To Conor Oberst – At the Bottom of Everything

While my mother waters plants,
My father loads his guns.
He says, "Death will give us back to God,
Just like the setting sun, returns to the lonesome ocean."

- "At the Bottom of Everything" by Bright Eyes

Dear Conor,

I read this somewhere, I remember now. They said your music was for girls with choppy neon hair that sat in bars reading Kerouac and smoking clove cigarettes. The kind of girls you’d read about in a Murakami novel. Quirky girls.

Alas, to my fourteen year old self’s dismay, I was abysmally ordinary. Bored and impressionable, but perspicacious in the way that most unassuming adolescents are. And yet, I found Fevers and Mirrors, an auricular anthology documenting your undiluted anguish. I was thrilled to the bone. Addicted to your pain.

The songs weren’t pretty. They didn’t have gratifying nuances or prolific filigree. But they reached the cold vacuum in my chest nonetheless, possessing me.

And so began the affair – un-romantic, but not loveless. Naked, fierce, and easy.

Through hate and humiliation and poetry, you taught me that there was beauty in insignificance, in pain, in desperacy. An intrinsic sense of understanding settled in my belly, consuming lyrics, metaphors, and melodies.

Sometimes, if I paused for too long,
breathing and bathing in your craft mid-song,
it devastated me.

Dear Conor,
at the very bottom of everything,

I don’t know if I love your music anymore, but it doesn’t matter, does it? Either way,
it’s a part of my being.

Love,
No One

To Lolita – That Thing We Call Lonliness

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Dear Lolita,

You’re the very personification of quintessential naivety. Right?

We see a girl who was led astray, abused, broken and put back together so hastily that it left many cracks, scars, if you will.

The slippery substance that makes up our souls seeping out of the cracks faster than sand through fingers in a hot summer breeze.

Leaving behind blind nothings and empty beliefs. Isn’t that what we call loneliness?

That burning of ribs that cage decaying feces? The black hole that sucks the life out of our pupils, reflecting in them like a warning sign: DON’T COME NEAR ME.

So this is what I mean. I think, know and believe. I say you were naive, Lolita. You were scared, broken, naïve. And lonely.

We’re like two planets orbiting around each other. Breathing the same non-air, looking into each other’s eyes, we never meet.

But,
Do know.
You’re not alone in your loneliness. Such is our poignant serendipity.

So let’s be lonely together, shall we?

Love and virtual company,
Anupama

To Murakami – Kafka Belongs To Me

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Hey,

I want to speak to you like a friend. I’m nefarious enough to take that liberty. Callous enough to use words like I do my own fingers. Naïve enough to trust myself with ideas I believe I comprehend.

Dear Mr. Murakami,

Your words belong to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stupid or trying to act stupidly smart to garner any form of attention.

In the crude expanse of lonely minds turning to books for comfort, words for escape, yours enveloped me like the warmest touch. Seriously, I was so lost I wanted to cry. That’s how I knew your words had branded me as theirs. Pouring into my own bloodstream, orchestrating the very pounding of my heart.

And in return, I embraced your words as mine. Breathing them in greedily. “Like a wanton crack whore.” (Is it narcissistic to quote myself?)

When I read Kafka On The Shore, I made it my own. As every now then, a simple sentence reached out and grazed my ribcage, I left that sensation between the pages like a mundane but essential bookmark.

I can’t even begin to gauge how it must feel to be the inadvertent puppeteer of so many minds, emotions, skipped-heartbeats. I hope it feels incredible. Because your words definitely make me feel incredible.

I hope every happy feeling connects back to you the way your words connect to us. Like an elaborate labyrinth of energies.A gargantuan web of sensations. One that beats loneliness.

Maybe it exists, and that’s why books give us comfort, and words escape.

Yours truly,
Anupama

To Marilyn Monroe – Girl

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Dear Marilyn,

The camera does strange things to you. Makes your lips quiver and your eyes twitch.

By you I mean me.

I work in a place where they need actors for free sometimes, even actors that aren’t actors will do. They dress me up like a girl, do up my hair, decorate my skin with peach paste and flair.

