Sunday, 15 November 2015
Saturday, 14 November 2015
|Source: Google Images|
An asleep person is half dead. Anything can happen to you while you’re sleeping. A spider can walk over your face and get inside your nose. Someone may break into your house and steal your Nutella. A natural calamity may sway you to Heaven along with your mattress. Or for that matter, the world may come to an end and you might wake up straight on the Judgment Day. Anything can happen.
Sleep is an integral part of the human existence on this planet. It is also the most fascinating phenomenon that a person can study.
Recently I started paying attention to my nightmares and often tried to remember them for as long as possible. One afternoon I was having my after-lunch nap that I had a nightmare. This is not the unusual part. The unusual part is that after I became aware of my lucid dream and it ended somehow, I lay in bed motionless for a few minutes. No matter how eloquent I try to be I cannot precisely describe that terrifying moment. I just lay still in my bed while my brain was struggling between sleep and consciousness. I was trying to sit up with all the strength and might I had in the midst of sleep exhaustion, but nothing happened. I came out of it somehow and regained control.
This irregularly happens with me. It’s just a matter of few numb seconds after which I wake up. But those few seconds are absurd, sometimes very horrifying.
I was so intrigued with this strange occurrence that I decided to Google it and read a bit about this phenomenon called sleep paralysis.
|"The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (1781) is thought to be one of the classic depictions of sleep paralysis perceived as a demonic visitation." - Wikipedia|
I opened up myself to a vast ocean of knowledge pertaining to sleep disorders and what they really are. After knowing what sleep paralysis actually is, I realized that what I experienced is not even a fraction of something that could explain the gravity and complexity of the situation people suffering from it go through. People actually struggling from sleep paralysis disorder had shared their stories. Some of their experiences were similar to mine but with some I simply couldn’t relate. Before I head on to that comparison I would like to explain what all I know about sleep paralysis to give you a better insight.
Simply put, it is a moment either while falling asleep or waking up; where your body is still into the state of sleep but the mind has woken up. While reading up sleep paralysis I noticed repeated mention of the term ‘REM sleep’.
|Source: Google Images|
· It is more likely to happen when we are sleep deprived and need more rest than we are currently having.
· Most people have experienced it at least once in life but are not aware of it or ignore it.
· It lasts for around 20 seconds to a few minutes.
· It is NOT a disease or a mental illness, until it is very frequent and exceeds the 20 sec- few mins average span. In that case, the reasons behind it might be other than the usual natural occurrence (for instance, a past mental illness or trauma)
|Source: Google Images|
However, I couldn’t relate to a few other facts. These are possibly true in case of unusual causes originating out of a mental illness or trauma:
· You feel as if you woke up dead. Well, that is not what I felt, at least. You kind of know what’s happening but can’t really do anything about it.
· Your eyes are sometimes open.
Hell! That is scary.
· You feel a presence in your room and sometimes even hear voices.
That seems bizarre and is more supernatural than scientific.
· You just can’t wake up. It is a natural process, not in your control. So you just lay there waiting until it ends.
But in my case, as I mentioned, I was able to wake up once I pushed myself up with all my might. But chances are that I just feel that I got up because I tried hard but in reality it was simply the natural end of atonia.
In a nutshell, sleep paralysis is just one of the sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep walking but not as common. These lines by one of my Twitter friends perfectly explain the feeling of being in sleep paralysis:
Sunday, 25 October 2015
Because we're a world obsessed with serendipity. Even though we see no potential of it happening, we still keep wishing it happens. Any consolation in that regard calms us and soothes what's burning inside.
But I don't want to soothe my fire. It is what keeps me from giving up and going berserk.
I would trade my seven lives in this world for a year in a world where all the people are honest. Where you can make friends without the fear of being stabbed and express your real emotions without the fear of being misinterpreted.
That would be my utopia. Because of course, ' There is no legacy as rich as honesty'.
Thursday, 1 October 2015
Recently I got the chance to have a discussion with the debutant novelist Preeti Bhonsle regarding her novel 27 Broken Footprints. I would like to share the interesting conversation I had with her:
Me: Firstly talking about When A Star Dies. When I read the name of the chapter I thought it would be a metaphor about the downfall in the career of a celebrity. I was party wrong and partly right. What is most surprising is the fact that you've connected it to science, despite maintaining the literary device. Did the IITian inside you seep into that concept or was it the result of a past observation that led you to this fascinating piece of fiction?
