Peace amidst the sound

The sound of the sea is somehow soothing. It’s synonymous with peace. It makes you forget everything and all you focus on is the sea and the sky and how the horizon is so beautiful. 

All the worries of the world, all the burden of regrets, all the sadness of the moment, everything dissipates for those few moments. 

There’s the burden of not being enough, of not doing enough, of expecting too much from oneself, of all the expectations breaking, of the leftover issues to deal with. There’s some amount of happiness too. Happiness of new realisations, of new beginnings, of tying to make peace with oneself. 

There’s so much to forget when the sound of the sea hits your ears. Being paradoxical has its own perks. Being paradoxical is not being confused. Having many sides exist in you to make you see that there are way too many sides to anything than just two. It’s about accommodating multiple perspectives. Being paradoxical is giving yourself many chances. 

Some things are left unfinished. Some things have endings you can’t make sense of. Some things are just enough. 

There’s also a new journey to begin. Trying to forgive yourself, trying to make peace with yourself, trying to feel enough, trying to feel you’re all that you need. There’s a lot to try.

The sea is enough for all that is. And maybe, just maybe, I will hear the sound saying more to me than just about the thoughts I carry.

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The empty sky

There’s a lane I walked through too many times, almost everyday, with memories in every step taken. The street lights have not been too bright or bright enough to consume the silence that falls. Faces smiling and walking with ice cream in one hand and some groceries in the other. There’s a mart where the owner sits and smiles everytime you go in to buy something. There’s familiarity there. The city is always bustling with people and their energy. That was the city I lived in. That was the city I still love. 

I’ve lost people there. I’ve gained many more bonds. I have a love-hate relation with that city. I didn’t want to return to it when I lost him. It reminded me of everything. I returned. 

The city holds so many stories in its heart, keeping it secured from all the dangers it is famous for. That’s the city brimming with danger and that’s the city that feels home. Isn’t it strange?

I’m surprised at how many verses of poetry it has written and those written for it. Everyone has something to say. They have threads of love hanging in that city. 

What a storyteller it is! The story of that girl trying to reach home safely with fear in her heart, the story of that boy trying to fit in with his friends, the story of that student away from home and making a new home there, the story of every individual that has walked the streets of love and hatred all in the same place. 

I would stand on the terrace, under the empty sky, looking down at the empty road and wonder about life. Sometimes I’d stare at the sky and try to find a star or a particular one. There was just so much hidden in the layers above that the stars weren’t so visible. 

Maybe that’s what I’m looking for most of the times, the empty sky, trying to find that lost one and maybe discover something new. 

What we search for lies within us

A page from my life about my situation last year. Written in the second half of 2016, this was about most difficult times I endured then. A lot has changed since. My attitude towards life and everything has changed. Here’s a look at what I’d felt before I realised few things and learned few life lessons. 

In the most difficult of times, we lose ourselves only to find the real one was hiding inside us all along. 

The reality is I lost my confidence, was completely clueless, my mind gave in to those terrible feelings of emptiness, of hopelessness. I detest those feelings. I was waiting for that ‘someday’ when everything would be ‘fine’. I was living in the illusion that everything has an end, a full stop to it. I didn’t feel like eating. I started feeling strange in the stomach. At one point, I just couldn’t feel happy even if I wanted to. I lost interest in any activity, including writing. Let’s just say my pen couldn’t bleed words no matter how much I tried. And so, I gave up writing. But this sounds unbelievable, right? I know why. Because somehow, smile can lie, but eyes cannot.

I always believed in this: what we search for, lies within us. 

I didn’t lose one thing while everything else was slipping from my hand. I held onto it. That was this little hope within hopelessness, faith that it’ll change, that I want to change. And I took control of my mind. I tried not surrendering to it. I tried to muster up all courage that I had to try and try to change this reality. Believe me, it works. It works wonder. Yes, it takes time. Loads of time. To surrender to time is better than to give in to mind. And I did that.

And now, I’m getting my confidence back. I’m becoming the transformed version of myself. In the past few days, life has turned around for me. No, it’s not a happy ending. But I’m happy. I’ve never been this happy in the 20 years of my life. No, life’s not perfect. It’s not all fine. I still have to fight. So, what’s making me feel so happy?

All of a sudden, I’ve gained such realisations. I’ve learned far more in the past couple of months than I ever have. Yes, adversities can be beautiful. Every second of pain, of fighting, of losing hope and still standing in the battlefield, of trying to handle both emotions and physical pain, of living this reality, of trying to find flame bright enough to light up my hopes, of trying to feel like myself, is a moment I’d cherish forever. Yes, I’m blessed not only because I’m alive, but because I’ve finally found who I am. While my heart was never satisfied with the answer to this question earlier, it now feels it’s found the right answer.

I haven’t lost anything. And I’d say this a million times that I’m happy to have gone through all this. I’m going to fight this all the way till the end. Instead of waiting for that ‘someday’, I’m living it everyday. Instead of trying to find a full stop, I’ve accepted that there can be commas and semicolons and that they’re beautiful. Instead of desiring a ‘normal’ and ‘perfect’ life, I’d like to live the new one. Instead of all ‘sugar, spice and everything nice’, I’d like to live this life of surprises. I don’t want to go back to the old life because what I’ve gained cannot be traded for all the perfection that was my life. To have met all the people along this way who made me feel so motivated has been such a blessing. To believe in myself, to become my own light is beautiful. And amongst so many lessons that I’ve learned and am going to, I can confidently say that I love this uniqueness of having to fight this battle alone.

Those scars that I have will always echo stories. And most importantly, my faith has only increased and taught what it means to be fearless, to live in the now, to be happy, to be a fighter.

Freedom in this way

I was watching a movie where the lead chops her hair off after an event in her life. I’ve seen it many times in movies and series. 

