Make an exit

The view from my room

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.

—Alan Alda

After days and days of gloomy weather and rainfall, the sun finally shone through the clear blue sky for a whole blessed day. What a coincidence that the sombre Parisian clouds and my own suffocating blanket of gloom dispersed around the same time…

Gosh, ain’t I dramatic?



À Paris

I’ve been living close to Paris for half a year now, and apart from writing about feeling like an outsider, I’ve hardly shared my experience here at all. It’s not like in the past 6 months the city had nothing good to offer. The problem is that my view of city was clouded by the emotional drama unfolding within me. In short, Paris didn’t change for the worse since the last time I visited it in 2015—my view of it did. I started associating Paris with the negativity I was feeling at the time and sometimes still do.


Almost exactly 6 months ago, I was springing with joy just thinking about moving to my favorite place in the world. And then I set foot here in Paris and wondered why I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. Why did the City of Lights, adored by millions, not captivate my heart as it should have? I felt ridiculous and unsettled—how could I feel out of depth in a city as beautiful as Paris? I wanted to tell everyone how much I loved the city. Several times I opened my mouth but the words stayed on the tips of my tongue. If I wasn’t happy in Paris I surely couldn’t admit to love it.

And then today, Paris handed over my little rose rimmed glasses to me in a tray.

Today, I took the 300 steps to Sacré-Coeur, in addition to the ninety steps I took to come out of the Abbesses Station (my fault, I should’ve paid attention to the signs at the base of the staircase). But it doesn’t really matter, because the view from the top was totally worth the hike. With its pastel coloured boutiques, cute streets and cozy roadside restaurants, Montmartre is astoundingly beautiful. As I walked through a picturesque labyrinth of cobbled streets to arrive at the beautiful white église, I realised how happy Paris makes me.


Hanging from the railing and looking over Notre-Dame from Sacré-Coeur, I realised how incredible this city is and how wrong I was to associate it with the negative things going on in my life. The moment this truth was revealed to me was so satisfying and the view so magical that I could’ve stayed in that spot forever. I felt I could stay in Paris forever.

Walking past the charming bouquinistes and occasionally stopping to admire La Seine, I thought about the good things in life. After a long time, I felt an urgency in my step. I felt the urge to walk around the city till my body gave up. I felt the need to explore Paris as much as I could before I took the bus back to Jouy. I breathed in the city and almost wished to be lost in it. It’s like I met my true, buoyant self today after months of separation and I know that I will cherish this homecoming for years to come.

Paris, I hope you know how much these little moments with you matter to me. Thank you for being so patient with me. I now understand why Thomas Jefferson said that a walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life.

Even if tomorrow I have nothing to call my own in this city, I’ll have this city itself, and that will be enough.


That Kind of Love

Look for the man who calls you a clumsy eater and giggles every time you soil your clothes. The man who ridicules your non-existent fashion sense but calls you beautiful in the same breath. Find the man who’s not ashamed to call you cute names. Find him—he who buys you precious little trinkets even when you ask him not to—because he knows you’ll like it.

Find the man who will go out with you for a movie just because you want to, even though he knows he’ll hate it. Find him—the one who’ll make a long to-do list and then ditch the list because he’s just too full of chatter. The man you’ll love so much, that your eyes will light up into a million stars when you see him. Someone you’d dance with in the middle of a busy road if he asked you to.

He’s the man who calls you pretty even though you look like a groggy mammoth with oil oozing out of your face and hair. The one who doesn’t think FaceTime dates are silly and looks forward to them, even though the dates are mostly you ranting and complaining for hours on end. He’s without any regard for time zone differences—you, the princess—can call him anytime, even at 4 in the morning. Find him— the man who writes for you even though he’s not a writer, and sings for you even though he’s not a singer. Importantly, find the one who asks you to sing for him even though you’re not a singer. The one who makes you want to write about him.

If you find the man who makes you presents one night before your birthday— not because he has to but because he wants to, keep him close. If he’s someone who buys you red and pink heart-shaped helium balloons and ties them to your wrist, keep him closer. And if you catch him staring at you in awe, even though you’ve been together for months now, hold him tight. I say find the man who ferociously condemns talking on phone, but at the risk of being called a hypocrite, facetimes you for hours because he misses you as much as you miss him. The man who sometimes video-calls you in the background and lets you go on with your daily chores because he wants to see you but doesn’t want to interrupt your work.

Find the man who’s crazy enough to pick you up from home and drop you back to just so he gets to spend a few more minutes with you. The man who enjoys red lights and traffic jams because, again, he gets some extra minutes with you. The man who’s willing to drive halfway across the city just to go on a walk with you. The man who makes himself available to you 24/7 because you’re only visiting for 18 days.

Keep your eye open for the man who encourages you at every step in life, who makes you to look at the brighter side and fills you with positivity. Someone who tells you that you can reach the stars if you wish to, someone who motivates you to become the best version of yourself. Go find the man who believes in you so much that you’re forced to believe in yourself.

Please find the one man who makes you forget there are 7000 miles between you and him. The one who sends you letters from halfway across the world in this day and age of instant messaging. The man who cares enough to celebrate your homecoming with roses and garlands. The man who lets you have chocolate from his ice cream. Settle for nothing less.

And when you find him, remember to do the same for him. Because he deserves nothing less.

Found: Courage

Found: Courage

In a beautiful city far, far away

A young woman is trying to find her way

She’s come a long way from home

carrying a map of the new city

she’s only begun to know

She looks towards the swollen sky

At a blackness that’s darker than death

“Where are the stars they keep talking about?

