Matheran: Abandoned Homes- A Testimony to Time

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Sometimes when I travel, there a certain moments when I have an amazing experience that is hard to describe. I come across certain things that make me feel a lot of emotions without any rational reason. These experiences are not something that I can portray while recounting the stories about my trips with my friends, but are secret memories that are recalled every so often in the privacy of my thoughts.

During my trip to Matheran, I experienced one of those moments when I was hiking with my travel partner, with no objective of getting anywhere, but just exploring the areas beyond the points where the paths ended. We came across two or three abandoned houses. It looked like these houses were abandoned a long, long time ago. These homes looked loving and comforting, from whatever was left of them, but they weren’t cared for; there was an air of melancholy around them. These bungalows weren’t creepy like most abandoned places are doomed to be. They felt sincere, resilient and that had they been given a chance, they would be a doting home to a happy family.

If you would let your imagination run free, you could almost see kids running around in a large front yard, wearing bright raincoats and wellington boots, building mountains and digging wells in the wet mud. You could picture the parents sitting on the beautifully tiled front porch, drinking hot tea and watching over the kids. You could almost hear the calming music drifting from inside as it floats through the cold, moist air. With nothing but trees and clouds around, nobody disturbs the dream that this, now broken down, home lets you live in. 

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To some these houses are just walls covered in moss; or maybe even an eyesore in a picturesque wilderness; they could be perceived as a consequence of the hardships of inconvenience because maintenance in a no-vehicle ecosystem is hard. To me, these houses stand as a testimony to time- houses that have perhaps known love and lost, lived through centuries. They are now destined to wear out and be forgotten, except in the minds of the few who will still choose to see them through the eyes of a dream.  

 

Here Comes The Rain

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The rains bring with them, a whole new plethora of emotions. I love the sound of rains as they wrestle with the winds, falling on the living and unbreathing alike. Grey clouds make me feel cozy, feeling like a soft, fluffy blanket covering the skies. The thunderstorms sound like somebody airing that enormous thick grey blanket vehemently, trying to even it out over the unending skies.

The monsoons are sort of like the character Sadness in the movie Inside Out. You don’t appreciate her in the beginning and you think she is an unnecessary phenomenon who’s only capable of ruining things. But later, you realize the power she possesses. Sadness is, sometimes, the only one with the ability to save you. You learn that without her, Joy is incomplete. The rains are like her. Without the gloomy and wet weather, there is nothing endearing about sunshine. And without it there are no rainbows.

There is something mysteriously redeeming about the rains. All the dirt and adulteration seems to get washed away. It makes the world feel real. The green of the leaves, the colours of the flowers, the smells of the earth, they all come alive. And you can feel it too. They make you feel things without reason- sadness, joy, love, loneliness and more.

The rains, they make you feel real.

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By The Sea

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Our lives are full of commotion and chaos. We walk among the weak and tired. We feel the frustration as the winds of uncertainty constantly blow in and out of our lives. We hold on to the hope and the gratification we get in the little joys of life. We live, not survive, everyday.

I pride myself on being armed to deal with it all, all on my own. I like to stop for a while, in the silence of the night and be still. We have so much to think about, so much to deal with. We hoard so many emotions, so many questions in our heads, we need a time-out. I tend to sit by the sea and stare at the waters- sometimes turbulent, sometimes calm. That’s when I drown out the noise of the mundane world that exists behind me. In that moment, I have nothing to do with that world brimming with injustice and dirt; in that moment, I exist alone with the vast waters in front of me. The moon, the stars and all that exists beyond, is mine. The sound of the waves and the winds that carry them, is the melody that helps me unwind.

In that instance, that quiet time, I converse with the One above. How did I fare today? Did I do Him proud? Did I matter today? Did I stand out by being honest and fair? I unburden all that I hold against the world and learn to be a better person tomorrow. I reaffirm my faith in the good and promise to keep the hope, never to let it go.

These nights are the best part of my day. While others engage with one another at the sea-front, I form a bubble around me, even if for a little while. Till I turn around and face the world again.

What Caring Feels Like

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Not too long ago my mother was severely sick and admitted in the hospital. She had to undergo a surgery. At the time, my relationship with her was strained to say the least, but you classify these issues as trivial in times of sickness. I was concerned about her, I wished she would return home healthy and in full swing. But I couldn’t go visit her in the hospital, and I know she still holds that against me. Those nude walls and the smell of disinfectants make me uneasy. When I look at a sleeping patient’s face, my brain tells me very masochistically, “This is what they would look like when they’re dead.” My mother’s all well now.

Recently, a very dear friend was admitted in a hospital, it was sudden. I went to visit him despite my aversion. I just wanted to see his face. I wanted to be brave. When I entered the ICU, he was under anesthesia, his condition critical. I called out his name. He didn’t wake up, didn’t respond. My mind started spurting disturbing thoughts. I tried to quieten them. The doctors asked me to shake him and try to wake him up. I couldn’t. I was afraid of the silence reinforcing that dreaded thought.

The next day he was awake. We spoke for a while. He looked better. But I couldn’t shake this ill feeling inside of me.