I don’t mind really. I don’t enjoy it either. But later when I look back, the nothingness I feel will be etched with fondness brought by nostalgia, fondness there never was to begin with.

Sorry, I tend to stray from the point. Point being, let’s return to the point of retreat.

For a moment there, a moment held in time, clasped in its palm like a miniscule gem, I was a girl. A girl as we know girls to be.

Pretty, thoughtless, sharp and melancholy.

A girl like you. A girl unlike me.

Time made a girl out of you too. Changed your name, the fibres of your dress, the pores in your skin. The quintessence of your memory.

Were you a girl then, Marilyn?

A female, a princess, a maiden, a fucking damsel in distress?

Pretty, thoughtless, sharp and melancholy.

Here we stop, because here we get to the point. Here we zip-lock our premeditations and wayward emotions. Here we rephrase.

Girl is a mountain, a giant.

She is invincible.

Pretty, thoughtless, sharp and melancholy.

Bold, broken, reckless and spectacular.

That’s the girl we are, aren’t we? That’s the girl we see.

I’m not sexist/feminist/anarchist or anything fancy like that.
I’m a Girl.

A girl who is confused, bewildered, contradicted and exhausted by everything having to be labelled and put up on the metaphorical bulletin board. I DON’T WANT TO BE pretty, thoughtless, sharp and melancholy.

What if I want to be the nothingness I feel? What if I want to exist metaphysically? This time, not metaphorically.

I’m tired of defining every little thing. ESPECIALLY. Especially, the girl I want to be.

Aren’t you?

That’s all.

Love,
Girl

To Jeff Buckley – Do We Really Know Anyone?

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“You can never really know someone completely. That’s why it’s the most terrifying thing in the world, really—taking someone on faith, hoping they’ll take you on faith too. It’s such a precarious balance, It’s a wonder we do it at all. And yet…”
― Libba Bray

Dear Jeff,

It’s like I don’t know who you are anymore.

My sister said this to me the other day, and it struck a chord much more sensitive than I could have anticipated. And then I remembered you. Well, not really you, but the actor who played you in the film Greetings from Tim Buckley when he said something like, how do we ever know anyone, really. I realize that he’s not even close to actually being you or like you but that one dialogue struck the same chord my sister’s words did.

What does it mean to know someone?

Does it mean living with them, breathing the same air 361 days in a year, knowing their habits, likes and dislikes? Or does it mean knowing their utmost desires, ambitions, aspirations, the reason they wake up every morning?

I watched this movie called Gone Girl, you must have heard of it, all of earth is talking about it, I’m sure some of the talk spilled into the world of afterlife.

I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but it completely illustrates my point. The husband doesn’t know his wife, the real her, at all. And it seemed like he truly tried. They are like stranger under one roof who lie to each other, keep secrets.

Is that it then? Does knowing someone mean knowing all their secrets?

I’ve heard humans are complicated, Jeff. Intricate and complex like the fine weaving of a silk scarf.

We have so many different relationships and every individual in each of these relationships knows a different side of us.

We’re a mess, Jeff. Human beings are relatively fucked up. We don’t even know ourselves completely and we think we know each other.

And then we say things like: Jeff wasn’t the kind of person who would take his own life.

And:

Jeff was an enigmatic person.

And even:

I didn’t know you, Jeff Buckley. And I don’t know if anyone really did. But your music makes me infinitely happy. And this may be selfish, but just for that, I think you deserve all the forgiveness, happiness and bliss death has to offer. Even though I wish everyday that you were alive.

Yours Truly,

Anupama

To Sylvia Plath – I Can’t Hear My Heart

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Dear Sylvia,

I was sixteen when I read The Bell Jar.

I remember thinking how your voice felt like it was being carried into my blood vessels, echoing through them.

I remember thinking that if I listened close enough, I could hear you in my heart.

I can hear you in my heart, but I can’t hear my heart.

I try to listen to the brag of my heart, Sylvia. But it’s too loud outside.

It’s too loud inside.

I can’t hear my heart and I can’t hear the sound of my own thoughts in my heart over the noise.

You know what it’s like?

