Comfort Zones

Image

I’ve come across this drawing a few places now. Facebook, Instagram, social media seems to love the simple message it conveys. But is the message really that simple? Dig deep and it is a big ask. How many of us are willing to leave our comfort zones? After all, haven’t we earned this space. Haven’t we clawed our way towards what is, essentially, what defines us now?

As children, even as teenagers or young adults, the world is one that glimmers with the promise of new adventures. Our horizons at the time, are ever expanding. There is little or no fear in exploration of the unknown. There is a belief that one can pick oneself up, dust oneself off, and start again. With age, as cynicism sets in, optimism retreats to a lonely corner. We become adept at defining our parameters. We start to cotton wool our nests. Risk taking? What’s that? The extent of one’s adventurous spirit becomes confined to perhaps trying out a new spirit.

Yet, how does one grow unless one moves or gets shoved out, of that comfort zone?

I remember, years ago, being introduced to marathon running by a friend. For a non runner, this seemed to be an insurmountable task. Still, I forced myself to grab the opportunity. I won’t deny that it was a slog. All the hours I put in, the loneliness of running and having just one’s own thoughts for company, the injuries I sustained along the way. Crossing that finish line was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced in my life. The sheer exhilaration of knowing what my body, but more importantly, my mind, could do, has stayed with me all along.And that’s what it’s about.

Learning who you are, what you’re made of and how much you can push yourself.

So try it. A bite at a time, and life will be so much more rewarding at the end of it all.

Advertisements

Flight Behaviour

Flash fiction is a completely new genre for me. One that I haven’t quite got to grips with yet. The following story is my first ever attempt at it. As attempts go, it’s not too bad. But it’s not particularly inspiring either. The reason I decided to include it here was because at the heart of it, is a kernel of truth. Something, some of my friends might recognise and give a mental nod to. Here goes:

FLIGHT BEHAVIOUR

She was very attractive. He wasn’t. They were sat together on aft facing seats, that she complained about, loudly. He grimaced in sympathy. For the first two hours of the flight, they barely spoke. He had his laptop out, tapping away as if his life depended on it. She flicked through her copy of In Style, as though hers did too.

The flight attendant replenished their wine glasses steadily. They downed them equally steadily. The frost thawed somewhat. She smiled at something he said. He closed his laptop, and gave her his concentration instead. They both ordered the steak. She barely ate hers. He offered to finish it for her. She giggled at his appetite. He ogled at her cleavage. It was all very friendly now.

The lights were dimmed, and that was when the fun began. Their blankets covered them waist down. They leaned into one another. His hand crept over to her side. He fumbled, she sighed. They almost kissed, but didn’t. She closed her eyes and arched her back. Her sigh was loud. Too loud. The flight attendant walked past, stopped and then frowned at them.

Hands retreated. Decorum returned.

Movies were switched on. Headsets placed on ears. More wine was ordered.  The flight attendant complied, somewhat reluctantly, making her forays into the cabin more regular.

Fingers got naughty again. Favours needed to be returned. This time though, they were careful. They waited for a shift change. The crew coming off their break were not quite as vigilant.

There was a lot of patting and stroking. A lot of petting and low level moaning. People around them slept or read or watched movies, oblivious to the real life romance of the couple in 8C and 8D.

There was only so much satisfaction to be gained through friction. Contact was required.

She unfolded herself out of her seat, and walked unsteadily to the toilet. He gave her five minutes before following, holding his Inflight magazine strategically in front. No one noticed, or so they thought.

They returned twenty minutes later.

He pulled out his laptop and started typing. She turned over and fell asleep.

She slept through the second service of a hot sandwich. He ate his with a strong black coffee. The flight attendant gave them a knowing look and her nose puckered slightly in disgust. He kept his head down and worked steadily, twirling his wedding band now and again, absentmindedly.

Upon landing, she struggled to retrieve her bag from the overhead locker. He pulled it out for her. Not a word was exchanged. They filed out, one behind the other. As she got to the door, the flight attendant patted her arm and held out an air sickness bag, with a pair of pink, lacy knickers peeking out.

“I believe these belong to you, madam? Welcome to the Mile High Club.”

Shame she had no one to share the honour with. Her partner in crime had long departed.

Image

A Final Farewell

The urn is heavy as I attempt to tip it over the parapet of the bridge. The ash flies out of it in spurts. I am scared I will drop it, and hand it back quickly. I watch bits of the ash catch the light and glint like graphite. It falls and merges with the swift flowing water beneath. Element joining element.

 

This is it. This is where we all end. Whether in soil or in water, in fire or in ether.

 

All of a person’s life; his joys, his sorrows, his upheavals,his successes are contained in this urn. And once emptied, the urn is cast aside. Life continues. Yet one has just ended.

 

A circle that carries on ad infinitum.

 

We head to the temple to pray for the departed soul. Later, the lunch that is served is simple but nutritious. The priest ticks my daughter off for letting the scarf slide off her head. She is nine. All at once, I am in the moment, ready to challenge his pugnacious authority. I check myself. This too shall pass.

 

The evening prayers are held in a different temple. We are in a small antechamber. I lean back against the wall, and let the priest’s melodious voice wash over me. The Shabd are beautiful. They talk of life, of life hereafter, of being in the service of God, and accepting His will. A calm descends upon me. With a certainty, the origin of which I cannot determine, I know that all is well. Our time on earth, limited as it is, is a very small part of a very long journey. Someday, I will meld into the unknown too. The thought doesn’t frighten me anymore.

 

I bid a silent adieu to the departed one, and in my heart, create a special corner that will house all the memories that made his time on Earth special to us. That is his legacy. One that I am glad to be a recipient of.

 

Image