In which I talk about the Quarter Life Crisis. Again.

It’s been quiet around here for the longest time — dude, studying for a Masters degree is exhausting and not just because of the many ways in which it leaves you more prone to sleep in the daytime and hunger pangs post-midnight and hey, it’s not cool — but, hello.

So I thought this little blog from this part of the universe was dead and rotting because, really, WHO WOULD EVEN WANT TO READ THIS ANYMORE? (Yeah, I still think that. Sometimes. When I think of the blog, ie). I mean, my last post happened in June, 2013 and here we are in Feb, 2014 (holy shit) and we’re all almost a year older already and everyone’s obviously moved on in their lives from wherever they were last year. Then I realised that I still have some 315 followers, so maybe, maybe someone out there would still want to read this.

So much has changed.
For instance my writing voice has undergone a change. All my narrative voices now belong to twenty-somethings, which is a little overwhelming considering that I’ve spent almost all my life so far writing young adult stuff. Young adults still feature heavily in anything I write but the twenty-somethings take centre-stage. Because, lets face it, at 23, I feel like the twenties have taught me waaaay more than all that I’ve learnt in the rest of the years of my life combined. I used to think being a teenager was hard but heck, nobody warned me about what the twenties would be like – it’s youagainsttheworld hard. And I think this is when you grow into the person you will probably be for the majority of the rest of your life to come (I’m guessing) so everything you do becomes doubly important. And, WHY DOES NOBODY WRITE ABOUT ANY OF THIS? The majority of books I’ve read featuring twenty somethings only talk about a relationship a twenty something has with a particular someone. (Okay, maybe I’m not reading the right books – somebody throw recommendations my way, please?) But, hey, how did it get so easy for them? I thought the quarter life crisis featured the crisis that relationships have been causing our generation, not a relationship. If it was so easy to figure out which relationship will end up defining us, none of us would be hyperventilating so much. Or, okay, maybe that’s just me.

And wait..what about the jobs? Why does nobody write about the scary prospect of landing or not landing a job? Post-university life is like taking a plunge into the Black Hole, hurtling yourself through a corridor which you know only ends in oblivion but which you hope will take you to a roses-and-daisies garden. In reality you just end up somewhere inbetween, although you seem to hit both extremes alternately most times.

The only representation that comes even remotely close to portraying what this quarter-life crisis is like is the HBO tv series Girls. I think. At least the first two seasons were good. The third one’s kinda blah but the reason it has me nodding along to it is because it straight-up shows it as it is. No, relationships aren’t as romantic as the movies make them up to be, even if you have the one that you want. Sex can be awesome and crude at the same time and no, that doesn’t make you part of a porno. Your dream job will in all  probability not be as cracked up to be but that’s okay, you have a job and you would rather do this than anything else, so keep at it. Or quit. Or whatever. Yes, we are selfish and impulsive and scared – sofuckingscared – and most of the time we have no clue about what we are really looking for and to add the cherry on the cake, we are getting old. Oh my god.

Dude. Life is hard.

And it doesn’t get any easier when the world around you is falling apart and you want so hard to make it all right again but you can’t because fucking laws. So I’m talking about India, where two months back the Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s ruling that had de-criminalized homosexuality back in 2009. Basically, after granting every individual the right to love and fuck with consent whoever they want to, my country just reverted back to the stone age and declared that 2.5 million (and that’s just the official estimate) of its population are criminals simply on the basis of who they choose to love. Reaaaally. I thought Russia was crazy but this is loon haven extraordinaire.

Which brings me to this. Watch, if you haven’t already. Norway is the coolest.

If governing bodies start making laws against love, I don’t know what it’s saying about the human race in general. I mean, I get that in spite of our much-spoken-about powers of reasoning, we’re actually pretty stupid, but are we really that cruel? It’s like watching a dystopian world unfold right before you. And we shouldn’t have to deal with something like that. Nobody has to.

So, yes, it’s pretty bleak out there. And here in Delhi there hasn’t even been much of the sun. Which isn’t all that bad (hey, I like it cloudy – but only, weather-wise) but it takes more than three days for my clothes to dry. THREE DAYS. In the meanwhile I’m running out of both clothes and money and very soon *hopefully* I’ll be done with my M.A. as well and then I have noideawhattodo. Oh shit.

