Spectations

A study, of words, in crimson, sometimes blue, rarely yellow.

Words and roads

Loved the piece.

write meg!

Road 1

I take the familiar roads too fast sometimes — but only because I know them as well as the long line of freckles on my right arm. When you’ve spent your lifetime in, near or along a patch of land, that landscape impresses on your skin. It becomes you.

Roads hold a strange fascination for me. I love maps, love staring at the constellations of streets that can take you from point A to winding point B. I got my driver’s license as soon as I was able, popping behind the wheel of my dad’s old Toyota when I was 16, and the freedom of driving — of being out, being loose — isn’t something I take for granted.

When I was commuting to college, cars whizzing along the haphazard Beltway, I remember driving home on an unusually warm winter day. Bright sunshine bleached long lines of salt on the…

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Silence

Silence cannot be bought. We think it can, but the price is never high enough. Think about it, how much money would it take for you to keep something inside; something that eats away at your soul a little bit every day? How much would be enough to let yourself be torn asunder by some words which, if said out loud, would save you from going, very slowly, insane?

Silence is a bad thing. It cuts deeper, sometimes even wounds mortally. And sometimes it seeps into your soul, creeps into the corners you had learnt to hide from even yourself. And when that happens, when the silence has replaced everything inside you, you learn to fear words, to fear conversation. Your mind loses its readiness to engage in debate, loses the will to utter even the most of sounds.

Because there are no more words left to you. All the cracks and creases that let the words fall through have been filled by silence. Where there was passion, there is now only complacency. Where there was pain, there is now only acceptance. Where there was love, there is now only a void, a non-existence.

This complacency, this acceptance is what makes life mild, makes it all vanilla. Avoid complacency. Don’t accept. Fight, goddamnit! Fight until there is no breath in you, until your knuckles are bloody and teeth are missing. Fight until you can’t feel the pain anymore. Fight until either you get knocked down or the other gets knocked out. Shout out loud all that they would buy your silence for. Tell the world all about the horrors and the joys. But do not be silent. Do not be complacent. Do. Not. Accept.

“What does it f…

“What does it feel like to be alive?
Living, you stand under a waterfall. You leave the sleeping shore deliberately; you shed your dusty clothes, pick your barefoot way over the high, slippery rocks, hold your breath, choose your footing, and step into the waterfall. The hard water pelts your skull, bangs in bits on your shoulders and arms.
The strong water dashes down beside you and you feel it along your calves and thighs rising roughly backup, up to the roiling surface, full of bubbles that slide up your skin or break on you at full speed. Can you breathe here? Here where the force is the greatest and only the strength of your neck holds the river out of your face. Yes, you can breathe even here. You could learn to live like this. And you can, if you concentrate, even look out at the peaceful far bank where you try to raise your arms. What a racket in your ears, what a scattershot pummeling!
It is time pounding at you, time… Knowing you are alive is watching on every side your generation’s short time falling away as fast as rivers drop through air, and feeling it hit.”

– Annie Dillard

Split Second

Sometimes when I’m sitting in front of the TV,
when I’m entering the house after a tiring day,
when I’m sitting quietly in my own room,
I catch a note from a song,
I catch a whiff of a perfume,
I catch a glimpse of a shadow on the wall.

And for a split second,
I’m taken back,
To Wednesday dinners,
To Monday afternoons,
To Friday goodbyes.

And in that split second,
I have you back,
Standing in the kitchen,
Working on the Wednesday dinner.

And I reach out to you.

But then the split second is gone,
And you’re gone again,
And I sit back, waiting for the next time,
I catch a note from a song,
I catch a whiff of a perfume,
I catch a glimpse of a shadow on the wall.

I sit back and wait for the next split second,
That will bring you back to me.

She.

(Short Story)

She was stuck.

She didn’t remember anything.

She couldn’t see anything.

She had called for help, shouted for help, but was met only by a deafening silence.

She was afraid to stand up, but when she did she was stable. She was afraid to take a step, but when she took it and a second and a third she was on solid ground. She was afraid to reach out, but when she did her fingers brushed against smooth rock.

She could hear her heart beating; hear the sound of her breathing.

