Halfway Point

Halfway through every year, it suddenly hits me that six out of the twelve months of the year have passed me by, and I am overcome with the undeniable urge to make the rest of the year as amazing as I can, given my current circumstances. You would think that I would remember this feeling of lost time come January; but I don’t. Every year, January to June and July to December are two different phases of my life, quite like the lunar cycle. The first half is generally fraught with some big change, emotional/physical/environmental – and being the typical Air sign that I am, I get caught up in the flurry and madness of it all, often forgetting to plant my feet on the ground.

Come July, I usually find myself bruised and bristling, muttering to myself ‘that’s the last time I do that’ (spoiler alert: it’s not), and resolve to make better life choices, to not let people close, and just resume the one-woman show that is (generally) my life. This is the 26th year of my existence, and it’s been exactly the same as the 25 years before it.

January was awash with change and excitement, and unbridled hope that was not yet weighed down by reality. You know what the crazy thing is? Somewhere in the back of my mind, I can feel that this is not going to last. The voice inside of me (that I may or may not choose to ignore, depending upon the how deep I’m swimming in the ocean of denial) keeps whispering warnings, cautioning me to be careful. I am never careful. Or rather, never careful enough. The cycle of disappointment and bad faith repeats itself, and a heartbeat later, the date on the calendar says June 30. I find myself standing in the same spot as the year before, looking around at What Was, the mess that remains in its wake, and how tricky and/or exhausting the road to What Will Be is going to be. There is a lot of crying, feeling helpless and hopeless – a new addition to that routine is video calling my mother to vent and rant as she shakes her head and tells me it’s all going to be okay – until I wipe away my tears, wash my face and do the thing I do best: reclaim control.

So yes friends, it’s the time of the year again, where I’ve been alternating between I Got This and Why Did This Happen To Me mindsets – and let me tell you, it’s never fun. My usual tendency to feel better after burying my nose in a phenomenal book also lessens, leaving me to my own devices, and getting out of this funk the hard way. Plans have been made, routines mapped out, a lot of coffee consumed. I know I will be okay, and I shall soon have another story to tell about how mean 2021 was, and how it made me stronger.

It is what it is, friends. The circle of life, the wheel in the sky – call it what you want.

I’ll see you soon.

Love,

Snigdha

Totis Viribus

“Yesterday is not ours to recover. But tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

Sometimes, it does not take much for the other shoe to drop, and the your hold on your sanity, akin to a thin, thin thread, snaps in two. Sometimes, nothing can shake you, or break you, or even cause you to so much as miss a step. It’s such a strange time to be alive, where things like routine are being broken and reformed every day, and there’s always a touch of uncertainty to it all, because let’s be real: nobody knows what tomorrow will bring.

But at the same time, there’s hope. Hope that maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be a brighter day; not perfect, just a little happier. Hope that this too, shall pass. Hope that one day, we can sit around a fire with nothing on our faces except bright smiles, and reminisce about The Time That Was.

Totis viribus means ‘with all one’s might’. Of course I read it in a book (that’s where I get all my wise thoughts from), and it got me thinking how fear and hope are two sides of the same coin, star-crossed lovers like the sun and the moon. You fear something because it’s new and unknown, and you feel that nothing good can come of it. You hope for something because you wish that something good will come of it. They both stem from unknown, unfamiliar places.

Of late, I have begun to understand that being afraid is not a bad thing, or anything to be ashamed of – everyone does it, and some of us are just better at hiding it than others. Being afraid is okay, but continuing to live with it and not do anything about it is not okay. I’m scared of the stupidest of things – ordering food in a restaurant, getting an answer wrong in class, tripping and faceplanting on the sidewalk – all of it terrifies me. Seven years ago, when I had just started driving, I was horrified of making a U-turn. But if there’s one thing that I’ve learnt and imbibed in every single cell of my body, such that it’s now muscle memory, it’s that be afraid, and do this shit anyway. If I had my way, and the world was not run by currency, I would spend my days with my books and my loved ones (#hermit) and never would have thought of travelling halfway across the globe where everyone – and everything – is a veritable stranger. But I did.

Why? Because hope won out over fear. There’s a reason why the optimists are still thriving, you know.

Every day is another opportunity for me to be scared of something. I’m sure I will find a new terrifying thing when I wake up tomorrow. But if facing that fear is worth something – even if ‘something’ is feeling accomplished for a grand total of three seconds – then I will do it gladly. No matter how old you get, nothing beats the feeling of being scared out of your mind of something and doing it anyway. You feel invincible.

Which you are.

Love,

Snigdha

Just a day

“And I realized—I realized how badly I’d been treated before, if my standards had become so low. If the freedom I’d been granted felt like a privilege and not an inherent right.” – A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J Maas

There is an undercurrent that accompanies the second month of every year. When the empty seat beside you starts to feel like a reflection of some shortcoming of yours that is unique to February, when the absence of another hand in yours leaves you feeling colder than usual, and the silence from the other side of the bed begins to feel weighted. ‘It’s just a day’. It is. ‘Nobody remembers it once it’s gone’. They don’t. February 14th comes, awash in pinks and reds and hearts and promises, and leaves, until next year, giving you another chance to fill that seat beside you.

