2017 at a Glance

There’s always a first and no matter how exhilarating or painful that first experience is, you’ve just started cracking open the shells to usher in the beams of a better world; a world of heightened senses and worldly knowledge. So keep going, oh brave heart, keep going!

2017 has been a great many things to me, as I’m sure it has been for you. It was an unexpected U-turn, a heartbreaker, a wise fool who reminded me just how transient everything is and a devil who missed not one chance to fill my head with doubts. But amidst all that, my self-love and the desire to be true to myself is the one thing that was of supreme importance. This year was also testament to my innate nature of biting more than I can chew. I piled up so much work on myself and although I was able to accomplish a majority of them, it was a stretch. Perhaps the next year, I’ll learn how to pace it out. But who am I kidding? I’ll probably still be up at 4am trying to finish an article or a book for review.

Like everybody else, this year has attempted to bowl me over with certain happenings. And had I allowed it to devastate me, I wouldn’t have realized some very important lessons. The key is to never lose faith in yourself. Then, you’ll be just fine. The tips, tricks and cheat codes lie within you. So look there, and you’ll find that you have everything that you need to conquer each day.

In terms of getting tattoos and reading books, I’m not as pleased as I wanted to be. I had planned to get a couple more inks and read atleast 50 more books, but somehow, I just didn’t. Falling short of ticking off those goals has made me all pumped up to race into the next year with a great start. What I am exceptionally proud of is sticking to my Bullet Journaling. It has enabled me to keep track of my daily habits, goals and to-do lists in a very creative manner. For that I commend myself. Finally, on the education front, I’m so glad to say that I got my first level Korean Language certificate. Now, my inner thoughts are as much in Korean as they are in English. Tons more to go before I’m entirely proficient, but this is one of my most cherished milestone of 2017.

Lastly, I’m gradually becoming more attuned to what’s happening around the world. While it’s all very alarming, I still have hope for us humans. And I wish to actively bring about a change in whatever way I can. Note to self – create content for awareness and positive change!

I hope 2018 is filled with as many ups and downs as 2017 has been. I hope that in between tears and laughter, I continue to recognize the privilege I enjoy. And I hope that I’m able to spread the love to others, that I have been fortunate enough to receive.

Wishing all of you a SPLENDID 2018…

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Fight

For rights and slights,
Fights ensue.
To quell other’s mights,
More fights ensue.
But, while the world’s
Busy setting fires,
There are those
Whose fights turn dire.
Of the world, of the day,
The gloom that won’t stay away,
Time and again, they tire.

Succeed!
What doth thou speak of?
I know no success,
In a weeping world.
I know no euphoria
Amongst bleeding hands.
The day we each
Be the other’s saving grace,
The time when
No fight’s insurmountable,
Shall I laud this world
For its success.

It’s Not Your Fault

A friend of mine once said, “Being close to somebody is about how they make you feel.” This couldn’t be more true. We cling to the people who make us feel strong, special and worthy of good things. We gravitate towards those who can give us what we’re looking for from life – be it fame, money or just a social circle to fall back on. But what happens when, as time passes, they’re no longer the person you used to identify with? Maybe you feel the need to justify their changed behavior and you are wont to accepting them nevertheless. But there’s also a fair chance that you just can’t “go with the flow”. And that’s okay.

Like me, you may be standing at that point in life where your only human interactions are with your family (if you’re an adult living with your folks, that is) and/or select friends via social media. You may be wondering what happened to all those hour long conversations with your bestfriend(s) from school or college. You may be seeing them in a new light. In between all that, you may also be questioning yourself as to “What went wrong?” The answer is nothing. It’s not up to you or me to prevent someone from being who they wish to be. Neither are we obliged to deal with a relation that has grown toxic.

