Her conversations with the Ocean

I am sipping tea, and we’re standing between Mumbai and Vadodara, somewhere on the highway. Everyone’s sleeping in the bus, after all, it’s 3 AM and we’re tired after a long day, an exhaustive performance, so much travel, and a workshop on ‘voice and speech’. We travelled by bus, a team of 10 people, to a festival which was competitive in nature. We came back with a merit and few words of appreciation. An experience to remember.

With 2 nights of constant travel, the driver needed rest. We halted. I stepped out. Behind me came one of my youngest team mates, ‘you know, paranormal activity happens between 3:00 AM and 4:00 AM’ he said. “Is it?” I inquired curfc423c07-032b-4240-bf74-bdedc28957a3iously, with a smile. Another colleague got down and joined me for tea, “It’s 3:30 AM” I smiled, “eerie time to be awake huh?”;  “Perhaps!” said the 15 year old.  “But we have the moon with us! The light will help.” said my colleague, and we looked up to the sky. Interestingly mesmerizing, was the view of the moon. We stood in silence, sipping tea and drawing inferences. I could hear the ocean, distant. I could also hear the winds, in conversation.

Theatre is like an ocean” my colleague had said in the workshop, where the mentor asked us why we do theatre. Theatre is like a ocean. “Why would you say that?” I ask him now, in an afterthought. He says, “It’s beyond the purview of our common sight.”  “You may read a dailogue and simply speak it out, but the depths that lie in each word, need a lot more of reading between the lines, flowing between the lines to really comprehend.” He says, in a matter of fact manner.

I knew, I always knew it is beyond.

In fact, in one of my childhood poems I had a line about my dreams (theatre), it ended on the sentence, ‘I know it calls me far beyond, than where I walk to it.”

In this journey, it called me beyond my limits, my language, my identity, my perspectives, my belief systems, and my spirituality too.

Something like Love.

We begin our journeys in love with a certain belief system. With a certain expectation. With a certain idea. For some it’s traditional, for some it’s free spirit – but ultimately, it is a belief system. And when that doesn’t work, we either feel rejected or we feel dejected. Isn’t it?

For one thing, I have always been liberal, generous, and spontaneous. I have been loving, and caring too. I have centred my life, around love. I have made it a priority too. And still I find myself, disappointed in some ways. Though, happy in some too.

Happy because I centred my life around love, but it wasn’t one love.

Yes! As disturbing, ironical, disgraceful as that may sound – it wasn’t one love. I centred my life around love for my people and love for my work. I centred my life around my romance with a person and with an idea.

In most cases, the ideas survived, the person taught me something more about life and left. The disappointment isn’t so much in leaving, as much as how the goodbyes happen.  This song perfectly defines it, ‘Mana ke hum yaar nahi”, where she says “raaste mein jab milo toh, hath milane ruk jana.” Effectively, yes, we aren’t friends anymore but can we still greet eachother on the crossroads of life? In respect of our past. Let’s begin with believing that we were right people, just different in opinion and expectations; is it possible to achieve this each time we are disappointed in people?

And perhaps that’s where my disappointment lies. In the love that despises, rejects, turns away and disowns. Like you never existed. Like life, goes on, like it never mattered and it never counted. Do we really need to be heartless to be strong? Do we have to be free from emotions to be brave?alia-bhatt_640x480_71478076956

But then, even as these questions persists, the answers lie in the second love. More often than not, I found that these encounters smooth out, that people do come back in one way or the other. It’s rare that someone who mattered too much to you, walked out and you never saw or heard of them again. Even in death, one will certainly walk to the funeral of the other. I especially like that scene in the movie, Dear Zindagi, the last scene, when Kyra makes her film and at the premiere, are each of her past flames. Putting their past behind them and respecting that journey, you seem them cheer her on.alia-bhatt-4

And you can see, what has set her free! It wasn’t another ‘shoulder’; it wasn’t another person, but her romance with life, her love for her work.

Yes, there was a Shahrukh Khan in Dear Zindagi too.

