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“Once you know that you can spend a lifetime with a person, marriage is just a seal and gives you a document.”

I must have said something like this a few years ago, around the time I found my future partner. In fact, my statement became even more outrageous, when I realized that we needed to be married to get our travel visas on time. It became painful to get rejections based on ‘what is a travel companion?’

G & I met through a common friend, who was kind enough to drop us both an introductory email. We met in a bar and then we continued to meet for coffee, movie, concerts and sometimes just to hang out. The meetings quickly sparked the romance and before we knew it, we were on a bike to Wayanad. The trip began our commitment to be with each other; and our unsaid fascination to explore each other. One day, after a few more trips and because of a bad landlord that I had to put up with, we decided to pack my bags and live together.

We were both surprised that we settled in almost immediately, despite a common history of unsuccessful co-habitations. We discovered that we are both emotionally unstable human beings. Neither of us had to say it, but we would jump at every opportunity to attend to each other; and this brought a gratitude to our relationship, that was reciprocated with the labor of love. That pattern continues till today.

The most magical things in our lives are also the most effortless – There were almost no complaints, and the confidence of our companionship was reflected in our individual lives. G became more approachable for his friends and I was more inspired to stick on with the decisions I took. For the first time, I understood what ‘not giving a damn’ meant. I also understood the difference between my spirit of adventure; and G’s courage to fight his fears, and go on the same adventures! Time flew by but those few months filled up for a history of multiple heartbreaks, disillusions and the bitterness for the world that would creep in during misadventures.

There came a time when we thought we had to at least tell our families about us; and we informed them. A series of fun meet ups later, one day, my parents told me that they wanted us to be engaged/married soon. I was initially irritated because a decision was made for us, and we weren’t asked. We looked at each other and smiled; it didn’t matter. Our engagement was announced. A few weeks before the ceremony, we had to travel to Australia. My visa application was rejected and when I made a second application, I was questioned over a phone-call about who/what G was. It was awkward and unnecessarily painful. We never went to Australia. However, we decided that we would not go through the ordeal again and get our documents done!

We had lived together for over 18 months before we finally got married. We were supposed to fly to France and as fate would have it, despite being married, our application was rejected because G didn’t have enough empty pages on his passport!

It’s been many years and we have traveled to many places around the world. There have been no visa rejections till date, although most didn’t need our marriage certificate either. Earlier this month, we celebrated our 4th anniversary in Iceland. When I look back into these 4 years and compare them with the 18 months of our live-in relationship, I understand how I was mistaken about marriage.

G loves his family and by extension, I put in efforts to establish bonds with everyone he loves. I spent an entire day in a hospital with his grandmother; it was just the two of us and we don’t even speak the same language! I have a wonderful relationship with his sister and his cousin brother, both of whom had struggled for a platform to open up their hearts. Over these years, I have felt the need to stay with my mother-in-law far more than my own mother. His cousins, uncles and aunts – whenever and wherever I could, I have joined them in activities/helped them in events and shared moments that we could remember each other with.

I never imagined myself being this person.

Marriage has helped me grow as a person. It has created a better version of me and redefined commitment in the following ways :

  • To be invested in everything and everyone you love
  • To cross every hurdle to understand others and convert strangers into lovers
  • To break the barriers of age, language, cultures
  • To overcome distance


The 18 months that G & I spent to understand and to be with each other, prepared us for these lessons.


The Inner Battle

If you read my blog, I seek your apology for my recent depressive posts. I am in the middle of a crisis that’s filled with meaningless teardrops, excessive procrastination and a severe drain of energy.

The good news is that I have experimented with, followed and plan to adopt more strategies to cope. Some of these are:

1. Follow a daily routine – It has been mildly successful but I am too worried about ‘stuff to do’ and hence I find it hard to keep up with everything, everyday. However, this worked extremely well in the past when I was stressed.

2. Always show up – I take many classes including piano, violin, writing and some self-designed lessons for other activities. I try to attend all classes and resist the urge to slack on or reschedule them.

