Posted in m@dness

Of Blocks, Newspapers and Bathrooms

I have a job. I mean, I have a job now. What is funny however, is that this particular job pays me to write. Oh, I can already hear the snigger n muffled laughs. Shut Up! There’s this about me page on this blog that you  should read before you read any further.  So damn true! At this very moment, I am working as a Social Media Consultant. Eh? No, not because I have accounts on facebook, twitter or linkedIn. Duh! No, not because the brother is a Social Media Guru. No No. Apparently my  references suggested I am better at this than HR. Am pretty sure they were all drunk or drugged! I havent written blogs for so long now.I posted one out yesterday out of sheer desperation!

I shudder at the thought of having to type a few words these days. FOr my blog I mean. The past few days have made me into some sort of word vending machine! 30..40..60 posts each day for social media!

The high point of this whole thing has been a mail I composed last evening. That is when I realized my writing has gone from manageable to garbage-disposable. In a paragraph of six sentences, I must have used the word ‘some’some sixteen times which was okay until I realised that I used ‘Basically’a lot more in a eleven word sentence. So basically, it was a wake up call in the midst of reading the crap I had written.It made me realise what I was missing. Awww I miss my blog. I miss that frantic finger-hops on the keyboard, the hurried reading, the looking for ideas to spur of the moment publishing .

2013-artwork-writers-block-sketchIts not like I was not trying. I did. I swear. I have at least thirty six incomplete, unpublished drafts.So what if 9 of them are blank & one of them is more like a digital signal. But still, I tried. I have spams from bathroom cleaners and sanitary distibutors which I am sure is my family’s doing! Time and again they have taunted me on the basis of one freak incident involving bathrooms! Now, I do admit I am not exactly a bath-lover ,humiliating me publicly,  was unbearable. I have published those too so that it inspires me. Well, i tried. Nothing happened.So basically, there was not much enthusiasm forthcoming due to such insanely (ir)relevant comments. I didn’t know what to do, I still don’t. Then I thought that maybe this is what they call “blogger’s block?” and I’d read for a while, but between balancing on one leg and learning to walk again and running away from mad dogs and thieves, I couldn’t spare much time. I didn’t even read the newspaper.I still don’t have the time. The little whats-happening-in-the-world today info I have is because its my task to pick up the paper and place it on the coffee table. Well, that is yesterday’s newspaper that’s delivered today morning. Yeah, my dad reads yday’s news today coz the media barons think that Bhopalites can make do with stale! You see it screams out all the news that’s worthy of being made into a Bollywood movie in the near future while holding back all the other unwanted stuff. It screams, trust me, Anyway, it is unrelated to my writing which was what I was writing about.

This not-writing thing. It is really driving me crazy. I do shudder at the thought of typing a few words these days. Its mostly to do with the fact that I have to reduce my characters to 140 and so my thinking and ahem creativity is narrowed down. Ugh! Twitter is sooo definitely a man’s invention. Who else would want to restrict speech to 140 characters! Definitely, not a woman! Who knows? I inspired a good friend to start writing again and here I am. Stuck. Oh oh another block. Hitting me.Now. Help!

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Posted in m@dness

Age gracefully

When I was very young, very very young, my mother used to pick out what I was to wear each day and lay it on the bed. I hated it. One of my earliest memories is praying to God that he’d make me an adult fast so I could choose what to wear. Memories of my mother fade with each passing year. Blame it on the silver things that crop up each time I comb my hair. Or maybe its time.

When I rifle through old photographs and search my brain for forgotten memories, I see a gangly version of myself, gazing into the future. I used to read Readers Digest, not understand a word,laugh out loud and reserve understanding to the future.I would paint lines and circles and a renowned artist would call it Abstract Art. I would become a teacher and pile up assignments on my students. I aspired to be the girl in the advertisement, sipping chocolate margherita on a colonial balcony, my tresses billowing behind me.  I would be one of those bikini-clad women who all look alike on a Goan beach.

At some time, without my knowledge, the future arrived. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anything I planned. I am not a teacher nor the girl in the advertisement . I exist in a continuum of endless cups of tea! I am 30. I cannot drive a car. I cannot speak a foreign language. I haven’t written a book, yet. Young nephews and nieces have graduated from calling me ‘chechi’ (a Malayalam coinage for ‘elder sister’) to aunty.Ugh! I still have no idea how shares work and can no longer put it down to my innocence and young age. It has its perks of course. I have now learned the art of doing bottoms up and am legally allowed to do so. I can multi-task. I can wake up as early as 5 am. Earlier, I pretend-laughed at people’s jokes because I didn’t get them. Now I pretend-laugh at their jokes because I get them.

Still, everything seems to be happening in a rush. I’m not ready to be a 30-year-old. Mentally. I’m not ready to be served wine/vodka at a restaurant; I want good old coca cola. I’m not ready to be asked my opinion on the nuclear situation in Pakistan. I don’t want to whine and sulk about paying bills and running errands. I hate acting old! I don’t want to.

