Phoenix

I have been home for a few weeks now, over which I have met some incredible people and learnt some more about the variety that surrounds me. Today I want to introduce you to Megha Dasgupta. In my narration, I will call her MD to not encourage my word limit problems. I ran into her at an extended family gathering, her presence was electric still warm, she seemed to be a woman of substance, people hovered around her in the hope to get acknowledged. After having spent most of that evening with her she came across as someone you’d be grateful to have around you, for the sake of learning and witnessing.

I am a 22 year old, complaining about average 22 year old things like how my Netflix subscription expired, and how the Amazon delivery guy didn’t show up when he was supposed to. To put things in perspective by the time MD was 24, she was made to succumb to an arranged marriage. She never had an issue with the wedding, because the guy in question seemed nice and had a promising career even then. The family is nice too, screamed her parents and the society in unison. In one of the early months of 1992, she agreed to metaphorically walk down the aisle. Metaphorically because Hindu weddings do not have an aisle or any quiet, only chaos, confusion and pheras. She walked those pheras with childlike glee and innocence, it was an exciting time for her. She had just finished her B.A. with a gold medal in her major, her family expected her to have a comfortable career in the civil services right after her masters, which they figured would be a cakewalk for someone of her caliber. ‘But life is an endless series of train wrecks, with only brief, commercial like breaks of happiness’, definitely not an original quote but one hundred percent true.

She soon found out that her wonderful wedding and a flourishing academic career was now being challenged by (for no lack of a better word) an oppressive patriarchal household. Before she had completely wrapped her head around the fate she had married into, she identified the harbingers of patriarchy in her otherwise perfect house. These harbingers, were the women in the house themselves who needed her to conform and fall into the same pattern that they had fallen prey to. The key inducers of oppression were without a doubt, the Mother-in-law, whom we shall call MIL in my narrative and a metaphorical parasite of a sister, whom we shall call Satan Sister or SS in this edition. Rules of the house were set for our proactive protagonist MD, who had been raised in a house where daughters were a privilege and what they wear, never mattered, but their ideas and ambitions did. MIL and SS did everything in their might to ruin MD’s belief in the idea of freedom of spirit. She could wear sarees and that only, in the house and outside. She could not visit her parents’ because obviously, what kind of married woman does that more than once a month? She could not argue for her basic rights and comfort because of course, why must she as a daughter in law have a voice? The wires that bound her, hurt me further because while she was being made to go through all of this, Satan sister could wear anything, say anything and leech off of the entire family because as the daughter of the house, she saw it as her duty and right. And of course, MD, being a daughter in law and not the daughter of the house could not argue and fight for such basic rights. How could she have imagined to be treated equally? The horror.

In the months after the wedding, Lemony Snicket’s – A series of unfortunate events was brought to life. MD tried for the umpteenth time to reason with her MIL. ‘You have to accept change with time, just like you accepted your son in law inspite of his obvious shortcomings’, MD tried to reason with her sartorial expectations. What followed was a rant from Satan sister who never stopped trying to put MD in her place. ‘I don’t think I can accompany you to the dinner today, my post-graduation exams start day after’, she dared. Needless to say, it was followed by another outburst on how insolent she is. Her parents were humiliated by the in laws for not having taught her well enough to succumb, because submission and slavery wasn’t her forte. I only fully understood MD’s agony when she told me about the time when she was expecting her first child. She wasn’t given food for hours until she asked for it herself, she was given an earful for speaking her mind even during. But MD was made of strength, not ash. A healthy, baby daughter was born to her and she knew then, her new reason to live.

Why is a mother so involved with making her child the best? That is not a question I have an answer to, but after listening to MD recount her days, I had a rough idea. MD gave her all to her little daughter, who might not have been the brightest child but she was willing to learn. MD taught her all and she taught her well, even named her after careful consideration. MIL had to make peace with her as well, as all none of her other kids stayed to take care of her. With enough free time and space to herself, MD now devoted herself to her career and her only daughter. She taught her poetry, extempore speech and tried hard to inculcate in her the habit of reading. By personal experience, she knew that someone who reads can never be defeated. By this time things were more than civil between her and the Satan Sister too, which SS must have taught meant It was okay to lift baby name origins and teaching techniques. ‘I still remember the day my daughter passed her 12th grade examinations. I knew then that it was time for my little bird to fly out of the nest’, she very casually went on to add that she went on to acquire her Doctorate degree right after. My lousy train of thought went straight back to the time when she wasn’t even able to study for her post graduation exams (in which she had topped her University with a gold medal too) and I thought of the challenges that kept me up while in college, like how my table was never clean enough, and how I ran out of food before the end of the chapter and how I had too many distractions on social media channels to ever fully concentrate. I will admit to you that I had always been mighty content with my academic career until then. I felt so small in my being, for being so callous of my privileges.

These are only snippets from MD’s life, and I had the liberty to choose parts I want to write on and ones that I could afford to dismiss. But it is just one of those stories, one of those lessons on perseverance and strength that stays with you. And in your moments of weakness, you remember her stories and you find in yourself the courage to move ahead. I feel privileged to be able to bring to you her story and she has promised me that if even one in a crowd is inspired by her tale, she will make me a cup of her enchanting mocha and let me into her low profile world once again. As I sit here, biting my fingernails in anxiety, I only hope and pray that I have done her story justice.

FIN.
I know this has been really long, but thanks for keeping up. Here’s a beautiful picture of my most confused half covered face to make up for it.

day 19

30 Days of Poetry and Procrastination

This is NOT another blog post brimming with emotions that I need to learn with, instead it is a collection of poems I wrote during the National Poetry Month (April) because I had too much time that I needed to invest in something constructive. I have consolidated all of it, in one post more to keep track of it myself than to put it up on display. April has been a roller-coaster of emotions and that’ll be clearer once you read what I have written for each day.

I cringed at how much I felt in the twenty minutes I spent writing these, got upset at how little that mattered in the ten minutes I spent reviewing it and cried a little when I was too overwhelmed. No shame in admitting that. Anyhow, here it is, my very first attempt at poetry, for you to judge, for you to show appreciation for and for you to have something to talk about at the dinner table about the chick whose Instagram seems to be too cluttered. Here goes everything…

 

Day 1 : Sunshine

She waltzed into the room,
Carelessly and with a peculiar sense of abandon that only comes from knowing your worth.
She stopped, she glanced, she danced and pranced around
Like the lil center of enthusiasm, that she was.
She took them by his hands,
Making sure they were up in time for their daily quota of well rehearsed speeches.
She took him too by his hand,
Telling him for the umpteenth time that his little daughter could and should be his reason to live.
She never discerned, she never demarcated with her might,
She was only Sunshine, all healing and everlasting.

Picture and poem by Yours Truly. This picture was taken on a very impulsive and spontaneous early morning trip to Nandi Hills. This was taken at about six thirty in the morning at the very top of the hill, so yes, literally the first Rays of sunshine. Fit the theme for today’s poem ‘Sunshine’ so well tho.