3. Sleep – A good night’s sleep is not something that comes easy to me. In fact, as a child, I used to look for somebody to talk through the night till after a few hours, I could fall asleep. So, I have tried Melatonin supplements and been on fish-oil capsules to find 6 hours of sleep every day.

4. Exercise  – These days to swim is less pleasurable than it used to be. However, I try it or take a long walk every other day. Even on days where I haven’t had the time or will to be out there, fortunately, life demands have offered at least a 1-mile walk.

5. Brain Workout – Last week I noticed that my sadness had gained control over my thought process. The stress overload was left unattended, which converted to sadness/depression and despite a few early attempts, it reached a point where it began to dictate my day. I needed to keep my brain busy! So, I decided to memorize the steps to solve a Rubik’s cube. And now, that’s what happens in my wait-times between two activities.

6. Talk less – I have rambled a lot in the last month or so. It multiplied the misery and the laments borderline with an obsessive urge to talk. So while I need to express and weed out some of the algae, I will try not to rub it off on other people. Maybe I’ll ask more questions in a conversation next time? I need to work on this because I spoke unchecked for about one hour 2 days ago.

7. Complete a task – My biggest challenge is to reach a goal that will bring a level of satisfaction, confidence and faith in my abilities. I threw a party last week and thought it would add some confidence. Alas! I was unhappy about being passive and disorganized (although I was just hungry throughout). I’ll continue to plan for and achieve relatively smaller goals in the coming weeks.

Tonight, I work on my first SF City Guides’ tour script; wish me luck?

Thanks for reading and your love!

What it Feels Like to Lose Your Mind

I am scared.

A Manic World

Author:Robert Poposki

What it Feels Like to Lose Your Mind 

This title seems a little misleading. Cause, well, I don’t think I’ve ever possessed my mind in order to lose it. That, or, you know, you can’t really lose your mind, man, it’s stuck in your brain, and without it, you’d be dead. 

Nevertheless, I like the expression. And in a way, it actually does make sense. Anyway.

For a “normal” person, your mind is like a red balloon attached to your index finger with a thin, white string. When it gets windy – metaphorical for, when shit goes down in life – the red balloon wobbles around, and it tugs fervently at your finger. The end result is a chaotic balloon (mind), a taut string (a tense body/mind), and an overall loss of control. The balloon is, however, still connected to your person. It’s just being…

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We are all good,

We are all talented;

We are all strong

We are all a bit dented.

It’s hard to believe that we have all these versions of ourselves that we do. We live through phases of life and invent these ‘selves’ magically. And we wish that some of these versions lasted forever. When times are good and the universe seems to move along, we feel like we have arrived and all the energy will help us get to wherever we want to.

The truth, however, lies not in that hope of a great future but in the strength to understand that we need to be vigilant of our present. It lies in the knowledge that a future could be distant and harder to get to. In fact, if we fail to watch the signs, we may never get there.

So, pick up that last piece that reminds you of your fragility and stick it on to your new dream. Stick it beautifully; well enough, that it becomes a shiny new you.

I am a

When someone is emotional, they are just emotional – not being a woman; when someone is rational, they are just rational – not thinking like a man; when someone is afraid, they are just afraid – not being weak as a woman.

I found this article/infographic on gender stereotypes today on social media.

There are some great points here which also reflect on my world-view. I have seen many men suffocate through a life of no art and expression just because they are supposed to be a certain way. I have seen family members who were capable of displaying emotions in the most entertaining way, hide that side of themselves and eventually, succumb to their own talents. Long ago, I thought about a ‪#‎SaveOurMen‬ campaign. But then, we just need to save the human spirit and let it rise above our lazy methods to pour the world in glasses. Fueled by education, awareness, discoveries and inventions; We can evolve into a species where we rely on the other person’s choice of identification; and refrain from applying our judgement to it.

As a writer who loves giving life to inanimate objects, I face this challenge everyday!

A little beyond the scope of this article is our classification of behavior. I met someone in a conference last year and we hit it off on a discussion about introverts and extroverts.

“You know, I am an introvert.” Friend said.

“What do you mean?” I said.

“I am usually quiet and shy.” He said.

“Oh, so am I!”

