Tag Archives: Reverb10

Reverb 10.21: Time Travel

I like this Reverb10 prompt. It reminds me of the start of a Richard Bach book I loved as a teenager – The Bridge Across Forever – where the author writes a letter to the boy he was. This is a letter to the future but I like the idea of communicating with other-time selves.

December 21 – Future Self.

Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)

(Author: Jenny Blake)

Me in five years

I’ll be thirty-six at that time. If the bloodlines are anything to go by, I’ll retain my tall, lean frame and my youthful looks. I will probably also be beset by a number of health problems that don’t make themselves visible but make life damned inconvenient. There’s things I might forget by then, and will need to be reminded of, when I’m thirty-six.

  • I was overlooked as a kid and a teenager. Self-esteem was squashed but I had dreams and friends. In my late twenties and even now, as I enter the thirties, I’ve hit babedom. It’s brought problems, not the least of which are jealousy, sex objectification, assumptions of being stupid and my feelings being taken for granted. I might be greying, widening and not very attractive, five years from now. This is to keep perspective.
  • I might (hopefully) be in a steady, committed relationship and have been for some time. The closeness will also mean loss of mystery, onset of some ennui and personality clashes. When I’m tearing my hair out in frustration or more realistically, in the moments when I wonder what I was thinking, I’d like to be able to remember. Falling in love is a magical experience and whatever its consequences may be, live without it is just not worth it.
  • I might be a failed writer with a folder full of unfinished documents. And I may have missed every boat possible to any kind of ‘success’ destination. I will probably rue some of the decisions I am currently making. I want to remember that I’m following a dream. It’s something that takes great courage (indeed, it took me three decades to muster it and even then I’m falling terribly short at most times). It’s something I must never stop being proud of, even if it never brings glory, fame or money.
  • I may be a regular aunty-next-door who manages the household and family. I may be Ms.Respectable who babysits, whose younger friends ask for career guidance or love life counselling. But I did drop out of college for a year. I did call my placement co-ordinator a pimp for insisting I accept the job at a place I’d been propositioned at, during the interview. I did turn my back on the campus and hold my ground till I got a remarkable job, last in the batch. I did win corporate accolades, regular and some remarkable. I did walk away from a respectable job to follow a dream. And I did manage to write an entire novel (even if it is just one Word document on a computer and no one reads it but me). I’ve lived a special life and I never want to forget that.

Me in the year ahead

Breathe. That’s the most important thing. The trick is to just keep breathing.

I may fail. I may hit a wave of success. Everyone I love may die. Everyone I care for, may turn on me. I may be the most popular person on the planet. None of these may happen. But I need to make sure I keep breathing.

Me a decade ago

My dear 21-year-old self,

I know you’re not going to be surprised to read this because you imagine stuff like this all the time. Yep, I’ve been receiving all the letters you’re been writing to me, all this time. Communications across time have considerably improved. I’m glad you got the letters down and decided to worry about postage later.

What’s life like, a decade later? Well, there’s plenty of stuff that’s been invented. If you had any money of your own I’d advise you to invest it…but never mind, you don’t have any money of your own. Strangely enough, you’re great at managing it when you have little and as you get older and more money comes your way, you’ll lose that talent. Don’t stop hoarding and don’t shut down that habit you have of putting away little notes and coins in hiding places to surprise yourself later. Yes, of course I know about all of those. I found those little money-gifts, remember?

You’ve sailed over many of the body image issues that your peers faced in adolescence. You’re going to hit a biggie, in oh, about two years from now. It’s going to take everything you’ve got, even your bloody intestines and turn them inside out. You’ll be robbed of everything that can possibly be robbed from you, including what little weight you do have.

Are you still reading? Good, you always had nerve. You don’t realise it yet but you do. That’s the one thing that won’t -cannot – be stolen from you. And many, many years later, a whole lot of ‘Why did that have to happen to me?’s later, you will be able to accept that knowledge of that fact was worth all that you paid for it.

You’ve already had your horoscope drawn by an enthusiastic relative and you’ve analysed yourself on various pop-culture fronts. Have fun with it. Belief is a powerful toy, like fire but you have a strange ability to be able to play with it. Ignore what everyone says about your love life. I won’t tell you more. Just ignore it and follow your heart. It is about your heart after all, why should you listen to anyone else? Believe what they say about your talents and abilities, though. It’s true and what’s more, believing the good things that people say about you will give you the confidence to make it all come true.

Did it all come true? Well, I’m still standing here, aren’t I? Do I sound happy or unhappy to you? :-) I’ll leave you with just one thought. It only gets better with time. The thirties are fabulous and I’m off to a good time! I’ll see you in another ten years!

-Much love,

Me, 31

Okay, that wasn’t short but it was fun! :-) It reminded me of another very old post, also full of time travel.