All of my experiences has taught me one important thing, amongst others. If you appreciate or value somebody, make sure they know it. Cause there will come a time when engaging in small talk with said person would be a strain. We’re all caught in the throes of keeping up with today. And so it’s only likely that we would grow and flourish in the way we know how to. It’s only likely that people will grow apart for a hundred different reasons. A shuffle in priorities, conflict of interests, distance and on goes the list. But you can’t possibly hold it against them for choosing to walk away or yourself. In a world of no-strings-attached, guarded conversations and rising number of online “followers”, you ought to consider yourself lucky for having enjoyed something meaningful, even if for a short while.

Sometimes, bestfriends become strangers and families get estranged. That’s how it is.

This is something I should have understood a long time back. Perhaps, it’s something you’d like to hear now.

Anyhow, the festive season is here and I truly wish y’all a fantastic end to this year!

xx

Older and Dearer

There are none like you –
Maddeningly selfless and
Unconditionally supportive.
Everything that comes your way,
Good or bad, is somehow absorbed
By the magnanimity of your kind, kind soul.
Never asking for anything in return,
You’ve only learnt to give.
The glint in your eyes,
Had they not missed,
They wouldn’t dare awake
A sleeping goddess.
A mother is a nurturer,
A forgiver of uncounted errs.
I should know,
I’ve seen you brush aside
The most roiling of behaviors.
But she is also a warrior,
With strength, even the most trained
Ones can’t fathom.
Mother, you remind me what it is
To be persistent and genuine.
It is my turn to give.
So accept all my consideration and love,
Do all that your heart desires.
Live, like you would, a women
Carefree and young.
Even though you grow older,
You’ll continue to be
The most beautiful woman I know.

Happy Birthday, Omma.

Wherever Tomorrow Is

Tomun was an unusual man. Despite his enthralling anecdotes, no one knew where he came from. His battered passport was the only thing that stood out amongst his bare minimum possessions. He looked to be about 70, but you wouldn’t have guessed so from his demeanor. His frail hands had more might than the office-goers at the start of the week. Every day you could see him heading to the port with a brown rucksack slung over his shoulder. He was no outsider to the townsfolk; greeting everyone with a smile and a vigorous salutation.

“I’ve been piecing this boat together for many years now.” he had once told me, beaming at a white standard size sailing yacht. It looked just as weather beaten as its owner. The sides were rusted and had lost its original allure; the rudder could fall off at any moment; the sails had gashes on them.

“Piecing a boat? You mean you are refurbishing this dilapidated thing? To what end, Tomun?” I had asked in reply.

He looked at the setting sun and just laughed. My brow furrowed at the thought of this old man working on a project of such magnitude. But I let it slide, assuming that he’d probably give it up half way. We were close enough that we ate a meal together every day. He spoke a lot, but nothing substantial about his birthplace or his family. From his stories, I got the idea that all of his journeys had been rewarding in terms of fixing the yacht. He’d go on and on about a neighbour, or a niece twice removed, who had helped him acquire a pulpit or a shiny new boom that would go well with his boat.

Sometimes, I’d get late to our meetups. But Tomun wouldn’t say a thing. He’d brush off my apology, as if he had all the time in the world. Even though I allowed the bustle of life to get to me, I made sure that I hung out with him. I assumed he enjoyed spending time with me.

“You know, Agatha is almost ready.” he told me, matter of factly on one such afternoon. Tomun had named his boat Agatha, after the renowned author.

“Are you sure? It doesn’t look like it.”

“Oh absolutely! A small paint job, a small touch up and we’re good to go.” he said sifting through the vegetables on his plate. Tomun wasn’t a foodie; he barely ate anything. Occasionally, his pallor would bring out the deep-set wrinkles so starkly, that it would scare me. I’d urge him to eat more, but it was a futile attempt.

“Maybe you should get Agatha checked by a professional, before you take it out.”

“There’s no need for that. I feel it. Agatha is just as ready as I am.”

“It’s always better to be safe than sorry.”

At that, he guffawed. Even though I missed the joke, I prodded further. “Why don’t you get a family member to come down here, and help you?”

“I don’t want to trouble anyone, dear. I’ll get by just as I have been doing.”