A special friend, a special bond that helped her find her calling, her ‘second love’ (her work), but it didn’t take away anything from her own journey. The interaction helped her define her own ways and routes, and in the end, that’s what we need to strive for.

“It’s 4 AM” says my 15 year old friend, “What are you thinking so much?”

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Applause Vadodara at BHAVAI 2017, Mumbai

“Nothing” I reply, “just about our Play!”  The play, Kundalu by Makarand Musale, was about 3 characters: “A” who is stuck in his circle and strongly believes that life is meant to be lived in limits, “B” who is trying to understand the limits while being curious about the horizons beyond and “C” who has lived a life of explorations, beyond the questions, followed the heart, respected the struggles and cherished the journey.

“Ah! You were thinking about the end right? Which path did B chose? The life of security or the life of discovery!” he asks excitedly.

Our play din’t have an end, and left it to the imagination of the audience, which path to take.

“Whichever way you go, just don’t get stuck in the same circle” adds my colleague, as the three of us walk back to the bus.06068cfb-e9ff-421e-b53c-b597dd75f5e1

I smile on the inference, it’s ultimately about growing, becoming better, stronger, wiser and closer to the  self, and not make the same mistakes.  It’s about breaking the limits – the circles, the loops that twine our thoughts, confuse our actions and end up limiting our journey. Like the performing the play, Kundalu, taught us.

Taking it a little further…

Don’t get into the loops that chain you. Set yourself free.

Continue to love, though you can love differently.

Let there be romances,

Just make sure there are two 😉

One with the person

And one with you!

 

As I get back into the bus, I can hear the ocean call me. They are both my love and my friendship. My passion, my theatre, my romance as well as my companion, my listener and my lyric.

She as1ked the ocean,

“What do you see?”

He said “I see footsteps,

And a long journey”.2

She asked the ocean,

what is sunset?

He smiled, it’s the beginning,

for a new day you must rest.

She asked the ocean, “where do you head?3

Will I see you again or is this an end?”

He returned in response, as a gentle touch, as a wave,

“You can see me when you want, I am right where you left.”

4

She asked the ocean,

“What language do you speak?”

He answered in a riddle,

“Ask your heart what it seeks.”

‘S5he asked the ocean,

“what is love and what is friendship?”

He answered with comfort,

“that my waves merge in deepness is love,

and that is return is friendship”

~ Apsra

And let me leave you with the song that I mentioned earlier, and while you hear it, please pen down your thoughts in the comments or write to me at apsara.iyengar@gmail.com.

Lots of love, always!

Apsara

 

The Relationship and the Claw

You don’t want to go there but it’s like an imaginary claw is stuck in your chest, it pulls you forward. You don’t want to go there. But there is no other way out. You are pulled, and pulled. But wait! This can’t happen. After all, wasn’t this so beautiful? Okay. It wasn’t all that beautiful, but like they say – a known devil is better than an unknown one! You knew this one. You knew this world.

You know these roads, these sands, these places, these trees, this music, this weather. You know it all. You identify. You may not relate to but you understand. Wait. Hold on. That’s not enough, right? Understanding isn’t enough. You have to accept, you have to stay. You have to give up. And then you see in this world of yours, there are hardly the things you unpacked. So the things you brought aren’t there anymore.

You don’t have your favorite diary or you favorite dress. You don’t have that picture frame someone gifted you, years back, and that you loved. You don’t have that old guitar you used to play. You don’t have even your Cinderella shoes! You look around and you know everything about this place, you love it, you value it, you adore it but then, it doesn’t have your flavor in there. It doesn’t have your stories, your memories, your views, your thoughts, your identity. It’s just not there.

