Twenty Again

For a twenty something puerile wander-lusting simpleton at the precipice of her life juvenile, the theme behind this story would not mean much in theory. But life is never theoretical. The reason I’m well acquainted with this fact is that I’ve mapped out the safest routes in my life on paper, leaned on the safest people to trust theoretically and followed theoretically approved philosophies. But at the end of every turn and every relationship, I’ve found the unexpected; the good and bad in equal have been my comrades.

In other words, to hell with theory. Life is life, unpredictably dark and stormy and blue and tranquil.

I can’t really explain why I relate so much to this Korean drama I’m obsessed with at the moment. It is after all the story of a woman who had to sacrifice her life to raise a child and to be a wife to an ungrateful husband after being bound in wedlock to him due to an unplanned pregnancy. It is a story of a weak soul who was so blinded by love and her commitment to maternal duties that she dropped out of high school, moved to a foreign country, nursed a child at 19 and gave up on her dream of becoming a dancer. (I do not call her weak because she let her maternal instincts sideline her career, but because she endured the taunts of a husband who treated her like garbage. Even after he wanted to divorce her, she was as blind to his flaws as ever.)

But this really isn’t all that this show, that has become a guilty pleasure of mine (for I spent about 3 hours binge watching the last few episodes instead of starting work on a college paper that is due in two days), is about. It’s about this woman going back to college to fulfill her long lost aspirations despite everything in her life standing in her way. The final push that makes this 38 year old join university as a freshman is the sudden discovery that she has only 6 months to live with the onset of pancreatic cancer. So to summarize the very complicated plot (and trust me, I am not doing the last 6 episodes of the show justice), a woman dying of cancer who is in the middle of a divorce joins the university her son has joined and her soon to be ex husband (who has been having an affair with the university’s director’s daughter for the last three years) has been deputed to  and meets (again) the boy who was in (unrequited) love with her in high school.

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The thing I love about Korean Dramas is their ability to encompass within them a plot so deep that I forget my own identity while being lost in it. This show is no different. The boy who loved her in high school, who was left broken when she dropped out and followed a husband he didn’t know of is now the man who vows to give her the life she deserves. His initial anger dissipates as the episodes pass and we realize he is as much in love with this broken woman as he was with the feisty girl who stood up to bullies and befriended underdogs. But rather, it is she who brings out the best in him, while fighting the world and finding the way back to her old self.

But the show is not as dark and mellow as I have made it sound. It is, in fact, comic to the core. It is hilarious to see the web of fated and ill-fated connections and how the different plots of the tale, of the past and the present, all knit a superbly crafted drama.

The thing I love most about this show is the growth of the characters. The woman Ha No Ra and the high school hottie Cha Hyun-Suk (Yes, I am in love with him *dreamy sigh*) change and meander and fall and get up and find a way to one another (though most of that is yet to be seen). I love the way he looks at her when she isn’t looking, the way he is always there making sure that she is happy and that she gets the life he thinks she deserves, now that he knows she is about to die. His soul aches that his soul mate lead a life of misery and is now at the end of her worldly journey. It really makes you think about the things we put off until tomorrow and the words we wait to say until what we think is the right time.

I also love the way Ha No Ra tries to fit into the college crowd, even though it is an entirely different generation. She does find a way to make them realize just how talented she is and it makes my heart melt that she is finally on her way to the greatness she was born with. I also love the university curriculum, culture and campus. It makes me want to quit my life and move to South Korea.

And besides all the deep metamorphic thoughts about living life well and embracing your fears, there are quips like these that make me fall off my bed after I die laughing.

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That’s How I Know You are the One

When we are together you make me feel like my mind is free and my dreams are reachable

You know I never ever believed in love,

I believed one day that you would come along and free me.

These lyrics to the beautiful Kodaline song caress my heart and soul, as I’m in this half asleep mode where the world seems so pretty and my body is ready to embrace the words of a lullaby serenading me to sleep. I’m breathing in the air and letting it cleanse my mind and praying this stillness lasts forever.