Reverb10.20: Things I Didn’t Get Around To Doing

I considering quitting but with this post I’ve made it to two-thirds of the way and it’d be a pity to stop now, wouldn’t it? So here goes today’s Reverb10.

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance

What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

(Author: Jake Nickell)

Very quickly, off the top of my head, things I didn’t manage to do this year that I could (and possibly should) have done:

  • Followed a consistent exercise schedule
  • Learnt to dance (salsa)
  • Baked
  • Grown a herb garden (I did manage a couple of basil plants and one ajwain)
  • Gone on a trek
  • Visited Vasai and other nature-rich spots in this city
  • Moved out
  • Learnt (again) to drive
  • Painted a mural in my room or on the wall outside my window

Reverb 10.19: This Heals Me

A Reverb10 that I like. Maybe I’ll do this once in every couple of days, considering they’re all so close to each other. Then each post in that day gets easier to do.

December 19 – Healing.

What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

(Author: Leonie Allan)

Exactly two things healed me this year – love and friendship. I’m sorry that’s so cliched but it is true. The boy brought in new ideas, a new way of being and new ways of relating. He also brought in support, warmth and a feeling of being cherished. It’s what I was desperately missing in the first half of the year.

The other half of it came from conversations with friends. Frantic long-distance phone calls to P, random-but-insightful emails to NTGND, 3a.m. chats with Samir, coffee-and-hugs talks with Sumanth and wine-soaked conversations with E Vestigio. I do get by with a little help from my friends. That never changes.

Drip-by-drip? It was a word-by-word, hug-for-healing-hug process. And why would I want that to change? It’s the most healing therapy in the world!

Reverb 10.18: A New Dream

Short and possibly repetitive, it looks like the rest of Reverb10 is going to be. After all, I guess how many introspective questions can there be for an aspiring writer?

December 18 – Try.

What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

(Author: Kaileen Elise)

I’ve wanted to live in my own place for years now. I first tried it five years back, a little after I had finished my education and started working. My office was clean across town, took about 90 minutes to commute to and another 90 back home at the end of the day. Most of my colleagues were from out of town and rented flats close to office. I figured out an arrangement with a colleague who I got along with. We even went looking for places together and found a few we liked. And then I broke the news to my family. It was a mess.

In sum, it didn’t work out and resulted in my spending more and more time in commuting and m office hours getting extended too which meant I had practically no time or energy left to do anything else. I didn’t really spend much time in the house either and I hated feeling like a prisoner trapped between four walls, only exchanging one controlled environment for another at the start and then the end of each day.

Five years later, things have changed in more ways than one. The financial implications of moving out are scary. On the other hand, it looks a lot more possible now than it ever was. I’ve crossed the magical 30 mark and hopefully laid to rest notions of my whole life being within the largely male-dominated control of other people.

I am a neat person though I don’t know how tidy I’ll be able to keep my own house. I’m generally well-organized, reasonably independent but I don’t know how self-sufficient I’ll be in reality. I’d love to find out. Maybe next year will be it.

Reverb 10.17: The Inner School Of Life

Another Reverb10 prompt that I’m not really feeling. Maybe there are just too many of them crammed into a month and too similar to each other. It’s boring to keep writing about the same thing in different words.

December 17 – Lesson Learned

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

(Author: Tara Weaver)

It has been a year (and more) of learning. I don’t mean that in an ‘every minute we live, we learn’ way. It’s actually like I enrolled in the School of Life, taking Remedial lessons for having missed out on all the great stuff in the past decade.

The learning comes not from experiences, but from reflecting on them. And things continue to happen at such a rapidfire rate, I’m still making sense of them. What I feel I’ve ‘learnt’ now comes from stuff that happened months, even years ago.

I’ve learnt that the person I was a decade ago was a much better one than the woman I worked so hard to turn into in these past ten years. Stronger, nicer, warmer, more alive and definitely better. I’ve learnt that that girl hasn’t vanished completely. Most of all, I’ve learnt that I can’t go back to being seventeen and neither can I realistically wipe out the 10-odd years that came after. But I’m learning that I can build a new me with the best of both people since they both were, essentially me. The joy and wonder and warmth of the teenage me with the confidence and stability and independence of the adult me. I guess all the lessons I’m learning have to do with that larger idea.

How I’m choosing to apply it is to not be apologetic or sorry about who I am. There’s stuff I do and think and feel that isn’t cool or convenient or mature or expected. It doesn’t ‘fit’ with my image. But those make me, me, much more than the approval and admiration of everyone else. I’m choosing to hold on to my phobias, my fears, my unique idiosyncrasies even if everyone else in the world thinks they belong in the last century. They’re mine to nurture or work through at will.