And suddenly, everyone thinks you are going to continue waiting, just like you waited before. What you did voluntarily, they expect unconditionally. They expect you to wait, and love and understand. You hardly spoke because you were in the ‘i-support-you/you all’ mode, but somehow that became a habit. Now, you can’t speak unless it’s your turn and you know what? It’s never your turn. You don’t want to leave because love is not a matter of whims; it is a choice but not a whim. To act on our emotion is upon us, but to feel that emotion, not always. And so, you don’t want to leave because your heart is there. But then, your heart is indeed your heart!  What is life if your heart has no love or space for yourself? What is life if you heart only gives and doesn’t consider receiving? It’s not like people don’t love you or you don’t receive any warmth. You do. But what is life if your own need for warmth is only secondary? Probably, not even secondary. Probably your own need isn’t even visible to you.

Until that one point, when the invisible claw climbs into your chest and attempts to pulls out your heart. What is the need for your own heart in your own body when you have no value for it? Why must it stay with you? Donate it. Give it away. Throw it away.

You consider the option of donation. Why not? If you heart, has no value for you, then why not give it away to someone else who can live with it. But then again, what is the sense of a heart that doesn’t beat? What good will it do to give a dead heart to living soul that needs a real thriving beautiful heart to help it heal?

This is too much philosophy for you and so you decide not to listen to the claw. You ignore it, but then it pulls you forward. Slowly, slowly, and slowly a little more. Ouch! You squeal. Wait. I didn’t see that coming. And suddenly, it hurts, and it hurts beyond more. And you don’t how what’s happening. You don’t want to leave, but you don’t want your heart to be pulled out by that evil claw. You fight it, your struggle, a tear rolls down your eyes. You are weeping but you won’t give up the fight. Either you fight the claw and stay where you are, put your heart back and pump it up with life, or you let the heart go, away, distant, someplace you don’t know. You don’t know what that claw will do with your heart.

But wait a second, you have tears and you squeal isn’t too subtle; they can indeed hear you. Then why aren’t they coming forward? Surely they can do this much, can’t they? Can’t they just walk up and hold your hand, or help you claw out the claw. But they are just there, watching. Wait, they aren’t even watching. They aren’t even interested. What exactly is happening? Do you not exist. Do you? Did you just cease to exist for them? But you are a live person and you are right there. But they can’t see you or they chose to look away? The only energy you know is the claw that is pulling your heart away from you and you don’t want that to happen. Or maybe you do. You don’t know but the pain is getting too much. If you let the heart go, you will be numb and things will be fine. You want have a beating heart to worry about or warm emotion waiting to heal, you will not feel and you will be fine. But you still don’t want to give up the fight. You don’t want to resign. You don’t want to be defeated. And so, you walk. You walk in the direction that the claw is pulling you in. After all, how bad can it get? The world that was so meaningful to you doesn’t see you anymore, you don’t even exist. What is the point of being there? You walk. You heart aches, you can see it torn out a little with the claw but you continue to walk. You walk. You walk. You continue to walk. It hurts, it pains, but you continue to walk. And then you see, you are right before a cliff. A cliff? A cliff, really? But what sense does this make? Why a cliff? Why all this walk and all this claw and all this pain and then a cliff? Why? What meaning does this have? But I don’t know how to fly. How will I save my life? Or is my life anything at all? Do I serve any purpose or have a mission to draw? You see the cliff and pull back a little but as you go closer, you know you want to be there. You want to jump. But you don’t know how to fly. And you still want to. You want to jump. You take some small steps forward. Suddenly you hear your old world calling you back. Your eyes light up with hope and a small smile comes up in a glint of the eye, but when you hear them closely, you notice they only have reprimanding words to share, they expect you to wait and stare a little longer and of course, take the blame. May be it is your fault. May be you were always wrong. Maybe you just made the big mistake of calling your world your world.

