Friends make you smile, they make you cry, they hold you up, and make you strong, when other elements bore you down. My life has been full of friends (or, acquaintances) for a long time. They always come and go, and some stick around like octopuses. But, there are some things that never leave you; if they do, they only leave you a little lighter and happier, and stick around for whenever you need them.
I call them my rescuers. My books, my pen (figuratively; the obviousness being an online diary) and a deathly good cup of coffee. They say there isn’t much to the art of writing. You just sit at a desk and bleed. To an extent I agree with this; but a part of me says, “You don’t need to bleed. You just need to wear off your day into a book!”. To feel a little less heavy, to feel a slightly bit lighter, and to pen down what’s on your mind. It is a practice for some, a hobby for others, and a passion for those like me. It is my stress-buster, my go-to version of meditation and the best way to let out the anguish inside without inflicting it on anyone around!
A good book is like a journey. It entices you, it excites you and inspires you. It lets you enter a world of new thought. A school where you choose your learning. Whether it is a book of stories, memories or simply just one filled with wholesome advice; there is always something to learn from something to read. Before my rat race of employment and tasks began, I would be neck-deep in books for every free minute I would have (trust me, college days are full of free days when you have no care for on-time submissions!). Today, I would kill for a few free minutes to pick up a book with an empty mind. My thoughts bother my reading habits; focus comes hard these days. But, for years that I have grown, books have been the best-friends that never leave. They only open doors to worlds you never knew existed. I began the habit of reading when I was 14. The first booked I selected (don’t judge me here) was The Firm by John Grisham. Ummm, sometimes I go back in time and see what books I chose to read. It explains the darkishness in my mind, but still the caution and knowledge I learned. Ah, I don’t mean to stray into that side of me; excuse the conversation. Moving on……
I tend to come across people that find it hard to read a book. Some say it’s easier to watch a movie or listen to an audiobook. But what we miss in movies and audiobooks is the feeling of reading something that is raw, unintentional and spontaneous. Words in a book are a display of one’s thought process. Whether you read a story, a memoir, a self-help book or simply one’s diary (ask before you sneak into one!), it helps you see the world and its concepts from their eyes. It is a reflection of their minds, thoughts and ideas. But 2021 has made me realise; time to myself is as essential as the time I give to my full-plate of tasks. So, this year will be one to go back to books, words and people’s thoughts. And I shall begin this journey through William Blake; stay tuned for my two bits on his poems soon!
And finally, the third concurrent and permanent best-mate. A steaming cup of aromatic, freshly brewed and excellent coffee. Don’t hate me, but I give tea and coffee equal importance in my life. The former gives me the kick for the day, a freshness to wake up to. The latter brings out my inner musings, noon, evening and night. It is the one beverage that holds higher importance to me than a neat spirit (and that’s saying a lot!). Choose from a cappuccino, a foamy latte, an americano or simply the best south indian coffee from Madras Cafe in Matunga. I fall for each kind. A day without coffee feels incomplete; the way the day without my evening jaunts with my closest (even in distance) friend feels incomplete. Recently, I discovered a homegrown brand “ Nangoo Coffee “. Homegrown variants, freshly ground and packaged in a home! It made me smile!
So, the in my french press, and my kitchen was soaking in the aroma of berry and nougat infused-kaffee. Oh man, I knew I had found my favourite sip. A medium roast, a relish on the tongue and a delight for my nostrils. It was a few years ago, when I would have a routine of completing a workout, a quick meal, change into some easy clothes and drive down to the nearest coffee shop. 10PM to 1AM was a ritual of almost three cups of coffee. But the best part of these hours was the time I had all to myself. Whether with a book in hand, a person on the side, or nothing at all. It was my time. To think, reflect and feel at peace.
When there’s no one to call or reach out to, I know these three are always there for me, no questions asked. So when you feel like you need a friend, look inward; there may truly be that one activity you need to get you going, to get you up and smiling. For some, it’s a long run, an hour at the gym, a few hours in the squash court (I had this phase too. Nothing like smacking something at a wall repeatedly!), a walk on fresh grass or the beach, an hour in the meditation room or simply a movie night with your family. Everyone has something; you just need to find yours!
Written By Anisha Masand
Week 2, January 2021