Time to talk, with or without a phone

I left behind my mobile phone at home. I realized it on the way to office when I tried to pull it out to check time. I could have gone back, and picked it up as we were only few meters away from the house. But I let it be. It is just a day without phone, what can happen at the max.

But, on second thoughts a lot could happen and the panic set in. What if someone wants to contact me for a legit reason? So, I left my visiting card at my son’s preschool; it had my office phone in case they wanted to reach me. Once at office, I quickly called up my husband and mother, the only two people who may probably worry about me.

But it felt weird, like I had lost a part of my left arm. And, for first few hours my hands kept trying to pull out an imaginary phone; a muscle memory of sorts. A constant reminder that probably I am too attached to my phone than I probably like to admit.

I recalled from a recent talk show I watched: Ed Sheeran does not have a mobile phone. He uses email to communicate, or people can reach him on a fixed line. If he can, I can too. A flip second later, I realise I am no Ed Sheeran. Why did I even think of it in the first place? Too lame an analogy

Probably, because I started to worry that I had not checked out the cart in my online grocery app or when I was trying to transfer fund, I needed my phone for an OTP. And, let us not even get started on how I will be able to book an Uber back home (?). I and husband had a strategy meeting around this one already.

Leaving behind a phone had far more implications than I initially thought. This simply was not working and I decide to rest the case. And mind you all this happened by 11 AM

May be, I was going to be more productive with my work or perhaps spend a little extra time socializing rather interacting with my colleagues/friends at work. Because, that is what spending less time on phone should ideally bring about.

But it did not happen. I had to email to communicate instead of just calling and it was complicated. So, in the end there was no rise in productivity. And, as to people at work, I found out I don’t talk to a lot of people anymore. I actually talk to only three people and rest I  communicate through phone or the office messenger and a lot of them who I used to speak to have left the organisation and moved on. So it was very weird to think that I will strike up a conversation with someone just because I forgot to take my phone. As for the three guys that I hang out with in office, I would anyway spend time with them, irrespective of phone being there or not.

So, during the course of day I hardly missed receiving any texts from the people in my life. Being a textovert, I hardly call people and I prefer people to text me than call (you can take it as a cue); so if I miss calls I know it is always an important one. But, I wondered how many messages will be waiting for me when I do get hands on my phone

As you and even I anticipated, when I reached home, I did not immediately run for my phone. I was already a bit detached, which was slightly weird. I took my sweet time to hand my son a bottle of milk, settled him into bed and grabbed my phone. There were a lot of notifications, and 90% were random updates, stupid promotional stuff and I did have few WhatsApp messages. I eagerly opened my WhatsApp inbox to find a lot of group messages, forwards and few personal ones-nothing that requires immediate attention. I am generally a well-connected person and have a 1 hour rule for any message/communication to me, I always reply to the text or return calls in an hour’s time. However, no one had even noticed that I was not responding

So, I reply to someone who had texted while I was gone and conversation goes like this

I: I left my phone behind and hence could not reply

Friend: How did you manage? I would have died

I: Really? You are more connected than I am, always updating status and all that. Did anyone miss you the other day you were in hospital and fell off the radar. Any text or call asking if you are okay?

F: None

I: See, you would not have died

Then, the next day, I walk out of home and make sure the phone was with me. I walk into office and realise the three guys I hang out with are not in office. One is on leave because traffic diversion caused his Uber to not provide any rides in his area. One is away on a vacation in the US and is available only on WhatsApp. And, one is sitting in another floor and the office messenger indicates she’s away from her desk currently.

So, at times I look at my mobile phone. There are few messages from my mom, some texts from my bank and lot of random stuff. But, more importantly, in a muscle memory of sorts I shout across to my friend (the guy who didn’t come to work because there was no Uber) and I swallow the words in my throat. I look up at the messenger to see if my friend in the other floor has returned to her desk and is available for a quick cup of coffee. And, in between I drop some texts to the one in the US disregarding the time zone issues. I send quick updates to my husband and mom; do my check-in at the school. I also send a lot of messages to other people in my network, like few feeds, tweet a bit, and adhere to my one hour reply rule.

So, in the end I realise phone has nothing to do with conversations; I mean real conversation. These are actually mutually exclusive things in my experience. I do not talk to people because I spend extra time on phone or anything else for that matter. It is because I don’t want to or sometimes they don’t want to. May be we are busy, but if we want to, we always get back and don’t use it as an excuse. Otherwise it is an issue of prioritization.

Going back to the conversation with my friend from the other day

I:  One does not spend time, because they don’t have time. It’s because they don’t make time!

F: True that

Not generalizing things here. But I guess I am just pacifying myself that phone or no phone, real or virtual I simply don’t have many people to actually speak to, talk to, and reach out to.

