Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In A Moment...

 This story is written based on Women's Web's May's muse of the month writing cue, “What does the brain matter compared with the heart” (from Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf). The prompt required a word limit of 800, since as always I had already missed the deadline, I decided to ignore it :-)


Wading into the Hawaiian Sunset (Maui, Hawaii)


“Aloha! Ladies and Gentleman, welcome to Kahului airport. Local time is 4:30 PM and the temperature outside is 80F. For your safety and comfort please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the-“

Missy was no longer listening. The view outside the window had her enthralled. Out of nowhere a rainbow had begun playing hide and seek with fluffy white clouds sailing across the deep blue sky. After months and months of late evenings in office with only the walls for company, this was a magical sight for her. Lost playing peek-a-boo with the strokes that adorned the sky, she was shaken out of her revelry by a sudden jolt.

“On behalf of American Airlines and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this trip and we are looking forward to seeing you on board again soon. Have a nice stay!”

She was finally there! The vacation she had long awaited, to get away from her demanding job, work that kept her in the confines of her cabin for the better part of her day and evening, from Chicago, once the city of her dreams. Once. There was nobody to blame but herself, she thought angrily. She was good at her work, darn good at it. She had been in love with it. Truly, deeply, madly in love. The pay was good, it still was. She knew her colleagues turned a shade of green each time she passed by. Becoming the youngest VP in an advertising firm was no mean feat. But with her more than pea sized brains; it had been child’s play for her. Oh the attention she soaked herself in! Even now the thought of it made smugness capture her face in entirety. She had a beautiful pad downtown, a stone’s throw from ‘The Magnificent Mile’, with a mesmerizing view of Lake Michigan. Come summer, the silhouette of Navy Pier would adorn the river right in front of her bedroom window. It was a house to come to; it was her dream come true. Yes, Chicago had been the city of her dreams.

A sigh escaped Missy as she tugged her weekend bag from the overhead bin and waited for her turn to get off the tiny plane. Her thoughts returned to Chicago. All through her growing years she had loved playing with words but life had dictated its own terms and she had ended up graduating from Harvard with an MBA degree. But she wasn’t complaining, the longing for her pen had soon been replaced by storyboards and sketches. Before she knew it, she had immersed herself into the field and slowly yet steadily fallen in love with it. She had her brains to thank, she was all aware of that. Her ability to adapt to any field, to any industry had helped make her the successfully businesswoman that she was today. Life had been perfect she thought. She had everything she could dream off, yet the glamour of it all had seemed to fade off quickly.Of what use was a house that stayed empty all the time…of what use were those views for which she hardly had any time.Missy deliberately tried pushing those nagging thoughts out of her mind.

She slowly walked down the aisle, down the tiny steps and onto the tarmac. Kahului was a small airport and the walk towards the terminal was but a few seconds long. But the balminess that engulfed her in those few moments was enough to make her drive out all thoughts and resolve to enjoy the four precious days she had managed getting off from work.

***

Maui was beautiful. No, it was surreal. No, it was paradise. She just couldn't decide. All she knew was, she had been floored since the day she had arrived. Her resort, Kamaole Sands was just what she had hoped for. She was glad she had not booked herself into a Hilton or a Westin. She had wanted to get away from the world she was accustomed to. Staying in a place her circle did not frequent was the first step she had taken. And boy was she glad. She had spent the first three days of her stay exploring the island. Visiting the Maui Ocean Center and watching the sea come to life all around her had been more thrilling than making all those presentations in the boardroom. Wandering around the streets of Lahaina and taking the cruise into the Pacific had been so serene, unlike the silence that kept her company when she worked late. The 'Road to Hana' had brought out the adventurer in her, as she drove along the twists and turns and yelled greetings to all cars that passed by. She had been surprised by her own behaviour, wondered where this Missy had been hidden all these years. And finally she had done what she had heard so much about. She had visited Haleakala, the dormant volcano crater to view the sunrise. As she saw the purple hues of the horizon take birth and the morning star steal across the sky, she had heard the sunrise chant reverberate throughout, just as the Sun graced Earth with its presence. She had felt calm like she never had before.

