Uncategorized: being childlike Dealing with grief pratishtha shrotriya khan The Big Purge
by Pratishtha Durga
“Because if you couldn’t lose yourself to music, if you couldn’t trace your steps back to where it all started, just following the lyrics of the songs you have loved through the ages, you never lived… And you most definitely, did not Love.”
I live by these words. For me, I have found, in music, the life I have always longed for, that perfect romance, that beautiful ending, stories that followed the graph, triumphs of heroes, and pain that finally heals. In songs, I have found elusive closures, pursued unending horizons and met a girl walk past, who looked a whole lot like the woman that I am could never have been. I also met the woman that girl would have grown up into, look back at me, and she looked just a bit like someone I once knew.
You know those words I once used in an old post, “I am the Universe”? I know they are true, because inside our head, we have an entire Universe. I know I have one inside me. Countless characters live out their tales, legends are born and travel across lyrics penned by others, finding their destiny, making me laugh, cry, making my feet want to dance. Except, for some reason, in the last few months, I seem to have lost my music. I really don’t have a reason. In my world, everything is where it should be. But in my Universe, Planets full of dreams collide, on their course charted by fears, longings and journeys never quite made.
Which is why I need music. Because it completes this tiny, infinite Universe of mine. Whether it’s the languid charm of Damian Rice, or the firm beckoning of Glen Hansard… my real heroes sing, stealing scenes from my own story, penning them down, and playing them out to the world, so one day I will find those words, and know where I need to be, to find that missing chunk from my own story. In music, I find purity of human soul that our real lives miss. In a song alone, one can find that love that will survive togetherness and happy endings. In words fit perfectly my dreams pint sized and gigantic. When I am crying, and someone demands a reason, most of the times, a song can be the answer. Because music, to me, is the perfect language. It is fueled by something yet untapped in all of us.
And yet, I sometimes lose my music, and cannot quite find my songs. But then, it turns out that I had just misplaced it for a while, and my Universe comes alive again. So if you live in my world, and you think you know me, think again. Because to think that you know me, would be like assuming that I know you. I cannot. I’d rather not. There is an entire Universe, right here, inside my head. You know nothing of its existence. If only you could see… But then, you don’t sing, do you?
Uncategorized: being childlike dealing with death of a loved one life changing project Lifein2suitcases Pratishtha Durga random thoughts
by Pratishtha Durga
So much has been happening, and so fast! And most of the changes have been good. I met an incredible young woman, and we became friends. She taught me Yoga, and I fed her. I started work on my own accessories collection, and with each piece I make, I get better. It’s such an amazing feeling!
I am still trying to change things for better, and failing miserably on so many counts. But every now and then, I succeed in not kicking myself over failure. So well, time for some more rant on life, love and such stuff. I have been observing relationships around me. All sorts of them. Parent-child, friends, siblings, colleagues, spouses, lovers, acquaintances… And it’s interesting to see the patterns that emerge. How some people who talk too much instantly appear shallow. How one can see the insecurities emerge, the attraction or lack thereof. How almost everyone wears a mask, living their life purely to please others. And while watching, observing, listening, something important has been happening to me. I can now see people who are truly original and remarkable. Who live, or at least try to live, only for themselves. And what’s even more remarkable is how rare these individuals are.
Last night, I went to a restaurant where the washrooms had these interesting masks on the doors. Now masks, they intrigue me. The need to hide one’s true self is so compelling that often, the mask we wear most of the time becomes our true identity. I have seen shy people wearing a mask of confidence, and becoming just that. So in all, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And in any case, who am I to judge. The most terrifying part of all this, however, is to turn the scrutiny to myself. I wear too many masks, and it’s a little annoying knowing that I can be quite a pest. I am a difficult person to be around. I am cynical, often nasty, and unmistakably bitter. I often do not practice what I preach, and have lost many friends because I could not reach out to them when they needed me. But the world sees this happy, shiny person who cracks jokes, is moderately popular, and manages to fake it most of the time. But for all it’s worth, I am really fond of my true self. I’d like to reach out to it, discard all my masks, and try being myself for a while.
So for as long as I can manage, starting today, I am going to observe myself like an outsider, and catch glimpses of my true self, and find where I lost it, how many masks I am really wearing and where to shove them when I no longer need them.
Like I said, this is a rant. So bear with me.