Now, did I really need a forgotten phone to understand this or did I know it all along, I will never be able to tell

P.S

Talking mentioned above is general, we are not discussing emotional availability, needs, wants, fancies and expectations from a real meaningful conversation. Now, that is a different subject altogether and I had rather not go there. Too hard and too complicated! Also excluded are people addicted to phones and social recluses. We are talking the middle of normal curve and not the tail ends.

Captive Minds

It is not really crazy how things change over time, it is just meant to be

The things once enjoyed become drudgery, like say a weekend, only chores to be done

Shuddering at the thought of living in places that are remembered with fondness, even for few days

No longer in touch with people to whom everything was shared a while back

And, the helplessness to share real feelings with those that matter, for fear of rejection

What if they also leave; what if it also ends; what if it all comes crashing down

Reeling at the thought of it; worries playing at the back of mind in shuffle mode

 

On the outward, it is all calm; No one sees the undercurrents

People call it whatever that pleases them-indifference, silence, mature, arrogant

Some say take it easy, this is nothing and dismiss the notion that it ever existed

Some dismisses you; say nothing can be done about it

An Imprisoned Mind by Stein T Skavaas

And, it all hides behind the extensive to do list that are made every day

Bathroom floors and kitchen slabs that are scrubbed repeatedly

Cupboards that are pulled out, organised, put back and re-organised

Checklists of which tasks are crossed and filled in again

 

It all hides behind the daily routine that is built to justify living

The same cycle every day, to the point of developing a OCD

Where, even for good, a change in pattern makes us insecure

A kind of Stockholm syndrome, where we love being our own hostage

 

We are the captive

But we are also the captor

And admittedly, we love being both

Guest Blog #2: One last look back at you!

The protagonist is not afraid to say, he is a flirt. He flirts, cause to him, flirting is a game, one he excels at. Words, have always come to him easily, when he lays eyes on a beautiful woman, ever more so. The charm and the smile does what words couldn’t if they ever failed him. Make no mistake though, a flirt he may be, but a romantic more so at heart. The protagonist wishes to relive and share some candid thoughts he had for a woman who made a mark in his life. Carl Jung once said, “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”, and the protagonist is thankful to “the ex”, and wishes to pay homage for the transformation she helped bring about.

And thus, came the conclusion to that, with a mighty sob that tugged the strings in my heart just as your nonchalant smile did the first time I laid my eyes on you. I wished ever so much to console you, tell you things are going to be good; With a heavy heart I said goodbye, a mumble under the breath followed by acquiescence. Long distance, have left many victims in their wake. Won’t deny it, I cried myself to sleep that night and a few after that (Alpha male, what is that? Besides manliness is overrated, unless you are one of those guys). They say karma is a bitch (always wondered who they are, hold them by the scruff shout at them while I violently shake them “Why must you always be right, and who are you to prove me wrong?”), and I shall have my comeuppance for the agony you suffered. But today, today is not the day for it. Today I shall remember you, glorify you, and finally be able to say, sorry for your misery but thank you for making me a part of your life. Thank you for having shared your time with me, laughed and shared your insights with me. I shall never forget you for as long as I shall exist.

Knock knock, rings the notification tone in the background; The clickety clack of the keyboard gone, replaced by the lull of expectation. I purse my lips, a wry smile on the horizon as I reach out to check the text. The walks where I would call you, and hear your morning voice, fresh from your sleep,  those moments stay fresh in my mind. You taught me to enjoy food more (Beef Bourgogne, Indian cuisine? Yum yum), the look of relish and childlike happiness as you dip your roti in the curry and gently slip it into your mouth. You taught me to never be afraid of trying things (Avial (South Indian dish)) with bitter gourd, suffice to say, I am still scared from that one.) and most of all, I learnt to take things one day at a time.

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I respect you, and I have always had nothing but love for you. Gripes there were a few, you made me feel worthless at times with your sharp words, as if I was nothing but a fly on the wall. I should have opened out about our relationship to my parents and validated it, which I failed to do. I failed to placate the doubts which should have been uprooted at inception. Times aplenty when language would stop us from understanding each other, but I also learnt how a relationship need not be anything but fun. Hurting you was never something I wished, but you knew it right from the beginning when you started calling me a foetus, and foetus is what I eventually showed myself to be. Distance, I am afraid brought cracks in my belief of us. I should have stood up, earned our right to be part of each other’s lives. Naysayers there were aplenty, but see through this with a smile on my face I should have. Counterproductive, but one day, hopefully you shall look back at this, less bitter and disappointed in me, having moved on to someone more deserving your affection, have a wry smile on your face and finally think “I didn’t understand you back then, but I can finally forgive you”.

