Passion

I have known passion. Passion that claws you from the inside, dragging its sharp nails through your innards, shredding your soul into bits and pieces; passion that makes your blood boil and makes you feel giddy with excitement all at the same time; passion which seeps through every living cell in your body, the only thing driving you forward in life.

I knew this kind of passion when I was fifteen, sixteen years old. I would long to come home form school just so I could read more books. I felt most alive when I was writing, building characters and stories in my head.

Now… Well, now, my passion has mellowed out. My life is no longer a simple equation like “dreams + free time = realization of dreams”. The variables have increased. My life equation now is more like “dreams + unavailable free time + working my ass off at the office + exhaustion + washing + cleaning + cooking + worrying about my future + listening to my parents worry about my future + maintaining good relationships with my school, college and work friends = realization of my dreams after a decade (maybe)”.

The sad truth is that even though I’m not chasing my dream (of becoming a writer) right now, even though I’m, as I mentioned before, working my ass off at the office, I don’t hate working in an IT company. It’s really not so bad. The people I work with are amazing and I actually have fun at work. Which scares me. I am afraid that I would soon become too complacent about my lot in life and not even attempt to attain something more. I have been feeling more and more guilty about this for the past few days.

And guilt, my friend, can be a powerful motivator. Guilt made me boot up my laptop and start a fresh draft of a story that has been building in my mind for some time. Guilt made me pick up my pencils and start sketching again. I wouldn’t say my creative juices are a-flowing like the River Nile, but they are definitely starting to trickle.

After the one hour writing sesh and another one hour of sketching, I felt spent like I had just had the most amazing sex of my life (I’m only guessing that’s what the most amazing sex of my life would feel like because, psst, I’m a v-v-virgin). I feel good. I feel light and happy.

P.S.: When I was writing this post, “Adam’s Song” by Blink-182 started playing in my head. Especially the following verses:

I never conquered, rarely came
16 just held such better days
Days when I still felt alive
We couldn’t wait to get outside
The world was wide, too late to try
The tour was over we’d survived
I couldn’t wait till I got home
To pass the time in my room alone

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Getting Reacquainted

Before yesterday, I hadn’t read a romance novel in three years. That’s a big deal because I used to be crazy about romance books, especially when I was a teenager. I used to read everything from PG-13 YA books to R-rated bodice rippers. I even gave the erotic stuff a try, but decided that they were not for me. Like porn movies, these books had a sex scene in almost every page and the plot was ridiculous and exaggerated. But still, they fell under romance and so I read them.

But slowly something was happening. Romance books were losing their lustre in my mind. Maybe it was because nothing much was happening in the romance department in my own life. Maybe it was because I realized how stupid most romantic books were. I started to hate romance books. I hated their formulaic plots and their cliched tropes and their misogynistic portrayal of women. Mostly I hated that reading romance books didn’t make my pulse race anymore. I hated that they didn’t make me hug a pillow and sigh dreamily anymore.

So, I gave up romance books and moved to other genres – fantasy, sci-fi, thriller, horror etc. Basically everything under the sun except romance. Sometimes a pleasant memory of me enjoying a romance book would pass my mind and feeling nostalgic, I would carefully pick out a romance book that had earned great reviews and start reading. But ultimately, they all let me down. I decided I was too ruined for romance.

Then, I came across a list of feminist romance novels on the internet. The term itself seemed like an oxymoron. How can a romance novel be feminist? It was like saying that a porn movie was a piece of cinematic art. But piqued, I downloaded a few of the books from the list onto my Kindle and started to read.

The first book I read was a novella called “Ember” by Bettie Sharpe. I have to say the book totally pulled the rug from beneath me. It was unexpected and absolutely enjoyable. I finished it in three hours and started with the next book from the list – “The Governess Affair” by Courtney Milan. At first glance, “The Governess Affair” seemed like a normal Victorian romance novel about uptight lords and ladies. But it is so much more than that. I haven’t finished it yet, but I can tell you this: I have thoroughly enjoyed the book so far.

Now, I’m not saying I’ve completely crossed over to the dark side… er, the I-Love-Romance side. I have both of my feet firmly planted on each side. Maybe the reason I hated romance books was because I was reading the wrong ones. Maybe the right ones needed a little effort on my part to be found.

On a totally unrelated note, Gerard Way’s debut solo album “Hesitant Alien” totally rocks and if you haven’t listened to it yet, you should get out from under that rock and listen to it. It’s a really fun record, I promise!

I Like Him, I Like Him Not

So, there’s this guy in my office. I kinda, sorta like him. I think he likes me too. The only problem is that I think he likes me more than I like him. This is a problem I often face. I like guys, but not so much that they’re all I think about.

At first, I thought this guy, S, and I wouldn’t mesh. He seemed too conservative, too “South Indian”. But then today, we bonded over our mutual love of a particular TV show. We talked about our opinion on Hindu – Muslim weddings. After today, he seems a bit more compatible with me. But only a bit, mind you.

So, here’s my dilemma. Should I encourage him when he flirts with me, or should I nip this in the bud? Should I flirt back just because we like the same things, or should I act more friendly, less flirty with him? Or am I overthinking this whole thing? Should I just go with the flow?

S doesn’t make my head spin, so I can’t really like him that much, can I? Or maybe this is what crushes feel like once you’re an adult? Maybe they are not as intense as teenage crushes. Maybe the kinda love you read about in books and watch in movies – the kind which makes the blood boil in your veins, which makes your heart pump frantically, which is all consuming and passionate – only exists in books and movies. Or am I confusing lust with love?

I wish there was a way to tell if this is the real deal.