Places · Prose · Stories · Weekend Coffee Share

TIHOOOO!!!!

Grandma told me a story when I was young.  She said that there was a girl taken away by wolves. The king wolf then turned out to be a young prince and they lived happily ever after…. I imagined myself being that girl and waited for the “Tiiihoooo” sound which grandma said, was made by wolves. The sound never came. The wolf didn’t show up but my obsession with the wolf story didn’t falter. The story is large enough to fill a page and I feel lazy to write it down. I have listened to this story, so many times, with so many variations, from so many grandmas. And I still wonder about it. The wolf and the girl. The night and Tihooo sound. That’s what stories do to me from childhood. I get obsessed. I get chained.

More than the story, I associate myself with my grandmas telling me this story. When my great-grandma told me this story for the first time, I had spilled hot water on my knees. This was the story that shut me up for a night. Tihoooooo… I remember imagining the sound right next to the front door of my old house….. Tihoooo and wolf and the prince. This was the first story I ever heard. And I remember each and every grandma’s version of the story. They were so happy when they told it and so full of joy as if it really happened.

Stories…. they still have the same effect on me. I believe them so blindly and I live them so faithfully. People say that I live in fictions more than I live in reality. But what if I say that fictions seem real than reality ever is? In reality I’d be learning complex cycles of amino acids and in fictions, I’d be turning them into witty magic charms and laughing at its silliness. I get all possessed by the stories. I irritate people with stories. I get into fights for stories. I have been to cities that never existed and as weird as it sounds, I love the characters, more than I’ll ever love real people. Yes I sound absurd, mad and to some people even lifeless. But to me it’s like a single world is not enough. I live in multiple universes and I rejoice every moment. And it all started with TIHOOOOOOO!

daily prompt · Odes to people I know and don't know · Prose · Stories · The Paths Travelled · Weekend Coffee Share

The Week Story (and one bad thing that happened)

There are times you forget that you are living. The only thing you realize is that you are breathing. The only thing you feel is the scorching sun burning your body and sweat plastered in your clothes that stick like rice cakes. This was one of those weeks. However, I wouldn’t say it was a bad week. I got many things done. For example: we organized Science Awareness Day in one of the schools in the community. We taught students about miracles of Science and we taught them how to extract DNA from a banana. They were an amazing bunch of students. Enthusiastic and diligent. I loved every moment of that day!

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The group photo after the program 

Bad things happened on Thursday. Someone stole my purse in the crowded Zebra Crossing. It had all my belongings and money. It would have been alright if it was just my money. But it had the money of our organization too. Total of Rs. 4000 and my ID cards and bills, all got lost in a moment. I felt devastated, scared and vulnerable. I don’t know what I would have done if Rabbu wasn’t there. Rabbu is one of my best friends. And she was there with me on Thursday. She has been there this whole week. We have been doing the official works together. She is one of the kindest souls I know and I would literally be lost if she wasn’t there. We went to the police station to file a complaint. It was overwhelming. The security cameras in the road faced the other direction, so it is kind of impossible to track the thief but they said that the lost identity cards sometimes turn up in the station. Someone brings them in eventually. I don’t know if anybody will bring mine. The whole event happened so fast. I was sad and angry. Angry at the sinful thief and angry at myself for not thinking about the safety of my purse. I wanted to cry but there was work to be done. Rabbu held my hand the whole time. We somehow managed to go through the official works. While heading to the next office, Rabbu asked me not to blame myself for things that happened, because she knew I was. She was still holding my hand and we were walking towards the bus station to catch another bus. I realized how lucky I was to have such a friend who understands so compassionately, the unsaid, invisible words and feelings. That was the moment, the anger somehow faded bit by bit. I was still sad. But sadness and anger are different. Anger is like a heavy bag you carry around your shoulder. Sadness is just sadness like happiness is just happiness.

