Tag Archives: meghana joshi

Chasing Happiness #35

It’s a pity that the body clock doesn’t understand the boon of an extra hour. Bound by habit, my eyes opened at the same time as every day, but since we rolled back our clocks last night, it’s an hour too early to start the day. The rest of the family seems well adjusted to the change, all of them are fast asleep, without a single thought about the clock. I ran a mental list of things I could do in the extra hour, and decided against efforts to claim the good mother, good wife and good daughter title. Bring in the to-do list, because if not now, it will never see the light of another day! Chasing Happiness tops the list, something I started on the new year’s with much enthusiasm, but lost steam before the month ended. Also, I am three hundred blogs short to fulfill my commitment of chasing happiness for 3-6-6 days. It’s not like I haven’t chased happiness, I am doing that every moment of my life, but I haven’t documented every happiness that I derived from life.

Next on my list is a certain story that wrote itself for the first twenty thousand words, but the next five thousand took eternity. I closed the file one day to revisit with fresh eyes, but it’s been so long already, the masterpiece doesn’t make any sense today. But, I will not give up. It might take a year, a decade or my lifetime, I will share this story. Here are a thousand words, without a history of what happened before, or a glimpse of what comes next..  Ideally I should upload this to http://www.joshini.com, but it’s been so long, I haven’t just lost interest in this project, I have also lost my password, and the structure of the blogs. That too, when I am blessed with an extra day. Oh wait! This is the year of an extra day. I should claim it before the year ends!

Dressed like a farmer’s wife, covered in oil and slick, I balanced a basket of vegetables on my head and walked towards Pune. That was the final destination. There were no partners in this journey, nor were logical stops. I was supposed to stop when my feet hurt, eat when hungry, wherever and whatever I could manage to find, with not even a single person to take my responsibility. Its wasteful life to live, I wonder, why don’t I have the bravery to take that little knife Pratap gave me to protect myself and end it all at once. There was no one to cry on my grave even if I died. I would just feed a few stray animals of the jungle until the body deteriorates and even they don’t want to touch it. Neither Hindus not Muslims think it is a befitting end to a human life, but everyone will agree that I did not live a life befitting a human being. If I had happily jumped into a fire and killed myself before I was caught, it would have been an honorable life. If I had bent my head and asked the man I had learnt to love to let me rest my soul in peace before I fell into enemy’s hands, it would have been an honorable life. But I have always chosen the cursed path, so be it. Probably sins of a life before need to be repaid.

I walk, I walk, and I walk, with no end in sight.

Every village that I cross, I encounter Shah’s men standing guard at the gates, yet let me pass without taking a second look at me, making fun of my dark skin. They ridicule the dirt on my clothes. They take vegetables from my basket and toss them around and laugh loudly as I pick them up carefully and stack them back in my basket. They think they are abusing me. They mock my Marathi, call me a squeaky mouse. I endure it all, head bent, like someone who didn’t know how to lift one of those swords from them and kill each one of them, or cut their limbs off and see them suffer.

I wonder, if I weren’t so beautiful, if I weren’t born in an affluent and politically influential family, if I had married a man without political clout, would life been merciful? Would life been easier if the only worries of life were to find food and shelter? Naïve I was, I thought the women of the working class led an indignant life, working half clad in the fields, taking care of the manly chores, ruining their skin, not being women enough. As I cross city after city, I am given entry into the cities, I am given food, shelter, without eyes pausing on my semi-clad body, as if by lending my body to physical work, I had become physically undesirable.

The legs ached, every muscle craved for a servant who would bring hot water to soak them, then clean them, massage them in Jasmine oil while I relaxed my eyes under the gentle sun. The nausea wouldn’t let me take two steps at times, and then at times I would feel like I had the energy of a horse. The weather had changed, giving way to the cold winds, and early nights, winter had almost set in. Without fire burning in each corner of the house, and without wrapping myself in the fine wool from Kashmir, I walk in the woods alone, because that is the only hope of survival now.

It was only last year when I met Krishna in the same jungles. My mother thought we went to the temple to pay respects, but that little Nandini and I would run off to the jungle to see Krishna. We would sit and talk for hours, planning our future in the palatial home he would build for me after our wedding, the servants I would need, and the children we would have together. We had even picked names for the first six. It seemed so simple,  and so ordinary to grow up in a household littered with servants and to expect to marry in such a household where you will be treated no less than a queen. I would live and die, and the proof of my life would be my children, I thought. I had never imagined that there would be a tomb bearing my name, carved in black stone,  hosting my body dug deep in the ground, enduring sun and rain, century after century telling people about the person that lived long ago.