The discussion spiraled into a direction where we spoke about how people who identify themselves as introverts speak their heart out when they feel comfortable and those who call themselves extroverts, shut themselves off if they are uncomfortable. What then are these categories or labels? A way to simplify our understanding of people or proof of our laziness? These stereotypes seem to create misunderstandings rather than offer compassion towards the diversity of our personalities.

I think it’s an inherent human trait that we behave according to the environment and the situation. Hence, at different junctures we all display different shades of the vast spectrum of human emotions. Even if we find ourselves behave a certain way more often, unless the situation demands it, it becomes a choice and then, we are free to identify ourselves however we like. But to assume and apply such tags to other people permanently not only limits our exploration but reinforces a behavior that might otherwise fade away.

For example, if someone is called ‘bossy’ because they can guide/lead a group of people well; eventually, their own intentions might change from being an effective leader to a control freak. They might negatively influence an environment just to hold up what was long associated with their personality.

Because, as we all know, we are affected by the perception of those around us. The idea then could be to deprejudice that influence and help each other be our better selves.

Chocolate & Childhood

“One espresso escape and One drinking chocolate.” She said.

Me, my partner and my sister (who is visiting us for a month) were at Ghiradelli Square a couple of days ago. Despite that the place is a tourist trap and the quality of their products is not extraordinary, we salivated at our chocolate delicacies; within minutes, all the cocoa disappeared.

It reappeared in the form of hysteria.

Just like regular intoxication, we have no clarity on how it all started. My sister and I began to laugh at some childhood games that we used to play. One thing lead to another and we cracked up on how strangely senseless those games were. And yet, so much fun that they gripped us for the rest of the night. We had to leave Ghiradelli before we got arrested for ‘suspicious’ behavior. I am not kidding, we couldn’t control our laughter.

When we reached home, my partner decided to film our games, replayed after 20 years or so. These days, that video brings me out of intermittent episodes of depression.

It’s strange that when we are children, things make less sense and are a lot of fun. As we grow old, we try to find sense in everything that we do and miss out on a lot of fun.

Hence, I refuse to grow up.

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The 27 Club

“Life teaches you how to live it, if you live long enough.” Tony Bennett

It was a regular agency day in Ogilvy a few years ago. We worked on a digital campaign for Lenovo, gossiped during the breaks and pretended to do research while on social media. I was on Facebook and saw a close friend and then colleague, post a link to a news article. It was about the death of Amy Winehouse. There were 2 things that caught my attention – the friend rarely posted an update and that it was about a musician that I knew very little about.

All I remembered from that news article was a picture of an anorexic Amy from a few days ago and that she was a drug abuser. I played a few of her songs that day, mostly to connect with my friend’s grief and admiration of the artiste. It was later when Adele and Lady Gaga paid her tributes that I put her in the list of singers who were potentially great musicians too. I must have also read the wiki page on the club of people who died when they were 27. Beyond these bursts of information, at that time, I had very little to do with her life or music.

Last year, after I discovered Caro Emerald, I began to explore pop-jazz music a lot more. I admire how the genre of music is empowered by a great voice. There are many female singers with beautiful vocal chords. However, what resonates with me the most is a soulful, deep sound that doesn’t need or take the support of other electronic enhancements. In this league, I love Caro Emerald, Lady Gaga, Edith Piaf, Norah Jones, Adele among others. However, due to the lack of any reinforcement I was still not into Amy Winehouse; until 3 days ago.

Through yet another news article, I discovered that there is a documentary film that’s reportedly a great cover of her life story. That day, before I booked my tickets, I read a lot more about her, her life and listened to her album ‘Back to Black’. There was a mash-up of thoughts, emotions and self awareness that prompted me to buy the tickets; even though I was/am not in the best state of mind to experience sadness. I had booked 2 tickets but both my sister and my partner couldn’t make it due to their engagements.

Yesterday, I did what I consider the saddest thing to do i.e., ‘watch a movie in a theater alone’.

The documentary brings nothing new to the table about the events in her life. However, it is an amazing work of film-editing. There is not a single video montage that was not already taken, available or created as part of previous media works. The way the filmmaker has weaved a perspective just with the use of existing documentation and interviews (as voice overs) is commendable. But what makes the biopic extraordinary is that it leaves your heart loaded even if you knew everything about Amy Winehouse.

