Escape

Lang Leav

I came across Lang Leav while strolling through Instagram. I was intrigued by the poetry but didn’t look into it at the time. I then found her come across my news feed more frequently; Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, you name it, she was popping up everywhere. Having enjoyed what I had read so far, I followed her Instagram page. Thereafter, whatever she wrote, I liked. On my commute back from work one evening, I read one of her excerpts and the urgency to own her books took over. Come midnight, I had ordered all three books she had published so far.

When my flat mate skimmed through some of the work, she looked up and said, “No wonder you enjoy her writing. You and she have similar writing styles. Its melancholic and romantic, somewhat walking the fine line between realistic thinking but faltering at times and slipping into grief and regretful hope.”

I didn’t quite believe her when she said we had similar writing styles but I’d like to take that as praise, nonetheless. Besides that, I agreed with her description of Lang Leav’s poetry. It is all that and what I enjoyed most, was the gentle brush against love and all that it brings with it.

She has released a new back and I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on it but I will soon. Once I do, I will add to this post, her new poetry and what I enjoyed/related to most.

Somehow, I can never quite read or enjoy poetry without a steaming hot mug of coffee next to me. Hence, every time I sat down with these books, I made sure I was warming my hands over a foamy cup of coffee. After all, poetry and coffee go hand in hand, right?

The first book I started with, titled Love and Misadventures, was a gentle read, divided into three parts.

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Love and Misadventures

The first part is friendly, warm, the kinds that make you giggle and smile as you turn one page after the other.

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Misadventure

The second awakens an ache inside of you, one you know exists but try to stifle.

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The Circus of Sorrows

The third part brings to life static and makes you feel profound and reminiscent, all at once.

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Love

I then continued onto Lullabies. Released a year later, this book was divided into three chapters. Although it follows a tune similar to the previous one, it comes across as more mature. Like herself, Lang Leav’s writing too has aged a year, grown a bit more, learned a lot more.

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Lullabies

Titled Duet, the first chapter is like reading a personal diary. It has confessions and conversations; stemming from one perspective, one train of thought and one point of view.

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Duet-In books unread, we lie between their pages. As they turn to lovers like season’s changes. – Excerpt

The second chapter is titled Interlude. Raw and passionate, it is a peak into the desires of the body and mind. Dancing between playful and naughty, it has writing that makes one blush.

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Interlude – ‘She was different from anything he had ever known.’ – The Professor.

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The third chapter, Finale, is the crushing blow one feels when they feel love slipping away, the breath being snatched from one’s lungs as one lets go, unwillingly or otherwise.

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Finale – They gave us years, though many ago; the spring cries tears- the winter, snow. – Melancholy Skies.

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The third book, Memories, is more accepting in its writing. The words resonate a voice that has learnt, acknowledged and is now living with all that life has offered but not without musings of how things have decided to splay themselves out in life’s deck of cards. It has two parts. Unlike the other two books, there is also a burst of colour in within the pages, more life unlike in the previous books, where there are sketches, representative of us as puppets

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The first part, Here and Now, is devoted purely to new writings. There is more inclination towards prose than poetry, the writing is distinct, metaphorical and poignant. Every page stops you and makes you think and almost unknowingly, you nod in agreement.

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Part One: Here and Now

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The second part, Remember When, has a compilation of poems from the previous two books. It does have new excerpts that go along with the title of the second part as well. The reason why I’ve added this is because, there were poems that I didn’t focus on or be gripped by when I read them in their individual books but caught my attention a second time round, when reading them in Memories.

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Part Two: Remember When

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I enjoy Lang Leav’s poetry tremendously. It is relatable, soft in its creation and no matter what the theme, is always born from a place of love. Her latest book is titled The Universe of Us and I cannot wait to add it to my collection.

Something I found incredibly sweet; all her dedications are to Michael Faudet, her partner and fellow poet. He has released books of his own and in time, I would like to read his writing as well.

Besides all the poetry, I’d like to leave you with this; In Memories, besides a dedication, Lang Leav also adds a sketch, with one simple sentence.

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Forget her tattered memories, or the pages others took; you are her ever after – the hero of her book.

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To Helen, for Joni and everything else.

I first met Helen (Arv’s grandmother), when Arv and I decided to visit Brighton for a weekend which you can read about, here.

