An effective way to get past a phase, any phase, is to let it run its course. Just bear it for a certain amount of time, instead of constantly fighting it. And the phase, will begin to feel that you are soft, mouldable, yet somewhat indestructible and it will leave you alone. So it's up to you to now decide what is a respectable amount of time you must spend bearing the said phase. Is it a week, or a month? Sometimes a phase goes on for years, to be honest. It becomes so inbuilt in your life that you cannot separate, like, draw a distinct line, which characteristics are yours, which are the phase's. In that case, perhaps, you have lost. Or the phase has. Or it's just a tie. Like in any kind of competition.

But the most wicked kind of phase is the one that keeps coming back. It never completely leaves you. First few times it catches you, you fight it. Then you bear it, then ignore it. But it keeps coming back. You simply lose out on all methods and don't know what to do anymore. It leaves you in peace for a month or two and then down a week or so you realise you got it again. It's merciless. It wrings you of all your potency. It's basically a slow but persistent process of self decay.

For instance, you remember how I baked silly cakes on every Sunday afternoon for over a year and a half. No matter how far from decent the cakes were, or how many containers I broke, or how I had no eggs left for Monday ever. Nothing could get me rid of it.

Then, do you remember smoking. Nicotine has been my closest accomplice. In many many of the acts I have participated in, it has stood by me. When everything else stood me up, I had it. So that's a phase, that keeps coming back. It keeps away the blues with its greys. It does a good job of giving me the short lived illusion that I am as calm as I could humanly be.

Then there were times when I would embroider, till my eyes hurt. I would learn new stitches and make them. And screw up old dresses with new thread. Other times, I would do origami and play around with glitter. Paper flowers with gold borders. Also I invested in real plants, like real alive plants. They were like my pets, my friends, and when they flowered, I felt like I had children. And when they died, my world came crashing down.

Then, again, do you remember lulls. I mean, I keep having these lull phases. They are like a limbo. Nothing is practically still, for the sake of all that is holy. Everything is moving and fast. I am chasing cabs, and climbing stairs and ordering groceries, doing my daily walks, talking on the phone, behaving all normal, drinking two cups of coffee at work, daily. There is this facade of normalcy. But inside, I am extremely quiet. As in there is a vacuum inside my entire body. And a mellow realisation that almost everything of value has been lost. And no amount of love, or time, or rest could even begin to help me fill myself back up. And in phases of these lulls. I would lose my mind for brief instances and scream and cry. Like really loudly, biting into pillows and stuff. So when I'm doing this, am I running the phase out, or am I fighting it with all I have got? I couldn't tell you. 


“You have gone insane, haven’t you?” She asked me from the between the curls of hair that fell on her face. 

Her irises appeared darker than before, literally like bottomless twin pools. That I could drown in and not surface from. I had doubts if I would even try to hold on to the hands of a rescuer whilst I drowned in her eyes or any other pool in general. I had begun feeling like an ascetic from the past few days.

She reiterated the question, had I gone crazy. Her words felt like wisps of air escaping her brown lips, which were otherwise tightly pursed, awaiting an affirmative answer from me. I had begun wearing sunglasses in the house to keep out the excessive day light. She pulled them out from my face and I shut my eyes into darkness.

When I opened them again, in the clear afternoon light she appeared feral. Exasperated with my muteness she stood up and began pacing up and down the room. She hadn't evolved much in the last six or seven months that I hadn't seen her. I had imagined she would be unrecognizable. But why would she even alter at all?

I told her. “You haven’t changed much. You haven’t changed at all.”

She approached my chair and placed her left palm on my right knee and sighed deeply.

“You have to move on”

“I have. I mean clearly I have”

“You have gone insane, is what you have done”

“You make it seem like I had a choice”

“Oh don’t be silly. We had talked about this. So many times, over and over again”

“Well clearly, now that you've seen the aftermath, you must conclude, I am not the one for the talking”, I said hoping she would calm down with my ridiculous retorts.

“Honestly, I don’t have time for this. I have to get back, I can’t be gone for such long. You take care and, and just get your shit together”

“Yeah sure, get my shit together I will” This was more disgusting than expected. 

“You should go.” I paused. “Because if you stayed any longer, you never know, what I might do.”

That didn't slow her gait but she turned and looked at me. “What does that even mean?”

“I’m kidding. I’m joking. You of all people should know that”

“Can we just talk for five minutes, before I leave?”

