Choice

“I made her a promise; and when it mattered, I didn’t keep it.”

It’s mid-August, and with October fast approaching, it’s the time of the year again- the time to reflect, to take stock of the year gone by, and examine the scars and smiles it has left in its wake.

Last year, I was too shaken up to say anything, to recount the events, but I know now that not talking about something does not make it disappear; if anything it leeches away your power, your control.

So, let’s just get it out in the open: 26 has been hard, but not without reason. It has made me wallow in despair with no way out, but also made me deliriously happy. All the “oh my God, why is this happening to me” moments have had a reason, and I’ve started to recognize how any bad situation might be preparing me for the future.

I read once “life keeps repeating the lessons you don’t learn”, and I’m not beyond admitting that I’ve been repeating it to myself like a mantra as I wake up every morning and go through each day, sometimes barely holding onto dear life.

The thing is, it’s always the little things, the seemingly ordinary comings and goings, that matter the most in the end, when all is said and done. The big, earth-shattering, and obvious things are important, of course, but there is often a textbook way to go about them–when someone tells you they are sick, you frown a little, make a sad face, tell them you’re sorry. Textbook reaction, dictated by protocol and societal norms that have been drilled into us since we could understand. But how do you react when someone tells you they love pistachio ice cream when they are sad, and watch Gilmore Girls curled up in a blanket?

It’s about the little things. Always.

Fret not, I have a whole host of lessons learned that I plan to share over the next few weeks, leading up to the grand 27th birthday (maybe now’s the time to stop telling people how old I am?).

Love,

Snigdha

Almost

There is little joy in things that you do not because you want to, but because you have to. There is even littler joy when said things just pile up, take over, blocking out everything else to the point where you are forced to take a step back, and wonder, “Wait, how did I let it get to this point?”

Some days just make it very hard for me to catch my breath. It would all start out normally; I wake up, and go about my business, drink the coffee, fire up the work laptop, keep a book very close by (you know, just in case)–and then I would notice the date. June. 2022.

It simultaneously feels like yesterday and a million lifetimes ago that I chose this life for myself, and everything that came with. Some bits are murky, others forever etched in high definition. Some days, I can almost attribute everything to a dream.

Almost.

The scars are there, like the ones earned in battle, because that’s exactly what it’s been like: an uphill battle, with no end in sight. There are victories smattered about, but they never last long enough for me to put my sword down and take the armor off. The scars never let me forget, even when the days I’m tired of showing them off and very much want to erase the last few months.

I know there has to be an end to this, the constant struggle for the simplest comings and goings of life; there has to be a grand finale, the final bow, something. I pray every day that whatever I’m destined for, I receive it, claim it, but you know how the heart is–it forgets its own power.

Until the day our dreams and reality collide, we soldier on.

Love,

Snigdha

Passing

We expect love to go out in a grand explosion, a momentous event that is felt across the lands and skies. We expect the ground to shake, for day to turn into night, or just any kind of earth-shattering incident that echoes the shift of emotions within–but it never happens like that.

Love fizzles out like a candle flame being put out, quiet, yet final.

After 16 long months of, well, too damn much, I finally got to come home to India to see my family. Needless to say, it gave me the long-awaited comfort that I had been craving for a long time–and in less than 40 hours, I have to get on a plane to get back to the States, to the life that I’m still in the process of building.

I thought leaving home this time would be easier, given that I’ve already done it once, but somehow, this feels so much worse. Every time I stop to think how I will wake up in a different bed, all alone in my apartment is just not sitting too well with me. The time away from my mother was harrowing at times, and now I’m just scared. It is unreasonable to be afraid of it, I know–because I would rather die than let anyone in to do that to me again–but it is what it is, I guess.

I am trying to make sense of how I feel right now–which is why I’m here, scribbling away and hoping logic or any kind of rationale would appear–but so far, I got nothing.

It’s not like I go home to empty days filled with free time, absolutely not. I have a couple of high-priority things lined up, and then a trip to Austin in early July–all very exciting, very important things; but the space vacated by one thing in your life is not always filled completely by anything else, and that’s a fact I’m all too aware of.

I don’t want to leave home, but I also know there are still things to be done and boxes to be ticked before I can kick back and prop my feet up on the coffee table and just be. Is it a very healthy way of dealing with life? I know it isn’t, but like I said: it is what it is.

See you later.

Tomorrow

“But that’s the curse of the survivors. We have to live with our dead.”

It’s such a cool thing to say to a group of people, I’ve survived a lot.

It might be 100% true, and will most definitely get you applause and appreciation and impressed nods all around, but when the crowd is gone and the air is filled with only the sound of your own breathing, you start to feel the weight of all those things you have survived. You start to feel it on your chest, cutting off the air to your lungs. You start to feel it on your shoulders, making them sag and droop, making it feel like a feather could crumble the bones to dust. But the worst place you start to feel it, is your heart, making sludge run through your veins instead of blood, until you truly feel like there will not be another day.

But you know what? You open your eyes again the next day, and you get out of bed, shaking off the memories of the past, ready to face another day; because that’s exactly that they are: memories. Memory and time are not friends, and there is a good reason why. Memories trap us in the past, in our minds, in a still picture, while time demands to be fluid, to keep pressing on, come what may.

Living alone–and working from home most days–has left me with a lot of time to think about the past year, its events, the people who came, those who are no longer in my life, and those who stayed. Needless to say, it does not always leave a pleasant aftertaste in my mouth.

I’m 26 years old, and in five short months, the six will turn into seven, and another year would have passed. I will sit behind my laptop again, and mete out judgement on the last 365, hopefully count as many happy memories as the tough ones (if not more)–because that’s what happens. You live, and you learn, and you keep doing it.

And keep doing it better than before. It is what it is–your tomorrows are limited, but it is our right and responsibility to make the most of all the tomorrows that are given to us.

Love,

Snigdha

Sandcastle

“You can’t always get the perfect moment. Sometimes, you just have to do the best you can under the circumstances.

We think we have all the time in the world. We believe that every day is promised to us, and all the moments that await us, we are entitled to. I thought so too.

Exactly one week ago, I moved to a new city (in a country that’s only barely begun to feel a little less like a stranger), started a new job, and moved into a new apartment, my first living arrangement that does not have any other person living with me. Quite a change, and true to form, I’m grasping onto straws, trying to make from one day onto the next without cracking.

So far, so good, friends. So far, so good.

As far back as I can recall, I’ve always dreamed of having my own space, getting to set it up however I want, and just make it mine, you know? And now that I have it, I’m so grateful–and also quickly realizing that other than to have a space I call my own, one also needs people to call their own.

I like my new apartment, I’m looking forward to the new life that is at my doorstep, and just all the new, good things that I’m sure are on their way. But only if there was a way I could share this with my mother and sister, in person rather than just via my phone screen and an internet connection.

Human beings are perpetually dissatisfied with their circumstances, no matter how great said circumstances are–and I’m living proof. We crave familiarity, comfort and to just not struggle for anything, because honestly, who wants that life?

Comfort is great, but it rarely leads to anything remarkable, at least not that I’ve experienced or witnessed. This post is essentially to remind myself that this too will soon become familiar, become home, however temporary.

To the good times that await us, friends.

Love,

Snigdha