Thursday, 23 July 2015

Delight in disorder

Photos of these deformed daisies spotted near Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, have gone viral, and in turn left the social media in a frenzy. While some condemn the "ugly life-forms" created by yet another miscarriage of Japan's inane nuclear energy projects, I can't help but be caught in wonder at the sight. There is a whole plethora of motivational quotes hidden in that picture. Fukushima has been given the rawest deal possible, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by nuclear power plant meltdown that took place back in 2011. 

But from amidst the chaos, three daisies arise, standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce, and while they're at it totally owning their little quirks. These daisies are a metaphor for hope, for finding perfection in imperfections and seeing delight in disorder.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Informal Sister Code

Reader, if there's anything that Little Women taught us (besides impressing upon us the themes of love, patience and loyalty, of course) is that having sisters is a lot of work. For me and my sister, having each other can be tough enough. But we've survived all these years by abiding by ten simple rules. Besides the obvious, i.e., I will be the maid-of-honour at your wedding and take care of your kid if you die here are a few of the guidelines for satisfactory sister-sister coexistence.

I co-own all your clothes. Because you've been my sister, for 20 years, and you have great taste, I am allowed to borrow every item in your closet that is my size, no matter how fancy, sans the unnecessary trouble of actually asking for your permission. And then I will give it back, I promise, geez. I also regretfully understand that this privilege will be revoked if I lose, tear, soil or ruin it in anyway.

Never say I told you so. I may not admit it, but I know you are always right, smartypants. And I know my stupid life-fails, more often than not deserve your patented, “I told you so.” just for good measure. But please don’t make it worse by actually saying it. It’s okay when our mother says it, but not you.

When I ask you how I look, no BS. Just tell me how it is. You don’t need to be gentle, just rip the waxing strip right off. Tell me you want to burn that top I keep wearing, tell me my pants look ridiculous, tell me that I can never put on eye-liner without looking like a panda… just prevent me from leaving the house looking like a clown. Unless I actually mean to look like a clown.

Always, always cover for me. It's you and me against the 'rents, so the phrase “Don’t worry, I won’t tell mom” should be on the tip of the tip of your tongue.

You’re not allowed to ruin movies, TV, and books I haven’t seen or read before, for me. I'm still mad at you for telling me that Patrick Dempsey’s character on Grey's Anatomy died even though I don’t watch the show.

You have to eat everything on my plate that I don’t like but don’t want to ask to have removed. Because, you know I am allergic to (read: don’t like) onions, olives, and god forbid peas. Also, it is your fault that I’m terrified of watermelon seeds, you told me if I swallow them a tree would sprout in my stomach. For that psychological trauma, you owe me big. Get those seeds off my plate, discretely.

You will always listen to my rants. I know I am not exactly the best company when I’m ranting, but as my sister it’s your responsibility to listen. If I’m sad you have to tell me that it gets better. When I have happy news to tell you, I want you to pay rapt attention. Do not tell me that I’ve told you this story before or that you’re reeeeeally bored. Fake jump with joy and say, “OMG WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?”

You will never tell me to shut up when I’m singing with my ear phones plugged in and I sound terrible. I know my singing is less Taylor Swift and more Emma Stone singing Pocketful of Sunshine in Easy A. As long as I’m not in public, you have to endure it. Also, don't judge me because I sing along to Taylor Swift. #TayBaeFoLifeYo

Always stop me from procrastinating. If procrastinating was a sport, I’d be holding a gold medal, and you know that better than anyone. So if you see me procrastinating before my finals, or the night before a paper is due, it’s your duty to stop me.

I know, I can be a bit (read: a truck load) unreasonable. But I'm your sister, so you're forced to love me by law, probably. And I love you right back.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

This changes everything

We actually met quite unremarkably in the college food court. I was frantically working on an essay that was due that same day and he sat down next to me. He was a knowledgeable senior, I was a wide-eyed freshman with questions. Conversation ensued. 

I did not succeed in submitting my paper in time that day, but I did make a friend. 

His face was very agreeable, his beard was trimmed in sophisticated Abe Lincoln fashion, his jet black curls juxtaposed with stormy grey eyes. He seemed like one of those artsy types as was evident by the scarf he wore despite the weather and the messenger bag that he took with him everywhere. And sure enough when he found out I happened to have One Direction on my playlist, he shook his head in mock disdain and said, "Well, this changes everything."

He was funny and kind and smart. He loved animals, dogs in particular, and volunteered at the International Animal Rescue. He was highly opinionated when it came to politics and religion, without shoving his beliefs down everyone's throats. He made colours brighter. Lines sharper. And he blurred out everything else. 