The office was located in a silent part of the city. It was a strange place. It rained as we reached the red building full of files and old looking young people. It was as if the sun allowed the clouds to take over the sky to relieve all the heat for a moment. It was as if the sun knew that we were having a bad day. The rain made the whole place look beautiful. We had to wait for an hour but we made it through by stalking celebrities on Instagram. We were extremely hungry so we had puff with tea as we loudly wondered about how the thief was using the money. The sadness seemed to wash away with hunger. We were refreshed again and thankfully, the work for the day was done. I ended up at Rabbu’s home again and we ate and watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episode where it ends with one of Phoebe’s iconic lines “He’s her lobster!” I went home with mixed feelings.

So many things had happened in a day and I was indebted to so many people: the police-woman who wrote the complaint and was so polite and assuring; our senior who sent the required money immediately and helped us through the whole process of the work; the chartered accountant who answered each of our repeated questions; the rain and the small house across the red building that felt like a tender hug. And most importantly, Rabbu, who stood by me through everything understanding my silences and smiles. I am grateful that she is in my life. In some ways, she has always been there: as an unknown childhood neighbor to a best friend, we might have a history and lineage we don’t even know about. I do regret that I lost my belongings and money but I don’t feel hatred for the thief anymore because that one bad thing made me notice so many other good things in the world. And I am thankful for all those good things in the world.

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Tender

 

 

 

Letters and Letters · Letters to self · Weekend Coffee Share

Letters to Vi

Dear Vi,

You’ve wanted that name since forever. You always wanted an alias, a twin who would know just what you feel and who would just know what to do. You’ve been sick. Your voice is all dried up and your throat hurts. But every morning, you wake up to face the mighty sun and work for a project that you thought would work. It isn’t working that well. Maybe you aren’t working that well. Maybe you need a breather. Maybe you need…. you.

I do not understand the need of approval you have. Why do you need to be approved? You are not a visa application form. And the fact that you think too much. About your flaws, about your future, about failures and lost opportunities. You spent the whole evening being sick of all those stuffs on your head. You could have just slept because it’s the weekend but you didn’t even do that. You cleaned instead. What kind of person plays with a can of pest killer and Mr. Muscles when they are sick and hungry? How stupid are you? You didn’t even get to drink tea today. Or meet your cousins and grandparents. I think you should be awarded for the stupidest decision maker. Because that’s all you did today. You made stupid decisions.

I am very angry at you. For being sick and for being the complicated bitch you are. You push yourself a lot harder than you should sometimes. And there are days you don’t even care. Why do you have to be the queen of extremes? Why can’t you just celebrate your victories before you kick yourself a thousand times for your failures? Why can’t you just stop for a while? Why are you scared all the time?

And I am sorry for being harsh. I need you to know that as pathetic as it might seem, you should still write to yourself. You are all you’ve got. You don’t need anybody’s stamp of approval but yours. You need to be healthy first. You need to not go out on the dust for a day. You need to stay home and read. Leave all your worries for a day or two. Things will work out. I promise they will. I am sorry for everything I’ve put you through. I promise to take care of you. Let’s start with a cup of tea!

Truly yours,

Your future self.

daily prompt · Odes to people I know and don't know · Weekend Coffee Share

Scandals of Science: Passion of Love, War and Possibility

Science is notorious. It binds into every part of our being like a double helical DNA. Even when we try to avoid Science, it is always there, lurking in the corners of logic and love, Science always exists. The scandals of Science are hidden in the history we are taught. In classrooms, where half of our minds are sleeping, the scientific history is not something we take seriously. But why should we, right? Why does it matter at all? Isn’t it enough just to know the names that pop up in the quizzes and exams? Unfortunately, I had the same mind-frame. I always skipped the history and jumped into the mechanisms and the facts. I never tried to understand how these mechanisms came to be the mechanisms they were. I never tried to understand the lives of people who loved and lived Science; the people who made it their life’s mission to unravel the true secrets of life.

