Identity.

He lives in the words he has read, in the lives of people he has read about, in their dreams and ambitions and with each different character, he finds something he can call his. A small scar, a similar habit, a strange hobby, a favorite word, a small fetish. Yet with each person, he leaves a little of himself. The person which a certain line reminded him of, a memory that he associated with that paragraph, a tear in the paper as he opened the pages, a strand of hair that fell of his hair as he slept, cuddling the book like a lover.

Perhaps it is not wise to derive yourself, to build and make yourself from things borrowed and lent. But maybe, that is the point. Perhaps, he felt so tired of making himself, building, constructing himself from a defined box of adjectives- funny, bore, happy, witty, lonesome- instead of memories associated with that adjective that he just couldn’t take it.

Maybe for him, happiness was when he was with his friends, or when he could dance to his heart’s content, or maybe relaxation for him was snuggling next to his favorite book and maybe, contentment was when he could see the sunrise.

Maybe doubt for him is when he isn’t sure if the red blazer goes with the black shoes.

This way, he isn’t angry or sad, or depressed or happy or content or peaceful, he is a sunset and he is a song or he is the green couch you know you’d never use. He is now a bundle of memories. He is with Peeta and he is with Juliet and he is with Martin Luther King Jr and he is with Gandhi and he is with Marilyn Monroe and he with Beatles and he is with Peter Norman and he is with Sachin Tendulkar and he is with Caesar as he gets stabbed and he is with Simon Beauvoir on his last journey and he is with Voldemort as he makes his horcrux.

This way, he is everywhere, and everywhere is him.

But right now?

Right now, he is just a page marked in yet another book, preparing to be a part of a yet another universe when he leaves the smell of his favourite cologne in between its sheets.

Anecdotes: Stories From My Family #1

Today, I am going to relate to you all an incident that happened with my great-grandfather back in 1900s’ – I am not very certain on the date- but which had brought to me tears of laughter when I first heard it, and many times since, from my grandfather, his thirteenth and the last child.

History

My family, the Varmas’ were a quite rich and influential family in Badaun, a district town in Uttar Pradesh, back when the English still ruled over India, and were head by the reticent, respected and renowned barrister Shri Vasdeva Sahay Varma, who lived with his wife and a huge family. Overall, there were thirteen children, out of which only six survived, and who are now reduced to two, my grandfather and his immediately elder brother. Apart from that, there were many servants, many families of relatives, and it is said that the house once was the home of over fifty people.

My great-grandfather (referred to as GG from now on) was a very reserved man and liked to keep to him. My grandfather, Dr. Hari Krishna Varma (G), admits that he rarely ever talked to him; in fact, even topics related to his children’s schooling were dealt through a loyal relative. He was a man way ahead of him time; all of his surviving daughters were educated, and one even did her Masters’ at a time when girls were married in their teenage years. He was extremely intelligent- he had topped his University in Sanskrit, which he had learnt for just three months- and was a superb barrister whose his earnings were voluminous. A man of class, G says for him to have never travelled below a first class in a train, and yet he donated at the local temple every Tuesday.

Physically, he was extremely fat and weighed well above 100 kilos. Normal height, and wide body, I like to imagine him as Father Santa.

The following incident occurred when he was travelling for work on a train.

Incident

It is an incident in a time, when trains were not in ample, and Indians travelling in the first class compartment of the train even more uncommon. Hence, there was no reservation of seat, and once people got on the train, they were supposed to get their tickets from the ticket collector.

One time, my GG was sitting in the train when it came to a stop, and he alighted on the station to get a drink of water. On returning, he found that another man had made himself comfortable on GG’s seat.

The conversation that unfolded was something like this, but in Hindi, I suppose:

GG: *politely informs* Dear sir, I’m afraid you’ll have to vacate the seat. This is my seat and I had just got off for a sip of water.

Man: *in clearly no mood to leave from the seat* Sir, forgive me, but I really don’t see your name imprinted on this seat anywhere. If you’d just point that to me, I’ll vacate immediately.

GG: *surprised* What…? *recovering* Okay, then please forgive me sir but then I’m left with no other option but to sit on you since there is no sign here that says that only one person can be seated on one seat.

Man: WHAT?! *staring at the huge and heavy expanse of my grandfather* I’m… I’m… Sorry, sorry, I’ll leave immediately. *gets up and leave*

Yes, that happened. It happened in real life, and the man had to give up the seat.

Conclusion

My G has traced our family back to five generations and it’s really refreshing when he tells us stories like this. In a time when nuclear families are the norm and one is loses the roots of the family evolution, it is stories like these that keep us bound together in laughter.

G often tells us incidents like these, most of the time, a funny thing that happens at a moment leads us to stories that happened years ago, but are funny even today. It’s a beautiful experience and memory to share.

How’d you like it? I’m thinking of beginning a collection o such incidents together, narrating them as the come to knowledge and mind? Would you be interested?

Hope you liked this one and (hopefully) the others to come too.

Happy New Year.

20160102092423

A new beginning.

2015 was a very varied year for me. And to sum it up, I’d say it was quick.

Grade 12 kept me pretty busy, and enjoyed my life most of the time. Yes, there were bad times too, when I was hopeless, when I wanted nothing more than to give, and when I was pretty screwed up. But then there were some amazing times too. I learnt a lot about my truest friends, I tampered a lot of relationships and I mended quite a few. I change a lot. I was more cautious with the relationships I invested in, and I was more invested at the same time too, I contemplated quite a lot on who I was, who I am, and who I aspire to be. I lost quite a few people, many went far away, vacant spots in the heart, the only medicine to the pain it causes being the memories that we shared.

I travelled. Starting from a trip to Kurfi and Shimla, in January, where I saw snow for the first time and a small expedition to Agra in April, where I striked off my first Bucket List item- taking a selfie at Taj Mahal at dawn (and both of whose drafts are still in my drafts tag), followed by visiting lucknow in June (for my SAT) where I met up with some distant and some relatives as well, followed by the best trip ever- to Kashmir! It was an year I spent quite a lot on road.

At school, graduation approached (one month people), we gave an amazing farewell to the senior class. I got an award for my poetry, and I ventured (tried to) venture beyond my comfort zone, and I think I improved in terms of my social anxiety, I think. I made new friends, I learned new things (I think) and there were times I was quite frustrated (as anyone who’s read my blog regularly might know), but I grew. Yes, I grew.

At my blogosphere, I tried to be pretty active, though it was not possible at times. Nevertheless, TWPM made its presence felt worldwide and I got some 13k views on my blog this year (thanks to you!) TWPM made an Instagram page (@theworldpastme: go follow) with a lot of photos and other writeups. I met some amazing bloggers and made some great friends- Adi, Yusra, Anoop, Zareen, Ribhu, Cynic, Phoenix, Erika, Ritu- to name a few. I tried to write on a variety of topics, add a little personal touch to it most of the times. Whether it reflected in my work, only you can decide.

I worked on my physical and mental state as well, tried to be happier and kinder, and be happy with who I am and accept myself as I am. It worked, quite a bit, but it’s something I will work on, again.

As you might have guessed, it has been a tumultuous year, with a lot of ups and downs and lefts and rights. But hey, this is life. You never know what next is going to come, how you will fare, and how you will perform. What you do know is that there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud. And that, each year, you are going to get a little older, your hair greyer, your face a little wrinkled, your age increasing. This is the oldest you’ve ever been and the youngest you’ll ever be.

So to all my readers, live your life to the fullest, be happy, learn, aspire, dream and achieve. A very happy 2016 to you.