2015 was a year like no other; it broke me, challenged me, and led me to a new way of life. It was also the year I turned 31. Thank you 2015 for the extreme ups and downs.
Most importantly, 2015 brought home the truth of who I am, and what my purpose is. It put an end to all the delusional drivel, farces and forced me to step outside of my comfort zone, and in doing that it showed me what I was capable of, and that limits are only set in the mind.
So, here are a few things that strike out as adventures, and every single thing in this list is a thing I have done/experienced for the first time ever in my life:
I had my heart broken. I was a total shambles.
I sold my furniture, and crammed my mattress, kitchenware, food, books, and clothes into my 2006 Passat, and made a 800 mile road trip by myself over two days from Houston, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia, relocating for my job.
I joined a running group called HoustonFit, and trained for 3 months to run a full-marathon. The 5:30 am runs were startlingly life-changing.
I joined a yoga class for 4 odd months.
I ran 5 races: 1 full marathon and 4 half marathons across four different states in US.
I started a blog called wheelsofchaos.com, and completed a 31 day write everyday challenge in August. To this day, I post fervidly to the blog as a labor of love.
I made solo trips to cities I had never been before: Chicago, Rockford, Birmingham, Orlando, Atlanta, Oklahoma, New Orleans for the sole purpose of running races, and relocating for my job.
I got mugged in a downtown parking lot in Chicago.
On my long trip from Houston to Atlanta, I thought I was going to die when a torrential downpour obscured my windshield to the point I could barely see the contours of the car in front of me. And, without a moment's notice, when the truck in front of me went horizontal, I quickly swerved and changed lanes without checking for other cars, and continued, scared and praying, while lightning tore the sky, and cars pulled over on the shoulder.
My company flew me to Atlanta to look for apartments, but I didn't find anything I liked. 15 days prior to my move, I found an apartment online that felt right, and I signed the deal without checking it out in person. The apartment turned out to be perfect.
I had to call 911 and fire department.
I spent two hours in rain on the streets of Chicago, soaking wet and cold, and then drove 2.5 hours, blasting away the car heater, to reach Rockford, my destination for a half-marathon.
I got lost on the road more than a couple of times.
I almost ran out of fuel on a highway, and it looked unlikely I would find a gas station.
My phone died on a vast stretch of a 2 hour deserted road from Chicago to Rockford.
On my way to Orlando, I was stopped by a cop car, and was given a speeding ticket that cost a fortune.
I broke my phone in pouring rain while using Google maps to navigate through the labyrinth of downtown Chicago.
I found myself an identity and destiny: a good published novelist/writer, a runner, a spiritual seeker.
I am on day 10 of my 113 day meditate every day for 20 minutes challenge.
I sent a few of my poems and a short story to a few publishing houses, and shared my blog with my family, friends and acquaintances.
I have read incredible books that helped me understand my psyche. They led me to realize I am an artist at heart and at an unconscious level, and now it’s only a matter of time before my conscious mind syncs up.
A surreal ray of light shimmers tantalizingly, traveling for eons through space and time. Its origin, mysterious and obscure, but its purpose unambiguous and singular: to infuse quixotic veins, philosophical brains, and artistic temperaments to an anthropomorphic life form. Relentlessly bestowing the genetic code, and a heady concoction of scars and maladies, the gift of an all consuming puzzle has been built into the fabric of those destined to unfurl the puzzle of their heady, artistic selves.
Looming strange and lost in their own world, this starry-eyed fleet ponder their mystery and live in their strange and starry-eyed way. And, here are a few of their quirks and inherent traits:
Their life is one big existential crisis.
They seek metaphysical discussions.
They look for a cosmic poetry in everyday life.
They search for the symphony of truth.
They revere silence over the cacophony of an empty noise.
A vacuous way of life just about kills them.
They are the quintessential anachronism.
Their pain and discord connects them to the profound.
They make conversations with the stars.
The emptiness and vastness of the cosmos stirs them.
They ache to be mystery solvers.
They question, and rage to live an authentic life.
They smile on those rare occasions when the parody yields momentarily to a moment of meaning and beauty.
They live to give themselves to a surreal, sublime beauty and to the thrill of an adventure that challenges their very core.
They blaze their own path.
Fitting in is a veritable anathema. Sooner or later, they leap off the bandwagon.
And, that partly explains my eccentric, madman like semblance.
So, what is your story?
This is my Christmas present to myself. But, really, Christmas or no Christmas, I would buy these just as well. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion is as epic as comic books can get. I cannot wait to reread, discuss and rave about it with a fellow comic book nerd. Note to myself: Need to figure out how, and where to find comic book junkies. And, now for a brief story-time.
One dreary Friday evening, bored out of my wits and unsure of what to do, I took off for Barnes and Nobles, the sacred temple of all things bookish. As I slipped out of my car in the parking lot, it was dark and cold, and I cut through the wintry air with a self-resigned gait of the supremely morose. Feeling completely clueless and out of my depth, I walked past the aisles of bookshelves, and shuffled over to the comic book section. The hallowed shelf gleamed back hundreds of comics, beaming back beauty and maverick, anarchic themes. At the end of a shelf, a comic book zombie sat slumped, lost in consuming the contents of his singular pursuit, commemorating his mind's hunger for this inanimate yet life-giving object.