I’m waiting for these lyrics to come true one day when I’m ready to surrender my heart and be vulnerable again. To gauge the depth of the whole other worldly process of baring your true soul to someone and let their opinions about its edges and contours matter, I’ve learnt that I’m not really ready for it right now. This past year has taken its toll on me and lead to my metamorphosis into someone who doesn’t care about minute things and hurtful words that would evaporate in their essence in barely any time. It has taken a tremendous effort and a lot of rivers and rain to become who I am at the moment. I’ve let the sentiments that had been seething in me out and buried them six feet under. I refuse to have to start from the scratch again, at least for now.

Today, as I was having lunch with a few friends, listening to one of my favourite songs play made me transcend the realms of the four walls and I had an epiphany; I realized how music was something that cracked my facade of stoicism and filled me up with emotions I thought I had become numb to. This then lead me to another avenue and I decided something: I had to save all of these emotions for the time when I would need to share them with the only person I ever want to share them with. I’ve never really made a mixtape for any person in my life, nor will I ever until I find The One to whom I’ll feel safe enough to bare my soul. I’m saving up all these feelings and all these little moments of thorough spectacular spectacles in the form of playlists for every speck of the kaleidoscope, for when I’m feeling on top of the world, for when I feel like I need to vent my frustration, for when I’m feeling blue or red or black or purple. And the only person who will ever have a right over them will be The One who makes my heart feel like it’s summer.

Escaping the Labyrinth

It is a truth well acknowledged that I usually write when I’m horribly lost among the horrible monsters that reside in my brain. So that makes it reasonably important to tuck away little pieces of sunshine so that I can dig them up when I feel like I’m floating about without a center of gravity.

Time and again I’ve been forced to acknowledge the fact that things mostly never turn out the way you want them to and more often than not disappointment is a constant comrade. As W.B Yates says, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”

Quoting something I read recently, “The Buddha knew one thing science didn’t prove for millennia after his death: Entropy increases. Things fall apart.” I guess the only way to survive life is to accept that the world is ephemeral. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing stays the same forever. So depending on anything, or anyone for that matter, is sheer foolishness.

So how do you “escape the labyrinth” of never ending suffering and torment? To answer Alaska Young’s question, you hold on. You hold on to things of beauty, to moments of clarity, to stories and sentiments of epicness and save them in your heart forever. You etch them in your mind, save them in ink and paper, carve them, treasure them and never let them escape. When your sky is dark and the earth is shaking your bed, when your hope is at its end, you relive these moments, draw strength from them and build your broken self up again.

The First Time

I think one of the most magical experiences ever is time travelling to the past in the arms of a symphony that became a part of your soul when you heard it for the first time. I’d been searching for this song for a long time and I’m ecstatic that I’ve finally found it. Here is, what I thoroughly believe to be, the most beautiful symphony ever created.

(The First Time, from the series Winter Sonata)

A Letter from a Lifetime Ago

 

Coming across long forgotten words you penned down ages ago feels like a sign from the universe in its attempt to be noticed. To be precise, I wrote this letter about a year ago, to a friend who was a dear part of my soul. Or so I thought.

It’s ironic that the “change” I very boldly addressed in my awkward handwriting has turned out to be the fact that my friend and I have grown so apart that we aren’t what we once were. Maybe I need to be reminded of what it felt like before I turned into my present self. Maybe I need to be reminded of the meadows and the butterflies, the flowers, the fireflies, the stars. I need to be reminded what summer felt like, as I meander through this never ending winter. I need to be reminded of me.

So had I been blogging a year ago, I would have sounded something like this. (And people tell me time travel isn’t possible!)

“Everyday that we’re alive and breathing, we are adding new experiences to the pages of our lives. We meet new people, learn new things, explore new avenues, make new mistakes, fall, tremble, bruise ourselves, learn to stand up, fight back and repeat the entire process all over again, ever single day that we’re not dead. And after this entire circle, which people call ‘life’, it is totally and irrevocably impossible to be the same person, to be the same individuals that we were yesterday. What I’m saying is that change is inevitable. We WILL continue changing until the day we die.”

