On unlearning.

some prints in my monochromatic memory stand out like red sirens amidst yellow lights;
they blare out like fire, shouting for attention
in my best moments
and make them my worse.
but can you help flashbacks at all?

“yes, you unlearn how your mind translates sensory experience into fear and drills it into memory;
you forget that a boy, a girl and a basement never happened for you. unlearn.”

the thing is, unlearning escapes me like a train I just missed.
it whistles past me, almost teasing:
“it happened. you were right there.”
and so six months of therapy and verbal convictions later I still cannot unlearn memory;
still cannot believe that it wasn’t my fault.

All I see now is the smoke of the coal engine that was fuelled by my guilt,
all I hear now are the sirens that rang way, way before the catastrophe. Run.
I still don’t know if I couldn’t or didn’t run.

But there’s is no going back now: no unlearning of a memory that is a living nightmare;
No unlearning of trauma, no unlearning of the walls- the personal space that has become a barbed force feild;
for your one touch is a finger on the trigger and there are bullet holes on my skin.
I sinned, I sinned, I sinned.


11:44 PM

On nights when
the demons come sit by my bed,
I find myself slowly
undoing the threads of my knitted thoughts
and discover things I was
never meant to remember.
I poke my needle through
the fabric of memories
and punch a hole into every inch
that smells like you.
on nights when
the demons come sit by my bed,
it feels a lot like being with you.

One Late Evening

Stand at the terrace alone, look up and in that exact moment you will know how our lives have become so self sustained, so isolated. We are all alone, but together. Our smartphones have condensed the whole universe to fit into a screen, and that is more than enough for a lot of people. Everyone is making haste to get somewhere, to get something. We forget that there are things beyond and above. Above ourselves, beyond our understanding.

The lights of all the four rooms in the apartment are on. One for each member, separately. There is no laughter in the evening hour; no boisterous ten year olds running around chasing each other. They’re probably stuck doing homework. Watching TV, consumed in a tablet or a mobile phone, fingers tapping on a screen. There are the screams of a couple fighting across from the apartment where I live, and then there is a ghostly silence which almost makes me hold my breath. I am afraid that he is going to hurt her. He hurts her. Almost fifty feet away, his words hurt me.

I am here, stuck staring at the 3 am smoky sky, seeing the city lights desceding it’s purple into orange, wondering whether the stars disappeared because no one made time to look up anymore.


To make a classic
anxiety-stricken city girl,
One bowl of a painful past,
two table spoons of self loathing;
one cup of anxiety up to the brim
and a pinch of wavering self confidence stirred with a raging inferiority complex.
Then, the most important ingredient:
some fresh, homegrown melancholy reaped from her personal farms of depression,
and stir it the same way butterflies chase their rear ends inside her stomach each time she has to confront someone;
let it simmer on the gas, until small bubbles show up like
stress-related acne struggling for space on her face.
Now pour this mix into a bowl, slowly, carefully, the way she never can;
and season it with the toppings of your choice-
my personal favourites,
fake laughter and hopeless positivism,
then throw it in the trash, where it originally belonged.
Like me.

Story #40: An Anonymous Note (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