DAY 1

 

Day 2 : Superheroes

I was a scared child of four, and I remember it was my very first day of school.
My father tied my laces, tied my hair into one miniature ponytail,
He picked my bag up for me and we got up onto his rickety two wheeler, so he could drive me to school.
The entire time I hugged him with all of my strength,
Once school got over he was the first person I saw in the crowd again,
Standing proud and tall inspite of the blazing afternoon heat and I fell into his arms, my home.
Then and always.

I was Mamma’s prodigy ever since I could remember,
She taught me to write and actively defend what I’d written,
She taught me to read beyond what was only just necessary.
I was shown how spirited a woman can be, if not reduced to her partner’s shadow.
I was shown, I was told and it was impressed upon me always,
That I was a blessing, and that it was a blessing to be a girl.
In hindsight I never had a mother, I had a best friend and a life coach in one.
Forever and always.

It’s such a tragedy that age caught up with these two,
And now I see them sometimes,
Unsure and insecure,
Thinking twice before taking one step,
Waiting thrice before deciding they can’t anymore.
Waiting, thinking and second guessing now,
Recently acquired traits I’d never known to exist in them before,
Bent but never broken,
Unsure but never unaware.
Even now and even then and forever they’d be to me,
Always and unfailingly so,
Capeless, underestimated Superheroes.

day 2

 

Day 3: Ice Cream

I lay on the floor like a pile of bones,
Lifeless and low.
My whole world had just come crashing down on me,
The weight of which I wasn’t prepared to take.
You walked into my room that day,
You found me.
Not just then, or at that moment,
But me at my most vulnerable, at my weakest.
You couldn’t say much not like you ever did,
But you sat down by my side, you held my little finger in yours and said, Icecream?

And I wondered why was it always so easy?
I remember coming back from school with a bruise on my leg,
I couldn’t do the math my teacher wanted me to, as quickly as she wanted me to solve it.
I told my mother about it and she said,
‘Tonight for dessert, there’ll be IceCream’
I remember when I found out that my boyfriend was emotionally cheating on me,
I cried about it for days and when I finally met my best friend all she had to offer was IceCream.
How was a scoop of Ice cream to make up for all of it?
For abuse, heartbreak, misbehaviour and grief,
The only go-to remedy always is IceCream.

For the hundredth time I was being offered IceCream to cope,
And for the hundredth time I took up the offer.
Not because I liked IceCream,
Not because I wanted IceCream,
Not because it made me feel better,
But because it made him feel better,
Him, and her, and everyone else.
Always.

DAY 3

Day 4: Wedding Day
I have had this vision
Of me standing all by myself,
Under a canopy of lights and leaves,
In a dress that is long but not too flowy
And I wasn’t a pretty sight maybe, but I seemed to be happy.
My face had this look of contentment,
The kind that creeps in after the last lick,
Of Cream Cheese on red velvet cupcakes.

In this vision that I’ve had,
There seems to be an audience.
Excited, but muted.
I wonder what they’re excited about on such an unnecessarily warm day,
I wonder why they’re staring in my general direction,
Almost as if they’re here for a celebration, to cheer me on, almost as if they’re here for me.

In this vision I see my parents,
Their hair graying but their smiles almost permanent,
Almost like they’re ecstatic, irrevocably.
And I see my family and my little brother,
He had a suit on, complete with a tie.
They had suits for people this little?
I see all of their overjoyed faces staring at me from the very front rows,
Almost as if they’re here for me.

In this vision,
Where everything was quite and mute,
All of a sudden there seems to be music,
I hear violins and tambourines,
Bands playing their usual regime.
And then I see him,
Walking towards the very canopy that I’ve been standing under,
Tall and formidable, but uncertain of how to get to me.
Almost as if he wanted to be there by me, but not quite.

I remember thinking,
The heat from that day almost still palpable,
Beads of sweat on my nape and an undying thirst,
All of it conspired against me that day.
And I remember I tried running,
Running away from my fate and from people,
Running away and waking up in a blur.
And that’s all that my Wedding Day was, a blur.
It didn’t happen, even in this vision that I’d had.
It just didn’t.

day 4

Day 5: Caged Whispers
You had held my hand in yours and said,
‘We’ll make a beautiful world for ourselves.’
And I held on to your every word.
Every word that was so eloquently jotted down,
And repeated to me often enough to hold me down.

You promised the world to me,
One in which there was no space for another or envy.
And I believed your every word.
Every word found a place in my heart and in my soul,
My soul that has been yours for a while now.

You know that already, don’t you?
You know that I’ll be yours until the end of time,
Because I am scared and unstable.
Scared enough to run back to you when dejection & despair sieze the day,
And go through all of it with you, again.

You know you have me caged,
In a beautiful mess of luxury and consequences,
And now I live to break out.
Break out into a dimension where I exist and not just linger,
Where I’m a little more than just a caged whisper.

day 5

Day 6: Rheostats & Second Thoughts

He picked up his physics textbook and contemplated,
Had he done enough to make it through his last finals?
Would it ever be enough, would he ever be enough?
All their hopes and dreams pinned on his skinny little shoulders,
Was today the end of the world as he knew it?

He had burnt the midnight oil,
He had gone through the drill a hundred times over,
‘Do not let anxiety creep in, do not be a disappointment’
But they lived vicariously, only through him and his glory,
Was today the end of the world as he knew it?

He thought of how disappointed his mother would be with his score,
She had stayed up with him on endless nights just for that extra moral support.
He could not even begin to imagine how dejected his father would be,
His life’s earnings, savings and more spent on his overachieving only child.
Was today the end of the world as he knew it?

He waited and stared into the hard, unwelcoming ground below,
It really was a dark, cold night.
And maybe the sweat down his spine was out of place,
Just as out of place as he felt amongst creatures of the night on that abandoned terrace.
Was today the end of the world as he knew it?

He picked up his physics book again and contemplated,
Before letting his concepts on rheostats & semiconductors decide his worth.
Maybe he wasn’t cut out for all of this jazz,
And maybe it’s time to finally tell father he wanted to give literature a shot.
So really, was today the end of the world as he knew it?

day 6

Day 7: 14 to 20

Dearest 14 year old me,

I wish I could tell you now and I wish that you knew,
You don’t have to dress to impress,
You don’t have to be embarrassed of your parentage.
You needn’t live for validation,
From especially those that won’t even matter 3 years down the line.

It’s okay to have your nose deep into that unpopular novel,
And it’s okay to not bother about the length of your skirt.
It’s okay to not have a fan following,
And it is more than okay to not feel accepted.

And while there’s still time learn to rightfully own all you’ve got,
Your eccentricity, your chin, your funny nickname and your quirks.
Your inability to accommodate mediocrity,
Your refusal to prance around guys.

Meem, don’t fret and do not cower
Don’t bow down and don’t depend,
Be your own person or spend all of your time becoming it,
You’ll be all of it, all of it can be you.

day 7

Day 8: Mirrors & Scales

I have gotten to a stage in life,
Where I’m off weighing scales and funny mirrors.

I have gotten to a stage in life,
Where I think twice before wearing tiny shorts,
And more before putting on any fitting top.
‘Arms look too flabby, tummy pokes out ridiculously, oh and do not even get me started on the thighs.