The good thing, though, is the fact that I’ve finally found my drive to write again and I quite like the new writing voice and my family and I’ve never gotten along better and even though the world’s a very shitty place sometimes, it also has it’s moments of loveliness like what these people did when they saw this little boy shivering in the cold and that just restores your faith in almost everything. And although some terrible people are running (or hoping to run) the country and messing with the basic fundamental rights of so many people I love there’s still a flickering hope that we could dust off the drivel and change the world to be a better place because even though I’ve blown off all my savings for this month on new books, I’m kinda happy and some 1452kms away in my hometown there’s a beautiful boy who makes me mad but makes me smile more often and it’s cold but I have socks on my feet and college isn’t bad (although I have no idea where I go from here) but hey, I have hopes. I hope you do too. And I hope you never give up on that.

And I hope you listen to her. This is SoKo and I only just found her on Youtube Narnia. She’s French and beautiful and makes me want to curl up and cry happy tears.

And if that’s not your kind, get yourself some Nirvana. It’s Kurt’s birthday 🙂 And I think he still smells like teen spirit.

Verse: He left.

                                                        (Image source)

He left without goodbye,
picked up his bags, left a note,
while she was still serving diners
at the Seven-Eleven,
two blocks down the road.
She arrived exhausted,
with flowers for his birthday,
couldn’t find the vase
which he had packed with him
when he’d cleared his life
out of their home of two years.
She tried his phone.
It rang and rang and went to voicemail,
playing his – ‘leave a message’
in his old voice –
the one she knew,
the one he’d forgotten.
He heard the silent phone rings
as he waited for the tube to the next city,
fingers hovering over the ‘Receive’ button,
he debated.
She made dinner,
arranged for his favourite movie
and the big surprise waiting in the bedroom.
All the while she tried his phone,
not knowing that it was
ringing in the dustbin,
of a subway,

ten kms from her kitchen.

I’m not dead. I just haven’t been there.

And yes, you’re looking at the blog formerly known as Dreamcatcher’s Lair.

So now that we are on slightly familiar ground, HELLO.

I know I’ve come up with several apology posts in the past year, but believe me when I say that I hope this will be the last. I reallyreallyreally hope to up my reading list, set my work-in-progress rolling and blogbomb your feed with more posts that won’t necessarily be more fruitless promises to get back to, well, blogbombing.

Ever heard of the quarter-life crisis? I won’t be surprised if you haven’t. Everyone’s so busy angsty-ing up the midlife crisis that nobody gives a damn about that thing that hits you when you’re a twenty-something with a bucket list of things to do before you turn old and then you realise that, wait, you ARE old. You’re so old that in another 3, 4, at most, 5, years your family and relatives – who ironically end up showing some concern  only in this aspect of your life – will be expecting you to settle down, which basically means legally binding yourself to another person and, I don’t know, making babies with said person (!) And no, there’s nothing wrong with that (I think) but it’s a most frightening thought when you’re going through an existential crisis and need a lot of figuring out to do.

And that’s a LOT of figuring out to do, really. Like what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life, who’s-gonna-give-me-a-job, should-I-be-a-student-forever-and-accumulate-degrees, oh-god-university-is-killing-me-I-should-quit, I-don’t-care-about-the-world-I-should-just-go-backpacking, damn-I-have-no-money kind of figuring out. See, it’s enough to give someone a life spasm. And then, imagine you have all of this figured out and somebody, SOMEBODY, possibly the last person you expected to do so, comes along and breaks your heart. Why didn’t anyone ever mention that heartbreaks are ten times harder in your 20s than they were when you were in high school? And suddenly that entire part of your life with that person becomes a lie, which you have to remove along with all the plans made and goals set and the dreams dreamt around this time, which basically involves just removing a chunk of your life. A chunk. Which also means that you will have to replace that chunk with something else so that it doesn’t end up being this massive gaping hole because that would suck. Like, really.

