A Free Day

Festivals and holidays are different kind of affairs for introverts. We do not go out of our way to meet people, and the ones who make an effort to see us soon realise that they’d be making us even happier if they’d leave us to our plans. After all, holidays are all about taking it easy and doing what we enjoy.

So with only one day available to pack a good amount of fun into, I have decided to start a book I’d been meaning to read for quite sometime, and watch two movies (from a long list of supposedly great ones).Being a huge Haruki Murakami fan, I had been looking forward to watch, Drive My Car, but I couldn’t find it on the streaming service. The Power of the Dog and The Lost Daughter are the ones I shall be watching instead. I have read good things about them.

Previously skeptical, I have now wramed up to the idea of reading along with the audio narration and Audible has been great so far. I hope that Catch-22 will be an incredible experience. There’s no way I’d be able to finish it in a day though.😁

A Break

This year has been a blur and it feels as if all I have done is live from one break to the next. I find myself unable to recall what I had been taking a break from most of the times. It had felt good to dissociate nonetheless. I think.

Tonight, I am taking a break from taking too many breaks by taking yet another break. It involves me, a book (which I am co-reading with a stranger; he reads aloud while I read quietly, otherwise known as an audiobook), and some loose granola with chocolate chunks in it (got to keep things interesting). Have a great Saturday everyone!

*The featured image has been captured by me.

Cheating

I hate to cheat

On books,

But lately,

I feel scared

For there is a lot

That I need

To read,

But not enough time,

So with three

Books open

At the same time,

My heart looks

For a home

In the fourth one.

Two eyes, one mind,

One lifetime,

And your entire world

Nothing but

A giant shelf,

With books spilling over!

©Aaysid

Lost and Found

to lose yourself

in the pages of a book,

someone else’s strange,

immortal world,

is not that unusual,

for the real

magic happens

when you find

yourself in there.

©Aaysid

I captured the featured picture today while enjyoing homemade dalgona coffee and reading Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevesky, translated by Constance Garnett.

To Read What You Need

The mystical aspect of life can both be wonderful and bewildering at the same time. You cannot help but marvel at the way certain events unfold sometimes – unexpectedly but not unnecessarily. I had Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet on my to-be-read list since ages, and a few days ago I suddenly got this strange urge to shelve the other book I had been reading, and go for it instead. I had not realised how much I had needed to read it until then. The universe must have known though!

It is rare to come across a book that does an excellent job of describing everyday feelings this eloquently. It is a marvelous, melancholic, and achingly wistful book, with so many quotable passages.

“Impressions are incommunicable unless we make them literary. Children are particularly literary, for they say what they feel and not what someone has taught them to feel. Once I heard a child, who wished to say that he was on the verge of tears, say not ‘I feel like crying,’ which is what an adult, i.e. an idiot, would say, but rather, ‘I feel like tears.’ And this phrase – so literary it would seem affected in a well-known poet, if he could ever invent it – decisively refers to the warm presence of tears about to burst from eyelids that feel the liquid bitterness. ‘I feel like tears’! That small child aptly defined his spiral.”

“I’m a navigator engaged in unknowing myself. I’ve overcome everything where I’ve never been. And this somnolence that allows me to walk, bent forward in a march over the impossible, feels like a fresh breeze.Everyone has his alcohol. To exist is alcohol enough for me. Drunk from feeling, I wander as I walk straight ahead. When it’s time, I show up at the office like everyone else. When it’s not time, I go to the river to gaze at the river, like everyone else. I’m no different. And behind all this, O sky my sky, I secretly constellate and have my infinity.”

Excerpts from The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

Co-reading

It was on a night as cold as this one when I had found out that I was one of those people who could study comfortably with noise in the background.

Everyone else in the house was sleeping soundly that night and I had a lot of studying left to do before I could go to bed. I felt angry and sad that I had to study so much and had to do it alone. I had one of those early mobile phones in which you could listen to the live transmissions broadcasted from the local radio stations but I was not a big fan of those. However, I ended up playing one of those stations in my ears while I studied that night and felt oddly at peace knowing that someone else had to be awake as well. I had studied that entire year with those radio stations serving as white noise. I got a better phone later and could play other things besides the local radio stations. I would then have my own playlist on while studying. I do that to this day. I cannot study at night without another noise inside my head.

