Saturday, December 20, 2014

This is a status.

Statuses. There's a status for everything. I want to eat chocolate, status. I want to tell my brother I am sad, there's a status. I miss being home, there's a status. I made coffee, there's a status. I am watching Sherlock, there's a status. Why, someone's father expired, you update a status! Hell, you reach late to work and get fired by your boss' ex-wife and stand today, homeless, jobless and penniless, not fit enough to earn a slice of bread even by begging any more. Update that as a status. No? Why not? 

I will tell you why. We all, as human beings yearn for attention, fish for compliments, pine for someone's approval and want to show the world what we are. Unfortunately, that is not what we are. We do things to impress people, to make them get a good feeling about us. To judge us. 

Why do you have to wait for someone to judge you and give you feedback on a paper you worked on, on the style of your language when you write or the way you parked your car on the side way of a cramped parking lot, 'LIKE A BOSS?'. Well, thumbs up to that. Pat yourself on the back and walk on. Stop turning around to see if anyone saw how you've parked. Nobody cares. Not a soul. 

Why should you keep updating a status, checking-in at random places whether you are there or not, bombard people's feeds with every square inch of your activity at different points of time in the day? Am I interested to know if you wore blue jeans or yellow underwear? Do I want to know if your front porch is washed with pretty pink spring flowers or filled with pigeon poop? Ohhh, so you are eating cupcakes? So? I think cupcakes is the most boring bakery-item anyone can drool over, unless it is covered with gooey chocolate that melts in your mouth.  You drool over a cupcake and oh, I am SO judging you. My opinions about you slip down by several degrees. Yes, I am judging you. Why? Well, YOU asked for it! 

Why would 100+ likes on your Facebook profile picture give you happiness? Because you know people are looking at you. They compliment you, tell you how beautiful that skirt looks or how well you've dressed up, how pretty your face is or how a particular hairstyle can make your dog look more stylish.  They are noticing you and hell, they are JUDGING you. 

In the process, you end up becoming vain, narcissistic, egoistic and get angry if someone at home tells you that the Chappati has become a little brown on the sides or the Kheer would have tasted better had there been extra sugar in it. Why? Well, that's because social media spoils you. It is always full of sweet replies. Nobody gives you honest opinions for the fear of being judged, for the fear of being dissed or insulted, for the fear of being noticed for the wrong reasons. And you, get used to it. 

You find it difficult to adapt to the harsh reality of day-to-day life and, also the reality of having to deal with the ones that are not part of this cult called 'social-media'. The ones that do not know what Facebook is, what a handle on Twitter means or even don't know how powerful the medium is, that given a chance, it can track you down to the extent of pointing a gun at your temple in the very privacy of your house because your 140 character tweet was insinuating.  

It is a world full of fake, self-obsessed, attention-garnering, anxious, disoriented, pseudo-intellects posing as normal people, wishing each minute makes them seem like a better person to themselves and to the others. Want to join the overflowing bandwagon? Or are you already in it? Choose. Choose what to share and what not to.     

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Through the glass

The tender covering on my eye twitches as a frail source of light tries to distract my eyes from being tired. I, rather, my eyes, do not relent. The light begins to flicker at uniform intervals, slowly but steadily. Notwithstanding the curiosity, my eyes crack open, only to see a blurred amalgamation of street lights, screened by thin bell pins falling from the sky as the growing wind pushes a small flower pot off a gardener's terrace. I look back and forth only to see the changing colours of the lights, all through a window pane with my nose pressed against it. Nothing can make me feel like a child again.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Left at the altar

She was adjusting her hair, the tiny little wisp wouldn't settle down. She painted her lips, a light red, for the third time by looking into her hand-mirror, bejeweled with small ruby- like pieces around its curvature, handcrafted and parcelled, all the way from Jaipur. Her eyes missed a tad bit of Kohl. She dabbed it again, subtly. She did all of this, through her thick veil, as she was being carried on the palanquin. She was happy it was the day of her wedding and she would finally get to see her husband-to-be. Little did she know that she was being taken on the palanquin, literally for a ride and that a gory altar awaited her bridal hair-do, only for being the bastard child.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

That South Indian Biyooty

Disclaimer: This post is not directed at any group, community, person or ethnicity. It is a rebuttal to all that I, as a person has undergone in the past couple of months. I am venting out my emotions and at the same time, the realization that I would not have encountered all this, had I stayed put in my own hometown.