Uncategorized: being childlike de-cluttering life dealing with death of a loved one life changing project Lifein2suitcases Pratishtha Durga
by Pratishtha Durga
This morning, I had a dear friend for company. She had stayed over last night. We stayed up late, chatted, discussed men, discussed our lives, and felt good about our friendship which is now in its 11th year. She is among the most talented people I know, and in college she designed her own accessories. I always thought she’d soon start her own line which will be a huge hit. I still believe, in fact I know, that she will, when the time is right.
For now, I am the one who has started work on a line of accessories. So every evening, I get home, and make flowers, cut ribbons, stitch fabric covers for headbands. I have a few wrap-around bracelets, hair bands and headbands ready. And now, I am soon going to start making more complex designs. It’s a learning process and is taking up a lot of money. And giving me the kind of satisfaction that money just cannot buy. My house is buried under a mess, and it is near impossible finding my things. But it’s fun and helps me channelize my thoughts and ideas. Most of all, it gives me something to look forward to when I get home in the evenings.
So, a day before Diwali, I have decided to have a formal vision for this sweet little venture of mine. My aim in creating all the lovelies is, to put it straight, “make pretty things that bring joy to others”. I love the sound of it. I like beautiful things, and the thought of creating them for others pleases me so much. After several months of feeling low and down in dumps, I finally have something to set me soaring. And it’s such a great feeling!
So this Diwali, after lighting a few diyas, and creating a small rangoli, I will sit down with my scissors and needles and flowers and laces, and make pretty things. Can’t think of a better way to celebrate.
Uncategorized: being childlike Gourmet Cooking life changing project Lifein2suitcases Pratishtha Durga
by Pratishtha Durga
I have been trying to give some structure to my mad days. And what better way to start a day on a good note than a great breakfast? I believe in the visual power of food. These past few days, I have treated myself to a good breakfast and a good book every morning.
And it works for me. It gives me a reason to get up and get going. Every evening, I find myself planning the next day’s breakfast. And I make it look good before I eat it.
I hope to make this a regular feature. Maybe not a daily one, but a weekly round-up of breakfast pictures should be cool. Try doing breakfasts. Really adds voom to your day.
Uncategorized: being childlike de-cluttering life life changing project Lifein2suitcases Pratishtha Durga Religion
by Pratishtha Durga
I tend to stumble upon a pertinent truth when I least expect it. Like today, sitting in an auto-rickshaw, on my way home, thinking about religion versus God, I suddenly realized why Love has always given me pain. Yeah, yeah, I know: Love and God, kind of lateral. But like you remember things when you are not really trying to, and find old lost objects when you are looking for something else, I often find answers when I no remember the questions. Oh, and I have a lot of answers I am still searching questions for.
So today, just like that, Love finds definition. Falling in love, you see, is like drawing on water and hoping it will last forever. Does it ever? And just like that, we get addicted to love. But all you will get are ripples, and they too will be gone. Love is so conceited, so transient, that it cannot be grounds for pure joy. So why do we love? Like I said in my previous post; anything for a sliver of sunshine. There is a colleague who has been there, done that; who rightly talks about lust being the trigger for that feeling we often mistake as love. He says that the pain you get in the pit of your stomach, and that weakening of knees, is all too ephemeral. But before the dust has settled on passion and desire, promises have been made, commitments granted, mistakes made. And then, we look for a way out. Some are explicit, some discreet, but most are just plain miserable and bitter. Hence half the troubles in the world. Oh, of course, there is war and famine, and fear, and what-not. But love is always there. Especially when there is war and famine, and fear.
Love will not last. So love and forget. Try to possess, and all you will be left with is pain. Like ripples on water, love will go away. I tried to possess and had to sit licking my wounds and nursing my bruises. And now, I am watching it all around me. People straitjacketing love in conditions and terms of contract. Really? Can you put down a process for joy? What fools we are! How much we ask for.
Am I giving up on love then? Maybe not. Who am I to fight centuries of habit and conditioning? But I don’t believe that love devoid of motives exists. It’s just another object in a list of material things we want. Not unlike power, wealth and good health. So let’s stop pretending that Love is sacrificing and noble and sweet and candy floss. Let’s see it as a worldly possession we all desire. Like a drug that gives a high, that comes at a cost, and that’s highly addictive. Let’s call love the spade it is.