Any and all nerves that I had about meeting her, disappeared the minute I embraced her. Warm, loving and full of life, Helen made a place for herself in my heart, right away. When my parents came to visit me for my graduation and I decided to take them to Brighton as part of their tour of United Kingdom, I could not NOT introduce them to Helen.

She welcomed me into her life with open arms and since the day we met, there’s been no looking back. She has become my dearest pen pal, a confidante and an extremely special friend. Her ever giving heart has found so much love for me. On more than one occasion, I have forgotten that she is not my grandmother, although it barely if ever feels that way. Daily emails have ensured we keep in touch, updating each other about the minutest changes in our life with the frequent exchange of photographs as well, giving life to worded descriptions about the people in our lives.

During our conversations, Helen and I also exchange music and books. I gifted her This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire and she in turn encouraged me to give Joni: An Unforgettable Story, a read.

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I remember sitting next to her, listening to her as she read out verses from the Bible, to my parents and me. Despite being an atheist, her calming voice and steady belief nestled the heavy restlessness I had been harbouring for weeks. Having sensed that emotion and others as well, Helen urged me to give this book a read. I am not one to go out of my way and read autobiographies of people, especially people who have such an unshakeable devotion to God but Helen had recommended it to me and, if it wasn’t evident before, it should be now, that I would readily do anything she asks or tells me to do. Not just because I adore her but also because I respect her tremendously and am inspired by her, every single day.

That being said, the book was a wonderful read. As mentioned before, it is an autobiography. Joni Eareckson became a quadriplegic at an extremely young age. A diving incident gone wrong, led to her breaking her neck and losing function in her arms and legs. The book journeys through Joni’s struggles with this paralysis and taking on life by its horns, relying on God and her faith.

Like every other human, Joni had her instances of doubt and hesitance, questioning the existence of God, harbouring enormous anger, hatred and jealousy at the unfairness of the life she was forced to live. The passion to live though and to make something of herself despite the massively turbulent incidents in her life, is truly inspiring. Bringing in the importance of friends, family and the trinity (spirit, will and hope) Joni trudges through these hurdles, ultimately becoming a woman of her own. By the end of the novel, I was rooting for Joni, wishing her prayers came to life, aching with her when people decided they couldn’t cope with her paralysis and shedding tears as she mourned the loss of those she knew.

I will be honest, I swing between being an atheist and an agnostic but never reach the point of acknowledging myself as a believer. At times, it became difficult to read the book, the extreme faith in God making it hard for me as my own lack of faith was warring with the words swimming in front of my eyes. Despite it all though, I enjoyed the book thoroughly and somehow, with every page turned, let go a bit more of the war within me about people and the bonds I shared with them.

Somehow, in my eyes, Helen and Joni have so many similarities. They smile through life and accept what comes their way. They don’t deny anger or grief but they don’t let these emotions consume them either. They aren’t defined by the sadness they have faced during the course of their lives, instead believed that there will be better and are grateful for everything they have, now.

I am so appreciative of Helen in my life, her positive influence, her accepting nature and her infinite love, guidance and nurturing soul. I eagerly await every single email from her and cannot wait to meet her again, cup of camomile tea in hand, the crash of the waves in the background and simply talking and listening to her, one heart to another.

So Helen, my dearest darling Helen, thank you for finding a place in your heart and life, for me. Thank you for every message, every hug, every email, thank you, for Joni and thank you, for you.

Till then, as Helen always gently reminds me, ‘Que sera sera…’

xx

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Querencia

Music has always been an exhilarating experience for me.

Like any other human, I guess I discovered music at the prime of my teens. During that time, Linkin Park, Green Day and Evanescence were my go to musicians. From then on, music has become my salvation and my second preference when it comes to communicating. My music library has evolved and grown. At present, I have over 1800-2000 artists on my hard disk; some heard of by everyone in the world, some barely discovered.

I cannot do without music. It is my lifeblood. Although, just as it has saved me on numerous occasions, it has also caused ache. Simply because, in times of great emotional turmoil, it has been too relatable and I, wanting to wallow in my masochism, would cut off from it. As mentioned before, I have been obsessively possessive about my music collection, sharing it with a chosen few. Only lately have I started letting others into my coveted world, letting them experience the same emotions I did upon hearing the tunes I surround myself with.

