Loving out of boxes

Loving out of boxes

It takes a lot to love. And it is all the more difficult when love is the only way you know. All of us love something, someone at all conscious times, even when we hate. Hating someone is merely loving someone else more.

Here is a confession. I have hated a lot this year. But I have never been able to hate one person consistently. Even though my mind directed me to hate X, I could not do it if my heart didn’t agree. My heart loved X with all their imperfections. I realized I love in, and out of, boxes.

Ever since I moved my base to Mumbai, I stepped out of a lot of boxes, only to return to them when they were in close physical proximity, and sometimes in intimate emotional proximity. I returned to my Dad box on his 60th birthday this past January, to my Mom box when she turned entrepreneur recently and Nani box when she visited the city in December.

I will have to admit that the Nani box was particularly tough to deal with. It was exhausting to step out of the Nani box when I left for work. Then I had to step into a box that I spend a lot of time in these days – the Me box. Twelve hours later, at her first glimpse, I swiftly jumped out of the Me box and dove into the Nani box again.

But doing this over and over again took a toll on me. Like how it drains me out to step out of the Jaipur box every time I leave the city to get into the Me box. No, there is no Mumbai box. Even if there is one, it is synonymous with the Me box.

It is easier to fall out of love when you have someone to fall into love with, waiting. In my case, I have often found Y waiting for me when X gave up on me. There have been times when I have to choose between X Box and Y Box. I have often gone into one and then rushed into another. That is exhausting too.

Does one then stay inside only a singular box? If yes, how does one decide which box would that be? Which box can stand the test of time, death and monotony? I do not think I am looking for an answer anymore.

I am not trying out boxes anymore to determine which will last longer. I know for a fact that none of them will. I know I will have to deprive someone (including myself) of love in order to love someone else more. But hey, I have become good at this game!

I have become quick in changing boxes by diving into them. Instead of stealthily stepping out of one and gradually descending into another while carefully measuring every step, I have just learnt how to dive with abandon.

It makes me skip my heart a bit which kind of initiates me into the shape and size of the box. But I’m glad I can choose the depth. For every meter into the depth, I go a meter farther than the box that is waiting for me with its lid wide open.

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Gokarna, Matheran and all hills green

Gokarna, Matheran and all hills green

Snow-clad hills, curvy roads and that brown paper bag (only if you are lucky to sense it coming). I have harboured the fear of motion sickness in hilly areas since childhood. While my family would eagerly wait in the endless pursuit of reaching the snow-clad peaks, I would just hold on to my churning stomach and mark it an achievement (or sheer luck) if that brown paper bag is in the right place at the right time.

Do not misconstrue this as the fear of heights. I was completely comfortable (in fact, in love) with peeking out of the top floor of a Mumbai high rise. Also, I would not mind traveling to Delhi from Jaipur, to and fro, within the short span of 24 hours. It was the deadly combination of motion, and the curves and altitude that hills brought along with them, that made me feel nauseous.

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The Times of Indore Part 2 : Pain in my ass

The Times of Indore Part 2 : Pain in my ass

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This fact holds even more true when food is the love of your life. But biology has its way of testing that love. And that acid test (with equally stingy burns) is called haemorrhoids.

Haemorrhoids is a medical condition that Google would willingly explain to you. As neat as its multiple slideshows on haemorrhoids are, let me tell you that the pain is real. It is worse than heartache and headache. Because the shit that the latter two body organs consume does not end up rubbing the injury everyday. While my condition was not caused by constipation, there were times where I wished of entering into a perennial state of shit-lessness in order to avoid the pain that came with the Devil’s call every day.

So how did I end up pooping out blood every day? I do not know. It is difficult to trace the exact cause. But I know that I went through two long bouts of it every three months ever since I moved to Mumbai – a city that gives you so much shit to deal with that you forget to shit on time.

Yes, that was where I stepped on to the dynamic field (quite literally). I forgot to shit on time which resulted in shitloads of pain. I found it difficult to comprehend whether it was the food, the commuting, the long sitting hours, the stress or something else altogether. The worst part was that I had all those fronts sorted.