A week ago, I was at Athani, still not sure how to go to Pune, alone. I saw ten thousand cavalry, fifteen hundred musketeers, eighty five elephants, twelve hundred camels, artillery cannon crossing the city after they stayed there that night. The generous merchant who gave me shelter that night on the steps of his store told me that a battle would be fought, between Marathas and Shahs, and shared that stories of bravery, of the commanders of the Shah, of  Rustam Zaman, Fazal Khan, Musa Khan, Manoji Jagdale, Sardar Pandhare, Ambar Khan. Intently I listened to every word, adding my own expressions of surprise sometimes, showing my ignorance as a woman of little knowledge. I asked him, he must have plenty of women in his Zenana then.

I knew the answer, but I wanted to hear it, from a stranger who didn’t know the Khan or the Maratha.

Copyright © Meghana Rajesh Joshi

That’s all!

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Chasing Happiness #26

I am suffering from Multiple Goal Crashing Syndrome, or MGCS.

My head hurts, my eyes close automatically and I slowly slip into a dark and empty space while every muscle in the body aches like it’s been wronged, and I lose control over myself. I hear they call it a nap. But there is a general sense of weakness that surrounds my brain when I want to focus on my multiple goals and stay on the course on all of them. I hear they call it distraction. Sleepless and distracted, because of my multiple goals, and feeling lonely, abandoned, over worked, underutilized and a thousand other things losing focus on the checklist of things that needs to be done in order to keep them goals, goals. That is the classic Multiple Goal Crashing Syndrome.

I self diagnosed in February 2012, and tried to self medicate with gallons of caffeine, but so far my self-rehabilitation and healing process hasn’t worked well. Since the year ends in a few months, and my undone goals are stopping me from adding on more goals, I will go through a “goal cleansing process” where I will keep what I want to do, toss what I don’t want to do, and donate what is done but not enough for my satisfaction. If I didn’t do it in the past three months, chances are I won’t complete that project in the next three months. Incomplete files on the computer haunt me, and scare me from beginning new ones.

The happy space that I search between the sun and moon, and tiny drops on rain replete with a spectrum of fantasies and a pot of gold at the end does not need distractions.

So, as I gear up for a different life come September, I clear off the incompletes, hoping that I will breathe life into them one fine day, hoping that someone doesn’t steal my idea, polish it, run that last mile that I didn’t run and claim a medal for their achievements. Of late I see some of the things I said in my blogs come up in other blogs twisted slightly to suit the author. When I check my own blogger stats, it does show that the ‘inspiration blog’ was read a few days ago. In fact, dug from the deep and read. That is fine. You can only copy so much, you can only inspire so much. One day I would love to write like Michelle Moran and Sherry Jones, but no matter how many of their books I read, re-read, it will take my own talent to come up with a product like that. I will take it as a compliment that someone stalks me, someone hangs on to my written word, and leave it at that.

Coming to the big announcement, here it is. In my past blogs, I have constantly mentioned the twenty-two-thousand words that I have written to share a story that I wrote this January. I wanted to rewrite it, edit it, and present it beautifully. But I couldn’t. I don’t have the patience to sit and polish. I don’t have the discipline to do it. A few days ago, I thought of sharing the story with my readers in 15/20 parts over the next couple of months. I will polish as I go, and if I cannot, I will still share what I have. If it turns out to be a great product, I can always add it to Createspace, and if I get distracted even with something that simple, well, good luck to me!

I am not sure how to do it, whether to start a website to share with elaborate copyright statements, or to just add my copyright line and add it to my blog. I am open to suggestions, and I am open to ideas, and I am very much open to my impulse decisions that happen around 2am on Wednesday. Middle of the week, middle of the night, I feel very impulsive. Every time someone said, no, work on it, it needs a bigger audience, I came back to my file and tried to rework. So far there hasn’t been any inspiration to keep me motivated.

Here is one of the paragraphs of the novella. There is no name yet, but there will be one soon.

It’s only a guard walking by,
But I hear a thousand soldiers marching.
It’s only a eunuch breathing on my shoulder,
But my heart races with fear.
In fragments, the memories of that night linger,
Constantly replaying in my head,
Forcing me to relive each moment that I would gladly forget.
I tremble with fear when I am awake,
I tremble with fear when the nightmares awaken.
I am not alone even in my loneliness,
Memories walk every waking moment with me.

©Meghana Rajesh Joshi, 2012. All rights reserved.