Music also plays a great role in my life, when it comes to love. I don’t know when or how I became a hapless romantic but I did. I hail love as the most beautiful gift and treasure of all. So when love fails to conquer, I mourn it. I rejoice with those who have found love and root for their success. I consider any and all relationships sacred and place them before anything else. Needless to say, in this selfish world, it has been taken advantage of and used ruthlessly, even mocked. Music has clasped hands with this side of me ever since they stumbled upon each other. The lesson though that I learnt from being as I was, is this: As beautiful as love maybe, it is not for everyone. Music helped deal with this painful truth.

A dear friend once told me, that maybe some of us were meant to love selflessly, quietly taking in the pinch that comes with it when people do not value or honour what we give; ravenously consuming what we offer until they find someone else to feed off. As harsh as it maybe, we might never feel this unrequited, infinite love ourselves.

Music, then taught me to let go. I may not be that girl anymore, who believed in love so fiercely, who had hope in love, always. I may now be the girl who has sworn never to listen or follow her heart. It doesn’t mean though that music has let go. Somehow, even in this transition, I have found music that grounds me.

Cynthia Bonitz wrote something that resonated with me. This playlist is a representation of this excerpt.

I'm not going to ask you to stay. I'm not going to show up at the airport like heart-wrecked girls do in the movies, yelling for your name, frantic to tell you everything I never said.
But the truth is - I am devastated, and you will never know that. Because I will never tell you. I say I'm proud of you, excited for all you'll see. That is not a lie. I am. I just wish that it hadn't ended like this. I wish we had more time. 
All I can do is watch you go. All I can do is swallow the break in my soul, take it like resilient girls do, and pretend that my world isn't sinking. "You have to fight for what you want," everyone says to me. But so much time has gone by. I don't really know what to do anymore. I've gotten really great at pretending that I don't miss you, that I don't care.
But that's just life and how it goes, right? You'll go and this chapter will finish and we'll just become words to each other, of what was and what will never be. And please, don't worry about saying anything. You really don't have to. Promise me you won't.
I'd rather have our last words be the silence of that night that we're not supposed to talk about. The night I shouldn't have stayed. The night I turned around anyway and caught you looking at me like no has ever looked at me - even you, back then.
I will never get over that. Ever. If I was haunted before, I am haunted now. And I wish so badly you could know.
Maybe I'll never understand. Or maybe I do already. Either way, I just wish it was enough. Do you know what I mean? Enough to stay. Enough to hear you tell me that it all meant something.
But I will never ask. I will never know.

There is a Spanish word, Querencia. It means, a place from which one’s strength is drawn, where one feels at home; the place where you are your most authentic self.

The partnership of music and lost love is the Querencia in my life. Love is the lie we tell ourselves and music is the one that breathes life into it, making it real, seemingly making it true.

Click on the image below to understand this union better.

Hope you guys enjoy!

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This Modern Love

Will Darbyshire has been a favourite of mine ever since he uploaded his first ever Youtube video. His way of thinking, musical preferences, aesthetic approach to life and his unassuming yet intelligent personality had me enamoured from the very get go.

It was but obvious then, that I would purchase his first ever novel. Although This Modern Love has not been written by Will, it has been composed by him. Having used his connection with the world through the gift of the internet, Will reached out and asked people of all ages to send him submissions, all of which were to do with love. They could be to an ex, to a crush or to their love, it didn’t matter. Photographs were welcome too!

Will asked six questions and tried to get the submissions to be answered around these questions. These questions were:

  1. What would you say to your ex, without judgement?
  2. Write a thank you note to your partner – describe or share (in a photo) the big and little things that make you happy.
  3. What single word sums up your love life, your partner, or someone you like?
  4. What single image sums up your love life, your partner, or someone you like?
  5. What would you say to a crush? Write a letter to them to express it.
  6. How has technology affected your relationship, either positively or negatively? Describe your experience.

The book follows the theme of red and white with postage stamps and envelopes decorating the pages from time to time.

Here are my favourite confessions, they’re a mix of letters to the past, present and future.

It makes for a beautiful read, the kinds you thoroughly enjoy, sitting in your favourite cafe, with your fingers wrapped around a coffee mug.

Will lived up to my expectations with this heartfelt dedication to love, its beauty and hypnotising charm, how it makes us yearn for it and be wary of it, all at the same time.

I would suggest getting the hardcover should you decide to purchase the book.

