The Cost of a Smile

Talking about attitude, everyone should have her own share. I am not talking about the mere cognition of being you. The context is something way more aggressive. It's about the lack of any motivation to alter oneself. To believe in and worship inertia of the self.

I walk around with a poker face. You actually have to sit across a table with me, crack a ridiculous joke or two to see me smile. If you march further on polishing your sense of humor you would see me laugh. Or sometimes roar and fall of the chair. But then you wouldn't do any of that. You have no vested interests, do you. So I am never seen laughing and perceived as depressed. Or someone who walks around with a lot of attitude. I walk around with a poker face.

The slight idea of me having an attitude of any sort will make my friends laugh their bellies out. The perception of me so diamatrically opposite in my inner cirlce of friends and amongst the distant others. I am taken as some sort of a silly lost and easy going female amongst the former. I am anything but these amongst the latter I am afraid.

This realisation has been haunting me to the extent of troubling me sometimes. It's not just about me being denied a friend circle with a larger radius. It's also about the tens of people who never got the idea of what I really am. It's like denying each other a certain privilege you know. It sounds like unhealthy boasting, but grant me the liberty here. The poker face hides a lot within. When I finally talked to someone who I could have talked to long ago, I was told it's a shame we didn't converse before. But then what can we do. What can we do. With the poker face.

I do not know how to smile without a reason. Just keep that pasted on your face all the time and keep shining it at every Tom-Dick that passes by. As simple as it sounds, I just cannot do it. I mean it's a problem to an extent of being clinical. Sometimes I don't understand why I price a mere smile so much. May be I am afraid of smiling. I am afraid that it might stretch to something beyond a smile, may be a conversation between the eyes. And things would be told and taken. I do not want that to happen. I do not want to add uneccesary acquaintances. Sometimes not even the necessary ones. If that has to happen at the cost of a smile, I wouldn't even move a leg.

People ask me to change. I am told, regularly, sometimes even warned to alter my demeanour. I get to hear stories of how peoples' lives changed after they learned the art of smiling. How they get more loved, how they become more popular. More successful. Happyer. And more than anything, how they get smiled back at.

Sometimes the proposition sounds too tempting to deny oneself of. But mostly I gruntle, what the heck! It's not worth it if it comes at the cost of a smile I say.

The only time when I am reminded I can still feel, anticipate, crave is when I walk across the road and expect to meet you coming from the other end. Lanky and grinning.

Else I am sternly indifferent, numb, uncaring, emotionally paralyzed.

I do not hate or love this state I am in. Though it's both better and worse than what I have been in. Because I have leaped over the zeniths of ecstasy when in love with you. I have also decayed in the filth of being lovelorn when you broke my heart. And I believe this state of being nowhere, being in between the two is much better than being tortured by such extremes. But sometimes it seems worse, because what is living worth if it is not for reaching these extremes and crossing them blindly for the beyond.

Also there is this constant awareness of a mammoth of suppressed sorrow within myself. The fear is that it still lives by the possibility of an eruption, a sudden one, anywhere, anytime. Things go out of my hands then. Now probably is one such time.

Switching between numbness and breakdowns, sometimes I experience this anticipation, this craving. This intermediate phase is independent of the past and the present. It's unaware of what has happened between us. It doesn't know a thing. And it waits, like crazy, to meet you walking down from the other end of the road. Lanky and grinning.

This sometimes happens in a horrible 10 o'clock traffic jam too. I roll down the glass and wish you were just there. There in the next cab. Or when I am picking up groceries from the supermarket, to meet you in the next aisle, doing the same. The will is so strong, so strong that sometimes I almost see you there. There, right in front of me.

Expecting coincidences, I move in and out of consciousness so fast, that I forget I am crossing a busy highway, I could just get hit by a car and die. But my numbness doesn't let me feel any difference between being alive and being dead. It doesn't.

It's very scary you know, that moment of not being able to realize the difference between life and death. And that's when I fall back and into an abyss. Exactly. 
I stare as she walks on the cobbled street. Deeper into the old city. There are crumbling houses to her both sides. And ancient trees, the ones whose ever widening trunks must have witnessed with unmoved patience, centuries pass by. I wonder have they any memory.

She walks clutching a bag under her arm, tightly lest it slip. It must have some money. Her month's salary. Some stray rubber bands. In case the one in her hair broke. In case she tried knotting the broken band and that didn't work out. It may have torn pieces of paper, with some random phone numbers written on them. Some with names, some without. Because in a hurry, while jotting them down she may have assumed she would remember who they belonged to. Does it have a comb? I wonder not. She doesn't seem to be like one who carries her makeup along.