I felt a little shy and uncomfortable venturing into this zombie's zone lest he get disturbed or offended. So, I turned back, but felt bored and despicably weird, so made my way back to the shelf, and tried my best to be as inconspicuous and as clandestine as a phantom. Within seconds, my intense eyes prompted by my frenzied mind found what I needed.
The entire Preacher series sat blithely, and in a swift fluid motion, I grabbed the first volume, and walked over to the end of the store. Like a spy on a mission, I went undercover into a world of reading, and was as quiet, as evasive and as surreptitious as my new role of a reader needed me to be. I paced the aisles, my fingers wrapped around the book, my eyes and mind merely a window to the words and pictures in the book, all sense of reality had ceased to exist.
The world of Jesse Custer, Tulip O Hare and Cassidy was all I knew, though I was forced to slip in and out of their crazy world by the scores of people waltzing about at the bookstore. I tried to steer clear, so I could go back to observing the world of preacher, and responding emotionally without any qualms to this great work of art. I burst out laughing, gaped my eyes out, let my jaw slump, and let myself fall in love, and be whisked off into a universe of suspense, action, gore and thrill. My core had been resurrected, all was great.
Three hours later, the spell still strong and with the bookstore closing, I bought the first volume home, and in a relentless, frantic burst, finished reading. Dazzled and intrigued, I slept a few hours, and drove back to the bookstore first thing in the morning. I scooped the second volume off the shelf, and kept on reading until it was done and dusted a few hours later. And, then as any normal human would, I went back home, had something to eat, and after a couple of hours, headed back to the bookstore.
I grabbed the third volume, read and read, and again it was time for the bookstore to close. I sighed, briefly grunted my displeasure at the necessity to shut the store for the day, and debated whether to buy the book or wait until tomorrow, but the seriousness of this being the only copy of the third volume did not escape my prodigious attention. Imagining the grim implications of a grim possibility of the book being gone the next day, I realized the gloom and frustration would be too much to cope with. So I bought the third book, and read happily at home.
Come Sunday morning, again, I was at the bookstore, and also Monday evening, and Tuesday evening after work. It took five days at the bookstore to get through the series, and I waited for a week for Amazon to deliver rest of the books. The bookstore was wonderful but way too pricey, and because I couldn't wait until I had the rest of the books, I took temporary refuge at the store to continue reading.
I had slept little, had read like a madman, had been all excited and thrilled, my mind, having been a raging kaleidoscope of all the wondrous adventures of the preacher, I crashed on the sixth day, and slept a blissful fourteen hours. I remember after I read the last page, I was stumped and left contemplating and comprehending the epic conclusion of the series. I came home, and began blabbering into the emptiness of my apartment how I felt, and what I felt about the series and how the ending tied into the plot, and what it meant. I felt a sense of emptiness, a little wistful and sad like a friend was no longer around. It was bittersweet.
This is the stuff of fairy-tales for me. And, I cannot wait to be privy to more such wondrous pieces of art.
I was on a plane, air-bound for a despicably long international journey, brooding and sighing my way through the claustrophobic and bleak confines of the metal bird that seemed to be crawling, and time essentially seemed to have stopped ticking. I wanted to tear my hair out and scream, and I wondered what could possibly explain the calm semblance of my fellow travelers.
Fidgeting restlessly, and looking miserably at my miniature screen, I stumbled upon a picture of a bald warrior against a golden desert and a stark orange sunlight. The fierce face, a beautiful contortion of pain and anger, resembled Charlize Theron. I have a thing for women in combat roles, and I have a thing for Charlize Theron. So, obviously watching this movie was a no-brainer initiative and a compelling, compulsive move conforming to a pattern etched in the brain.
This is my all-time favorite movie ever. Why? Because its unique, and has an integrity, purity and madness that is symbolic of true art. The aesthetics and the action sequences are surreal, wild and eccentric. Every scene is a whirlpool of creative energy eliciting wonder, and stark raving awe. The desert has never looked more romantic for an adventure, and for a quest for justice against overbearing evil.
The story is about a wanderer called Max, who ends up as a prisoner in a kingdom with a vile, and a fascist ruler called Joe Immortan. Their world is a stark, dying, exploited world called Citadel where the inhabitants of the kingdom are reduced to beggars living a wretched life. Joe Immortan is a sadist psychopath with a noxious ensemble. He is in the notorious habit of having an array of young wives to commit carnal acts against their will, and to obtain a progeny from their sickening and unholy communion.
To escape their horrific lives, the wives enlist the help of Furiosa, the Imperator of Citadel. The movie is about this rescue, and the bloody, violent war that besets the fate of Furiosa and these girls while they are on run from Joe and his bloodthirsty army. In the ensuing chaos and pursuit of Furiosa, Max, a prisoner of Joe's army, escapes and helps save the girls and destroys Joe Immortan. Obviously, when Joe and Furiosa meet for the first time, its all fireworks of fists and kicks, growls and snarls, jumping and hitting: an epic fight scene which held me in a trance.
The cinematography, the colors, the desert, the action, the performances, the post-apocalyptic world are breathtaking. This movie surpasses the vanity and glitter of Hollywood movies by eons, and is in a league of its own. I loved it to pieces. Charlize Theron as Furiosa and Tom Hardy as Max are brilliant. I have never been so mesmerized by a movie before. George Miller and his crew are truly an avant-garde fleet, and I cannot thank them enough for crafting a kick-ass female lead like Furiosa.
Do yourself a favor, and watch this movie.