Thank you Will, for compiling the thoughts of those who’ve been touched by love in this book and for providing them with the most perfect of stages.

As Will puts it, this book is…

‘For all those in love, out of love,
and everything in between.’

If you want to check out more about the book and Will, click here to get to his channel.

Sillage

Sillage is a French word that translates to the scent that lingers in the air, the trail left in water, the impression left in space after someone or something has been and gone; the trace of someone’s perfume.

If you’re feeling empty, are immersed in memories, feel a pain that can only be called tidal or feel hollow no matter the thought or emotion, this playlist can hopefully connect with you.

To give it a listen, click the image below.

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Milk and Honey

A couple of months ago, while interacting with someone new, Rupi Kaur was mentioned in one of the conversations. I had come across excerpts of her writing on Instagram but it wasn’t until she came up during an intellectual tête-à-tête that I decided to look into her writing.

Upon arriving in Mumbai, I saw her book Milk and Honey nestled on Rushil’s bookshelf. On a rainy Wednesday, I seated myself on the window sill, the crashing of the waves, music to my ears and drowned myself in the book for the next hour. When I emerged from within the pages inked in raw strength, I felt within me, the stirring of an identity that had been locked away for far too long.

Rupi Kaur’s writing is bold, honest and empathetic. Her writing mirrored way too many of my own thoughts and emotions and I am glad I decided to read the book. It has nudged me to let the fiercer side of me breathe and live more freely than I allow it to.

The book is divided into four parts: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking and The Healing.

I went through the book twice and the images below are not just my favourites but also the ones that resonated within me; the ones that bellowed to the world, the words I refused to write or speak.

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There are books that you read and then there are the books that consume you. Milk and Honey is one such book. You don’t just turn the pages, you learn to accept, deal and let go with the turn of every leaf.

For anyone struggling or having a hard time coming to terms with the constant war your mind and heart are at, I would recommend reading this book.

It teaches you a lot. More than anything, it nurtures and heals you most.

A Million Little Pieces

I first stumbled across this book when I saw my flat mate, her nose buried in the book, so engrossed, the world seemed to have dissolved around her. On the few occasions that I looked up from my personal work, I would see a variety of emotions paint her face, pain and grief, being the most prominent. Two days later, she stormed into my room, book in hand and said the seven words that would change my perspective on life, in ways I had never imagined; “You need to read this book. Now.”

Once she gave me a gist of what the book had to offer, I knew I needed to read it.

The book spoke of a man’s journey battling addiction and surviving it. There were two reasons in particular that were fuelling me on. It is my personal belief that people who suffer from depression, tend to have addictive personalities and I wanted to understand better, the source and growth of addiction. Also, someone who at the time was very dear to me had just accepted their own addiction and I (having lost two friends to addiction) was hell bent on helping my friend out and somehow had the idea, that this book might in some way help.

James Frey talks of his incredible journey battling substance abuse and alcoholism. His brutal honesty, refusal to find faith in anyone but himself and the loyalty he projects towards the ones he considers his friends, during his time at the rehabilitation centre, makes his character unique and interesting to figure out.

Out of the many things that inspired me, one quality of James Frey that I found incredible was his ready acceptance. We, as humans, often find it difficult to accept fault and take responsibility for our actions. James never thought to blame the world or the circumstances around him for the situation he was in. He accepted fault and was ready to face the consequences for being the severe addict that he was.

During his time recovering, James’s brother gifted him a book on his first visit to the rehabilitation centre. This book, along with Leonard (another drug addict), Joanne (his psychologist), Hank (Joanne’s boyfriend and one of James’s first friends)  and Lily (his love interest) spur James’s recovery. The book, Tao Te Ching, has the most powerful influence over James. He connects with it unlike the reaction he has to the Bible or the Twelve Steps, which leaves him feeling even more cold and bitter.

The book is a steady outpour of James’s reactions, observations, sensations and thoughts. There are no punctuations, no quotations and no line breaks. Often, it is difficult to comprehend whether the lines are just thoughts swimming inside James’s mind or are they dialogues being spoken between two people. James’s honest writing is extremely graphic as well. His descriptions of pain, withdrawal and anger are painfully raw. Upon reading, there were countless instances when I felt queasy enough to want to throw up, cried unconsolably because I connected with the thoughts and feelings, empathised so strongly that I had to curl up and gripped the book so tightly, the spine of the book almost broke since the pain being described was so real.