As notorious as Science is, it is also a story that intertwines beautifully and imperfectly where the contradictions fit and unfit to look like a giant scribble of an insolent child. The stories of the people who made the biggest contributions in science are not that big. In fact, they were normal people: dwindling in insecurities; failing and falling in anxiety; lonely and depressed. There were some who stood in top of their game; who laughed throughout the process; made life-long friends and yodeled in both their success and failure. Some were purely evil.

Mendel’s laws never escape the syllabus of biology if one is a Science student. Like all the students, I was taught how important these laws were as they governed the most essential features of gene when gene was not even discovered yet. However, nobody is ever told about Mendel’s life. How he failed exams after exams on physics, chemistry, geology, botany and zoology in the university in Vienna; how he was denied the position of a teacher in Znaim High School. He did not fail because he did not study. He failed because he was sick from anxiety. “Seized by an unconquerable timidity”, “uninspiring”, “too neurotic” , “arid, obscure and hazy” are some of the terms that have been used to describe Mendel by his colleagues and examiners. Despite all of this, Mendel was an excellent gardener. Siddhartha Mukharjee, the writer of an amazing book called “The Gene- An Intimate History” writes, “Mendel’s life seemed to be filled with the smallest of thoughts. Sow, pollinate, bloom, pluck, shell, count, repeat. The process was excruciatingly dull- but small thoughts, Mendel knew bloomed into large principles. Mendel’s garden plot may have been small- but he did not confuse its size with that of his scientific ambition.” From the small patch of garden, he collected heaps of statistical data, and made them into laws, that would be chunked by the students a day before exams after more than a century! In his time, his findings and data were blatantly ignored by scientists like Charles Darwin. He was discouraged by people he admired and he went on with his life neglecting the plants he loved. He died of kidney failure on January 6, 1884. Mendel’s paper on the laws of heredity disappeared for a long time marking the period as “the strangest silences in the history of biology” until William Bateson read the paper on his train ride to deliver a lecture on heredity at the Royal Horticultural Society in London. William Bateson was nicknamed “Mendel’s Bulldog” for he was fierce as one and had made his life’s mission to ensure that Mendel was never ignored. Continue reading “Scandals of Science: Passion of Love, War and Possibility”

Poems · Weekend Coffee Share

Sometimes You Feel to Live

How can you not be happy when you have tan lines all over the skin?

You swam in the river too long,

You walked until your legs were numb,

You looked up the sky and gray clouds smiled and showered.

You were the oldest you could be and the youngest you wanted to be.

How can you give up when there is a world out there waiting?

Mountains and hills up above you and ocean just underneath,

A person who wants to know a person like you,

You could stop someone’s chaos. How can you not realize that?

You could be the whoosh of air that comes along when a big truck passes by,

Making people enjoy the only breeze that comes along,

When they are walking by the hot road all day long.

How can you look at your reflection and not see yourself?

The stranger in the mirror you are pretending to be everyday,

The heart that is beating and beating and beating,

Underneath the ribs inside the color changing skin, you are wearing,

If it gets red under the sun and blue under the snow,

So can your soul.

If it can feel everything, the world offers,

How can you refuse yourself that opportunity to feel?

When they tell you that feeling too much is a weakness,

It is damn hard to make them believe,

That for every bit of happiness they feel, you feel twice as much,

For every bit of sadness they feel, you feel twice as much

How can you limit yourself only to things that exist?

When your tears can be poems and your smiles can be stories,

When your walks can be dances moves and your voice can be music

You are a limitless canvas waiting to be painted, so why won’t you begin?

Why are you waiting for the “one” who exists in a different plane?

One that might need a wormhole of belief and black hole of trust,

Things that can take all the light you have in a fraction of second

Things that can null your existence in THIS plane you are living in.

Why can’t you think about the 5 year old you?

Chasing the monsters with cape tied on the neck,

Racing empty nail polish removers in the window sill,

You were perfect on your own and granny was your superhero

Vegetables were the only things you hated.

