Category Archives: Rambles

The Love-Hate Chronicles Part 1: An Introduction

Dear Reader,

At the end of 2014, WordPress sent me a rather pointed e-mail: “Hi Nuara, remember me? I’m your website. I miss you, and so do other people. Did you know that 970 people visited me in 2014, even though you didn’t publish anything new? They like what you have to say!”

Yes, I know it was a generic, mass-generated email. And I know that those 970 visitors may have just mistakenly stumbled upon my blog. And who knows whether they liked what I had to say or not.

But, still. Generic WordPress e-mail, you have a point. I should write more. I shall write more. Enter: 2015 and the Love-Hate Chronicles.

The Love-Hate Chronicles: an introduction

Many pages of mad rambles

Many pages of mad rambles

I kept journals throughout my childhood and much of my adolescent life. I wish I could say that all these musings were very profound and meaningful. But, they sort of read like this:

“Dear Diary,

Today is the first day of 1999! I am 10-years-old and have one 2-year-old brother. Today, I watched TV and played with my brother. It wasn’t a very exciting day. There’s only 365 days left to the Millennium!”

This:

“Dear Diary,

Since last year September we have had a temporary headteacher, Mrs. A*. She treats us like babies even though we are in year 6. I don’t like her.”

And this:

“Dear Diary,

Today was April Fools Day. I played some really funny jokes on people. My friend X* has a crush on a boy in our class called Y*. She says that she likes him 100%.”

*Names have been changed, of course. Although it would be cool to have a friend called X.

I was also fond of writing lists in these diaries. Specifically, Love and Hate lists. A neat line down the middle of the page, separating the things I adored from the things I detested.

“Love: My family, reading, chocolate.

Hate: Enemies, MATHS, assembly.”

I had a good laugh looking back at all of this. But it also made me think about the glorious simplicity of the world when I was a child. The black and white and 100 per cents. Love, hate and the strength of my convictions. You would have had a tough time convincing a 10-year-old me about any benefits of morning assembly. Well, in all fairness, 26-year-old me also struggles to find any love for the idea.

The world dictates that we are supposed to grow up, become more attune to the subtleties of the world, ditch the black and white shades for a more sophisticated grey.

But here’s the thing. Even as I began to stumble through the second decade of my existence, grey continued to allude me. I found myself being childishly stubborn on a number of things. Soup? I hate it! It’s like flavoured water. Stairs? Like I’m going to take the stairs! Yes, I will take the lift for one floor and I don’t care if you judge me.

Maybe I no longer wrote them up in journals, but my mind remained full of love/hate lists. Love: family, reading, chocolate. Hate: soup, stairs, pigeons. (At least one of the lists has changed).

However, recently, strange things have begun to happen. I had some soup…and I liked it. I’ve started jogging. I saw a pigeon and didn’t wish for its extinction (ok, I’m lying about this last one). Does this mean that I’m a grown up now? I’m not quite sure.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing my Love-Hate Chronicles. I will talk about things that I once hated that I have grown to love. Things that I continue to have a love-hate relationship with. And things that I will always love, eternally (a quick glance at my previous posts might give you an indication of the one thing I will never give up, ever).

Stay tuned :).

P.S. As part of a writing challenge with my weird and greedy friend over at Noodle and Egg, I was supposed to incorporate some assonance in this post. I shoulda, woulda, coulda but sort of failed.

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Just shut up and write

There’s a recurring internal monologue that I’ve been having with myself recently. Every now and then, I lament at my lack of creative output and then find my mind conjuring up the excuse that I’m just too busy to find time to be creative. In truth, it’s a pretty shoddy excuse. If I accumulate my minutes of procrastination throughout the day, the end figure is embarrassingly hefty. If I wanted, I could easily take thirty minutes out of that time and spend it writing.

So why don’t I? The truth is less flattering than the shoddy excuse: I’ve become lazy and I give up too quickly. Five minutes staring at the blinking cursor on my screen is enough to make me click on my browser and internet-procrastinate for a while instead. Ten minutes later, the focus is lost and the motivation is gone. Blargh.

So, I have decided to set myself a challenge for the following week. I’m going to spend 30 minutes writing every day, for the next seven days. I’ll post the results on the blog (be kind, don’t laugh, *insert disclaimers of being rusty/out of practice/not too great here*) to be gawked at by the interweb and the one or two kindly folk who take a minute or two to peruse my rambles.

Go me! Self high-five!

Ok, a self-high five is, in effect, a solitary clap – which is a bit lonesome and sad. So I’ll stick with a Happy Face.

:)

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Life and death on the London Underground

Ergh. London commuters can just be so mean. Piccadilly Line during the height of rush hour – just vile. Don’t get me started on the woes of Piccadilly-rush-hour-summertime-sweaty-commuters-and-being-of-armpit-height…

This morning, the gentleman behind me decided to express his frustration at the fact that my oyster decided to malfunction for all of five seconds (the second tap let me through just fine) by letting out a string of expletives in my direction.

