I see this Laughing Buddha every weekend when I go cycling.
Do you see the crow, perched on the board he is holding? Do you see how small it looks? This Laughing Buddha is gigantic. He is at VGP Golden Beach, Chennai’s first theme park.
That part, where the Laughing Buddha was installed, of the theme park is now abandoned. The place is just there behind a gate that is weighed down by tiny locks. It is a haven for birds and feral cats. And the Laughing Buddha is forever joyous. He is laughing at his own abandonment. He seems to see the beauty of rundown places. He listens to the silence of his loneliness. No. Perhaps, he listens to the silence of his solitude. He is just there, showing his wide grin and pot belly. And he says hello to you!
Abandonment was the word of the day. On the very same road, I found a mongrel tied to a pole. I inquired and learned that he was abandoned by his humans a few hours ago. Somebody found him loitering in the beach and had the good heart to tie him to a lamppost for he would have been attacked by the strays. When I gathered the courage to look at him, he was whining and cooing. He seemed visibly lost and my heart sank. I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t bring him home, foster, and find a family for him. But I remember what Pema Chödrön taught us. We can share his pain. So I did tonglen for him. That was all I could do.
Maybe, I was too quick to judge the colour of the day. I exited Bharathi Avenue and saw a family — Father, Mother, a daughter, and a son — walking out from a nursery and there was a sapling in the boy’s hands. They kept her in their car. Slowly. Carefully. One whole family had come to take a plant home. There is so much goodness left in this world.
My eyes were fresh from the assault that the abandoned dog’s image unleashed. But the happy sapling asked me to make some space for her in my mind. I carried both of them as I rode into this sunset.
They are in no hurry. They stand and stare at me when I photograph a cloud. They slow down their two-wheelers to look at me, because in their town, girls do not sport short haircuts; their plaits touch their hips. My friend Muthu, who is a proud localite, tells me that a woman is judged based on how long her hair is. If it is long, then she is patient and efficient enough to run a household. If it is otherwise, we know what it means. (I sport a pixie cut. Ahem.)
The folks at Theni have all the time in the world. Their life is extraordinarily slow that they would walk with me to my destination if I ask for directions. But even if their lives were fast, they would still create time to help travellers. That’s the people of Theni for you.
They are arrogant hosts, they are monstrously kind, and they are the quintessential people of rural Tamil Nadu.
They love flaunting their Theni.
Their Theni that is filled with all shades of green.
Their Theni that is a haven for animals.
Their Theni where people sleep with their doors open.
Their Theni becomes my Theni as I collect their reluctant smiles, as I borrow their beliefs, as I lose myself in their mountains for three days.
Meghamalai means mountain made of clouds. There are no roads to the pinnacle and we have missed the only bus that goes to the top despite the roads which are not really roads. But we are determined to conquer the hills. We ask an old fruit-seller if there is any other way. He can’t hear much. He plucks a couple of grapes from his own cart and flings one into his mouth. He scratches his beard. Muthu loses patience. He forces his face to break into a smile and asks the old man again if there is any other way to go to Meghamalai. The old man says the same thing five times. “If you take a jeep, you can enjoy the view more.” No. He can’t listen to what we are saying. All that he understands is that we want to go to Meghamalai.
The sun is harsh on us. We slurp from a carton of chocolate milkshake and I press Muthu to ask the fruit-seller again. A stroke of luck. The man hears us. He loosens up the towel around his waist and shows us his cell phone. He talks to his friend. How the old man can hear his friend will remain a mystery forever! But an auto arrives in five minutes and we are off to Meghamalai.
The mountains look like a jewel box filled with emeralds. Green. Green. Green. The road which is not really a road is vicious enough to break our bones if we travel on three wheels. But we couldn’t complain much because we are enchanted by the greens.
We reach the peak. More greens. More rivers. More animals. Less humans.
We sit on a stone bench, listening to the twittering of birds, the therapeutic sound of a flowing river, and the laughter of children who chase butterflies.
