Thursday, 15 August 2013

I am colour and I do not taint

I do not taint or corrode.
I assimilate and expand endlessly, like the very universe we inhabit.
I have an identity that is plural, uniquely Indian and universally recognizable

I am not defined by any one element, no matter how big or small a part of me it forms. I cannot be defined by time or age or singular histories handed down through unbroken lineages of culture and tradition. If I have changed, if I have been blended in world culture, then that change is me; that culture is me.

The insensitivity and illogic of my past are not immune to the winds of new thought that blow from all the corners of the earth. In the midst of these storms, my traditions and cultures are not weakened or sullied. The voice that calls me freedom to choose, the voice that says I should not be painted by just anybody and everybody who wields brushes, the voice that shrugs to say anything is okay, any one set of these voices do not define me. They all do; collectively.

In the wake of countless opinions, I am not the right or wrong one. I am the freedom that enables all those countless opinions. I am the collage of countless ideologies that clash against each other, merge, wind and wrap around the waking spirit of my people.

I am light and every single colour makes me India.                             
I am colour and I do not taint.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

This is not me

Trigger Warning: Self-Injury

This chasm is all I feel
This emptiness that just won’t leave
Defines everything I succumb to
Dictates inaction, saps the will to move
Dictates action I subject myself to
Dictates moments that I break and dissolve into

And everything I grasp I try to keep within
I will not call your attention to the cracks in my skin
I will not stop cracking
Do I want you to look, but what if you look away
Do I want you to see what I cannot explain?
Is it silence I seek from the blood and the pain
Or just the company of retards that cannot complain
Or testify to fell deeds of shame

I try to retrace the moment it all fell apart
The restraint, the reason that evades me now
This person, this leech I’ve come to embody
Is only similar in form to past reflections
This person, this flea that I’ve fallen to be
Is not who I am, not who I should be

This person, this silent monster I’ve given free reign
To do as it pleases with my physical being
This monster I birthed, I braided into
Is so very like the person, the being of before
And frequently it fools even itself
Into thinking it’s the same old, same old
Preserved so well
But this monster, this person
With thirsty, sharp teeth
This is not me, this is not me

I am not so fell, I refuse to believe
I can go against everything
I have etched into every last fiber of me
I tell myself I can choose differently
If somebody taught me how to
Somebody other than me
Somebody unavailable, immortal
Not effervescent human like me
I wait for somebody that will never come or come to be
And yet I wait oh so patiently
I tell myself I can do differently
That there doesn’t have to be a next time

And I’ve already thought of, planned out next time
And I’ve already tasted the rush
And no, I am convinced
This is not me, this is not me
I am madness and wildness and reason and all heart
And this is not right, this is not right
This is not me

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The Universal Law - Bindi Battles

Note: This post rambles and sounds like a hyper, ranting, screeching person on psychotic meds. I have not edited it into a better argument because I wanted the original content and style intact (as a marker if you will). The picture is taken from the internet and neither this post nor the author (me) intends any malice towards any Bindi manufacturer, etc.  

When men walk on the streets, people see people walking.

When women walk on the street, people see women walking.

That is how deep rooted our gender-bias is.

“Wear a bindi. It brings beauty to a woman’s face.” I am told this a hundred times. Tell me, what self-indulged sense of beauty or womanhood are you brewing in to define those very terms for me?

I think the bindi is one of the biggest symbols of my country’s intolerant attitude towards equal freedom for equal people.

What is the bindi? A fashion accessory? A religious symbol? The sign of a married woman? The mark of feminine beauty, grace and temperament?

It’s a harmless enough sentiment if you do not think too much about it. Your uncle tells you it brings good fortune to the house. Your co-workers talk of the perfect woman, tied hair adorned with flowers, a bindi on the forehead. Everywhere, everybody talks about women as the female gender first, then as a person and last as an independent entity with a mind of her own.

Why do you not see me when I pass you by? Why do you see my gender first? Why do you think of long- cherished romantic notions of flowers, bird-song, comfort, pleasure, sex when you see me?

Because I am all of these? Because you think I am all of these? Because your thinking is oriented that way? Because society, from the moment of your birth, carefully, slowly, surely orients you into believing this?

