Follow the journey of an ambitious girl through life’s highs and lows, and, love and loss.

My hair now needs a clip to bunch it up together. It gets overcrowded and suffocating in that small clip, but they manage. When it becomes unbearable, the breathless tiny strands quietly slip out of the clip and fall down in exhaustion.   My hair has outgrown a hairstyle and now is growing in length on its own will. I also didn’t impose any rules, it wasn’t too unruly. It had a lingering pace and didn’t come in the way. Now, it also finds some nooks and corners to rest on… like getting tucked behind my ear…  The tickling sensation began when it started stroking my nape lightly… and as it grew past my neck, I started leashing it compulsorily.

Now when I misplace my clip, often enough, it’s torture. I completely depend on that lifeless toothy plastic. The day I came back from Stuti’s hideout, I left my clip at its usual place and headed for a cool shower. No, it can’t go for a stroll, but it wasn’t there. I searched my room thoroughly. I even looked under the bed, repeatedly opened all the chest of drawers, and countlessly emptied my tote bag, then gave up, I lost it.

I started tying my hair with other bands and clips, and one day when I was taking my wallet out from the same bag, I found my ugly toothy clip. I yell in excitement when you stop looking for something; it finds you.

It happened again.

The day I moved out of my workplace, I was no longer part of my girl gang. Gossip dried out, I no longer sat with the girls on the boundary wall and made fun of all the smart ones crossing the road. Eating out or just taking off with my pals… ah, those long drives and short coffee breaks were such regular affairs.  No one discussed fashion or films with me anymore, then slowly I drifted out of their lives and lost all my friends. But that was temporary.

Your whimpering suddenly replaced my gloomy and lonely days. That first day I took my gift so lightly and left you to be with others to tend to you. But now he is my constant companion. When Zero got ill it worried me sick, cooking his meals and grooming him became part of my daily chore. I now have a newfound confidence since we started going out on walks, not that I was out of shape, but I think I’ve turned slicker.

Now that I look chic, I started extending it to my personality.  I started exploring science, music, and art journals.  Then one summer afternoon, flipping through a magazine, I saw this advertisement and dared to dream. This was different, unlike my earlier countless daydreams; I could smell a hint of ambition. I even tested myself. Assumed, just like in the past, enthusiasm would fade and feelings would stray because I will get swamped by new ideas and new desires. It wasn’t so; the sensation started settling in, and the force to live my dream loomed larger. I dusted off my muted piano and restarted rehearsals in all earnest to bring back my tunes. For almost a year, I remained a hermit to build a deep passion for my existence.

I applied at this prestigious institute; I knew I had made it; this is not living in a fool’s paradise. My dedication towards my craft will get me an admission.  The next few weeks passed by in a blur, and as expected I cleared my exams and now just awaited the last step of a personal interview. I know my fingers will fly, my heart will sing in all abandonment and my sad eye pupils will magically transform.

On that day, I was not nervous like other applicants. I remember brimming with confidence… even after the test; assured of my placement by none other than myself. The outstanding performance, the appreciative glances… the knowing nods of the interviewers were another sign of my talent, my hard work, and my upcoming success.

Although the result and invitation to join them was one month away, I already started saying goodbye to all the small habits surrounding me. Packing will get done in minutes because, in my mind, I have done that several times. Being prepared is a good feeling. To remain in the flow. While I bide my time, I started uploading my recitals on YouTube. The usual things happened… family, acquaintances, and erstwhile friends, and even their friends’ heaped praise generously.

 I failed pretty miserably. After the initial astounding disbelief, I picked up the courage to accept the defeat and let it go. Now was the time for me to get back to the daily grind of the days I thought I left behind. I started with packing my instruments, curbing my idealism, and firmly closing the chapter. A listless struggle to survive started and soon shallow life consumed me. A series of eventualities in the mundane world tried to entice me with its wide-open jaws. As per the rule, I succumbed to those meaningless charms in a robotic manner.

It has been six months of an abject chore since I started working at the office.  Now I am getting used to this life and treat my soul on weekends with delicious laziness. The doorbell rang, thrice. That means a household glued to their sedative vices. I continued to be static because unlike others, my addiction had a potent combination of lethargy.  A week has gone by since then. Suddenly a flash of energy gripped me and at the moment’s heat, I checked my messages, logged on to my accounts, and opened my emails. I froze. I had to be.  Almost 10 days ago I received an email from a well-known studio interested in collaborating with me. They sent the details of the contract through the post. They had seen my madness on YouTube.

It was meant to be. No point giving up on the plan just because I encountered a stumbling block. Yes, nothing was lost, I gained much more. I mistook the hiccup as a sign to stop; I was unnecessarily hasting…

The signing of the contract meant my life pace was picking up. I didn’t waste time, resigned from my office, packed my things, left home, and moved towards stardom.  It was a little chaotic in the beginning, finding my place, understanding my independence, and getting in my power. I also found places to enjoy my hour of calmness.

 Sitting under an oak tree, I was scouring the internet to learn about the symbolism of this tree. I thought it made an interesting conversation topic. It has 600 species…that means possibly 6000 stories around it!  Why should I join groups of people? I do not enjoy being with them.  I remember those days when I engaged over customary chats; I yearned for something different… I used to transcend into two levels of conversation and had parallel social time; the other one in my head.  After being horribly lonely in overcrowded groups with people wearing my own folks’ tag, I was happily alone under the Oak tree in my company interacting with my environment, but that sudden strong breeze dislodged my serenity… almost. It became the perfect setting for you to enter the scene.

You offered me an orange that had a small stem and three leaves. This is the first time I saw the leaves of this fruit and pictured the entire tree laden with yellowish oranges and thick branches filled with dark green small leaves. I was surfing the high waves of hypnotism from that first meeting and it didn’t take long for you to become what we commonly know as just as a family. That feeling set in right from the first day, under the large Oak tree… I elevated my reality on another plane. From then on, so many frivolous to frightfully important activities entered my life. From a small turn on the lane to a frown on your forehead, it all became so integral to my purpose. Learning the art of finesse to concentrate on frivolous detailing just got necessary. From ignoring my needs to entertaining, all things about you became natural.

The joys I experienced were unreal; I had to take great care so it won’t be fleeting. My subliminal mood tried raising its voice from time to time, but I successfully choked it each time. I derived strength from my weakness; I surrendered my power and rejoiced in my vulnerability. I was all about tomorrow, disregarding my present.

Failing followed me again.

                The day the ambulance came to transport me; all the journeys taken so far began shouting and vying for my attention. Even the innocuous ones were critiquing their roles. Amidst this melee, I had a feeling; people who were mine had lost their faith in me, so they stopped fighting for me. I needed to assure them, but the incoherence of my entirety kept me silent. Now that I look back, that was the wisest thing to do. The parked ambulance had attracted a fair amount of curiosity among locals. As they led me to the vehicle, I could hear rampant whispering. The one I distinctly heard was describing my state. I was just like everyone else, successful and complete. I was better than everyone around me because I was also happy. When the ugliness was rearing its head, I had swiftly shifted into a make-believe world, but that didn’t salvage the void you left behind. The gnawing pain won’t ebb. So I took the expected route, sold whatever I could, and locked the rest. I even moved out of solitary bindings. It is strange that the formula didn’t work, and the emptiness became bottomless, I must have lost it then. True, this time it was forever.

Rini Sinha

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