids and our entire entertainment world was wrapped around Doordarshan. When there were no repeat telecasts. Today, watching Malgudi Days on TV brought back a sea of long-forgotten memories of an era gone by. Technology begets nostalgia. The irony was palpable.
Last leg of Mumbai travel was one of the best experiences of my life filled with contrasting explorations. It started with roaming around Bandra and Juhu in an auto, watching a play at the Prithvi theatre and culminating it with an evening at the iconic Taj. Let us begin with the day when sis and I decided to see Mumbai in auto leaving parents at home. We started with Mount Mary Church in Bandra which was beautiful and serene. The silence was peculiar to the one experienced in almost all churches where you can hear even your breath’s pace.
From there, we decided to hire an auto and move around Bandra and Juhu for some real hands-on Mumbai feel. We were fortunate to come across a very interesting auto guy who said, “Madam, pay me Rs 250 and I will show you the houses of all your favourite stars. I visit their houses every day.” We hopped into the auto happily not knowing at that time that it would be one of the best explorations of our lives. We stopped at every filmstar’s house, posed, grinned, blushed (at the embarrassment of our acts) and just had pure fun. Here is the proof of my typical middle class Indian fan girl moments, visiting Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and my all time favourite Sachin Tendulkar’s houses.
Above pictures are only some of the samples of my posing spree. We passed through every Bollywood star’s house that you can imagine. “Madam, Jeetendra ka bungla sab se acha hai,” was the verdict of this very interesting auto man. We glanced dumbstruck and awestruck at residences of Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Raveena Tandon, Red Chillies Office, Jeetendra and many others. We stopped for a while at the Juhu beach too.
Finally we landed at the Prithvi Theatre in an auto and said our goodbyes and thanks to the driver. We had booked a show and still had some time to kill. So decided to go for a nosch at a beautiful cafe near the theatre. With full stomach and satisfied souls after a cup of coffee and sandwiches, we went to the Prithvi theatre for another satiating experience. The theatre premises was filled with passionate performances and an enthusiasm that was hard to skip. It was nostalgic to come across the actors from my childhood whom I had watched on TV, Doordarshan to be specific.
The last stop of the day was at Juhu beach enriched with dusk time, nature, sea and good life. Enjoyed street food at Chowpatty and happily returned home with a bag of lifetime memories and experiences.
The next day was a neatly planned one with parents. Visited the iconic Taj for an evening tea watching the Gateway of India standing tall as the dusk dawned and the whole world indeed seemed like a stage. The time stood still for me. It was my long long long cherished dream to spend an evening at the Taj sipping tea. And I don’t know why but the magic that tea brings into a moment can never be experienced with food. One of my longest held dream came true that evening at the Taj in the company of my parents and sister. For a moment, I just closed my eyes and internalised the whole thing to take with me.
So this is how Mumbai, the city of dreams, fulfilled my dreams of a perfect holiday and life-altering travel experiences inundated with family and friends. As I wind up sharing my experiences with you, all I am left with is a deep sense of gratitude and peace that hovers around when some of our dreams come true.