Fables: Lost and Found

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I used to write fables. Not the Aesop kind, not at all. He has probably turned a few thousand times in his grave every time Ive referred to one of my flights of fancies in the creative, and occasionally dark moods that brought forth some intense feelings to this blog.

They were funny, sad, reminiscing, pensive, daring and full of chutzpah. I even had a separate space called Cesmots.com – meaning: These words. It was a beautiful home, full of pride and class. I took so much pride in it and the few readers who flocked, they did with loyalty. Each resonated with a different bunch, and it was a joy to see the connection.

Then life happened, and I had to shut it down, coz I wasn’t writing much and the site cost money.

I have most saved I think. One day they will find their way out and outside of this ether, and perhaps they will dance in black and white. Maybe they won’t. One can dream and work hard towards a goal, and all we can be sure is the sweat and the tears and the little victories, but the final goal is always intangible. Yes, of course there is faith, if not the way is painful and ridden with potholes. ..and despite the fact that most of us have varying degrees of masochism in us, most well meant paths are pleasant on hindsight.

Hindsight is 20/20 and every time we decide to quit or reach a dead end, all we have to do is look back and then on turning around, the way is cleared, just a bit more and so we skip on.

That said, despite being a busy day, I dug up the archives and remembered one particular one I had written way back in 2008.

A Suitable Moment. 

Any old timers around, who recognize this one? Most who commented on that piece are still around, in their personal orbs :)

Life suddenly feels like a fable.

It feels like fables must come back. They were a crutch back then, and maybe now, they would prop me up. The familiarity of one’s words and the comfort they offer.

***

One of the hardest things in life is to let go of what we thought was real.

All things heart of course, but in the head and in tangibles too.

It feels like homecoming though. I was meant to write those again. I can already feel my fingers itch with excitement. Joy.

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places I don’t go anymore {fable}

Long ago while on the metro, I was seated adjacent to a middle-aged well dressed lady who had a small book open and was scribbling into it at a  steady pace. My curiosity had gotten the better of me and I stared at her without realizing I was.

You see, I love people watching. I love observing their little quirks, what makes them tick and one thing leads to another and am building tragic love stories into their lives or creating grander versions of where they came from and how the world will surprise them tomorrow. They didn’t call me a dreamer for nothing I suppose!

So the lady looked up and out the window, pursed her lips, squinted her eyes into a distance and her brow furrowed. There really was nothing out there to see, but the gray stony walls of the underground tunnel, but she stared into the distance alright. I watched her stare into the distance. Without a warning, she looked at my reflection in the glass window and smiled at me. Instinctively, I smiled back, and averted my eyes. Embarrassed at being caught staring, embarrassed for my own wild dreams for her.

She turned her neck back at me and asked me in a soft simple voice.

“Where are we? I lost track of time.” 

I mumbled the station and glanced up at the map to help me out, coz since I had to get off at the last stop anyway, I was not keeping track myself.

I had no idea why she explained herself but she did. “I write things down of the places I don’t want to go to anymore, and then I staple them down, so I don’t accidentally go there.” 

I nod my head, ike that made perfect sense,. As an adult, at once confused and on the verge of shame as I felt an intruder into her mind-space, and making what I think was a half-baked attempt to look nonchalant. Yet, there was that inquisitive child in me who wanted answers. What did she mean? Places? What places? Like travel? She didn’t look like she was traveling? Except from work, just like the rest of us? What are these places that she doesn’t want to go anymore?

..and without a blink, all of these questions steadily poured out of my wide brown eyes. The one outlier in my body language that I can most likely live without, but cannot. It’s a curse and a blessing depending on the answers I get from the recipients I aim those eyes at. This time it was a blessing, coz she miles again, a knowing smile, with her nose crinkling at the corners where her blue eyes met and drew themselves back into laughing lines, clear crows feet that belied the age that the rest of her assured.

Damn those eyes. They didn’t call them windows to our soul for nothing.

She started speaking, low and clear and drifting in and out of my path, like she was talking to no one in particular.

“There are places that our heart and mind takes us. Places that we don’t always want to go. Happy rolling hills and the meadows and the ferris wheels in the county fair, and the hot tub in our backyard and the family kitchen with the aromas of thanksgiving dinners, and the diaper smells mixed with baby formula during midnights. They are wonderful aren’t they? Pleasant and happy memories and flashes of life that wrote memoirs in our heart. The chapters by which we mark our lives in this journey. They don;t need reminders or jogs for us to bring back to our present and toss them around, play ball with them and then folks them neatly and tuck them away in their proper place, filed away for later references. Those are the places that we always want to go back to.”

I smile and nod at the steadiness with which she recounted them all, like she recited from a  script, a well worn script. One with dog ears and smudged pencil lines, and folded numerous times, going yellow with age.

