Let Us Change Everything

2014, I was at a crossroads of sorts. Most things I had tried in my life since I moved away, in 1999, from the city that I was born and brought up in, had been a failure.

My career was somewhat okay till I left to work on my own in 2008, but even that went downhill by the time it was 2014.

I was, though, really lucky to still make enough money to pay my own way in life and not get into serious enough trouble with the numerous adventures that I had gotten into.

Life changed drastically after 2015 and I have often had very little or no time to reflect on things. After 5-years of that, I think it is a good time to make more changes again.

Some of these are changes that have been pending for a while. I knew I that I probably had to make them sooner than later, but I just could not make a strong enough case for it.



I can assure you that there was a lot on my mind that I wanted to write down today. The moment sat down to write them them down, they all seem to have vanished into thin air.

Do things ever vanish into thick air? I have never heard of that one before. Even though, we do know that the air is often thick with intrigue and other dark things; but, it is never known to absorb things or thoughts.

I am moving this website into something that is private. Even before I moved the URL to something that was not easy to find, there was only less than a handful of people who used to read this blog. Making it a private journal is not going to make any difference, other than that it allows me a degree of candour that is otherwise quite difficult.

I have been looking for private journal to write just for myself and after exploring all other options, a locked-down version of this site looks like it is the best option.

This also means that anything that is not meant to be private will be published on what used to be the work blog. Let us see what this change will bring about.

I’ll take writing a lot more and writing a lot better as perfectly fine outcomes.



I doubt if we can salvage anything of this year. And what a surreal year it has been. This is probably the closest humanity has ever come to a shared condition across all the continents. And, oddly, it is also something that shows how differently we experience the same thing.

The anxiety that I used to experience in a period of months is now experienced in a single day. I am surprised how resilient we are, to live with that every day and still plod on. But, I also fear that it is not an endless rope and some of us are just hanging on by a thread.

But, do we have any other choice?

The anxiety aside, I don’t have a lot to complain about. There are a few material things that I desire, but not as a burning desire. I will get some or most of them if I can continue like this for a while longer. But, I don’t feel the lack of those things as a big hole in my life.

On the non-material end, the story is the same. I can desire a few things, but they don’t represent a burning desire. Contrary to the material, I don’t feel I’ll get some or any of them; mostly because I can’t bring myself to invest time or effort into getting them. I have gone as far as I want to go on that front.

It is mostly a feeling of being done, having enough, done enough, and seen enough. If life were to end today, I would not have many complaints at all. I would go without much trouble.

That leaves things mostly transactional on the table. Which, for a person like me, has been a revelation as to how much I am okay with it. It boils down quantifiable steps, outcomes, and expectations. All of them are habits and you can fly on autopilot there once you measure them out.

Life has an infinite capacity to surprise. And I am surprised by how I have taken to this life. It is definitely not a place that I had expected to find myself in. If we have to go back to a world that has a lot of interaction with people, I am not sure how well I’ll take to it.

One of my earliest memories after having accomplished something in my adult life while living on my own, that I had cherished for a long time, was an absolute lack of triumph. That feeling, though totally unexpected, has stayed with me for the rest of my life.

At the end of nearly 43-years of life, and having seen and done all that I have, that feeling is the most persistent one. This partly drives the lack of the burning desire. I know what is waiting for me when I get someplace.

Guilt has been my constant life companion, mostly of not being good enough on so many different fronts. Somewhere in the last couple of years, I have let that go too. I still feel that as a huge void as it has been the driving force of a lot of my life.

Not having it around makes me feel a lot less alive, but it is a decent trade-off. I make mistakes as much as I used to do earlier, maybe even more than I used to. When the realisation strikes, I apologize genuinely, try to make amends and move on.

Where does that leave life? The feeling of being alive? I find that ocassionally while being alone. There is not a set framework for it. Sometimes, it is music, sitting at night by the warm light. The chores done for the day, the accomplishment of having made it another day and my people are all OK.

The gratefulness of having that is about when I have consistently felt alive. That there is some point to so much of this rubbish.

For now, it will have to be just that. As what used to make my heart sing, the mountains, are far far away right now. If I ever make it back to them again.



Hand-in-hand we walked. I had one last quick glance behind. The slanting rays of the sun mostly obscured the path in the distance, leading away from the fork and winding away in a different direction from where we came from.

