The Woos of a Freelance Writer.  

I know what you guys are thinking… You’ve read stuff like this before. You saw this coming. Well the struggle, it’s real. I had no idea what leaving my 9-5, monthly paying job would leave me with…. Rather, without.

Yes, I was disappointed. Yes, my life was mundane. Yes, I had to fight with myself to spend time with myself! But it was comfort. It gave me peace. It gave me a fancy chair that took care of my backache! But alas, now all that’s gone away: today I work with my legs dipped in my pool, laptop in hand and a lemonade by my side. Tomorrow I could work at a quaint cafe that I’ll spend nearly two hours locating online. I’ve thought about poverty, I’ve smiled at strangers, I’ve given biscuits to the poor crossing roads.
I’ve been indoors for 6 days in a row now. I spend time playing cards with my parents and catching up on my list of books to read… And, House of Cards, oh my my!
There are moments in between my day when I do sit in front of my laptop, hair tied up high, glasses on and fingers furiously typing…. Stringing sentences together or sourcing for images. “Content curation” I’ve always loved the word, Curate. It has this archeological air to it, makes me sound like one who is in search of “the truth”. The best part? It could be anything I want it to be. Why? Because I’m the curator, of course. Because I have the time I need to dig through the pages and pages of the World Wide Web and find something that the people, who have hired, and hopefully more will soon hire, will be thrilled and overjoyed at its sight. For I am, the Master Curator.
But for now, let’s focus on something more “curatable” (for the lack of a better word). It’s another C word that for better or worse, my life depends on.
Client.
Having a boss that loved to chew me till my bones ran dry got me prepared with one thing: thick skin. I can handle any amount of absurd work load, sarcastic commentary and sometimes the odd critique on works that didn’t require her feedback (for example, the birthday letter I wrote to her). She taught me how to stand tall, snarling and ready for a fight… My fights usually began and ended with her- today, I have to change my stance. I have to stand down. I have to approach clients who think of me as an equal. I have to learn, that it’s easy to think you have a thick skin but very difficult to actually have one on.
Clients will woo, seduce, bargain and the better ones will even smell the desperation of a freelance writer and all I can do, is wait. Wait and hope, show off my talent; yes, but the most part is in the waiting and hoping.
Waiting for the potential client to reply.
Then soon followed by, hoping the potential client will reply.
For now I can safely say, patience is a good teacher. But sometimes, a good win can also be a good teacher.
Here’s to all those who are hoping and waiting, and waiting and hoping. May our journey be a long one, but a good one, one that if nothing else, can be a good story for those living it with us!
Yours Truly,
A Freelance Writer.
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Dreaming of Angels.

Brilliant.

It’s not even 10pm, I’m sitting in bed, my room dark – it’s not unusual though, for me to get into a safe and warm spot on my bed at this hour. A space that is just mine, one where my thoughts fly around me, sometimes too quickly, at times though, not quick enough. Tonight though, things seem different.

It began when I sat in my car, a whole day had just passed me by. In front of the world, I was a strong girl, I stuck a smile on my face. A colleague even asked me, “How do you look so happy even at 7pm?” Little did she know – It was 9pm, I was sitting in my car. With the windows shut, there was no sound inside – just the sound of me breathing.

With trembling hands, I started the car, unsure of where I was supposed to go – the road home.

Home.

This word is so foreign to me now. No, not in the way most young adults my age wish it to feel. I’ve absolutely forgotten the feeling, of driving home, after a long day. It’s not a location, neither is it your waiting parents, or even the food your mom cooked lovingly for you, because she just knew you would have a bad day today. No, it’s none of that.

It’s a space. Your space. It’s a feeling, when you enter the doorway, that warm aura that engulfs you entirely. Your mind, body and soul, they smile in sync. That smile doesn’t need to show on your face mind you. And sometimes, you might be the only person who even notices that you’re smiling – but you know that you’re smiling.

I can’t remember the last time I smiled – the last time my mind, body and soul smiled together. When all my senses came together.

It’s easy to take a city, a love, comfort and even sanity for that matter, for granted. It’s true, whoever said, you only have to lose it all to know what you had to begin with.

But coming back to tonight. It’s around 10.40 now.

My room is dark; but I now live in what people fondly call, The City of Lights, The City of Dreams. The City of Love, Fame and Power.

