Beauty in tumult

Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai. Dekhna hai zor kitna baazu-e-kaatil mein hai. (The desire to make a sacrifice is in our hearts. Let us see what strength there is in the arms of our executioner) Bismil Azimabadi

Today’s youth is impassioned, angry and awake. They’ve found a cause towards which to direct their energy. Righteous, patriotic, inclusive, fighting injustice … it’s a beautiful, heartwarming sight.

Today, almost 50% of our population in India is below 25 years of age. The average age of an Indian is 29 years. Imagine the sheer power we wield as a country!

Unwittingly, this power has been harnessed and is gradually unleashing its moral strength, righteous anger and indignation upon the leading lights of our nation. All it took was an encroachment into civil rights and constitutional freedoms.

To see them pouring out into the streets across India, choosing a path of restraint despite provocation, choosing to stand with their brothers and sisters, choosing unity and diversity … it is like witnessing an eagle take flight. Powerful and glorious.

The Womb Speaks

For years I kept lining myself in anticipation of nurturing a living, breathing entity. Years went by but nothing happened. I kept lining and shedding … eternally hopeful … waiting, longing.

Somewhere the prolonged wait and hope soured into disappointment.

I have been withheld from following my natural course and the flush of hormones are beginning to get all mixed up and erratic. Soon the clockwork rhythm will stutter. Soon you will realise that it is the end of the road and there is no going back and I will remain unfulfilled this lifetime.

Despite my frustration and my feeling of rejection, I want you to know that I see your struggle. The world is a shitty place. Opinion, judgement and shaming are real and you are the one dealing with them. I’m working on my deep seated anger by letting go. I’m learning from you. Sometimes, you just take life in your stride and move on and find joy in what you have rather than what you don’t. And I have you.

lovingly,

your womb

Personality Typos

You wake up one fine morning and the dissonance that you sometimes felt but brushed aside, suddenly turns into a full fledged aggravation … and you sigh and once again tell yourself … that gut … it was right, as usual.

You meet people socially. Everything seems fine. You’re a drink down and you fail to notice the maniacal gleam; the bloated gloater; the brisk brush-off to the pet; the skittish eyes; the flash of anger …

Later, this personality blooms before your eyes when a trigger presents itself. When control is well past its tipping point. The fleeting signs manifest into the real person behind the smiling facade.

And then it’s ‘ouch’ time …

These personality ‘typos’ are not an aberration. It takes all kinds and this is one of a kind. They add spice to regular fare but are best tolerated in small doses. If the dose exceeds, the risk of not just being at the receiving end but being pushed over the edge into taking up cudgels is inevitable. Unless you’re a Zen master.

I should have been warier so my warrior wouldn’t feel the need to come out and play! 

Oh, December!

I like you! You’re dressed in twinkly lights and Christmas red. People everywhere are celebrating you. You bring travel, events, parties, gifts, retail therapy, friendly get-togethers, holidays, jamborees and surprises galore.  Some year endings are painful and others come with a surety that what’s coming … Continue reading Oh, December!

To whomsoever it may concern,

I think we have a problem. My electricity bill is twice what it used to be.

I pay GST every single god forsaken month. In fact, I pay GST (in illogically varying percentages) every single day for every single purchase I make. And then I top it all off with some income tax as well.

I feel mounting dread each time I venture out in my car and find myself looking at an almost empty fuel gauge. I hunt for ATMs that actually dispense cash and, more often than not, i find myself stuck with 2000 rupee notes. Thankfully, they are handy at the petrol pump since money flows like an infected tummy run. I don’t like paying by card because …

My credit card got hacked. I was being encouraged to use it across the board but no one warned me of the potential dangers. I had to survive for a week without a card. 

My building society wants to extort more money in the name of repairs. 

My phone network rarely allows a call to complete without dropping a frustrating number of times.

The roads are a joke and the traffic is a laugh riot.

Stepping out of the home is fraught with  unforeseen dangers, potential road injuries or respiratory illnesses (courtesy the air pollution) leading to potential hospital costs that could wipe out all my savings; cancelled flights because of striking pilots or worse still … drunk ones; fake news and misinformation causing sudden stupid riots; good, reliable education is like the unicorn – a fantasy … the list is endless. I think you’re getting the point, hopefully.

I’m not even sure what you can do but if things don’t improve I may have to resort to stand up comedy … cancel that … I’m not too keen on jail. 

So that leaves me with a couple of options … I could borrow a boat from a fisherman (since they are now steadily losing their fishing areas in the name of development) and sail out like Pi. Phir dekhi jayegi.

Or I could team up with some scamsters and make a lot of money from the clueless banking system and fly out of the country and spend my life as an infamous, rich socialite. 

Hmmm. This exercise has helped.

Thank you. Next.


Predator in Hiding

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I tried writing this blog from the POV of a sexual predator but I gave up after a few attempts. I couldn’t get myself to think like an entitled imbecile who believes that women should be grateful for his attention and should respond with servility and sexual compliance.

The grey zone of sexual harassment is filled with judgement and opinion. What is ok or not ok can be hotly debated and ranges from allowing a hand on the thigh to drinking with a male colleague to being someone’s favourite at work to consistently dipping into the office pool to hone their marksmanship…. The inevitable bonding on projects and long hours at work make the workplace a hotbed (pun intended) for potential exploitation.