Was it all a cruel joke?” Her heart bled

Looking around she’s suddenly aware

Unknown faces looking at her with a strange air

Overwhelmed, she thinks again

“Why did I come here? Was it all in vain?”

It’s so different out here

Much more difficult than she thought

Now she understands why in school

Darwin’s survival of the fittest was taught

Lost, confused and perplexed

She stares ahead and thinks aloud

“What—what was I thinking?

What could I have possibly found?”

Yet in her heart she knows

She’s found something to keep

that would help her tide o’er the lows

Something that in her heart would forever glow

It’s the strength of knowing

That she can survive

That she’s a fighter, she’s got the light

Well now,

She’s glad to have come to this city

She wouldn’t have found it otherwise

But the best thing that’s happened to her—

the best thing is that she’s realised

that the stars she keeps looking for everywhere?

Well, the stars are in her eyes

So… I am in Paris!

…Well not exactly in Paris. I am in Jouy, a teensy suburb in the south of Paris. If I didn’t have to spend an entire year in this little village I would’ve said it’s straight out of a fairytale, with its tiny roads and pretty creeper covered houses. But I’m here to stay and just the thought of it freaks me out.

Jouy has been my home for three months now, but I am yet to feel at home. In fact, I am not sure if I will ever feel at home here… if I will ever be able to walk down its quite lanes without feeling like an intruder, an outsider. I don’t know if I will ever be able to strut down the aisle at Simply, happy to be grocery shopping. I don’t know if I will ever be thankful for Sundays, happy to be sipping coffee and reading a good book. I don’t know if I will ever be able to enjoy the snow.


I’ve had these thoughts in my head for such a long time now that I don’t even have to pause to think what I should write about next. My fingers are effortlessly chapping away at the keyboard, furiously typing the words that are flowing out of my head. Its strange because coherent expression doesn’t come naturally to me. But then, what do I know about myself?

In the beginning I thought the feeling of being away from home would fade away with time. That I would grow to love this beautiful place, with all its trees and lovely flowers. I have to admit that I am disappointed with myself for having failed to adjust to my new surroundings. I never thought that adapting to my new life would be such a monumental task that it would take every ounce of energy that I have.

I have never been on my own before. I always knew that leaving my home and people behind is going to be tough, but I never imagined that I would have to fight my way to get through every single day. The feeling of not being good enough, of not being cut out for this place keeps gnawing at me. Half of my day goes in wondering whether I would’ve been better off someplace else.

I miss home, I miss my friends. I miss feeling secure and protected. It’s so competitive out here— its like everybody is competing to get ahead of you—not pausing for a moment to look at your swollen eyes and broody face—not realising that you’re not okay—that you’re finding it hard to adapt to this rat race. I am yet to fall in love with the people here. Of course it’s not their fault, they’re who they are.

I know I shouldn’t feel this way. I am 22 and I need to learn to live on my own. I know I need to get comfortable in my own skin and not depend on anyone to feel engaged or happy. I know I need to organise my time during the week so that I can go to the city more often and enjoy Paris as I always imagined I would. I know I need to smile more often and stress a little less. I know I need to involve myself in activities, focus on learning learning new things and on becoming a better version of myself.

I know all this and yet I know nothing. I know that I will eventually be fine and look back at how everything turned out well in the end. But right now my head is not in the right place.

Right now, I just want to survive.

Being Home

Image Source: Google Images 

Home is where…

…using my hairbrush as a mic I dance in front of the mirror and create my own spotlight.

Home is where I can be unabashedly me, it’s where I come back to myself every night, no matter how far away I wander during the day. If I want to put potato on cheese pizza and dance to classical songs, I can, because I’m home. If I want to paint my belly blue with ball pens and sing an unintelligible cacophony, I can, because I’m home.

I know I am home when I’m sitting in my own bedroom but can tell with certainty what’s happening in other rooms. Home is filled with harmless slugfests and lots and lots of complaining and shouting. It’s where mommy doubles up as a referee. It is where I can waste away time in my ridiculous pyjamas all day long. And it is here that I feel deserving even on my worst days.

Homes, no matter how big or small, are filled with memories. Beautiful, happy and sad memories that are powerful enough to trigger nostalgic tears and send you sprinting down the memory lane.

For me, home is all about the drawing room that too small for the crowd, and the dining table that is overflowing with boxes. It’s the dusty painting I made in 10th grade. It’s the balcony door that’s missing a latch and the chair that’s too, too big for the study table. It is the bedroom that’s almost never tidy but is still the best place in the world♥

Home is naturalness. A complete lack of reserve, an absolute awareness. In my own home, I will be able to find my way around even in complete darkness, because I know exactly how the furniture is placed. I know which tap leaks, which floorboard creaks, which switchboard is missing a switch and which cushion is the softest.

At home, I know at what time of the month the moon will shine right into the bedroom’s window. I know which mirror flatters me the most. I can tell who’s at the door, judging simply by the way they ring the bell. Home is made of mom’s famous Rajma Chawal, sister’s annoying laughter and papa’s calm love. Home is where the clutter is all mine. It is all about perfect imperfections.

Coming home placates me no matter how emotionally devastated I am.

Having a home means knowing predictability in an uncertain world.

Being Home means not having to do anything but knowing that everything will be taken care of.

Home is where I can be naked. Both emotionally and physically. It is total acceptance, flaws and all.

Home is waking up everyday in familiar, comfortable surroundings. It’s a sense of belonging. It is where the weightlessness and the feeling of inadequacy disappears.

Houses are made of bricks and cement. But homes? Homes are made of laughter, anecdotes, dreams, emotions and love. Home is where the heart is.

And perhaps someday, I’ll find my home in a person.

Tell me, what’s your home like?

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