Maybe

“Never think twice before saying sorry or thank you to anyone”

One of the countless life lessons Nana left me to implement. Alas, those words went in vain on an 8 year old. They say that it’s never too late to say sorry but sometimes, just sometimes, isn’t it?

I have played it a thousand times in my head- how I would say sorry to you. Maybe a text, a call or maybe go to your house and blurt it your face. Just three words “I am sorry”. It’s so simple, easy as a breeze. Then what stops me? My ego? Lack of courage? Yeah, both. But what actually stops me is the realisation that it’s not going to change anything. Neither the past , present nor the future is going to alter itself even if I apologise.

Yet, I wish I could muster up the courage because it burdens me to keep it inside. The thought that maybe you look back at those memories just as I do but the presence of my shadow makes it all bitter. Like during autumn rain how we used to wear our oversized boots and try to push each other into puddles and how much it used to hurt your pride to always be the one to end up with muddy clothes. To be pushed over by a girl!- what an insult, right? Or how we used to act like being each other’s dance partners was like the worst thing that could happen but wouldn’t want to pair up with anyone else; partners in every duo performance I did in those 5 years with the person I claimed to hate the most.

Oh, I did hate you,  as much hate a 6 year old’s tiny heart could hold. For the times you ganged up with the other guys when they teased me for being a tomboy. When every time you came over to my house and took over my own TV and I couldn’t say anything back because according to Mom you were ” a guest”. For blowing off the candles on my birthday cake every year. For doing better than me at math. And so much more.

Somehow still, friend, I still never truly hated you. Remember one day we were cycling right after the snow had started clearing and my cycle skidded off the road? I cut my knee and you piggy backed me home, laughing at my pitiful cycling skills the whole way. Or remember how during spring when I used to sneeze because of the pollen how you would tie your handkerchief over my nose? Or the lazy summer afternoons by the lake, chasing after Ruslan’s dog? Remember how I broke your Batman figurine and started crying and you laughed saying how funny I looked when I cried?

“Good days” I say. But I wonder what you say when you look back at them. Do you recall me as a companion of a magical childhood? Or as a destroyer who brought the worst ending to your best days? In my head when I think of going up to you, I imagine you asking “Why did you do that?”. Nine years and I still cannot find an answer to that. Because I was angry? Because I was hurt? But the best fit always seems to be- because I was stupid.

So, maybe one of these days when our families get together again, I’ll walk up to you instead of avoiding eye contact and I’ll let it all out- the good, the bad and the ugly. And maybe you’ll forgive me and we will take a walk down the lanes of Parkovaya, the tunnels behind the school,  the narrow alleys of the bustling Sunday markets when our pockets used to be loaded with candies and our faces with smiles. Maybe.

10 Problems only introverts will understand:

 

  1. The mind conversations: I can’t be the only one who has an entire script of conversation ready for the day I am going to meet Brad Pitt, right? We have more conversations in our heads than in real life because that’s the way we like it.

 

  1. The horror of phone calls: Yes, picking up the phone to make a call takes seven prayers and half an hour of hyperventilation for some of us. Calling the customer care service or even the pizza delivery is scary, okay? Okay.

 

  1. The want in but want out situation: When you want to cut all ties with civilization but cannot cut yourself out of the internet because you just need to watch those prank videos.

 

  1. The non-insomniac owl: We don’t stay up all night because we cannot sleep but because we choose not to. When else can we be absolutely alone and be undisturbed by mere mortals?

 

  1. The weirdo: When you tell people that you would like to do something by yourselves and the awkward look they give you as if you are the strange one. Sorry but not so sorry.

 

  1. The low battery: When you are spending a great day “socializing” but suddenly all you want to do is go home, put on your baggy clothes and hide inside your blanket. We just need to recharge a bit, it just takes 2 weeks or so.

 

  1. The monster called “small talk”: Let’s get this straight. Do not small talk with us, it’s horrible. Indulge in deeper conversations that doesn’t require the constant struggle to find a new question. It’s easier and more fun.

 

  1. The over excited friend: Every introvert has that one friend who is always so filled with energy that it drains them out of theirs and the word “no” does not even exist in their vocabulary. If they say you need to hang out today, you have to, there is no escape, just brace yourself.

