1st April, Midnight 12 am, I blew out my birthday candles. Closed my eyes, one deep breath, held it for a second and exhaled out forcefully. That one second, my eyelids shut, and the winning smile on my face. Yes, I did it in one breath, all 28 of them! As I opened up my eyes, my mother looked perplexed, finding it difficult to solve that mystery behind my smile. She was probably not accustomed to a view of candles in that large number for her daughter. The last time I celebrated my birthday with my family was some 10 years back. And this time she could barely see the surface of the cake, as the candles had overpowered their presence.
I like the sound of 28. It rings a thousand other bells and I revisit my childhood, my adolescence, first date, first love, and a lot of other firsts! Ten years back I’d thought I would actually suffer from a quarter life crisis turning 28. But I am actually quite content with the feeling of this age or rather the time and space I am in. 2013 was a year of challenges, instability, turbulence and exposed vulnerabilities . It was also the year of self realizations, taking bold stands, transforming pain into poetry and letting go few of my fears. This year made me discover the two sides of my persona, which inevitably kept clashing with each other; one side being this frivolous, fun-loving young woman and the other being this serious, loner and ‘spiritual’. 12 months these two sides have been at war and trust me I have won each and every battle. The split caused me difficulty and I always wondered how to resolve this.
That night I finally told him, “We have lost something deep down! Do you think we still love each other?” He said, “The problem is not in the relationship, it’s in your mentality. Once we get married and things would be fine”. That night as I was lying in bed in tears thinking of what could I give up- a 6 year long relationship or my idea of love? I have experienced it with him, for him when I fell in love 6 years back, and now it’s everything but love. I was not okay to be the person he wanted to be with, neither was I okay making him the one I wanted to be with. We had drifted apart long back, today was the day of realization. I called it off the next night! “You’re confused, you’re selfish, you’re crazy……”and so on! Yes, I heard everyone saying that to me. It was equally devastating for me too, but I had probably seen through few things which no one would have ever attempted to see. I was not confused; my self-actualization was escalating to another level. I loved myself enough to just let go something which was making both of us less of ourselves. It wasn’t easy to stand by the decision I had taken, I tripped into it time and again. All those scary and sleepless nights, when the loneliness had hit me. Times when I felt like sharing my stories before going off to sleep, picked up the phone and realized I can’t dial that number now. And that struggle was huge, when you have to let go an image of a relationship which existed sometimes back. I kept juxtaposing days when we committed into a relationship and when we broke up. But binaries have never given me convincing answers. Though when I was full of anxiety, jitters and fears, I decided to jump anyway.
Later then I quit my job as I knew I didn’t fit there, I spent three months reading journeys of people who embarked on to Buddhism, sleeping over poetry of Rumi, Hafiz, Amrita Pritam, Gulzar and Neruda, reading philosophy and politics of leaders like Aung San Suu Kyi, the Lamas; I started writing painting and writing poetry, I realized my love for photography. And the series of events don’t stop here. I took a new job that I love, shifted into a new city I had always hated, have spent weekends drinking in a bar alone and singing my heart out in a karaoke, watched movies alone, met inspiring strangers and solo traveled. And that was 2013 for me. I walked and walked, pulled back, fell on the ground, got hurt, healed my wounds and I stood up for myself; I stood for my idea of love, my values; I embraced change and today everything that changes looks beautiful. Everything of the past, now shines like a twinkling star somewhere- my relationship, my old job and my favorite city. Today my mother thinks, it will take an eternity for me to date someone. Little that she knows me, I still believe in magic! To solve that mystery for you mother, that winning smile on my face was the reflection of freedom, emancipation, victory over me and that ecstasy of being in love with the idea of love. For all those frivolous and non spiritual readers- the smile was the reflection of being single, unmarried, care-free and a rebel forever. Hell yeah!