Why was I thinking about Love during my auto-rickshaw drive? You forget. I wasn’t. I was thinking about God. And I didn’t get those answers. One day, maybe, when I am looking for something else, I think I will find God.
Uncategorized: being childlike Gourmet Cooking Lifein2suitcases Pratishtha Durga random thoughts
by Pratishtha Durga
Oh, a quick update people. I just came back from my first ever belly-dance lesson. The instructor is a young, enthusiastic and talented lady who obviously loves her job. It was great trying to get the steps right. We laughed so much. Feels so good.
Not much to add, except that this has been a really lazy Sunday, after a long time. I slept in late, had a light lunch, and then ruined it with a bowl of piping hot noodles. Did not kick myself for the indulgence and hence enjoyed it even more. Hoping to make this week better than the last one. I am waiting for the rains to go away, so I can go back to swimming. Also, I am getting back to cooking after a bit of a break, so wait for some delicious recipes. I might also work on a new set of handmade greeting cards and gift tags. So much to do!
Have a great week ahead, all of you.
Uncategorized: being childlike Benny and Joon Bucket List Dealing with grief life changing project living alone Pratishtha Durga Sunita Shrotriya
by Pratishtha Durga
You know, there are so many things not even my closest friends know about me. Not deep, dark secrets, just things too inane to be brought up in regular conversations.
Like how Michael Bolton’s song “When a man loves a woman” shaped my dreams of the love of my life. Or that I am absolutely crazy about Rishi Kapoor, and I think he is one of our finest actors, understated, elegant, subtle. He is all the things our so called legendary performers are not. And that I still go weak in the knees watching “Bobby”. Not many people know that I think that Dev Anand was the most handsome star Bollywood ever had. And that I am a sucker for Rom-Coms, and can watch classics like “When Harry Met Sally, “Sleepless in Seattle”, “Roman Holiday”, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”, and “Prelude To A Kiss” over and over again. Barely anyone knows that I find it hard to sit in my house when I am alone: I walk around instead.
I don’t think any of my current friends know that for years I almost worshipped Lenny Kravitz. That I once loved mangoes, but don’t seem to like them very much now. Or that I think “Benny and Joon” is the sweetest movie ever, and it’s my favorite pick-me-up flick. I don’t think I would have brought it up that I think that George Peppard was not of this world. Or that I like big dogs more than I like small dogs. That I sometimes feel that my heart is breaking into a million tiny bits when I see a silly looking, smiling Labrador walk past me. I don’t think that I have ever mentioned that I found poetry through my ex-husband, who I think is one of the most talented men I have ever met. And the funniest. I wish we had chosen to remain best friends instead. And that I am done with the bitterness now and that I am very, very proud of him.
Oh, and I love Chinese cuisine, but the Indian variant of it. I think Gnocchi rocks! I don’t like alcohol, never did, never will. I don’t understand smokers. I have tried to get excited about wealth. And failed. I am unapologetically unambitious. That sometimes I wish I could scream and scream and scream, and that sometimes I feel like doing that in the middle of the day, when I am surrounded by people, and my face is aching from all the smiling and chatting. And that I’d rather be alone and quiet, and that silence is not something people associate with me, and that’s proof enough that no one on this planet really gets to be on this side of my shell. And that I shared that silence with my mother as we both sat and watched rains wash down our balcony. That I know that my mother would have loved it if I had been a dancer. That I sometimes shut my eyes really tight and try to remember how her voice sounded, but always end up losing my calm. And I cried when Micheal Jackson died. I felt so sad for him.
I’d like someone someday to make me breakfast in bed. No one has ever done that for me. I feel I have loved more than I have been loved and some days I find it so unfair, but most days I am okay with it. That I would, for a change, want to be reckless and walk off. Just walk off. Just like that. Something I have always wanted to do, ever since I was a child but know I don’t have the courage to do. That I want nothing more than a small cabin in the hillside. That I like getting wet in the rain, but hate Mumbai rains. And yes, I don’t like to see myself in the mirror because the girl I once was hasn’t looked back at me for a decade now. I like lamps, and think overhead lighting gives people headaches. I like the color red, but think I can’t really carry it. I once bought a bright red lipstick and really really liked it, but someone close to me said I looked like a common whore when I wore it. I never wore red lipstick after that. I wish I had Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak: It seems so handy. I think God looks like Terry Pratchett. And Devil looks like Neil Gaiman, only cooler. I wish I could also have a flash mob wedding like Neil Gaiman did. I want to shave my head but think I will look too ugly. I wish I had some exceptional talent. I would like to learn how to ride a motorbike, but am too chicken to do it. That I am victim of my fears, insecurities and inhibitions, but I fight them the best I can.