The sun was going down the sky line. The horizon in the old city is made of what? Broken buildings, a canopy of trees, numerous temples. Temples, with stones smeared with vermilion, and flowers of hibiscus and moonbeam knotted about a thread and tied about the deities. And tiny lamps glistening away against the growing darkness. Sometimes fighting to delay the arrival of night, sometimes kneeling before the subtle breeze, easily giving in.

She walks through streets such. Takes random turns, I couldn't predict. The path getting narrower with every turn. Old women with decayed teeth, sitting on verandas on both sides, chatting and screaming for grandchildren to come home. Sit by the kerosene lamps and open their books before sleep came and took them away.

She walks by ponds, with orange rays of the sun reflecting on the water. Men taking an evening dip, before they called it a day or went to a temple to murmur a hymn or two. She walks by as women wrapped in crisp saris, did rounds about the tulsi shrub in their courtyards, the younger ones covered shyly from neck to toe, the older ones more uncaring, revealing half their bellies and sides of their bosom.

I stare and wait, until she walks into a house that's hers. Turns on the bulb in the entrance room, filling it with dull light. Asks an ailing mother how she has been all day. In her shrill voice that makes it through the earthen walls. Washes herself near the well in her courtyard, the steel bucket making sonorous noises as it makes its way up from the bottom of still secret waters. Changes into a washed sari to light a lamp before her tulsi shrub. Late, but nevertheless.

In Search of Absolut.

I create reality.

I am always running away. I use various vehicles for my mind to be carried away. Into the unknown. Where in existence is a lesser challenge. Where life is less daunting a task. I run away from the loss that I have incurred in the so called process of living.

I am sometimes chased away from reality by a certain fear. A fear that warns to cease my existence lest I ran. It's an anxiety that gives me wild thoughts, fleeting thoughts that are too nascent to be captured. So with a heavy heart, in which I do not know what I carry, I run. Away.

The vehicles I was talking about. Sometimes I drug myself. A very tangible drug. That runs through my body and mind and incapacitates them from touching reality. However with time I feel the need to switch to a more legal form of intoxication. I try reading. I tell myself fiction could heal. I lose myself in the nuances of the characters. Sometimes that too runs out on me. I try being alone. Solitude, ironically could work for the strong willed. Because staying by yourself could help you accept what is, the reality. And acceptance heals.

Beyond all this self inflicted narcissism and random people telling me that they love reading me, I use writing as a therapy above all. Unfortunately, there are times when writing doesn't unload the mind either.  I have been encircling the same idea for half a decade now that everything that I want to write down, feels passe. Passe to me. In that helplessness, I have not another way but to look at reality. The one I am trying to elude.

And try to doubt its existence. I try to doubt reality's existence. Ain't I creating this reality. That I live inside my mind.

I create reality. I have created my past, as it appears to me now, and as it has suited me to. I have bundled up unbearable memories in black boxes and thrown them into a hungry ocean. Sometimes like a message in the bottle when I am sent inklings of a hidden history, I am scared beyond repair. I have forgotten many many happy times, I have erased the significant as well as the insignificant.

I realize how my mind plays these games. I realize I create this present too.

What is reality. What is illusion. Was there a line between them ever. What is absolute and what is not.

And am I writing this. For real?


You know not all stories of your life. You're lied to more often than you know. What happens to you is governed mostly by strangers. Some of these strangers are absolute strangers. Their whims that precipitate consequences in your life can still be justified because, at least they were impersonal.

But there is another kind of stranger. The one you knew all the way. The one you thought you knew all the way. Only you didn't.

The stranger who stood a skin's breadth from your heart and cheated on you.

The stranger who didn't deserve to be a part of your life. Only he was. He wrote your destiny, cutting across the lines on your palm. Rewriting your life, turning it tipsy. Breaking your heart irreversibly.

And be ashamed, you let him. Given another chance, you will let him do it again. Bitch.

Trading Dreams

They sat beside each other, in a room dumped with books. Books here and there and everywhere. Piles of them. Some torn, some yellowed. Their covers falling off, she was tired of stacking them one above the other. A slight imbalance would make the whole stack come down like a humpty dumpty and she would gasp and begin all over again. There was a kind of warmth in the room. A warmth that had nothing to do with the late summer afternoon outside.