Today she was at a Luau, watching the locals dance across the crowds as soulful Hawaiian music filled the air. She sat at a distance, watching the Sun she had seen rise just the day before, now melt down into the ocean. Not once had she thought of work these four days she reminisced, a smile slowing forming on her now glowing face. Yes, Maui had done wonders to her. She looked towards the Ocean, the smile broadening as she did something she had never done before. She ran into the ocean, wading into the molten orange waters, jumping around with tinkling laughter each time a tiny crab playfully gave her a nudge. It was as if tiny puppies were nipping at her feet, she thought and for the first time in years, words made way into her mind, awakening that dormant urge for her pen, one she had thought she had put to rest forever.

Warmth flooded through her body and suddenly she knew what happiness truly felt like. All these years she realized, she had survived and never lived. She had been successful but not happy. Grinning from ear to ear she made her way back to her room and for the first time since she had landed, she logged into her email. Her inbox was overflowing with thousands of mails, many requiring her urgent attention. But she ignored them all. It was an evening of firsts for her in more than one way. Eagerly she opened a new mail and typed a message to her boss. Imagining his reaction of horror when he saw her note, she smiled, clicking on the ‘send’ button, knowing that she had done what she should have years ago.

She danced down the steps and asked the front desk to extend her stay for a few days; till she found a place she could call her home. No, there would be no magnificent mile, nor any Navy pier. But there would be her pen and the magic it brought into her life. She had finally decided to follow her heart and not her brain; lose herself to her first love, her writing. After all, “What does the brain matter compared with the heart?” She had finally been able to understand what Virginia Woolf had meant.

Missy knew, she was now at peace with herself.


**Special thanks to Sid Balachandran, the famous Fiction Writer for proof reading the draft and his brainwave for the title of this post :-)

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47 comments:

  1. Beautiful :) Glad that she finally decided to follow her heart :) I love your fiction posts Seeta!

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    1. Thanks Athira, it feels good when you say that :) and yes, I think Virginia Woolf's quote is a gem in today's world

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  2. Lovely post Seeta. As I told you earlier, wouldn't change a thing. And as we discussed, somehow I think this each of our story too. And special thank you for the awesome footnote :)

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    1. You know how much your words mean to me right? :) When I completed this piece that was the thought that came to mind.. that somewhere I had penned down my story... and yours :)

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  3. Lovely story Seeta, believe me when I say this, I knew that this was a semi autobiographical post when I was reading this :)

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    1. Oh was it that obvious? I guess I just didn't realize it while I jotted it down :) Well, except for the pay, our jobs did/do keep us confined to the walls at work dont they.... :)

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  4. When I read through the tale, I felt I am reading about you. From whatever little I know of you that is. Yes, this is the dilemma that many, so many face in their life. But then life is such. Lucky are people like you and me who have the support system at home that allows us to pursue our heart. I know of so many who are stuck in the rat race because they have EMIs and bills to pay! Lovely tale, Seeta.

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    1. :) we met just once Rachna, but it feels like we have known each other forever. Yes, not all are as fortunate as us... a few folks I met recently urged me not to get back to the corporate world... this was when I told them that doing this wasn't an easy thing at all.... so seems like are lucky... really lucky

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  5. Now I want to get out of my office and catch a train to VARKALA! That is what I want to do right now!!!

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    1. hehehe Red! You are already doing a fabulous job with the pen despite being stuck in the courtroom all the time... wish I had been able to do that you know..

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  6. just fresh from my vacation to one of the most beautiful place in the world, reading your post resonated so much with what I felt and am still feeling... for a while i thought the blog was talking about me!
    it takes passion and guts to let the heart win over mind :) Lovely post Seeta, dont stop writing!!

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    1. Then this post came at the right time for you :) Yeah, takes quite a bit of it... and yes I do intend to continue.. at least until the mind is able to get better of the heart.. if it does that is ;-)

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  7. Sometimes the best decisions are taken in a moment! That's what this story tells me :) I enjoyed the rich descriptions you paint here - of a so-called "successful" life, of beautiful places and of dreams of happiness. Very well narrated!

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    1. Absolutely Beloo, she took the decision in a moment and that's how it is with such decisions I think.. and hence the title :)

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  8. I always say follow your heart .. but i know it is sometimes diffiuclt to do so tooo ..

    glad she followed her heart ..
    and things that get planned .. or take place in the moment are always good .. because they come from the HEART.. and heart is always truthful .. its when we start using the Mind that things turn topsy turvy ..

    lovely little story , thank you for sharing ..

