Tomorrow’s a new day.

This one is for new beginnings.

(You might want to skip this if you don’t want to read about me. Thank you for coming here, though)

Before I tell you all about my journey, you should know that I am not the son of an army officer who has to wear uniforms and smell like good-byes. I am also not the son of a business tycoon who travels often and migrates with a suitcase filled with his family to wherever the market is looking good.

My father is just what he is supposed to be, a father. He does what he thinks will be best for his children. But every now and then, you can also see a small hint of a nomad if you look deep enough into his eyes. That’s how it began, by being a father and a nomad.

I was very young and in Delhi when my father got a wonderful job opportunity in Dubai and he had to leave us behind to go. Even worse, we had to shift to Chennai while he worked hard and became a warrior in the corporate world, fighting for peace and a beautiful house for his family to live in.

As a six-year-old in Chennai, I remember three things. Kinder joy, Jim Jam, and games. Of course, there’s the occasional ‘Remember that’ moment, but that’s usually just nostalgia and my mom talking. Eventually, we moved to Dubai.

I don’t remember much about the experience of my first flight except that I never even realized the plane took off because I was too busy eating. I spent almost five years over there, with Coke bottles, Indian food, and my best friends. But the obvious thing happened when I, personally, least expected it. My parents decided that it was time for the kids to learn what India was all about, and what better place to learn that than Delhi?

Because I was older, I don’t remember things about my time there that I wish I did. But then there is also the curse of being a human, which basically means I remember a few things that I don’t want to hold on to. My first heartbreak, first vodka shot, and my first poem have the same person and place in it. The same girl, and the same city. How can Delhi not be special for introducing me to love and Poetry? I called it home.

Three years into the best years of my life, we had to shift again. It is kind of obvious at this point because my family tends to do everything a bit too much, but this time was different. I knew what home felt like, I knew how a group of friends can be better than four walls and how disco lights can drive the darkness away.

For the first two years in Gujarat, I missed home. I wrote poetry on love and social issues but never on home because it was too damn hard. It got worse when distance took its toll on my friendships and I had fewer people to talk to as time went on. I developed commitment issues, and insecurities of my body and everything around it.

My life became a big coin flip and I had a very short span of time to call heads or tails, to call alive or existing. I don’t know what I chose, honestly.

One day, it all became okay. The nomad gene inside of me kicked in, and I promise you it is the best pain-killer/antibiotic ever. I still have atelophobia, and I still have insecurities but it’s easier to accept that now. I did not make best friends again, but I never stopped making memories.

I made my home but it wasn’t four walls or a group of friends, or two arms and a heartbeat. It was blurry memories, nostalgic smiles, and poetry. It took time but it was worth it. Stay strong.

Have a great year starting from whenever you read this.

A letter to you for a word/sentence.

A letter to you for a word/sentence.

Comment down below and let me know what you think. It’ll mean a lot.


To you,
For every time a woman said no.

I need you to listen.

When I was ten, my mom thought it was important for me to learn two things – one, that tomatoes weren’t vegetables and two, that ‘no’ is a sentence. The former because it was the only mistake I had made in my science exam sheet. The latter because every child should know the chaos not knowing what ‘no’ means has caused. My mother spoke to me about her experiences and told me about things that would make me human, or in her words – ‘ would make me happy’. This conversation became my bed-time story that night and I am really glad it did.

Last night, I read about what you, a thirty-year-old, had done to that eight-year-old girl. You will be punished for that and so, this letter is for you to read in one of these two situations – one, if you ever get a second chance to be better in this lifetime (which I know is unlikely) or two, if this letter finds its way to you in your next life when you’re ten. I really want you to become better – so much so, that I am willing to believe in re-births.

