Tag Archives: coffee

The Writing Wringer

Found a rant in my drafts. Thought it would be appropriate since my blog’s been a little quiet lately.

I call myself a writer. But in privacy. I call myself a writer but I am afraid to say it out loud. I want to give an elaborate explanation to the world that the act of arranging words into sentences – often ambiguous, seldom meaningful – is a craft. I am a writer and saying that should be simple. It’s not something I get paid for. It’s not something I’m forced to do. It’s not a full time job. It’s not a part of some religion. It’s nothing but who I am. I write, therefore I am, right?

I find that all of my writing is ingrained in a deep sense of grief, inexplicable and a continuous sorrowful feeling, tragedy and insurmountable sadness. I don’t know how to be any other way. Having had my share of depression, having had my troubles with leaving my room for days, having had all of those things you don’t talk about once they’re in the past. I still feel like sorrow lingers long after the reasons for it are reconciled with. It lurks in the corners of the smile you fake when you get asked if you’re doing okay on a completely disorienting day. It scrambles and settles inside the pockets of a jacket you wore too much but couldn’t get rid of. It reappears in the late hours of a party when you’re too tired to keep up with people and all you wish for is to leave, to have simply not been there to begin with. But that’s something for everyone every once in a while and that doesn’t make me a writer.

The stories I love most and even the books I cherish to an obsessive level are all rooted in layers of tragedy and loss. I feel like grief is so goddamn beautiful and to find words fit to describe it is an art that few possess. But for some reason, every person between 20-35 years of age in the 21st century who has access to a keyboard and knows how to type is a writer. Being a writer is the simplest thing in the world from what I’m seeing. Nothing says it better than the words “Writer” in your Instagram bio. Followed by a link to your Tumblr. Tell me it gets any easier than that and I will cry.

So I shy away from the part where I ought to be describing myself as a writer because maybe I’m not. Maybe I have urges to pen down stuff and maybe it’s my safe place and maybe as Didion once wrote that I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking about and what I fear. I battle these thoughts and I feel that self-esteem as a writer is more difficult to attain than I hoped. I envy the people who confidently dish out the part where they freelance and are able to pay monthly rent for luxurious apartments and buy extra-large coffees with bagels and other side dishes every morning. I never question my writing. But I often question the label and what it entails. I don’t know how to separate one from the other. Is there a point where you suddenly go from not being a writer to being one? For the life of me, ever since I started reading I’ve wanted to write. Ever since I realized I could write sentences I wanted longer sentences and perfect sentences and I wanted many of them, lined up one after the other. Because when I sit down to write and when I talk about my blog with someone, it’s just so much easier saying I am my writing and honestly I couldn’t elaborate even if I wanted about there being any distinction between the two.

 

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Let’s (Not) Hang Out, Please?

There are hundreds of reasons why a person may not want to hang out with you. That being said, there are another hundred reasons behind those reasons why a person may actually not want to hang out with you. Here is a key I’ve developed for deciphering those confusing responses you get when you ask someone, “Hey, want to catch up over coffee later? We could totally hang out, you know!”

See, well that’s the problem. I remember back when I was younger and there was no Instagram and smartphone addiction, ‘hanging out’ was The Coolest Thing you could do with your time. Hell, if you weren’t out there, having a crazy time with your BFFs, you seriously needed to scrutinize why. WHY AREN’T YOU HAVING FUN! No seriously, why not? What is so important that you can’t get out and spend an entire day, doing absolutely pointless things which lead to funny stories you can reminisce about later in front of others? At least that was how things worked back in the 90’s. You asked someone if they were free after school or on the weekend and they said yes and that would culminate into something fun, platonic, stress-free and well…fun.

Things aren’t so simple now. There are people who are very much involved in the hanging out scenes and there are those who are simply not. When you ask someone if they’re free later to hang out and they tell you that they will let you know, chances are they are never going to be free. Period. You have to pick up the pieces of hope you pinned up on that friendship and move the hell on. Also, if I’m not wrong, this person will most likely be doing this to you…All.The.Time. Unfair as it is, it seems as though you’re continuously asking for something which they possess but will not part with, i.e., their time.

Let’s dig deeper now, shall we?

You ask someone if they’re free later to hang out and they tell you that they will let you know. Have you considered that probably they might not be free later? By giving you a diplomatic yet hopeful response they’re also leaving sufficient room for uncertainty, for disappointment. Next time when you hear that response do brace your heart, love.