She came closer and sat on the floor, with her legs crossed, instantly persuading me to climb down from my chair.

On the floor, she held my hand in hers and began speaking in slow wisps again.

“This is the last time you’re seeing me. I am not coming back. Never again. I want you to know this.”

I stayed mum, feeling rough in my throat, having nothing to say.

She spoke again. “I want you to tell me that you know you are not going to see me again”

“You sound like you are the one that needs some convincing”

“Shut up. Do you want my husband to explain it to you, how all this works?”

The mention of him crashed me back into reality. For a stretch of the hour I had imagined she was here for my sake and my sake only.

“Say it!”

“I know, I know you’re not coming back”

“I strongly urge you get a life. Listen to me, see someone else”

“Why don’t you fix me up with one of your single friends?”

“I can’t stay involved. But there are lots of women. I am told there are some dating apps and some real nice young things. You've always been lecherous, you would know everything”

“Serious accusation alert!”

“C’mon we know each other. We don’t have to wear facades.”

I broke her off in the middle. “If we know each other, why the fuck did you even leave me? Why did you abandon me? Why did you break my heart so irreversibly?”

Before I realized, I was screaming at her. She put her hand on my mouth to quieten me I guess but nothing worked.

And the next minute she was gone.

She had vanished so neatly, it was almost as if she had never been here. That’s exactly how people go. People who have made up their minds to go, they just leave so immaculately, the one left behind often is seen trying to grab on to the air that rushed in to fill the vacuum of sudden absence.


We hadn't ever flown together. But this flight, we were taking together. So together. But we hadn't planned it much. He was an adhoc kind of man. He texted to check if I had reached the airport. I hadn't. I wasn't running late at all, in fact I was ahead of time. And he was further ahead of me. When I was in the washroom peeing, he called, where had I been? Clearly he was bored and wanted some company, even if it was mine. I calmly went about things and found him in the exact place he'd told me he'd be at. So far we were doing ok.

He looked different. Not very different. But not exactly the same either. There were strips of difference. His face had a rugged 9 am charm. He looked like a man who was about to tell me a story. Usually, he would appear extremely taciturn, always carefully choosing his words. But not this morning. He asked me if I wanted to eat. Nope, I was gonna have a brunch in the air.

Quietly, we began the endless walk in the airport, through longish isles, taking escalators down and up and then vice versa. Looking into stores, clothes and toys and other travel memorabilia that people liked to pick up at twice the price. But we just looked at and passed them non chalantly, while making mildly awkward yet conscious small talk. I kept smiling hoping that would break some of the  ice, and he responded too, not smiling as much, but a little bit here and there.

When we reached the departure gate, we had over an hour to kill, oh an hour. Why did I even have to wake up that early, I was going to have to simply strangle this extra hour to death and drink its blood. There were hardly any empty chairs. We found an empty half row in the distance. He sat down and I didn't sit on the adjacent chair, thinking that would be too close. I placed my bag in the chair in the middle and he followed suit. This proximity was bearable.

I was afraid the silence was gonna get haunting. I kept looking away as if waiting for my entourage to join me, but no one was coming. We both knew. This time, he invented chit chat topics. We got up at adequate intervals to drink water and pee. We guarded each other's stuff like obliging copassengers. Talked quite much before we boarded.

In the flight, the stewardess wore zing nail paint and her fingers looked delicious. I was gonna have to spend the two odd hours staring at them, I composed myself. He was seated next to me, but on the other side of the aisle. I noticed his shirt had tiny flowers, flowers really. I was wearing black, I cannot recall why. After we took off, we talked in signs across the aisle and sometimes bent over to hear the other person. It felt close and comforting. In an aircraft of a hundred people, a stranger who was less strange than the other ninety nine, yes it did feel sweet.

He has always been sweet, his sweetness can be utterly disarming so I had to tread on thin ice around him. I did not want to fall for him. I knew I wasn't capable of falling anymore, but I was not ready to tempt fate yet. I bought noodles. He ate a pack of nuts, but barely. He had a coffee, I had a Diet Coke.  Later, when we were above the sea, and flew over ships that appeared and disappeared between thick nimbus clouds I expected some turbulence.

Even when everything is going normal or sub normal, I have this slightly irresistible temptation to jump off. But the flight was smooth. When we landed, he waited for me by the conveyor belt since my bag, as usual, came out the last, the very ultimate fucking last, I kid you not.