Tonight – I can’t see the lights. I have no dreams. Love, fame and power are nowhere on Marine Drive’s horizon.

I miss home. But then, that’s just me.

Do you sometimes play all the right songs, just so that the tears come pouring out? Even as I type this, the tears won’t stop. Someone once told me, write, use your writing to your advantage when you think the whole world isn’t there to listen. Sometimes, it’s a curse. To know all the right words, and all the right ways to use those words to cause a stir in your heart. To leave your pillow with kaajal and tear stains, a reminder of a night that you wish would quickly turn into day.

Do you sometimes stare at your phone, wondering how it’s filled with contacts, filled to its entire capacity with number after number, email address after email address, groups on Whatsapp bubbling with chats – but your screen is just dark. It’s lonely. The phone won’t ring. And even if it does, you don’t know whose name you want to see on that screen.

Do you sometimes hold yourself so tightly – almost curl up into a ball, hoping that warmth reaches every part of you; both inside and outside. Put a blanket over your head, and keep your eyes shut tight, hoping that when you open it, all of this is just nightmare that’s now going to fade away with the rays of the morning sun? Do you?

Or is it just me?

It’s almost 11 now. The tears seemed to have stopped flowing, the world’s still moving, and a song on shuffle just made me smile. It’s odd – How a longing for a feeling can take your breath away.

Take me back,

Take me home,

If only for a day,

If only for a day.

This one is for Pune. My home. My love. My city. Me.

Everything, that was once Me, and tonight, just wants to be.

This one is for all the memories that made my love and hate my home, my love, my city, Me.

Ps. The song that made me smile, Intro, the XX. It’s brilliant.

But for tonight, why don’t you listen to – All Of These Stars, OST The Fault Lies In My Stars; Ed Sheeran.

“They’re playing chasing cars, and I thought of us.”

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Help. I’m Falling In Love With A Wolf.

I should have guessed from the beginning.
It’s what attracted me to him the most – his soulful eyes, his deep voice and electric soul. He has that appeal around him, the kinds that make you want to pick him in a crowd, but also, maybe let him be to his thoughts.
Either way, your eyes, they find his somehow.
I think it’s the way he looks at you. The way he chooses whom to speak to, when to, and most importantly, if at all to speak to.
His words, it’s as if he’s teasing you – luring you, captivating you – leaving you almost motionless. Like a deer caught in headlights. A glance here, a word there, but you can never leave his gaze. Not unless he wants you to.
He’s never in a crowd, but he’s always surrounded. He’s never alone, but it’s his own company he cherishes the most.
Our eyes, they crossed each other a long time back. And before I knew it, his eyes were all I could dream of, as the moon rose in the dark starless sky. His words, they became the rhythm my heart beat to. His touch, layers inside me would melt, just at the thought of his soft lips on mine. Our legs entwined, my arms around hm, my fingers tracing our destinies on his bare chest… His hands around me, his fingers buried in the dark locks of my hair.
I let out a sigh. Turning gently, in case he’s asleep. His eyes stare far away, outside the window, beyond the dark starless sky, beyond the horizon, beyond … just beyond. For a while I choose to remain motionless, even breathing seems to be invasive to his thoughts right now.
I wonder where his thoughts are at this moment in time.
He does love – don’t get me wrong. He’s extremely passionate. But tonight, he’s left my gaze, and looks beyond. I wonder what’s on his mind, and with a little fear in my heart, know that with the glow of the morning sun, I’m going to wake up, missing him.
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Love, In The Time Of Technology.

