Sunday, March 24, 2013

Missing out

This one's dedicated to the missed chances in life. All of us have our regrets, our what ifs. I don't like regrets; I don't have many.  I don't endeavour to have many either. However, life isn't very good at letting people keep promises.

There are some parts of your life that don't wait till the moment of your death to constantly flash in front of your eyes. (by you I mean me). They always stand around the corner, always just a little bit out of reach, making you question your memory, making you relieve those moments but with a 100 different endings. But the endings never change do they? Its cruel how everything can change except these few stubborn moments.

Being miserable is not a trait I am famous for. I tend to live in a world of denial where everything is puppies & rainbows; except for a few moments of utter darkness. It is in these few moments where my regrets take over.

It is at these dark times when people are said to be at their most creative. What is it about melancholy that triggers a need to create? Is it a deep need to make a mark in the world? To leave something behind that is not as miserable as the rest of our sorry existence? Or is it a simple manifestation of our inner demons? A way to exorcise ourselves?

And with those questions sent out to the ether, I take this opportunity to talk about my need to create. I have always wanted to be able to write. I remember being so very jealous of my sister when she wrote poems & then of some writers when I read their books. The way they could manipulate words to mean much more than they would usually mean would take my breath away.

It was one day after a intense conversation with my first love that I wrote my first poem. I promise it wasn't a cheesy, sappy one about flowers & crowds but it did rhyme. I was so proud of myself. It was the first day in my entire life that I didn't think I was a total failure (I have always had an intense inferiority complex)

It was then I decided that of all the regrets I might have in life; not writing would not be one of them. It is the one thing that always helps pull me out of my deepest darknesses. Even now, as I type this out, I can feel a certain satisfaction at my ability of putting coherent thoughts together. I can feel it healing my stupid insecurities, putting a small bandaid over my thoughts of loneliness.

I can hear the compliments I have received through this blog in a loop in my head; preparing me for battle against the dark clouds that are looming over the horizon. Thanks to all of you, this time I am well-armed. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Land of wishful thinking

We were never rich but my parents worked very hard to make sure we were never left without. There was one thing I always envied though, friends who talked about uncles living abroad; uncles who sent them shiny gifts & yummy chocolates. Oh, how cool these mythical uncles were. I had no such uncle & therefore decided I would do the living abroad myself.

Moving to Dubai was a decision I took about six months to work on; with the help of my friends, then boyfriend & family. I think my main reason to move was that I really wanted to push myself into something I always wanted to do but didn't quite know how. I felt like I was in a lather, rinse, repeat cycle of neverending ennui (I've always wanted to use that word!!)

So here I was in a city that was caught between trying to please both the modernists & the traditionalists & never really pleasing either. From what I could see then, the only thing lacking in Dubai was the concept of lack itself. Nobody seemed okay with not having things. Everybody wanted everything. In an immediate world like this, wanting to hold on for something real & lasting seemed wrong. I was happy being wrong then & am pretty happy being in the wrong for now.

Now that I've been around here for a while, this city is surreal to say the least; from dolls wearing abayas to brunches where parents get drunk in the afternoon with kids next to them. From guys who stay in little rooms but spend their credit limit on D&G shoes to ladies who find the love of their life in a rich, old guy who has no one else.

Dubai is a personification of every high school movie. There are the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders, the bullies & the bullied. And oh, let me not forget the cliques. Finding your way through the maze of clichés & questionable ethics & subjective morality changes the person you are.

I am not the same person I was 3 years ago. I am angrier, cynical, jaded & a bit more antisocial. But I have been luckier than many here. I found my sanity in some people who tolerated all my craziness & still didn't let go. They held on through my dark spirals & through my ecstatic highs. It was only because of them that I stuck around & now that I have been given the gift of an actual career, this city is now my home.

A home that is built on a flimsy, sandy foundation of expat friends who have made temporary homes here & can leave at any time. I have said my goodbyes & farewells to a fair share of lovely people. Thankfully, I can easily stay in touch with them. But nothing really prepares you for how intensely you can miss someone when they move away. It is completely different from "breakup feelings" because you never really broke up with that person. You still care about them but had to helplessly let go while they made a better decision for their lives. Is this what the empty nest syndrome feels like?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Leaving no book behind

I am a digressor. I am fundamentally incapable of getting to the point or focussing on a subject.  I am a digressor. I tell you that not as a disclaimer of things to come (though it is that too) but as an invitation. Follow me on my mental meanderings if you will, give up control to the uniqueness of travelling with words. Lose your train of thought, accept that you don't see the point and more than anything else, let your imagination fill in the blanks.

And for those who are Mr Grey fans, think of it as some kind of mental S&M where you don't really know what you are going to end up doing but I'll try to ensure you have fun along the way.

Talking about fun, in about two weeks, I will be celebrating a year in this job. During this year, I have been able to live out some amazing dreams. I have also traveled all over the Middle East apart from the two cities that were top on my list (Damascus & Cairo). There have been countries that I fell in love with completely & totally and others I would never go back to voluntarily. Having said that, my love for travel ensures that I still treasure every opportunity I can get to get on a plane & having my passport stamped.

I think I get my love of travel from my mother. Ever since I remember, she has been planning family trips all over India. The thrill of packing, booking tickets, getting everything together, working out the details is something I always looked forward to. While I loved the travel, it was her minute-by-minute itineraries that I just couldn't handle. That & her propensity of finding temples wherever we went!

I had 3 dreams -- of getting a passport & travelling internationally; of getting a new booklet on my passport & going to cities like Paris, London & Venice. In the past year, I got the extra booklet & have visited two out of those three. The more I travel I realise that travelling can change a person more than anything else can. All those clichés about travel opening up your world in more ways than one are clichés for a reason.

Now I have grander dreams, fancier places I want to go to. Spain maybe or Thailand or even South Africa. Putting these dreams out there in the ether makes me want to grab on to them & make them come alive. Come join me?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I need to get started

It started with my sister. She loved/loves reading. I remember seeing her spending her time with her book, ignoring her pesky, much-younger sister & feeling very jealous. I think she started giving me books to read just so I would shut up & stop bothering her. It worked.

I could & would read everything & anything I could find. I remember spending one day during my summer holidays without eating or drinking anything because I was reading a mythology book I'd been able to beg my father to buy. It was an amazing book but I digress.

I have always been an average girl, not too smart, not too pretty, without any significant passions or talents. But with a book in my hand, I was a traveller, an explorer, an adventurer. I had answers to all of life's questions & if I didn't, I could conjure them up from my imagination.

I made very few friends & my own insecurities never let me get too close to them. It was to my books & my dog that I turned to for company. It wasn't a exciting life but it was a simple, happy one. Books gave me dreams & the imagination to hope my dreams would come true one day.

I started off working with books; it was the only thing I could think of doing. It was what I knew (or thought I knew.) I learnt from some of the best in the business. Sanjeev Poojari, who hated the business side of bookstores but had the product knowledge of a bookworm elephant; Sang Mo, a small bundle of energy & go-go-go attitude & Sriram, someone who is still considered the father of modern Indian book retailing.

I briefly flirted with content development & journalism only to come back to square one but on a different board. I was in Dubai, working with books again, starting in Operations, making my way through merchandising & purchasing & eventually landing in sales.

I think this one will stick, I am going to make it stick somehow. Along the way, I intend to write. Maybe about myself, the books I read & the places I get to see. No bells & whistles, no fancy artistry. Just my words, an amalgamation of things I have seen, read & experienced all put together with some spit, glue & a prayer. Hopefully, someone will read it & even more hopefully, they won't completely hate it.

Much love