Myriad Musings

Dear Discomfort

 

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Dear Discomfort,

Puncture my parachute so I find my wings and fly.

Take me away from the outside world so I connect with the person in the mirror.

Cage me in a bubble so I break out of it.

Silence me so I find meaningful things to say when I regain my voice.

Push me into the dark so I find my way through the long nights.

Corner me so I reclaim my space. Violate my space so I erect boundaries.

Hold me close to the ground so my urge to stand tall and proud intensifies.

Bind me tight so I learn to play with knots of limitation.

Hit me when I’m down so I savour the ups when the rollercoaster turns.

Drown me in doubt so I wade towards my survival.

Take away the false shine, so I’m not blinded by glimmer. Snatch a real diamond or two, so I learn its value.

Punch me in the stomach so I learn to stand up for myself.

Lure me into Candyland so I separate fantasy from reality.

Lay me in rock bottom so I look up to the sky.

Pull the ground beneath my feet so I find new legs to stand on.

Stretch me so I know how to reach.

Pin me to the wall so I learn not to beat my fists against it.

Render me weak so I grow to be strong. Leave me helpless so I discover tools to help myself.

Burden me so I’ll relieve myself of some battles.

Drop me out of another’s world so I shoot for the stars in the galaxy.

Throw me in a cesspool of agony so I relish every moment of ‘happy.’

Place me in a well of tears and I’ll cherish every drop of the elixir of joy.

Destroy all that I’ve built so I create a better home for myself.

Erase all that I was so I get to rewrite who I am.

I’ve you to thank for any success, acceptance and progress that has been splashed onto my palette.

Thank you for being my cheerleader. My saviour. My best friend.

Kudos to you for knowing what I need before I do.

I look forward to when you come and visit me next.

Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

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Myriad Musings

What’s the word for it? #2

I wish there were words to describe:

Having just the right amount of something. Not too much, not too less.

The terror in anticipation of a big fall when you’re riding a high. Too good to be true, often isn’t.

Having something happen to you that you thought “only happens in movies.” Ready to break into a song and dance, anyone?

Equally valid, polar opposite ways of thought and feeling. Delighted and distraught about moving abroad. That joke was both atrociously offensive and absolutely hilarious, all at once.

The joy of the last but one step. Relishing the hills and vales of the journey so far. Eagerly awaiting the fruits of the sweaty trek. One more class, one more day, and I’ll be done. This time tomorrow.

Garlanded by applause. You bag the prize every participant coveted. Every spectator’s eye on you.

Awkwardly being on the receiving end of a musical “Happy birthday to you..” Yikes. We’ve all been there.

Not knowing what to do after checking off a major goal. Hold on – I don’t have to prepare for this event anymore? Yaay! But, what do I do with all my time now?

Knowing you should stop but not being able to. One more song. One more minute on the internet. One last page before I turn off the lights. Oops, it’s morning.

Breaking into fits of laughter at the most inopportune times. Don’t give away the prank. Keep a straight face throughout your presentation. Please, not at a funeral.

Tripping and falling on flat surfaces. Every time.

Knowing something in your bones with no factual evidence to back it up. How can you be so sure? Because- I just know.

When “your day” comes around. All of a sudden, you’re the Scrabble king. Your bat solely secures sixes and fours. You’re psychic. Today, the wind’s on your side.

Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

(Part 2)

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Myriad Musings

Strained

The strain remained, refusing to vanish like a particularly hard-to-dislodge guava seed in my tooth. Pain. Strain. Remain. I played with the words in my head, as though the rhyme would resound laughter amidst the bleakness of a lost battle.

The texts had tumbled, like the slip of a juggler’s hands. Only that the balls now were fired rapidly back at me. I lit the fire and I burnt in it. Every time.

His text would creep in tomorrow, day after. A reminder of the mess. Of what was lost and gone. I’d be forced to put forth another attempt at war but my armoury would be tucked safely under the bed and I’d perhaps be sleeping when his text arrives.

Unwelcome. Unnecessary. A belated ointment for an old wound. A half-hearted rush of concern to make up for the delay in response, as the air would stink of thick, sweaty drops of apology. A stench that we seemed to carry every time we met.

He’d try to plaster the walls he broke and stitch the open wounds, wounds that he opened, sometimes with an intricate compass, other times with a carefully misplaced scythe.

Hatred would gush and love would bubble. I’d multiply the bubbles and send it his way, quick pecks on his indifferent cheeks: Kindness measured, so it’s not too much or too less but just right lest he rejects it for its overwhelming nature.

I’d swallow the hatred and reopen my old wounds, using only scythes with no place for compasses. Scythes he’s given me from unforgettable memories of being pushed into an abyss, always willing to jump, but never wishing for it.

He’s throw tidbits with the air of a man who throws pellets of puffed rice to the desperate fish at sea- waiting, wanting, willing, wishing- and walk away huffily with a puffed up chest, his generosity impressing himself. The sour taste of battle blood would sink my palette into pain and the strain would remain.
Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

 

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Myriad Musings

What’s the word for it?

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Have you ever felt something so fascinatingly specific that you recognize the feeling instantly when it next arrives?

