Coat of Life

So many moments we’ve lived & so many we felt like life was taken away from us.

We fill the  pockets of our life’s coat with memories stuffing them into every little corner we can find.

Our souls wear warm scarves of loving in the winter of our experiences

& we take shade in the umbrella of friendships in the harsh sunlight of life.

We share cups of adventures & experiences over warm conversations.

Our coats sometimes show the weathering away of age

& sometimes we sew up the patches of sadness lovingly with the threads of forgiveness, compassion & understanding.

This coat is comfortable but it too will tear with age

and one day we will discard this one

& look out for the next one that the universe gives us…

ready for a new set of experiences and adventure.

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The Night I Saw a Ghost

At nine years old my imagination was beginning to get more active by the minute. Full moons and neighbourhood gossip from the aunties, the guards, the house help, etc. meant that there were plenty of stories around about witches and ghosts and other creepy things that nights were supposed to be made up of. It was meant to deter children from being extra nosy or venturing out at night by themsleves but of course at nine one is gullible and believes most things.

My much older cousin sister who was studying in Kolkata had come over with friends to stay over for a couple of days. They were in their late teens or early twenties I think. To accommodate all of them, I was put in a bedroom with my siblings – all four of us huddled together while my cousin and her friends slept in the living room. From the bedroom, one could see the dining room quite clearly. We went to bed quite early that night after a really fun day! Some time past midnight, my sleep broke. I think I might’ve been thirsty. I opened my eyes groggily and suddenly caught sight of something that made my blood run cold!

A headless white figure in a white dress stood by the dining table in the dining room! I was so terrified that I immediately shut my eyes and started praying like my life depended on it. I could feel my extremities go numb and the thought of opening my eyes and seeing the apparition again made me want to whimper. But then some strange sense of courage came upon me. I really got worried for my cousins and her friends. What if the headless ghost attacks them or scares them! Yikes! I had to do something I thought. So I mustered whatever little courage I had, I opened my eyes and turned my gaze towards the dining room.

What I saw next was quite unexpected indeed and a sight that came as a surprise. There was no ghost there! No weird mystical aura of any sort either. Just the moonlight reflected on the wall creating a silhouette with the curtains. I felt so silly and so relieved too. With a giggle, I went right back to sleep. Next morning I had a lot to share with my cousin, her friends and my family. 

What a night it had been! I was hoodwinked by moonlight and curtains.

Still there.

I stumbled upon an old photo of mine. I must’ve been around 14-15 years old I guess. What I recall of that photo is that I used to love that outfit and this was also shortly before my elder sister managed to chop off all my tresses in the bid to make my hairstyle look more balanced. I was mistaken for a boy for a while after that everywhere I’d go. It was annoying at first but I learned to love it quickly.

This photo was taken in the balcony next to the living room.

That first floor apartment was oddly luxurious with its spacious terrace balcony towards the extreme end of the flat. I watched my father diligently create a terrace garden there. He grew everything in that smallish garden with no regard really for colour coordination etc. He’d rescue plants and they’d all flourish. He’d throw mystery seeds on the soil and they’d turn out to be something amazing! Couple of those plants are now gigantic trees at my dad’s home in Imphal.

In the photo the two rubber plants you see in the pots behind me are now massive trees. They’ve really framed my father’s house and stand tall and proud next to the gates. I didn’t realise that it was those two potted plants till my mother told me about them.

In the photo below, you can see the rubber trees at the upper left corner. And of course you can spot my father still tending to the trees, plants and paths around the house like he’s always done. Some of the trees have recently been chopped down to make way for a new building in front but the rubber trees still remain. They form a deep connection for me from my childhood – an assurance of continuity I imagine and also a testimony to my father’s incredible green thumb.

Pa

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In the last few months, many beautiful souls I hold dear have moved on to the realm of dreams forever. I sometimes find it hard to believe that all of them aren’t there anymore. They’re there in spirit for sure but not in the physical realm.