It was because of the  presence in the room, because of his arm touching hers. No hair stood up, no one got goosebumps. That proximity, that lack of distance, brought about a peace that was rare. All noise as if had gone off to snooze. It was a summer afternoon with books and scarce conversations.

He was typing away, something. She felt no quest to see what that was about. He would tell her most of his stories, the rest she knew. He assumed. They had known each other a few months. But it felt like much less than that, there was always that freshness, that expectation of unlocking a few more secrets about the other.

Sometimes it felt longer. Mostly she had to strain her memory to recollect how she had already lived a third of her life, alone. That would be the most unusual thing however. Company makes you forget what you are for real, under your skin. Only austere loneliness makes known the inner person.

Togetherness, on the other hand conspires sharing. Even of those fleeting dreams we secretly nurture. Away from destiny's prying eyes.

'I want to be in a city that is all of water.'

'Shouldn't you learn to swim?' he laughed.

She continued as if he hadn't said a thing.

'No streets, and you move from one house to another and even shop using a boat.'

'Isn't your wish to perennially float in thought converting into this one?'  

'You know I have a complicated right brain, very very mysterious.'

A prolonged silence followed. She leaned on his shoulder, breathed in sighs at times. Toyed with his nails, put her fingers between his. They clasped.

'I only want to write.'

There was a pause, like he would continue to explain his dream. But that pause stretched into a lull. Her expectation of a continuance died after a while. 

They didn't turn and look into each other. They be that way, she leaning on his shoulder. Nothingness prevailed. A moment froze.

Years later, years that seemed like longer than they were, she was glancing through his pictures of Venice. His broad glad smile, and water. Everywhere. No land, no ground realities to struggle against. Afloat forever.

And she was hung in the middle of writing her maiden story. Looking for words, sketching a character.

Love makes us like each other. Conspires sharing like said. And sometimes it makes us part to live each others' dreams.

An Unsaid Promise.

The problem is, words cannot capture the beauty of an unsaid promise, in its entirety. They say, we love someone because we see in them a promise of perennial happyness. And all prowess fails to encapsulate the beauty of that promise.

A 'happily ever after' might not exist for real, but it's the hope of that which drives the most of us.

Sometimes terse conveys better than verbose. And sometimes silence conveys it best.

But just in case silence rips my heart open, let me try to capture a few of those emotions before they run for cover.

The problem is when an unsaid promise is broken, there's no one you can sue.  You have no proof, sometimes you doubt your own intelligence for having been exploited by wishful illusion a bit too much. Were those promises ever even hinted? Or did you assume them, at your own risk?

You know there's absolutely no point, looking back and sobbing, but there's nothing else easier to indulge in than that. Or more emotionally affordable.

And sometimes even the promise itself isn't clear enough. You cannot draw a line between what was intended and what was not. So when it's broken, you have no idea what exactly was taken away from you. What a torture. Almost all escapes go hazy.

An unsaid promise when broken, breaks your heart. May god in the heavens, bless those broken and hasten their recovery if possible, lest numb them etc.

Terse as I said, Period.


I dreamt I got those khaki dungaree skirts. I mean I haven't ever seen them in real life. But as a kid, I loved dungaree shorts, and recently I saw someone in a pretty khaki skirt. So may be they are all mixed up inside my head and I dreamt of what I dreamt of. I took the thing off a mannequin, I have gotta thing for mannequins I guess. I am a trifle envious of them. They're all so perfect, sans love handles and faceless. And faceless, that's the best part. So the mannequin wore a wheatish top along with that skirt. I can't recall why I dint get that top too along with the skirt. Must have been outta my budget. Lo, I am scared of being penniless even in my dreams. Or worse, I can't recall what could have happened inside the trial room. That top must have been tough to get into and tougher to get out of. My dream ended when I was trying my red T on that skirt, I wasn't looking as good as the mannequin. I never do.

Also, I saw this movie in which a dying mother tells her son that they would meet in their dreams even long after she's gone. And that kid believes it too. That moment I felt some kind of a pity and wondered if I we actually dream of things we want to happen in real life. The following night I dreamt of meeting him. I seriously did. He was sleeping on my bed. Imagine, my bed! Somebody got him home. I can't recall who could that be. Must have been the ghost of cupid. And I just woke him up, in my dream and talked. And we talked the whole matter away. Our egos looked very small wrt how happy I was. It looked so easy in the dream, everything fell into place. And then I woke up, devastated. Very very sad to touch reality again. And my ego started looming, larger than life like usual.