You made hammocks out of mommy’s shawls,

Pulled your daddy’s mustache to see if it was real,

Cried your heart out when you were hurt,

Tried to fit all the cotton candy in your mouth at once

You only knew how to be you, so why can’t you learn that again?

The world was your own, why don’t you claim it again?

When the storms of emotions hit you hard, just let them be

Absorb every bit of everything the world offers you

Because you are meant to feel. You live to feel.

And sometimes you feel to live.

 

daily prompt · Letters and Letters · Letters to self · Weekend Coffee Share

Donuts, Interview and Us

Dear You,

You gave one of the worst interviews of your life and the only thing you were worried about was that there were no donuts in your favorite donuts shop. You are a funny person. You walked all the way back home. You never thought a bit about that interview. You thought it was doomed from the very beginning, not meant to be. You walked all the way home. All those miles of footsteps and dust in your shoes, your ironed new shirt and pant, your face layered in air full of dirt and yet you only cared about how the clouds illuminated the light so beautifully. You never saw your reflection on the puddle but you saw purple trees. Beautiful purple trees lined up in places that were ruins few months ago. And you saw grasses and vegetation on the remains of Dharahara that died along with so many people two years ago. You wondered if they were still there. The people climbing those stairs wondering about the views they would see on the top. You wondered if they still remember as you do. Every detail, every memory of that day when the earth shook. Your mind took you to places and you remembered a detail version of a dream you saw yesterday. You killed a dragon in your drawer as she burnt you alive but you lived anyway because it was your dream. You are a funny dreamer too.

You got home and looked at the mirror. You saw sunburned and thin girl standing in front of you. Big glasses, small face, tired and confused. She did not know where to start. She was not you because you knew what the next step was. You knew that job was not meant to be. From the very minute, you walked into those doors; you could feel that the place was not meant to be yours. It did not feel right. And you knew that. But the girl in the mirror did not. She looked devastated and scared. She was just trying to belong somewhere. She was just trying to be a part of something big. She was trying to find a way because she always felt lost. Among her friends, she was the one who found directions to places. She was the one who never made plans. She was the one who was unsure and perplexed. You knew her well. You knew she would seek someone to talk. You knew she needed friends. So you did just that. You dialed for her and laughed off the problems with her and her friends. You talked about astrology. You talked about submission dates and deadlines. You talked about everything but the conflict inside you where you were fighting for your identity.

But you know right? You know everything. You found the way today, remember? You actually walked all those miles and failed and you came back all those miles again. You were not scared. You put forward your ideas. You forgot about the hole in your socks that could be seen so clearly. You never gave up. You did not doubt on your ideas even though they were so different from the views presented there. Because you believed in yourself. On being asked how you could influence people, you were so honest. You told them about your introvert-self that was quite and your intellectual self that could raise damn good scientific questions and find ways to solve them. You told them about how you pour out your souls in poems and stories and letters. And you asked them how a person who tries to write pieces of soul on papers could ever be bad at work even though it was not relevant. You felt stupid for saying that. Honestly, you were but who cares! You were good today. You were not the best and that is okay. And you know that. She doesn’t.

She worries and she goes to her silent zones hoisting wars with you. She ridicules you and she doesn’t let you sleep. She makes you study all night. She makes you think about all the bad things that could happen to you. She looks at you in the mirror and only sees a failed person with nerves sticking out of the bones. She cries.  She feels lonely. She wants to talk to somebody who understands that she is not a bad person. She is not horrible. You don’t know how to help her. So you write to her. You write to her about how purple the trees were and how the ruins wore the clothes of spring this season. You tell her how clouds never have identity but they still are sky high. You promise her a donuts. You remind her of tomorrow. You remind her of smells of Jasmine that air adopts every morning. You remind her of you until she forgets herself and sleeps. You will be okay and she will be okay. Life will be okay.