I am a healthy eater. I do not commute via road (which demands long sitting hours). I stood up after writing every article to get myself a glass of water from the canteen. And I was not stressed at all! I was having fun… until my ass started vomiting blood.

Medication, hot water baths and additional doses of fiber and water – all these followed but I just could not get myself out of the predicament. It reached a point where I feared it would turn into piles, a permanent state. But then, an old friend invited me to visit them once again.

Last week, after one and a half months of haemorrhoids, I visited Indore, the city where I was based prior to Mumbai. It was a city I loved because of nostalgia (first job), its laid back approach, its warm people, its crazy traffic (certainly not) and its absolutely lip-smacking food.

I had survived on that food for four months without any gastronomical complaints. While it made for sheer indulgence, it also offered good nutritional value. The food, whether the synonymous poha, the fav fast food sabudana khichdi (as it made for an ideal item for the fasting aunties), falafel from the streets or the unparalleled bhutte ka kees (mashed american corn), they always managed to get it right. If someone asks you to chew your food 32 times, they must be from Indore as the food there is one thing that deserves to stay in your mouth for that long.

When I returned, or even while I was there, I was miraculously cured. Or so I would like to believe. Obviously, it was a range of factors, like the constant scrutiny, the gallons of water that I just gulped down over weeks and the salads that I gorged on (because food is lou),  but I would like to believe that the leap of faith was also a factor. A major one at that.

I would like to believe that the trip to Indore was medicinal more than a recreational. It was a pilgrimage. Is it the traditionally sound Ayurveda therapy that heals Varanasi visitors or their faith in that city? I know little about the science that went into my cure. But the curious cat within has eaten too much to get up, fetch the magnifying glass and investigate. For now, I would let it sleep.

If you’re wondering how fruitful my morning visits to the Holy commode are these days, I would like to quote Bhashkar Bannerjee from Piku, “Like nevaur befaur.”

The Times of Indore

The Times of Indore

People. They are the most beautiful thing in the world. They carry stories within them. The stories reflect our times. Yet, for me, the times of Indore were not a reflection of people. But the lack of them.

It was the most lonely I had ever been. An introvert till the eight standard, I never yearned for company. An extrovert thereafter, I could not live without it. Living alone in a new city, and not a fast happening city like Mumbai and Delhi, Indore felt like the Jaipur I had no clue about.

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29

29

It was my last day in Mumbai.

As I walked across Crosswords at Kemps Corner, it tempted me to reenter the bookstore that had introduced me to the world of Archies and Harry Potter a decade ago. However, I ended up asking the guard, “Ye 29 kidhar hai?” (Where is 29?)

29 is a restaurant at Kemps Corner where I had invited my friends for my farewell lunch. Without a clue about the theme of the place I was heading to, I followed the guidelines of the guard and found a fine dining air-conditioned restaurant, contrary to my expectations. I had expected it to be a rather average restaurant after looking at the price for two on Zomato. Continue reading “29”

The Twinkle in Her Eyes

The Twinkle in Her Eyes

The tea almost spilled out of the ivory cup. Her face looked relieved after the first sip – but her hands trembled. She aimed at the saucer and slammed the cup on the inner circle of the saucer, sporting a smug half-smile to celebrate yet another `achievement’. As I cringed at the clink, she ordered, “Finish your milk before it turns cold.” I nodded and dragged the glass of milk closer, choosing not to explain that I had asked the cook for a cold coffee just a couple of minutes ago. Obviously, she hadn’t heard that.

Because she couldn’t.

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I vs Me

I vs Me

“My mother is a jewelry designer,” I said.

Fr. Jose Philip, Principal of St. Xavier’s School, Jaipur, stared at me, pleasantly surprised by a six-year old pronouncing two long English words so confidently. That was the highlight of the first interview of my life that led to my admission in school.

Over the years, I always enjoyed answering the question, “What does your dad do?”, I got upset when the question wasn’t followed by “And your mom?”

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