Time slows down. We are there. Up above the urban madness. Up above the dry lands. Up above our miseries and tears.
Raja knows Bodi Mettu so well that he can walk around the town and reach his house without stumbling on a rock even if he is blindfolded. He is our auto driver for the day.
The staunch believer takes us to a couple of temples before we start our road trip from Bodi Mettu to Munnar. In our minds, we are the first ones from Tamil Nadu to cross the border and reach Kerala on a three-wheeler. An unassuming auto. Despite being an expert at negotiating the hairpin bends, Raja is determined to ask the Gods to join us on this adventurous journey. If Raja thinks so, we will not object.
Raja takes us to an Ayyanar temple. Ayyanar, the guardian deity, is the hero of Korangini. With his handlebar mustache and impassive countenance, he can breathe fear into the worshipers. We bow our heads in front of him and step out only to be armtwisted by an aggressively kind family to dine with them. They have just dedicated the life of a lamb to Karuppannasaamy, another guardian deity.
They don’t know us. But they know we are travellers and that we must be hungry. So they want to share the meat with us.
I offer a handful of excuses. I am not hungry. I am shy. I am a vegetarian. No. Our leaves are laid and we have to lunch with them. I succumb to their hospitality.
There is no time to exchange pleasantries. My leaf is refilled over and over again, and my mouth is full. After I vehemently wave hands and shake my head to prove that my stomach has no place, they let me wash my hands.
Strangers. Their kindness. They make me cry.
Before I leave, the youngest girl in the family reminds me. “Do not forget the southern part of Tamil Nadu. Travel a lot here.” I say we belong here too.
Our nine-hour journey begins. We cross mountains after mountains, tea estates after tea estates. There is no agenda. We are on three wheels, saying hello to the mountains and trees, smiling at the localites, drinking tea at the roadside stalls, finding shapes in clouds, and crossing borders. Is that how one should travel?
As we pocket more milestones, I chant the word vastness. I see the fog-capped mountains against the azure sky and mutter under my breath. Vast. Vast. Vast.
I think of the enormity of Nature and the smallness of human life.
I think of the formidability of Nature and the insignificance of mankind.
I think of the unassuming beauty of Nature and the smugness of people.
Vast. Vast. Vast.
In that vastness, I lose my ground.
In that vastness, I lose my history.
In that vastness, I lose my hope.
I allow the vastness to envelop me. I allow the vastness to have a quiet conversation with my soul. I allow the vastness to crush my identity.
The vastness creates a lump in my throat; I stifle my tears.
When we return from Munnar, it’s dark. Just one long stretch of darkness to cross, with only the reflectors on the road and our guardian deity to guide us home. I find a comfortable spot between Muthu and Arun, wrap a stole around my head, and begin to read Assassin’s Apprentice to cope with the fear of darkness. The fear is fuelled by a random warning from another auto driver; we might meet an elephant on our way down.
The legendary Raja is intimidated too. He keeps talking to drive the fear away. Muthu fills the silence and understands that I am trembling as well. The boy, who is too wise for his age, makes an observation. “Deepika, this very nature that you admired a few hours ago is now intimidating, isn’t it?”
The remark shakes my core. He doesn’t expect a response. Maybe, he wants me to reflect. And I do.
How many souls do I neglect because the slant of light changes?
How many hearts do I break when the darkness supplants the light?
As I turn the questions in my mind, Raja says, “There. We enter my territory now. We are safe.”
From the hills of Bodi, I can see the fairy lights blinking in the Paramasivan Temple. The annual festival has just begun. Our final stop is that.
It is 11:30 PM. But that fact doesn’t deter the spirit of the Bodi people as they throng the temple. Women are clad in silk sarees of all colours. The golden threads in their sarees wink at me. Their hair is adorned with fresh flowers. The boys take selfies; the men discuss politics. The children are not sleepy. Surprise!