Once the sun sets — maybe once, maybe many times more — I will succeed in forgetting the winding path and where it led. A place that exists, but it is not shown any map. A destination we never need to try to reach again, for I’ll never know the way there after that sun set.

Our current path draws us relentlessly ahead. Cities, towns, villages, and forests appear and disappear. Same as people. The winding path is reclaimed by the forest of life. It ends in a clearing of sorts. Under the foliage are old boxes, locked.



What is the right way to look at death?

Avoid thinking entirely about it, and it will take you by surprise one day; and in a really bad way.

Think about it all the time, and all of life starts to revolve around it. You stop living, in a manner of speaking.

The last 8-months have been almost entirely the latter for me. Everything is measured through its prism. It is not a good way to live.

Logically, I know how this works. All these thoughts does not prevent it when the time comes. No amount of preparation helps you cope with losing anyone that is close.

But, right now, it is not something that I am able to internalize.


Tell Yourself

The past couple of months have been a running battle. There is no point in denying it or trying to wrap it in flowery words. It has been a case of pushing relentlessly at a wall that almost never budges. And it kind of caught me unawares as the chaos that preceded it at least helped me be prepared for this.

I have not always carried responsibility with a great deal of comfort. Some people do that with a great deal of grace. I am clumsy-by-default and often struggle with being responsible for anyone else other than me. Yet, as I am given to doing often in life with things I am not good at, I have kind of brute-forced my way into being acceptably bat at it.

Even so, the changed life from the past 6-months just provided an entirely different take on it all. The greatest hit this impact it had on my life was the near-eradication of reasonable amounts of time that could be allocated to just taking some time off to reflect and talk to myself.

And those two things are my greatest centering mechanisms and without them it is just gets increasingly difficult to have clear view of where I am headed within myself. And it is still not there in place at all.

This is just a first crack at acknowledging it in words.


The Churning

I spent a good five-minutes of my time wondering what could be the right title for this post, than wonder what to write about in the first place. Well, it has been that kind of a time.

There is normally the end-of-the-year or the beginning-of-the-year kind of posts that I end up writing. This time, there has been none. The passing of the year that ended was barely noticed.

Time is just another of the many recurring details. One that makes itself felt in a body that no longer can handle the heaps of abuse thrown at it all that well. And in the list of things to be done that never end.

In that, there is never enough time.

If you don’t pay enough attention to it, it becomes the norm to not pay enough attention to yourself. There are many wonderful ways to spend time on yourself, but not really spend any of that listening to yourself.

Sometimes, the helplessness is overwhelming. There seems to be little agency left in life; which, I know, is a tad melodramatic, considering I still live a very blessed life.

That being the case, I do wonder if things will ever go back to a time again when things did not seem like a churning. Of the waves, the tides and the shore that seems a bit more distant each day.

Life Travel

The Mountains Sing To You

It happens, at first sight, or never. If there is ever love possible at first sight, it has to be with the mountains. The places that the mind escapes to, each time, from the everyday is always a mountain for me. There is a music to them, even in the harshness that almost always accompanies them. It is the one place that I feel at home, if I ever do; even though I have never had a home up there.

Another two-months and life would have covered 12-months of time that has gone again, in things we rarely dreamt that we would do, but always feared we would have to, at some point.

In between, we escaped⁠—sometimes out of the sheer desperation of wanting to break the routine ⁠— other times we were lucky to be able to do that at will. We glimpsed what we would love to have; but we had to make peace with plans that kept changing that would not let us have that.

Death, eventually, made its dreaded appearance. It has a cold touch that never lets go. Everything feels so different now. Being the age that I am at, if I do somehow live for long, this is just the beginning of seeing off your loved ones one after the other. And watching, waiting, looking at life slowly slip away from someone—with no means left to express what they feel⁠—is the hardest way to let someone go.

More so when you are the primary caregiver and all the decisions have to be led by you. I was not the closest, but this is my first introduction to survivor’s guilt. I do not know how people who have had it worse live it down.

With an unknown road ahead in life we took the road unknown. Drove thousands of kilometers and found ourselves at home everywhere. We were surprised to find bits of ourselves still alive. Life was not all death certificates, reading vital signs, blood counts and trying for the umpteenth time to understand if there was something we could have done differently.

No matter how you ask the questions, the answers are always the same.

What is gone is gone.

What is done is done.

