Beginnings

To me, this is a picture of a man looking out the window at dusk or dawn, hoping for new beginnings.

As I look up at the spinning ceiling fan, memories drift in my mind like moths flitting about in an old attic. I think about when we met at that quaint bar with wooden tables, chairs, and liquor bottles shelved against a wall. I watched you climb the rickety staircase, and wondered what you’d think when you saw me—uncouth, bearded, having lost the effervescence that shone in my eyes during college. You looked the same, and we eased ourselves into conversation while snatches of sentences spoken gamboled towards us from the nearby tables.  

You wanted to only drink beer, but we ended up having whisky and shots of tequila. Tipsy, I interspersed serious talk with bits of asinine humour. I don’t know why I did it, and I think that pushed you away. You asked me about my ex-girlfriend, wanting to know everything about her, and I slurred, venerating and cursing her. You then invited me to a few rock concerts by a local band, and I agreed to come, though a part of me wanted silence—not you not speaking, but an overarching hush coating everything with its silvery hue. A need to get away from quotidian routine and excitement. A new beginning and an end.

And perhaps that desire for stillness made me think there’s something wrong with me, and I ended up talking to you about everything in the days to come using droll, self-deprecation. This made you think I was weird, and it’s always either that or people thinking I’m cantankerous—possessed by violent mood swings that rival the capriciousness of some archetypal patriarch, a member of the old tribe who insists that men shouldn’t take after their mothers and become snowflakes.

I’ll end by saying I’ve lost most of my friends. I wonder if it’s because of my idiosyncrasies or because of the confessional nature of everything I say—talking about the darker, heavier aspects of life. They’ve all run away from me as if I were a Lovecraftian monstrosity that impinges on nature and distorts it, shading it a gaudy fluorescence. I’m at the crossroads where ends meet beginnings, and beginnings meet ends, and life might swallow me like the whale swallowing Jonah and spit me out where I don’t want to be, or I’ll sway with its rhythm like I’ve done the past few years, greeting eventide and dawn with the same insouciance.  

Here’s the eventide

a call for new beginnings

calm dawn watches on.

Photo by Nicholas Kwok on Unsplash

For dVerse

For earthweal

42 responses to “Beginnings”

  1. This was a fascinating read Nitin, it pulled me in and carried me along. I share the tendency to overshare — so I relate. ✌🏼

  2. Not sure how autobiographical this is, but whenever you can get swallowed by a whale I say just go with the flow, you’ll end up where you need to be! 💖👏👏

  3. I understand that wanting silence. Often words don’t work with feelings, especially not when you’re trying too hard. I felt the strain in this, against what you want the truth to be, and what you suspect it really is. Love the haiku too.

    • Thank you Jane. Yes, there’s always a strain between what you want the truth to be, and what it is. I’m slowly moving towards not trying too hard. I just let things come to me these days, and people enter my life and leave. The trying hard to keep them leaves me with shame, and I don’t think I want that anymore. Even without people, there’s still a world to explore and things to do, I guess.

  4. I really feel you, brother. I tend to share a lot of things with my friends and that kinda pushes them away. I love the use of language in this, I had to google a few words to tell you the truth! Loved it, you are a great writer.

    • Thank you so much for such a wonderful comment. Yeah people don’t like someone who’s different. I’ve pushed many people away by simply being me. But this is the truth, never compromise to fit into someone else’s vision and continue being you. Thanks again for your kind words.

  5. My brain has a tendency to call up movie scenes or song lyrics in response to posts that I read.
    Don McLean’s “Vincent” leapt out …”This world was never meant for
    One as beautiful as you. ”
    All the while that you claimed that you had driven others away, I felt the truth was closer to the ‘poverty’ in the souls of others preventing them from a level of understanding that you needed.

    “They would not listen, they’re not listening still
    Perhaps they never will”
    Happy new beginning. 😉

    • Thank you for such a beautiful comment! I’m listening to Vincent now as I reply. Such a poignant, tender, heart wrenching tribute to an artist who got such a raw deal in life. They listened much later though. Perhaps you’re right. Maybe people want others to fit into boxes and when they don’t, they discard them. Thank you again.

  6. I could imagine “Vincent” as the soundtrack to this, too, perhaps playing in the background at the bar. I could feel you wanting and hoping and perhaps trying too hard for a new beginning, but hopefully the dawn is calm. This was so evocative.

    • Thank you very much for your kind words Merril. Yes I have tried and hoped and wanted too hard for new beginnings, but the dawn was calm. It’s only when I decided to take things as they come that life started moving at a much more soothing pace. Hopefully it continues this way.

  7. You have a wonderful mastery of words. I enjoyed the read, and especially love the haiku at the end. So lovely, that calm dawn.

    • Yeah dark nights of the soul definitely inspired this. I’ve had too many of those. I guess I’m looking for renewal and something different. Thank you for your comment.

  8. Losing friends you entrusted with the deepest crevices of your soul is painful. It doesn’t just knock your confidence, it makes you doubt not only your own behaviour, but at times, even your purpose for being.