See. Existential crisis + chunk-removal-from-your-life event = Catastrophic Quarter Life Crisis.

Which is what I had been going through the entire time I was M.I.A. It wasn’t fun in any way. Ever tried falling off a cliff? No, don’t try that. Think it. Think falling off a cliff when you don’t want to fall off a cliff. Think trying to climb back up and falling off again and again. And again. And then when you’ve finally managed to get yourself up there, all bruises and scars of you, imagine a car running you over. Not a pretty picture, is it? The last few months of my life have been pretty much that – one cliff-fall after another, one car crash after another.

While most of the last few months I’ve spent swinging between self-pity and misanthropy, rage and hate and sadness and utter despair, now I actually feel, I don’t know, wiser. Experience does teach you a lot. And when a trunk full of experience flies out of nowhere and lands on your back, at first you wobble with the weight, but then it gets to be okay. You get to be okay. And you realise that you get to be okay because of that trunk, so you can’t really be mad about it, because with the trunk, you grow up.

I feel like I’ve grown up. I’ve grown up at 22. What I had to go through to collect the stuff that makes up the trunk was eventful and despairing and melancholic and ridiculously frustrating and so utterly devastating, but the trunk’s a part of me and that’s fine because it’s stopped being all those sad and not-sad things. It’s like a manual book I can go back to when I’m thinking about what I want and what I don’t want out of my life. It’s like a chance at a fresh start.

That’s what I’ve decided to do. Give myself a fresh start at just everything. Starting with this blog, which now has a new title and tag line. Also, I’ve decided to use my full name, Bidisha, because, what the hell, I like my name.

I know this is a long and rambly post and you’ve had to bear with me the whole long and rambly way, but, hey, thanks for doing that. It’s nice to know that somebody out there, anybody, is listening to you vent. And if life sucks for you right now, believe me it’ll get better. It will. Even if it doesn’t seem so at the moment. You will come out stronger. And grown up.

Hang in there.

letter to a once-lover.

Dear Love,

Does it sound weird, calling you that? Does it make you cringe and wish this never reached you? Or are you laughing at the fact that I’m still not over you? Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s making you smile a little. And remember us. I hope it’s making you think of us.
I still think of us. Of the things we did, the plans we made, the dreams we shared. I think of us with every waking moment. And in the quiet of the night, when the rest of the world is slumber-worn, floating in an universe far removed from the one they inhabit during the day, I remember our phone calls – the late calls that made me a night bird, the thought of which still keeps me a night bird. I remember all that we spoke of. There was something about that time post-midnight. Everything seemed brighter, newer, shinier. Everything was…possible. The world was ours. We were infinite. 
Most nights I wait for the phone to ring. And it does. Just not from you. And when it does ring from you, it’s just not that magical hour.
But thank you, for the phone calls. It’s always good to hear your voice and even better when I can almost hear you smiling through your words. Sometimes I admonish myself, for waiting so eagerly for you to call, for trying to hold on to every bit of our conversation, when I know that you only call when you’re bored. And lonely. And not with her.

I miss laughing with you.

You said you still wanted us to be friends. I couldn’t grudge you that. I still wanted to be in your life some way. Does it make me pathetic that I can’t let you go? Do you feel sorry that I’d hold on to you any which way I can even though I hate myself for it? Does being in close proximity and not being the way we were before kill you like it kills me – or are we just two people with memories?

I try.
I try.
I try so hard to keep your thoughts away from my mind. But it’s like an ache I can’t get rid of. And you don’t help really. You’re hot and you’re cold and you come and you go and you leave me with hopes only to dash them all with the next silent treatment.

Remember that Taylor Swift song The Story of Us? Granted neither of us were huge fans, but we also reminded ourselves that we’d never be like that song. How ironic is it that that’s exactly where we got stuck –
                                      This is looking like a contest
                                      Of who can act like they care less
Irony over irony. Makes me wonder if all heartbreaks feel the same way. Which is why it feels like some our singing our diary, while some our writing our story.