“Then there are places that I don’t go anymore. You know the kind am taking about.” She paused and looked at me with an eyebrow raised, and a smile that didn’t reach her eyes.

I sigh.

I knew where this conversation was going. I turn back at the window and stare out. Thinking back to the places that I didn’t want to go.

“Tears forming icicles, from harsh barren terrain. Without a living thing in sight. The places with such thick trees that they form a barricade hard to scale through. The kind of place where the only whisper is of the voice in your head that tells you repeatedly that you are alone and that no one will ever find you. Like when you are spinning on the top of that very same ferris wheel and everyone else has disappeared. Those places. I write those down and staple them down.”

“Does it help?”

“Mostly. If I go to the same place twice, I write and then burn the paper. Symbolic, but it helps me. I never go to those places again.”

She shrugs. I look through her holding me down yet failing.

“We are nomads. In our head. Yet, we are also survivors. We have to burn the bridges that we do not want to cross anymore.”

I nod and turn my misty eyes out through the window.

“Try it sometime, I can tell you visit the same dark places a lot.

She whispers into my ear as she gets up and slides off the train and gets lost in the crowd.

 

strange as they come {fable}

An essay: 

When folks you love and hold dear to your heart decide to move on, move away or carry on with their life and you know it in your heart that it is the right thing for them, and you want to hold on and cry and be on the same side and be simply sad and empathetic to the changing situation YET

..all that comes out is screaming and yelling and aggressive name-calling or blaming and doing everything possible to create a tantrum, and muddy waters that froth and get bitter and angry and churn in contorted ways that frankly wants those dear ones to run like the wind and away and far, far away as possible from you. Wanting to create a distance from the person that they want to hold close yet, want to actually stay away from the person you’ve become.

No?

What? No?

Seriously? It’s only me then?

Oh joy!

 

Oh well, that’s weird me.

I hold only a handful close to heart. Handful. I can count, and I will have fingers left to hold onto a spoon and shove large amounts of bhel puri into my angry, sullen mouth.

When any of them decide to throw some distance between us, even for a day,for that moment, I get frothy. I hate it when they come to say goodbye at the airports.  I act like a crazed maniac. I am a maniac. I am a weird maniac. 

I am way past the halfway mark, and a full blown adult and my ways are set in many ways and I know in my heart that I will die a lonely, cranky old woman. Unloved and unwanted. Not because I wasn;’t worthy of it or there aren’t enough folks who love me for who I am, but I would have successfully pushed them all away with one angry froth at a time. 

No one is to be blamed but me. 

I think it’s in my genes. I also think it’s a disorder that if I dig deep enough in the psychiatric annals, I will find a name for it. Cure? Maybe. Maybe not. 

Until then, am best keeping my safe distance and not allowing any more folks to come close to my heart. No vacancy as they say.. 

I must sound helpless. I am not. I am constantly trying to help myself and am constantly failing. Either am not trying hard enough or I am beyond repair. BUT, knowing how persistent I am, I know I will lose trying. 

What is it that you ask?

Does it hurt?

The hell it does. It hurts like hell. Not that I know how hell hurts, but I can guarantee you, that if I land in hell, it won’t hurt a bit coz I’d be used to it. It hurts. It hurts to be me. This is a burden I live with. A curse and a blessing. A curse coz I hurt myself more than I hurt my loved ones. A blessing coz I know and acknowledge and hence ensure I don’t hurt more by keeping safe distances from all. 

The curse of loving too much. 

Cooking for 1 {fable}

She grew up seeing her mom in the kitchen. Her aunts, grandmas, older female cousins and random ladies, all bent over the stove, cutting chopping vegetables, roasting spices and powdering and grinding and tasting and sweating and laughing and gossiping and sometimes cursing through the process.

It was a female domain.

The males part of this process was the finale. They came to eat. To occasionally praise, relish, and feel good at the end of the meal. They’d rinse their hands outside at the tap or the sink and walk away feeling satiated.

One can never imagine something if there was no precedent. Women cooked. That was it. She heard an occasional complaint whine from her grandma on how her second son was forced to cook because of his wife’s quixotic nature and she clucked her tongue. In the same tone, she would continue on the good old days when there were only males who cooked and who cooked great meals.

“Nala Bheema paakam.”

Quoting the famous line that proclaimed both Bhima (of Mahabharata fame) and King Nala (of Nala-Damayanti fame) the grandmother announced in subtle excitement that her now lined, experienced eyes belied, that men were indeed better cooks. With a sigh,m she would wrap her pallu again and tuck a large fold into her wrinkled waist and move on muttering under her breath and telling no one in particular “those were the days, the good old days” 

..and thus she grew up. As a child, a teenager and then an adult and a mom and a wife.

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