Really. Chill. I have places to be as well.

Anyway, it reminded me of the morning I missed my last ever lecture on the LL.B (Jurisprudence, if you were wondering).

*

Dear passengers, due to a person under a train at Morden, there are severe delays occurring on the Northern Line.

Due to a customer incident earlier, there are minor delays on the District Line.

London Underground apologises for the delays to your service.

*

Who are these jumpers?

When the message comes crackling through the carriage, the apologies for the delay, the news that someone, somewhere on the the mass web of tube lines – has become a ‘one under’ – the reaction is always the same: rolling eyes, raised eyebrows, a tut-tutting or an angry flip of a Metro page.

How bloody inconvenient.

Am I the only one who feels sad? That someone just jumped, and died. Just like that. Lights off. Just like that.

*

Morning of my last lecture. The carriage is stuffy, filled to the brim with sleepy, grumpy commuters. We’ve been stuck in the tunnel for a few minutes, and have yet to be updated on what the deal is.

Lots of sleeve pushing, time checking.

I lean against the door, exhale-yawn.

Finally, the driver’s voice comes crackling through.

“Sorry for the delay folks…(pause)…I’ve just been informed that a lady…”

Is it another jumper?

“…that a lady has just gone into labour in Russell Square. Sorry about the delay, hopefully we’ll be out soon. Sorry, ladies and gentlemen. I’ll keep you updated.”

My eyebrows have gone up now. And my mouth can’t help but crack into a sleepy smile, because this – this I wasn’t expecting.

I look around, wondering if everyone else is finding this amusing too – but, lo and behold – the reaction: rolling eyes, raised eyebrows, tut-tutting and Metro flicking.

*

Dear Jumper,

I wish you hadn’t.

 

Dear Lady in Labour,

Did you name him Russell?

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Self-intimidation

So, I’ve been attempting to write. To get myself back into that place where I can tap away and create a nice little bubble for my mind to play around in. But just like a musician who picks up his guitar after many a year only to find he isn’t quite rocking it the way that he did back in the day – I am rusty. A hesitant overthinker. That despicable as-you-write-scrutinise-each-word editor.

Hoping to inspire myself into creative genius – I decided to pick up some of my old writing, see if there was anything I could pick up, maybe rejuvenate some life into old ideas. I thought it logical to start with the last big-novel-that-never-quite-made-it that I had written – 100 or so pages before it fizzled out and I fell victim to my classic inability to finish everything (bar that sci-fi/romance/action novel I finished as a 12 year old, which no one else is allowed to read. Really. You don’t want to).

The reading process went a bit like this:

Oh hello, familiar characters. Some nostalgia. They seem so innocent. A smidgen of guilt in the knowledge that unbeknownst to them, they will all be abandoned.

Oh, actually – this isn’t too bad…

that bit is rather good, actually. Did I write this?…

because I can’t write like this now…

oh dear, what happened to me…

I feel a bit depressed.

Yes, I successfully managed to intimidate myself. And I am now far too busy feeling sorry for myself to even ponder about how ridiculous a notion this may be.

Breakthrough. Soon. Please?

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Breakfast

Cinnamon. Sugar and softness and wafting delight. Gloved hands clasp morning caffeine as lips blow. The steam is hot, crisp as it meets the air.

The train is 15 minutes late. 15 whole minutes late, and I have had no breakfast. The lady beside me does not even look hungry. The danish is half wrapped in tissue but entirely untouched. No bites scarring the smooth white. And the coffee can’t be that hot. It’s been 15 minutes, after all. At the very least.

Yet, she stands, content, food untouched and pretty while my stomach protests. I am in a foul, foul mood.

These 15 (and a half) minutes I have been waiting – to think – I could have had pancakes, an omelette, some cereal – at the very least. And a dose of much needed coffee, a warm rush down my throat to push me into the waking hours.

Instead, the new day has greeted me with bitter cold, an angry stomach and an ongoing resentment for the London Underground system.

I hope lunch is better.

[scribbled some time last winter, on a grumpy day]

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If I could just click my heels and…

I have fictional-character’s-magical-world envy. I watch and I wish. Bernard’s Watch; that little boy who could pause time – I spent so very many wishful moments wondering what it would be like to have such a useful object in my possession (extra sleep was the most exciting idea at the age of 9, and things have not changed much since). I always thought I could come up with much cooler things to draw than Penny Crayon, whose magical crayons brought her drawings to life.

But today, the character I really envied was Dorothy. Dorothy and her magic red shoes. Snow has struck London, but in an uneven pattern. Some places are blanketed and untouched, peaceful and pretty. Central London, however – is covered in sludgy patches of brown and grey, the roads are slippery and the sleet is a nasty colour. Streets were a nightmare to manouver through, not helped by disgruntled commuters and puddles of melting snow and grime (leading to wet socks, yeuch).It makes for a rather unpleasant journey home.