To all of you who think South Indians can only be Sowth Yindiyans, here is what I have to say. I am a south Indian, I agree, but before that, I am a Tamilian. I speak the language called TAMIL. Not Andu Kundu. Just like your language 'Kai poche', which is Gujarati, by the way, I at least know. And oh, I want to really, really criticize your brilliant judgement skills, I'm calling it brilliant, boss, so please read on.

If I eat vegetarian food, I am a Gujarati, if I don't, people pounce on me with this question of 'Aren't you a South Indian?' Yes, I am. But not all south Indians are non-vegetarians, bro. So they ask me about my caste. First. So, I have to, have to let them know. If I tell them I am a Brahmin, then there I get, this Oh-so-you-are-a-from-a-strict-Brahmin-household-that-doesn't-let-you-eat-non-vegetarian-food- look. I have to then clarify. I do not eat non-vegetarian food, much by choice. I'm a vegetarian, by CHOICE, just the way you CHOOSE to not drink at a party. Understood ah?

When people hand me a drink, they expect me to dip my thumb, index finger and middle fingers in it, take it out, sprinkle some of the drink on the table, close my eyes, mutter a few mantras for 'cheers' and then take a gulp. Boss, get a grip on life, we do certain things, yes, but not everywhere and not for everything. Don't the women in your community offer water to the Moon when it is Karwa Chauth? Why can't they do it everyday? It becomes meaningless, right? and oh, I get it, they can't fast! What are you talking ya :P

 If I eat with my hands I am a south Indian, if I don't, then south Indians don't know how to eat Chappati. Wow. Ever heard of Idli and Dosa? No, just asking :) 

So, 'apparently' my name is Swathi, so it is Swattthhhhi, as in the Hindi letter थी. So, they, take great happiness in calling me स्वाथी, which, by the way, is very annoying. It literally translates to ' Swa' 'was'. So, I stop, turn around and begin explaining. After a big explanation round, it just goes back to them not understanding it, at all. I just want to ask you guys, are you all so dumb? Like, really? Google is a better friend, at least it helped me choose these letters to make you understand what I want to say! 

This is the best of the lot : when I speak English, 'She can't speak Hindi yaar, so English'. Well now, I give a dirty look and switch to Hindi and the very same words are repeated 'Arrey, she can't speak Hindi yaar.' Now, tell me now, what on earth should I do in such a situation? Can I just pull you by the collar and give you a tight slap? No, I avert those thoughts. I stare back at the computer monitor, much in disgust. Thankyouverymuch, I needed that, macha.

Wait, I am not done yet. As and when my mind, mood and emotions permit, I will decide if I have to continue this post or not. But before that, I need to narrate another incident. I sip my tea and stare at a sheaf of worksheets in the landscape format, all of them waiting to be filled. Exactly when I am about to press my pen to the paper, a girl urgently walks up to me, looks at me wearing Vibooti on my forehead, points to that and asks 'so, you wear a Vibooti, that means you are a Tamilian, who is from Karnataka. So, you speak Mallu, right?' First, it is Malayalam. Secondly, 'Mallu' is a term given to people who are Malayalees. I look at her and utter these words, '
Well, that's like looking at a Rajasthani, ASSUMING he/ she is from Calcutta and asking him/her if they speak Punjabi in their hometown.' I look back into my worksheet and continue writing. The girl looks offended and walks away. As if that statement of hers about me wasn't offending enough. Face palm to (the North Indian) Humanity.