Last year, I chopped my hair too. I had long hair and beautiful, according to others. It made me think why did I decided to cut them short. At that point, everything was happening too suddenly in my life and this was the only thing that seemed to be in my control. 

Chopping hair is about control, liberation. It’s about a lot of things to a lot of people. To me, it was a matter of control and how free it made me feel. 

It’s a belief that hair is one of the most beautiful features in a girl. I honestly think that the opinion differs from person to person. 

In fact, that’s not the only thing I wanted to talk about. I have wondered what makes women wear makeup. Now, the answer to that varies. It may be to look a certain way, to enhance confidence, or just because you like it. 

I wear lipstick and I really wear it because it looks good. For some women, it’s more than that. It’s the strength to be. It’s about picking up all your battles and moving on. It’s about leaving behind the problems of the day and taking on the world. 

I’ve met a woman of about 80 years old who had makeup on every time I saw her. I met her in the hospital. I assumed she had issues to deal with and that wearing makeup everyday just showed how strong she was to put all her pain behind and go on as if it’s just another day. 

It’s strange how we women seem like a mystery to the world, how doing hair and wearing makeup seems like a step to be more desirable, how it’s always about pleasing others rather than doing it for onself. 

Who would have thought that strands of hair and those colourful makeup products have stories of each individuals attached to them.

Once upon a time

I don’t have a very good memory. However, whatever details I do remember about anything are those little details people normally do not remember. 

Last year, I wasn’t emotionally or mentally at peace. I also didn’t want to forget whatever was happening with me. I wanted to look back and remember those days again. Like a story. 

So, I began writing diary. 

I had one, but I recorded my poems in that. I began recording my life and felt different. I started pouring out my heart and my mind started clearing up. 

The weather of my heart started changing and my words translated into something beautiful, my strength. 

I always believe that writing is a two way process. You learn from it and your words empower you. Writing is cathartic as well. 

I was directionless. I needed a map. A way. And I found it too. 

I didn’t get answers to all my questions, but I made peace with myself. I was at peace with not having my questions answered. I became okay with not having a direction. I became okay with everything not normal and uncertain. 

I evolved. 

It’s like playing games. You win, you lose. But if you change your perception, your failures become success, a way to learn. 

It’s like driving a car without directions and being okay with getting lost because it’ll lead you to find new ways. 

Eventually, you’ll be home. 

This life may be a test, but you’ve got to learn from it. 

Once upon a time, life became beautiful ever since.  

Publishing a book? 

Getting your work published is a long process. When traditional publishers do not accept your work, you’re left with little or no option. These days, self-publishing has given hopes to many. Not every self-published book is a success, but it depends on how you define success. 

While there are numerous articles on this topic, I’ll write about my personal experience with self-publishing. I’m not going to discuss about royalties here. 

In the first half of 2016, I decided to get my work published. I wanted to publish a book of poems. Since I wanted to give out only a part of what I write and not the whole, I decided on publishing a chapbook. In the first half of 2017, I was done organising the pieces I wrote years back and those written recently, edited them, made a manuscript, and finally reached the stage of publishing. It took me a long time to write and select pieces to publish! As I hadn’t told many people about it, I seemed to be impulsive. I had only let people know about a week before published.

There are many options for you to choose from. At the end of the article, I’ve provided useful links for you.

Kindle Direct Publishing can prove to be an amazing platform only if you know how to use it well. Kindle Select is a tricky option. It may and may not lead to good sales. If you opt for it, you will be enrolled for 90 days. So, choose carefully! Select can be great for you if you’re already an established author. There are promotions to choose from, but those will not run for all 90 days. Free book promotion is what I chose and it can only go on for 5 days. You can choose the dates. If you’re not a known author, think carefully before you join Select. With Select, you book becomes exclusively available on Amazon. You cannot have it on any other site. However, after 90 days you get the option to enroll again, unless you’d chosen automatic renewal. 

Exclusivity is a big debate in the world of publishing. Personally, I think having a diverse platform helps you and your readers too. 

KPD doesn’t let you keep your book perma-free. Perma-free is when you give your book away for free for as long as you want. With Amazon, you have to choose a minimum price to sell your book at. 

Again, perma-free is another debate. It can work wonders for new authors! Think like this: why would anyone buy your book unless you’re well known? You need them to know that your book is amazing and for that, perma-free works well. Some people may hesitate to buy your book if they don’t know who you are. It’s a good strategy.

KDP places your book only on Amazon.

As soon as my Select enrollment ended, I went on to Draft2Digital. 

Draft2Digital is another good medium for new authors. It distributes your book to various platform. However, it doesn’t distribute it to Amazon. You can keep your book perma-free on it. iBook, Barnes and Noble, etc. are some platforms where it distributes your book. 

My observation was that giving my book away for free was doing me more good than setting a price on it. I’ve sold more books on Amazon for free than on any other platform. 

I don’t define success by numbers. Hence, making money wasn’t my aim. For me, success is when people love what I write.

Blue Ashes hasn’t sold in millions, but whoever has read it has liked it, found inspiration from it, and given a good review of it. That is success to me. 

Of course, everyone’s experience is different and nobody can be certain what works for them. It’s all about experimenting. So, if you’re looking for getting it all right, don’t lose hope. You never know what works for you. 

Here’s a brilliant article I found that would be of some help to you! 

Here’s another link to an article briefing you on various platforms. 

Carpe Diem!

How do I explain this to you

I’m back to my comfort zone with swirling emotions hitting me every now and then. How do I explain to you what I feel when I feel nothing at all? How do I explain to you how I feel at this moment with emotions drowning me in a sea I’ve never been to? How do I explain to you how it feels to be okay with uncertainty?

I don’t think I want to.