And it does not sit right in you. It goes against your very own nature. You are not comprised of just the masculine gender because you are a man. Because you are forced into suppressing the feminine in you, you are oppressed in the most dangerous manner possible. And that makes you weak. So much so that, educated, young and ‘liberal’ that you are, you still do not know how to apply your youth and ‘new thinking’ to the world at large.

This outrage will pass, they tell me. “It’s disgusting. But soon everyone will forget this ‘X’ case until the next ‘Y’ case comes along”. Public memory is short they tell me. I’m sorry, but that is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. Say what you will about your memory, I am outraged every single day of my life.

I live and breathe and walk amongst men and women who channel ideologies that beg outrage in response. I am a woman, I am always outraged.

“I would never do that to a woman” someone exclaims in horror. But my eyes turn hard and I swallow the anger that bubbles in my throat. Only a person steeped in this dirty gender divide is capable of making a statement like that. Do you hear people saying “I would never do that to a man”??

“I would never do that do a woman” is but the second cousin of “You are a woman, this is how you should expect to be mistreated”. Why are we so acutely aware of our sex?

Is a man’s mind so damaged by the mixed messages and non-logic of this society that he is constantly, painfully aware of his gender? To see a woman thinking of herself as a person and expecting others to do the same is preposterous because it is not a freedom a man has for himself.

Men are emasculated by being constantly bombarded with ideals of what it means to be a man – and by extension, what it should mean to be a woman.

I am not demanding freedom from you. I cannot. We are, truly, born free and born equal. That is nature’s law. If I am a prisoner, you, my pseudo-captor, are as much a prisoner yourself.

What are we, as a people: A diseased worm that is thrashing to free itself from the weak, pathetic, shallow ideologies that are passed down from one generation to another, gift-wrapped in the guise of culture and tradition?

We disassociate ourselves so conveniently from those aspects of our religion, our culture, that everybody knows – and vocally accepts – is degenerative and simply out-dated in our current times. But we never shake off all the evils at once. Like television soaps, we are determined to hold on to one ugliness after the other till the very last minute possible.

Beyond a Third World War that we constantly fear and try to protect ourselves from, this is the reigning War of the Age. This is that truly ugly, big, bad boss battle that we can’t seem to win.

Coming back to my Bindi point – I like them. I like putting a little dot on my forehead every now and then. It’s a cosmetic fancy, part of an ethnic-do, for me. But I want to tear the bindi off, along with the forehead itself if possible, every time someone complacently, with the joy of paying a compliment, tells me I finally look ‘like a girl’.

Natural creation did not choose the ‘weak’, ‘pleasure-oriented’ female body to bear children, to give birth. The two sexes exist foremost for ensuring the survival of the species – no matter whether we are animals or ‘intelligence-capable’ humans. In order to bear children, a human body is given a uterus and mammary glands. It is naturally engineered to be resistant against most genetic disorders that spell doom for a male. It is naturally given organs that are not as susceptible as a male’s. It is naturally given hormones that regulate the psychology and physiology to be accommodating of offspring – from conception to birth to upbringing.

It is such careful, precise engineering that selected the female of the species as more fit to have another life literally leech off her body before it can exist on its own.

What a superb tragedy that such a grand scheme is reduced to notions, practices, language-roots and cultures that deign a woman weak and inferior, stating all the ‘flaws’ in her body as proof.

Somebody, very early on, recognized that a true power struggle could be reduced in half if women are considered to be, somehow, lesser than men. That successfully eliminates an entire half of the population. Then you pick racial differences and further eliminate more people. Within the population that remains, there are still numerous socio-economic differences that can be carefully engineered into notions of inferiority. You create the divide. You define the weaknesses. Then you prey upon them.

I swell up and bleed and ache for 5 days a month because I am the vessel that holds life for repopulating the species and you want me to believe that this makes me ‘impure’ somehow?

If you are an atheist, then you should have no problem recognizing me as your equal in every imaginable way possible. If you are a believer, then you should naturally see that God chose these traits for me for a collective good and nothing more than that. Are our Gods so petty that they will hold aside half of their children because of physical differences that the Gods themselves are supposed to have engineered? If so, then we rebel against this notion of God, just as we rebel against the autocratic regime of a political oppressor.