I wish I could go back in time and narrate a few life lessons to my 18-year-old self: don’t smile so smugly at the camera. In ten years’ time, you’re going to look at yourself and wonder at your own gawkiness.  If you thought you got high on chocolate, wait for the real deal. Don’t be scared to talk to that boy you like. For that matter, don’t be scared about speaking your mind or doing what you think is right. Everything is fugacious.

In another ten years, you’ll wonder at your stupidity aggrandising someone who turned out to be just like you. Don’t take everything in life so seriously. Have fun, do something illegal. Remember: Your past becomes the raw material for the anecdotes of your future. Your dreams may be rooted in fantasy but your plans are rooted in reality. 10 years from today, you wouldn’t want to look at a photo and think that you too could’ve been part of it.

Oh, and tell your future self: stop trying to be profound. Dont be afraid to act your age. Not a minute older, not a minute younger. Age gracefully.

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Posted in close to heart, m@dness

Move on

Its that one rule life tries to tell us during trying times. Move on. Its easier said than done though. I have lost quite a number of people to both fate and death in the years that I’ve walked on earth. I have tried to make up for the loss of these people in my life as well as in the lives of others whose world’s they occupied. In most occasions I have failed miserably. Nobody can take the place of someone else. Nobody. Period.
That said, something has been in my mind for a few days now. It could be because of the nostalgia that came after reading  a post on my brother’s blog. My father raised me alone. It was him all the way. I say all the way because although there were family and friends to help out at one point or the other, for most parts(read:95%) of my formative years , it was him. For a man to bring up a girl , i am sure would’ve been a herculean task. I know for sure because I have seen the stress and  effort Ro takes when he has to manage ami for a few hours!  So imagine about 24 years!  Things were different and difficult for the three of us; my dad, brother and me. Boys are more closer to the mother abd girls to their dads. I could tell my dad everything but he and my brother always had that line between them. Always.
A neighbor passed away recently due to an illness. A nasty illness that too. She left behind 2 boys aged 8 and 3 maybe. I wasn’t too close to her nor the family. However when i heard of it, I cried my heart out. Partly for nostalgia and partly for the boys. Their family is huge. Grandparents and uncles and aunties and cousins and friends and so many others. Would that be enough for the boys? Will they be able to bond with their father and tell him every small detail of their lives? Would he care to listen? The truth is that we’ll all grieve. For a long long time. We’ll never be tbe same again. We’ll heal in bits and pieces and we’ll slowly learn to live with the loss..the void..the space in our hearts. Forever.
I have thought about speaking to the family time and again and convincing them to let that man marry again, but I have been overpowered by the typical mind-your-own-business mentality. Will he get him self another wife? Will they ever be happy again? I pray they do. Those boys and that man deserves happiness in their life.
I asked myself this question: if I were to die unexpectedly.. would I want to see Ro and ami happy? Would i want to see Ro married again? Ami calling someone else AmmA? Yes. I’d want to. I would love to make sure that they are taken care of well in my absence. I am pretty sure every person up there wants their loved one to remain happy. Happy doesn’t  mean forgetting.  Does it?

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Posted in close to heart, m@dness

Note in the mood-28

When we were children, we wanted to just grow up and be adults. Like really quick. Being adults enticed us a lot and maybe thats why we loved playing house house. Maybe we thought that life was a lot cooler as adults. Remember when you were a kid and your biggest worry was like whether you’d get a cake for your birthday or would you get to eat chocolates the next day. I remember my relatives and elder cousins telling me to enjoy my schooldays while it lasted coz it was the time we would be free of any responsibility. Today when I see children playing house house ans daddy mummy, I tell them to go out and play something else while they can. I tell them that they have a lifetime to play house house and live the adult life. The poor children think the adult life is happier and a lot easier and a life free of exams and tests and homework. They think its all about cooking, partying, love and office! If only they knew.
Adulthood is responsibility. Adults have to be places, do things, earn a living, and pay the rent.  Everyday is an exam, a test that you must most certainly ace. Its not just you, you are responsible for all those that surround you,  all those whose lives are a part of yours. The scariest part about responsibility is when you screw up and let it slip right through your fingers. There are no weekdays,no weekends. Its just one loooioooooooonnnggggggg neverending day. Unfortunately once you get past the age of braces and training bras, responsibility doesn’t go away. It can’t be avoided. Either someone makes us face it or we suffer the consequences. And still adulthood has it’s purpose. I mean the guiltfree shopping, the love, the no parents telling you what to do, the life after the responsiblities… if ever…that’s pretty damn good.

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Posted in fiction

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He was born in a land far away. They worked there.  They decided to celebrate his first birthday  in their home country. His relatives said the boy looks like him.  Her relatives said the boy looks just like her. The couple smiled, looking at each other. Little did the relatives know, the boy was adopted.