Preeti: I had the story in my head about the girl as you have already read. It seemed so obvious – her fall and the way a star fades out. What I like about this piece is how a story can be told around a few factual sentences and also how these scientific inserts provide for the right kind of breaks for the starlet’s story to progress.
Now tell me did you like her name?
Me: I loved it! Did you name her so because it seemed apt to the story or is it inspired by a real life character?
Preeti: I would like to believe that I have invented the name. Google might disagree, should check on this. But I certainly did coin the name. I like how it sounds.
Based on a real person? Hmmn...let’s not share everything…
Me: One thing I find really interesting about your book is that even though there are different chapters with different characters yet it all looks interconnected. Want to elaborate on this?
Preeti: They are all interconnected. Ways of story telling are carried over from one section to another, sometimes in style sometimes in characters. For example The Tree House in the rain, the second story in the book, borrows the protagonist of the first story, The Other Woman. Borderline Human Tales is just a more detailed version of Little Stories. Also the issues I bring up in Women, men and heroes form an integral part of the story - Like me, you are and also a little of Inside Diary.
I had written an article about the fractal nature of the book, you should go through it.
Me: Your writing surprises me every single time. One thing which is identifiable to your writing style is that you connect science to random life coincidences, and it seems absolutely legit. Let me tell you that I am a very non-science person. In fact I hated science all through middle school, if I may say. That is because I was always inclined towards the philosophy of living than the science of life. And you're the first such person I've come across who blends both science and philosophy in such a beautiful manner. I admire you for that!
Coming to the chapter Forgotten Tales Of A Family Lost. Why do you call these tales 'forgotten'?
Preeti: The family in this story is struck by recurring tragedy across two generations. They have realized that the only way to truly cope up with difficult times is to forget them.
But the "forgotten tales" bit is slightly self-referential. Notice the starting lines, the narrator is trying to remember their story, her story, she is trying to remember what she has forgotten. Also the prose forgets certain details too - for e.g. after the twin is lost there are four people at the dining table, the very next line says there are five of them at the table.
Towards the end of the story, the forgetting bit gets very rapid. I think it is a bit scary how this story ends, I almost feel for the husband.
Did you like this one?
Me: Yes, I do. After having read three of your chapters I notice that you have a kind of soft corner for the supernatural. Your writings are wrapped in suspense and it gives immense food for thought. Is it your genre of writing by default or did you work on it for specifically this novel?
Preeti: This was just a phase. I had been experimenting with this kind of writing – magical, real, mystical, with characters – abstract, blurred, ideal, evil. Only these sections of the book - Little Stories and Borderline Human Tales are mystical, supernatural, abstract and magical. Rest of the seven are in no way like these.
I did not work on it specifically for this book. It was just a phase I was going through. For example my latest experiment was in trying to write a different kind thriller ( Who Killed Linda?) and it turned out to be fantastic.
27 Broken Footprints is available on Amazon and Infibeams. Despite of what it says on the Amazon site, the book will be delivered with 3-4 days.
To read more about the book and Preeti, you can visit www.27brokenfootprints.com
Saturday, 29 August 2015
Recently I encouraged all my readers to write poems to themselves, for self love. I got to read some really beautiful poems. I would like to share two of my most favorite ones.
Why hello there young lady
Came around to recheck?
While you stand at the 'right' angle
Here is a gentle reminder-
It's about time you sung your song!
Of a peculiar soul
Behold the irony-
With just two syllables
You scribble a whole saga!
Born amongst fiery flames
Under the northern star
As nine as a feline
As clean as a cleanser
And yield company like Caesar.
Your ebony coated pupils
Shy away from those ivory
They tremble with grace
Look down with "dew" respect
And up with a gazillion ambitions.
Your bruises have a healing power
Right now they may be numb
But they contain ingredients
Of a soothing lotion
Which creates dimples in melancholy.
The strands that fall out of place
Creep under your quilt
To tease you during wintry nights
Yet when you mercilessly splash water
They go on and kiss your blades.
You bump into humps
And enter a different dimension
You trip on a tile
And fall into nature's cradle
You make clumsiness feel trendy!
Your puffed up cheeks
And ever pigmented lips
Moisten the mist
Outshine the sunshine
And drill the craters further.
And when you hide your face
While chewing those treats
And when you button your cuffs
Like it's a huge obstacle
There's someone capturing your moments.
Honey, you are beautiful
A treasure, a dynamite
You wear a halo for a tiara
Just never fall for your shadow
For it is the black in a spectrum.