If I hadn’t seen my watch, I could have easily mistaken that it is just 6 PM.
Bubbles. Peanuts. Cotton Candy. Mangoes spiced with salt and chilly powder. Watermelons. Toy cars. Yellow bulbs. Smiles. Laughter. Good vibes. I put them all in the Chamber of Warm Memories.
We cover the last leg of our journey — the road that takes us to our room. The left side of the road is dotted with humble houses. The right side is a blanket of singular darkness. These are agricultural fields, Muthu tells me, as my gaze is fixed on the nothingness.
Beyond that long stretch of great darkness, a streak of green light soars up in the night sky.
A silent explosion.
A rain of fireworks.
The starless black sky is now embellished with brilliant, green gems.
The Bicycle Diaries — I have never done a series here. With this post, I start to capture the extraordinary moments I experience while cycling.
When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I whined a bit on Instagram last week about how I am ridiculed when I ride a bicycle just because I am a huge person. In retrospect, I realised that I was not being fair to the Universe if I chose to complain when my rides are always, always, sprinkled with moments which make me smile and warm my heart. And then The Bicycle Diaries was born.
“Will it bear my weight?” I ask the bicycle mechanic as he checks the tyres. I bite my lips; why did I talk about my weight again? My self-condemnation ceases. A trans woman stands next to me. The trans women usually clap and coerce the shopkeepers into giving them money. This trans woman who smiles at me now is not that kind of a person. She simply stands there grinning.
She runs her fingers into her curly brown hair, adjusts her salwar kameez, and keeps smiling at me. After he pumps air into the tyres, the bicycle mechanic rushes into his shop to get some money for her. I am not sure if I should participate too. I shuffle my feet, scratch my head, with my gaze locked with hers all the time. She collects the money from the mechanic and leaves.
I love her smile. I do not know what amused her. It doesn’t matter for I am glad to have made her smile even if I can’t fathom the reason, for the trans women are robbed off their smiles here often.
My earphones don’t work and I am living on a shoe-string budget, so I am postponing purchasing a new pair. When I ride today, I am not locking up myself in my playlist. I am listening to the unassuming sounds of Chennai. A rooster crows. I look around to spot it; my efforts end in vain. I laugh because I am talking to the rooster, in my head. “Are you suffering from some sort of chemical imbalance? It is 4 PM and you are crowing now.” I am sorry the next moment because I judged the rooster. Rude.
I spot a beautiful raven. But that one doesn’t caw. The irony.
I listen to the cacophony of all the sounds the vehicles make. To my own surprise, I am not annoyed. I do not know why. And I don’t want to know.
I cross a lot of nurseries. The evening sun is ruthless to the little flowers there. I pity them. How am I sure that they find the sun ruthless? Who am I say that they find the sun ruthless? The flowers are there. The sun is there. Let them be.
“Till the tollgate? Maybe five more kilometres after that?” I ask myself. What is the distance I want to cover today? As I turn the question in my mind, I take the first left. The road leads to the sea. Till that moment, I was aimless. Now I take this road as though I had always wanted to ride here. Who got into my head? Who possessed my bicycle? Perhaps an adventurous spirit who is tired of my sobriety. I am thankful all the same.
The road is bordered by flowers. I don’t know their names and it doesn’t matter so long I think they are beautiful. I am reminded of my conversation I had with Soul Muser once. When I told her I had been to the UK, she asked me what I saw on my way to work every morning. I said I saw dogs, clouds, the sun, and smiling strangers. She asked me if I saw flowers. I said I didn’t remember seeing any beautiful flowers. “Aren’t all flowers beautiful, Deepika?” she asked.
I see more flowers now. I take my time photographing them. Their zest for life is contagious.
I ride further toward the sea. A man and a woman, both clad in pink, are standing in front of a car, holding and looking at each other. They are oblivious to this cyclist. Ah! I see a lens-man. He is capturing their PDA. Cute! Cliched. But cute!