What really constitutes sexual harassment? In my considered opinion, it is anything that involves :

  • Stalking
  • Preying
  • Luring
  • Baiting
  • Using aggression, blackmail, power, promise of retribution, fear, undermining someone’s spirit … all for sexual dominance and power trips.

In case there is any difficulty understanding the points above … I am clarifying them here for your benefit.

  • If you believe that you own the women who work for you or with you …
  • If you believe that women are basically dumb props and have made themselves available because they stepped out of their home to earn a living
  • If you believe that women exist for your pleasure
  • If you believe that women cannot achieve their goals without your proprietorial hand on their ass
  • If you believe that your female colleagues need sex education
  • If you believe that you are populating your personal harem while employing young, fresh ’talent’ then …

My suggestion is STOP. There are several instances of men being toppled from their seat of power by the very women who they chose to subjugate. It could be your turn.

This applies to predators across the board, irrespective of gender.

The Unexpected

Life happens without warning. When everything is smooth sailing and there are a million plans waiting to unfold, lightening strikes and the storm has us in its thrall. When we look up, the landscape has changed. Forever. Irrevocably. It leaves you no choice but to accept, allow and take those painful steps forward hoping to steady yourself on the unfamiliar terrain.

It jolts us in to thinking about so many fundamentals. Bodies that we take for granted, people that we assume will always be there for us, health that will continue to keep us going in our ‘important’ assignments … inevitably, these realities change.

We must assess and appreciate today. What is so important that if it disappears we will be bereft/incomplete/inconsolable? We decide. We learn to savour it before it disappears. Like every transient thing in this world. Including us.

Dear Akshaybhai,

Such a hullabaloo about me! Didn’t really expect it. I’ve been so used to being hidden, spoken of in hushed whispers, hurriedly passed from one hand to the other, tucked away under a shirt or in the pocket … god forbid someone sees me and puts two and two together.

And now suddenly, every one is flashing me around, taking selfies with me, openly flaunting me … men and women alike! Being waved around like a victory flag is so confusing. I mean. Aamir Khan was brandishing me a while ago! This sudden celebrityhood is very heady.

Hopefully, I will not get eclipsed a28595975086054a29f9da29ef58a273

once all this naach gaana is over.

In the meantime, thank you for bringing me out of the closet. For setting me free.

The ‘period’ic friend and companion,

The sanitary napkin fondly called ‘Pad’

Time Travel

I was sitting at a coffee shop waiting for a friend. I had enough time to observe the people around me. I noticed a couple sitting in the extreme corner. The boy was clearly uncomfortable because the girl was sobbing and he seemed torn between compassion and self-consciousness. Aware and worried that the people watching would hold him responsible for her tears. All of a sudden, while he seemed to be earnestly beseeching, she threw the mug across the floor and ran out of the cafe. He appeared stunned. No, he did not get up and run after her. He placed his head in his hands and stayed that way while the waiter went across and cleared the mess. Soon enough, he got up and left for the exit without meeting anyone’s eye.

This is real life and I’m not involved in this character’s story and unfortunately I will never know what really happened. It will come back to me from time to time in different ways … sometimes the boy’s expression, sometimes the girl getting up and flinging the cup across the floor with disappointment writ large on her face, sometimes the turning of several heads as they register the disturbance and look around, sometimes the defeated look on the boy’s face as he walked out the door … sometimes in slow motion and sometimes in sharp cuts.

Isn’t that what happens to our memories too? Over a period of time the interpretation is sweeter or not depending on how we want to see that moment?9d75c9ad3cd5dec88faa9f8ff1c5b0ba

The images don’t really alter but the way the light falls on them, the way the expressions remain, the selective bits we remember or those that we discard, decide how we look back on our past. Time is a great healer. It is also a great concealer.

To Love or Not to Love,

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Bright curious eyes. Expectant. Childlike. Alight with dreams.

Reality. Insidious, unpredictable, inexplicable, fuzzy.

Two parallel lines of wishful thinking and reality moving along a trajectory that will always remain apart.

Simi was forced to accept reality. To swallow the bitter pill. To walk the fine line between illusion and fact. To question her dreams. To doubt her gut.

She learnt that love can be a lie that trips smoothly off a tongue. That promises are made to be broken. That avowals of love can be made to more than one. That love can be a string of beautiful beads. That the string can snap in two and the beads of fantasy scatter across the floor to never come together in the same magical way they once had. That love can mock. That love can be a facade. That hate can be love. That causing pain can be love. That love can hurt. That feeling is illogical. That, sometimes, you just don’t have the stomach for it. Or the heart for it. Because you dread the emptiness it may leave behind. That love can be a one way street. That words are not love. That retaliation can be love. That love cannot be hidden. That love can let you down. That you can let love down. That love makes you vulnerable and powerless. The love can make you powerful. That love is an unboxing of contradictions.

Simi’s eyes remain bright. Curious. Expectant. Hopeful. But there is a wariness now. Doubt.

Till love comes along again. Wearing a different costume.

And she holds on fast for the ride but this time, she keeps her eyes open.