Comfortable, neat, pressed, well dressed;
Yep, I take pride in always looking my best.
I'm fly, I'm breezy, I'm sharp, I'm mean
Whenever they see me they say I'm too clean 😎
Calm, collected, quiet, reserved,
I'll give you no less than the respect you deserve.
I'm shy at first but don't be deceived
If you ever befriend me I'll make you believe
That even if you're hurt and filled with sorrow
There's waiting for you a beautiful tomorrow
Lean, fit, ripped and toned
At 5'5, man I'm bad to the bone
But don't be alarmed, I'm gentle I swear
Yep, I'm cuddly just like your teddy bear
Smart, wise, mentally sound
My head's held high, my feet firm on the ground
Straight A student, yes at every school
Try me America, I'm no "nigger" nor fool
This poem is mine, but its not just for me
It shows you everything I think about daily
My virtues, my strengths, my guidelines in life
Things that help me in times of strife
Standing in front of my mirror, I will try something new
I will lift my eyes... Smile... and whisper "I love you"
I've said to so many, friends and family.
But I never said it, to the one that is... Me
"The Bipolar Being", my friend, I love you too
Because without this poem I would've never knew
How lost I was, trying to please everyone else
Trying to help them I neglected myself
So in my closing, a quote i leave with you
"If I asked you to name all of the things you loved, would you ever name you?"
Tuesday, 25 August 2015
|Photography: The Dreamers|
This title might be indigestible for many of you.
When I travel to school, my school van passes under a flyover in Hauz Khas. Like every other flyover in Delhi it houses a dozen or two beggars and vagabonds. And when it rains, holy shit, when it rains; they live in literal hell. My school van’s window seat gets wet in rain because the window doesn’t shut properly. I was annoyed at the driver for this the other day. But then I looked beyond the window and what I saw has pacified my grumblings forever. Of those nomads, ones who have the flyover as a roof are still the lucky ones. Some of them sleep on the footpath, the ones that don’t have a family or are abandoned by them. They are the minorities among the minorities. The footpath is their mattress and the night breeze becomes their air conditioner. But when it rains they are left devoid of even these petty dwellings. They probably have only one pair of clothing that soaks wet and dries along their skin and this cycle continues with the water cycle during monsoon.
The situation on the flyover is no better. All the water slopes down the steep end of it, where it clogs. It should rather flow into the drains but for some reason it doesn’t. So the cars riding towards the flyover have to swim across to go ahead and climb the flyover. Almost always an aged car drowns mid-process. This leads to a line of cars behind it honking ridiculously to make way. My van mostly swims, thankfully. And then we go on peacefully till we pass in front of that huge MCD public dustbin. Now what is a dustbin doing here, right? The problem being that there is always more waste accumulated at a time than the dustbin can capacitate. So the waste walks out of it on the by lanes and forms grand heaps. The time at which my van passes by this vista the MCD truck has not come for picking up the garbage. Coincidently, at the same time the Heavens shower pious water droplets on these heaps of garbage giving out the pleasant odor we all despise.
Thinking of all this I start to wish for the monsoons to storm away to some far off land and not return. But then I think of the farmers, the devotees of monsoon. They wait all through the sweating summer and windy winter to quench their thirst. The harvest needs rain, and the country needs the harvest. Not just our country, but this harvest is exported to all over the world. This eventually stimulates the inflow the foreign currency and the Economics student inside me boasts with pride. The tiny droplets of water caress the seeds of nutrition sowed in the fields of Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and all the agricultural states. Monsoon is the time when the perpetual sweat on a farmer’s forehead is wiped off with the rain droplets. The country rejoices. Now I cannot wish for the monsoon to go away to some far off land.
But all I wish to ask is that can I not, as a teenage girl from India, love monsoon like others do? The answer comes no. Never in my life have I been able to look at something from the face value. I see beyond my immediate pleasures. And I get sick tired of this process. To think so much about matters supposedly not concerning me is the reason I have pages of my diary filled with rants. But let’s not shift from the point, here. The point is that I live in a beautiful country. We are blessed with the most diverse combination of land forms, climate and resources. What we could achieve with all this, yet what where we stand is miserable. If water clogged flyovers and stinking by lanes is development for people, I don’t know what we’re up to. If these developments were taken care of in the right way, I would also enjoy monsoon like the rest of the girls; gazing out of the window and daydreaming while my face is smitten with the cold winds. But here I am, indoors, terrified of stepping out into the muddy roads and water clogged flyovers!