Ever since I’ve moved to a new country, I often find myself circling back to the idea of signs and how fate guides our every move, and the bigger picture is already painted; we can only finetune the details. With the world around me painted rose, I wonder what if every step we take is leading us onto a path that’s meant to collide with someone else’s. One day, you just stumble upon your happily ever after, the story that you always knew of, but hadn’t yet read.

But how do you know what you’re looking for? What is the cost, the price you pay to know what’s good, what will make you happy? Pain. All the storms in your life, the tears, the hurt, the grief that overrides every other sense and leaves you feeling like you’re drowning – that’s the cost of love. That’s what steels your will and makes you grow, like storm clouds breaking apart to make way for the sun to shine through.

The empty seat isn’t a mark against you. The other half of the cold is bed now, so go ahead and sleep in the middle of the bed like a freaking starfish. Your hands are empty for you to hold fries in them. Nothing is permanent, and nothing goes on forever. It is, in actual fact, a day.

Love,

Snigdha

In Omnia Paratus

“Only you can decide what breaks you, Cursebreaker. Only you.”

I have had more than two decades to grasp the concept of time, but it still eludes me. One day, it’s March 23 of 2020, the whole world is locked in, and all your plans are trashed. You blink, look away, get busy dealing with today, and suddenly, it’s the next year, and you find yourself many miles away from everything that is familiar and known.

I did it. I moved halfway across the globe, to the United States of America, and classes begin tomorrow. It’s been twenty days since I arrived here, so far away from my mother and the comfort of home, and while most days are okay, there are moments between here and there when I need to remind myself that all will be okay. Different things hit me at different times, you know? Some days, it’s how my pillow smells different, or how my bed feels unfamiliar. Other days, it’s how my fingers don’t wrap around my car keys anymore. These little things may not seem like much, but they are. Change is never easy, and even after having been through my fair share of changes, I can’t say I’m used to it.

When the view outside your window changes, finding a sense of home becomes very difficult. Twenty days in, and sometimes I still feel like this is all a dream, and I’ll be home once I wake up. But there’s hope, too. Hope that all this will amount to something that is beyond my imagination, something that will make all of this worth the discomfort.

In omnia paratus means ‘ready for anything’. I believe it’s too late for anything else, right?

See you soon, ladies and gentlemen.

Love,

Snigdha

One-Fourth

“You can’t make any one person your world. The trick was to take what each could give you and build your world from it.”

When I turned 24 last year, I had a feeling that it was going to be a bumpy ride, albeit exciting, and I was right on the money. I vaguely remember saying that 23 was the worst year I’d ever lived through, but 24 leveled up the game like no other, friends. It wasn’t bad, not at all — it was challenging. Eye-opening. Life-altering. Surprising. With barely four days to go for my birthday, I believe I can confirm that that was the theme of this year: surprise. Every day was a new low or new high, every single day was a surprise.

People surprised me, circumstances surprised me, life surprised me, but most of all, I surprised myself. I had such plans for this year, you know, and everything was very neatly laid out. Lists and plans and to-dos were all ready to just be put into action, and when the the pandemic happened and the world locked down, all those beautiful plans were discarded in a trench and set on fire. Suddenly, I didn’t know which way was up anymore, because while I had planned for setbacks, I hadn’t expected utter and complete annihilation of the carefully-crafted action items. Things got so out of control for a while that I started to reconsider all the choices that I’d made, which only led to making of more stupid decisions. Thankfully, my mother swooped in and saved the day before I could do any permanent damage. This was the starting of summer.

The summer of quarantine was devoted to rebuilding and discoveries and just taking my own sweet time. I read, learned new recipes and practiced the old ones, took up a new job that I enjoy quite a bit, and spent time healing myself from within, at my own pace. Some days were so easy that I often wondered why I hadn’t just done it sooner, but some days were very, very ugly. It was a tough and largely solitary process, one that I’m so thankful I choose to subject myself to. There were scabs and scars and knots all over my being from so many things, some fresh and recent, some long forgotten, and all of them painful. More than others, I was forced to come face to face with my own shortcomings and ugliness, and all the things that I’ve avoided looking in the eye for so damn long. It was nerve-wracking to address the darkness within, and to wade my way through it was a challenge like no other. It’s creepy, to be very honest, only because it’s you who is the cause of it. Nobody else, nothing else, but you.

I guess finding my way out of the labyrinth righted many, many wrongs and healed over every last wound that I had been harboring inside of myself. Now, today, I feel peaceful, and I know that happiness is always within reach, even if nothing around you seems capable of sparking joy. Happiness is always around, fellas, trust me. You might have to dig a little deeper sometimes, but you’ll find it, closer and bigger and all-encompassing than you thought possible.

There are a million and one things that I’ve learned this year, from people, from books, from every day that has passed me by. It’s has been a terrifying, exhilarating ride, this year. 24 was a gift, truly.

As is custom around here, we shall delve into the life lessons on the birthday eve, where I shall share the wisdom that 24 hammered into me. Stay tuned for that load of fun, ladies and gents.

Love,

Snigdha