Today when I read a post that questioned what being ‘alive’ is all about, I laughed a little. Because god there are so many things I don’t know the answer to, but this isn’t one of them.
I feel alive when I’m admiring my mom radiantly laughing at a joke I cracked and I suddenly realise she’s the prettiest woman I have ever laid eyes on, and I am nothing but her essence — loved and nurtured to a point where I would insult her if I insulted me. I feel alive when I listen awestruck to my dad talking about some cool new digital payment system they’re about to launch and it suddenly hits me — I am so lucky to be here, learning about things I wouldn’t hear of if it wasn’t for him. When he gets me tiny souvenirs from all over the world and even just our neighbourhood and I realise I inherit my love language of gift giving from nobody else but him. I feel alive when I watch my brother indulge in very tiny gestures that tell me he’s growing into a brilliant, strong yet vulnerable, and caring boy. He loves, and the best part about this fourteen-year old is that he shows. I cannot imagine being a sister to anyone else. I feel alive when I talk to my friends and my heart is full after they tell me what they’ve been up to — whether it’s travelling the world or picking up an old hobby to do themselves reverence, and I realise they are each so full of light. No matter their bad days or the distance between us or all the time we haven’t been in touch, each of them overflows my cup in the best way possible.
I feel alive when I write a tiny article about tiny things that make my tiny heart so happy for no reason. When I read a dark academia post about something so ordinary given an entirely new perspective. When I record a cover in the after hours and unexpectedly hit the Adele note perfectly. When a stray dog comes by to snuggle. When I see a vendor on the road smile. And when someone makes a harmless joke on the public transport.
I feel so very alive when I find a golden thread of connection and relatability with other humans — even if it’s strangers, even if it’s temporary. I feel alive when I remember that auto wale uncle’s daughter cleared UPSC and the burning colour of that maroon sweater that kind aunty was knitting for her grand child on the metro, still etched brightly into my mind. When I sense love lurking in eyes and places it shouldn’t, but because it’s so intense it simply finds a way to manifest itself in ways you can’t ignore. When the signal light goes green in Worli. When my pasta turns out to be just the perfect amount of tangy. When I’m buying coffee and I see someone blowing out a candle and making a wish at the other end of the cafe.
Yes, big events and declarations are remarkable, but what leads to them is the small things. The small gestures. The small moments. Small only to say, but filled with feelings so overwhelmingly colossal that you couldn’t articulate them even if you were a writer. So let it be, and just feel. As deep as you can.
Look at a lady bug and let your heart jump in joy. Eat your favourite dessert after being away from it for a month and let it caress your being. Cry at a kind message your friend writes to you when you least expect but most need it. Wear that dress you thought was too tacky or bold for you to pull off. Do the cringy poses. Make the mistakes you really want to because you’re young and laugh at them a few years later. Lose yourself in art. In conversation. In humanity.
Feeling too much is never a bad thing. You’re only fulfilling the purpose you were put on this magical planet for. So let yourself do it.
Let yourself live. You’re allowed to. I promise.