Take my case. I had already justified to myself why I wanted to watch the documentary. I think, as an aspiring artiste, I understand the turmoil that I have to go through to deal with my overwhelming stock of emotions. I also understand that almost all those who have the ability to process emotions through art, are always on the edge and vulnerable to disaster. And above all, there is an addiction to emotions, because it fuels art. And hence, artists go out of their way to experience an emotion thoroughly to write, paint, sing or play their heart. If that experience looks accessible through substances, especially when you are young and aggressive, isn’t it hard to resist? Sadly enough, there are few who get the chance to navigate themselves out of that easy inlet.

I gave up alcohol recently. I found myself using a glass of wine to flush out an hour of writing every day. If you are an artist, you would know that a drink makes it easy to slice out some tunnel thinking in a chaos of daily commitments. Without it, it’s absolutely necessary to identify that disruption-free part of the day when your creativity oozes out. It also has to be preceded and succeeded by stress-free time. A rough calculation of this means :

1 hour of creative writing = 30 minutes of warm-up + 1 hour of writing + 30 minutes of cool down

I was at a point where I didn’t have the luxury of that extra hour. Last year, I fell into a pattern and this year, I decided to fix it. Ironically, I gave my drink-a-day up just when I needed to chill with a glass of wine the most!

It has been over a month of no-alcohol and although I am proud of the fact that I can keep up with it; I know how sad life seems these days unless I swim, walk or write in a flow.

As I watched the film, I was grateful to the universe that I didn’t discover utopia-inducing substances when I was too young and naive to understand the effects. Even when I added ‘a drink everyday’ to my lifestyle, I was conscious of its benefits and the joy it brought to my otherwise sensitive personality. Then there was my partner who enlightened me with the idea of moderation as a way to enjoy everything in life. So, my extreme ideas and attitude towards things I care about, are fueled by moderate amounts of coffee, food and wine. As a writer, I have to oil my machine somehow. So, I still work with coffee, food and chocolate; but for now, no more drinks for me.

The lack of that opportunity for Amy cut through me with her life-story. She was too gifted to not have discovered it someday. She was experiential enough to associate her life-course with the dis-associative help that she relied upon. If only it hadn’t been so messed up, she would have developed a discipline to inspire and guide thousands of artists who drown in alcohol and drugs everyday.

If only she had lived, Amy would have come back from black.

The English Bubble


I think my intention behind the title of this blog was different. However, the video here covers a part of it. In fact, it literally talks about the bubble (1:57).

So, now that I have no memory of the original idea; let’s enjoy and learn from this great tip on learning a new language.

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Squared planning

To write after days feels good; to write after months? Is to recover from grief.

I gave my first piano recital on March 8; became a San Francisco City Guide on May 9; and 2 days ago, I launched an event called Aeolian Day for the world to experience the sound of the wind. This all must read like 6-months of reward driven work, but it turned my painfully nourished artist-soul away.

April was the greatest dip. I took a 10-day trip to India in mid-April. On my onward journey, I had to take 4 flights spread over 30 hours to get to my parents’ winter home in Coimbatore. The 4 days that I spent there, however, more than made up for the travel fatigue. There was a moment when I felt like a writer again and completed one of my short stories. I sat in the balcony that looked out at the horticultural farm and in great peace, the words just flowed out. That was the end of it.

The following days were filled with a wedding ceremony and more cities to hop. In the last leg of my trip, I was in Trivandrum and spent a lot of time with my extremely pregnant sister-in-law and my mother-in-law. I realized they were in great need of someone who could just make the world seem worry-free. I did my best and played a few games of scrabble and performed a few songs in the evenings. I know they felt joy, at least for sometime. But then, before I knew, it was time to leave. Why didn’t I stay for the delivery? – you may ask. Well, I had a training session that I had planned my trip around. In fact, my trip was exactly between 2 training sessions. A day before I had to leave, my mother-in-law said “It feels good to have your support, both physically and mentally.” I think, at that moment, my heart shrank. I considered cancelling my ticket too; but my partner comforted me and gave me enough confidence to leave.