You rush to find the perfect word to describe it, surely it’s at the tip of your tongue – only to realize that it doesn’t exist. At least not in this language.

I wish there were words to describe:

Gathering courage to finally feel comfortable about attempting something, way beyond your comfort zone. A wallflower’s first public speech. Adorning those dance shoes despite having two left feet.

Feeling inspired and empowered enough by another’s joyful success to put yourself out there. Taking vocal lessons after listening to the two-year-old wonder. Diving headfirst into your own passions after your friend’s foreign land fairytale.

Relief of never having to do something heavy, ever again. Phew. Remember when you ripped your board exam hall tickets apart and grinned ear-to-ear?

Celebrating the firsts. Your first blog. Your first bicycle ride after the support wheels came off. Learning the first sentence in an alien language.

Embellishing a silly detail because you fear being judged for the truth. Exaggerating your height on a dating profile or throwing in an extra couple of interests on your resume, for good measure. Wink.

Desire to dwell in the world of a book, a movie, a play; inhabit the life of a fictional character or reside in a real-life hero. I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts acceptance letter.

Being an awkward liar, all-too-obvious. Conversely, when you excuse someone’s apparent lies to protect them from embarrassment. Your sincere head-nods to children’s lies so they can save face.

Laughing till it hurts, jumping for joy or shedding real tears about an imaginary situation that never unfolded in reality.

An image that you can’t stop seeing every time you close your eyes. Every mathematical formula when you’ve been crunching numbers too long, or that terrifying frame from a horror movie that refuses to let you sleep.

Palpably awkward experiences, where you’re beseechingly looking at the ground, hoping you’d be swallowed in. Running into an old boss. Wardrobe malfunction in a grandiose gathering. Forgetting the lines to a song as you perform, right before your Lady Gaga moment.

Delight that floods when you finally fulfil a craving or a dream. Celebratorily eating ice cream at 2 a.m. Buying the instrument you’ve been diligently saving up for.

Absolute painful certainty that something is crawling on your skin. You thoroughly check and recheck every inch to assuringly find no real reason to cringe.

Clarity about a situation from ages ago, attained after learning a critical piece of information. A head-scratcher then. Now, the puzzle fits.

Jubilation when things unfold astonishingly well, surpassing your wildest dreams. A perfect score in a mind-numbing video game. The outpour of enthusiasm for your fresh ideas. The happiest guests relishing your delightful servings.
Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

(Part 1)

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Myriad Musings

Meeting monsters

 

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I seem to have an inexplicable desire for pain.

More than curiosity. More than fascination. A strange craving, almost.

The way you’d try your hand at a spicier cuisine or experiment with a new hobby, to test your limits.

Perhaps, it’s my ardent interest in Psychology (one of my majors).

Maybe it stems from my belief that I am truly alive when I experience the A-Z of emotions in palpable intensities.

Or is the source subconscious guilt which makes pain feel right, even relieving?

I play with pain, the way a child blows air into balloons until the loud pop!

I am my own rubber band. I fiddle, pull and observe to see how far I can stretch, until the snap.

The breaking point is yet to be found.

Maybe, the reward is in that after feeling gutted, tortured, confused, I can surface up and claim, “That wasn’t so bad.”

We treat certain parts of ourselves as inner graveyards, with unimaginable ghosts.

Meant for paying an occasional, wary visit.

It is freeing to know that the darkness in me is tame in comparison to the illusory demons I suspect I will discover.

Maybe it’s time to invite the monsters under the bed to lay next to us and start a conversation.

You never know. You might just sleep better at night.

Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

 

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Myriad Musings

New Year is a myth

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I’m all for burying the old and heralding the new.

Any reason for hope and celebration? Count me in!

Yet, as an Indian, it baffles me that we privilege the Western construct of the New Year over the different dates and traditions indicated by our cultures.

I’m also stumped by the naivete that one can truly expect Jan 1 to be different from Dec 31, the previous day. 2018 and 2019 are mere numbers unless we make it different.

What also bewilders me is that it takes a ‘construct’ to trigger man’s inner clock to pause and take a good, hard look at his own life.

I don’t look at the date and decide whether or not to evaluate where I’m at and take the necessary steps to move forward.

Here’s my year-long loop: Mark a habit, mind map a routine, evaluate, modify, try again.

I agree that we cannot be on at all times but it’s key to work towards the changes we really require a lot more frequently. I’d argue that self-reflection works miracles if it’s at least weekly, if not daily.

Becoming better is a constant; it is a state of mind and not a point in time. 

Let us determine to live consciously, with intention and awareness, and create a New year for ourselves.

Best of luck. I have faith in you. Time to make a happy 2019.

Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

 

 

 

 

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Myriad Musings

Travel

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I never understood why travel was so hep. Is it hip? Whatever the kids are calling it nowadays.

Don’t get me wrong. I relish new experiences to the core. But, I don’t need travel to feel that high.

Learning a skillset that takes five minutes, fondly gazing at the patterns the sun makes on the greenery and creating art give me that high.