I wanted to do everything in the world with you. Wake up every morning next to you. Team up for The Amazing Race together. Visit New York. Tell you I loved you on top of the Eiffel Tower.
You wanted that, too. Or that’s what you said.
What happened to all that?
Have you replaced me with her now? Do you dream these dreams with her now? Is it her you have in mind when you read Neruda now?

I hope you don’t find her skin when you turn off the lights.

I hope for a lot of things now. Like maybe you’ll call me tonight. Or perhaps we’ll run into each other tomorrow near that cafe we used to haunt post noon. Or maybe you’ll wake up tomorrow and realise you’re still in love with me and it was lying dormant slumber-like this past month and has now reawakened with new found fervour and you’ll never leave me again. Or even think of it.
Yes, I still hope for some kind of a miracle. Because it’s that hope that really get me going.
I mean, you loved me, right? And it couldn’t really have vanished into the night, could it?

Maybe you’ll find it again.
Maybe you’ll just need time.

Don’t be scared, though. It’s okay if you don’t want to come back. No, I take that back. It won’t be okay. It can’t be okay. But I’ll understand. Like I have tried to understand things when it comes to you.

It’ll break my already broken heart. And it’ll kill me to see you with someone else. But I think I’ll survive. People do live on with broken hearts, don’t they? Another irony of existence. But, yeah, I’ll get by. I think.

So don’t you worry about me. Hope you get from your life all that you want from it.

Maybe we’ll run into each other at Paris – what, five, ten years from now.
Maybe our kids will meet and fall in love. (How weird will that be?)
Maybe you’ll find yourself in a story of mine.
Maybe.

But hey.
Even if the maybes don’t happen, you’ll always have my heart.

Always,
Your once-lover.

Leftovers.

She smelled of sex. Under her fingernails, in her hair, between her legs – there were pieces of him stuck on her, in her, within her. It pleased her. Pleased her to know that he would somehow, in someway, always be attached to her.

She watched him in the doorway. Bare-bodied, except for the trouser leg he had slid his left leg in. That leg which precisely seven minutes before was straddling her. There went the other leg now. The one around which her leg had curved. He was beautiful. Even in the dim light that seeped from under the door of the apartment next door, he was beautiful. So beautiful it made her heart ache. And race, knowing that the beautiful boy had been hers moments ago.  

She watched him pick his shirt off the floor. Watched as he threw it across his shoulders and threw a glance at her.  She smiled at him, willing those amber eyes to look at her and smile. Smile the way they had when his lips had spelt out the you’re beautifuls, as his hands explored her everywhere else.

His eyes didn’t reach her face. They reached her legs, the bare skin that slid from under the rumpled purple sheets, goose-pimpled from the rush of the sex. He savoured the sight of the slim, wrinkle-less leg and remembered himself in university. Him and Maya.  Squeezing knees under the desk in anthropology class, sneaking kisses behind her parents’ back during Diwali – married within 10 months of graduation, they couldn’t live without each other.

He watched her on the bed and remembered Maya on the first night they’d made love – the night of her birthday eve, two weeks since they’d started dating. Maya astonished him, everyday, every moment that she was with him. He remembered making promises that night, promises of getting out of their small hick town, backpacking around the world, writing movie scripts. Now, three years of marriage later, with an 18 month old baby on the back, they’d run out of words to say, run out of love to make.  The very vivacious Maya that had fascinated him, now filled him with dread, of endless tirades about there being not enough, of him not doing enough. He watched the girl on the bed and wondered what it would be like to take her home with him.

She wondered how long he would take. He’d told her he would be back in an hour. He had some things to take care of, but he would be back. She wanted to believe him, wanted to hope that he could be hers for more than an evening, but she remembered how he’d taken his things as he’d said that, cleared her apartment of all his leftovers. She lit a Marlboro and watched the smoke drift towards the window, out of it and sail to the moon.

There was a party two blocks down. A party she was invited to. Wahab Nishat’s party. Wahab, who she’d known since school. Wahab who sent her a rose, accompanied with a poem, every Valentine’s Day, no matter where she was. Wahab, who said he loved her.  Wahab who said he’d bring her the world.

She glanced over at the door. It was slightly ajar from where he’d walked out. She did not get up to shut it. Maybe he would come back. Maybe he wouldn’t. Still, she didn’t put her shirt back on.  She lit another cigarette and waited.