But if your wor4142942-happy-girl-alone[1]ld is calling you and all it has to say, is that you aren’t good enough, then, it’s time to go off to the cliff. You turn to the cliff. Your tears wiped back. The claw doesn’t hurt and then at the count of three, you jump. You actually jump. You actually jump down from the cliff. You feel free. Absolutely free. There are tears of joy now, and your heart is free. It’s absolutely set free, even  more than you could have ever imagined. And your heart has wings! You never knew. You thought you couldn’t fly but then, your heart has wings! It can set you free, it can make you fly! If it wasn’t for the claw and it wasn’t for the cliff, how would you ever know that an end could be a new beginning? That an end could be your beginning? That your heart can have a way to take you away, and heal you to happiness? How would you have ever known.  For some people, they jump down their own cliff only to find each other again, with parachutes. The parachutes save them from falling, save them from drowning in the sea or  being lost in the sky. Sometimes they land on the same ground, sometimes they walk a short distance before the claw and the cliff, another one ofcourse, waits for them. And then they jump. And the story goes on. For others, like yourself, there is just the claw. The claw is like a clutch. It will open the parachute when it is time for you to land. Until, enjoy the flight. It’s morning again, it’s dawn, it’s a beautiful day and you are absolutely free. You have no memory of any baggage you have no pain to carry. The old world is another world now, you live in another destiny. There is a new life to your heart, you rejoice it. You see it thrive and you enjoy it. You donate a little of your heart too, after all what’s the harm? This is good stuff. Your thriving heart can make a difference. You smile. Because you are free.  You have found meaning in loving yourself. Abundant love. Abundant compassion. Abundant happiness. You have learnt to fly. you have learnt to land. You have learnt to love. You have learnt to lose. And you have learnt to survive. You smile as you fly, the cliff after all, was the greatest lesson you learnt and the most beautiful experience of your life.

Thank you.

 

The Relationship and the claw is more of a rant and I hope that I will record and perform it someday! Contrary to the first read you will notice that it’s neither negative, nor so much about romantic relationships, as much as it is about our own emotions and feelings of being ‘trapped’. This could be a situation in love, marriage, work, friendships, siblings, comrades or anyone for that matter.  The key learning is that the heart has wings! 🙂 Everyone’s heart has wings! We have to let ourselves go, we have to let ourselves fly, we have to allow ourselves to enjoy the flight, because victory lies on the other end of our challenges! And joy lies in making it to the other side and knowing that you are still okay. Happiness lies is knowing that we all will make it and we all simply need to trust that we will!

This post is more of a monologue, performance material and if you wish to use it, please reach out to me and keep me informed! I wrote this a few days ago, and my friends encouraged me to publish it as a special on my birthday! So, there you go. Just in time! Hope that this year we write more, talk more and have more stories and learning to share. Have an amazing day!

p.s. Thanks Shubh! See, now you’re mentioned on my blog 😀 it’s your lucky day too, just like mine! 😉

Into The Silence

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Sometimes I turn to my left and silently stare out of the window. Amongst the wind, amongst the sound of moving traffic, amongst the chirping birds, sometimes I hear you. A little bit of our conversations. A little bit of your smile. A little of your cheer. How clear your heart was! How easily you smiled. How much of your chatter had no baggage. How easy it was for you to dream. How every day, you had something new to look forward to. How every now and then, you had something for me to look forward to. I could though, always look up to you. How there was so much for you to admire around; how much of you for me to admire around. Sometimes, I look at silent spaces and I can feel your shadow. Like you exist, still. In my thoughts, in my letters, may be. Perhaps in my ideas and my actions too. Sometimes I listen to the sound of the wind, because it can’t be that harsh. It can’t be that untrue. Could this really be true. Could it be true that I exist and you don’t? Could love end then. Would you never know where I stand, what I feel? Would I never know how your day is, has been or will be? Will you have another day, somewhere? Will you exist, again? In some other universe? Or will you not? Will you cease forever? Will the door never open? Sometimes I look at the path not taken and wonder where you would be. Sometimes, I wonder, if you still exist. If you do, I wonder if you still smile. That radiant smile. The vibrant chatter. That heart full of love and dreams and that bucket full of wish list. Sometimes I wonder, if you were true, if I were true at all. Sometimes I turn to the left and silently stare, out of the window, into the silence and talk to the shadow.

