What’s the prettiest mask you ever wore?

Hello Stranger!

Rain, Coffee and Silhouette Photography ©V

I know you’re intrigued by the title. I really like that about you. Well I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, which is perhaps why I haven’t written in a while now. How are you doing? I know you have been a little confused by life. This isn’t really turning out to be your year, is it? I think we’re on the same side then. As I sit here, listening to classical piano music with a mug of coffee beside me, I can’t help but think about the numerous times I’ve been in this position before. This moment, right now, is my solace and I want you to picture it too.

Who are you? Have you thought about the various faces to you? The various phases you’ve been through to get here? Have you thought about the people who pushed you to become this person? Yes, it’s best not to go there again. It’s interesting to note how, many a times, we end up being the people we staunchly disrelish to the people we deeply desire. Why do we do this? Is it fear or are we just unequipped to deal with anyone but ourselves? We’ve all made promises that remain unkept till date. We’ve loved those who couldn’t love us back. We’ve angered ourselves about things we had no control over. People always came and left and chapters got completed so abruptly that now we almost look forward to the endings.

I’ve stared at the skies long enough to realize this is just who we are, so completely and naturally flawed. I have tried to keep my promises but the older I get, the more I understand my limitations. All of those beautiful stars I grew up gazing upon, remain the same, and yet your masks change every single day. How am I to know which mask is the real you? Is it when you smile oh-so-softly that your eyes light up? Is it when I can’t stop looking at you as you speak because every word you say breaks my heart into pieces I strive so hard to collect? Is it the diabolically carefree one you have on with everyone else? Or is it the one you put on while your head rests on my breasts with your eyes shut and your lips slightly parted, in your deep slumber?

Perhaps I do the same to you. Perhaps I’m too scared to know what’s behind that mask of yours, so I put on a new on too, every morning. I think I wear mine to hide the hurt so you don’t ever see me cry. It changes with the person I’m with, of course, just like yours do. These conventionally pretty masks keep my latent desires away from your scrutiny, so no one can ever touch me. But don’t misconstrue their complexities of being, for they are only trying to save you from yourself. Maybe if you take them off, you wouldn’t be so spectacularly strong. Maybe you’ll realize that you and I aren’t very different. Maybe someday your masks will strip mine off layer by layer, so I wouldn’t ever need another one. And quite honestly, I am looking forward it, for when that happens, I’ll know how right I was to love you the way I did. So let’s begin with a simple question, what is the prettiest mask you ever wore?

 

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Memoirs of a broken lock

“How do you turn this rusty broken lock into a story?” he asked her. She smiled to herself and said, “Ah, yes. I thought you’d never ask.”

This story, my dear, is a series of relentlessly unfortunate events that snowballed into breaking of a seemingly ordinary lock. It dates back to when she was 16, growing up in a world that was harsher than her wildest nightmare. What she desired most was to escape into a wilderness, a place where promises were kept by all of their makers. She craved to be understood and accepted for being who she was. She loved people in a crazy, stupidly intense way. Her world was so surreal that the romantics would have been proud. But what she didn’t know was that the society around her wasn’t ready for her desires.

She was not aware of the depth of these societal traps. She didn’t know what patriarchy meant and how it would change her entire life. Being 16 in this world isn’t easy. It’s that time when you have you magical firsts like she had hers. The kiss that stole her naïve heart away, the boy who made her nervous, the friends who were to last forever, all those promises that were made. You guessed it right, the magic faded away just a little before her friends did. But her world came crashing down when she came home and saw the broken lock on her bedroom door. Her parents had fallen prey to a society that demanded for girls to get their wings clipped, so they wouldn’t fly.

So what did she do when all her secrets lay nakedly around her bedroom floor, with the open pages of her personal diaries? She cried, until there was nothing left to cry about. She looked at the broken lock everyday hoping it would fix itself. But when it didn’t, she knew what she had to do. She registered that sight in her mind and liberated herself the way that lock had. She decided to live her life unapologetically, to keep people at a safe distance, to not let romanticism control her anymore and most importantly, to love herself like no one had ever loved her.

*As seen upon returning from school- 12th grade

“Wow. That’s quite a story, but didn’t she face more problems going against her parents?” He asked.

“Why of course she did, and that’s what made her so strong. She learnt to save herself before letting anyone else try and fail. She also had dark phases, some darker than most, but you see, some people are just so irrationally stubborn about being okay that their paths always lead them back to themselves. She was one of those.”

He looked like he was in a state of trance. He took a pause and said, “So where is she now? How is she?”

I can’t help but smile at this boy before I continue, “Well she’s within all of us, isn’t she? You know the feeling that nudges you to go on? That’s her. The broken lock signifies that you’re not bound to anything. Everything is so susceptible to breaking hon, don’t you think? We’re so fragile with all our egos and charades that we so proudly flaunt around. We need her to keep us sane, to feel the hurt and keep moving forward. So the next time someone breaks the lock to your personal door, thank them, think of her and walk right through it. Her 16 year old self would be so proud of you.”