A family gets down from a car. They are all sweating profusely. None of them are smiling. I know why. They are not sure who is going to change the baby’s diaper. What a conundrum!
I park my bicycle close to the shore, drink some water and stand there listening to the soul-nourishing sound of the waves. There is an icecream cart beside me. It’s looked after by a young girl who is wearing the brand’s uniform. She is listening to an old man; he is complaining about his wife. “She wants me to do the dishes. She wants me to wash my own clothes. I am working. And I am a man. Why should I do her work?” he asks rhetorically.
The girl hands an icecream to a couple who seem to have been affected by some sort of profound sadness. They look as though they are here look at the ocean and have an icecream for one last time. The sky is azure but a dark cloud hangs around them. They walk toward the ocean as slowly as they can.
“I don’t have time to wash my clothes,” continues the old man. The young girl smiles. I am sure she is sorry for the old man’s wife. But diplomacy and silence seem to be her response. She nods and listens intently. “I will not do her work,” the man declares and realises that I am listening to his monologue. He is now shy. But why!
I want to ask him what makes him think that his wife must wash his clothes. I want to ask him why he thinks a man shouldn’t wash his own clothes. I swallow the urge because I find it thrilling to not utter a word but simply be there. And I told Chimamanda Ngozhi Adichie that I couldn’t talk to the man about We Should All Be Feminists.
“It is April Fools’s Day and I haven’t fooled anybody,” confesses a young boy. His friends offer sympathy as they all play top. I stop riding and listen to their conversation. Bad manners. Of course. But I can’t resist. I listen. “Before I go to bed, I somehow want to pull a prank…” the boy’s glance falls on me. “All the best!” I wish him and pedal faster.
A dog is lying in mud. He is sleepy. I want to park my cycle and lie beside him. I gather myself. Phew!
The couple are still holding each other. It’s way too sweaty. But come on. Nothing can deter their spirits. However the photographer needs some rest.
“Hoof! Hoof!” a man exhales. He tries to walk fast. The walking is testing his endurance. I see that he can do with a smile. I offer one with a good-evening. He is confused. I like causing that sort of confusion in people. Whey they are so lost in their thoughts and when they encounter a surprise, they just don’t know how to respond. This man is not different. He is not sure if he must return the smile or continue to hoof. He gives back a lopsided smile. I am not complaining.
Cyclone Vardah uprooted thousands and thousands of trees in December 2016. Chennai misses its canopies. What amazes me is that how this colossal destruction has created space for another beginning.
I ride on the East Coast Road and I see many tiny plants which grow from the spots where the trees once were. The little warriors inspire me. Regardless of the enormity of what could drag me down, there is always space to grow, to start afresh.
I am on the last leg of my ride. I cross a tiny, quaint bicycle. Blinding neon colours. A nonchalant rider. The traffic signal is now red. I turn to the guy, “I love your cycle.” He is visibly embarrassed. I want to know more about that adorable thing. But I don’t want to put him in a tight spot. I move.
He follows me, manages to catch up and asks, “Are you a racer?” I want to close my mouth and guffaw. That would be an insult to the boy. I make my face impassive and say that I am not a racer. “I have seen you many times. I wondered if you are a racer,” he says. Now I am embarrassed. How the table has turned in no time!
I want to say something now, to fill this awkward silence. “Your bicycle is beautiful. May I click a picture?” I approach with caution. I don’t want to scare him. To my surprise, he immediately readies himself. He holds his cycle and looks into my camera. Click! Click!
“I made this cycle,” he declares without a tinge of pride in his tone. My surprise cannot be camouflaged. “Using the spare parts in the showroom where I work…” he explains. This boy is an inventor. “How old are you?” I succumb to my curiosity. He is 18.
I see a name-board under the seat. He turns the cycle for me. The board reads, “Deepak — 07!” I ask the obvious question. “Are you Deepak?” He nods. I am not sure if I can release the thought that is now jumping like an excited Labrador in my head. I allow it to take shape. “Deepak, I am Deepika.” He smiles. For the first time.