I have gotten to a stage in life,
Where I live on Peanut Butter and procrastination.

I have gotten to a stage in life,
Where if you tell me to look into a mirror,
I’d gift you a mirror instead so you are self aware first.
Where if you tell me I cannot wear what I like or eat what I want or do whatever it is that I want to do,
I’d forget all about your existence than make any change in mine.

I have gotten to this stage in life,
And I’ve never been more proud of it.

day 8

Day 9: Wishes and Stars

I don’t ask for too much,
Nor do I hope for the best.

I only wish to have enough,
To travel to a new place every month.
I only wish to have enough,
So I can walk until my feet give up.
I only wish to have enough,
To fall, to crumble, to get lost and find my way back.

Back to the life that I can run away from,
As and when I want but I would never ask for much.

day 9

Day 10 : You

You remind me of the rising Sun,
With that fierce intensity and the unparalleled warmth of your stare.
You remind me of the first sip of tea,
At the end of a tediously long, hard day.
You are home.

Your arms are my shelter,
On days that I’m convinced the world is conspiring against me.
Your crooked smile and the pungent smell of cologne on your nape,
Is what I live for on most days.
You are home.

There are no questions asked or any scope for suspicion & doubts,
You understand because you do.
You understand my struggle to emote and my Inability to exist,
You do it better than anyone else I know.
You are home.

Inspite of your messy hair and your dirty fingernails,
And the fact that you are fascinated by bouncy castles at the age of 23,
Inspite of your affinity towards cheap alcohol and your obvious lack of capacity to hold it in,
And the fact that you can talk at length about the physics behind rainbow formations,
You are home.

You are home to me,
My home and mine.
My muse and my magic.
My funniest comic saga and my worst tragedy,
You will always be home to me.

day 10

Day 11: To Vaz or not to Vaz?

Unladylike.

My latest read, is also my source of joy at the moment.
It talks of the first blotch of feminism we’ve all happened upon as kids,
And of the unreal joy at being asked out by our school crushes.
It talks of entwined hearts and pussy farts,
And of how inadequately feminine the lack of boobs had made all of us feel at one point.

My latest read, is both a pleasure and a revelation.
It talks of feminism, not that I need more of that fodder,
And of gender stereotypes and subtle issues that define it.
It talks of how we as kids struggle to feel accepted,
And how as kids we’re foolish enough to pander to ridiculous habits in the hope of earning a new friend.

My latest read, since Friday has followed me to the mountain and back.
I held it close to me on the weekend, under the sun and the Prussian blue sky.
And I hold it close to me everyday since then.
Grudgingly turning each page, I would just hate for it to end,
Of all the books I’ve read and I’ve loved,
Unladylike will definitely be the hardest to part with.

Unladylike, is about me, for me and I hope someday something so simple in its essence yet so eloquently elaborated is written by me.

I carry a book around with me everywhwere, even when I might not necessarily be reading it. It is my constant companion and confidant. Thanks @srivatsa.cain once again, for letting me have access to your beautiful collection of books.

day 11

Day 12 : Rise
From all the bitter banter and mindless matter,
I rise.

From handfuls of hate and laborious love,
I rise.

From the envy, wrath and in the wake of agony,
I rise.

I rise from the ashes and I rise towards new beginnings.
I rise unaware of all the filth I’ve left behind in you.

I rise like a cliched Phoenix looking down on you,
I rise oblivious to your inconsequential & non existent self, like always.

day 12

Day 13: We are an anomaly

We are an anomaly.

And anomaly is not even my favourite word of the dictionary, so how did you defeat everyone in my list of strict no-s to end up at the very top?

We are an anomaly.

And anomaly was a concept that I learnt when you put me up on that pedestal, and the minute I looked back I realised I was falling down into an abyss of insecurity and incompatibility.

We are an anomaly.

And anomalies are never permanent, and they never forge fierce foundations. Anomalies just are, there one moment and gone forever after.

day 13

Day 14 : Avid reader, absolute rebel

I started reading when I was six and I started understanding by the time I was 13.
I remember when I first read ‘Cinderella’ I wondered why the Fairy Godmother had to be summoned to fix her up. If it were upto me, I’d make her attend the ball in her (preferrably) pink pyjamas. We’d know for sure then that the prince was in for the real thing.

I started reading when I was six, but I started questioning by the time I was 15.
Every story had a prince and while the prince was described to be dreamy and desirable, I always wondered why putting in a prince in the middle of a plot that could have been so much more, was encouraged.

I started reading when I was six, but I started digressing by the time I was 17.
I watched Mulan and I loved Mulan. I know it was a little too late in life, but no one talks of Mulan as much as they talk about Cinderella. And no one talks of Belle’s diffidence to the norm as much as they’d like to talk about her spectacular love story. Mulan took charge and Belle inspired.

I started reading when I was six but I hope to fight and flourish, forever and after.

day 14

Day 15 : Bangalore
Bangalore.
‘one of the most progressive cities with a benevolent climate & burgeoning drinking’, has earned it’s reputation presumably because of the frustrations of all white-collars that consummate their week over a pint of craft beer.

Bangalore.
The city that has a billion places much to the delight of gastronomes and closet alcoholics but also exhibits it’s culture every step of the way. Exhibit A: Chicken Crepe Dosa (in the picture above)

Bangalore.
Because you need your IT job and you need to inspire the innate poet in you,
Where you can write while you’re stuck in endless jams at busy signals.

Because you can walk in your lane at 12 in the night and you can wear that halter dress to dinner without getting judged,
And still feel relatively safer than you would in most other places.

Because you need to live, you need to experience and you need to be part of this unholy progeny of culture and chaos,
And live that story you’ll tell your child ten years from now,

About how Old Monk from the ‘theka’ was a mandate before entering TOIT and pretending to enjoy your solitary glass of beer.
About how you braved the crowd at Commercial Street and picked up that earring that would have cost you a bomb at Zara.
About the Dosas and the Chicken Ghee Roast,

About Bangalore, in its essence and overall.

day 15

Day 16 : Hills and Hormones
I sat on a hilltop, that overlooked a set of white & red houses,
And I thought of bringing you here someday.
To especially the house on the extreme left,
That is blue on the outside and hopefully warmest on the inside.
Someday, when maybe I’m not as destructive and you’re not as affected,
Someday when you’d be willing to see me again, to travel with me again.

day 16

Day 17 : No
I don’t know, what do you want me to say?
Not like I’ve ever been able to say much to make it better.
Or I’d ever be able to pacify you when you need it most,
Not like you’ll know how insanely impossible it is for me to tell you all that I want to,
Or I’d ever be okay with letting go of you because you’re all I’ve ever known.
I don’t know, would you just want to take a walk with me instead?
Or get wasted at a shady haunt that no one passes by?
And tell me about everything that crosses your mind,
And maybe then I can cough up the courage to tell you some too?

day 17

Day 18 : Confines
A gleam of hope through the dark,
A sliver of light inspite of sorrows harvested over time,
All worth less than the undiluted truth of your past.