“I’m sure it won’t be a trouble. Where do they stay? Anywhere close?” I knew that Tomun lived alone in a condo that was closest to the beach. He worked on small errands for his livelihood. He wasn’t poor; he was basic.

“Here, there, everywhere.” he sighed. “But, you! You tell me how your search for a job is going.” I had told Tomun that I wanted to pay my own way to college.

“It’s not easy. They’re all asking for references I don’t have and can’t get.”

“Keep trying. I’m sure something will work out for you.” he said, patting my hand.

We were done with our meal; I got up to pay the bill, but he wouldn’t hear of it. After much insistence and beseeching, Tomun had his way. When he opened the rucksack, to fetch the wallet, his passport fell out. It looked brand new, with crisp pages.

“Are you going somewhere?”

“Aren’t we all?” he said with a wink. Before I could say anything else, he was walking out the door. With a final, “See you tomorrow!” he was gone.

The next few days were much the same. Job interviews, college application prep, quality time with family etc. A week later, when I heard on the news that there was a storm headed our way, I had a sinking feeling in my gut. I hurried over to our haunt, hoping to see Tomun early. I waited eagerly for my watch to show 8PM. But as the time passed, there was no sign of Tomun. I asked at the counter, and they handed me a brown envelope, saying that Tomun had come by early in the day to leave this for me.

I had never ripped through anything as fast as I did that envelope. Inside, there was a signed check that I barely noticed. A long ruled page bore his handwriting. I knew what goodbyes looked like.

Dearest K,

I reckon you would’ve come to realize what I’ve done. I apologize for not doing this directly. If I had tried, I wouldn’t have been able to leave. You see, people are inclined to believe that destiny makes them. But I choose to live my life differently. I make my own day and I sleep at night knowing that my life is of my own making.

Tomun had left. The thought was enough to send shards piercing through my heart. Unconsciously, I had begun walking to the port. Letter in hand, my legs were leading the way.

This must come as a surprise to you. But believe me child, I had never planned to sink my toes in a land for long. I am sorry for not making my intentions clear. People who look for stability want nothing to do with a 75 year old making the rounds of the world. I do not know if we will meet again, but with some help from me, I hope you would attempt to pave your own path. I’ve left you what little I had managed to save. In case everything doesn’t line up nicely, go to the inn on Seventy Fourth Street and give them my name. They’ll come up with something for you.

The time that I’ve known you was enough to show me that if I waited for my future, I would get slim pickings. I hope you gain some courage from my words and take matters into your own hands. Tomorrow is a stranger on the road; we haven’t met yet, but we know of each other’s existence. Why concern yourself with a stranger who has nothing to do with you as of now? In the quest for a safe tomorrow, why dampen the joys of today? I can’t be rooted to one place, just as I can’t be one person. I am all that I have seen and been through. I don’t know for how long or how far Agatha would keep me company. But I sure hope she’d see me through to the end of the world. Whatever it may be, I am certain that I would be happy. As I wish you would be, too.

K, don’t wait. Wherever tomorrow is, you’ll have your chance encounter. But I hope that you’d set about making the best of your today. You only get one try.

With Love,

Tomun May.

The skies were downcast and the port was barren. Having heard about the storm, people would have settled in for the day, with a hot coffee and blankets. I couldn’t make myself leave. I looked at the horizon long and hard, hoping to see a tiny sailboat. There was no sign of anything. That was the last time I heard from Tomun. This man, who had been like a grandfather to me, walked with his life clenched in his feeble fists. There was so much I could have learned from him.

The townsfolk were sad to hear about him. But within a fortnight, they’d all moved on.

Now, every time I pass by the port, I keep an eye out for Agatha. Alas! Just like my tomorrow, Tomun has become a stranger. I could keep looking for them, but they would only show their face when it’s time.

Fair Warnings Oft Told.

(c) 2017 Meera Nair.

Tales and legends of the old,
Fair warnings oft told,
Unearth some universal truth.
Our hearts, they are meant to sooth.
But this mad, mad mind
Swears by a quest to find
All the worldly wisdom that is amiss.
But in doing so, topples into the abyss.