“It seemed to me the way it must feel to people who cut themselves on purpose. Not pretty, but clean. Not good, but void of regret. I was trying to heal. Trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.”
— Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
I am often told that I am not a good friend, not a good partner, not a good boss, not a good daughter. I am often told that I abuse the words always and forever. I am often told that I should connect with myself to stop hurting those who love me. I am often told that I talk myself into depression and anxiety. I am often told that I am not resilient. And I am often told that I am arrogant. I listen to those voices and I nod. They are right.
I am also told that I am kind and that I exude warmth. I am told that I am effusive, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I bask in tiny, warm moments. I listen to those voices and I nod. I wish they were right.
I walk on this road called life. My shoulders are laden with regrets, guilt, bitter memories, and haunting shadows. My heart is filled with hope, love that can be expressed, love that struggles to marry words, and comforting light. I keep walking. Sometimes, I drop to my knees, as though genuflecting in front of an unknown superpower, and plead for my baggage to be unloaded. Sometimes, I massage my own shoulders and feet, and keep walking and walking and walking, without complaining about the cross I bear.
Many a time, I want this journey to end because the path becomes dark. I want to turn into a feather and just fly. Gently. Lightly. But when I see a streak of light, I gather my belongings and begin my walk again. On my way to nowhere, I commit myriad murders, I sprinkle seeds of love. When it is dark, the dead ones assault me. When it is not, they make me smile. I am forever haunted by them all the same.
My life, in all its glory, boils down to this — stopping and starting, hating and loving, hurting and recovering, dying and resurrecting.
In this journey toward redemption, I am a wearied wayfarer. Despite the exhaustion and self-loathing, I try to keep my head above water. I spot butterflies. I talk to animals. I stargaze. I sit in front of the sinking sun and rising moon. I seek solace in the moonbeam that falls on the oceans. I read. I doodle. I travel. I write. I cycle. I crash and rise in emotions. I laugh. I love. I live.
And these are my becoming.
“One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin, you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.”
— Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed
I read William Trevor’s The Story of Lucy Gault for Reading Ireland Month last year. One thing, just one thing went wrong in Lucy’s life, and it fell over like a row of dominoes. She lost her childhood, she had to live like a fugitive in her own house, she deprived herself of ordinary pleasures, and above all, she was weighed down by guilt, and self-imposed solitude. I loved Lucy.
Now, an hour after reading Brian Moore’s The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne for Reading Ireland Month this year, I can’t stop thinking about how women were the protagonists of both the novels, how they were different in the way they coped with loneliness, but how they were alike to let it drag them down the drain. My heart bleeds for both of them.
It’s Belfast. Judith Hearne was in her early forties. Single. Lonely. Desperate. Religious. She spent all her youth to look after her aunt, who raised her after her parents passed away. Hearne wanted to go to college, learn more crafts, but her aunt wouldn’t allow for she fell sick and coerced Hearne into caring for her. When she was finally free to live her life, Hearne had lost her friends, job offers, and… time.
Hearne, a piano teacher, supported herself on the meager income she made by teaching and on the tiny sum that her aunt left for her. She moved into a modest lodging, where she was greeted by a judgmental landlady and lodgers who were gossip-lovers.
Moore showed an Ireland where one could have no private life. His Ireland was cold, cloudy, and rainy. Perhaps, it was the metaphoric representation of Hearne’s life.
For Hearne, home meant three things — her aunt’s sepia portrait, a picture of Sacred Heart, and two tiny buttons on her shoes. They were always there for her, even when the landlady judged her for trying to date her brother from New York, even when her friend’s children laughed at her for employing same responses over and over again, even when she loathed herself for being deplorable.
Miss Hearne ate her biscuits, cheese and apple, found her spectacles and opened a library book by Mazo de la Roche. She toasted her bare toes at the gas fire and leaned back in the armchair, waiting like a prisoner for the long night hours.