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In the recent past, it’s come to my notice, more surely now than a few months ago, that love, like all other human emotions and decisions is now being influenced, altered and majorly affected by the ease of technology. There’s always someone else to fall back on, a swipe right, a tweet here and a like there… there’s just no need for that extra effort these days. Those letters filled with yearning words, that spoke deeply of compassion and love. Before you mock, or pin me as the ‘classic romantic’, let me tell remind you that I’m not talking about a past where horse-carriages roamed the cobbled streets, and women went off to dances in barns hoping they would find their Prince Charming (no doubt, I wish I was born in that era instead… simpler times). I’m talking about a not-so-recent past. When there was a Man whom I wrote long letters for, who travelled hours just to see me smile. A Man I spent hours talking to, till the dark skies of the night turned to a reddish hue. A Man who had twinkling eyes and a dairy milk in his hand every time he saw me. A Man, I thought I would end up being with, till death do us apart. Alas, that love story ended abruptly; and while I have no regrets, no hanging ‘what if’ questions… I do just have one teeny tiny problem. That was the first and last time that I loved someone. Truly, madly, and passionately. Together, we were invincible. Every fight just pulled us together, and every letter only closer. What went wrong – well that’s another story. Where is he now? Living his own Happily Ever After with his Mrs. Right… (And yes, I’m extremely happy that he found someone) But in all of this – where does it leave me?
Ready to explore the new world of men out there? Yes.
Equipped to do so? Nope.
There was a time when it was merely just Fate that brought two people together. Today, Apps and various social media sites seem to be taking over. Gone are the days when you had to wait to be introduced to the boy next door. You merely find him (read: stalk) and swipe right or send a message. Chances are, he would have done the same in a couple of days too.
So where does my problem lie?
How do I explain this to you?
For someone who believes in a world of Prince Charming’s, a world of Fairy Tales and Happy Endings – Technology has become one of my worst enemies. I won’t deny that I have attempted to use not one, but two dating apps and have met a total of 6 boys. Where’s the problem – the same helping hand that I used to get me out of my situation, was the same one that pulled me down. No one has patience – Hell, even I don’t!
You don’t like the way the conversation is going? Block.
You don’t want to hear what the person has to say? Block.
You don’t like his Whatsapp profile picture? Block.
Block. Block. Block.
Swipe. Swipe. Swipe.
Block. Block. Block.
Swipe. Swipe. Swipe.
You get the point?
Now somewhere in this blocking and swiping – what if you chance upon someone… Someone who stops your thumb from swiping. Someone who doesn’t make you want to hang up. Someone who makes you want this coffee to last for hours? Things start brewing… 1 coffee, 2 coffees, a few drinks, some dinners, a kiss and then Boom.
A tiff. A lover’s quarrel – I don’t know, what do people call mini, nonsensical and entirely avoidable arguments lately?
So that happens. And then, the worst of it all…. Radio Silence. An ego battle for who texts first. The eternal dilemma with yourself- will I seem desperate if I text him first? Will she think I’m “too into” her if I text her first? Then comes more silence. A once hyper active chat is now making it’s way lower and lower on your Whatsapp screen. No more notifications that make your heart skip a beat. No more calls or spontaneous plans that leave you smiling. Radio Silence.
It’s been days, you decide you should say something… Or is it too late? In haste and anger you delete the E-Matchmaker, furious that it could have given you a hint of something so lovely, and at the same time turn you into this person.
Another day passes.
Radio Silence.
You decide to vent to a friend. Your mind is in a 100 places at once. Friends always have the best solutions or if nothing, will buy you some wine tonight to distract you.
You explain the situation to her.
She listens patiently.
Is his full name, “She recites it exactly.”
You freeze. A slight buzz in your head. You think you’ve nodded; you aren’t too sure.
Her answer proving that you did.
“Listen. He just swiped right to my friend two days ago. They’re meeting tonight for dinner or coffee I think.”
“Oh.” – You hear yourself, from far, far away.