You want me to believe that you are stronger?

What strength are we talking about? Physical strength? Brute force? Even beasts are strong. We use them to till the land. Shall we have them rule the state as well?

I am not talking about saving myself. I am talking about the future of the human race and its continued existence as a sane, sentient species. Sustainable Development for the future does not address the culturing of sustainable ideologies. There are only so many elements of natural order than can be deformed and distorted for the sake of power – and only for so much time. It is just not sustainable.

I want to prove, to no one in particular, that humans aren’t mute beasts that are irreversibly susceptible to only one kind of Pavlov-ian conditioned response.

At the end of this piece, there will be many men and women who will take great pride and pleasure in pointing out that they are ‘different’; that not all men are ‘like that’. This is a general letter and not specifically accusing any one of us. I am not asking you to consider yourselves as oppressors. I’m asking you to not count yourselves out yet – and then see why.

Many people will wonder why I attack religion. “Bindi” is a sacred thing, it’s a ‘cultural’ thing, and it’s an ‘Indian’ thing. Agreed, my friends. I have no problem with that definition of ‘Bindi’. I too, cherish those definitions. The problem is with our definitions of what is ‘sacred’, ‘cultural’, ‘Indian’, etc.

The problem is with our impotent minds. The problem is with our disgruntled, oppressive, unequal definitions of equality and freedom. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Passing Maybe

8th was PG's 22nd Birthday. And my dad's birthday.

10th was the day Abel Sylvester died.

12th December this year is 'special' - 12.12.12.

21st is hailed as the last by many.

In midst of all that, I can only feel life passing by. It's a continuous happening, something we all know; but in the tiny moments of countless days, it doesn't register.

Then you are posed with a date such as today's and you know it's not happening for another century, the uniqueness of the 3 columns.
And that's what does it...

Why does it take big, stupid things for us to realize small, important ones?

The coming Christmas and New Year looms upon me like storm clouds. what would I do with myself, so far away from home and family?
And in all the uncertainties that I let myself wallow, why does the weight of it all not push me to try harder, be better?
Maybe this is how people run their lives into ruin. Or maybe this is just the way life is run, in general by everyone. This must be the making of our future dialogue as 80 year olds, curled up on a couch, wrinkled hands twisting around each other in an attempt to recirculate blood.

"Life just passes you by. How fast the years have gone...I used to know a time when..."

Maybe we all deserve a shot at that kind of timeless sorrow, as much as we deserve a chance at happy endings.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Let Them Speak

I lift my head, open my eyes
Look around and realize
That today, I don’t want to say
Anything, speak a single word
Or utter even a sigh
Today, I want everything else to speak
For itself
And speak for me
Today, I want the bed to say
I had a restless night
The night to say I didn’t sleep
I want my hands to say
They have a firm grip
Even if I have nothing to hold onto
I want my lips to tell you
They haven’t kissed love
The Sun in the sky
The Sun in my eyes
And the light to say
I hate the dark in my life
In the corners of my room
In the corners of my mind
I want the Earth to say
I’m a burden to bear
But She doesn’t mind
All that much
And that She would rather have
Me living, leeching off her
Than leaving, leaving, left
Today, I want the skies to fall
And provide a blanket
Of sightless, soundless, thoughtless bliss
For even a moment
I want the world to tell
Of the lack of peace in life
Not too loudly or in lament
Just in moderation
I want, in excess, arms
And eyes and smiles
That radiate love
And don’t question my bearing
I close my eyes
Breathe in one last time
Because today
I want my body to speak my mind
I want my heart to rule my brain
And your brain
And the rationale of our world
I want my last breath to tell the air
That I will draw one more
That I’ll never choose to not be there
That I would be too scared
To leave alone
To leave you alone
To leave
I want my every breath to say
I live, I love, I lie, I care

Sunday, 13 February 2011


Trigger Warning: Self-Injury

Mad, she slammed the door
stomped to the bed and
threw her weight against mute, unyeilding cloth and cotton

Screaming seemed a good idea
smashing things to the floor seemed better
old habits die hard
but if you get older leaving the habits behind,
they come back to you reluctantly
almost never, like abandoned children
who refuse to return to the nest that never was