Yenyway, this is to all the clichéd people, the UNCALS (north Indians don't say 'uncle', they say 'unCAL'), AUNTY JIS, REAL BROTHERS (yes, REAL refers to your 'own' sibling in 'their English'), FAKE SISTERS and to all the South Indians who know how to pronounce what, and to the others, like me who are all of this, hoping to break free of these stereotypes and live a harmonious, yet individualistic life. Yes, individualistic, not huddled within communities. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

For Those Few Nanoseconds

I sit silently and look around,
I am surrounded by darkness,
Sad, that I have to be part of something,
Where all I can do is wait for my turn to come,

I feel something cold touching me and I look up to realize what it is,
A wee bit of light and a thin pair of pincers and no, they are not metal,
I am being picked up, the pincers around my thin round frame,
Yes, I am thin and round, all the same,
I feel a gush of air, I can breathe. 

The pincers hold me up in the air, 
I can breathe but the first smell I encounter,
Well, this time it is that of human manure, 
I wince, much in disgust, unable to endure.

Irrelevant, but I hear the chugging of trains,
And a loud cacophony of many others shouting. 
I strain my ear, to decipher this very setting,

Before I can, I am distracted, for the air becomes chilly,
And the pincers tremble slightly, 
A chill runs down my thin round spine, literally,
I would have fallen, into a never ending valley, definitely.  

Just when I think I am safe, I am held tighter and pushed in by the pincers,
I am thrust into a doorway, well, no, it is a crevice, in which only I seem to fit,

The pincers let me go,
I have been dropped in to a,
Bottomless pit, I think,
Well, no, wait, 

It is dark, dingy and has metal around it,
Much unlike the pincers that pushed me in,
I am taken in through a tray, and I am dropped,
There are nuts, bolts, chains and grease,
Revolving, pushing and swaying against each other,
And I fall to the floor with a well known ease,

All around me, I see my kith and kin,
Now, I know where I am,

I sit silently and look around,
Sad, that I have to be part of something,
Where all I can do is wait for my turn to come,

For those few nanoseconds of fresh air and light.

For I, am a One Rupee coin, from the far lands of India,
I'm afraid I might be stuck here, forever. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hands full of love

I clutched that hand tight,
So tight I could see the palms go red,
The hands didn't leave me,
Instead, they took me in,
And massaged my white knuckles
Gently running across the lines formed by
the folds on my skin.

I looked at the pair of hands
On either sides of my own,

I saw thin wiry nerves in green and violet on both the hands,
I ran my hands across them, 
Unable to stop myself,
I bent my head and cried,
Into those comforting palms,
I don't know how long it may have been,
But I forced myself to see the owner of those beautiful warm hands,

I lifted my head up and looked,
I saw, nothing but glassy eyes, about to leak,
I could not believe what I was seeing,
The salt water streamed down those cheeks as if to never stop,
When I looked into them harder,
I knew what it all meant..

They were a manifestation of the love bottled up for so long,
And I saw, the one person who I thought was the strongest,
I saw her, I saw, 
My mother, cry for the first time ever. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Too Many To One

I am seated on a mahogany chair, the room walled by varied books on three sides, a table lamp to my right and a clock ticking away in the far end of the hall. The floor is carpeted and that gives me the creeps. There is a man, dressed in corporation uniform, trying to fix a leaking tap in the kitchen sink as I can vaguely listen to him asking for extra spanners. I look up to see lights shaped in the form of diamonds, sort of twinkling away and as I strain my eyes to make out the edges of the lights clearly, Dr. Crab interjects my visual interaction with the objects in the room. ‘Good Evening Eric. Are you ready for your therapy today?’ 

Half-heartedly, I almost whisper, my lips hardly mouthing the words ‘Yes I am.’  I see a maid, at least 10 feet behind Dr. Crab, vacuuming those carpets. Carpets - carpets are creepy. ‘Life is a weird game, for you live everyday only to see what happens to you the next day. Some win and some lose. I do not want to play this stupid game, where the winners lose and the losers win. I hate life’.   Carpets, I hate them too.

‘Eric, I was only asking if you were ready for the therapy. Well, let us begin our evening on a happy note. Have you ever experienced happiness?’ I see the maid switching off the machine and walking towards us, almost piercingly looking at me as she says ‘of course, why not. So many things make me happy. Have you ever smelt a lily? Or have you ever touched a peacock’s feather, so smooth, yet so beautiful. I get so overwhelmed when I touch the soft, pink feet of a little baby to my cheek. To run your hands across a baby’s belly, play with its scanty little hair, tickle the insides of its feet and kiss gently on its cheek, is happiness by itself.’

