continuance.

A lot of books and articles on writing emphasize consistency. “You must write every day,” they say. And I understand the reason for this advice. Whenever you are learning (sometimes even when you’re not learning) you have to do a lot of something to become good at it. You have to wade through the crap moments. Your callouses don’t just build over night, you have to keep the process going. You have to write everyday.

Unfortunately, this has never worked for me. My mind wanders, or it is distracted. Pick whichever. Of course, I have the luxury to wander. I do not write for a living. This is probably a good thing since I’m rather fond of living. But if I level myself against this advice of consistency, this rush to finish what I had started, then it is also depressing. If consistency is my aim, then I’m consistently setting myself up for failure.

What works better for a person of my disposition is perhaps the notion of continuance. The thought that I don’t have to do this on a schedule. I don’t have to rush to the finish line. I have not failed. My work awaits me when I am ready to return to it. From there, I can simply continue where I left off. I can afford this to myself in whatever it is that I do, apart from writing, too.

There is a trick here, though. That sometimes continuance turns into consistency. If you keep coming back, if the time between the breaks shortens then it doesn’t feel like some rigid consistency. It feels like a flowing motion, something natural. And if the mindset isn’t about consistency, then you allow yourself to do something else. To take longer breaks when needed.

The even more important thing about continuance is that you allow yourself to return. Because breaking the pattern isn’t failure, it’s just another opportunity to continue later. So you keep returning, and maybe it takes you longer to finish than the next person. But, god dammit, you finish! You set the pace and you let yourself be carried by the flow. It will take you years, just keep coming back and you will get to the end.

climb.

There’s something about a climb that burns your body. Something beautiful. There’s something about how it engages both the body and the mind. The moment is not lost on you because you are with the moment. The metaphors are abound, of course.

The notion of pulling yourself up. The physical act thereof.
Balance. A way of getting to know how your body aligns itself with the world around it.
Patience. Take your time, but not too much. The world will not wait forever.
Falling and getting up. The kind of fall where your feet, your bum, and your back hit the ground. Well, it’s foam padded ground. Safety first, folks.

You will fall, it is as inevitable as day turns into night. You fall and then you get up. Because the rocks are still the same and you haven’t yet made it to the top.

On a personal note, it is reassuring to recall how the year started on a shaky knee, and how now that very knee is used to push off a rock for higher ground, and how still that knee is used to stabilize my falls. And fall we must.

The thing about persistently falling is that the fear still remains. The fear itself persists: before the fall, during the fall, and after having fallen. Whether it’s a ninety foot drop or just few feet off the ground, the fear still stays.

The fear still stays but you climb anyway.

sunday.

I woke up to an intense sense of demotivation today. I didn’t want to do anything. Just a click away even Netflix was a chore. Everything comes at a cost. A night out is followed by feelings of extreme loneliness. Like being hit by a wave or a rock. This is the first time in a very very long time I’ve felt this way, this lack of motivation – it’s been well over a year, at least – so much so that I’m writing about it.

It does come in waves. Somehow I make my way downtown, it’s the last day of the table tennis league. I don’t want to miss it. At the same time, I am not there. I barely won a game – my worst outing. I could feel the waves. One moment, I’m in the game… I’m leading with ease. The other moment I snap out, the score slides. You can’t win them all, and on some days you can’t win anything.

The year comes to a close and I feel this sense of loss. It’s the oddest thing because you can only lose something you had and I didn’t have anything. I have never had anything that would signify loss. Yet the feeling remains. There is no loss of yesterday, but a restlessness for tomorrow lingers.

I know what I have to do. If this year was about restarting things then next year has to be about finishing them. I have a lot of work ahead. A world too beautiful awaits and I have no time to waste.

I have wasted enough already.
There is no time for lazy Sundays.

past.

the past has clearly come and gone,
yet the past has barely passed.
the past is but a dream;
a dream i never had.

let’s recall the moments gone,
what was said and heard?
try and fail a time or two,
the charm is in the third.

who speaks for past memories
when no one says a word?
we find ourselves slowly
just walking with the herd.

the night is all but gone
and it wasn’t even sad.
i look toward the day to dream
a dream i never had.

mesmerized.

I’m on a train right now. I was planning on reading, on maybe writing something, or coding something. But I don’t want to do any of those right now.

I am either sleeping, and when I am not sleeping I am just looking out the window with this one song on repeat. ‘tu kisi rail si‘ written by Varun Grover, sung by Swanand Kirkire.

There is one particular couplet that has me taken:

tu kisi rail si guzarti hai
main kisi pul sa tharthara hoon

you pass by like a speeding train,
and i shiver like the bridge below.

(Translation mine, though I’m probably butchering it.)

Wow, that’s some good shit right there. I don’t know. There’s something about using this metaphor in a romantic song. Turns out that this couplet wasn’t written by Varun Grover, he writes about the song in an article for the Indian Express. It was written by Dushyant Kumar, a Hindi writer born in the 30s. He wrote poems and ghazals, short stories, novels, and dramas.

There’s something about that metaphor that has me mesmerized.
So I listen to the song on repeat, doing nothing else on this train.

(Yes, I know that this a simile and not a metaphor. Please do not write to me about this.)

compromise.

There are compromises and then there are compromises.

You hear it said all the time, “you have to compromise!” We’re told that compromise is important to maintain our relationships, at work, with family, friends, partners, lovers, and for marriages and so on and so on.

I don’t disagree, compromise sounds dandy. But not all compromises are created equal. Situation and context matter. They matter deeply. Not everyone who compromises in a relationship gets equal compromise in return. Some sacrifices are much larger.

But there are also types of compromises. Two I’d like to focus on are: compromising of the heart and compromising from the heart.

The difference between the two is a willingness and desire to compromise. When the compromise comes from the heart, it comes with a willingness – perhaps even an eagerness. It is a happy compromise. You give of yourself but you feel greater for having done so. In contrast when you compromise your heart (a compromise of the heart), you feel like you’ve lost something. You feel at loss; you feel incomplete. There is hesitation and unwillingness.

There are compromises and then there are compromises.

I don’t want to compromise my heart. I want to follow its beats.
From the heart, I would compromise a thousand times over and a thousand times under.