    Bikram

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    1. Yup circumstances can influence quite a bit. yeah, I believe too that the heart gives you the right definition of peace

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  9. I think there are no right or wrong answers in life. Just those that either give you peace of mind, or don't.
    Nice story, Seeta. More so because I read that it is semi autobiographical.

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    1. I agree.. its at the end of the day about peace of mind.. I guess more often than not following your heart gives you that.. or so your experience tells you...
      Yes, it was kinda autobiographical... except the pay and the Maui part that is :D

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  10. Not exactly my story, though it echoes very strongly with me :) I had decided, while at IIM, that i would work only long enough to make myself financially comfortable before quitting - so, there was no dilemma and no need for an epiphany :) Of course, the surprise was that I stuck to it through all those years.

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    1. Lucky you! To have been able to see thinks so clearly then. MBA tends to befuddle the mind otherwise dont you think? :)

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    2. Oh.. just realized this was a different genre for a change :P

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    3. So it was - and a good write too.

      MBA befuddles the mind ONLY when there is a mind to befuddle :)

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  11. Wow! we all need to be amongst nature, the silence and the beauty to get in touch with ourselves :)

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    1. True Janaki :) I think it gives us a wonderful chance to be with ourselves and lets us know ourselves better

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  12. Don't we all wish! Nice Story.

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    1. we do.. we do... and at some point we all get there.. you will too :)

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  13. wow! That was powerful! Loved it! :)
    finding peace with oneself is so important. Sometimes, when we rush around fulfilling everyone else's obligations, we forget to take care of our own.

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    1. Totally. but sometimes that is necessary you know. I guess a phase comes in life when we know we can move on and do what we really want to.

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  14. Makes you wonder why we choose to put the call of our heart to mute and then complain of unhappiness.

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    1. Circumstances I guess.. but I have always been a believer that we are a victim of our choices and never the situations we are in.... but we do let circumstances play a huge role in the choice we make right? Thanks for stopping by Purba!

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  15. Nice story & great description! Now I wanna visit all these places, Seeta :)
    Lovely that she chose what she really wants to do :)

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  16. Seeta,

    I am not going to talk about the technical soundness of the story. With an editor like Sid, that's hardly to be wondered at.

    Instead, I am going to focus on the story itself. From the moment I read of your protagonists first love which was given up for a career that was loved and excelled at later, I somehow knew this was your story. And what a happy story indeed!

    I don't know why it should please me so much, to see people doing what their heart cries for. I suppose I just like being around happy, fulfilled folk. :D

    Your story is beautiful for more reasons than one. :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Dagny! Yes, though we do have our withdrawal symptoms every now and then, I think the mind and heart both were never at as much peace as they are now :)

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  17. Wonderful story Seeta and Ioved the way you captured Missy's journet into the targeeted amount of words and yet left the reader feeling as if hejust ended a whole novel:).
    Missy's lesson is important because it takes all of us too long and sometimes even a whole life time to realize whats truly important in our life.

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    1. That's such a nice thing to say Swati... esp since a Novel has always scared the lights out of me :) Absolutely.... but however long we take, at some point I guess we should take that decision.. whenever it might be, the fact that the decision was taken should make you happy.

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  18. This was a lovely post Seeta and I think straight from the heart too :) The important thing is to realize what makes one happy and go all out for it. The difficulty is that so many of us wander without direction for such a long time, that we are almost lost in the maze of the world. Sometimes one needs a lamp to show the right path.

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    1. Bang on target Ash, it was straight from the heart :)

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  19. Kept me reading till the end. :D

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    1. And I am so glad I could achieve that :D

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  20. Nice one ... We should follow our heart more to be happy in life...:)

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  21. Sometime everyone needs to get away. Most of us are too tied to responsibilities. We think world will stop in our absence. If we force a break we realise world moves on. Such breaks, we do not realise, is important for regeneration.

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    1. regeneration.. I think thats a keyword.. you are absolutely right Abhijit.. I don't think I could have put it any better than that :)

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  22. Beautiful :). I love the story telling, the flow and the connect. All of it wraps around really nice :)

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