I have spent a lot of my younger years looking at the ocean and asking questions to it, only to get the answer in the form of the sigh of wave that just came in. Since I grew up next to it, I could not say for sure if that was a love at first sight or if it sang to me. Guess it was more a steady presence, ready to hear my endless questions, in my life.

The mountains, they are a different deal. The day I fell in love with them, I still remember vividly. It literally took my breath away and it immediately felt familiar. I did not know where I was headed in life when it happened. I do not know where we are headed now either. We just keep going.

But, in my mind, I can see the valley in the distance. It is dusk. The village has come to life in it, the houses lit up like hundreds of fireflies. An odd cattle bell goes off somewhere. There is a nip in the air, it may rain again.

The plants still need to be re-potted. We are short on milk. But those are all chores for tomorrow. The room is bathed in the warmth of the tall lamp.

Outside, the mountains sing to you.


Sort Of

Over the years I have become far less enthusiastic about conversations with others that require me to speak about myself, while I am more than happy to have conversations about things other than myself. The odd exceptions do exist, but even there I find the urge weakening.

I used to be someone who used to be really fascinated with people and what makes them tick. Age has more or less eradicated that fascination. It is really difficult, even with someone you know closely, who they are and what makes them who they are. What we think we see in a person is what we want to see.

Often, my perception and the reality of a person can be on two different galaxies. It has kind of settled down into a hazy zone where the important criterion is if that person matters to me.

That said, life being in a phase where there is precious little time for all this analysis makes this all slightly irrelevant. I could make the time if I really wanted to, but I don’t want to speak about myself and I do hear a lot about others on a regular basis.

Life itself continues to fascinate me. Where I find myself has no connection with where I thought I would be, even as recently as 5-years-ago. This car kind of drives itself, my hand on the steering is mostly my own imagination. That used to be a scary thought. Now it is mostly ‘meh’.

Snaking through episodes of utterly blinding trust, different shades of a permanent loss and the overall uncertainty of the times, a rare pause becomes a deafening wall of silence the world passively enforces otherwise.

Loud sounds eventually become only a persistent ringing in silence.



The days have kind of melded into each other. Not so long ago, we were up there — 11,000 feet, to be precise — listening to the sweet tongue of the high mountain folk. A few days before that was the last time we were all together, laughing, smiling and making the best of the time together that, strangely, was caused by physical discomfort.

There are so many smidgens of conversations. So many shards of memories gathered over four-years. One of my fondest memories of him was him being utterly frightened by the prospect of his daughter being married to me, while looking out into the hard rain that was falling that day. The months passed and all that uncertainty became another of the many things that passed.

It is past midnight now and the waiting room of the ICU of a hospital is not the best place to write anything at all. I do not remember the exact number of days I have slept here. Whatever that time may be, in that time one person passed away, the handful of others who were unfortunate enough to visit it were fortunate enough to get better, and be moved back to the normal wards.

He is not gone yet. His body is recovering well, but the mind is mostly a blank. He is there somewhere out there, still. But, every day we lose a bit more hope of him finding his way back to us. Physically, he is about 30-meters away from where I sit now. But he is away, somewhere far far away.

Even as the logical mind argues that these are matters far outside my hands, the illogical mind is regularly lashed with the thoughts of losing people who are under my watch. I should have put my foot down. I should have provided the care that may have made the difference. I do not know.

I would absolutely love to see him getting mad at me for having put him through all this; and having dodged yet another bullet. This would have been the third one after a cancer diagnosis 3-years-ago.

What a story it would have made, to discuss over one of our poking-fun-at-each-other sessions to, that having his heart stopped for nearly 10-minutes, his body still came back enough to have kept on recovering even at this late stage where the is nearly no hope left.

There are a thousand things I am genuinely mad at him for. Particularly the numerous times I could see he was in pain and he would not admit to me. But the life he lived is far more valuable a memory and the times we have had together is absolutely priceless.

He sleeps a peaceful sleep about 30-meters away from me, but he can’t hear me or feel much. I do not know when this last clasp will also loosen and the physical strands also start to whither away.

There is a sneaky hope he will effect another miracle, much like the one he pulled off after being gone for 10-minutes.

But, it is unlikely that it will happen.

So, I must wish you peace and a spectacular journey to the place you will go to. Our love will always follow you wherever that place is.

Should you meet V there, tell him to be happy. Tell him that we miss him terribly and that three-years have done nothing to erase even a tiny part of him from our lives.

I hope both of you will laugh heartily at us from there.

I wish you safe travels and peace, Mr. P.