She would have stayed on the ground but the darkness around her had started to creep into her soul. She pressed a hand against the rock wall and started walking. She moved her hand forward first and then took a step. She counted five steps when there was no more rock beneath her hand. She turned into it the opening and put both hands out only to find that she was in a tunnel – two feet wide, arched, five and half feet tall. She kept her hands on the walls to either side and started moving forward again. She lost count this time around and had to stop three times to rest.

She was hungry now. She could feel a headache coming on.

She started walking again after the third rest stop. She walked another fifty feet and bumped a door. She felt around it, found a knob. She was about to turn it when she felt like she heard a whisper. She was so used to the silence that even that slight whisper made the hair at the back of her neck stand up.

She could feel the panic coming back. She took two steps back, a step forward, and another step back. She couldn’t decide. She could stay in the dark; go back the way she came, find another tunnel, maybe even a way out or she could open the door and see who owned that hushed whisper.

She took a step forward and turned the knob, and then turned it again, and again – but nothing happened. She didn’t know what was worse – the fear of the dark or the fear of the whisper which was growing closer on the other side of that wooden barrier.

She heard noises now, like nails scratching wood. She tried to calm herself. She counted till ten in her head and by the time she was done, the scratching had stopped and the door was slightly open. She could see a trickle of light coming through the slit; there were candles on the other side, but not too many. She pushed the door open, but it wouldn’t budge. She had to put her back into it, only then did it sway just a little to widen the gap so she could slip in.

She wished she hadn’t. She wished for the dark again, for the door to have never opened.

She counted them, five, hanging from rope from a beam in the ceiling. She remembered nothing, but she remembered them now. She could see her Dad still wearing his horn-rimmed reading glasses, her Mom still wearing her ”#1 Mom” apron, her brothers both had their hands glued onto PlayStation joysticks, and her sister was wearing red lipstick. She could see their bulging eyes and their swollen faces.

She heard the whisper again then, right behind her. She could not turn, would not look.

She could feel the whispers bouncing off her body, the voice was moving around her until it was in front of her – SHE was in front of her. She was her, a mirror image in 3D. She could see the mole on the wrong cheek, and the hair parted on the wrong side. She could feel it now, how wrong it all was, the other her had killed them all. She lunged at her, but before she could get a grip she was falling, faster and faster, the dark closing in on her again.

She woke up, covered in sweat, in her own bed. She ran downstairs and there they all were; her Dad wearing his horn-rimmed reading glasses sitting at the kitchen table reading, her Mom wearing her ”#1 Mom” apron fixing dinner, her brothers in the den playing on their PlayStation, and her sister wearing the red lipstick about to walk out the front door. She saw them all turn to her, ask her what was wrong. She tried answering but her throat was dry. She sat down, across the table from her Dad, sipping from the glass her Mom had handed her. She was beginning to calm down but something changed; her Dad’s face started swelling up and turning blue, her Mom’s eyes popped out, her brother went limp on the couch, and her sister screamed for her life.

She woke up again, in a different place this time and then again in a different place.

She was stuck.

——————————————————————————————————————————-

“So when do we wake this one up?”

The nurse didn’t feel sorry for the little girl, but was scared of her. The eyes had been just as glassy before putting her into the coma, just like a murderer’s.

“Fifty years to go for that one,” replied the doctor.

Well, that’s what you get for killing your whole family in cold blood. It was not her job to judge the people who came to her. They had all already been judged. Her job was to make sure they stayed under and the loop kept playing – showing them their crime, again and again until their time was done. Not many survived, and those who did – their brains refused to let them come out of the loop. They got stuck. Just like that poor girl would be. For eternity.

Monologue [Survive]

There’s always laughter to be had, also to be dealt. But what do you do when there is no longer any laughter left in your soul? I was not made to be bound to one place, one emotion. Maybe to one person, but even that is not apparent at the moment. I was made to travel, to walk on air. But what do you do when you can’t find the key to the shackles around your ankles? I was made to love, maybe to be love also – but that’s a matter for another time, another moment of rambling honesty. I was made to close my eyes, blind myself to the world and to walk the path that my heart saw. But what do you do when your heart can’t find its bearings either?

What do you do when you’re standing in the middle of nowhere, without a compass, without a friendly face, without a clue and without a soul? What do you do when you’re whole life turns upside down and still nothing good comes into view?

