Friday, January 3, 2014

Locked

Old loves are like keys to doors of old houses you once lived in. Doors your once walked in and out of, every day, without thinking too much about it. Those keys that you always kept with you. Clinking softly, moving about, rubbing against other essentials in your bag - lipgloss, chewing gum sticks, peppermint wrappers, tissues, lint. Entangling in a messy game of twister with other everyday stuff - in a threesome with earphones and rosaries that in turn twist acrobatically with scrunchies. A sort of conflict for predominance. For those of us who keep our keys in designated pockets, the key recognizes and rewards the gesture with an acolyte-like eagerness to serve. Acknowledging the importance it is given. And for those of us, who mindlessly toss them into our bags, it means five minutes of sitting in the stairway and laborious fishing, or in a worst case scenario, an inside-out turning of the bag. Regardless of whether or not you have a bursting bladder screaming to be addressed. Just to be let in. Just to be home.


Then one day you move on. You leave it behind. To a bigger, better place, with a brand new set of keys. What was once familiar, now slowly fades from memory. A habit you've given up. The passages of routine change, the kinks that were committed to memory, get splotchier and blurred by indifference. Unhinged from the key chain you picked so lovingly to give its nondescript, cookie-cutter, conveyer belt featurelessness some mark of distinction. An appendage of identification. Indicating possession. My. Mine. Those keys hold no place in your life anymore. They don't open any doors that matter. Long handed over to new owners - new lives in which they're relevance. Just like old loves.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014

It's that time of the year when I sit and take stock of a year that I mostly wasted away. 2013. The year that by just showing up mocked, among many things, the supposed "apocalypse" itself. The world was supposed to have ended in the year 2012 as the Mayans claimed. And 2013 showed up, said "Gotcha" and went on about being as destructive as any year with the unlucky number 13 in it, had any right to be. Earthquakes brought cities down. Hurricanes came and swept a callous hand across towns, homes, schools and lives - once, twice, until we lost count. Prime Ministers looked the other way from the problem, hoping that they would take the hint and politely leave the room - the problems, not the prime ministers. While a few rapists were brought to book, others eagerly took their place on the streets. Ice continued to melt at the Arctics and climate change gave talking about the weather its more-than-15-minutes in the spotlight of all things consequential - never again to be taken lightly. Economies followed the example of the ice caps. The Ridiculousness Quotient of things politicians say hit an all-time high.

The general theme for 2013 largely seemed to be learning to swim. Floundering, water stinging your eyes, gasping, threading water, swallowing, chlorine burning your lungs, but not yet drowning. For me, especially, 2013 was like learning to swim. In an icy pool I crashed into when the ground beneath me just decided to give way. Learning to swim off the deep end, going under many times. Just when I thought I'd gotten it, the water would cover my head and push me downwards.

I wrote much too little. I read far too little books for my liking. Took too few pictures. And even fewer risks. Danced too little. I mostly let life grow grow cold in my mug and then took a tired, cold, flavourless swig at the end of the year. Taking things for granted is the original sin. Because I can't think of anything more damning that being in a state when we fail to see life's beauty, when we squander away the time we're given to grow, to discover, to run, to make the best of our youth, limbs, skin, hair, love, dreams, desire, lust, wonder, bones, strength, opportunities and coherence. So much, that it's criminal. And I've never been more aware or rather made aware than in 2013. Cancer walked in while we weren't looking and became part of our household. And like most uninvited guests, it has inconsiderately rescheduled our routines, plans, tomorrows, itineraries and yes, all our taken for granteds. We've had to relearn our habits, remake our tempers, rearrange our priorities, relook our convictions, reassess all that's considered valuable, reword our prayers. And suddenly, I'm looking at life with one eye on an hourglass. Constantly pursued by this shadow that threatens to take a loved one away. A shadow that censors our laughter; killing it just it escapes our smiling lips. Smiling lips and dancing limbs that are severely reprimanded for their forgetfulness - shaming them, turning their momentary abandon into something ghastly. It's a little distracting. But it's given me something to focus on, while I try to break into the surface. It's put the fight in my existence. The fight that will be 2014. And we'll come out victorious.