A Girl Is…

A few years back my friend, Srajesh, sent me a handwritten post. It read: A girl is Alfa Shakya of The Wordcastle and I am going to write. (Spoiler alert) The sentence was a parallel to the line Arya Stark says in Game of Thrones. As both of us were fans of the series, it was well understood. I found it hilarious! I chuckled and smiled. Arya had been one of my favorite characters. I loved how she was left handed just like I am. And what a swords-person she is! (I tried Kung fu some time back, not at all good at it though!) It was an absolute compliment to have a dialogue drawn parallel to one that my favorite character speaks.

I was coming back home this evening. I had just met a friend and we had talked about many things including work. ‘It’s something I am going to do for the rest of my life,’ he said as something inside me shifted. Life is long, hopefully, and to do something for the rest of my, that phrase felt eerie and strange. I felt scared. What am I going to do for the rest of my life? I don’t know. Then a complementary question popped up: who am I? By then I was half way back home, there were light drizzles. As the mild rain fell on my military green jacket, I remembered: A girl is Alfa Shakya of The Wordcastle, and I am going to write. I remembered what Srajesh told me.

A moment of incredible crisis suddenly turned into a moment of power. I didn’t have to be that scared. I just had to keep writing. It almost feels too simple to be true. Like Arya was asked to give up her identity, I have been running away from writing for some time. I write for fun, for joy. It hasn’t gone much beyond it. And I might have altogether given it up had some plans worked out. It didn’t, and I’m not sure why, but I can feel every day that I can no longer run away from writing. I do not meant to pride on my work, I have been really slow in my progress and there is so much I don’t know, so much I will never know. However, I am glad to know it’s here – this little world made of words.

Words have incredible power. Something meant for a light inspiration might have saved me from a spiral of worrisome thoughts today. Thanks Srajesh. 🙂

Now, it’s your turn. Fill your own dialogue. And be as kickass as Arya Stark!

P.S. Don’t forget it was Arya who saved Westeros from The White Walkers, stabbed the Knight King with the dagger on her left hand.

The Good, The Great, and The Grace: The Queen’s Gambit

Episode 7: End Game (Spoilers Ahead)

My father introduced me to chess. I was 8-an apt time to start training to become a master someday, only if I had the aptitude. (*light chuckles*). My first ever recognition of extra curricular activities in school was a 2nd place certificate in a Chess Tournament. I have played less of chess as the years passed, becoming lousier by the day, but I have always remembered what a stunning game it is. When Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit came in, I knew I had to watch the show. After finishing the series in 2 days, I have a fuzzy feeling inside of me. The last episode, End Game, was heartwarming, not just because it wraps up the plot, and we bid goodbye to all the characters, but because it simply is.

Be aware, spoilers ahead.

The Queen’s Gambit is many things. It is without doubt a show with a class, portraying complex dynamics of genius, madness, addiction, fear, family, friendship. After the last episode, I have been thinking that the show is also about grace. The grace to win, the grace to lose, the grace to overcome, and the grace to be. It is grace that takes Beth from good to great, it is grace that makes Luchenko and Borgov the Grandmasters they are. It takes grace for Jolene to give up her savings for Beth. It takes grace for Harry and Benny to help Beth from a thousand miles away. It takes grace for Beth to let go of her addiction. And it is grace that allows her to be herself with the people of Moscow in the final few minutes of the series.

One of my favorite moments from the last episode is with Luchenko and Borgov, the two grandmasters.

“I resign with relief,” Luchenko says with a look of joy as Beth makes her move. Not a single strain of defeat visible on his friendly face, only grace to have played a great match. Borgov smiles as he realizes his moves have been outwitted-no anger, no resentment, no loss on his face. He gives his Black King to Beth and hugs her. He claps, a gesture that a new champion has arrived. (Oh and the background score that plays!)

In the first episode, Openings, Mr. Shaibel teaches Beth about resignation. This scene is used as a flashback at times when she loses, taking her loss mostly with anger and resentment. But the way Luchenko and Borgov accept their defeats is a graceful act on their own. I think they taught Beth how to accept both victory and loss, and perhaps us viewers too.

When the time comes, roads must be opened for the new to come in. That doesn’t mean the bygones are forgotten, it merely means there is time for everything, to win and to lose, to reign and to resign, to progress as the pawn from the front file, and to be Queen at the center of the 64 black and white squares.

I’m looking forward to reading the novel the series is based on. Hope it has arrived to this part of the world by now. Perhaps it would tinge more emotions in me as a reader.

Book Quote #5: The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown

Like millions of people all over the world, I came to know about Brene Brown through her TedTalk. However it was not her famous talk on vulnerability, rather the one on shame. I’ve stumbled upon her here and there through her podcasts, write ups, and other things on the internet. But never had I read her book. This was about to change after reading The Gifts of Imperfection.

There were times when I felt some stories and examples were a bit shallow and I wanted to know more about it, however, there were also lines, seemingly normal lines, that became glaringly obvious as it shone across the page. These lines will be sticking with me for a long time. The best thing about this book is how it normalizes feelings of shame, insecurity, worry, comparison, and many other emotions we feel on a daily basis but never have time to deal with. The book is simple and a good read for first timers in this subject or self help.

When I sat down to write this blog post, I thought an hour would be enough. I had underlined and made notes of many quotes while reading, but I didn’t think there would be so many that choosing 7 out of them would require a break and restarting.

Here are 7 quotes that touched my heart. There are many more, 7 for this post.

Ellen, I think asking for what you need is one of the bravest things that you’ll ever do.

As someone whose barely ever had courage to ask what I need, this line struck like gold. To ask for what we need, is indeed the bravest thing to do. Be it in class wanting to go to the bathroom or to ask what someone else is thinking. It is scary to ask for what one needs.

It’s as if we’re divided the world into ‘those who offer help’ and ‘those who need help.’ The truth is that we are both.

Sometimes we are the savers and sometimes we need to be saved. There’s no black and white. Our circumstances keep changing.

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A New Planner: A New Year Poem

What a trouble it is,
a new year
for the first few days.
My hands so accustomed
to the old date –
writes it unconsciously all over.
A few months
and it is a habit
until another year comes by.

What does a change of calendar do
but make me feel older,
a little nervous of the passing time
that I seem to capture
in my daily planner.

I must now go buy a
new one, least I forget
the meetings scheduled
for this year.

A new year means many things,
a new planner and it’s cost
is the first it brings.

___

I’ve been wondering for a few days what post should I make for 2021. How should I wish you a Happy New Year for the year it has been. I am out of words. All I want to do is bask under the morning sun as the cold seeps away from my cold feet and hope that everything will be better soon. I hope you take some time to bask in the sun yourself as you feel the sun rays over your skin and realize that it’s magic. Other times I have been trying to buy a new planner, the correct size I am yet to find. And thus, a planner poem instead. Hope you enjoyed.

Happy New Year.