My father in law’s passing came suddenly. In your heart you know that one day our parents will leave us behind and move on but when it happens, you’re ill prepared for the grief that overcomes you. I hear his voice in my memory and it makes me smile. I can feel his warm hug and his hands holding mine – rigid strong hands that’ve tenured hard over the years yet they had this strength of reassurance about them. I hear him sometimes laugh and say something funny…i cant make out the words but its something that tickled him and in turn tickled all of us! I wasn’t the ideal bahu/daughter in law that he’d have wanted I’m sure, at least in the early years but over time he assured me that he was happy with me in some way or other. I’m very challenged in matters of understanding finances and I can be pretty aloof too. I don’t take too many things seriously but that’s mostly because I have the inherent belief that this universe isn’t serious. The only universal truth for me is death. Beyond death what exists I don’t know. Nobody does so we should live every moment fully and mindfully. Perhaps he thought I was immature and irreverent. I’ve always viewed my parents in law as individuals as I do my own parents and I guess because of that I do come across as uninterested. I hope that whilst he was on this realm, at some point he realised I adored him. And that he forgave all my shortcomings.

I feel like there was so much left to tell him and so many stories I’d have liked to hear… I regret not having pushed that aspect of our relationship more. You lay there peaceful in death and I watched you… I didn’t know what to say. this life feels like a short pit stop before I see you again and we can have long catch up conversations. so many times I wanted to cry but I couldn’t… I couldn’t weep. I just sat watching others around me do so… it left me wondering what kind of a person am I that I don’t feel that need! is it because I feel that this life is just a prelude to seeing you again and holding you tight again and having crazy conversations with you about all the things that really matter… the memories of your childhood, your fun school days, the struggles, the friends, the loves and heartbreaks… the first time you laid eyes on Ma… the feeling you got when you first saw your grand daughters… I miss you Pa.

Writer’s Block

Sitting down to type a few words today. It’s been a long time since words rolled out from my mind and on to paper… well not paper but on type. It feels like I’ve been through a lot since the last time I actually put my thoughts down anywhere.

There’ve been more than enough times when my thoughts couldn’t escape my mind but there was so much waiting patiently behind an almost ephemeral veil. Some emotions were hard to handle and I do wish I had written it all down so that it would’ve been out of my system in some way. Some were just random musings that deserved the light of day and some were darker than I’d have liked them to be. But I think it’s time for these thoughts to be unleashed as my head can only contain that much. Lols.

Today I don’t have a specific agenda. I could’ve written about the great panini of a pandemic we went through and how grateful I am that people whom I love so much have been spared the horrors of the virus. I can write about the year before the panini (yes I like to call it that !) when without the slightest clue about what was about to hit us was such a beautiful year filled with so many wonderful travels. I wanted to write about those too and the wonderment of having baby number 2. All of that dissolved into the panini years and despite its dreariness and the fearful times, I gained some amazing things too. I learned about Children’s Books’ illustrations and realised how much I love to interpret stories with art. I also published a book with a young author!

Coming out of the panini years of course I was hit by something unexpected and that was related to my health. I had to really grapple with the idea that I might not be able to practise or do the one thing I love the most – my art! Silent tears in quiet rooms ensued but that was overtaken by the sudden loss of my father in law. What a man he was! I miss him and though I don’t say it out loud much or share that, I know he leaves me little messages every now and then and for that I feel very blessed.

I hope to overcome the health issues so that I can spring back into action with my art. At this moment it’s a slow and painful sludge of a movement into doing art. Oh well… this too shall pass. I’m certain of it.

Meanwhile, I return quietly to the world of words to share once again all the things I enjoy sharing. I shall block out the writers block in the interim.

If you do read this, I’ll be posting every week from now on.

Some sweetness to colour in

Hi!

If like me, you find colouring therapeutic, then I’m sure you too are looking for something new to colour ever so often. So I decided why not create some images instead of looking for one. Here’s a free downloadable image I created for some sweet colouring in time! I hope you like it 🙂

Happy colouring!

Burnt

Spontaneous combustion that’s what it was when their eyes met… his soul couldn’t look away as her eyes melted into his being. Every touch welded them deeper into each other. Their love soldered into their beings and they burned like a supernova. They were meant to be. 

Time took its toll and their love burned into their souls very deeply. They wanted to be together but the longer they stayed together, the more they became afraid of turning into ash. 

They moved away slowly and as they moved away, their fires dimmed and left deep scars. Pain and sadness tore them farther away as other candles started to flame up around them flickering and rekindling reminiscent passions. 

Little did they know that they were meant to burn up and become one as they turned into ash…neither recognisable or differentiated from either…as one. 

So they smouldered away this life time looking at each other’s light from a distance and their scars stayed a reminder to how they flamed each other’s passions and loves once. 

Perhaps another life time… This isn’t their time. Their fire too intense yet not deep enough to keep each other warm.