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Hi, I’m Teji!

I never know if I should start a blog with an introduction or just dive in. It just seems a little strange to start writing without establishing what I’m going to be writing and who I am.

There’s an “About” section of course, where you can get more information about me, so I will refrain from writing too much of that in this post. I’ll just state the basics: I’m Teji. I’m a writer (among several other things), working on a novel (or two!). I see this as my space to talk about my passions and, hopefully, to help out other writers.

Thanks for stopping by!

Snippet Saturday #20: Lonely

For the first month of college, Liv and Indy used to lay awake and talk late into the night. It was like having a sleepover every single night. She’d loved it at first.

And then Liv had started to express interest in a sorority or in hanging out in a class the two of them didn’t have together. She always invited Indy along, but Indy had stopped going after the first few times. She felt like a burden on Liv–like Liv felt obligated to invite Indy along because of the history they had.

On one of their last nights staying up late and talking, Indy told her about how she wished she’d been born on a planet far away somewhere–a small planet that was just big enough for Indy and had no other people.

“If there are no other people, where did you come from?” Liv asked. “Don’t you need parents to be born?”

“Maybe I sprouted from a seed,” Indy said. That detail didn’t seem important to her. “Or maybe I was created out of interspace dust colliding together like how a planet is born.”

“Wouldn’t it be boring and lonely to live alone without anyone else?” Liv said, wrinkling her forehead.

“No,” Indy said. “If I lived my whole life alone, never knowing that anyone else existed, I wouldn’t know what it meant to be nored or lonely. Alone would be the only thing I ever knew–there would be nothing else to compare it to.”

No matter how she tried to explain it, though, Liv didn’t understand–a clear marker of someone who had never been lonely.

Snippet Saturday #19: Kshatriya (Poem)

Kshatriya–
the warrior caste–
is a suit of armor
that has never quite fit
until now when my heart
is blazing with a fire
that doesn’t suit
a pacifist
and I find myself thinking
that even if the alternative
is being hurt, I don’t want to
hide in the shadows with
my heart tightly locked
in a box
it might be a risk,
but warriors are courageous
and nothing screams courage
more than the audacity
to wear my heart on my sleeve.

Happiness Jar

I’m not really sure what this is called, but I’ve been calling it my “Happiness Jar.” Every time something good happens this year, I’ll write it on a slip of paper and put it in the jar. On December 31, 2014, I’ll take out all the slips of paper and reflect on everything wonderful that’s happened over the course of 2014.

I know the end of this year is far away–and I’m certainly not in any rush to get there–but I’m excited to see the jar fill up!

Happy New Year!

(shameless selfie)

It’s so easy to be motivated and think of ways to change your life for the better at the beginning of the year. As the year progresses, however, that enthusiasm fades away. I’m trying to figure out how to keep a hold of my beginning-of-the-year feelings right up until December 31, 2014.

I’ll let you know if I figure it out.

Snippet Saturday #18: Plot Twist

I joke about my friend’s plot twist.

She says, “My life isn’t a drama. How can it have a plot twist?”

I say, “Real life can have plot twists too.”

She says, “What’s yours?”

I hedge and don’t answer, but the truth is, I know exactly what it is.

At the time of my cousin’s wedding, my sister and I shared a bed, so every night was like a sleepover. We used to talk and giggle together and until we fell asleep.

One day, out of nowhere, I told her, “I think our cousins have ruined Marathi men for me.”

She laughed and said, “Because they’re so awkward?”

I shook my head and said with complete seriousness, “Because they’re so amazing.”

She fell silent and stared up at the ceiling for a moment. Finally, she said, “That’s true.”

Snippet Saturday #17 Reverie (Part 12)

My throat is dry. My voice barely comes out. The Nightwalkers keep coming toward me, as if I’m not saying anything at all. I shoot them with the gun but all it does is create a little steam. I turn the gun and spray it into my mouth. It soothes my swollen and parched throat.

“You are a nightmare!” I yell. “So are you!”

A birdsong trill outside the window. It must be Dovie! I keep yelling, my voice strained as I hoist Jude up by the armpits and drag him to the window, leaping outside with my arms tight around his chest. His limp legs kick at a Nightwalker trying to clamor inside.

We land on Dovie’s back. This time I’m behind him, securing him against Dovie’s feathers. The Nightwalkers above try to grab at us, but the dove flies out of their reach.I know I’ll have to come back and deal with them all, but the first step is to get rid of these pills.

Dovie takes us down the cliff that leads to the house I shared with Graham. Jude wakes with a groan, and I help him off the dove’s back.

I take the bottle of pills out of my pocket and shake it. This is different than my own pill bottle earlier tonight with only one pill in there. This one is filled to the brim.

Jude must sense my reluctance because he says, “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Once again, I stand on my tiptoes and kiss him, but more forcefully this time. My arms encircle his neck to draw in his real–not dream–warmth. His arms are around my waist. He bends forward slightly so I no longer have to reach up to meet his lips.

We break away, and I hold his gaze, taking a deep breath before nodding. “I’m sure.”

I take my lonely pill out of my pocket and lay it on my left palm. Jude undoes the lid of the pill bottle and holds onto it. I empty the pills into my hand, feeling their comforting weight. For years now, I’ve relied on these pills and their promise to protect me. I’m afraid to let them go. But then I look at Jude, who smiles reassuringly.

After shuffling them around a bit, I hold my hand over the water and top my palm to the side, watching them trickle in like white rain and be swallowed up.

“Can I ask why you decided to believe me?” Jude tugs at his sleeve, suddenly shy.

“He said I can have Graham back,” I say, looking up at the singing stars. I realize I’m not sure if stars are supposed to sing or if that’s just part of the dream. “A real person can’t come back after death.”

Jude puts his arm around my waist and pulls me so I’m pressed against his side. He kisses the top of my head. He doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t have to.

I don’t know how I ever thought Graham could be real. Our relationship was too flawless to be real. But I think about what Jude said about it being okay to hold onto my memories of Graham, real or not. I decide to do just that. No matter what it turns out to be, those memories are precious to me.

I lean toward Jude and rest my head against his chest. We keep watching the frothy waves where we last saw the pills, even as the jellyfish moon swims away and the sun begins to rise.

The ocean never sleeps, but if it could, what would it dream?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12

Snippet Saturday is my chance to share bits and pieces of my writing.