Silhouettes at a beach, with one man in centre-frame

All

Old soul.

Bold soul.

True soul.

Thinking soul.

Giving soul.

Caring soul.

Creative soul.

Crushed soul.

Bruised soul.

Burnt soul.

Anguished soul.

Tortured soul.

How can one soul be so many souls?

When you are all soul.

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Graphic of a big heart with a small figure applying an adhesive bandage to it

Of Heartbreak and Hope

Your heart.

Your broken heart.

You keep loving.

It keeps breaking.

Yet you keep loving.

Not because

you are foolhardy,

or a fool,

or hardy.

But because,

you hope.

That one day,

you will love,

and your heart

won’t be broken.

But rather,

it will be

made whole again.

The word 'friendship' written on shards of glass

Freelance Kills Friendship

Here’s how.

The first buds come thinking you have little or no work, and so will do theirs for free. You know, for the famed exposure. The moment you talk budget, price-point and advance, they run. Why, they should be called fleelancers.

The next wait and watch, like vultures for the dying beast to become the dead or like long-forgotten relatives for an ageing rich relative to do the same. When you appear to be approaching death-state according to them – when the work seems to be tough coming, like it does at times in the choppy oceans of freelance – they swoop in. They brief you about their project, and then keep rejecting or going quiet over every pricing sheet you present until your quote is as low as that dying beast’s chin. And god forbid if you refuse to lower your budget – they will leave you for the dead. Or worse, get offended.

The final set waits too, but not to give you work. They eagerly wait – and hope and pray? – that you soon, or eventually, have no work and begin ruminating getting back to a job, so that they can come and make a sagely statement like, “Freelancing isn’t for everybody.”

A sub-set of this is the one that keeps thinking that even after three years of working as a freelancer, this is just a temporary gig before you get back to a real job.

Just like these f(r)iends eye the ‘free’ in ‘freelance’, you want to take the ‘lance’ in it and plunge it into them. But for that, you first have to take it out of your back.

Actually, freelance doesn’t kill friendship. It exposes it.

The silhouette of a woman with her hand pressed against a glass window

I was just thinking that… / about suicides

Laverne Cox in her Orange Is the New Black avatar with her series name and a quote on the picGender reassignment surgery, or simply, a sex change, seems like an “extreme” step to take in life and an “extreme” change to make to the body. But many trans folk do it. (I write fresh from binge-watching two seasons of Orange Is the New Black, featuring, among other artists, Laverne Cox, who is trans in real life and in the series.) They obviously feel their gender expression isn’t aligned with the body they’ve been given, and thus proceed to “correct” the misalignment. Once you begin thinking about it closely, it gets understandable.

So, is suicide – an even more “extreme” step you take in life and the most “extreme” change you make to your body – “understandable” too, at least in the case of some people? Maybe many suicidees feel they are misfits in this world – maybe they aren’t meant for here – and so take the final step.

With trans folk, you know whether or not they are happy in their new form. With suicidees, you can only hope they are happy in whatever form they are now.

A woman standing in a field looking into the distance seen through a few sheaves of paddy

Soul. Full.

Those who live by the soul

Often have to die because of it.

If you live for the soul,

You’ll never gain from it.

Only your soul will.

Living by the soul.

Fulfilling.

Killing.

Someone who lives to fill, and fulfil, the soul.

Soulful.

Soul fool.

An old soul.

A gold soul.

A hammer icon about to strike an icon of a graduation cap

The School of Hard Knocks

Over the Diwali holidays, I had had some repairs done in the woodworks department. However, a couple of days later, a couple of items had gone back to working inefficiently. So, this time, I made sure I was standing close to the action as the carpenters – a middle-aged man and a young lad – went about the fixes. However, because the action was taking a while and I didn’t really have any action there, I decided to make small talk.

I asked the older guy if the younger guy, who seemed to be an assistant or an apprentice, was just a colleague or a relative, for these folk typically have their relatives work alongside them. My electrician does.

Not looking away from his work, he replied, a knowing smile in his voice, “No, not a relative.” He continued, with the same knowing smiling feeling, “Vyaapaar mein rishtedaar kahaan chaltaa hai… Gair ko hee rakhnaa chaahiye.” (Business and relatives don’t mix. In business, you should have only a stranger.) He ended by reasoning that it’s easier having a commercial transaction and conversation with someone who isn’t close to you.

I couldn’t agree more. In the two-three years I have been working on my own, I too have learnt: Freelance and friends don’t mix. If they do, the result is volatile.

The bathroom door done, he moved on to the sliding door in the living room. This was an easier job: just the bolt. Again, his eyes fixed on his task, he told me that gently should do it for the door from now on – no need to bang it. I assured him that I was gentle enough after he had fixed it the last time, but my maid must have slammed it as earlier and thus ruined it again in the process.

Again, he spoke knowingly, “That one… She speaks a bit rough…”

I first wondered if she was there when he had come the last time and then wondered if she had said anything then for him to notice anything about her. Yes, on both counts.

I responded, commenting rather than defending her, “Yes, she does speak a bit dry…” I added, again in comment and not defence, “But her work is good…”

He responded pat, “Yes, that’s why she speaks rough…”

This guy has all the answers, doesn’t he?

I wondered what other woodwork needed fixing.