Saturday, 15 August 2015
I was born and I shall die. But in the labyrinth of life if I ever get lost, let me not loose myself.
I love the way my wet curly hair
Flow lustily down my shoulders after a shower
They be frizzy and untamed, but they be mine
I won't tie them up, what if they don't smell like the flower?
During times of melancholy, I read myself stories, poems, listen to songs, go on a walk.
Who else would ever do so much and why?
I can trace the map alone
The comrade of my soul is never shy.
I have brown eyes that glisten with dreams
Even after my specs hide them
Some days I have dark circles and my eyes look dull
But to me they'll always be a precious gem.
A stranger is never strange to me
I gel with a myriad, not just one personality
Deliberate in my efforts to not leave a scar
Even if I fail, I value this mentality
My nose is flat and small
But it breathes for me the smell of rain-drenched mud
Twitches everytime the sneeze plays hide-n-seek
But it's as significant to me as the redness of my blood
I am short, but I can make a big difference
I am fat, but my greed is bleak
I am amateur, but my pursuit is clear
I am flawed, yet beautiful all the same.
Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Note: I had written this a few weeks earlier. An account of a previous date.
अाज मैं डाकखाने गई थी। चंद दोसतों अौर दो अध्ययापिकाऔं के साथ। स्कूल के चार कदम पीछे ही है हाॅज़-खास़ का दाकखाना।
वहाँ जाकर कुछ अलग सा ही महसूस हुआ। जैसे वो चार कदम चल अपने बचपन में आ गई थी।
ऐसे ही कुछ खयालात लिए INDIA POST के दफ़तर के सामने खड़ी थी। इतने में एक मध्यम-आयु के पुरुष आये और हमें पोस्ट-औफिस कि नयी सुविधाओं के बारे में जागरुक करने लगे। Digital India के तहद अब भारत के डाक-खाने उपलब्ध एवं बेहतर हो गये हैं। Core Banking कि सुविधाएं काफी आश्चर्यचकित लगीं। मैंने तो कभी सोचा भी नहीं था कि एक डाकखाना बैंक की तरह भी काम कर सकता है!
आखिरी कमरे से बाहर निकल रहे थे कि देखा दीवार पर कोने में एक कागज़ पर लिखकर चिपका रखा था - "हिंदी कार्यालय दिवस"। एक ग्यारहवीं कक्षा की लड़की ने उन पुरूष से पूछा कि इसका क्या मतलब है तो उन्होनें हमें बताया कि हर बुद्धवार को विधि हेतु सारा कार्य हिंदी में निभाया जाता है। पहले तो यह सुनकर चेहरे पर मुस्कान आ गयी पर फिर हैरानी ने माथा ढ़क लिया। भला ऐसा क्यों कि भारत के डाकखाने में प्रमुख भाषा हिंदी के लिए एक दिन सिद्ध किया गया है? डाकखाने जैसे बुज़ुर्ग दफ्तर में भी अगर अंग्रेजी आवश्यक हो गयी तो आखिर हिंदी प्रयोग होगी कहाँ?
Wednesday, 8 July 2015
Wednesday, 1 July 2015
P.P.S- I posted this article on a writer's society and people went on to criticize it to extents where I was taken terribly out of context. So if any of you feel the same, let me tell you that I am NOT against feminism. I believe it is high time women get their due in the society but not at the cost of hating and generalizing all men! Some women have been misusing and misinterpreting feminism for personal benefits rather than well-being of women in general. These are my personal opinions and I stand by them. Maybe I'm not absolutely right but I am absolutely honest.
In the words of Kurt Cobain: "I'd rather be hated for who I am than be loved for who I am not"
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Sunday, 8 March 2015
Wednesday, 4 March 2015
5. Has life given you lemons?
6. Do you believe in ghosts?
7. Are you creative? If yes then share your talent. :)
8. Name a book that changed your outlook towards life.
9. How many true friends do you have?
10. Do you like me? ^_^
11. Are you satisfied with these questions?
Saturday, 24 January 2015
I have a very vulnerable hate speed, i.e. the speed with which I can start hating a person is very fast. Usually these are people I don’t know, people I just observe on the roads, the streets, the markets etc. And my hate speed is directly proportional to how big of a litterbug they are. Though the reasons for which I may hate a person are many, but the most irritable nuisances committed which I just can’t tolerate are the various modes of spreading “beauty” that people in India are accustomed to.