 

  1. The permanent “sad face”: When you have to explain to the over concerned people that you aren’t sad and this is just how you look when you are lost inside your head’s labyrinth of imaginations.

 

  1. The fix-yourself: First, being an introvert isn’t even a problem. So, we do not have to fix ourselves to match everyone else’s standards. Second, we are fabulous the way we are and if you have a problem with that then, excuse you.

Isolophilia

“Your daughter is too quiet. She doesn’t interact much with the other children.”  In spite of being an all A+ student at the age of 8, this was the common complaint my parents had to hear from my teachers. Surprisingly, my younger sister is following my footsteps. Back in my time, my parents were overly concerned with my lack of social interactions. Thus, I used to be forced to go to social events and make so-called friends. My mother routinely screamed at me for being a slow talker and continuously nagged about my lack of wit. You see, I never understood what exactly it was that was wrong with me. All I knew was that people did not accept the way I was and that I had to change myself. And so, I did.

Social butterfly is what you call extremely social people, well then, I had become a social tornado. For about five years I lied to everyone including myself, that this was who I was. I thought I had proved to myself that this was indeed me and that I was happy this way. But insecurities never left my side and there was no place on earth I preferred over the solitude of my room. At the end, you really cannot escape yourself, at least that is how it was in my case. I cannot pinpoint the moment I started to see it but I realized how everything and everyone around me was a façade. Usually transformations occur overtime, but everything for me changed overnight, I changed it because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I got myself out of the trap the popular and “witty” kids had set. And then I went from having countless friends to zero friends in a matter of three months or so. To a normal person, it might sound pretty tragic but believe me when I tell you that it was the best time of my life with myself because I finally let who I was, take over who I pretended to be. I might have looked eccentric to people but to me I was finally “me”. Eventually, I made friends I wished I had made earlier. And mind you, quality is always better than quantity, a life lesson learned the hard way.

These days, thanks to the internet, there is a lot of talk about introverts and they know that they are not the only one feeling the way they do. Yet introverts are the least understood people or may I say the least accepted people. Of course, I have a pledge towards everybody to let introverts be themselves and know that introversion is not a disease. But I have a greater pledge towards the introverts themselves- embrace it. Yes, it is easier said than done in the kind of society we grow up in but I cannot emphasize on how important it is. Once you learn to embrace who you are, you will see that nothing else matters. You do not feel so wary of what people think of you because it simply does not matter. What does it matter to them that the party you want to attend is not in a room with loud music and strangers but inside your head of thoughts?

Introverts are some of the coolest people I know (yes, I consider myself cool too). Their minds are iridescent and their quiet and calm nature is their minutiae. To those who are trying to fight their introversion, please don’t, there is an ineffable beauty about you. Just put on your baggy pajamas, get inside your favorite blanket and stare at the ceiling. How do you feel? If you start wool-gathering, indulging into seamless imaginations then you are a precious introvert and the world needs more of you. You are a gift.

Kids These Day

Through the eyes of society, we are the generation that is “too fast”. We are the epitome of the worst thing that could happen to children. The way we look, the way we talk, just who we are- the most annoying scene to the adult world. Yeah I get it, you want us to value our age and the innocence that was supposed to come with it. And when we do not exactly abide by the rules of nature or might I say “your rules”, we get titles such as “spoiled”, “ungrateful”, “gone bad”, “hopeless generation” and so many other fancy ones. But here is a question for those accusing eyes of yours- have you ever wondered why we are like this?

My mother used to play with dolls till she was 13. I played video games. And the ones now play with makeup. Why you ask? I ask why not? Why is it so hard for you to come in terms with the fact that times have changed? That we are not ever going back to where you were. Also give it a thought, what makes us take a fast track to adulthood when we are supposed to enjoy our young age?

We are forced to take so much more responsibility now. Every time a child acts “childish” you are the one who screams “Grow up!”. But the thing is we do not know what it means to grow up. To be responsible, to act rationally. So we look at you, our examples, and do we get a good one? No, we don’t. We see irresponsibility and illogical characteristics in you too and we are able to see it because our eyes do not have many filters. We tend to see things much more clearly than you do. So when we see a “grown up” wearing makeup as to mask her insecurities, we follow her. When we see you smoking to ease your pain, we follow you. When we see our fathers hit our mothers, we lose respect for our female counterparts, we follow you. When we see you treat us like we are completely useless, we become bullies; we follow you. So maybe it is high time that you stop trying to change us and change yourselves first. Because we are watching you and we are becoming what you have become. Telling us that we should act differently is not going to help because we do not know how to.