My December List of Happiness

It’s that time of the month again, to wash off the dust of your soul.
The Last Week of the Year is here. The one where memories of the past 11 months come floating by… some that make you smile, some that sting, some that unexpected memory that shines through your eyes. December has always been a great month, it sort of neatly wraps up all the worries, troubles and joys of the year gone by, in a beautiful manner. It helps you understand who you are, where you’ve been, how you are… The friends who are just not the same, and the enemies who now share your deepest secrets with you.
But this isn’t why I’m writing to you today.
I’m writing to you because today, from the deepest corners of my heart, (And yes, I do picture my heart to be shaped like this ‘<3’, so yes, from the deepest corners)  radiates a feeling I almost didn’t recognise. Unsure of the warmth that surrounded me and this radiating glow of happiness, it took me a second to remember when I had last experienced this feeling.
This feeling of being in Love.
All these years, I’ve been adjusting, telling myself it’s okay that things didn’t work out, that people chose to leave rather than stay, that there must be some underlying reason that’s beyond my understanding for things to ‘not happen’. I’ve always focused on the things that I don’t have, couldn’t get, the love that escaped through my fingers… But recently, I read something that has now forced me to make a list of the things that I got. The things that stayed. The things that changed. The things that are making me smile today. And sharing this list with you, that’s just my way of reminding you that change, heartbreak, lonely nights spent in a dark room crying, journeys with no agendas, walks with no destination, mornings with no sunrise… all this does amount to something. This realisation though, I guess it varies from person to person, because everyone has their own story to tell, their own villains, fairy godmothers, and their own happy endings.
Without further delay, here’s my December List of Happiness:
1. I stopped waking up to a tear-stained pillow.
2. I finally started my Book Review blog.
3. I started reading again. (In a good month, I’ve finish 2-3 books a month)
4. I made new and lasting friends.
5. My mother has become my best friend. As I type this, I understand it and swear by it.
6. I stopped living through the eyes of others.
7. I lost weight. Systematically.
8. I cut my hair- today, it’s shorter than I would have ever dared.
9. I got my first double spread in a magazine.
10. I stopped downloading music illegally.
11. I finally started a dance class.
12. I quit beer.
13. I have decided to fall in love again.
14. I’m not going to let anyone call me ‘easy’ again.
15. I’m focusing a lot on charity- it’s time to make someone smile, and for no selfish reason.
16. I sincerely wish the best for the two people who shattered me, my heart, will-power and soul. It’s time let go, it’s time for me to move on from their pain.
17. I bought red lipstick.
18. I wake up early. I sleep early.
19. I’ve stopped apologising for my past.
20. I’ve stopped giving up and asking myself, “Why Not?”.
It’s almost the end of this month and I have butterflies in my tummy; that anticipation that something amazing is coming my way. While Love is a feeling that transforms you, it’s how you treat yourself when you’re in Love that changes everything. Including yourself.
It’s so easy to walk away. But now, I’ve decided to stay, for myself. Stay strong for my beaten heart. Stay strong in front of my terrorising boss. Stay strong for my opinions, my voice, myself. Yes life sucks, and yes sometimes I wish to curl up under my blanket and stay there- but at the end of it all, I will get up. I will Love. I will Love myself. I will find someone who will be the father of our lovely children, who will sit by the fireplace as I read to our kids, or entwine his body with mine as we sip some wine. The view from our window will be a spectacular one, but you know what no one can beat? The view, the happiness and the love that resonates from within.
Here’s hoping this inspires you to write your December List of Happiness.
Share or not, just remind yourself of the pain that transformed you into who you are today. And as this year comes to an end, stand tall, taller than you ever have and watch yourself turn indestructible.
All My Love And A Happy New Year To You.

Another Moon Will Pass Me By

Love stories seem to not want to end at happy endings. Love stories seem to rise only from the ashes of burnt hearts and destroyed souls. Bitter-sweet memories and uprooted emotions. Love stories seem to choose destruction and chaos. Love finds a way to get to your safest place, most deepest place and then start burning you, inside out. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, the signs appear only too quickly – what we would normally find upsetting could probably just be our guardian angel flashing signs of caution. But who listens to advice? No? Especially if it’s your gut that’s giving it to you. And that too, for free.
You would never listen to your gut. I never did.
The night used to be a time for confessions and late night phone calls. The nights are getting lonelier, the words hanging around my bed. The first to greet me as I wake up from my dream-less sleep.
So many full moons have passed me by, so many love stories and lovers have met me along this journey. But to go back to loving you was the easiest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
Our raging fights, those words we never should have said to each other, the hours spent crying, ignoring and even the worst of it all, walking away. None of that is enough to soothe the burning inside of me. None of that will be enough to comprehend the confusion and tears pouring out of my soul.
Everyone around us says I hurt you. That you could never love again. Seems like the whole world was wrong. Even you. Remember that night when you lay me down on that cold platform, when you looked deep into my eyes, deep into my soul… whiskey on our breath. But your eyes, it seemed to tell me another story. Soul mates.
Wasn’t that your most loved word?
Days, weeks and months have passed us now, so boy, why are you still on my mind? Why does this aching  heart only want to be calmed by your voice? Why have I forgotten the way you say my name? Why did you think it would be okay to go out there like this, and destroy my heart entirely?
Why haven’t you called me?
Why did you move on? Leaving me behind in your after glow.
I’ve got my playlist of misery on for tonight, it’s got you all over it.
It’s easy to picture a heart broken into a million pieces, coming back together, slowly and steadily. There are so many things this beautiful world has to share with us, so many lovely things, like the sunshine, caring friends and a loving family, to help bring the pieces together. But what about when you’re just left with one half of a broken heart? You couldn’t even break my heart like it should have been. You just took what’s yours, all the loving inside of me and walked away. You walked away. How dare you take all of me with you? Leaving me grasping for air. Cold. Breathless and lonely.
How dare you walk away, taking the one piece of me that I need the most.
Life seems to be going full circle for me. I’m sitting right where we began. In the same room we spoke for the first time. The same room where I stayed up all night talking to you. The same room you texted me good morning and every morning after that shined brightly. I’m in the same room I was in when you texted me and told me you had something important to tell me- you whispered, ‘I love you‘, my heart stopped and sped up at the same time. No drug has ever made me feel the same. No three words more perfect. I’m sitting in the same room, with no one but our memories for company, and yet, I seem to have forgotten the way you say my name.
But it’s late now. And I need drift back to my dream-less sleep.
It’s another day tomorrow. Another smile for the world and another moon will pass me by.
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Come What May.