Each character described has their own demons. At the end of the book, James lists down what happens to each addict in the centre and your heart mourns and celebrates with each one of them, simply because by the end of it, you feel as though you’ve known them too.

The book definitely helped me better understand how to deal with addiction and made it a little easier for me to help and support my friend. I was also able to overcome the echoes of my own addiction.

James continued on to write another novel titled My Friend Leonard. I am quite keen on getting my hands on it along with Tao Te Ching, simply because I wish to see what in particular the Chinese wisdoms stated that influenced James to such an extent.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested or in search of a good book. It is an eye opener and a brilliant read!

We have become…?

Maybe it was when I lay curled up, my head nestled in your lap, the light of the flickering candle casting shadows on the wall. Or perhaps, it was when I blinked away tears furiously, wishing I could stop time and preserve the words escaping your lips, the beauty of which seem to be nothing but lullabies every night.

Either way, this playlist was meant for you, for us and for the sunrises we are still to witness together.

Together, we have become, so much more.

To honour every thought and every wish, here’s a playlist I felt, seemed apt. Click the image below and I hope it connects with everyone on some level or the other.

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Sunday Snuggles

Hello lovely people!

I’ve always been quite possessive about my music library to the point that I have chided myself at times for being childish and petulant while sharing it with others. In my defence, it was solely because some songs connect with you so deeply, you covet them, afraid someone might not understand the importance of it in your life and give it the same value.

Music has been my constant solace and support and uploading my first ever playlist involved a lot of hesitation.

For those Sundays, when you can’t help but snuggle deeper into your duvet, press your body any closer to the person you love or simply bounce on your bed, letting your inner child take control, here’s my playlist.

Click on the image below and I hope you enjoy it !

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Picture credits : Purnima Kajal

The Lover’s Dictionary

I partially read this book in 2012, I believe.

What led me to finishing this book four years later, you ask ?

A conversation…with a new friend amidst exchanging playlists and documentaries, visits to quaint coffee shops and huddled tea sessions in a kitchen that hosted more people than it could fit.

Needless to say, once this book was brought up, the desire to finish it, was insatiable and so I did.

By David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary, has within its pages the stories of a couple who define any and all words that could possibly be associated with love, through their memories. These memories aren’t chronological and some often get repeated with the conclusions having a change of environment, of course.

One closes the book with a childish wish to read more, a small smile flitting from time to time across the reader’s face.

Scroll down below for some of my favourite definitions from this book; some too relatable and some deserving of applause coupled with a few definitions made of my own fond memories.

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Fear, adj.

To have to think that maybe, you will never give us another chance, even when the whole world is wishing you would. To have to accept, that what we had, I will never taste again. To live with knowing, I lost something, that was possibly, the best I ever had.

Growth, n.

We both stare blankly at the map of the tube, the train, with every passing moment, getting me closer to my stop. My fingers, agitatedly, tap away. The silence, too palpable between us. My eyes still hurt from the tears I shed, my salt kissed skin, stinging from time to time. I know this moment reminds you of all the others, but unlike the past events, you won’t try that hard to make amends. I gulp. I breathe deeply. Biting my lip, I look away as I place my hand on yours. You immediately entwine your fingers with mine. I smile and turn to look at you, not caring if you realised, that for the first time, I made the effort. I let go…

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Memory, n.

You had just missed your train. Turning to me, a swear escaping your lips, I forced a smile before I asked for the thousandth time, ‘How do I look?’ Worry etched itself all over my face, the gravity of the situation, heavy in the air. You looked me in the eye and said, ‘You look beautiful.’ Tears welled up instantly, the familiar lump in my throat. ‘I should go’ I stammered as you simply looked at me before we simultaneously leaned forward. Your lips touched my cheek and I, helpless and scared, flung my arms around you. You started stamping the right side of my face with as many kisses as you could muster while your arms firmly held me to you. You starting walked forwards urging me in turn, to walk backwards. When you let go, we were on my platform. Your hand, still on the small of my back, gave a gentle push. I breathed and entered the train that had just arrived. You smiled and walked back, waiting for yours.

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And last but not the least,

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I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did, should you get your hands on it. It makes for a delightful read, I promise.

Till then, my lovely Mavericks…