Click, click, click. There’s no place like home.

But sadly, I am no Dorothy. And I have no magic red shoes.

So I trudge, endure the sludge and count the minutes until I find my way back onto my little street, edging closer to the comfort of warmth and bed and hot chocolate. Only then do I find solace.

But damn, those shoes wouldn’t go amiss.

[this post was written last week, but a rather rubbish fever and an inability to let go of my perfectionist tendencies meant I only finished it up and posted it today. Happy New Year, all!]

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Wet socks and waiting

I have a beloved pair of black boots – we’ve been through a lot together, my boots and I. So much so that they have become rather worn. They let in the rain, as I discovered the other day. I wear them still, rain and all. But the rather unfortunate consequence? Wet socks. I have an issue with wet socks.

They are yucky (for want of a better word).

Anyway, it reminded me of an occasion last year, where the bus I was on broke down at a rather random location. Resulting in wet socks and a whole lot of waiting. Below – stuff I scribbled after the incident.

***

Wet socks. An awful feeling. The dampness seeps into your skin, nestles between your toes – and clings there, a discomfort against the soft warmth.

I’m standing in the midst of a puddle. A rather large one, in fact. In all accuracy, it can barely be described as a puddle at all – rather, a sheet of water has risen across the pavement, snuck its way under the bus shelter and dryness seems like a very distant thing indeed.

The bus has broken down, just in front of the stop that sits in the middle of the roundabout. No other buses come by this way, no shops, no tubes, no civilisation. Just the cars that zoom by without a second thought, the whoosh of the wind not a pleasing sound to the disgruntled passengers that have been herded off the bus.

A funny thing to watch, waiting.

Some people pace, impatience scrawled across their features, jittery footsepts and twitching hands. Peering at the driver, who is is hunched over the engine, confused. Rather than offer him shelter under an umbrella, they peer, waiting for a breakthrough.

Others stand still, slumped and annoyed – muttering their frustrations to themselves and the wind that has wrapped its way around everyone.

It is cold. I feel it more than the rain spitting on my face – its angled downpour making a mockery of the so called shelter of my umbrella. But not more than the socks, the unpleasant feel of that trumps it all.

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Nature’s lullaby

I’ve been in Bangladesh for just over a week now, and shifted from Dhaka to Faridpur a few days ago. The rainfall started last night. Insomnia left me awake until 4am, and just as I finally crawled into bed, the downpour began.

The soft crackle of the hot air, rustling trees and stirring creatures, were suddenly wiped clean. Sheets of water, thick and pure, fell straight to the earth.

My aunt made them put a tin roof on the back verandah. The sound of the rain just doesn’t sound the same without it, she told me.

The windows had been left open, and the drifting breezes sent me to sleep. I closed my eyes as my ears sighed against the tap tap tap echoing from the verandah roof.

Blog identity crisis

Nearly 4 months later, blog begins to gather dust.

All those planned exciting bursts of creativity just never happened. I suppose you can’t plan excitement, really – can you? Anyway, summer stretches ahead – and I’ll begin to babble, finally.

Aside from exams and poor planning – the lack of entries can also be attributed to my blog identity crisis. A creative outlet, a funny scrapbook of interesting tidbits, philosophical reflections or shallow observations? What to be, oh what to be. The noncomittal, easy answer is of course to say – all of the above, dear sir.

So, naturally – all of the above, dear sir!

Entering Blog-dom

fairytale

Once upon a time there lived a confused (and highly strange) young maiden called Nuara. She had a great deal of things to say, and things would spew from her mouth before her mind had time to process and filter the thoughts. Her impatient tongue would often land her in trouble, and the maiden began to lament at the unfortunate circumstances she would so frequently find herself in.

Thoughts would run around her (rather tiny) head at an alarming speed, some skipping, others dancing and a wretched few with a penchant for trampolines.

Alas! The poor maiden’s head began to throb, her companions became impatient, and her greedy younger brother had finished all the Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers. Was she to find no peace?

But then, just as she thought that all hope was lost…the strange maiden discovered something – a wonderous contraption they called the ‘inter-net’.  She peered into the net and found other confused souls, like her!

“What should I do, fellow strange-folk?” she cried.

“Why – blog, m’lady! Blog away!”

The terms were foreign to the maiden. But with a little help from wikipedia and a few clicks via google, soon she was ready to enter this world of ‘Blogdom’.

A place for her thoughts! Opportunity to ponder! Splendid!

The world of Blogdom was exciting but unfamiliar to the maiden. She had much to learn, but with a little help from her (cyber) woodland friends (and healthy dosages of caffeine) she was sure she could venture into the new world with confidence.

To Be Continued…