 

 

Do Not Fall in Love with Such a Man

Don’t fall in love with a guy who kisses you on the forehead. Do not fall in love with a guy who inspires you to be more than who you are.

Who tells you on your face that you are wrong but still continues to love you. Don’t fall in love with a guy who will answer your call even at 12 in the night and make sure that you are okay.

Do not fall in love with a guy who simply accepts your life, friends and friendships and never questions you on them. Do not fall in love with a guy who can be Romeo and come down just to see you and nothing else. Do not fall in love with a guy with whom you CAN have long conversations – that are non romantic. Do not fall in love with a guy who listens and who shares his dreams with you and seeks your opinion on matters that concern him. Do not fall in love with a guy who is transparent.

Don’t even think of falling in love with a guy who lets you hold his hand and also holds yours and walks forward, as he realizes his and you realize your dreams…. because when you fall in love with a man of such character, irrespective of whether he stays in love with you or not, irrespective of whether life takes you apart or not, you will never come back and be the same. You will struggle to be completely and entirely independent because his love will have changed you.  Either you keep him forever, or do not fall in love with such a man at all.

~ Apsara Iyengar

Inspired from Martha Rivera-Garrido – http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/3246253-don-t-fall-in-love-with-a-woman-who-reads-a – Do not fall in love with a woman

 

Do Not Fall in Love with a Man - Apsara Iyengar

 

Happy Mother’s Day

I wish I could do more for you,

I wish I could do something at least;

For all the trouble I’ve given you,

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all those times I have crossed you,

For all those times when I’ve been ill,

For all those times I’ve kept you awake

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all the dreams you must have seen

For all those that I did not fulfill,

For all those times that you deserved more,

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all those times you’ve smiled,

For those little things that make you happy,

For the frivolous anger that so easily disappears,

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all the times you’ve worked so hard,

For all the times you’ve kept yourself aside,

For all the times being unnoticed,

I wish I could do something indeed!

 

For all those times when you’ve scolded me,

With the best interest at heart,

For all those times when you’ve tried to understand,

Keeping differences apart;

For all the freedom you’ve given me,

And the way you’ve brought me up,

For seeing me through failure time and again,

And still not giving up;

For all the times you’ve been worried

And the times with not much hope,

For all the times you’ve been a mother

And the times you’ve held us together,

For little blames you take instead

And the times you forgive and forget;

For every little extra you’ve done,

I wish I could return,

As selfish as this may sound,

On your birthday,

I wish I can bring you something more

I wish for goodness and for peace

And that Somehow, someday;

I wish I manage to do for you, something at least indeed.

So yes! It is Mom’s birthday today and I’ve left everything aside JUST to write a post dedicated to her. Somehow, it seems like the toughest thing to do. Sometime back, in a random conversation with Mom over tea, she looked into my screen and said, “Is that a book?”. I said, “It’s just ideas listed. More like an index…. Yeah, it could possibly be a book!” She said, “Nice! So, write it for my birthday”. I said, “Okay :D” That way I’ll do something productive!

But no … I didn’t write the book. – Owing to my hyper active, more social, poorly organized, totally unscheduled and highly unplanned life, and extraordinary skill to come up with excuses, I haven’t written a word past that day. So yes, the book is far from written. But in the bid of even mentally trying to write it, I realized – that’s the only thing my mom EVER asked me to do for her.

And so, when I haven’t written any book, I thought let me at least write a post. And I’ve been struggling since morning – because I have absolutely NO clue where to start!

The point is that, we really aren’t those mushy – people straight out of Bollywood or Television. We don’t worship our mothers. We don’t wake up admiring them. We don’t keep them on any pedestal.

In fact, we just accept their presence.

And the worst situation is when you think you’re better than your parents. I think most teenagers go through that phase (or I am the most hopeless child a parent could have) where you think you know better. When you want things and you THINK you can get them. When you don’t realize that some things in life aren’t in your control. It’s only when life humbles you down, that you look around and observe the lives of people around you.