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Posted in close to heart, m@dness

Women of strength

For those of you who aren’t from where I belong, my country n in recent times, my state has been in the news for attack on women. Sexual attacks on women. Rape. I am a mother of a girl child and things like this shake me up very very badly. When things like this happen in places you are familiar with, you just look up and thank god that its not happened to people you know or love. Thats our problem too. We dont act up until it happens to one of us and from where I come from, even if things do happen to one of us, the ones close to us will just blame it on fate!  Fate, my !@@$. So what do we do?
I dont want to start a post on going into the mind of a rapist. I am just going to say they dont have a mind even, forget heart. How can I make sure my girl grows up to be a strong, independent woman, capable of defending n protecting herself if n when the need arises. Asking her to cover herself fully isnt going to do the trick-WHAT IF HE IS LISTING LOOKING AT HER EYES?  Asking her not to be smart and bold may not work either – WHAT IF HE IS LOOKING FOR A SOFTSPOKEN, GENTLE WOMAN AS HIS NEXT VICTIM?  Asking her not to reveal her religious identity even may not come handy – WHAT IF HE IS AN AETHIST?  I even thought of home schooling my daughter and never letting her out of my sight-but again, what if he is just around the corner, waiting to come into my house to hurt my child or the people I care about or myself!
A regional movie I happen to see recently had one dialogue in particular that made me think. It goes somethin on the lines of if you are a small girl and someone tells you that you are a nice, obedient, softspoken girl, dont pay heed to it. Do not grow up thinking that you are the above mentioned. Its a trap. It is told to you so that you convince yourself and grow up to actually be a poor, softspoken, naive girl who will never have the guts to stand up to an eve teaser, a letcher or an abuser. You will be that person who silently suffers all the abuse and torture met out to you and cry when nobody is watching. You will always be abused by one or the other and you will silently bear the brunt of it all. Thats the problem, isn’t it? Most of us keep quiet if a man intentionally touches us inside when we use public transport, if a man letches looking at us, we bear the abuse in a marriage all the while thinking that we are to blame. Why should we keep mum n suffer the pain n trauma.
Everytime you keep quiet, you are encouraging the abuser in him.  He thinks that girls will silently take it all in, no matter how much damage he does n so he commits rape too. He starts with the ‘bad touch’ and slowly n stealthily moves to being a serial abuser n finally to rape. He kills the girls who fight back because he is only used to the girls silently taking the torture. So am going to bring up my girl by asking her to speak out. To speak out no matter who is listening and without thinkin what people will say. She will speak her mind and be gutsy. She will hit the man on his face if he misbehaves.She will stand up n shout if she needs to be heard but she will not surrender n sit silently. The next time someone says how naive and innocent she is, I’ll make sure they take back what they said.
Let us, mothers, help make a world safe for our girls. Lets make our daughters empower themselves. Lets make sure they trust us enough to speak to us about anything small or big n let’s ensure that they trust the power they hold.
Women of strength,
Lets know them
Lets raise them
Lets be them.

For you, my ami.

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Posted in close to heart, Interesting Reads

I am woman

Every year, people all around the world celebrate March 8th as women’s day. Every year I wonder whats the point? I mean,  a day for women? Do we really need one day? And what really happens to us women on that day? Do we have to work less or not work at all? Do we not take up the responsibilities we do everyday? Do we just put our legs up and let the other species do all the things we do or dont do? Does the men..every man give us a leg massage and cook abd do the dishess abd take care of the baby(s) abd head to work and treat us special? Is that what the day is meant to be for? Such a lot of hype. I think if one really wants to have a day for women, then on that day, women everywhere should be able to walk on the road without any eyes oggling at her, she should havw tbe right to decide whether she should or shouuldnt wear lingerie, she should be able to hold a drink in her hand without being stared at n the likes. Above all.. here’s a note to the men.

Every woman has a past. Some were physically abused. Some had violent parents. Some had pubertal issues. Some had sexual abuse as a child from their own family members. Some had messed up love stories. Some had been forced into sex in the name of love. Some had been drugged. Some were date raped. Some had been viciously photographed on bed. Some had been blackmailed by their ex-boyfriend. Some were in an abusive relationship. Some had menstrual problems. Some had a broken family. Some had a divorce. Some had an obesity issue. Some had financial droughts. Some had drug or alcohol addiction. Some had a few unsuccessful suicide attempts.

If you see a woman, who went through any of these but had already wiped her tears, tied her hair up, masked her sorrows with a divine smile, stood tall and strong, started walking towards her future because she still has some hope left inside her and has not given up on the concept of love that still exists in this world, do not stab her with her past. Do not confront her. Do not slap her with more abuse. Give way for her and walk beside her. Make her believe in the goodness this life has. Teach her to trust. May be hold her hands and walk for a while. You’ll know how sweet that soul is and how strong her hopes are! You’ll be amazed at how she carries herself after all her energy has been sucked out.

She need not always be only the woman next door or from a different home. She could be your own friend, your own sister, your own girlfriend, your own wife, even may be your own mother. Do not judge her by her past. Gift her the peaceful future that she deserves. Hold her hands against the world, which knows only to judge. Give her the love that she always yearned for. Most important convince her thay what lies ahead of her is much better than what she left behind.

Men, most of us dont want to be superior than you and it really isnt what we are after. Give us the space to chase our dreams like you do. Taking care of the family, helping you realise your dreams and making you go after them will all be taken care of even if we do have a job! Give us the respect we deserve and stop treating us like your own-unpaid-butler/maid. Give us the love. Hold our hands. Hug us. Stop thinking about what the world will say or think. Let us, women too, live.

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