A jab, a slap, a blow and a stab,
Would still destroy me less than the knowledge of who you are on the inside,
You lied, you lied and you lied through your skin, your teeth, your soul,
And now I’m a prisoner of yours.
Your truth, your secret and in the light of your lies.

Truth is I should have known,
Truth is I should have picked myself up the first time you let me down,
Truth is I should have seen how all of this would never materialize,
You and us, confined in your house of lies.

day 18

Day 19 : I am my muse

On slow days, I ask myself existential questions (yes, that’s my idea of fun)

I wonder what my penultimate mission in life should be and if what I’ve set out to do will ever contribute to a larger good.

On slow days, I spend hours staring at my poster infested wall (and I’m at my creative best, internally)

I think about how nothing has gone right in the past one year, and how even that hasn’t deterred me from embarking on a conspicuous quest of happiness & uncompromised glee.

On slow days, I bite my nails a lot in anxiety and unconsciously (My bit to not let my mind place turn into Satan’s workshop)

I recollect the fondest memories I’ve pushed back always, of all those times spent in the warmest company, of all the times my head was patted, my hand been held and my fingers entwined in puny pinky promises.

On slow days, I think of people I’ve outgrown and of people who outgrew me (it’s a list longer than my current friend circle)

I try to remember if I deserved all the kindness and care or if they were right to humiliate me for how long my face was, about how broad my back was and how obnoxious my laugh was.

On slow days, I let tears fall on my unsuspecting cheek and drown myself in remorse (and no, not just when I’m hormonal)

I cry for my grandfather, that my nine year old self refused to spend time with and for the great love of my life that I abandoned with apparent grief, and for the friend that I wasn’t.

On slow days, I find enough time to look within me.

day 19

Day 20 : Her

Don’t contain her smile, or stop her from pulling on your hair.
Don’t tell her how horrible the world outside is, and how vital it is to pick up self defense moves.

Don’t tell her to dress right, and talk soft,
Don’t teach her to be cautious, or think twice before she voices her issue with misogyny.

Just do not, just watch her little steps trace the boundaries of the world you’ve opened her up to.

day 20

Day 21: UP

Feet up in the air,
Oblivious to cold stares.
Up, up and onwards.

my first and maybe last attempt at a haiku. I remember sitting on the edge of the hilltop, and thinking of random phrases that didn’t belong together that day. And even though my feet needn’t pedicure urgently, I didn’t mind sitting on that edge and I could have continued sitting there forever more.

day 21

Day 22: Hi Best Friend

Dearest Best Friend,

You are a pile of turd, and your body odour is that of farts.
You criticise my life choices, you laugh at my protruding posterior,
You correct structures of every poem I ever put up, yet single out and talk at length about the one that you do like.
And I’ve never been more grateful for your sorry existence.

Thank you for being my constant critique, and my faithful confidante.
Thank you for never letting me feel the need to indulge in kitchen politics, girly insecurities and the likes that come with.
Thank you for telling me always and unfailingly to look for redeeming qualities,
And for countless sticky notes and the warmest bear hugs.

For shielding my back when it comes to things that matter the most,
For calling me once in 2 months to tell me how you lost weight for no reason.
For you, everything about you and for all of yours, I’m forever grateful.

day 22

Day 23 : Warmth and Lights

I sat under the canopy of lights,
Expectant and ecstatic.
You said you’d meet me there five minutes after eleven,
With conviction and certainty.

I checked my watch again,
Nervous and Noisily.
I get anxious when I’m alone,
I tap my foot a lot and I bite my shapeless fingernails.

You came through the blue doors at twelve sharp,
Harrowed and with haste.
You looked around and your jet black eyes finally landed on me,
You flapped your hands around in search of something, I wasn’t sure what.

You found the solitary white Lily in your back pocket and walked to me,
Gleefully, maybe glad to have been armed with the Lily.
I got up and you swooned in for a hug,
You smelt warm and honest.

And maybe that’s all I was looking for after years of negligence, after year of being taken for granted.
Warmth, and a sense of familiarity.

day 23

Day 24 : My Secret
You smelt like warmth and niceness,
Sincere and eager.
You reminded me of a coveted summer day,
Approaching fastidiously and with care.

How happy I was to just be in your company,
How delighted I was to listen to your never ending stories,
Stories that had no head or tail,
Stories that had absolutely no relevance or relatability.

I felt like yours, my head and heart a storehouse of your secrets,
Your secrets felt like mine to protect,
And I had to protect you from the world that pried.
You are my secret until the end of this lethal liaison.

day 24

Day 25 : Eyelashes and EyeCandy
I watch you strut your stuff and go,
To the bar when you know you’ve got all eyes on you.
With that perfectly proportionate waist and fluffy fulsome hair,
Now even you have a better chance at polygamy than me!

It’s hard to take off me eyes off of you and I’m sure many others feel the same,
The furious flutter of your eyelashes make me want to throw my mascara away,
And your jawline would put every woman’s contouring to shame,
Now I don’t even care anymore if it hurts your magnificent masculinity to be called pretty!

Because you are a pretty boy and that can never be a bad thing,
Only something that induces a lil inferiority complex in me and a lot of pride.
Setting you up is going to be so easy, not that you’d need a wing-woman.
You’re a 6’1 geek with brown eyes, and I’ve never seen anyone more beautiful.

day 25

Day 26 : Two lost souls in a fishing bowl

If I lose my way,
A lil out of habit and more out of my need to catch your attention,
Would you follow my trail?

In all of the time you’ve spent with me,
Could you tell my footsteps from the rest?
And did you a make a lil note in your head of all the things I smell like?

If I’m stuck in the woods and cry out for help,
Would you walk down and find me there?
And would your memory of me, my idiosyncrasies suffice and lead you back to me?

day 26

Day 27 : MEEM

My insides degraded to ash and dust,
Enabling my already dipping belief in myself.
Entirely consuming my soul, my head and my heart were perennially battling each other,
My will to tread on suppressed every desire to see me perish, every time.

day 28

Day 28 : What I need vs. What I’ve got

Of all the books that I’ve read and of all the books that I own,
I’ve never come across one that specifically dictates how to conduct myself in social situations, according to crowd moods.

How to adult in 30 days’, ‘Parenting 101’,
Could all be popular working titles of potentially popular reads.

Consent and the relevance of even a meek no, should be in the books,
The pros and cons of democracy and nepotism, should all be in books.

I would love to read a book where the main protagonist is a female,
That does not depend on the mercy and whims of her partner.

I would love a book that makes, breaks and defies sexism,
And subtly points towards the dichotomy of society.

A book that encourages lil boys to cry if there’s a need to,
And one that encourages discussions on, of and for newly reinstated adults.

I would like books that inspire intellectual conversations,
Instead of those that make learning Julius Caesar by rote a mandate.

We need books that help us prosper and break norms,
Those that do not propagate mediocrity and complacency.

day 27

Day 29 : Hello Goodbye

I can never physically get myself to say goodbye.

Not because it has this sense of finality to it,
Not because it lends fragility to your relationship with the other person.