When you heard the word ‘no’ for the first time, what did it mean to you? For me, it was when I asked Baba if I could have two ice creams back to back. I was three. When he said no, I didn’t even think about questioning it. I just bought a chocolate instead. I like to think of myself as a writer when I am alone and so, I am going to give my memory a metaphorical reference for you to become a better human. When a woman says no, do not question it or try to persuade her. If that doesn’t make you happy, then get the chocolate – be genuine, ask her out on a date and see if you connect. If that doesn’t work out either, then just read a good book and fall asleep. This isn’t a metaphor.

Being human is really easy. Trust me.

With hope,
The man assigned to hang you to death.


Previous posts: I fell in love with my best friend.
Instagram: @myspirals

Give me prompts in the comment section. Oh, and share this a lot, please?

A letter to music – gratitude and stories.

It has been a long time since I posted, huh? Needed a break, sorry. I am back, though. Let’s enjoy this! I hope you like this letter-format I’ve recently started trying.


To music,

From Ghazals to ‘Kiss me’ to ‘Dusk Till Dawn’, this has been a long journey, hasn’t it?

When I was six, I could barely speak English. My tongue fumbled when I spoke English because it was a foreign language that I still wasn’t used to but I could hum the tune of ‘Chand Sifarish’ and not miss a single note.

In my 10-13 year old phase, my all-time favorite memory that I often find myself telling people is how me and my family would go on long drives and have sandwiches and hot chocolate and listen to an endless number of songs. My sister and I had a playlist that we would listen to on our way to school every morning.

When two broken pieces clash, they break into smaller pieces. When I had my heart broken for the third time, the only leftovers of my heart was dust. With earphones jammed into my ears and a few fancy dance moves, music turned it into fairy-dust that I sprinkled onto everything and healed myself.

My point is that you have literally always been there for me. Be it in the form of a language, a memory or a magic trick. You’ve witnessed me grow up from when I was a few months old and my parents would sing me lullabies to today when I listen to ‘Girls like you’ on repeat.

I heard somewhere that old weapons are sometimes melted and musical instruments are made from the metal. I guess that explains the bullet wounds some of your lyrics leave behind, and it also explains why playing Antakshri when I was ten felt like going to war.

Thank you Music, for being my metaphorical shoulder to cry on and literal ‘always’.

Yours,
Utsav Raj


Previous post: Not every forever is a cliché.
Related post: To all the #METOOs

Give me prompts in the comment section below and share if you liked this! Also, I’m probably going to post an exclusive poem on my Instagram handle (@myspirals) on Tuesday at 9:45 p.m. IST, so drop over if you’d like to read it.

To all the #METOOs

To all the #METOOs,

In autumn 2017, the world shuddered as a hashtag (me too) spread across hundreds of walls burning thousands of ignorant beliefs in its wake. The world realized that things were not okay. Whispers became loud stories and you accepted openly the things you have had to go through because of humans that went rogue. For most men, it is next to impossible to understand the pain you go through every time you have to talk about that one or many times you felt an unwanted hand on your skin.

The first girl I fell in love with shared her story with me once. It was a winter night and we had just started getting to know each other when I noticed some stories etched onto her wrist in red ink with pens that looked like knives. She was really young when it happened and I remember I was silent for quite some time when she told me everything.

A few years before that, my sister told me about the time she had to go through it. I had to sit while my mom shared her story too. And another close friend of mine told the story of how she was six when it happened. My phone lit up like a Christmas tree with a string of ‘me too’ staring me in the face. All these wonderful women I have been with in my life still stand tall, straight and with battle scars that look a lot like tattoos.

I can’t do much except promise you to never be that man you loathe. Also maybe, I can make a character out of him and kill him in my book for you. You let me know, okay?

Consent has become a foreign language and I am so sorry that you are suffering because of it. I am sorry some men didn’t let you become the Khaleesi that you were meant to be. I wish you didn’t have to stop talking just because you were in the presence of an important ‘influence’. Honestly, fuck them.

Stand tall, stand real and stand the way you want. I am with you. Always.

Yours,
Utsav Raj


Instagram handle: @myspirals
Previous post: The story of the trees.
Related post: A tale of the five senses.

Give me prompts in the comment section below and share if you liked this!