Until I was 19, I thought I could do and achieve everything I wanted, without even a proper direction (yes, I can greatly blame the education system for that. In another thread may be!). I still am pretty much ambitious, but back then, I thought I could do it on my own.

It’s only when life humbles you down, that you realize that the people around you matter so much. Until 19, you haven’t’ seen life. The journey begins after that.

I aspired, I failed. I tried again, and I failed. At each point I would turn back to realize that it’s indeed my family, that’s been there. I remember this conversation with mom; I asked her, “Mom, I don’t have the vigor in me anymore. I am not that vivacious, charming, confident, strong. I think I am just failing” and Mom would say, “You still have it in you. The way you fight with me, you still are as sharp as you were at 12! So, you do have it in you still.”

I asked mom, “Does everyone have to face so many ups and downs?” and she said, “No! Some people have a smooth life and simpler problems to deal with.” And then I ask, “how come you don’t give up on me?” and she says, “I don’t know how to.”

I remember the days before entrance results, when my mom has been praying hard for me. I remember days she has fasted for our family. I remember days she’s given up things for us all. And I remember saying, “Mom don’t do that” and she shouting at me and asking me to shut up. I remember being hurt by people, and my family defending me throughout.

I think we all have this phase in life (Teenage and early twenties) when it’s all about “having your own life”. Back then came a time when I didn’t like festivities (New Years Day, Friendships Day, Christmas, Diwali) because I dint matter enough to the people who mattered to me and festivities only meant a huge confusion on WHO to hang out with. And in a bid to keep away from the crowds of changing people and friendships, I realized that it was my family that remained unchanged. I think more so, as you grow older, you get closer to your families because you realize that your equations with the world outside may keep changing, but with the people who love you by default, it should only get stronger! 

So what I am getting to is that, Mom’s birthday has just become a reason for me to thank her, my family and to realize all these things about life! 😛 Happy Birthday Mom! Your the best…. 🙂

And yes, you can accuse me of ‘thinking too much’…  😛 My Mom’s definitely going to kill me for this post 😀  But that’s okay 😉 That’s it for now. Do write in and share your thoughts! And Do like the page – Half A Cup Of Tea

And I don’t know WHY I feel like hearing this song. But somehow feels like this. So, here adding the song: 

ILLUSION



He walked so briskly as he did

it seemed he was so sure, In his mind

though he repeated “Don’t bind me

by emotion.” to himself he assured.

 

He is a traveller, he wants to go.

His walk is steady but slow.

He has no baggage , no gifts, no thoughts.

Yet his walk is slow.

 

His mind is not with him, she asked him not

but he left it there, where his heart does belong.

“Don’t bind me by emotion.” He repeats

and carries it along.

Though who listens –

Not mind, not heart.

Yet his feet keep pace

marching ahead, he is reassured to go.

“Could I take her along with me,

To the unknown destinies?”

He doubts ,but soon retreats,

“I am a traveller , I walk alone”

Says he with a pain to be.

 

“I see in your eyes what I desire,

I wished to walk with you.

I want no shelter, no cloth, no gain ;

I wish to walk with you.”

Honest words, truth and a heavy heart –

But his thoughts were long sown;

Sown – too deep to seek new flowers.

 

He chooses not to heed or hear,

In his quest to define self,

“I am a traveller, I walk alone” he

repeated to himself.

“Don’t bind me by emotion, thus

I choose to walk alone.”

 

 

 

Found it in an old diary .. a 2009 poem… edited now.

About the preconceived notions that a traveller has to walk alone.

Can’t he travel with someone who is willing to walk with him?

Often the way we react, is influenced by what we have grown to believe (by default!) .

You can see in this poem that the traveller is following the “Rules” that he believes are true.

He has not questioned their reality.

He wants to travel, discover the unknown, but believes that he should be alone.

He would probably enjoy the company of his partner, (and probably , even the journey called life ! )

but doesn’t believe in the possibility.

He is unaware of what he really wants , looks and feels confident –

But, is only living an illusion.

 

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