Reverb 10.16: Getting By With A Little Help From Friends

An easy Reverb10 prompt and a predictable one but it’s the season to be jolly after all. :-)

December 16 – Friendship

How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

(Author: Martha Mihalick)

Of course I’m going to have to say at first that I can’t name everyone in my (lucky me!) mani-populated life. I’m going to focus specifically on people who changed my life tangibly in 2010 (as opposed to the gradual-but-significant changes others like my parents and best friend have been making over the years).

In the order in which they’ve begun making their impactful and earth-shaking presence felt in my life, my top 3 influencers of 2010:

  1. Adi – My book is a better one to write and to read, for having felt the Adi touch. Adi opened me up to new books and new ways of seeing stories. Also, new ways of thinking, of feeling and of being with people and myself. Truly 2010 and my life have been a better place for having had Adi for a friend.
  2. The boy – He contradicts me for the heck of it, he teases me to frustration. He challenges my insofar secure notions of men and relationships. He questions my beliefs on religion, politics and the world. He pushes me outside my comfort zone. He’s not always comfortable to be around. But yes, he makes me a better person.
  3. E Vestigio – is not the galpal who’ll cluck in sympathy and say ‘Jerk’ when I whine about someone. She isn’t nice to me when I’m grumpy. She forces me to sit up and take a good, hard look at myself and my own excuses. She’d be the one that’ll say, “Okay, enough with the drama. Lie still and I’m going to yank your foot out of that sprain. It’ll hurt like hell and you’ll see stars in daylight. And then you’ll feel better. And I always do. She’s the bitter-tasting but very much needed pill of reality. Heh, but you know what? The bitterness is that of old wine. It gives me a high and so does she. :-)

Reverb 10.15: Five Things To Remember From 2010

Here’s another Reverb10 list-prompt! And this time with a fantasy-time travelly theme to it!

December 15 – 5 Minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

(Author: Patti Digh)

  1. Mr.Everyday (of course!) – Specifically, I never, ever want to forget that one magical autorickshaw ride in June. We’d been on nodding and smiling terms with each other for months, even spoken on a couple of occasions. But that 30-minute ride changed the course of both of our lives, hopefully forever. :-)
  2. The first week of October – September ended gloomy, grouchy and with no promise of better weather (which always impacts my mood). Then October came in with writing projects. A column. A commissioned article. Another writing commission. And the book, again. Magical week.
  3. The best friend moving across the world – Goodbyes are never pleasant memories for me. But this move marks an important milestone in my 16-year friendship with Lady P. She moved to a new country and a new life, one she had been needing for a long time. We fought, we cried then we made up. And true to our history, we came back stronger than ever.
  4. First draft – If I never manage to get the novel published, if I have to go back to working with that horrible tag of ‘failed writer’ looming over me, it will not take away from the fact that I managed to plow through and toil over a complete first draft. YEAAAHHH!!!
  5. Swimming.

And….there’s the timer. That’s that. Five wonderful things about 2010.

Reverb 10.14: Freedom Appreciation

Very quickly, the next Reverb10 prompt:

December 14 – Appreciate

What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

(Author: Victoria Klein)

Freedom! Freedom from schedules, from having to be nice to people I think are lower on the evolution scale than amoeba only because it’s ‘professional’, freedom from having to answer to the very constrained, tight-fitting notion of what a good Tamilian girl should be like. This has been a year of breaking ground and breaking barriers. It’s been a year of upheavals and fights and anger and tears. But it has been a year of breaking free.

I appreciate it by enjoying every guilt-free, let-it-hit-me minute of it. From reading to singing to cooking to eating what I like, when I like to dressing as madly as I care to going out with whoever I want to, it’s a heady ride. The way to appreciate wings is by flying. The only way to pay for a good moment is to enjoy it. And I’m jolly well doing it all!

Reverb 10.13: ListMaker

A dozen Reverb10 prompts later, I decide to go with brevity. Freedom but in short. So my posts are going to (try to) be quick bites and not twenty-course meals with seconds. Here goes the first.

December 13 – Action

When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

(Author: Scott Belsky)

I’m full of ideas. I’m IdeaSmith, after all (duh..). Actions? No, I’m not too bad in that areas either (sure, hate me, I’m wonderful!). It’s the sustaining them that I find difficult (okay, are you happy now?).

Lists have been my personal penicillin, wheel-style revelation. They help me keep my harum-scarum self organized. They remind of things that tend to slip out. And they’re like the lovely security deposit of ideas I have when I’m running dry. So the answer is, when I have an idea, I usually make a list (haven’t you noticed even this exercise is in a list?). I break the idea into broad zones/aspects, I detail tasks, I note down people to be connected with and what I need from them. List-making is usually an exhaustive exercise but it has the wonderful gift of making everything and anything seem manageable.

Oh, I forgot to add – crossing off things on the list is an integral part of enjoyment of the list. And that’s done and as short as I can get on the first try!


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