“All love stories are frustration stories… To fall in love is to be reminded of a frustration that you didn’t know you had.”

​A long long time ago, sitting under the dull skies of Pune, a close friend of mine startled our silence, “You know what I admire the most about you?”

I looked at him lazily, unaware of how his next few words would stay with me through my life.
What?
“The way you love, Love.”
He was not the kind of guy who gets into emotional conversations or deep meaningful discussions, unless I started them. So I knew I had to listen carefully.
And listen I did,
Go on.
“In this day and age, romance is replaced with technology. Love and heart-breaks with lust and re-bounds. Patience and letters with anger and instant messaging. There’s not a person I know, who looks at Love as admiringly as you do.”
It’s been over two years to this conversation, at that time, his thought made me smile. Today, it makes me wonder. Today, he is engaged to be married, my overly cynical friend found a lovely girl who makes him smile. – isn’t this Love?
Today, I’m chasing my job, my worries, my overly-active mind, my inhibitions – and I’m doing all of this on my own. – is this Love?
Don’t get me wrong.
But with all this brain-picking, watching The Adjustment Bureau tonight wasn’t as good an idea as I thought it might be. It’s a film that should be watched over and over again; until all the dialogues seep into your soul.
“All I have are the choices I make, and I choose her. Come what may.” It takes one line sometimes, to change something inside of you, possibly even awake you.
And it did.
Wide-eyed, the film continued on without me, my fingers itching to type, but most importantly, my thoughts, searching for a place to land. I’m tired of having empty conversations. One-sided, with a screen, sometimes a reply, more often an empty inbox.
All I have are the choices I make. 
Who do I choose? Who chose me?
I’m a sucker for the perfect love story, but I’ve always lived and written about the ones that hurt, break, fall, destroy. Sometimes, fate has it all decided is what I learned today. More often than not, our choices are pre-defined. Our future, created. Does this thought comfort you? Does it help to know that many strongly believe that someone up there, has our Book, our Book with our fate, our life, our deeds, and our death all written; does it make you feel any safer?
Or, just as Matt Damon did, you want to run, run and open all the doors you can- rush through situation after situation, till you find the one door that gives you all the sunlight, all the happiness that you could possibly want, or imagine? Would you run through all those doors? Would you search for your happiness? Stubborn, to not let your fate come to you, but your fate be designed by you. By the doors you open, and most importantly, the doors you shut.
I’ve always believed in closing doors behind me, shutting the world out, the sunlight, if only for a while. But it’s just a closed door, not a brick wall, you seem to have forgotten. 
 
You know what makes me smile tonight?
There’s someone whose writing my story, just as I do, with my characters, with my Roxanne- and right now, a protagonist is opening door after door, shutting door after door, and one day, and God knows I’ll know when he reaches…. He’ll see the door, a brick wall, he’ll find the door knob, and turn it ever so softly. With his smiling eyes, his soft whispers, our games of hide-and-seek will finally be over, the taste of his lips… All we need sometimes, is some more time. Some more faith. Some more love. 
Fate, chance and destiny are things that are widely debated, argued and discussed. What matters the most, is that there’s faith.
And that’s what makes me smile tonight.
All I have are the choices that I make, and someday, I will choose. Come what may.