    I have this idea of an onion when it comes to friends. I am in the centre of my onion and the ones in the next layer to me at the people or the person I am closet to in the world. For me that’s my husband and my children. Then there’s my best friend, then good friends, then friends, then acquaintances. So the thing is, EVERYONE starts on the level acquaintance (with the exception of my children). In order to go up a layer the relationship needs time to evolve and trust needs to grow. Once acquaintances prove themselves to be friends, they step up a level. And over time they can continue to prove themselves and get closer and closer to my inner core. They can also drop down layers too, more towards acquaintances.
    For me personally it was quite good to come up with this analogy as I could assess each person in my life and where I felt they fitted in my onion. And I could choose to behave more accordingly within that relationship.
    It helped my children a lot too and they use the analogy a lot themselves.
    My second theory is that some friends are only transitional. They are only meant to accompany me for a specific part of the journey of my life. They also start off on the outer layer of my onion and sometimes jump up the layers, potentially even quite quickly. But after a certain point, they don’t hold the course, they only last for a specific job, or during a class together, or when a certain child is in Kindergarten, or while I live in a particular house. They move on with their life and I with mine and we just don’t have that much in common anymore.
    What’s the most painful is finding a friend who really climbs my onion ranks, fade away, or even falling out with them.

    I suppose I developed these theories because I’m a really open person. I chose to be open as a teenager because there were a lot of ‘secrets’ in our house, mainly because my parents were very abusive. Once I realised that being open was more mentally healthy for me, I fully embraced it. But although it was something I needed, it wasn’t always what the other person could cope with. I need the people in my closest layers to accept my openness wholeheartedly. There are people out there who do that, you just have to find them. And that takes time.

    One of the things that helps me to deal with my own insecurities is this: I have met some weird and wonderful people throughout my life. There are definitely people out there who are stranger than me, sadder than me, angrier than me, nastier than me, more difficult than me. Then I realise, I’m not so bad after all.

    • True. Losing a good friend is very hard to go through. I’ve lost quite a few over the years.

      Your theory of the onion is brilliant! It’s so true. I think at the core, it’s just me and my immediate family, like it is for you. And I think I’m going to start using this analogy too. Anyone new should start as an acquaintance. I’ve made a mistake of trusting people too quickly and letting them into the inner circles, and they’ve disappointed me. I guess every friend should prove themselves. I’ve met a lot of people who’ve used me for this or that, wanted this or that from me, and then dropped me. But then again, there are also other aspects involved. For example, some people you click with and others you don’t. For example, I wouldn’t want to go to some bar with a software engineer and discuss how much he makes, when there’s a chance to meet a fellow creative and talk reading and writing. But yeah, the onion analogy helps you decide where to place whom and how to behave. I’d be scared to share too much with a person who’s hurt me in the past, so they move towards being acquaintances. But another problem methinks is severe loneliness. When you’re really lonely, it’s difficult to assess properly and make lasting relationships. You desire company and if you don’t have it, you become apathetic.

      My mom always says some friends are for a season or a reason, which is similar to your notion of friends being transactional. I agree. I’ve had friends like that too who came into my life, taught me things, became close to me and then vanished. Moving to another location or drifting apart because of life all play important parts in such relationships.

      I like you, am also a really open person. The problem is my culture (Indian culture) is very different. It’s antithetical to who I am as a person. People have their stigmas and are very shrewd. So I wonder if being open in India has cost me. If I tell someone here, that I’m bipolar, they stop talking to me. It’s happened so many times. I find that it’s always easier to be open with someone who isn’t from here. This is just my observation though. But what you’ve said is true. There are people who’ll accept our openness wholeheartedly wherever we are. We just have to find them.

      Haha. I love your perspective. Yeah I’ve met people like that too. I guess it helps us realise that we aren’t alone in our weirdness and that there are others like us. Thank you so much for such a beautiful comment Sarah 😊 I really enjoyed listening to your take on friendship.

      • Me too. It’s really tough, especially when you don’t understand why it happened.

        Thank you. Of course, people you welcome into your life can still behave badly, but it doesn’t hurt so much if you placed them in the right category, because you automatically give them a bit less of yourself.
        It’s true that you click with some people and it’s hard not to allow them to skip a category, but my advice is to still put them through all the levels, but maybe they increase through those levels more rapidly. Just make sure you’re aware of it, so you keep a little cautiousness.

        If we don’t take chances on people then we will always be alone. My cure for loneliness is to make lots and lots of acquaintances and place them all on a slow burner and see if anything develops. Make a friendly comment to people in all walks of life and see what happens. Most won’t turn into any type of friendship of course, but one or two may develop or lead to a different new contact which opens doors. I really am an optimist! 🤔😉
        Also, again, don’t flagellate yourself too much for over sharing or letting your guard down at some point. It happens to the best of us! Sometimes some stuff just needs to come out, I think. Once I met a curator working in a museum and I just stood there for a couple of hours telling her all of my problems. She was a complete stranger! I was quite shocked at myself afterwards, but then I thought, it just needed to come out. And luckily I never saw her again, so even if she thought I’d lost my mind, it didn’t matter. For sure she had an interesting story to tell afterwards!

        I like your mum’s saying. I think if we ever met, we would click!