He sat with a steaming mug of coffee, at a bistro, two blocks from her apartment. It had been ten minutes that he’d stepped out, ten minutes that he’d been thinking about her. He could hear the Black Eyed Peas streaming out of the house next to where he was sitting. Four college kids were standing in the balcony, beer cans strewn around their feet. He’d told the girl that he would go back. He wanted to, but sometimes want wasn’t enough. Like it wasn’t enough just to be married. Maya always told him that. The same Maya who’d told him three years back that he was enough.  Told him that he was all she needed.

He thought of the girl he’d left at the apartment, imagined her waiting for him and felt his legs lift him from the chair. She was so young it made his heart ache. He wouldn’t be that young again. Maya wouldn’t be that young again. But being with the girl made him feel young, even if it was fleeting, even it was just his brain playing tricks. He could still see her apartment. He could go back in. He could.

His phone rang.

“The movers just called. They’ll be taking the furniture away tomorrow morning.”

In three days he’d be 2020kms across the country. Him, Maya and the kid. Maya said it was a chance at starting over. He sometimes wanted to ask start over what? Could they rewind back their lives and be 20 again, conquer the world together like they’d planned to? Could they make love again like nobody’s business without worrying about waking up the kid?

He put down his mug and spilled coffee over his wrist. He took out his handkerchief and a slip of paper fell out. Fuchsia coloured and scribbled across in black ink. Her phone number. He didn’t notice it fall. He didn’t notice it flutter upon the pavement near his feet, before a gust of wind from a passing car blew it into the wind and lodged it into the cart of an ice-cream vendor.

He held the phone between his ear and his shoulder as he wiped the coffee off his wrist. 
“Hey Maya,” he said. “Lets go out for dinner tonight.”

In Which I Talk About Being An Epic Fail

If you’re still reading this blog, I want to hug you. I realise you wouldn’t want to hug back, cos I’ve been a terrible blogger. Erratic posts, months of neglect, you know what I mean. I don’t really have to emphasize. But, YOU – deserve a hug of appreciation.

Thing is, I don’t even have an excuse for this.
I can’t tell you that I’ve been awfully busy or that something terrible happened that kept me away from the virtual world because it’s not true. My life hasn’t been tough. On the contrary it’s been rather pleasant. Except for the fact that I’ve been sick for a week, I’ve been…almost happy. And this isn’t about a week-long illness. This blog-neglect thing has been building up for months now. Almost 6 months into the year and I have an embarrassing number of posts to show for it.
The cause? I’ll get back to you on that when I find out.
All I do know, is that somehow that drive is gone. (Doesn’t it feel like a pity party already?)
I’ve been an erratic blogger, to the point where sometimes the whole blogging thing has started to feel like a chore. When it’s really not. I mean, nobody ever forced me into this thing. Yes, I do have author/publisher review requests waiting for me, but they only send them ‘cos they know I love doing it and I’ve asked for it. Not like I’m being force-fed it.
My reading count has gone down. It’s like I’ve hit the lowest of the lows since I was, I don’t know, 9 years old.  I planned on reading a 100 books this year and instead I’m floundering somewhere in the early 20s when almost half-the-freaking-year is gone.
And writing? I haven’t added anything new to What Was Mine since February and I dare to call myself an aspiring writer. I keep thinking about it and seeing everything unfold in my head like a movie, but somehow, when it comes to putting it into writing, the words have stopped flowing.
It’s like I’ve lost that whole drive to do the things that I loved the most.
And no, it doesn’t even give me the satisfaction of feeling like a tortured artist. No trench-coat-wearing (it’s too freaking hot), cigarette-smoking (allergic), caffeine-drinking (happens, but occasionally) tormented persona for me to fall back on. That romance has flown outta the window. All I do now is watch Supernatural (at least that’s one loved thing I still have immense drive for) and scream-sing along to Aerosmith and Kansas and all those bands that feature on the Supernatural soundtrack and then I think about how cool all their lives are and it makes me feel tremendously sad that I’m freaking-21-years-old and I haven’t even achieved half the things I thought I would by now. And I don’t know, I just can’t even do anything about it because now when I think of distracting myself from thoughts of this ridiculous helplessness I can’t even read or write, instead I Facebook-procrastinate. Like, seriously. What is wrong with me?