***

Shruthi says:

I have known “The one who don’t want to be named” for a long long time now. I feel the best part of him is he can laugh until tummy hurts and cry like a baby when need be.To be able to go through something and feel emotion in truest sense is great, and I wish he does not change ever 🙂

Author’s inner monologue:

Three things that I fancy : food, travel and my ego. I spend my time thinking of the time I can get on the airport, nibbling away at the next  fancy meal, preferably with oysters and champagne, and the next time I can hear someone say I am amazing.
Put me in the company of people who want to experience new things and learn, and I will be happy. I write and read purely to express my superiority over others. Oh, and in case you haven’t figured, I am a narcissist. The joys of going anonymous

Imaginary Friend 2.0

You are the character from the book that I felt one with,

To live a thousand different lives in one birth

You are the quotes from great men, celebrities and obscure strangers,

Nevertheless I felt it was one-on-one discussions with me

You are the words that I read in between the lines in that poem,

But could not forget for a day and half

You are the talk shows that I listen to,

For inspiration has to be experienced and not a cacophony

You are the random pics I see on those apps,

And it fills the empty spaces between non-existent conversations

You are the stories I scrolled down at the swipe of a finger,

Only to let it linger at the back of my head for hours

Image result for imaginary friend art

 

You are that imaginary friend from my childhood that never left me,

Or on second thoughts, the one that I did not let go

For you don’t have to be alone to feel lonely

 

 

Shell on the Shore

Friendship and people was never my thing

Not that I did not like to have either in my life

I just did not understand how to make friends

“Awkward” will be an understatement to describe me

 

Then, I met someone who had so many friends

“Effortless” is how I describe him

He said, you don’t make friends

You be a friend- be mine first

My first friend he became, but I was not his last

I stood at its mouth of his expanding friend circle, waiting to be absorbed in

I was rejected, like a shell that is returned to the shore by a wave

The same wave that swept it in at the first place

 

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I let go of it all- Such a pain to try

Then, friends happened on its own or so I thought

I bragged that I also have friends and He said ‘I told you so’

For once I was there for someone, without seeking returns

 

But, soon I felt I was just a cog in the wheel

People text me and I know they need help

One day I do not reach out and no one misses me

Random texts, forwards and mindless conversations- but no one missed me?

 

I withdrew further into my shell, told him- only you can do it

Wept my weekend away- talked to myself

Reassured that, I am there for myself

It may not be a lonely end, hopefully

 

I walk into the room- relieved to see my cactus plant

I have you at least I tell it

A second glance and I see it is dying too

What was wrong? Too much water or too less sun

I will never know and does that matter,

Now that I have really lost the hope forever

Broken Promises

There is a lot of hype about heart break. But, it is often wrongly portrayed as this one instance when the whole thing crumples down- an apocalypse of sort, for some relationships mean the world to you (at least at that particular point of time).

It is not. It is when small cracks appear, and it starts bleeding, and you patch things up to keep going despite all the pain. And, one day it becomes too hard to take anymore and it just stops ticking for things you believe in. That’s real heart break!

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Heart broke a little every time when;

I was told I can grow up to be anything, but realised all everyone wanted from me was fit into their mind frame

The pinkie swear with this girl in ponytail to be best friends forever did not stand the test of time

The assurance of “Always and Forever” wilted a few years after the first flowers were exchanged

Farewell mails vowing to stay in touch are as hollow as it sounds

And many other countless times..

It breaks a little more now, when I look into your tiny eyes and keep saying I will always be there for you, knowing exactly that I won’t be around forever

A pile of broken promises and spoken words that weighs heavily sits now where the heart used to

 

Guest Blog #1: Tomorrow!

This blog is part of my guest blog series where I let fellow writers contribute to the blog- if and only if it is in-line with spirit of my blog

I want to see Paris again, walking down the Siene hand in hand with a lover.

I want to swim in Flic beach, watch the sea stretch to infinity, and feel overwhelmed by the beauty that lies in my insignificance.

I want to eat another burger at Jeanno’s and wash it down with a cold beer. I want to drink 21 year old Bushmills and read Hemingway in the middle of nowhere.

Cobbled alley, downtown ParisI want to make love to a woman who truly loves me, in the middle of the afternoon on a Wednesday and hold her close as we watch the sunset.

I want to feel the adrenaline course through my body as I fly 40,000 feet in the air to visit new lands, walking in the footsteps of kings and emperors that came before.

Most of all, I want to sleep, like I used to when I was a boy

Unencumbered by the burden of knowledge and the fear of tomorrow.

***

P.S

Shruthi says: Being a Cancerian, I am very territorial about my space, and it applies to my blog too. But, here I am letting another Cancerian, Tanvir guest blog. What interests me about Tanvir as a person is:  how he has a strong view about anything and everything. What interests me about Tanvir as a writer is: how he effortlessly pulls us into his monologue and keeps us wanting for more, even when at times we have no clue what he is talking about.

Tanvir’s inner monologue:

I am a mindless drone in the corporate machine. I am proud of my fancy masters degree and ascerbic wit. I spend my days looking for love, imported kit kat and bushmills whiskey, not necessarily in that order. I write mainly to sooth my soul, and impress women.