        So of course I can’t judge the Indian culture, I can only say about the British and German ones. It was a bit of a culture shock for me coming to Germany. Scotland is a small country with a small population and it feels like if you don’t know the person you are talking to, then you know their aunty, their cousin’s neighbour or their old colleague’s grandfather. People chat. All the time. You chat in the shops, at the bus stop, on the bus, to the waiter. Scottish people are really friendly and love to natter on. But even there I am seen as rather an extreme case (always talking). Then I moved to Germany. In the area I live in people are fairly polite but also reserved. People stand silently at the bus stop. They serve you in the restaurant but they are generally only interested in your order. They aren’t interested in why you are buying a new shirt in the clothes shop and where you’re off to tonight. I swear, I went into shock for about 2 years! My husband is German and hates the over familiarity of us lot and loves the anonymity here. But I struggled with it a lot. Then I realised that I should just be myself and push through with my chattiness. Some people respond really well, I have discovered. Others look at me like I have grown a second head. But then I say to myself, that is their issue and not mine.

      • Yeah true. Placing people in the right category prevents you from getting hurt. And I’m going to take your advice and put everyone new (acquaintances included) through all categories. Perhaps something beautiful will come of it, even if I don’t click with a person. I’m really introverted and so, I guess I’m automatically cautious. But you’re right, I have to take my chances on people.

        For me, I’m at a stage where I don’t think reconnecting with old acquaintances will work. I think I need to find new people and use your strategy. Get out of my shell a bit. And you’re right, maybe someone will introduce me to someone else who’ll end up becoming a good friend. Who knows? Your optimism is starting to rub off on me😄

        Yeah I’ve also had experiences like you’ve had with the curator. Hell, I’ve posted confessionals about mental illness on Facebook. I think people thought it was too dark and reported me. I got banned once. But I’ve stopped all that now. I don’t think I can find like-minded people on FB. I seem to find people who are empathetic on WP. I have two friends from college who are still nice to me. One even writes here. Other than that, it’s about me taking chances now to find new people.

        Like your curator story, I once shared details of my life with some random people I played football with. They must have thought I was completely nuts. The stigma in India is horrible. But anyhow, like you I’ve moved on and I’m lucky I didn’t see them again.

        Yeah my mom’s a sweetheart. You’d click if you met her.

        I can imagine the culture shock you went through. It’s kind of crazy going from a place where everyone is friendly and talks and knows each other to another where people are just distant. I haven’t experienced anything that severe but I did study in an all boys school that was very strict and so, when I went to a liberal arts college, it was a bit of a shock. But I’m glad you stayed true to yourself. It takes a lot of courage to do that. I believe that the people who respect and cherish you for you are the ones who matter the most. It’s always a little difficult to find your tribe, but you’ve found a few, and let’s hope I do too. I also love your quote about it being their issue if they judge you. It’s true and it is a good way to go through life.

      • If it helps you, then I’m glad!
        I agree, if old acquaintances didn’t really jump up the categories, they probably won’t do that in the future either.

        There are so many nice people on WordPress. It’s easy to get quite attached to some. Those friends from college sound like they’re in for the long haul.

        I’m glad I’m not the only one 😉. Once, when I was a teenager, a stranger approached me in an underpass and showed me all of her shopping. She took every item out of her supermarket bags and gave me a full explanation for each item. What that woman doesn’t know is that she became a benchmark for me to test my own mental health/loneliness. We are all social creatures and we need our interactions.

        Thank you! I’m glad I stayed true to myself too. I really hope you find your tribe too!
        Your education comment reminds me of my daughter. She always says how the strictness and distance she felt at school was such a contrast to her later studies. She’s a theatre actress.

        For what it’s worth, if you lived in the same district as me, I would be sure to invite you (and probably your mum😉) around for a cup of tea. Because through all of our conversations, you appear to me like a thoughtful, conscientious, caring young man.

      • Yeah true. There are many nice people on WP. I’m only beginning to meet them now. Earlier I had problems with stalkers and weirdos who read too much into my lines and called me a narcissist or something worse. I’m glad I don’t run into any of them any longer! Now I’m meeting the friendly crowd with a great sense of humour and I’m starting to like blogging.

        Yeah that woman sounds terribly lonely. I agree that we’re social animals and need interaction and need to progress from staying cooped up to going out there and making friends. I hope I find my tribe. Yes those two friends from college are great. I hope I find more like them. People who don’t judge and just accept me for me.

        Yeah the strictness of school is very often such a contrast to the freedom we’re allowed later. And it really takes quite a bit of adjusting to cope with the newfound liberty.

        Thank you Sarah 😊 I’d have enjoyed having tea with you. I’m sure my mum would have loved it too! You’ve helped me realise that the blogosphere has some kind hearted, open minded, frank people, and I’m glad we’ve had our conversations because you’re one of those people. You’ve been honest and very kind to me and I thank you. I still have a long way to go, and I work on myself each day, but thank you 😊

      • Also, I’m really sorry that you receive such a response to your diagnosis. That’s not nice and must be difficult to deal with.

      • Yeah it is tough, but people in India are sort of regressive. Not all but a lot. I guess it was all part of a learning experience.

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