The Ball

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Every one has those mid-semester crises in their first semester in college, right?

No, they don’t?

*shrugs* Well, I did. As a person whose social life is a wreck eight days a week, I was bound to.
So midway through the semester when I had lost all the new friends that I made in college -an act that I pull off with such ease, it’s insane-, and when my old friends stopped giving a damn, it was quite a difficult time. On one side I was trying to come to terms with the past failures, and on the other I had to prepare for the future (read: weekly assignments that I couldn’t afford to falter over), leaving me no time to live the present day. So I couldn’t resume learning Spanish, coding in Python, or read all the novels I had made a list of or explore poetry and psychology more. I couldn’t even delve deeper into electrical circuits because it wasn’t directly aligned with my curriculum.

“Gather ye rosebuds, while ye may.” O captain, my captain, with the greatest grief I must break to you that it is easier said that done.

I was dealing with a personality meltdown, lost skills, impaired creativity, and to top it all up, I had NO one to talk to about this.
Or maybe no one could deal with melancholy as profuse as though straight out of an Anton Chekov work.

Except a tennis ball.

Alone in my room, I would throw it at the wall, and catch it. Throw, rebound, catch, repeat. It started with nonchalance, but every passing day I realised it was the only stress release I have. I started doing 100 catches a day.

Then, a 100 catch with each hand. Then before I knew it, 500. I did that one thing so many times, I could catch the ball in the dark, with one hand easily. I knew where it was coming from by its very sound. And every time I threw the ball, my mind got flushed clean of all thoughts whatsoever. I liked that.

I was an escapist back then, after all.

I would throw the ball really hard at the wall. You can’t hit what you can’t see, right? I would imagine the wall to be all my problems in life and I would throw it hard and repeat without keeping count and just go on till both my arms stung with pain and gave up. But some mystical form of rage – all self directed – kept my arms going. The ball was resilient, and the wall understood me well enough to not give in any time soon.

It’s usually my heart that gave up first, urging me to make peace with all my alter egos. Specially the one that I branded a failure, for life. Look, the problem was always me, myself.

One day I decided, that I’ll do just that. Make peace with myself. Around that time I met an amazing girl in my class who once mentioned while we were having coffee after class and when I had to leave early, that she’d be just fine being on her own because she can manage being alone.

It hit me and I asked myself as to why I am so scared of being alone. Maybe being alone is never a problem; being lonely is.

The idea is to accept everything you’ve done, everything that you are. All your successes, failures, insecurities, regrets, your pride, your reason for existence, your desires, your motivation, your aspirations however crazy they may be.

Because, it’s ludicrously simple. If you don’t enjoy your company, why would anyone else? And I was surprised how easy it can be to get started, to enjoy life on your own.

It’s been two months since I’ve started owning my life. Right now academics are in absolute control, which I owe to a sense of perfectionism I strive to inculcate within myself. Social life’s started looking better. And I am reading up stuff I always wanted to.

Now when I throw the ball at the wall, I do drop a few catches :)

I still enjoy the exercise, nonetheless.

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Ctrl+A, Delete.

Are you one of those who feel it’s one arduous task to write? Not because your mind is devoid of ideas, au contraire your mind is brimming with ideas. Now you won’t be immodest enough to go to the extent of calling each idea a brilliant one, but each deserves to find its ink-equivalent meet the paper. Or the Notepad on your laptop, if that’s your thing.
After a rigorous process of selection, you finally have a decent idea to ramble on. I say “ramble” because – you know it – you have a lot to say. (Don’t you always do?) Every idea in your head is played out to such intricate detail, such clarity that a short vignette won’t do. YOU. NEED. TO. RAMBLE.
So you set off on your quest to try (sigh) and explain to your reader the thought/idea in your funny little brain. You start off by writing the first sentence of what is set to be an overly loquacious piece of writing.
You pause. Hmm. Something doesn’t seem right, does it? You decide that that one word in the sentence could find a replacement and make the whole sentence sound better. You replace it. But that tinge of dissatisfaction lingers. You shake it off and move on. You write the second sentence and when you read the two together, the horror of your own creation strikes and you hit Ctrl+A followed by Delete.

You chide yourself, asking how you can possibly engage with your audience with a start to an article so feeble!?

An hour – or seven ‘Ctrl+A, Delete’s – later, you find yourself no further than where you were when you began.

On the days when you identify with this article, calm yourself, and convince yourself, that the objective of language is not to write beautifully, per se. That is secondary. The primary objective is – and will always remain -,to communicate; get your ideas across. So as long you can paint a word picture in your reader’s mind, you’re fine. Don’t go “Ctrl+A, Delete”. Just write the next sentence, and the next …and go on.

The incomplete chapter

It was my fault; it had always been. And I say this without the slightest tinge of sarcasm.

I loved you way too much. Every part of me yearned for you. My soul needed you more than my mind wanted you.

And in that maddening, overwhelming love that I was drowning in, I failed to realise that loving someone and consciously making an effort to get them had a big difference.

I admit that I was too passive; waiting for a miracle to happen that would make you mine.

I’m sorry to have kept you waiting. Wasting those beautiful windy days indoors. I’m sorry for being caught up in my own quest for elusive greatness.

I’m sorry for showing you glimpses of what we could have been and never turning imagination into reality. I’m sorry, I truly am.

Though I wonder, was I ever worthy of winning your heart? For you were the sky, and I, the sea. And no matter how tumultuous the sea is in all its desperation, however high the waves be, it can never touch the sky.

And if I am to get another chance, I promise I’ll do all the right things. Talk among dimly lit fireflies, wander aimlessly on the streets at night, greet you with bacon and cheese on Sunday mornings and read you your favourite fiction on Friday evenings.

We’ll dance in the rain, run against the wind, and bathe in the sunlight. If I am to get another chance, I’ll grab your hand and never let it go. Maybe someday, the sea will meet the sky at the end of the horizon; at infinity.

You are the incomplete chapter in my life. I wonder, if I do get to finish it, will my life have any significance anymore?