Sometimes, and most of the times, people do not like to hang out. It’s entirely possible that they’ve thrown themselves into their studies and careers and just cannot afford to take a break. Also, they wouldn’t want to trade their few hours of spare time in a week where they burn the midnight oil just to make some quality time for themselves, later. When and if you ask such a person out for coffee, it’s not their fault if they say an outright, “no, I’m busy.” Truth is, they are busy and do not find you worthy enough to devote the last few hours of an hourglass that they’re constantly racing against.

I also know people who are very enthusiastic about being asked to spend time with. They anticipate it with a renewed sense of excitement and slight trepidation. I admire such people because I’m not one of them and from where I see it; it’s quite difficult and exhausting. They know that it’s going to be a new experience and they are well aware how things can sometimes go south. But they fly at the opportunity, anyway.

One of two things can happen, when you go out with said, enthusiastic person. You can either have the exact conversation you’ve replayed to perfection in your head while in the shower or (and that’s a big ‘oooorrrr’), you will want to fake a cardiac just to get yourself out of the torture of sitting across them for another few hours, arms crossed, tapping foot, while they’re too busy sliding their thumb over their Facebook feed. It’s a clear sign when a person cannot stay away from their phone for at least 15 minutes that they want out. Pick up on That Sign and let them go. Tell them that they’re dreadful conversationalists and that you did not want to waste your precious time and money over a coffee that you sip while staring at them, staring at their smartphone. It is by all means unacceptable and someone needs to put their foot down, already.

I read somewhere that the less commitments that you have in your life means lesser the compromise, and in this environment you can get a lot done. This works because I know a friend who was extremely social but got grounded for a stretch of many months and didn’t know what to do with all his free time. He was stumped later by how much he could get done on his own. Of course, he’s back to his old ways now, more or less. But you get the point, don’t you? I’ve been termed as a ‘hermit’ and also someone who is “anti-social” (seriously, get your vocabulary checked when you use that term in this context), and I know that we all need human interactions even though I’d much rather stay home because well, it’s free and I have broadband internet and a refrigerator. Maybe you could try other ways, like Google Hang Outs and Esc(ape) with the excuse of a poor connection (works every time!) Or (the small, happy ‘or’ indicating hope and possibility) appease me with your stellar wit and beautiful mind from across thousands of miles and for a change make me want to ask you out for coffee, later, maybe?

Stories We Tell Ourselves

image(3)A late night conversation in bed with your best friend makes you realize a thing or two. You know that you both have crossed a line. A line has been crossed. The territory of your thoughts you don’t let anyone ever see. Stories have been shared. Repressed emotions, released. Maybe you’re a sap, or you’re like me; a sap about selective things.

You figure out that there are Stories you’ve been telling yourself since you could remember faces and read the time. These are Stories that inhabit your very existence. You’re going to be dead a century later and with you the realm of your Stories shall end too. Neatly-wrapped Stories. Neatly wrapped Stories of passion and promise.

We’re all storytellers. Some of us simply possess a better imagination. Stories that we tell ourselves when we’re in the car, sitting idly in the middle of a traffic jam. Stories that we tell ourselves in the shower and at the dentist’s while staring at the fish tank. Stories that we’ve brewed along with our coffee. Stories we always knew and never fully understood.

Stories are interesting narratives. Have you ever wondered what it is about a particular Story that charms you? I would believe it to be the familiarity. It’s the stories that we’ve known all our lives. The safety, the caution, the sorrow and the hope that an unfamiliar story cannot, would not achieve.

What do you tell someone who asks you to write a Story that never happened? Or a Story you wish had never happened. You can be a smart mouth and tell them that they’re both overlapping most of the time. Remember back when you were always trying so hard. There was a face and you needed for Words, to distort that face. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Recall the moment under your eye’s magnifying lens when you told a Story just because you didn’t want to concentrate on that face. Which Story was it? Was it the most honest and heartfelt one you’ve never shared with anyone? Was it murky and had unrealistic edges, a tapestry with holes through which selective details kept slipping through.

We like to betray the Stories that support us. We betray ourselves, too and it gets tiring but we never stop. I wonder why people hold back so much. I wonder why we hold back at all and then complain that life’s never going to satisfy our innermost Stories. I’ll tell you what. We’re afraid that the Stories in our heads won’t coincide with The Story Of Our Life. The ones we sewed up in the velvet of the night. The ones that were invariably tarnished by dawn.