Beginning next week, I will start streaming this novella online. It is a Historical Fiction where I have taken plenty of creative liberties to express myself. Happiness today is learning to focus, even if it means calling my passion a distraction. Once this is done, maybe I will find the creative energy to write about Lopamudra and Agasthya, Amba and Ambika and another historic fiction that stayed in my heart for years. One day I might learn to be patient and actually list approaching an agent, selling my book, or even market it myself, but..

Till then, happiness is freedom from everything that holds you back, even your own creation.

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Chasing Happiness #14

A drive to nowhere.
Ideally last memories of that drive to nowhere should date back to college days. Speed and stop at your will, drive to nowhere on a road to nowhere, but race to the imaginary finish line. Drunk and drugged, wasted enough feel nothing but the adrenalin pumping through the veins to keep the wheels turning till the sun shines on the eyes, clears the fogged vision of the world, peeling one layer at a time. I don’t have such memories. Destination has always been in sight and the path always well charted. Someone responsible with me, or someone I have to be responsible for. I don’t have the luxury of driving to nowhere, sloshed.
But in my recent recurrent dream, I drive to nowhere.
I don’t know where I am going to, I don’t know where I started, but I know the road I am driving on.
I drive a black Lincoln SUV that I don’t own yet.
Things are so clear, I remember the license plate- 7DQT570.
I wear a white and pink top that I don’t own yet.
My children are both in infant seats, but they are six years apart.
They are crying like babies, but both can whine like teenagers.
I turn back to check on them, and the phone rings, I press ignore.
I take a left turn on a familiar street, and that’s it!
The SUV tips over. I hear loud thud. I hear screams. I feel the pain. I feel metal cut through me. I bleed. With a sharp pain in the neck and arm, half of my body slides through the windshield of the SUV.
The SUV has rolled over to the side of the street and there are pink, yellow and white flowers.
I open my eyes, and I see the children standing outside, both now looking like teenagers.
I hear sirens in the distance, but it fades, like the image of the people standing in front me.
I hear my phone ring again, I know who is calling, but I can’t move my fingers to reach the phone.
I want to say something, but my mouth goes dry and I close my eyes.That’s where the dream ends, and I wake up to life with a dry mouth and severe pain in my right arm. I get a drink of water and try to sleep while the images of the recurrent dream keep flashing like pictures of a crime scene. The next morning we analyze my dream over a cup of coffee. A drive to nowhere, because the Bohemian wants to break free. A black SUV because the cello next year wouldn’t fit in the trunk of my car. Two little children, because in my mind they will always be needy and whiny. It tips over, because two months ago, on the same spot, my co-passenger had hit the gear narrating an incident animatedly while I was turning left. I had lost control of my car, and luck was in my favor that I was able to stop at that curb where pink, yellow and white flowers grew. I feel the pain because I sleeping on the side that I have carpel tunnel. Dreams are a reflection of your reality, dreams are a reflection of your hidden desires, he says.  I agree, the desire is to find a closure for a lot of things, the desire is to finally let the heart find it’s way, but such is compulsiveness, it’s hard to let yourself be. The hats rule over the heart.

I am driving to nowhere metaphorically too.
On a cold February night, I began writing my new novel, a historical fiction. Twenty five thousand words flowed on a word document, dancing with joy, to find a place of their own after struggling for space in my head. The finish line was almost visible, but then I decided to get lost in the fog and lose my vision. To clean up the clutter of alphabets, to organize the thoughts, and to edit those mistakes I made, it’s taking forever.  I am not going to blame the ‘mundane’ of the life for clouding my ‘magnificent’ though. I am not going to label myself a quitter either. I know I will do it, one fine day, when I feel inspired enough, when I feel challenged enough, but somehow today is not that day.

While there is no beginning or end in view, here is a milestone, a random paragraph from the story I am writing. Just like my writing, she is on a road to nowhere, with no end in sight, beginning long forgotten.

I will never forget who I was, and I will never become who I am reduced to be. In between both the identities, I will find a world that will bring happiness to me in its own way. When I was born, there was a purpose for my life. When I opened the door that day and gave my hand into his, I was reborn again, and there should be another purpose to my life. There is hope, there will be peace and there will be victory. Everything has happened for a reason. Hopefully, good reason.

Gathering my car keys to get the mommy shuttle rolling on the streets, I decide….

Today is the day to enjoy the drive to nowhere.
To start several projects simultaneously.
To give them the choice to pick their own tempo.
To let them draw their own finish line.
Today is to derive happiness in marking a milestone.

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