I can say bye a million times only when I know I’ll see you again two days after.

It doesn’t wither my insides to see you leave then,
And you don’t walk away with a part of me and years of my life in you.

I wish I could bring myself to kiss you a final goodbye.

I knew you were leaving to never return in the same capacity,
I watched you leave and did nothing about it.

Because I am not good with goodbyes.
I wish I was though, so you’d know you mean the world to me, and you are a part of me.

I wish I was though, you’d resent me less and you’d remember me more.
I wish I was good with goodbyes.

day 29

Day 30 : Poetry Tribe

April was a good month, or at least it came pretty close to being one.

I can do a lot of things, poetry isn’t one of them.
But this April I wrote, religiously and regularly inspite of that mental block.

April was a good month, or at least did it’s very best.

I can write about possibly everything under the sun,
But in these 30 days I learnt to give some structure, some rhythm to all of it.

April was a good month, it has nurtured me and helped me broaden my horizons.

I wrote, I took pictures to complement everything I wrote and I kept myself busy and away from all sorts of negativity and bad space.

April was the best month in a long time I think, and even though I haven’t perfected my writing, I’ve been greatly inspired to work on it.

day 30

 

This is the first time I’ve participated in the #NaPoWriMo challenge, and I’m grateful to @harnidhk because #NaPoWriMoXNidhScraps gave me quite some amount of direction to continue with these poems for this entire month, which really is a long time! April has been wonderful for my creative self, and hopefully it has worked out well for you too.

FreshMenu Food Festival!

It is yet another slow Sunday and I have convinced my inner 80 year old self to actively avoid calls, and any possibility of having to go out. It really is a chore to go out. One planned group outing involves finding the perfect attire that would cover your problem areas effectively while also not making you stand out in the new setting like a fish out of water. Once the outfit picking is done, you have to network a little more to coordinate between those two friends that never talk to each other outside of the group. Of course you have to coordinate, you need to have backups to chill with. Therefore, refusing to make any such plans had been a good move by yours truly.

Now that I am home, you know I need to eat. Food is a little more than a substitute for boredom. Food is everything, even when you’ve hit the lowest lows of life. What makes you feel better when your boyfriend refuses to go out? Food. What makes you feel better when you’ve just found out that Jon Snow might actually be related to Daenerys thus disqualifying possibilities of an intense love story between them? Food. What is the elixir of life? FOOD. That is and will always be the answer to all problems.

When it comes to food, I am not extremely discerning. I take and gobble up whatever comes my way, because beggars can never be choosers. However, if I do have to choose one particular cuisine that I am absolutely loyal to, it is Italian. Pastas (of any kind) are my comfort food. I try to not judge or reprimand them by their shape and size, but I might just have a soft spot for gnocchi and fusilli. Now a lot of you might say gnocchi is too doughy, but I abide by the Gnocchi in Cream Sauce that is available on FreshMenu on a lucky day. It is just the right balance of sauces, and never feels heavy in spite of popular belief. My favourite fusili dish of theirs in the ‘Fusilli in Pink Sauce’, the five times I’ve ordered this dish, I’ve been served with almost the perfectly tangy, yet creamy red sauce and a generous amount of pasta topped with olives and all kinds of goodness. I love their pasta so much, I once even ordered their salad for it! (not that I was disappointed, in fact I’ve discovered I’m a strictly FreshMenu salads sort of a person)

Therefore, FreshMenu’s Food Festival that starts this coming Monday, i.e. the 24th of April, is probably the only thing I am looking forward to in this last week of the month. Their meals are not only significantly sufficient, but also extremely economical. (Which is exactly what I need since salary day is not until six days from now) The delivery is swift and the food gets to you while it is still fresh and hot. For all those reasons, more and because I am probably secretly hoping for an exclusive Menu that draws inspiration from all nooks and corners of the globe, I am on my toes until the FreshMenu Food Festival begins!
Consider this to be a fair heads up, tie your laces and buckle up for the most exquisite food festival of the season.

Will just leave you with a few pictures exclusively from their new Menu, starting Monday:

A Dash of Red

Red is not a colour. Red is an expression of exuberance and sometimes of impending omens. Usually an active participant of auspicious gatherings, red is a symbol. This symbol however is increasingly accommodating and lets us use it to represent whichever mood we might be in at a particular point of time. On good days, red talks of opulence and brightness. On the bad days, red signifies rage, fire and a sense of ferocity. Like I said, red adapts and thus, Kala loved red.

Kala was an ambivert, you could either adore her or despise her. There was never any in between. She meddled in all kinds of art as a kid, but her red Kathak costume and her oil painting of the setting sun casting a luminous red glow to her landscape have always been dear to her. So much so, that they travelled with her even when she moved cities. Kala was fiercely opinionated. When in eighth grade, her classmates shamed her upon seeing the red stain across her white summer skirt she shrugged and went on to tell them, “It’s a crime scene in my pants, and a raging fire in my head.”

Kala never enforced her opinion on people, she wrote about it instead. Not to shame them, not to blame them but to put forth what she never could in person. Confrontation was never her forte. She wrote not to change, but to wake consciences. “You cannot save everyone”, she used to say and really, you can’t. “With an attitude like that, no wonder she barely has friends”, they used to say and they were right. Everyone in Kala’s life was temporary in the long run. Her boyfriends whom she wholeheartedly worshipped, her friends that she was ferociously protective about. It hurt her pride to agree to and encourage friends who in her opinion were idealistically wrong. She finally admitted she never liked the beige top her third boyfriend had gotten her and exchanged it for a red one instead. Then again, maybe it was one of her many phases, one in which she felt immaculately self-righteous. Funnily enough, that phase never ended.

Things never changed for years, people came and people left. The thought of being thought of as a bore consumed her, and as funny as it sounds it made her want to appear as more of a bore. Over time, Kala did not need people to constantly hang out with because she had learnt if she ever came across anyone who was remotely genuine, he would see her for her. This left her with more time which made way for more books, more music and enough time to choose between Peanut Butter and Nutella.

She had a peculiar aura about her. It exuded freedom, not disinterest and her personality inspired independence. It did not matter to her that people had a preconceived notion of her only because she could never be as forthcoming, it never mattered to her that she was mostly thought of as unwanted litter, as the little stray pup that follows the rest of its siblings around. The only thing that she focused on was herself, her career and her. She snickered on the inside when one day she found out that all of the cool kids whose validation she had always craved for were actually just like her, maybe worse. She wasn’t too proud of the fact that she’d found pleasure in the irrelevance of others and was quick to brush that thought away. That day though, there was a smile plastered on her tiny face, so much so, that her mother doubted her sobriety when she got home with the red balloon in hand, which was a gift from her to her.

