February 3, 2018

Musings: The Storms In Your Head

For as long as I can remember I have never been good at talking about my feelings. But I have been pretty damn great at writing my heart out. My sister always said that it would do me a world of good to date people who were a little unlike me. She said that if both of us would write – it wouldn’t really help either of us much in the end.

She’s been right about a lot of things. But she was wrong about this one. You see, it doesn’t matter whether a person likes writing or doesn’t like writing. You become an annoying nuisance if you keep running off into the arms of poetry and hide behind a veil of words every time the world remotely hurts you. Yet you cower in the shadows and wonder if they would come and join you, talk to you, take your hand and lead you back into the world. Or if they would ignore everything and just wait for you to show up when they expect you to!

Every fight inspires you to write. Every heart ache births yet another verse. And sometimes you stop talking in the middle of a sentence because a new story has taken its root in your head. But the person standing next you, the one at the receiving end of your tirade of tales and your endless messages gets tired, gets frustrated and itches to let go of your hand. You turn to them with eyes shining with hope and recognize something that wasn’t there before. They are looking at you with pity. They are looking at you the way one would look at you before delivering really bad news.

You’ve already had enough though. You’ve had enough of people unable to keep up with the storms in your head. People accusing you of living in a land made of fairy tale Princes and dragons, and maybe just a touch of magic. Before they can tell you that things might not be okay between us – you violently push them away. Tell them that you don’t think they understand your world. They breathe a sigh of relief. Wear a mask that almost looks sincerely sorry but run away from you the next second.

No one can keep up with the words raging inside of your head. No one realizes that sometimes the only way to deal with anxieties is to pen them down. That ignored text messages don’t always mean they’re busy. But sends across a message that you have been bothering them, and that was when you started plotting your escape. That was when you decided the first chance you get you would walk away.

You have always been great at knowing when to run. You have always known how to protect your heart. The only time you decided to let your guard down, decided that the odds could be in your favour, decided that it could last – they let go off your hand in the dark. And you stood there groping the dark, angrily blinking away the tears before letting the words come coursing through your head and you wrote and wrote and wrote until you felt better again.

People say writers exaggerate. That we use almost everything as an excuse to fuel our writing but here’s a little secret I will let you in on. We write because we have been hurt far too many times. We write to accept things we have no idea how to deal with. We write because not writing would make us go completely insane. And every time our heart breaks, we write because we need to feel something again.

A side note for the next person who falls in love with you, who wants to date you or who even wants to see where it goes – be okay with waking up to endless texts. Be okay with finding emails in your inbox, and if you’re lucky you would even find handwritten notes strewn across your life. Please don’t stop writing just because the other person doesn’t like their life littered with letters. Wait for the person who would be thrilled to wake up to your words, who would kiss you good morning and tell you for the thousandth time that was a sweet note.

Because everything that you write is very much a part of who you are. If they reject your writing, please remember they’re actually rejecting you. Please continue writing your heart out. Because that is who you are – don’t ever think about changing!

January 24, 2018

Poem: Thought Spiral

Don't think so much.
Just be in this moment, isn't it pretty?
But I'm still looking at you.
Wondering how to tell you...
That I don't know how to stop thinking.
One little word can inflict so much of cruelty.
The cruelest things are often what we say to ourselves.
When everyone has left. When the light has been switched off.
When you're engulfed in the darkness,
That's when you need to remember
That you deserve kindness.
That you need to be kind to yourself.
It won't matter if they tell you over
And over again,
About how beautiful you are.
It won't matter if they tell you,
That you're truly blessed.
It won't matter that I'm lying next to you,
If I keep lying to myself.
I'm trying not to think so much.
Believe me. I've tried. I've tried.
Holding my breath.
Counting one to ten backwards.
Thinking happy thoughts.
Sometimes nothing works.
And I listen to the whisper, growing...
Until it nearly deafens me.
Buries me. And I can't breathe.

Are you still going to ask me to smile?
Be in the moment. Just enjoy life.
Even though you know I'm getting buried
Under the silent screams in my head.
Even though you know there's nothing left unsaid.
Some nights, maybe you should let my heartbreak.
Maybe you should let me make my mistakes.

Because I know when morning comes and I reach for you,
You’re going to shrug your shoulders and ask me -
“Do we need to talk every single day?”
And that’s when anything that I ever wanted to tell you dies on my lips.
Because what good is being with a boy who just wants to kiss,
But doesn’t want to know what still keeps you awake at night?
Who doesn’t seem to understand that to you silences are scary?
Maybe certain insecurities run too deep for you’ve been hurt before.
You think the only way to protect your heart now is by never letting anyone in.

You soon begin to pull away,
Stop doing the things you once thought you should.
You stop telling them things that matter to you.
You stop texting them because not everyone wants to wake up
To a good morning message burning brightly on their phones!
And you begin to realize that not everyone you love
Will love you. 

So you lie back down, and this time you don’t stop the thoughts
Spiraling from every single direction.
You repeat every unkind word you’ve ever heard,
Tell yourself you’re unworthy of love.
That there will never be another person who understands you.
That you need to give up. You need to change.
Because the way you are right now – no one wants you like that.

You switch off your phone,
Listen to the music that once played when
You were lying next to each other.
You’re one with the moment.
But your thoughts have completely taken over.
I’ve tried telling you what goes on in my head,
But I don’t think you ever hear me.
And that’s okay. Because I don’t think I want you to.

January 5, 2018

Event: Books over Chai - A Thank You Note

I have been meaning to write this blog post for the longest time. In fact, I wanted to write the blog post right after the very first successful Books, Monsoon and Chai meet. The rain had played a spoilsport and made a lot of people miss that event. But it had been my favourite. Don’t ask me why. Because I wouldn’t be able to tell you or give you an answer that is satisfactory enough!

This was Pradipta’s idea. She had lived in Delhi for two years and she wanted to create an event that involved books. Back in 2016, she and another friend had conducted the first ever book event. Back then, it wasn’t called Books over Chai.

When she moved back to Kolkata in early 2017 she shared that she would like to take up hosting the event again. And because I was working in a job that involved me deeply in the world of books and literature, I agreed to help her. I cannot tell you exactly when the helping turned into collaborating with her fulltime on the project. Because even though Books over Chai is her brainchild, I feel just as responsible for it and just as proud of the events we have successfully conducted so far.

I am the poster child of an introvert – with books and cats and notebooks for company. This event, I have personally felt, is a place where people are allowed to be themselves without any apologies. I have found people who I know to be introverts become okay with speaking and voicing their opinions. While they have sought the comfort of hiding behind their books, I love how Books over Chai gives them just enough encouragement to raise their heads a little and tell you what they think – of both books and this world.

In all the meets that have happened till date, I have found myself very systematically sticking to my Young Adult novels. Though I barely meet people who share the same enthusiasm for this particular genre. At the same time, I constantly meet people who read books of different genres, and I learn about books and characters I would have perhaps never come cross!

So if you happen to be in Kolkata, please do come to the next meet. I cannot guarantee that you’ll absolutely love it. But I can promise you good conversations about books, authors, stories and characters over cups of piping hot chai!

Initially this meet was held at The Chaiwala. We moved the location to Purple Cat Studios at Dipanwita Apartments from December. We sincerely hope that this location remains constant over the many, many more sessions to come.

Pradipta and I are both humbled and proud of how far we have come with Books over Chai. Do help us take this beautiful journey forward! Ping either of us if you happen to have any queries regarding this. And follow our Facebook Page - Book Lovers and Readers - for more updates!