ALONE

via Daily Prompt: Desire

Image result for sad lady drinking tea and reading a book alone

She relished in her guilty pleasure; imbibing highly caffeinated coffee while reading a book. Books were her safe haven, her friends, her family. They were a hiding place from reality, the bitter monster that refused vehemently to leave her side. Reading had become more than a hobby, it was her life. She was all alone at a restaurant table but that was the least of her worries at the moment. Her book had immersed her in a completely different world.

As she reached out to grab her cup of coffee for yet another sip, Bianca could not help but stare at her freshly-manicured nails. A YouTube video, dubbed ‘How To Love Yourself’ had convinced her to go get her nails painted. It was an act of showing appreciation to oneself, the feisty YouTuber had said. She beheld the tiny nails, now coated with red nail polish. They seemed to be drowning in a sea of meat. She had imagined that the manicure would make fragile as an adjective qualify to describe her fingers. To her dismay, they had only exaggerated the stubbiness of her fingers. She chuckled and sighed inwardly.

Out of the blues, laughter erupted in a table next to hers. On other days, she would not have bothered, let alone heard any sound. However, on that day, her nails had bewitched her into leaving the books world and entering the real world. She found herself throwing a glance at the table. An extremely beautiful woman was seated facing a man whose face Bianca could not quite see. The woman’s eyes never left the man’s face. Giggles punctuated all her sentences. A couple in love. The sight of that couple left Bianca with an overwhelming sadness. To her, love was a sensation cursed into oblivion. The feeling of loving and being loved had become completely alien to her.

She had to force herself to look elsewhere. The picture of the happy couple had become too much to bear. She tried reentering her favourite world, the books world, to no avail. Her eyes were left to dart from table to table within her vicinity. All she saw were happy couples, amazing families and great friends. Everyone was having a time of their lives. No one was seated alone.

She was the only person in this world shackled with loneliness, she concluded. She was engulfed in a fervent desire for good things in life, yet continually slapped by bitter reality. There was not a single soul she could call a friend, not a single person she could call family. Her only companion was lack, not luck.

Still reeling from the fresh wounds reality had afflicted upon her, she left some money beside the unfinished cup of coffee, and stomped out of the restaurant. As soon as she left the restaurant she broke into a run, tears streaming down her face. She did not know where she was going, but she could not stop running.

 

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Reviving the forgotten

Back in high school, it was not uncommon to find students immersed in deep slumber during preps.  What was even funnier was finding out that the person sleeping the prep away had stuck a note on their desk that read, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands and poverty will come to you like an armed bandit.” Oh, the irony!

I am so sure that during the first few days of the note’s existence, the person drew a lot of motivation from it. You know, the slightest batting of the eyelids was stopped the moment the words ‘poverty will come to you like an armed bandit’ were viewed. Then as the days progressed, the words ceased to hold meaning. They became no more than impurities on a white piece of paper.

Maybe you’ve moved into a new house and you decide to add life to your walls. A Leonardo Da Vinci-esque painting would do just that, so you get it. You note with a lot of satisfaction the huge difference it makes. Days go by, and you forget that the painting exists. Then one day, visitors come and are blown away by the piece of art. It is then that you are reminded of its existence.

I am afraid we do the same for people. We get so excited about new friendships but we forget the people who have stood with us for a long time. We see those people by our side for so long, that we forget how much they mean to us. We don’t appreciate them as much as we used to. In short, we take them for granted.

May we rekindle our old friendships. 🙂

Have a lovely weekend, won’t you?

 

Dear person,

Hello, I hope you are doing fine. Wait, have I followed the right format? Have I bothered myself with useless salutations? (We both know that your situation does not affect me in any way). If the answer is yes, then I have followed the right procedure. If you were to write back to me, you would say the universal lie: ‘I’m fine’. Excuse me, I am sorry if I come across as rude. Actually, I have no apologies for that. In my world, being polite is the rudest you could ever be. Why? It is said that politeness is veiled deception. It is way better to be blunt if you ask me. It saves precious time and energy.

I almost forgot to mention I am the inventor of Time Travel Machine (TTM). My wife, daughter and I decided to travel from 3017 to your time, 2017, just for purposes of, you know, testing the equipment. Scrap that. I came here to experience life in your age. I have always wanted to see how people lived in the past so you can imagine my excitement when I managed to come up with TTM. My Eureka moment.

We were so excited. But you can only be excited for so long. When we landed in 2017, there was so much… what’s the name? Oh yes! Sound. Noise. Oh, the horror! My daughter sent us multiple crying emojis. We panicked. I tried consoling my daughter by typing to her words of comfort. It is at that moment that my wife made a breathtaking discovery. Covering your ears helps to lessen the noise.