Seasons passed, as did several jobs. In between, the constant pressure of keeping herself current and still finding time to do what made her happy, she discovered red wine. I know, I know this Kala woman sounds like a potential alcoholic candidate. You wouldn’t believe though, how red wine changed her life. If you ask me, it was more the satisfaction of having found a friend in something that had ruined lives, yet never letting it have that kind of a hold on her. She loved coming back home now, even if it was her tiny studio apartment in the suburbs. She loved slumping herself on her little rocking chair, after having poured herself a little glass of red wine in one of those long stemmed glasses she always thought looked good in the hands of those perfect ladies in their long gowns, a sight you see so often in movies. She thought of how it would look if someone walked in on her, sitting there alone in her little rocking chair, her pajamas and her old, torn sweatshirt with the stemmed glass of red in hand and an old 80’s song filling up all the empty spaces in that tiny room, and she smiled the smile of an invincible woman. She thought of what her mother would think of her slump and her clothes, she would never have to worry about that anymore, she had earned her independence.

She had come so far, she would go so far. This whole time, the colour red had been her only constant. Kala was. She was as boring as boring could be, and more interesting than she had ever been, all of it at once.

FIN.
Personally I love the idea of Kala, I really do.

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You’re a feminist too?

“Out of the ash, I rise
With my red hair”

The aftermath of the furor that followed the New Year’s Eve molestation incident in Bangalore is still perceptible within the city. More so, because every other day there’s a new snippet that is published where senior, seasoned politicians ridicule choices made by the women in question. “Their clothes were too revealing, the time of the night was just appalling.” I came across this one snippet in the past few days that said and I quote, “Park women in your houses like your cars, and no harm will come to them”, a line that I found particularly horrifying. Almost as if we as a people, are taking a step backward at a time when all kinds of media, the art houses & cinemas are trying to establish and encourage women empowerment. Take for example, a brilliant movie like Dangal which is not overly dramatic or unnecessarily over the top. Everyone across all ages, across all communities and inspite of their ideologies seemed to have loved this movie. It was all about bringing about a change in the mindset of the society, which sparked off with the father. Even after being served with such a movie, I am sure many (maybe overprotective, or genuinely caring) fathers would still say, “No don’t take up this job, it is not for women”

In the days that followed the New Years’ Eve Incident that took place in Bangalore, a lot of women marches and silent protests were organized all over the city. I happened to attend one of these, where basic self-defense was taught to the attendees and lawyers spoke to the women in the gathering about the rights granted to them by our Constitution. I witnessed one man in the mixed audience who expressed undue anger at one of the speakers at the event, because he believed and in fact was convinced that the Mass Molestation of women on New Years’ Eve was a hoax. He went on further to say that there are is no evidence to prove it (video footage exists) and no corroboration to the stories. I came back home to my friends like family to tell them about the behaviour of this man that they rightly condemned. When I told them about the self-defence workshop though,I was made fun of because “what will you do if a man really attacks you” and “How will one self defence class on tricks help” and “Do you honestly think you can overpower a man” and “HAHA. The first trick is to shout out loud? Typical”. Of course, I would fight like a girl if I ever do. I would fight with conviction and determination though, like I (and I am sure most of you) fight patriarchal pricks such as these, day in and out.

You could call me a raging feminist. But that word has become a ridiculous tag in days like ours where the internet is the only magical place most are aware of! It is now cool to be called a feminist, where bios are put up on social media sites that say hardcore feminist, where long paragraphs are written on feminism and the need for it. It upsets me thoroughly that most of these feminists aren’t quite aware of what the job profile of being a feminist entails. Even more so, that these self-proclaimed feminists are some of the first people to join the bandwagon of body shaming. Body shaming for too much butt or too less of it, for too much thigh or much less boob. But God forbid, one person passes similar comments on them and giant posts get written about it on social media.

I am a raging feminist, yes.
I am ridiculously righteous and have seen that body shaming is a practice more prevalent in women.
I despise discrimination against women at work, as much as I am against the idea of ladies’ nights at bars.
I do not believe anyone has the right to anything by virtue of their gender, be it free passes or undeserved ridicule.
I do not think crying out about my feminist sensibilities would make anyone see me differently, nor do I feel the need to be seen differently.
I do not believe that as a feminist I should ONLY voice my opinion on allowed and taboo-ed skirt lengths or gym gear when there are girl children that haven’t still seen the skirts that could’ve been part of their school uniform.
I am a raging feminist, and I am still unsure of the authenticity of most feminists.

Being a feminist has nothing to do with class and the privileges you’ve been born into. Case in point being Asha, my aunt’s maid in Delhi. She is from a village in Haryana and has seen her neighbours getting medals for the country. One evening she came up to me to ask if i knew how to get her two daughters trained in sports, to make them competent enough for a career in it. I was quite unaware of the scenario myself but I promised to get back to her on it which eventually, I did. She could never finish her education because her family married her off early, which was a fate she vowed to not inflict on her daughters who went to school and were apparently above average in Maths. In 2016 Asha enrolled herself in school to finish ninth and tenth grade exams because she believes education is the only tool that can uplift the state of women. It is an awakening that has begun and is yet to find a foothold in most communities.

It is our perception as a country that has to change, take into account the little uprisings that happen in your own neighbourhood, in your own houses and in your own daughters. Let the movies, and achievement stories inspire you. Don’t be afraid for having given birth to a girl or being one. You do not need to look out for her, she will learn herself, from her surroundings and from the examples you set. Allow her to break barriers and destroy disparages.
Be a feminist, not because that is what everyone around you claims to be but because your daughter/your wife/your sister/your friend/your mother needs you.

– Meem , a daughter/a friend/a sister/a feminist/a connoisseur and facilitator of art

FIN.
This had to be written for a long time but I’ve just lacked the drive to do anything these past few weeks. Also this article has smashed my mandatory word limit so please take a look at my Instagram if you want to read more of this stuff and especially, if you want to know those self-defense tricks. Leaving this picture of me here, just because. Kbai.

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Shores & Screams

Rejection, dejection, the inception of deception
All of it I have seen, all of it has been,
To decipher one from another, to tell one apart from the other
Is what I struggle with.

Always been taught to push feelings away,
Always been told they’re irrelevant, they’re not important,
Always learnt to wrap it all up inside of me,
Always struggled with the cacophony.

All of 22 and still wondering,
How to put into words or express all that I am feeling?
How to not seem so detached, so unaffected by it all,
When all of it has disconcerted me, above and beyond?

I want to be there for you often,
I seldom want to be there with you,
I want and I crave to put all of it into words,
I want everything in my heart & head, to not be lost in translation.

So maybe I will write about you,
To make up for having spectacularly failed to be there for you.
And maybe I will put up a picture of you,
When I cannot articulate my endless affection for you.

I will stay on, even when I feel wronged,
Grudgingly but sincerely, for you deserve it all.
Always unbelievably unaware, and incessantly insecure
I would never say it out loud, so how would you know at all?

So you see what a chore it is,
To be an emotionless bitch.
While you doubt and you whisper your dissatisfaction out loud,
I try, with all my might to let some light through to me.

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Lil’ Darling.