Moving into the new lodge made Hearne hopeful. She began daydreaming; she wanted to marry the landlady’s brother, sail to New York, have children, and live a life that she was denied. But Mr Madden, who was torn between America and Ireland, whose ideologies were way different from Hearne’s, could see her just as a potential business partner, while Hearne was indulging in her embarrassing dreams.
Madden detested Hearne’s advances, turned her down, when he found out that Hearne was a humble piano teacher and that she would never be able to invest in his business. Hearne’s heart was broken; she began to seek comfort in her old friend — alcohol.
A drink would put things right. Drink was not to help forget, but to help remember, to clarify and arrange untidy and unpleasant facts into a perfect pattern of reasonableness and beauty. Alcoholic, she did not drink to put aside the dangers and disappointments of the moment. She drank to be able to see these trials more philosophically, to examine them more fully, fortified by the stimulant of unreason.
Hearne was wrong. Alcohol removed her from her own life. Because of the row she created at the lodge, she was asked to leave. Her relationship with her only friend became strained for she chose not to betray her emotions and confessed that she never liked her friend but visited her every Sunday only to be in the company of her children. She revealed that she envied her friend as she had all that Hearne longed for. A husband, a bunch of children, and… a home.
Above all, what uprooted Hearne’s life was her lack of faith. She barely missed the Mass on Sunday. Since she befriended satan (alcohol) and drinking was a sin, she despised religion. What was the point of religion and priests, when she was not heard, when her pain was not alleviated, when she wasn’t offered guidance, when she couldn’t gather her life again?
Hearne hated herself more when she began questioning the existence of God. The spiritual crisis and alcohol fuelled Hearne’s loneliness, and she ended up at a hospital after a series of unfortunate, awkward events.
She was feeling tired. Why, the Mass was very long. If you did not pray, if you did not take part, then it was very, very long. If you did not believe, then how many things would seem different. Everything: lives, hopes, devotions, thoughts. If you do not believe, you are alone.
All the characters — to me, it didn’t matter if they we were likeable — were memorable in their own ways. They tormented Hearne but Moore allowed me to get into their heads for a while and made me realise that they were hurting themselves too. From the young maid of the landlady to Hearne’s friends, each character was extraordinarily developed. At one point in time, I wasn’t sure why I had to learn about everybody. But they all held the mirrors which showed the myriad reflections of Hearne’s suffering. I needed their participation to empathise with Hearne.
While the whole book broke my heart, one particular scene made me feel heavier. Hearne stayed at a luxurious hotel. She relished the drink, loved the view from her room, and enjoyed sinking in the bed. The moment was perfect. She was losing her head; she was perennially inebriated, but the moment was just perfect. Something held Hearne’s shoulders and shook her. A thought. She had nobody to share that moment with.
Let me make a confession here. I couldn’t ask Hearne to be strong. I couldn’t ask her to find a purpose in life. I didn’t want to taunt her with the painful phrase — move on. I didn’t judge her for wanting to be loved and cherished. She was depressed. She was lonely. She was directionless. And it was okay to be all of that; she was only being human.
“The moon is a loyal companion. It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”
— Tahereh Mafi
Have I told you? I am a look-at-the-moon person. Gazing at the moon brings me back to the present. The moon is my therapist, my pet, my confidante. The child who thought that the moon followed me as I moved, still lives in me; I allow the child to seek solace in that lie. A harmless indulgence all the same.
I was lucky last night. I was offered a seat by the window in my office cab. I leaned on the window and trained my eyes on the moon that seemed extraordinarily bright. Was it me who found the moon brighter? Or was it the moon itself? I would never know.
The humble beauty was not alone. An arrogant star was beside my silent friend. The star seemed to tease me. “Hey! See! See! I am right next to your friend, basking in his flattering light. Where are you? Locked up in a car?” the star laughed. Little did that star know that I am incurably in love with both of them. Little did he know that they complement each other. Stars and their haughtiness. Sigh!