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La Vie En Rose

I’ve come to realise that this blog is turning into a pannier full of all the wrongs that I can’t get over. Even though my darkness is an inherent part of me and overwhelms me most of the time, I do put on my rose coloured glasses once in a blue moon and turn a blind eye towards all my torments and destructive introspection. So, I wanted to write something while I was still high on blissfulness.

Today could have turned out to be one of those days when I curse the universe for all the unpleasantness plaguing me and repent and regret and cry at this existential crisis I can’t get out of no matter what. But somehow, no idea how, when I was left all alone in an unpleasant situation that initially left me so worried and melancholic that my thoughts were too loud for me to hear any other sound around me and my eyes were on the verge of a waterfall, I became conscious of my own power. I had an epiphany that it was completely in my hands how this day could turn out to be. I could turn it into a sob story or make an adventure out of it, explore a new dimension to my soul and find comfort in my ability to handle myself, something that only a handful of people on this planet can do. As I was left alone, with no one to turn to, no one to help me, I realised how utterly wrong it was of me to expect anything out of strangers who do not want to become a part of my world anyway, people who are so coloured in the conformity of their own lives and obsessed with their own tribulations that they do not care.

As I walked alone to a place I had never been before, I had words from a book I’d recently read in my head, the music from a movie I’d recently watched playing in my heart, a picture of one of the most awesome days I’ve ever had in my life in my phone, a green paradise all around me and a sense of freedom that I hadn’t experienced in quite a long while, something I had been unknowingly craving for. I understood why the universe had thrown me into a situation that was so far away from my comfort zone. To help me open my eyes and realise that the beauty I’d been ignoring for so long was escaping me with every passing second. Later as I sat alone, waiting for my ride home while reading The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway and eating ramen, as the world moved on at its transient pace, I felt one with the universe. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t have to worry if I was boring the other person or revealing too much information and letting my walls down or if I was holding them against their will. I just had to please one person, me. As I sat alone, with the twilight dawning a new perspective on me, I realised how lucky I was to have this opportunity to be alone, with the thoughts of a literary genius and my favourite comfort food and was reminded of a beautiful song I’d once heard.

Hold me close and hold me fast this magic spell you cast, this is la vie en rose

When you kiss me, heaven sighs and though I close my eyes I see la vie en rose

To a friend, on her 21st birthday

Dear Friend

When I think about the bond of our friendship, I see us as Hemingway and Fitzgerald in some fading monochromatic setting, with jazz music playing over the gramophone as the lights of the Eiffel Tower reflect from our windows and dance along with the rest our mates and us, who are intoxicated (not only from the beauty and grandeur of the scene) beyond the possible realms of this dark painful world. I picture Coleridge writing a poem for Charles Lamb to cheer him up from his state of desolation, endowing him with the fair wisdom of my favourite words, “Sometimes ’tis well to be bereft of promis’d good, that we may lift the soul, and contemplate with lively joy the joys we cannot share.”

In simple non metaphoric words, I view you as my contemporary and my dearest and rarest friend who actually understands what it means to have the curse (or gift) of having such an excruciating amount of thoughts, feelings, emotions, theories, perceptions, epiphanies, introspection, dreams, experiences, analysis, sentiments and revelations that until these images are out of our heads and onto paper, it is impossible for us to breathe again or carry on all other normal life functions. Our brains are wired in such a way that until and unless this thirst of our souls is satiated, we are surrounded by a cloud of utter uneasiness, decorated with the lingering lightening of hopelessness, hanging above our heads, preventing us from seeing the light.

Not being my usual morose depressive self, I pray for the happiness of your soul. I wish you find all that you have ever hoped for and beyond that. May the lovely stars of fate, love, luck and peace ever be shining the sky of your kingdom and you have years, as beautiful as you are, ahead of you. All good things to you, milady. Good morrow.