It’s like I’ve even stopped trying. Like, earlier there was a certain belief to hold on to. A belief that yeah, all those things that I dream of? Yes, they can come true. But it’s like somebody reached inside me and pulled that belief out, ground it into powder and blew it into the wind and now it’s so far away I can’t even get it back. Like someone put all those dreams and goals in a bag and stamped a big-lettered ‘Cancelled’ over it and now dangles it over my head just to show that no, none of them came true and I’m exactly where I was two years back and maybe this’ll where I’ll be in many more years to come. Just stagnant.
When I think about blogging, getting back into it and it’s cool-dom, I’m left wondering, WHO ON EARTH WILL EVEN WANT TO READ THIS ANYMORE? I mean, there are so many bigger, better, so-much-more-brilliant blogs out there, then why THIS? And then it’s back to Kansas and Aerosmith and Avril’s rendition of Knocking On Heaven’s Door, which all just makes me sad all over again and I don’t even know why.
There are SO many books out there I want to read. And plenty more are coming out. Like Amy Reed’s Crazy, which I’m reading on Netgalley and which has pretty much wrecked my heart even though I’m only halfway in. I just wish I’d find the drive to talk about them again. And need to feel that what I say does matter. Even to one person.
It’s ridiculous. I don’t think I’ve ever moped so publicly. I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I felt the need to just get it out there. I mean, what the heck, at least the blog gets an update. Oh god. I could just ramble on and on and you could be there with your mouse hovering over the ‘unfollow’ button (I know there there isn’t one, that you have to go a long way to get there, but still), unless you’ve done it already, and I wouldn’t know where to stop. You know those frenzies you get into and you don’t know how far they can just go on? Yeah, that.
Not pleasant.
Sigh.
Here’s the thing: I don’t know where I go from here. Like, if I’ve be back to responsible reader/writer/blogger ways. I have no freaking clue. Whether just getting this post out there will magically bring back my drive and all fine things along with it. Heck, I wish it would. And hell yeah, I’m gonna put in some sort of an effort to get things back into their rightful place. No promises, but try I will. I probably owe myself just that much. I think.
Ever found yourself in such a rut?
And just cos you stuck around – if you have – and witnessed this Blog Dance of Pathetico, I’ll reward your eyes with something pleasant. Something waaaaaay more pleasant.
I hope you’re having a good time 🙂

Waiting On Wednesday #4

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme started by Jill @Breaking The Spine, where we talk about upcoming releases we just-can’t-wait for.

This week I’m waiting for,

Hanging By A Thread
by Sophie Littlefield
Expected Publication – 11th Sepetember, 2012

From Goodreads:
Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two—that this year’s Fourth of July festival won’t see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing’s wrong. 
And they’re not the only ones hiding something. 
Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed—or perhaps cursed—with a gift: she can see people’s pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year’s Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams. 
In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?

Why I’m waiting for this:
Lets be honest – it’s the cover that pulled me in for this one. Initially. I mean, WOW, LOOK AT THAT! Instant. Cover. Lust. And then the title. Oooh, prettiness.
But yeah, pretty covers are plenty. What really has my attention is the fact that the main character is a seamstress. Rolling your eyes, are we now? See, while the whole keeping-up-appearances and digging-beneath-the-surface is not a very uncommon theme – especially if you add a few murders alongside – vintage clothes definitely make things interesting. So, yes, I’m shallow, but how can I help it? Pretty things are so awesome. And dude, VINTAGE!
Of course, the murder and the town’s secrets make things more exciting. Who doesn’t love secrets? And here’s a town-full of them. This one’s got plenty to draw me in right now.
I mean, seriously, LOOK AT THAT – *drools over cover*
so, uh, what’s making YOU drool this week?

PS. Also, I went for a second watch of The Hunger Games. Go, Team Seneca Crane’s beard!