Seven years ago today, Daibik waltzed into our lives with hands so tiny, I’d sigh in glee everytime he tried wrapping his whole hand around that one finger. My entire family has been obsessed with him since, and we’re all equally guilty of having turned him into a spoilt brat.
In one of my pleas, I asked people on Instagram to give me something to write on. Rajat Joseph, a friend and my go-to person for gossip from college, had then said he’d like to read an open letter, written by me to my little (much more than a Cousin) brother, Daibik. Today, Daibik turns 7 and I cannot think of a time more perfect to publish this open letter, from Me to my little Darling.

You’ve been blessed with everything you could hope to have,
You’ve been blessed with the most indulgent parents,
Your mother who has given you her all,
And your wish is your dad’s command.
When You grow up and all I ask is for you to remember just this much.

You’re such a beautiful, talented boy.
Your gold medals are proof of it,
And when you don’t win those, you win hearts,
which in my opinion should be taken more seriously.
Keep talking, keep winning, hearts, medals, all of it is yours to take.

Remember all that you have, notice those that don’t,
Learn to give, then you’d have learnt more than your books can teach you.
Be kind, be strong and stand up for what is right,
You might not have the power to change things,
You will always have a choice to side with the truth.

You’re smart, you’re sufficient and you’re a delight,
In all of the years that are to come, never let anyone tell you otherwise.
I hope you discover what you like,
And I hope you pursue it with enthusiasm.
Most importantly, I hope that you see,
Your importance in my life and in the life of those around me.

And I will always be right here, for you to fall back on,
I will always be right here to undo your (hopefully very few) wrongs.
I will be right here for all that you need me for,
You have me and you always will have me,
Wrapped around that tiny, miniscule hand of yours.

Happy Birthday, Daibik. Maybe someday when you’re old enough, you’ll read this. Until then, we can continue taking selfies with Snapchat Filters on, or lick Nutella straight out of one jar, or whatever little joys of life you’d rather share with me.

With infinite love,
Meem.

FIN.
Ending this post with a picture of the little handsome dude.

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Happy Birthday, Lil’ Fool.

Konverse with Krittika – Part IV

Answered most of the questions sent in for this edition.
Here we go!

R.A: Girlfriend knows every social media password and I can’t even surprise her because I tell her everything. She still believes I lie to her. How do I convince her that I do not lie?
K.C: Don’t save the surprises for social media, then. Surprise her in person, with balloons, cake and the works! Seriously though, I am ill-equipped to answer that question, I snoop into my friends’ phones too even when I am sitting right beside them,so I get where your girlfriend comes from. There’s no sure shot way to make her believe you aren’t a liar instantly. What you could do is continue being open and honest to her, don’t make any attempt to stop her from behaving like she does,deal with her with patience. Think of it as an inversely proportional equation. Amount of love showered on girlfriend inversely proportional to girlfriend’s insecurity.
When the time is right, gift her a handbook on How to respect your Partner’s Privacy. (LOL, Kidding)

A.S: We know that we don’t like talking to/seeing/tolerating someone but we still go ahead and handle them so that mental peace is achieved. Is it a smart thing to do or are we too weak to express hate?
K.C: Humans aren’t black and white. We’re grey. You aren’t weak if you’re incapable of hate and expressing it doesn’t, shouldn’t give you strength. It all depends on your equation with the other person and the relationship you share, really. In my head, I always struggle with pros and cons of having to compromise for the sake of another. But then again, that is how I deal with it. You necessarily needn’t adopt the same approach. You could take the higher ground and continue to see/talk to/ tolerate them if they don’t affect your existence magnificently. But if after having made your list of pros and cons of going that extra mile you think you should cut them off, you cut them off. Also, it is never a smart move to express hate. You’re weak if you HAVE to express hate. I wish I’d have told my 20 year old self the same thing I am telling you right now, I’d have done a lot of things differently. Remember child, Ignorance is bliss.

I.S: If it is a cosy night at home, and I want to pair a cosy movie with just the right kind of mood/wine setting, what would you recommend? Keeping in mind, Bangalore’s weather these past few days of course.
K.C: I am a Dia Wine loyalist. It is absolutely economical, if you’re a single loner, trying to live by your means. So yes, red or white Dia wine works brilliantly in this weather. If you know me or follow me on Instagram at all, you’d know that I am a fairy lights enthusiast, which work pretty well as mood lighting. Once you’re ready with all that, here’s a list of movies I’d watch on days like these. My taste in movies/music is said to be rather depressing but bear with me:
a. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
b. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
c. 10 Things I Hate About You.
d. Perks of being a wallflower/ anything with Ezra Miller in it.
e. Love Actually

L.J.S: Been dating someone for two years and a little more. More often than not, I feel trapped as she isn’t letting me break up. I wouldn’t call it emotional harassment but I do feel it is borderline emotional blackmail. As a result of this, I sense the resentment building with every passing day. Apart from the resentment, there’s also all the negativity, incessant fights and unnecessary tears. How do I come out of this amicably?
K.C: I am not the best at any kind of relationship/emotional advice, cause I am completely devoid of emotions at all times. But since you ask, I think there is a fine line between coexistence and dependency. Dependency is fatal, often leads to this sentiment of feeling trapped for the other person. I feel you, in your sub conscious already know what is best for you. Besides, I have always maintained that in a relationship both should grow, with help from one another. That will not happen in the presence of negativity, or toxicity. So nip it in the bud, because if you cannot break up now, you’ll never be able to. It might be too late already, but better late than never. You needn’t settle, you musn’t compromise on the things in life that are important to you. I think the most amicable way to break up is to be honest and upfront about it. The more you lie, the more you twist your statements, the murkier it gets. Be honest, be true to yourself, remember the history that you’ve shared, take a deep breath and get done with it.
Sorry if this was too curt, and sorry if this isn’t what you’re looking for. But I am not too good at diplomacy. Hope you make your peace with yourself, whether you continue being in this or not.

N.H: Why and how did you think of the hashtag ‘Fat kid for life’ for your Instagram pictures. You put it everywhere, I’m sure you’ve been asked before. But I’d really want to know.
K.C: My one insecurity is how my body looks, it just is. No amount of validation or appreciation can make me feel like I am the right shape. I know I am not, because my diet involves all kinds of junk food. I don’t exercise or keep track of calories. I have been called chubby, plump, all kinds of funny things on and off. So why is it so bad when I call myself a fat kid? I am content with how I look, and I cover my problem areas well but internally, I have always been a fat, lazy kid ever since I was a child. I enjoy eating so much that I salivate at the thought of gooey brownies. Food excites me, keeps me going. So, fat kid for life is also more to do with that sentiment than just the literal meaning of it. I know a lot of people have found that hashtag unfair, replied with a ‘if you are fat, what am I’. The thing is, feeling fat or not is not relative. Atleast for me, when I say fat, I mean fatter than what I used to be. I would never compare or compete with others because I am incapable of it. Also, I am too self involved to look past myself. So do not take offence, at the end of the day it is only Instagram and it is only a juvenile hashtag.