It is hard for me to get attached to people. But sometimes, some people happen to walk right through those walls. Hard times teach you lessons that you won’t learn otherwise. And sometimes these lessons are perceptions about yourself. Maybe those ‘ill feelings’ are these realizations- teaching me what it’s like to truly care about somebody.

Logical Fool

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I have been having certain conversations with friends recently and my idea of how people reason is slowly being broken. Being a logical person, I assumed that most people think logically. I thought that emotional people, although I acknowledge their existence, are few in number. This might not be true, I’m learning. When I talk to these friends, they tell me about the problems they are facing in their lives, mostly relationship-wise. I tell them what I would do if I faced the problems they do. I tell them I would use my brains. The strange thing is that they agree with my version of the solution as being the right thing to do, but eventually, they can’t help but take decisions influenced by their emotions. And that annoys me. I think, ‘Why can’t they think rationally and stop being such emotional fools?’ (I love them, of course).

I don’t discredit emotions at all. They are a big part of defining us as human beings. We are only persuaded by logic but most of our decisions are based on emotions, consciously or sub-consciously. Logic tells us the reality but we act on our emotions. The logical thing to do at a friend’s party would be to greet people; how we extend that greeting- do we shake hands? Hug?- depends on our level of intimacy with the person. Emotions influence a lot of our decisions everyday, we don’t even realize it.

With that said, when it comes to problems, I believe that emotions should take to the back-burner. Emotions are temporary, the decisions you make in the moment of emotional weakness can leave you with a lot of questions and maybe even regret. On the other hand, there is no weakness in rationality. As a human I have emotional responses to everything too, but as a rational person, I know when to push it aside. That is what it means to be logical- knowing when to let your emotions guide you and having the power to know when to not.
I’m a minority, I’m aware.

Of Death

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It is evident from my timeline that I haven’t written in a while. It is not a lack of inspiration that kept me away, but the constraints of time.

As ominous as the topic of death is, I have spent some alone time pondering about it. Death is a part of life, as Mrs. Gump would say, which is why it is sometimes mentioned nonchalantly over tea breaks and such. The discussion got a little serious when everybody started picking sides of the death they would prefer.

The ideal way to die.

For most people, the answer is the same- they want to die suddenly and instantly. Preferably in an accident, or while sleeping, or both. As painlessly as possible without agony.

I fall on the other end of the spectrum. I’m not an advocate of pain, but I’d like to leave on a deathbed, surrounded by the people who truly care about me. One could call it a traditionally fairytale way to bid adieu, but who doesn’t want a happy ending? I would want to look at their faces in my last few moments. I would want to forgive and ask for forgiveness, before I’m taken away- I’d like to leave with a clean slate. I would want to tell the people I love, that I love them and how much they mean to me, one last time. I want to say my last words, with all the wisdom of my life. I want to die being content. I want to embrace death making peace with life.

Dear S

 One of my closest friends ever, let’s call her S, broke up with her boyfriend earlier this week. I have watched enough rom-coms and been the agony aunt enough times, to know how absolutely terrible break-ups can be. So I might not be able to empathize completely with all you broken-hearted, but I know what a broken heart is.

I admit I’m not the best person when it comes to comforting people. I’m like Dr. Sheldon Cooper (from The Big Bang Theory), “There there” is all I ever have. But I love S very much and it’s sad to hear her cry and to not be able to give her a hug because she lives on another continent. So, this one’s for her.

Dear S,

I’m sorry to hear about your relationship reaching such an ugly end. I remember all the times you called me to tell me about the “great guy” you met and how he’s changed your world. I remember you telling me that you were the happiest when you were with him and how special he makes you feel. I also remember the time when you told me that you were in love with him and we crooned over it. The last few calls though, have been different. I hate to hear you cry. I hate that I’m not there with you to support your decision of letting go of somebody who once meant so much to you. But you did the right thing. You were awesome in your strength to leave him. I hate him for stealing your smile from you. But I’m hopeful that your smile will return soon. Your face looks incomplete without it.

Compromising on the little things in a relationship is one thing, the vanishing of the trust that held you two together through the thick and thin, is another. A partner should be a rock for you to lean on in times of trouble, and not be the trouble. He should preserve you from harm, not make you feel unsafe. He should be bold enough to take a stand, stand by you, and not ridicule your insecurities. He should make you laugh, not leave you to cry alone; tell you that you’re worthy of all love and happiness, not make you feel worthless.

 I believe everything happens for a reason. You may not see this now, but I know that this relationship has made you more assertive. It has given you the courage to stand up to all the people who take you for granted. You have learnt to not give-in. You have learnt to push back when you’re being wronged. So, don’t think that you have wasted your life, because you haven’t. You were brave when you were in this relationship. You fought for your future and your happiness. And that kind of bravery is bigger than this person. So, keep fighting that fight, never stop.

And I know that one day you’ll be brave enough to fall in love again, just like the last time [= . In the meantime, you have me rooting for you.

Love, hugs and sloppy kisses
Me

P.s. Here’s a smile to get you started-

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