He was easily the most interesting person I had ever met, and yet, he wanted to know what the highlight of my day was. 

I waited for those coinciding free lectures, during which we waxed poetic about everything, from the horrors of being an English major to the redundancy of nipples on mannequins to that professor who had a nervous breakdown after he was left at the altar. He joked about me being his future wife. He and I were both fluent in Internet jargon and made vague pop-culture references like they were supplying Oxygen. And if that isn't a great foundation for a fake potential future marriage, I don't know what is. 

It was these stolen moments and hurried conversations between classes, that made me, well, grow accustomed to his face.

We don't talk anymore. But I sure am glad that he stumbled into my life, when he did, with that smile hanging off his lips and the universe in his eyes.

Overthinking it

Recounting tales, especially of boys with The Bestfriend (clearly, I fail the Bechdel test), usually begins and ends with her saying, "Anna, don't read too much into this."

But being an over-zealous Psychology Major, I think I get a hall pass when it comes to overthinking it. And when I say overthink, I mean, being borderline obsessed. Overthinking 99% of the time isn't a bad thing. Trying to read the signs and analyzing every outcome is in our nature. As social beings, we are predisposed, to try to make sense of our surroundings. Out of the information we gather, we're inclined to make positive assessments; assessments that are usually in our favour.

But when your assessment is wrong. When you realize a boy can bring you coffee everyday for two months or beseech you to accompany him to a party, or flirt incessantly, without the ulterior motive that he likes you. When the question you keep asking yourself —so was it all in my head— becomes rhetorical. That is the 1% of the time when overthinking can suck some serious ass.

Segue, I think there's a reason why we like to consider men as elusive xy-chromosome carrying enigmas of the mystical. It's because if we don't, they'd just be simple one-dimensional cardboard characters. There'd be no mystery behind their every action, nothing to rant mindlessly about with The Bestfriend— nothing to overthink.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Her Story

This wasn't her story. She realized —albeit a little too late— the idea she had of him and her riding off into the sunset on a motorbike, was never going to happen. 

He was the love interest in someone else's story. And she was the sidekick. She was unsolicited advice and bursts of stock-whimsy personified into one role. Complete with over-grown bangs and an annoying penchant of putting aside her own agenda, to service someone else's. 

She wanted him to be her love interest. But she had just been too arrogant, too scared to admit it. And then someone else did. All the things she wished she was allowed to say, things that the unwritten bye laws of being a sidekick forbid her to, played in loops in her head— I liked him first. 

Poor choices and lost moments. 

She is now a grudging spectator of the love story enfolding before her; a story that isn't hers. Maybe it's her own damn fault for encouraging someone else to "go for it" instead of going for it herself. She plasters on a smile, as those two puzzle pieces join together; and all she can think is how she would be a better fit— 


She wasn't playing her role with perfection, like she promised she would. She wasn't being the friend she promised to be. Perhaps, she was cast wrong. So she left. 

This wasn't her story. Her story awaits her. And she will be counting mississippis until then.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Friends forever?

You know how at the end of high school most of your yearbook signatures include the phrase “friends forever”? When you’re nearly twenty and going through a bit of an identity crisis like me, you realize that all that means is three years later you’ll be skimming through their passive-aggressive statuses on Facebook. 

I think the scariest sign that you are growing up is becoming aware of the number of friends you lose. Not to death, but to wasted moments, and trivial blunders that could well have been avoided.

Loss. We've all been there. It could be as trivial as when your closest friends start dating and you feel yourselves growing apart; or as stupid as when another friend thinks you've been macking on her boyfriend. Well, you end up losing them all– I would know, I’m going through both situations right now.

Hell, I've always known growing up wouldn't be easy, and that losing friends is inevitable, but Sweet Valley High did not prepare me for this– this throbbing that feels like it could just spiral on and on until all I have left is a carousel of lost faces spinning into a blur.

I know, I know when things get awry it's just life throwing you one of it's classic plot twists, and this is probably one insignificant climax in the dramatic structure of my life. This is where I should claim to find solace in motivational quotes- it gets better, you win some you dimsum, and other deep metaphors about rainbows after rainy days, that probably worked out really well for Honey Boo Boo...

I don't really want reassurance or pity, I just want to send this insignificant cosmic thought into the void: right now, it just sucks.

Not everyone you meet stays in your life. Sometimes they leave, sometimes you do. Not because you love them any less, but because you love them enough to back the f– away. Sometimes that last sentence is used to let people off easy. Whatever it may be, I take this as my cue to leave.

But if I could go back, I would do things differently. And to the one who has always stuck around, I love you forever and a day.