So the next time you point a finger at a child or a teen and utter “kids these days”, stop yourself and think if you are any much better in spite of the fact that you are an adult. If you want us to be better than act better. Show us what “better” even is.  Nobody is born ‘bad’, we are all born as clean slates. Every conduct we see in front of our eyes get imprinted there, gradually filling it up. I believe all of us are virtuous, but the surroundings scrape that off of us. And how much is it our fault? There are a lot of children but little childhood. Maybe the only way we are going to get some childhood is when you leave us to be ourselves and not give us responsibilities that our frail young shoulders cannot lift. Then maybe that girl will put down the makeup brush and pick up her doll.

One Less Blessing

 

Hey Nana, can you hear me? I’m that precious granddaughter of yours that feels drowned in regrets. If you were still here, you would mock me and say “You are too young for regrets.” You would laugh at me. Then you would take me out to eat to make me feel better because you could never stand the sight of my tears. But here I am with tears streaming down my cheeks and you aren’t there to wipe them or pat my head and tell me to let it go.

It has been a year Nana, that you left us. That day still seems like a blur. I didn’t even know the date till this year when Mom told me. What did the date matter? You aren’t here and I didn’t need a particular day to be reminded of that. I never thought I’d see you leave before my O level exams. You always said so yourself that you would live long enough to see me get married. I promised myself that I would make you proud, that it was my only opportunity. The only way I could make you proud and I had to because I was always so proud of you. How could I not be proud of you? You were your country’s soldier, your community’s good doer, your family’s glue and a person with the largest heart. You couldn’t hold on for one more year, you just couldn’t. I wonder if you are watching me now, if you are, do you feel proud of me? You saw me growing up, my father himself never did. You knew me better than he does and better than he ever will. People think I lost a grandfather, what they don’t understand is that I lost a father. And it hurts in every inch of my body when I think about it. So like a child I lock that painful thought away to save myself from breaking down every so often. The dining table is empty. There is nobody complaining about politics and giving us all the breaking news of the world. There is no more need of fetching your medicine box after dinner and no more fighting among the younger kids in the house about who is going to feed you the medicine. Remember, not too many years back I was the only one with the privilege to do so? You would wait for me to come with the medicine. But gradually the nonsense thought that I was growing up took over me and I stopped feeding you the medicine and the younger ones took my place. I should have never let that happen.

In those last months Nana, I hardly saw you even though you were mostly home. I was going around doing extra classes for the exams the results of which you didn’t live long enough to see. I was working with that goal in mind, I would make you so proud. But while doing so I forgot about you as a person completely. I would still see you at dinner but never stick around long enough. The day it all started to go down, I was on the dining table and you called out from your room. Even in my worst dreams I couldn’t have thought that it would be those series of events that led to the end. That I would be helping you down the stairs to the car for the last time. That those were your very last step. When you were in pain you kept telling me that “This is it. This is it.” I wouldn’t believe you. I couldn’t believe you. I didn’t want to. But you knew. The next day, every second I spent away from the hospital I felt those words weighing down on me. On the day you left I spent the entire day there but you chose the moment I was not beside you to let out that last breath.

I thought a miracle would happen. You taught me to believe in miracles and that they happen to everybody. I would trade all the miracles of my life for that one miracle. But no Nana a miracle didn’t happen. I regret so many things now. Too many. I could have changed my last memories of you. I could have made you happier by spending time with you. I should have done so much and that still wouldn’t come close to what you did for me from the start. My results came out just the day after your death anniversary. Mom burst out in tears just thinking how happy you would have been, how you would be dancing around the streets giving people sweets and declaring to the whole world that your granddaughter is the best. When you would see me crying for that one mark that made me lose the chance to the scholarship, you would say that you would pay the fees if I stopped crying about it. And I wouldn’t so you would pat my head and tell me how this is just a lesson life threw at me, that I should get over it and be happy about what I achieved. But you aren’t there to do that. So I’m going to cry Nana, because nothing and nobody else seems to be enough to erase any of this distress. Then I will do what you ALWAYS asked me to do- count my blessings. But from the past year I have one less blessing to count.