‘I see, so you have experienced happiness as well. What more do you want in life. Are you scared of anything? Does death have that effect on you?’

I see a man dressed in white walking towards the room, adjusting his cap on his head, turning it sideways from the right to left. He is the chauffer. He looks at me pointedly as he enters the room and says ‘Ha? Death? I am not scared of death. According to me, death is the only constant. It is eternal. Death is the most normal and yet the best way for a person to be. There’s so much to do once we are dead. There’s so much darkness in death.’ 

‘Darkness. Speaking about that, what according to you is darkness?’ just then, the man in the corporation uniform with spanners in his hand, butts in.
‘Darkness. It is not something that I can explain to you. Have you ever tasted the fur of a black cat? Or have you heard of a father taking hostage of his daughter so that he can cut her wrist each day, save up every drop of her blood in a bottle and see her die nerve by nerve from the time she was a healthy young lady to seeing her skeleton rot in his own cellar? Could you have imagined that in a father-daughter relationship?’

‘Relationships. Yes, family, friends, how was your relationship with your mom?’  A boy of almost eight, clad in shorts and a ragged white shirt, comes running into the room with a bat in his hand and starts talking.

‘My mother, she was the one with who I shared everything in my life. Holding her hands, I learnt to enjoy hard rain splattering over my face; I learnt how to make a paper boat, smelt the unusual scent of wax crayons which she first bought me and remember the fragrance of her saree as I held her legs tight whenever I was afraid. But as time went by. I lost her too. ’
‘So, you have lost people. Haven’t you? Why?’

Just then, the cook enters, carrying with her in her hand a ladle. She quips in, ‘Lose people?  No, they lost me. Do you know how a mother’s carelessness can ruin a person’s life? Let me tell you a story. A small girl develops a rash on her face. Alarmed, she calls her mother for help. Her mother examines the rash and tells her that it is a small spider bite which will be fine in a couple of days. In a couple of days, the rash starts looking like a pimple. It looks a little dry and on the third day, the girl wakes up in the morning to see her pimple broken and innumerable baby spiders crawling out from them’.
‘Ah, Eric, that’s stupid. Do you really believe in whatever you hear and see?’

I get a little uncomfortable this time when I see a very scary and ugly looking man in his 60s, with the left side of his face damaged, probably by fire, his hair wiped by gel and set backward. He is dressed in a black waistcoat, cowboy pants and brown boots, struts confidently with his heels clicking inside the room.

Dr. Crab, have you ever touched a tree frog? Such beautiful smooth skin and bright green colour, leaves you wanting to take the frog home. It is a weird yet a different feeling that can never be missed. And so is the smell of mud before it can rain or the fragrance of groundnuts being fried by street vendors when you are starving...and... .’

THUD!!! Dr. Crab BANGS the table.

Shaken by this sudden and unexpected noise, I look straight into Dr. Crab’s face as he yells at the top of his voice ‘SHUT UP ALL OF YOU!! I’m questioning a patient, lest he think I am mentally affected too.’ Carpets – carpets are creepy.

I blink for a fraction of a second and look around to see myself seated on the mahogany chair, the room walled by varied books on three sides, a table lamp to my right and a clock ticking away in the far end of the hall. I see Dr.Crab and hear him say, ‘Good Evening Eric. Are you ready for your therapy today?’ 

Friday, January 10, 2014

The sparkling stones

I look up at the never ending canvas of velvet,
There are little delusionary stones that sparkle,
Well, they are beautiful diamonds that shine.

Sometimes they look like pearls,
They bob, up and down just like little droplets of water,
I turn my head, to the right,
And notice a flash,
Radiating from the diamonds,
As one of them zoom past the conjured remains of the mermaid pattern,

I close my eyes and give myself away to sleep,
After having counted my hundredth shooting star.