I have listened to a few audiobooks but had to read the physical books later. Not a fan of those either. Yesterday, I stumbled across the audio-narration (on Youtube) of the book I was reading and I decided to do a little experiment – I tried to read along with it! It did not go well. I had to increase the playback speed but even then I kept reading at my own pace and completely ignored the audio-narration. It turns out that I can study with the background noise but I cannot co-read.

Here’s a short poem inspired by the above-mentioned events:

We are not keeping pace with each other,

one of us is always a few words behind,

pausing after every other line,

and exclaiming loudly at all the wrong points,

but we are still trying our best

to asynchronously co-read the night away!

©Aaysid

Nineteen Little Things of Beauty

One of the hardest aspects of not-being-a-kid-anymore is trying to break out of the cycle of mundanity, even for just a few moments, to appreciate those things in life which can help us realise why everything that we put ourselves through is worth it. I often find many a things spiralling out of control and then I have a hard time reminding myself how those things are not what should matter. Those are not the things of beauty. Therefore at the very last day of this year, I am thinking about all the little yet powerful and utterly radiant things that I had observed and or experienced this year and I am enlisting nineteen of those here:

  1. Going for strolls, with just yourself, after twilight in late November are worth the shortness of breath and sore calf muscles,
  2. Waking up before birds means that you can also get to sleep before them with not a single item remaining unchecked on your to-do list,
  3. Tearing up your to-do list into smithereens at least once every month is quite liberating,
  4. Finding out that people who smile looking at their phone screens and not getting mad when you ask them about it are often sweet and kind,
  5. Holding doors for people buys you time to decide as to which side of the door you actually want to be at (not everyone gets that amazing an opportunity),
  6. Reading until you see double of everything but still cannot stop is an addiction that you do not need to get evaluated for,
  7. Getting to hear from a friend whom you hadn’t heard from in ages and had worried about them brings genuine sense of relief,
  8. Someone asking how you had been doing and not zoning out when you are telling them about it is insanely awesome,
  9. Rooting for those you care about and then getting to see them doing good and getting what they deserve,
  10. Hearing from a teacher how they still remember you and are looking forward to see you do good things in life,
  11. Watching a movie or reading a book that takes you way back into your childhood and erases all sense of time for a few moments,
  12. Not letting sadness hit you when you see someone getting old because you know how amazing a life they had lived,
  13. Finding out that someone who is highly educated and wealthy is still awfully polite and grounded,
  14. Incessantly worrying about something for days at end and then waking up one day to find out that you couldn’t remember what it was all about,
  15. Accepting that there are certain things you are not passionate about and you no longer have to keep doing them,
  16. People thanking you for a small act of kindness when all they ever themselves do is be enormously kind,
  17. Not freaking out catching yourself procrastinating because you finally know that you are able to power-up at the last moments and get the job done,
  18. Finding yourself doing things that you never thought you could do on your own,
  19. Your family not giving up on you even when you are ready to throw in the towel and that show of support in itself being motivation enough to go on!

The world maybe a dark place but it does have lamp posts and lighthouses that still work fine. Here’s to hope that every one of us shall have a year full of small and big wonderful moments! Happy New Year!

Disjointed, Short Stories

Being a fan of comic strips, I have been thinking about making my own comics since quite some time. Unfortunately, I lack the necessary drawing skills. Maybe one day I can collaborate with an artist and write the script for comic strips instead. Also, I have recently watched a good show on Netflix- Love, Death and Robots, and it has rekindled my fondness for short stories. With my sources of inspiration explained, I share here a few short-stories that I wrote about an hour ago:

   1. Losers

We did not win because three stones had remained unturned. Plus, one of them had shattered. Unturned pebbles are a complete deal-breaker.

2. Biked-in

I took my bike out for a walk one day. We went to the beach and heard some uncalled-for laughter. We came back home with sand in our feet and pedals.

The next day, my bike took me out for a ride. We went to the movies and attracted some unwarranted stares. We came back home with life in our hearts and handlebars.