Her nails were too big
she fished for the nailcutter in the clutter that was her room
found it and forced it on her fingers

If her hands were shaking
if she was careless
if she sneezed suddenly or the room shook by way of providence
but you can't play out the future in your head
and expect manifestations before your eyes
and so, when the nailcutter closed with a snap
the only things that cut were nails

Her shirt was loose, button missing at the top
A safety pin held the cloth together against her chest
she plucked it out

Like swift streams flowing with practiced grace
like little pebbles rolling down a slope
like the invisible lines made by ballet dancers
to recreate them on the plains of her arms
armed with just a tiny, sharp point
a temporary tattoo of red
a permanant one of brown

Afterwards, she replaces the pin,
switches off the light and gets into bed
Her arm is outstretched for all the world to see - unmarred, unmarked

Saturday, 1 January 2011

2011 Thoughts

Okay. This is it - another new year.
New calenders, new diaries, new clothes, new toothbrush, a jacket for the cold, new socks (my first pair in years), new 'resolutions' - old place, old college, old friends, old hand-writing, same old feelings.

I guess the only difference, probably the most significant one, is that now there is new resolve.
I still am addicted to tea.
I got my guitar from Hyderabad - God, my fingers have rusted and If I can't do the F chord smoothly enough before Feb ending (that's giving me a LONG time), I shall pluck the strings off and strangle myself with them!
Meanwhile, I can play familiar old tunes, all thanks to the net...

1. You can be angry and be a laughing, joking person. One does not have to come at the cost of the other
2. The stories will not write themselves and it's okay for stories to exist without known beginnings or endings. As long as the heart of the matter is there, the body will build around it...sooner if you get the basics down on paper (or on MS Word...)
3. Tackle the Stairs
4. Resolution No. 1
5. Resolution No. 2
6. Bring my baby home - how?? Step 1: Start searching for Kennels....
7. Live up to the reputation - work hard this time
8. Don't be weak that's the list, more or less. I'm not writing Resolutions 1 and 2 here.
In fact, I should print this out and stick it on my wall.

Mostly Positive
Happy New Year - it's 2011!!

Sunday, 5 September 2010


GEN 'insert alphabet'

Do you even know what that means? It is easy, so easy to give birth to new expressions and images but who will define meanings for these?

Will it still remain yours after being seen and used in a 1000 different ways by a 1000 different people?

Get down from that high horse you sit on. It is a mere illusion which gives you so much power. Now I have seen that illusion and I have seen through it, so be ready to share it with me.
So easy for you, so very easy: you have crossed the damn river twice over and now standing on the other side, so acutely aware of your accomplishments and your travails, you mock those who are struggling to cross. You even go so far as to say that they will never cross with such weak and despicable thoughts and actions.

You know what’s worse?? You are bloody, God-be-damned right...

I am not going to be crossing anything anytime soon – not like this, not with what I have and what I am. But hearing that repeatedly, seeing that in you and in me, in the mirror, in the swirling dregs in my tea, in the clouds, in the stinking red of the buildings and the choking grey of the concrete beneath my feet – it doesn’t help, not even in the least bit.

A plague upon every smirking, smug, self-satisfied face...You can take your victory to the grave, and I will take mine (victory, or lack of it) with me...But I live too, as plainly as you do and that alone is the pinnacle for some, so I’ll start with treasuring that.
Not choosing sides, not adhering to the known and understood forms of support or resistance, not falling in any definable category and by that alone, belonging to an all new condemnable one, all this troubles the illusion of balance, of a perfect functioning system. But that is only in the beginning. After a while, even the anomaly becomes a part of the whole, a part of the system and you find you don’t need any drastically innovative way to deal with it.

But I believe that somewhere in the madness around me, there is still a path that is laid. It doesn’t run for long and can only take me to a point and all it does is give me time. For as long as the path runs, that long I have to decide whatever path I will create and follow at the end of the old one.

If this is euphemism, if this is blind hope, a coward’s excuse, a procrastinator’s new resolution, an immobile, dormant will’s promise to action, then so be it. Whatever gives...