Okay, I know I lost you with the typing and the sending of emojis. Let me break it down. In the world of 3017, human beings communicate not by speech, but by typing! It is a silent world.We laugh by sending laughing emojis, we cry by sending crying emojis. We fight wars online, we meet online. Babies do not learn how to talk, but how to type. Musicians sing by typing the musical notes.

I live in a world where weddings are officiated online. We attend weddings when we are in the comfort of our own homes. By attending I mean joining an online group dubbed wedding. The pastor types, “You may now kiss the bride.” The groom sends kissing emojis and the bride reciprocates. The ‘congregation’ then sends clapping emojis. Husband and wife are pronounced!

I live in a world where the president types his speech. Where teachers teach while typing the concepts. Where there are no secrets. You may think that you have communicated to a pal using a highly secured server, only for someone to hack it and broadcast it to the world. I live in a world where people type whatever comes in their mind, and do not care about the feelings of others.

Believe it or not, some people surgically remove their ears in 3017. Why? The only use of those ugly oval protuberances we call ears is to add unnecessary weight to the head. However, we have noted with a lot of concern that those who cut off their ears tend to topple over a lot of times. *Chuckles*

For the first time in a long time, I cried (sent crying emojis). I cried when I saw people of 2017 communicate by talking. I have never seen something so beautiful! The merry laughter, the singing, the beautiful changes in voice intonation; these are things we have never heard of in my world! To speak, oh such a wonderful thing!

So my wife and I tried to imitate you. However hard we tried, not a sound was heard. This angered me. You know who I blame for this misfortune? You. You and the people of your generation. Yes, you heard me right. The moment you let technology supersede human interaction is the moment when we lost everything. Because of you, people of our age will never experience the delights of one on one conversations.

Yours angrily,

Mr. X

(My identity is not of importance)

Make a Child Smile :)

Image result for poverty stricken children

Think about this. There is a child somewhere who cries himself to sleep every night. He is not yet accustomed to the sharp pangs of hunger. He wishes that he had the powers to make food appear miraculously by snapping his fingers, but he can only snap them for so long. The next day, his alarm clock, hunger, does the favour of waking him up. He snaps his fingers. No food. Grim reality dawns on him. He has to accompany his family for a long walk in search of wild fruits. As if hunger is not enough trouble, the sun decides to mercilessly unleash its mighty power. When they are finally able to gather (barely) enough fruits, he has to wait for hours for the fruits to boil. He cannot take it anymore. He wails.

There is another child somewhere whose pillow is drenched in her tears, but for a different reason. She is called names by the very people who brought her to earth. Whenever she makes a mistake, a ‘you’re good for nothing, I’m ashamed of you idiot’ sentence comes hurtling towards her. It hits her. The words sink in. She believes that she is extremely stupid and aggressively ugly; that the people who came up with negative adjectives had her in mind; that anyone who points out something positive about her is a liar.

These are stories of children struck with different kinds of poverty. One is deprived of basic needs, the other is deprived of love. Hold that thought, I am leaning in to tell you two stories of two people, both middle-aged. One loathes carpets, the other detests bicycles.

When this middle-aged man was a young boy full of life, an incident that remained forever in his memory occurred. On that particular day, he had immersed himself in mud (like any child would) and had had the time of his life. He went to a neighbour’s house and, in all his innocence, stepped on the carpet. Hell hath no fury like that woman upon realizing that filthy feet had made contact with her squeaky clean carpet. She chased him away, calling him unprintable names. To this day, that man has never liked carpets.

What about the one who hates bicycles? When she was young, people who used to come to their house to beg had one thing in common. They all rode bicycles. Her parents used to tell her that the people on bicycles were exceedingly impoverished so she grew up believing that bicycles are for the paupers. That is why she never ‘deigned’ to learn how to ride a bicycle. To this day, she holds onto that notion. Telling her that in other countries professors and ministers ride bicycles is futile. That will not change her attitude.

Here’s what I am trying to bring across, our experiences in childhood continue to influence us into adulthood. I get saddened when I see children going through abuse. Children who lack basic needs, those brought up in an environment devoid of opportunities to excel. Like it or not what they are going through will affect them. Deeply.