The moon and the star followed me. I couldn’t blink. I couldn’t stop smiling. Enchanted.
The clouds decided to leave the night for me. They chose to wander elsewhere. Bless their souls!
I broke my reverie when I found another tiny star next to the snobbish one. The baby star must have tried to keep herself invisible. Much to her dismay, I spotted her and sent her my thanks. Because I recognised her existence, she joined the party. Reluctantly.
Now, as my car tore the highway winds, as the ruthless headlights dispelled the darkness, I continued to look at my friends — the humble moon, the arrogant star, and the grudging star. Some group!
The moon smiled. The naughty one smirked. The baby star sulked. They were all beautiful in their own ways.
An urge surfaced in me. I wanted to ask my fellow-passenger to say hello to my friends. But I dismissed the impulse. That moment was mine. Private. Precious.
The car flew faster and of course, my bosom friends followed me effortlessly. Their travel reminded me of several scenes.
They looked like they were holding hands and moving sideways as though they were bidding adieu to their cousin leaving on a train after spending her summer vacation with them.
The baby star was dragging the bigger one and the moon. Like a determined child pulling her parents into a toy-shop.
The stars looked like dogs who were pulling a sledge over snow. And the moon, a jolly rider.
I could give them myriad roles and make my imagination fatter. But my short journey ended.
I looked at them again for the last time that night. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and captured that memory to immortalise it here later. As I ascended the staircase to my home, I reminded myself to pin a thought down in my journal — I am never truly alone when I am followed by the luminous moon, the smug star, and the modest little one.
…human beings are possessed of something special, something extra, something unnecessarily rich, something that the novelist Marilynne Robinson calls ‘an overabundance that is magical.’
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
On 18-February-2015, I set up this blog. I didn’t agonise over the name. It crossed my mind like a loyal dog who was waiting for his human to utter his name. Worncorners.
What does Worncorners mean? The answer has been elusive. But I have always managed with the weak ones like ‘a life well lived?’ and ‘dogeared pages…’ I must be honest for I really didn’t invest a lot; the name chose itself. Ahem. Ahem. 🙂
When I started blogging here, I reminded myself that I would write only about books. I was too shy to call them book-reviews. So I settled with something like ‘bookish thoughts.’ Despite the self-imposed restrictions, I was thrilled. I read more. I wrote more. It felt like I lived more too.
Life became eventful then. Naturally, my blog bore the brunt of the tempest. I ran here like a child who was determined to crayon on all the walls. No. Maybe I ran here like a mad elephant. I complained. I bawled. I sought sympathy. And… I drew strength.
The bloggers and visitors here, propped me up with kindness. Random act of kindness. In this virtual room, I found love and compassion. In this space, I went through a brief period of catharsis.
Above all, I was not judged for being human.
In between the maelstrom of my emotions, I managed to write about books too. Sigh!
I can be here when I am myself. I can be here when my head is full of scary noises. I can be here when I feel loved and cherished. I can be here when I loathe myself. And I can be here when I don’t want to be anywhere else. In time, I realised that this blog is a sanctuary where I am always, always received with warmth.
As I write this post, I am telling myself that I will not box this blog. I might have started with only books in my mind, but I seemed to have decided a long time ago to not cut its wings.
Perhaps, in its fluidity lies my freedom.
Also, I mustered the courage to read my first post. I squirmed as I read it. However I have now become narcissistic enough to quote myself. 😉 I had always known that I will make this blog a potpourri.
However, I must warn you, my dear reader. The pedestrian articles might unnerve you. But, there is nothing more you may expect from a self-professed writer, who has chosen to write for… herself.
Many thanks for reading my blogs! Many, many thanks for leaving comments! Many, many, many thanks for being my life-witness. 🙂
PS: Thank you for making me believe that I can write.
PPS: Thank you for reminding me about the overabundance in me. ❤