Dear you,

I know you are suffering in your own, unique way. I know you have a story, a history and something that gives you pain. I know you have happy moments that you never account for, and sad moments you never forget. I know sometimes you hide your pain and mask your insecurities.
Because I do, too.
But I want you to know that you’re the writer of your own story. All the characters, living or dead, are the people you chose to be with, at that moment. Every episode you experience is influenced by the words you say and the things you do. Just like every turn adds on to you successfully getting to your destination, every choice adds onto making what your life is or will be.
That being said, I don’t want to turn this into a sermon. We all know our choices make or break, but still, sometimes we end up saying and doing things that we shouldn’t have. Negativity fills us up. Things go bad one after the other, repeatedly, and everyone you’ve ever come to love seems to either not care, or be there for you.
But in times like this, I want you to know that you have the power to change your situation. You always have the power to change the situation. I want you to believe that you do.
Two years ago I had reached the lowest point in my life. I fell, hard; everything in my life seemed to be going wrong. I was sad, and I was sad all alone. To be honest, I still am. I haven’t recovered from it, but I’ve stopped thinking about it. I’ve learnt to focus my energy onto better things. I’ve learned to give into my emotions, but not too much. I’ve learned that emotions make you weak, and love makes you vulnerable. So I have tried to keep them both as far from myself as possible. I’ve come to know that I am alone, and that no matter what, friendship is, in the end, a beautiful illusion we distract ourselves with. Years spent in school together, times spent laughing, and sleepovers: they all dissolve into ego, selfishness and stop to exist. So I’ve just come to terms with the fact that no matter how much I may love people, they will never love me back as much. I will never be enough for anyone, and that is okay because people always have expectations, and expectations always lead to disappointments. 

This may appear to be a very pessimistic view of life, but I swear, I’m a very happy person and a self proclaimed optimist. Although, I believe now I’m turning into a realist. A realist who knows her flaws well; a little too well to hate them. A realist who for quite a long time didn’t look into the mirror because she hated the sight of her face. Anyway, I’m telling you this because I want you to know how I feel better about myself. 

I try to spread happiness. Try to. There’s something very satisfying in seeing someone smile; more so when I’m the reason behind it. So I don’t really care if its over something silly, or a story I just concocted. I just want to make people laugh. Maybe, I think, making someone happy is my way of making myself happy, because I never seem to be able to do it directly. Also, random acts of kindness. You have no idea how wonderful they make you feel. Wish the person who guards your front gate, buy the balloons from the little boy selling them at the red light, compliment your friend who’s insecure about her looks that she is beautiful, tell your parents you love them; there are so, so many little things that you can do that can literally brighten up someone’s day. They feel good, you feel good: it’s a win-win situation!

I know this because these are the things that no one ever told me. I also know this because I know it works. I wish someone would’ve been kind to me back at a time when I felt weak. I was still in school. I’d been crying for last thirty-five minutes in the toilet; that’s how I used to spend my lunch breaks. I’d stopped washing my sore, red eyes because I knew nobody cared enough to ask me what was wrong. This happened again, and again over different time periods in my life so far (I’m big on public crying, lol.) I’ve had multiple panic attacks inside fully crammed metros, and not one person has had the guts to ask me what was wrong. My point here is, in situations like this, people are afraid of being kind. Why? I don’t know. I just hope the people who are reading this aren’t the ones to turn their heads away when something like this happens. 

I want you to do one more thing. If you absolutely hate your existence, or you’ve just been experiencing bad things one after the other, do this: when you lie down at night, close your eyes and just say thank you to the universe for everything that exists in it for you, or rather facilitates your existence. Start with twenty things. The list will expand, day after day and you will realise the thousands of things that you need to be thankful for. I do this exercise at times when I feel that nothing is working out for me anymore, and it just makes me feel that I have way, way more things than I account for, and that my existence is magnanimous. 

I’ve babbled for quite a while now. I just want you to know that your life will go on; you are a unique, wonderful human being who is here for a purpose. I want you to know that right now is all you have. Smile. You’re allowed to cry. Let it out. Love. You will find love, inevitably, but for once try letting love find you? Everything good that is meant for you will come to you in good time. 

I hope you’re happy, wherever you are. 
I wish you well.


P.S: I listened to this song when I was going through a very low point in my life. It made me cry, a lot, but I also felt really better. I want to add it on here, because, I don’t know, maybe if you too are going through something bad, this could help. I hope it does. 

A Little Too Much (Shawn Mendes)

I cannot believe this is the last time I writing this after-note!

We all at some point feel exactly like the writer has described in the episodes of their life. Sadness, dejection, disappointment and what not. But really, true happiness lies in making others happy- be it through lame jokes (if you’re like me) or acts of kindness. These words have really struck a chord in my heart, and I think I will come back to this story, again. I hope the words have resonated with you just like they did with me. 