It’s like talking on the phone in the movie theatre. The voice is so close, right here, right next to my ear, but everything else is louder. So it doesn’t matter how close the voice is, I’ll never be able to hear what the voice is trying to tell me. I’m just going to be sitting here, in the dark cinema hall that smells of butter and stale popcorn.

And if I shout?

That’s the worst part, Miss Plath.

If I shout,

The silence consumes everything.

If I shout,

The silence is loud. No, it’s deafening.

I want to hear the brag of my heart, Miss Plath. I want to know that I am.

But sometimes, it just takes too much effort to simply be.

I wish I could get rid of the self awareness that comes with being.

Then maybe I could hear my heart.

Did you ever have trouble listening to your heart beat?

Did the strain of trying and trying to listen heighten everything else but the typical thudding you anticipated? Did you hear muffled whispers instead of the illuminating echo you seeked?

Did the chaos consume the answers—the answers you needed, needed, needed—as well?

Then that makes two of us, Sylvia.

And maybe there are more.

Maybe we must join our hands and close our eyes and synchronize our breaths and listen together.

Perhaps then we will hear that odd thudding. And the wise echoes that come with it.

Or perhaps we should just stop listening.

 

Yours,

Anupama

To Emily Dickinson – Life After Death

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“How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!”

Dear Emily,

There’s a hollowness in your words that makes my chest feel like a gaping black hole.

They are full of impossibilities, etched with the fear of oblivion. Sucking in the electric emotions and flinging them into the unfathomable black abyss.

They say they found your work after you died. All those brilliant poetries children would one day loath as they were taught to interpret them in school, their unrefined thoughts conjuring a vague image of you as a nineteenth century emo.

They say that’s when you began a new life, a new legend. Breathing through your words, thriving on the sensations we felt when we read them, as yours remained forgotten whispers in the dust.

A life after death.

But you never wanted to be somebody, did you? Because you were already dead.

You felt dead, like you lived inside the black hole in my chest.

You had always felt the color flaking off your soul as it grew dormant and stale, the color that wasn’t dulled with age, but with loneliness.

Did you day dream about your funeral? Then grow angry because you were still stuck here, where no one could see you. You didn’t want them to see you, no.

But, sometimes. Only sometimes,

As you sat near the windowsill, looking at the rose that would be your muse, the delicate teacup in your dry fingers cracked and you couldn’t breathe because you were tired of everybody not seeing you—everybody unseeing you and you wanted to yell I’M HERE GODDAMNIT, I’M ALIVE.

Would you be glad, knowing that they see you now?

Or,

Perhaps you would still be unhappy, as you disintegrate under the surface of the earth.

Or perhaps,

You are simply oblivious.

Because you knew. You always knew, what it was like to be dead.

It’s like you lived the second you died.

Or did you die the second you started living?

Dear Emily,

I hope you know now,

For someone who never seemed to have the affinity for life,

You made a lot of us feel alive.

Yours,
Anupama

A New Beginning and an Awkward Sign-Off

 

So, when this blog was not actually a corporeal thing (it still isn’t, technically, since we can neither touch or feel it) or rather, when it was only an idea, it involved one of my pseudo-writer friends and me writing to each other back and forth in letter form. Well, that blew, obviously.

But I still wanted to stick to theme of this blog. Regardless of my friend’s involvement, I needed this to happen since a very long time. But if I was to stick to the letter-format, who would these letters be addressed to?

Then it belatedly struck me—the letters could be addressed to anyone I wanted! People dead, alive, fictional. In an age where everyone wants to be heard, who could be better listeners than them?

Once I got over the initial sorrow I felt for them (for they obviously couldn’t object to my rambling to them), the only consolation that kept me going was that I’d be addressing letters to them not to use their names just to fill in the blanks, but as remembrances. Because I honestly wanted to share that something with them.

Also, this is where I can explore words, their feel and essence around me. Here I also let loose the nerd/geek (I still don’t know the difference) in me. Talk of books, fan-culture and proof of lack of social life are some things you can expect from me.

Not to mention occasional melancholy (former emo kid—old habits die hard).

So, in conclusion—Happy Reading!

May the Force be with you,
Anupama