So yes, there is lots more. Yeah, I know there is nothing profound back there. But you know what, after yesterday, I could do with a little randomness.
Uncategorized: being childlike life changing project Pratishtha Durga The Kingdom of Bhutan
by Pratishtha Durga
It’s that time of the year again. I am going travelling. This time it’s Bhutan. The sweet, beautiful country that has a “Happiness Index”. Will come back with loads of memories and good pictures. If you haven’t already, plan a trip. Go travelling. Find something new about a new place, a new terrain, a new culture.
Till we meet again.
Uncategorized: being childlike de-cluttering life life changing project Lifein2suitcases Pratishtha Durga Simplyfying life Sunita Shrotriya
by Pratishtha Durga
Childhood. So much fun! And then, we grow up and all fun stops. Sad, right? Anyway, one of the highlights of my fun filled childhood was my little piggy bank. Smart as they were, my parents had taught me the basics of saving with a very sweet, simple game. If I saved nine rupees, dad would exchange the money for a crisp ten rupee note. Likewise, coins worth ninety could be exchanged for a handsome 100 rupees note. I loved watching my money “grow”. It was such a satisfying feeling. I would give my post-school ice-cream and samosas a miss, and feed the money to the pig. And all that mattered was the fun exchange between dad and me.
As an adult, you all know of my shopping addiction. It is a difficult addiction to fight, and I mostly do a good job. Today, I have no credit card to my name, I carry a minimum amount of money on my person, so I would not be tempted into emotional binges. And I have started feeding the piggy again. And it’s been fun. Every time I iron some clothes myself, which is quite often, I put the saved money into the pig. Any time I find a stray coin lying anywhere in the house, I feed the pig. So yesterday, the piggy refused to “eat” any more. Today, I took out forty five rupees worth of coins and put in a 50 rupees note. And I cannot tell you how much joy it gave me!
I know it’s a silly game, but it’s fun. Let go a bit today. Do something silly. Do something you did as a child. Eat candy for breakfast, or sleep in late. Make faces and dance all over the house. Eat two ice-creams, or make a mickey-mouse mask. Just do something that you’ve been putting away for long. We all might be dead in 2012, or we might still be alive in 2050. Either ways, having a little fun today won’t kill you tonight.
Uncategorized: being childlike de-cluttering life life changing project Lifein2suitcases Living in Mumbai Pratishtha Durga Starting over The Big Purge The Big Purge Challenge
by Pratishtha Durga
I like old clothes. I like the wear and tear. The frayed seams. The faded colors. They seem so appropriate. Like a life well lived. Like a purpose achieved. I like their soft, tired feel. It is reassuring. Like old friendships.
I like old shoes. I like the cracks in the leather. I like the worn out soles. They remind me of journeys made, of experiences acquired.
Now that the Big Purge has weeded out a lot of unnecessary items from my wardrobe, I am using a lot of my old clothes and shoes. And I love them! My wardrobe and I are finding new grounds for friendship and familiarity. I no longer gasp in horror after discovering a new top, with the price tag still on, never worn, living a life of rejection and loneliness in some corner of my closet. I have accepted the fact that heels and my bad knees will never go together. I know which accessories are going to have a lasting relationship with me. And it’s all so convenient.
My appetite has made a comeback. I am eating. But this time, I am high and happy on fruits, vegetables and protein rich snacks. I hope to resume my walks soon. A new year is just a month away, and I want everything to feel “new”. I want to do one of those completely irrational, impulsive last minute dash to fit into this absolutely fabulous gown I have had for five years and never ever worn. I want to host a party on the new year’s eve. I want to make resolutions and then try and stick to them for a whole month. I have never done these simple, silly things. This is the time to let go and enjoy the festive season. It no longer seems a coincident that December begins with a happy occasion for my family: Today is my brother’s wedding anniversary.
I hope to make this a month of hope and happiness. Of old clothes and shoes and books and movies. Of meals shared on a tiny terrace. Of weekends spent visiting loved ones or alone, with myself. See me smile.