Flipping Through Myself

Common App – Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Momentary sadness descended on my face. The crescent moon in the night sky looks just as beautiful as ever, but today something is different. Is my smile mocking me, or does the moon look a little skeptical? Up until now, I’ve always thought that my life was full of thrilling adventures and unmistakable duende. But as I sit down with a cup of coffee, a pen, and a notebook- I realize that my life has been remarkably normal.

I close my eyes and let my mind wander through its various creases, flitting across various parts of me, stopping at a particular bookshelf- the one I had dedicated to my roots – my beliefs. I see the myriad of books stacked in each of the ledges. The bookshelf is old; so full of books and yet it manages to remember all the intricate details of my life until this day. There are books of every genre, written and read by me from the preface to the conclusion. They have taught me so much; but more than anything else, these pages, filled with my life experiences, have directed me to be my own hero.

At the bottom shelf, lie my favorite books. These are the ones which define who I am. As a part of my Indian heritage, I essentially believe in the “Panchmahabhoot” which gestates the human body as a composition of the five elements – Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether.

As I turn the first page of the brown colored book, it speaks to me, “Like the ground beneath your feet, you have a certain pull. You are sturdy, unafraid and stalwart in your resolves. When you walk, your feet fall with purpose and your eyes reflect the brown of the earth, embracing everything around you…”

And then, the bright red book asserts, “…You immolate yourself with the purpose to be the change in the degrading society. Don’t let anyone cross you the wrong way, for you are a volcano waiting to erupt, and no one has the power to escape the embers of your fire…” Closing that one, I pick the one that sparkles blue and turn to the first page, on which the following words inspire, “…You flow soundless but dedicated towards your ambition, accommodating everything and everyone. The tears that flow from your eyes tell the stories of scars left, not on your skin but on the riverbed of your soul…”

The colorless book howled from the back, “…You fly with the reckless abandon of a roaring breeze, like a red autumn leaf having no limitations. You are free in your element, unchained by the sands of time, always heading forward, gliding in the winds of change…”. Ultimately, a ponderous book read, “Your eyes reflect the endless expanses of the sky and the celestial bodies it holds. One can behold the sky full of stars in your orbs, which gives a peek into your soul, laid barren and unmasked. You are endless. You are immune…”

These books are the elements of my existence.

In the top shelves, there are notebooks scribbled with the colors of my story; a chapter for everyone I have met, an autograph from anyone who has inspired me and notes on the margins of the people who have hurt me, only to make me stronger. The pages of these books reflect clouded shades; dark and bright strokes overlapping at the right intervals. Emotional breakdowns, broken friendships, and frequent slaps from reality, all have come my way and helped me construct a better me.

And then as suddenly as I had swung out, I swing back to reality. My coffee is all cold now, but my mind is at peace, and I feel rejuvenated- ready for what life brings next for me. I realize that as always, the magic of this bookshelf has worked again and helped me find my bearings.

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