Sometime ago, I gave myself 10 days to put right the mess in my life. Mess? Well, a little bit of this and that which makes me cringe inside and makes me want to scream. I’m an idealist and a yearning perfectionist. I love the rose tinted things in life. I believe everything is nice, everyone you meet is human and everything should be in its place- including your ego and your lip gloss. I believe in true friendships and lovely relationships that you can fall back upon. They are the reason why life is what it is. I practice equality and tolerance as staunchly as I breathe. And I wish others would do so too. And I try so very hard to make sure the calm waters of my mind are not disturbed, and I am able to lead a free, peaceful, lovely and tolerant life. And all of that is more often than not, the trouble of my life.

A friend told me yesterday, “You are too much of an idealist. You should look at the reality of life. There’s nothing short of a genocide going on out there.” Where? I was tempted to ask, but I did not. Instead, I asked him to explain what exactly is “going on out there”. So maybe somewhere down the cobbled lanes of time, we will sit over coffee, and I’ll have my view of the world painted with fresh blood by him; and then, meticulously, I’ll wash the blood off my canvass of the life I think I see. More on that when it does happen.

There is an empty room next to the canteen at my work place. It has not been painted. The walls are bare and it bears no signs of life. The door is ajar at most times these days; and I make sure I peek into it everytime I pass by it. If you’re one of those people who’ve read my Facebook status some days ago, you’ll know what is to follow: I love empty rooms. They remind me of a world that we couldn’t build. Spacious and undemanding. You can walk in as you are; no need to alter the path you take. You can go right, left, dance, sit, scream, sing and nothing will stop you. And each time you look around, you look at a free space that let’s you be who you are… I’ve wanted my own empty room for as long as I can remember. I have a feeling it will hold me in and not bind me. It will let me breathe free and not suffocate me. I know I will paint it white and dark blue. And more than just that – I’ll make it my sanctuary. Peeking into that empty room, every morning, makes me happy.

Another thing I absolutely love is the colour purple. I feel like it was made for

me and me only. (Time for another of my FB statuses) Purple always takes me back to the delicate violets I lovingly grew in my backyard. To the dreams I dreamt under a violet sky. To the softness of the silken dress I wore when I wanted you to care for me like a touch-me-not. To the rhymes I didn’t write for you when I was thirteen. Purple takes me back to being the untouched girl I used to be… This colour lifts my mood in the gravest of times. It does what only a loved one can and sometimes it does what a loved one cannot. Anything that is brought for me in this colour becomes my favourite instantly. I can never not-like something that has been bathed in purple and its various shades. I have more than enough purple in my wardrobe right now. It makes me happy.

I love new notebooks too. Clean, white, with neat lines. The ones that you want to fill with the neatest handwriting possible. The peculiar smell that they have is so characteristic of a time that was. Mind you, it’s a new notebook with a waft that takes you elsewhere. Anywhere but the present and after a point of time that is what they become. A reminder of what times used to be. I always have a new, empty note book in my cupboard that signifies the wait for better times. I always have this feeling that no matter what, a time is about to arrive which will be so beautiful that I’ll paint it in words in there. In short, new, empty notebooks are a metaphor for hope, from where I see it. Empty notebooks make me happy.

Every morning, I take the 7.59 a.m. local train to work. When I’m rushing or when I’m walking at ease in my tiny heels, I never fail to notice the tracks from the bridge above. And each night, when I return from work in the company bus, as we approach Ghatkopar station, I notice the tracks that the trains run on. There is an uncanny similarity to both the tracks. Or maybe, it’s just because I look at them from an altitude. Or maybe, it’s just me. Whatever it is, I look at those tracks as they bend to form an arc of a circle. They also remind me of the curves that start from up above the waist and die at the hips of a Bollywood heroine. But more importantly, those tracks remind me of the race tracks we had in school. And comes in the fleeting memory of an afternoon pulsating with excitement! They remind me of white chalk lines on a settled brown earth. They remind me of athletes in yellow, red, blue, green shirts and sparkling white shorts. They remind me of the cheers, the coloured metallic batons, the spikes I received as a prize, the cakes we earned on winning a relay and the times I left behind. And those railway tracks make me happy. Yes, they do.

Ever since I’ve recovered from jaundice, I tend to eat a lot. A LOT! To be honest, I’m a little scared lest I put on weight in the wrong places. Nevertheless, I eat to my heart’s content. Just the other day, I was telling my sister, “My life revolves around food, freaking-Marol and Facebook.” Anyway, I’ve realized that food makes me happy. Yes, they call it emotional eating; but no, I’m not going to let that set in as a disorder. It does not fit in with my idealistic painting of life. Digression aside; I had the ‘Chocolate Fantasy’ at CCD with a colleague one fine day. Warm chocolate pastry, coated with dripping silky chocolate sauce; and sat beside it some creamy vanilla ice-cream, smooth chocolate ice-cream and a slice of dark chocolate. Getting to it took nothing but a short walk, dodging the rubble and escaping the confines of a beautiful workplace and walking into a joint tastefully done. And my day was made! Specifically, warm chocolate pastries with chocolate sauce make me happy.

Yesterday was the penultimate day of my 10 day salvage mission. I got up late and was grumpy.  A thousand thoughts plagued my mind. I went bicker and bicker… Until a little boy in a bright yellow tee caught my eye. He was playing with a stray dog, almost as tall as him. Then I saw a tiny girl, in a baby blue frock, a badge pinned to it, her silky hair tied in a pony; waiting for her school bus with her mom. As the bus journeyed further, I saw an old lady trying to walk down a slope. And when she thought she’d slip, she reached out to her husband’s hand; an apparent reassurance on her face as he held it! It was so sweet! 🙂 And at that instant, my day turned into one of those days where I was happy for no rhyme or reason.  Nothing made me angry and every song put a smile on my face; and I told myself, one and a half mess to go.

Today, as I sit here reflecting on what I did to clear the mess in my life, I realize I did nothing really great! I just looked at my life in a different way. The last ten days have been draining. Emotionally and physically. Today, I have a cupboard which is neatly done (it’s always neat and clean, this time it is cleaner than ever), a work schedule that is on track, I have something to achieve in the near future and a heart that is in place. I know I won’t be able to clear the one and a half mess by tonight, but I know I’ve been able to keep my head in place, bring my heart back to where it should be; and I’ve been happy by myself.

It took nothing to bring me a satisfaction and tell myself that yes, life is beautiful. It took just an empty room, purple colour, empty new notebooks, railway tracks, chocolate pastry and a few strangers to make me happy…