You push on. You close your eyes, spin on your toes and start walking in whatever direction you find. You keep walking until your feet bleed and your heart aches. And you keep walking until you see the finish line, until you see the prize. You don’t cry, you don’t break down – that is not allowed. You stay strong, you prove people wrong. You become the foundation and the legend built on top of it. You tap into the hollows left by your soul and find the crumbling pieces of your sanity and glue them together to make hope. You persevere. And you live, even if that is a life lived on the fringes, on the edges of reality.

And you survive – until that is all you know how to do.

“You should dat…

“You should date a girl who reads.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”
— Rosemarie Urquico

I’ve always been a the girl with a book in her bag, no matter where I went. That is why this quote speaks so deeply to me.

It is such a fad these days to judge people by what they look like, but the readers, like me, know not to judge a book by its cover. I just hope more people can realize that a “sexy” isn’t in the shape of a woman’s curves but in how sharp her wit is, how seasoned her intellect.

April is “Autism Awareness Month”!

Learn, Understand, Appreciate.

12 a.m.

At 12 AM, when my mind is swimming with a thousand regrets,
And I can’t stop the tears from falling,
That’s when I wish for you, from the bottom of my heart,
For you to whisper, “All is forgiven, darling.”

Two Questions

I had to go through mock interviews a couple days back as part of a mandatory exercise for all graduating students. As part of the last minute information-swap that students do, we were all asking each other a bunch of questions that are generic to interviews. Two questions stood out for me & I couldn’t think of a concrete answer.
1. Define yourself.
Now this is a tricky question. I can ramble on and on about myself to people who couldn’t be less concerned but when it actually counts, I’m at a loss of words. And I think this happened to everyone. I thought about it before the interview and the only things I came up with are the general terms that everyone uses; confident, problem-solver, team-player, people person.
But who am I really? I sat down to think about it and all the things that I came up with were nothing that the interviewers wanted to hear, because they are totally unrelated to my degree program or the IT industry in general.
So, who am I?

  •  I’m a reader. I can’t live without books. 95% of the time I can’t even step out of the house without a book tucked into my bag, my one defense against loneliness. The book is the one companion that won’t leave me or won’t stand me up.
  • I’m a writer. I love the feeling of pen/pencil between my fingers. It is the one kind of innovation that I’m moderately good at. I can put my thoughts into words and then put those words out into the world. And that is more than most people can manage.
  • I’m an “imaginer”. I have always had a wild imagination. I might have never gone on an actual hike, but in my mind I’ve travestied across dense African jungles and frozen landscapes.
  • I’m a believer. I believe in things – some true, some merely rumor and some wild ramblings of a half-mad mind. It is incredibly easy to fool me into believing something – especially when that ‘something’ revolves around the people I fancy. And I believe in the impossible, the improbable, because my faith tell me that my God is bigger than any impossibility.
  • I’m a child-of-the-universe. Aren’t we all? I’m a student of the human condition. I try to understand what drives people to action, and what dulls them down to do nothing. I try to understand how each event carries so much weight that we have a whole phenomenon to define this.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Honestly, how do you answer that question? For me, the answer changes every 6 months. People might call my confused, and I’m pretty sure I fit the general description. But I’m not confused, I’m just dynamic. My mind is filled with so many possibilities; I don’t know which one to wholly pursue. And for a person who says they don’t put much stock in what people say, I get deeply upset when someone tells me I can’t achieve something. Half of me wants to prove them wrong but the other half just wants to forget everything and move onto the next ‘big’ thing.
When I was in high school, I wanted to open my own software house. I had the name picked out and a design that would pass for a logo. Then I wanted to start writing my own column for a newspaper. Then I wanted to start my own e-magazine. Lately, I’m thinking I should open my own café/bakery.
But where I really see myself in 5 years is in some exotic location, carrying out the grandest of adventures – A World Tour. I still haven’t worked out where the money for such an endeavor would come from, but I don’t think I should stifle my imagination with such trivialities right now.

These two questions baffled me ever since a fellow asked me before the interviews began. I couldn’t answer them at the time because I kept thinking I should find an answer that would please the people around me, and I wasn’t really thinking about being truly honest with myself. I came up with these answers right now within seconds. And I had to write them down, because I feel the next time someone asks, I should answer properly. It might be the answer they’re looking for, and it might not satisfy them. But at least I’ll know I was honest with myself.

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