I am throwing you a challenge. Whenever you can, help a child. If you have the means, you could adopt them, provide food, pay their school fees or take them to specialists to help them overcome trauma from abuse, the list is long. Also, something as simple as saying kind words to them could go a long way! Make a child smile. 🙂

My Shoes

Only one pair of shoes do I own
They are dusty
They are old-fashioned
They smile beautifully exposing my nice set of toes
Their thirst is unquenchable; they gulp down every liquid they come across

They are a source of ridicule
They have become some sort of identity
“You know Miss X?”
“No, not really.”
“You don’t know the girl with red rubbers?”
“Oh, that one! Of course I do know her!”

They are dusty
They are old-fashioned
They are worn out
But they are MINE!

Yes, my neighbour there buys a new pair everyday
Yes, everyone around me seems to have many pairs
But these ridiculous pair of mine
Ever so proudly do I wear them

There are times when I step on sharp stones
When thorns and needles prick me
When I slip and fall because the treads of my sole are no more
When my feet reek

But I refuse to let something small as my shoes hinder me from advancing in this journey called life
I refuse to let the contemptuous glances of the onlookers deter me
I refuse to listen to their bitter remarks
I refuse to look down on myself

Yes, my shoes are dusty
They are old-fashioned
They are worn out
They are dramatic
But they are MINE!

I will walk
I will surmount all the obstacles on the way
I will go far
One day I will own numerous pairs of glamorous shoes

But for now
I’ll keep walking

The Skinny on Introverts

They say silence has a power that very few people can handle. Well, introverts are among the few. Introverts are often misunderstood. I hope this will shed some light.

If you are an introvert, I know you can relate to the following situations:

Making phone calls is a daunting task. Heart races, hands tremble, and sometimes they become sweaty. You rehearse on what you will say when the person you are calling picks the call. You fear lacking something to say. Awkward silences are part and parcel of the conversation, well unless the person at the other end of the line has no problem with talking ninety percent of the time.

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Bumping into people? That is a nightmare. I must admit there was a time I changed routes just to avoid meeting someone.

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I forget names easily. I remember a time I took someone’s number. By the time I get home I had already forgotten her name. I had to go through my contact list to identify a new name and in turn remember the person’s name.

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It is very difficult to get over embarrassing moments.

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When you are not prepared to answer a question, confusion reigns.

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Rehearsing on what you’ll say. And then your words get jumbled up. The struggle is real.

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When people are having the time of their lives, I get bored to death. It has happened so many times.

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Why are you so silent? Why are you shutting yourself out from people? That’s our nature.

A comment that often gets on my nerves is this: Silent people are the worst kind of people. Well, introverts are normal people. We have weaknesses, and sometimes they are not noticeable. Just because we are silent does not mean we are perfect. This comment is often made by people after seeing an introvert’s weaknesses. They had assumed that the person is perfect.

Simple things like socializing might be very difficult we should continuously work on them since no man is an island, and at the end of the day we need each other. 🙂

 

 

NOTE TO SELF

“And then there are people you communicate to often via the phone, but when you meet each other in person you find that you have nothing to say. I don’t know if I am alone in this.”

A friend of mine told me this (rather texted me) after reading some post on friendship. I wondered if we would really talk as much as we do via social media when we meet in person. Then we remembered there was a time we bumped into each other. He confessed that he almost fainted. Good heavens! I also told him I would have loved to tell him a thing or two but I was too scared. When we meet in person, our conversation is punctuated by awkward silence. However, when we communicate via phone, there is so much to talk about since we listen to the same kind of music and have so much in common. That painful reality hit me hard.

Technology can make you become someone you are not. It makes it easy for one to pretend. Think about it, how many times have you sent the laughing emojis and the LOLs and LMFAOs when you are wearing a frown on your face? How many times have you texted something that you would be ashamed of saying out loud? How many times have you edited your photos to cover your blemishes?

I keep wondering if all the people who hurl insults to others on social media can walk up to them and say the same things. I bet most cannot. We live in an age where people take videos of happenings, post them on social media then complain about them instead of trying to stop the action there and then.

Thanks to technology, we can stay in touch with people who are miles away. Yet sometimes we are so preoccupied with keeping in touch with those people that we forget those who are around us. Whenever I go to a restaurant alone, I usually throw glances around. I never fail to see people who are on the same table but are not talking to each other. What has taken most of their attention is their phones, and the remaining attention is taken by food, of course. Silence with staccato bursts of, “My pic on instagram has 1000 likes!” and the likes. What a bonding session!

While social media and technology is not bad entirely, the problem comes in when it is the primary mode of communication. (That is if the person you are communicating with is someone you can afford to meet with regularly) If you have a friend who lives near you, why use the phone to communicate? Meeting in person is way better. My two cents.