Life, meanwhile has moved on. I realized I hadn't written from quite sometime. And as you know I am pretty compulsive when it comes to writing. I have to jerk it off my head, else it wouldn't let me sleep at night. There were quite a few things I wished to mention, but then they don't make good material anymore, or my mind has just track of things.. it's pretty good at that, as you know.. haha


Saying a word, stopping midway, dissolving into giggles, forgetting what I was saying. Singing some random song, losing track of the lyrics. Checking if what I was saying was grammatically correct. I wouldn't ever compromise with grammar. And laughing aloud for that. For no good reason. Breaking down into tears incessantly. For no good reason. Or for too many reasons that are suppressed inside, from a long long time. Hugging strangers, absolute strangers. Telling them things I never thought I would be able to say. Some surge of positive energy that must have been. Being an absolute pain in the ass for the sober people around. Begging them to listen. They complying, not having the slightest idea of what I was blabbering, but still nodding, patiently. Holding hands. Sharing stories, bubbles of guarded secrets bursting one after the other. Checking also sometimes, if I was saying things I truly truly meant. And I was. Alcohol purifies.

Sometimes, I get drunk to get over things I can't deal with. Nah, I think that's all I do it for. Goodbyes are the hard part. I can't see my hold loosening on the present, walking into an unknown future.

I can't say that all this place has given me is happyness. Rather, it has made me sad oftener than otherwise. But sometimes you get attached to a place because of the pain it has made you go through. Because sadness gets the real you out in the open. There is nothing to cloud your judgement. And the bonding that happens with the glue of sorrow, is deep. It is.

As I walk out of the campus in a few hours, I would miss the places I sat down and cried whenever I was totally depressed. The flagpost from where I stared at the sleeping Shillong on many lonely nights. The one stair on the flight of stairs I sat down on and chatted sometimes with friends, sometimes with myself. I would miss sitting on my bed and not opening the window, because the world outside reminded me of things I despised.

Sad memory outlasts good memory.

I am this mixed bag of emotions now, trying to avoid feeling altogether. But it's true, the people I have met here, I am not going to meet anyplace else. Though I try to avoid using the word, I defy myself for the lack of a better word, it was Awesome! The connections I have made, are not replicable, the way in which I have understood people and the way I have been understood, bit by bit, I am grateful to destiny for having me brought here. For that one decision I took, to join this institute two years ago.

No amount of writing would suffice, so I wouldn't even try. I just know, where my words fail and my heart takes over. There is no suitable parting phrase I could think of. And trust me, I have been trying, trying to sum it up. But have, fortunately failed.

I hate writing about my life for real, I love being lost, as they say, in fiction and illusion and imagination. But lo, I just wrote one..

And I am bad at saying things, but I compensate that enough by writing I guess. And so I write, I am really going to miss you all!

Signing off,
wildflower @ Awesome66! :) 


Sometimes the whole world is not enough. Sometimes all I want is you. Everything else stops pretending to be a substitute. The struggle pauses, takes a breath. Reality bites. Nothing consoles. Tears ooze. Sometimes.

Fucking sometimes. All I hear are my screams. Deathlike and hollow. Deafening and desperate. This present looms large, the future blinds. Blinds with fear. All roads shut. No escape. No escape. No escape.

Sometimes I look out of sheets of glass and forget the about everything inside. Sometimes I dissolve, literally dissolve into a being of unconsciousness. Not asking questions or seeking answers. Just moving in and out of tunnels of randomness, deeply involved.

Sometimes I ask myself why I can't feel. I try to sheer off my layers of immunity. Inculcate envy, from the ones who live. But I cannot. Numbness is the preferred alternative, no matter what.

Lately, I think my writing has lost its honesty, a lot. Feels so. There are numerous numerous incomplete drafts. Sometimes I open them and read through. Each one is a stuck story. Inside my mind, they had no where to proceed. No future. All roads shut. No escape. My stories are becoming more like me.

Anxiety is killing me. I have begun to believe that both happyness and sorrow are mere chemicals in my brain. If my moods were graphs, I can see them dip and plummet, and fall into abysses. Bottomless ones. I can see kinks too, you know kinks. Short-lived, artificial kinks. Meaningless.

It's all vague. That's how it should be. Distinct lines should fade out into vague hazes. Chaos should outlast order. Inertness should out-throw senses.

Dearth hasn't killed me. Intoxication hasn't numbed me. Love hasn't broken me. Sometimes I feel they did. But apparently they didn't. Because I am still here. Writing this. For who knows who.