Capital Letters

Allow me, dear readers, to tell you what an absolutely smashing week I’ve had. You could set the entire week to the tune of Uptown Funk and no event, no casual sidelong glance, no smile would miss a beat. If this week were a song, it would be #1 on the Spotify Mood Booster playlist.

In a cliched line of thinking, I had always assumed that I would have a perfect week somewhere in the mountains, away from civilization, wrapped up in an embroidered magenta scarf, wearing my hair loose, and overlooking some revered river. That it would be silent, devoid of chaos, cut away from our quotidian world that is filled with a voyeuristic tendency towards misery, a passion for destruction, and the quiet acceptance of tyranny. That perfection meant an escape to hold oneself, walk up a gravel path

away from the grief
of loss,
of loss of love,
of loss of the love of living,
and to arrive at the bank
of love,
of the love of living,
of the love of living despite loss. 

Though there is that kind of unfettered week for me, somewhere out in the future, this was not it. This week was full of streaming hot sunlight, colour — pop, subtle, classy — colour in my work, my clothes, my sight, extravagant laughter, kindness of everyday-people, ceaseless music on the laptop1 and inside cars, melons and grapes for snacks, nihilistic commentary on the human race cloaked in humour2, and good old dal khichdi with achaar. To add pink button-roses to this seven-tier white vanilla cake,

was made by tiny hands,
of gentle intentions,
with suspended hope,
and the quiet resolve of —
plodding on —
measuring and adding
one ingredient

after another.

It has always been my bane to strive for an ideal. It has always been my undoing. That this week, amidst routine, has been so excellent is a personal achievement of how far I think I’ve come. If this, in any way, suggests I have not looked down upon us as a species or not criticised a human masquerading as a pillow, this blog post has not been written correctly and I should like to set the record straight. I’m not on this planet for Nirvana, I’m here just for literature, fried potato, and the myth of good-looking men who are also decent humans3. O Lord, grant me the serenity,

to accept the things,
I cannot change, 
the courage to be myself
while I change the things I can,
and the patience
to destroy
social order and
patriarchy while applying my mascara.

None of this is to say that this week was without its pitfalls. One morning, I checked my email in bed (because how else?) to find two rejection emails in my inbox; one from a place I really wanted to crack. On another day, I had given up even before I got out of bed, but despite all this, I’m delighted at the quality of how a February week has lived up to its pastel-hued legend. To make another pop culture analogy, if this life were a TV show, last week would be an episode of ‘This Is Us’ with all its love, tears, kindness, subterranean grief, and neatly-manicured lawns in vintage cinematography. One must note though, the thing that makes Jack Pearson’s character believable is that he is dead. Only a tragedy that great balances out a love story that stellar. Or to put it more colloquially, as Sugar says it, “A bit of sully in your sweet.”

Livin’ is a gamble, baby
Lovin’s much the same
Wherever I have played
Wherever I throw those dice
Wherever I have played
The blues run the game
Jackson C. Frank

What bothers me, though, is that we’ve become so wary of joy that when it comes around, it is almost always treated with suspicion. Joy doesn’t get its due, not as much as sadness though. It doesn’t get that pickle-like preservation, festered rumination that we usually reserve to existentialism, melancholia, and world politics. But as I have learnt, and it will sound cruel­4, don’t show your happiness, cloak it, warm yourself with it, and be its guardian. It’s not worth putting out into the world

buy your own flowers,
take them home
from the long, hidden route behind the hills,
the streets, the lampposts,
and put them in the crystal-cut
vase that is
your life,
for you,
are god-damn worth it.


Here comes the barrage of cross-referencing:

1Played this week on an endless loop:

  1. Capital Letters – Hailee Steinfeld, BloodPop (I love this video. I want both the lipsticks she is wearing. Also, songs with the words ‘for better or for worse’ just go straight through my gut.)
  2. Heart to Break – Kim Petras (Everything about the lyrics is wrong, but come on, living in a healthy world is not all there is to life.)
  3. LOVE Somebody – Frenship (The chorus, y’all. The chorus! “I hope you get lost on the way.”)

2Just so we’re clear, the human race is not cloaked in humour.

3In this phase, I am also here to watch the slow collapse of our civilization on Twitter appropriately supplemented by gifs.

4Not as cruel as changing the earphone jack in one’s phones, you know. (You know, Apple?)

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