T.S: Congrats on graduating college. What now? If I may, I think you should take your writing seriously, maybe write something longer, get better and pursue it. You cannot limit yourself to a desk job.
K.C: If I could, I would. But I can’t, so I shan’t. Kidding. I could tell you that art is important and that one should always follow their passions, all of that jazz. Truth is, art seldom pays for bills if you’re not the best (in my case far, far from the best) at it. I write because it is my medium of expression, I do not write for people, I write for me. So that is firstly why I might never do well as a writer, professionally and I’m well aware of it. Secondly, I am not limiting myself at all. I am 22 and time isn’t running out just yet, so yes I am doing a desk job right now. I am also travelling, maintaining an above average wardrobe and eating cake every alternate night with the money I earn from my 9 to 5 job. I don’t see any reason to do things differently right now. Maybe if I am asked this 2 years down the line, and maybe if I am still behind the same desk then, I would cringe a little. Until then I remind myself everyday that I have come a long way, and I will go a long way, when the time is right.

I hope I was helpful. I hope that I atleast made you think, whether you act on it or not is upto you.
Here’s a picture of your beloved(lol) agony aunt in all her glory.
FIN.

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Sup?

Home?

I let go of home, with foolish enthusiasm five years ago
With a lot of ambition, quite a few promises,
And with a naive determination to shine.
Cause who ever thinks of the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘could be-s’?
‘I am a strong, self-sufficient and independent woman’,
Having said that more to myself than to the world, I trudged on.

On and on to find a new home, all over again
Having moved miles away and having to still keep on moving on.
I found it easier to build homes in people.
My people with their selfish flaws,
My people with their unaligned jaws.
My home they’d thus become, living and breathing.

My home spoke to me and sheltered me
From the perils on the outside,
From the strain that was now palpable on the inside.
I knew this home too  would give way too soon,
And that meant I had to find a new home.

A new home that I knew would never match up,
to the comfort and the tranquility of the old one.
A new home that wouldn’t be as warm,
A new home that couldn’t be as inviting on a wintry night.
Which is why you shouldn’t build homes in people.

I have stopped looking for a home in people,
Unoriginal decor within four walls is home to me again.
I choose to hide in this home, because there is comfort
Maybe even warmth and shelter from time to time,
Time being the only constant over these past years.

Time that heals and time that is seldom ill,
I think of all the homes that I’ve had to leave behind,
Smiled at the face of demolition and told myself,
‘You’ll be fine, lil’ darling, you’ll be golden’,
‘You’ll build a new home, it’ll have tire swings and tenants emboldened’

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‘So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad at the same time and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be’ – Stephen Chbosky

FIN.
This picture is also by me, of me. Yes, I’m just that talented.
Until next time. 🙂

7 – 14 – 21

“It is your own little fireworks show”

When I was barely four years old, I woke the whole house up one night because I wanted Jalebis. Little, yellow, diabetes inducing twirls of joy. When I was seven, I lied to my mother and told her I topped my class in GK, when actually I had come fifth. Until fifth grade, I blindly believed my middle school teacher who was mildly vernacular. So until fifth, I thought brunch was pronounced blunch. I never questioned, I was taught not to question elders. I never doubted because I had never known fear. It was reiterated to me that academic excellence could make or break you.And I believed. I believed that bruises are bad, as is bad to be callous. I believed because I was a kid. To me, my home was my world and the school,my playground. Sheltered, protected and never exposed to all the filth in this world. Diwali excited me, the lights and the crackers, the gifts and the new clothes. My fondest memories of my dad playing football with me in the front yard, and teaching me how to kick the ball right. And just as I seemed to be getting better, all the boys in my neighbourhood would pile on to our house. I was a kid, who felt like the coolest one in the lot, always felt so popular. It was much later I realised our front yard could have been the reason behind this popularity. Beautiful childhood picture, I have painted for you. This is how childhood is, and should be, for you and yours. You should know the difference between Cotton Candy and Candy Treats. You must be told a good number of times that it is the best time of your life and that everything that follows will be disappointing in comparison.

“A bird who hurt her wing, has now forgotten how to fly”

The bleak years of teenage insecurity is where the musical that is all of our lives, gets us to. It is not then that you know the innumerable changes that your body is going through. All the acne, the croaking voice, the hot flash of white you see when a person from the opposite gender looks at you – all of it, nothing but hormones.These formative years, I believed peers can make or break me. I believed I did not need to listen to anyone because they do not know life like I do. (lol) I discovered kajal,the power of hair straighteners and lip gloss. (sic) It was so important to me what that brooding guy on the right side of the last bench thought of me. He said I must let my hair grow, so I did. My crew cut was now a lovely mane. He said I should try different kinds of clothes and not just the ones my mother picked up. That is when the rebel in me grew (lol, rebel) and rebel, I did. Against my parents who tried to keep me in check and against anyone who did. I let the mean girls take over my personality. They said my chin was funny and my hair wasn’t pretty and I said okay, I will change all of those things. I died trying but boys, make up and dresses I could not bear to talk of any more. And I decided to grow up from this awkward space that I was stuck in. Thankfully, this phase was comfortably short-lived.

“It is goodness, and badness. It is hustle and bustle”

Growing up is a conscious choice for most, unless they have had to. I grew up because I felt like it was time. I grew up splendidly well. I went back to my un-pretty clothes very proudly. I ate like all of the fat would not result in any cellulite. I told myself that if the guy on the extreme left sitting behind me in class had to notice me, it would be because of my personality. My obnoxious, overbearing, anxious and terribly boring personality. For those of us with the weird chin and the cellulite, we’ve banked on our personality all of our lives. I let my hair grow because it framed my face well, and I cut it short again because I could. I travelled when I could, and met people. More mean girls, less fussy boys and people from all walks of life. At this point, I wear anything. I alternate between Zara and 100 rupee tops brought during massive online discounts. I question everyone, I doubt everything told to me and not the other way round. I know mediocrity can only be made up for with creativity, that academic superiority will not have an impact on my emotional stability. I know my parents want the best for me, I also know that sometimes they wouldn’t understand what would be. I decide for me, I talk for me, I talk for others when I feel there is a need to. I advocate everything I feel and proudly, I do not endorse demonetization or political demonization. I have an opinion on everything because I have conditioned myself to. I have an opinion irrespective of what you believe or what I have been told. Mind over matter, mind over man, my mind and my might are what makes me. I do not need approval, or appreciation, I am self-sufficient. I say that to myself a million times a day until it stops being true. To me I am of utmost importance, so at the end of a long day at office when I get back and sit in my spot, I think of all the times my father held a football instead. When I think of Jalebi now, I think diabetes and calories. When I think Diwali, I think noise and all other kinds of pollution. When I see bruises I think of how callousness could not have been the only cause of them. When I think of how I was conditioned to think, I think I have come a long way. I think of the what now’s and the where to’s and where I might be years from now.

I only hope my 25-year-old self from the future is still trying to rebel against norms, moderately drunk and maybe still a little in love with herself.

FIN.

I asked people that follow me on Instagram, to suggest things I could write on. A very interesting idea from that lot was Nidhi’s, who wanted me to write on how our perception about things have changed from when we were kids up until now. I felt the need to walk you through my journey, because hopefully it is relatable on some level. I can only hope it wasn’t disappointing.

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Amidst the hustle, bustle and fireworks.