Accomplishing a goal and hearing a refreshing perspective puts me on cloud nine. Maybe I’m easy to please.

Travel is associated with exoticism. Nature and culture can be found closer to home if you watch with a painter’s gaze and a poet’s soul.

The most precious thing about travel to me is uninterrupted time with your friends or family. This, I agree with, if you commit to going Wi-Fi free.

My concern is that most people I’ve spoken to, seem to equate travel with an escape. I think time, energy and money are better spent fixing your day-to-day life over planning fancy vacations.

I’d take an escape if my world would turn topsy-turvy while I’m away. But, when I return, my mess is still mine to clean up and I find that nothing has changed.

While weekends are precious, let’s create Monday mornings that make us look forward to the wonders weekdays can bring.

So, the next time you travel, ensure that you soak in that novel adventure, without worrying about being insta perfect.

The next time you long for travel, remember that there are multiple adventures hovering around you waiting to be experienced.

Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

 

 

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Myriad Musings

What to blog on?

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As regular bloggers, we’ve all had moments when we’ve put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, utterly clueless as to what to blog on.

Let me weigh my options :

Dabbling in the French Dizain or the Korean Sijo, for foreign always equals exotic, and poetry is no exception to the rule.

Delving deep into unfamiliar territory: perhaps, a horror story, with a twist. How about an innocent exposition, supernatural action and a scientific denouement?

Exploring themes that are plausible only in the canvas of imagination. Parallel worlds, reversal of history and defying the laws of nature.

Expressing a controversial opinion. A niggle that has bothered you, and only you, finally set free for strangers to peek.

Carving a genre, a pattern to serve your needs, for all that has come before us has been engineered by a mind. Why not be an architect instead of an imitator?

Testing the waters with a form your audience is unaccustomed to. Either you’re in for a surprise and your readers are thrilled or you’re thrilled to speak to a wider audience.

Finding a purpose. Write for the readers’ joy, moralise, inspire or obfuscate. Direct your nib at hearts or shoot at minds.

In all honesty, it matters not what we write on, as long as we keep the ink flowing.

Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

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Life lessons

Life lessons #1

These are entries from my journal that I endeavour to consciously follow/ practice and I share them in the hope that they resonate with you. Here’s my first listicle on WP :

1. Life owes you zilch. You owe yourself everything.

2. Remember your roots. They speak volumes about why you are the way you are.

3. Run away from toxicity. Avoid it like the plague.

4. A therapist and a hundred self-help books, podcasts and films can’t change your life. You can.

5. The only way to find out if a technique, a habit or a piece of advice works, is to implement it.

6. Be you in every situation.

7. If being you doesn’t sound appealing, become a better you.

8. If you keep fighting losing battles, you won’t have any resources left for the ones you can actually win.

9. It is okay to have bad days, bad weeks and even bad months. What is not okay is denying that’s how you feel.

10. Emotional blackmail gets you nowhere.

11. For every reason there is to lie, there is a better reason, to tell the truth.

12. To identify the truly trivial, ask yourself if a bad experience is going to matter in a week, in a month and in a year.

13. Everyone’s path is different and equally important.

14. But, it helps to remember that you have it better than so many others.

15. Equality is a conscious choice. Practise it every day. Don’t be ageist, racist, sexist, homophobic etc. Inegalitarianism looks good, said no one ever.

16. Care enough to extend a helping hand.

17. It’s so easy to break someone. Try keeping them whole.

18. Being ‘manly’ is more about manning up to your flaws and being a man of your word, than any cultural stereotype.

19. If working at what you love is draining, reconsider it.

20. If you keep making excuses to postpone what you say you want, maybe you don’t want it all that bad.

Feel free to add to the list …

Copyright © Roshni Ramanan

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Myriad Musings

Religion

You ask me to seek the Lord in a distant temple on a faraway hill, a herculean climb, convincing me that I can please God only with the pain of my labour.

You demarcate places of worship to fuel the fire of exclusion and build walls to serve casteist and anti-woman agendas.

Can’t I find him in the sanctuary of my own devout heart? Didn’t you say He was Omnipotent?

You discriminate the disabled, reassuring me that their past birth karma has earned them their troubles.

Religion is your tool to make me feel ashamed of my festive womanhood.

You assert that my flamboyant sins would weaken the Lord. Didn’t you say He was Omnipotent?

You cloak yourself in the Just World phenomenon. Tit for tat.

You refuse to believe that life isn’t always fair.

Instead, you fancy that the Omniscient above holds weighing scales and strict calculators of Virtue and Vice.

Believe what you will. Worship a stone as the mighty lord, or elevate a philosopher or a God-man to an all-powerful entity.

Let me believe what I choose to. Don’t force your rigid rules and hidden agendas on me.

If you try to contain religion in a matchbox, it’ll combust and set you aflame.

 

Author’s note:

I’m a firm theist and this is more of a critique on the deliberate misuse of institutionalized religion, especially through beliefs and practices perpetrated in the Indian context, where there is no healthy distance between the State and Religion. For me, religion is very personal and pure and it is gut-wrenching to see it contaminated by underhand schemes for epistemological, economic and political power

 

 

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