On my flight back, thoughts of helplessness trapped me. The year 2014 offered my life a gap that unleashed an artist inside of me. I wrote, I painted, I played music and I sang; outside of these pursuits, I continued to create at random occasions – a glass harp, a spacecraft suit, 3 camera obscuras etc.. It was the most beautiful year and the one I hadn’t even expected. I taught myself to swim and trained myself to enjoy routine that in effect, fueled my creativity. However, on that flight I realized that to have just your ‘own’ pursuits is not only hard but weighs you with decisions that you don’t want to partake in. If I had an employer, I would have applied for a vacation and just to put my foot down and say “I have to be with my family.”, would have made me feel like a winner. I would have not kept my training sessions at such high priority and just worked around them. To have the world think that you have all the time to spare feels weird. You feel vulnerable and insecure about being taken for granted.

I felt bad that in my efforts to grow without an employer, I had become a slave to myself.

I returned home(alone) in San Francisco; somewhat broken but sick otherwise. A nasty flu (that I picked from someone on the flight) became an uninvited guest. It stayed with me for 6 days during which I had to recover from a jet-lag and an emotional low; and I had to prepare my first Mock Tour. I barely had 3 days for the tour preparation and despite a decent research and a rough story-line, I was too sick during the tour to make it fun. That felt like hell!

I withdrew into a deep state of despair along with a sense of failure. There was no one to listen to my rants, nobody to comfort me with a hug and for the first time I realized I didn’t have a friend around to call up! Yes, there are friends that I have made and yes, I would still call up just for a chitchat; but I found no answers in my head to my cries for help.

It took me about 6 days to recover from the flu but that depression hasn’t left me yet.

The event planning partially helped but towards the last few days, I burnt out. The joys of writing are best experienced alone but the success of a job is meaningless in solitude. And there is no reality to all this. It’s in my system and it continues to grow and I have spent a week blowing it off. There are still a few dark sparks but I hope that the rest of 2015 has enough lessons for me to plan my life better. I want to enjoy every day that I have, every minute that I live and every breath that I take. And I am quite uptight about that.

The Nail Salon

Aimless, I walked; maybe to hunt for a purpose or maybe not. I wasn’t sure why I was so sad without any grief; I couldn’t tell why I felt so light with the load of emptiness. I looked in all directions. To the east, the sun appeared to be a black hole and to the west, I saw no promise of an opportunity. Ahead, there was a road, with a flood of vehicles but they appeared still. Rolling, but still.

Unless I say them out loud, these everyday thoughts have no meaning. So I continued to walk and a few yards away on the right was ‘Nora Nail Salon’. My feet drifted and I let myself be dragged in there. And then, I heard something like my voice.

“Eyebrows” It said.

After a few minutes, I saw a face like mine in the mirror, with traced lines of hair on top of my eyes. I admired my lady’s work, and heard that voice again.

“Upper lip” It said.

The clean mustache of skin over the brown sagging flesh. Some work was done and the service person will be paid, I thought. Yet again, I heard that unfamiliar voice.

“Do you think my chin needs to be waxed?” It said.

A total of 15 minutes had passed and I walked out of that room with some society-defined face of a woman. She has shaped eyebrows, shaved upper lips and a shining chin. Whoever it was, I couldn’t tell but that voice; that voice spoke again.

“Can I get a pedicure?” It said.

The feet are soaked, rubbed, massaged; the cuticles are searched for and removed; the nails are cut, filed, polished. The soul must go through some of it, I thought. “Ouch!” Somewhere during that process, I heard a voice closer to my own; maybe because of the pain.

It lasted over 20 minutes and I sat there, under my lady’s instructions. I waited for my feet to dry and just when I thought they were done, she asked me to let them dry more. I wore closed shoes and they needed drier feet, she said. I sat there and stared at my feet. The skin was clear and smooth, the heels were soft, and the nails were deep purple.

“This isn’t me.”


This time, I heard myself loud and clear. I got up and left. Of course, I paid; with sadness, the price of pretty feet and of a sadder me.