On that note, I declare The Anonymous Anecdotes Project as closed! I’m so thankful to everyone who’s contributed and/or read the stories; be it one, two or all forty.

Loads of love!


Any opinions, comments or ideas that you may want to put forward to the writer of this story can be mailed to me at ratti.priya5@gmail.com. Positive feedbacks and constructive criticisms are more than welcome. 

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns.)


Story #38: Beyond The Imperfections (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

I’ve had a privileged childhood. I’m sure it was better than what majority of children in a country like India get. I got everything I needed, had parents who loved me, who cared about me, and what not. And trust me, I’m very grateful for all that I’ve got. 
But like everything else, nothing is perfect. And for me, it was my parents. My father although a good man at heart, very honest and has high morals, intelligent and knowledgeable but is also very aggressive and irrational at times; maybe it is because of the alcohol. He is not an alcoholic, I don’t think so, but does consume some alcohol on regular basis. My mother is a relatively simple person intellectually. She is not as intelligent and knowledgeable as my father, and this is one of the main reasons they don’t get along very well.
When I remember this part of my childhood, I remember fights almost everyday. My father screaming; sometimes beating, mother crying, me and my sibling wondering what we should do and in general distress. My mother may make mistakes often, but nothing deserves such treatment from one’s life partner. A lot of times we were the victims to my father’s aggression too. Me and my sibling were slapped as children, shouted at, and what not. Somehow we grew up fine despite all of this happening. 
There is this one specific incident that changed me and my family. Don’t get your hopes high as this does not have any happy ending, at least not at the time I write this. A lot of such “fights” happened late in evening, after my dad returned from office, and probably drank alcohol. I put fights in quotes because it wasn’t two-way, it was mostly my dad screaming and hurling horrible abuses at my mother in the loudest tone possible. I’m sure all the neighbors heard them. I would not go in too many details about this, because that’s not the point. 
There were talks about being divorced. I must have been 14-15 years old then, and my sibling 12-13 years old. We were even asked pretty directly who we would want to stay with when our parents split. I don’t think a lot of kids are asked to make that hard a decision that young. It was devastating but somehow we got past it. 
There was this night. I don’t know exactly what happened, but this was normal by our standards. Dad said something, mom said something. I am not sure. Me and my sibling were upstairs, and didn’t know what happened. Next thing we know, mom comes upstairs crying, and says, “I’ve called the police.” 
Our worst nightmare came true.. Police got involved in all of this, and I guess from this point of time, I could no longer not accept that this was the sad reality. Earlier if any relative asked about this, I said it was okay. Pretty normal. A few arguments here and there and that’s it. But I could no longer deny everything was wrong anymore. 
I don’t think I should go into too much details about what happened then when the police arrived as I don’t think there is any point. In short, we played pretty chill. Since nothing significant happened that day, and no screams or abuses or violence was involved, there wasn’t much for the police to do. They thought that it was a case of wife getting upset at husband saying something, and the policemen started cracking jokes to make my mom happy. I guess the call was just the outburst of everything mother had to go through. Maybe someone advised her to do it the next time it happens. I don’t know. Policemen asked mom if she wanted my father to spend the night in jail, and thankfully she said no. Police left. Time to sleep for everyone. No conversation.
I remember sitting on the bed, looking at the whole scene then, when everyone was talking of divorce, police being involved now. I mean, this was major for all of us. Earlier there were talks of divorce, mostly in a semi-casual manner, but after this, everyone was pretty sure something concrete would happen. Father could not believe this had happened to him, and I believe he was pretty sure he could not take this marriage anymore. Mother obviously could not take this, since she had called the police. I was wondering how my sibling felt, very young at that time. I felt bad for my younger sibling to have to go through all of this at such age. In that one second, I saw my whole family completely destroyed. I knew everything would change henceforth; how I would have to choose who to live with, no more usual family things. I felt a large building full of responsibility falling upon my tiny shoulders. I had to do something now in my life, for my sibling and parents. That one moment, It felt like everything froze, and I turned a man from a child. This was the moment that changed me, forever. 
PS : No divorce took place, usual family again. Me and my sibling turned out fine, without any psychological trauma whatsoever. Of course everything still isn’t okay. There are still many such instances of shouting and cursing, in fact one right now as I write this. But I guess all of us are pretty used to it now. “Being happy isn’t about everything being perfect. It’s about seeing beyond the imperfections” Right? 
Please don’t feel bad for me. It’s all okay. Things happen. I live an amazing life. I’m very grateful for it. No complaints. I have many amazing people who love me, and likewise.
Love you all.
Thank you for taking the time out to read this.
After reading some anecdotes, I felt like speaking to the writers of the anecdotes but unfortunately can’t. But incase anyone wishes to talk to me, my email is abd14789632f@gmail.com.