One night, my bike and I decided against going out. We stayed at home and nurtured some unprompted sadness. We came back to our senses with a void in our minds and drive chains.

3. Scarlet’s Letter

Scarlet wrote a letter and forgot to post it. As the night darkened, Spirits of Unfinished-business descended and claimed the letter as one of their own.

Scarlet remained unaware of the aforementioned event. She even forgot about that letter completely.

Consigned to oblivion in her writing desk, the letter oozes out demented words into every single thing that she writes. Everything that she writes now, becomes the unsent letter!

4. June

June would look in the mirror and marvel at her own beauty. With sun-kissed hair, sparkling seas for irises and a brilliant, sandy complexion, she would scoff at May and July, oblivious to the fact that she was sandwiched in between those two. May and July, however, couldn’t care less. They often forgot she existed.

5. Grass

The grass was greener on the other side so he borrowed some. Two shades of grass then grew on his side. The other side immediately regretted sharing.

6. No Fight Left

I roll up my sleeves with a great effort and feel the thick, sticky sweat trickle down my forehead. As weariness finds a home in my bones, I am made aware of the fact that there is almost no fight left in me. With my sleeves now out of the way, I dip my arms in the lukewarm, stagnant water and a wave of nausea hits me. I cannot bear to look down. Or sideways. Or anywhere where there is a chance of me locking eyes with the unwashed clothes! I hate doing laundry!

©Aaysid

 

 

To All the Books I Have Read Before

Familiarity. A comforting concept. Warm, safe and satisfying. It is reliable too. A thing to fall back on, or in some perturbing cases, a thing that doesn’t let you get up thereby preventing a fall altogether. Everlasting? Why not! However, like all good ideas in the world, it is too good a notion to be just good!

I wonder if my spirit animal (I don’t know the exact meaning of this term but I guess it is somewhat like a Patronus) is a beaver now (was definitely a turkey in the past)? I wonder about that a lot. Beavers make dams and that is the only thing they make. Their fragile dams, constructed entirely out of twigs, stones and leaves, do not stand the test of time but that doesn’t stop them from constructing new ones. Why don’t they make other things? Dams are pretty advanced structures and if they can make those they can make almost anything, but they don’t. Then again, why build anything else when you have mastered the construction of dams? I have never built a dam in my life, just a few bridges that I forgot to check up on later, but I am beginning to relate with beavers so much. Just like them, I am getting too comfortable with familiarity.

Now coming to the real problem – at the start of every year I make a list of books that I plan to read throughout the year. I had been doing quite good with that list in the past, maybe because it was realistic (just had five or six new books, none over thousand pages). Since a few years, however, I find myself struggling with it. The fact (more like a sudden realisation) that there are too many unread books and just not enough time anymore (ageing and shortening of attention span) makes me start more than two books at a time and not all of them manage to get my fingerprints all over their last pages. Life has always been busy in one way or another, but never before I had turned my back on a book. It would feel like a transgression. Now, I am just an unapologetic abandoner.  This, unfortunately, is neither the only reason of the ordeal, nor it is the biggest one ! It all comes back to the beavers, dams and the concept of familiarity…

I never had a proper place to put all my books in the house. I just had two shelves so that had meant not keeping too many books. I had access to libraries most of the times and felt good selling and buying books to and from the thrift stores. Sharing with friends, rather pestering them to read, was and still is a hobby, but somehow or the other, there are some books that I couldn’t give away and some that I cannot ever give away (the ebooks). Those books have now acquired ghost like characteristics. They are haunting me. In the worst way possible.

I pick up a new book, and after a few pages, I get this urge to read that part from Stephen King’s IT where Mike Hanlon calls everyone from the Loser’s Club, or that part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows where Ron manages to find that secret radio show hosted by the members of the Order of the Phoenix or that ending from The Catcher in the Rye where Holden watches his sister ride the carousel…the list goes on. Thus, what I have been trying to convey is that recently, whenever I manage to find time to catch up on my to-read list, I end up reading the books that I have already read (not just once, but about a hundred times)! My mind refuses to handle new stories and form new affiliations. It has grown accustomed to familiarity. I wonder if there are other people out there, presently being haunted by the books they have read before?

I bet somewhere out there, beavers are not amused.

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