It is tough to even talk about something so difficult that one’s family is going through, let alone writing it down. But this person did not only come to terms with the facts to talk about them, but also to write them down in a way that has surely resonated with me. 

I love the fact that despite the fights, despite the parents being so vulnerable, this person wrapped this story up with the words that they have an amazing life and no complains.
I, too, like the writer, believe that nothing is perfect. We all have, in our lives that one thing that constantly holds us down; it maybe a disease, a mental problem, or like in this case, family. But you know everything is going to be okay once you realise that you need to come to terms with your circumstance and accept things as they are. Only then, will you be able to make an effort to change the things that bother you. 

Any opinions, comments or ideas that you may want to put forward to the writer of this story can be mailed to me at ratti.priya5@gmail.com. Positive feedback and constructive criticism are more than welcome. 

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns.)

Story #35: Dealing With Difficulties (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

We all deal with difficulties, some are easy to cope up with, while a few take time. Well, that’s a fact, but sometimes they are vague enough to leave you at unease.

So two years back, I met an upside down where I reached the lowest point of my life that led me to lock myself with particular unwell feelings. I felt vulnerable. I was losing colours, with each passing minute, I was succumbing to the sense of being helpless, a state where hope creeps out. I was in oblivion.

So one afternoon, I picked up a sharpener’s blade and tried it running over my wrist. Because I was too anxious at the same time, I shook and failed to make any attempt. I buried my head in my knees and waited for things to get stable, crouched in the darkened corner of a room. I squeezed my eyes shut and heard my heartbeat that grew louder and louder. I stayed still, till the panic attack slowed down.  

Maybe I wanted to feel different or free but I totally ignored how much it appraised. That was a tough month for me and I realised something was needed to be done. I required change. This was the best possible bet with a chance of finding back my lost hope.

I took better and harder initiatives so as to channelize my self. I started to craft myself in the new hobby. I left home and travelled so that I could be free from closed dark room. I met the wise ones and learnt a lot about life. I studied harder so as to get in a good college.

Meanwhile, I felt balanced.

Well, events like these make you realise about yourself and the need for transition. You have to take initiatives for yourself. Life does have happy places only if you really look for them. 

There is always someone who cares for you, you are not alone. 

When life brings you down, you have few options to choose from. You either fall, hard; or you realize that if you don’t get back up on your feet now, you might never. This realization, that change is what you need comes to all, but moves only some, I believe. 

Despite experiencing an upside down, despite reaching the lowest point, despite attempting to self harm, this person realized that something needed to be done; that there were better things out there. 

Getting yourself up from a low point, trying to channelize negativity into a hobby are things not everyone is capable of. People who experience low points are too afraid to get back up. They cling onto their weaknesses. But this story tells you otherwise; it tells you that happiness is a luxury you need to pay for with your strength. Have the strength to get up when you fall, because, as the writer has said, life does have happy places only if you really look for them. 


Any opinions, comments or ideas that you may want to put forward to the writer of this story can be mailed to me at ratti.priya5@gmail.com. Positive feedback and constructive criticism are more than welcome. 

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns.)