Monday, December 9, 2013
Dial it back.
Tone it down.
The world needs none of your effervescence, ebullience, enthusiasm.
It's the age of 140-character expressions, single-sentence status updates, check-ins, emoticons, grammatically incorrect text messages.
Practise your serious face in front of the mirror every day. Indifference is a good look to aim for.
Try an ironic smile. It's all the rage now. Oh and make sure, no teeth. Smiles which light up your eyes will make you look deranged, so must be avoided at all costs.
Keep your emotions in check. No one appreciates your excitement. It isn't fashionable.
Do not rage and rant. It makes you look ugly. And it makes you look like you care enough for something for it to let it affect you. Caring is unnecessary. And tantrums are unflattering.
Do not cry or show sadness to anyone. Use your pillow, the shower. Any sign of vulnerability is an immediate turn off. It shows a lack of depth of character and an inability to show constraint. No one has time for your drama. No one gives a tiny rat's arse.
Effusive declarations of love will serve for immediate and harsh judgement. Expressing desire, passion, love or even fondness is stupid and childish and will be treated as such. It immediately scares people away.
Hide your emotions away. Anything that appears human will be treated as weak. Lock it in. Fold all of it in on itself over and over and over again till it becomes a tiny little rolled up ball of emotion which you can swallow and digest. Locking them up into chests in the dark corners of your brain should also help. Apathy is the name of the game. Self-preservation is the name of the game.
Tone it down.
Dial it back.
Rein it in.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
A memory you thought you had forgotten trips you up. Or you learn something ugly about someone you thought you knew. Or there is some new horror that your mind has decided to unleash on you.
Momentary. Yet enough to leave you breathless and powerless.
Like a giant sucker-punch that life deals you. Right between the eyes. Leaving you with a broken and bloody nose, tears streaming down your face, completely disoriented. And all you can do is curl up into a ball, waiting for the blood and tears to dry and for the image to dissipate, so that you can go back to living.
Just one flash.
That's all it takes for everything to go to hell.
One memory, one word, one look, one moment.
Life is pretty unfair that way. Especially the sheer simplicity of it.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Accept who you are. And do not apologise for it.
They say it like it's the easiest thing.
Repeat it like a mantra.
Be who you are. Who you are.
What if I know who I am is all wrong.
Not because they say it is.
Because I think it is, believe it is.
Because I know better.
I know the darkness, the light.
The ugly. I see the warts, the scars.
I feel the broken bones badly mended. That creak when I move. The wounds that are still bleeding and raw.
The filth and the disease inside.
What if I am the reason my relationships fit so badly.
I do too much, expect too little.
What if I am the reason we fight, the reason we unravel.
And I keep picking at the loose threads, making it worse.
We condemn the murderers, the thieves, the rapists.
We say they should not exist.
That they should atone, apologise, change, even die.
When maybe that is who they are.
We pass judgement
From pedestals built on hypocrisy and preconception
From our thrones of shit polished to look like gold
And in the same breath we say
Be who you are. And don't apologise for it.
Be who you are.
What if I am the thief, stealing moments that aren't mine
The liar, living under multiple masks, making appropriate conversation, saying everything right, face on, face off.
The murderer, killing a future that could be
The rapist, looting and plundering the soul of another in search of my own missing pieces.
When the mirror shows me wrong
When the principles I supposedly should stand by are ruining what I hold most dear
When this intelligence I pride myself on is eating me up from the inside
When my anxiety repeats to me how I deserve nothing, no one
When I lie down in the mud so everyone can walk over me
When I give and give while the world continues to take.
That is who I am.
Stuffing pouring out of my insides
A typhoon wreaking havoc in my brain
Words leaking out of my fingers
Bleeding ink and broken dreams
The spectres of my could-have-beens, should-have-beens, will-never-be my permanent companions.
That is who am.
How do I not apologise for it.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
1. Be ugly. Unattractive. Unappealing. Lots of acne helps because it's offputting. Being dark also helps because fair is beautiful and dark isn't. Or be fat, that's supposed to be unattractive too. Or be all of the above.
2. Look like a boy if you can. Short hair, loose shirt, loose jeans, floaters or sneakers and hoodie. And if you get called sir or bhaiya, smile and play along. It's good for you.
3. Practice stooping when you walk. Retreat into yourself. Become as small and unnoticeable as you possible can.
4. Learn to walk really fast.
5. Own a vehicle. Any vehicle. A scooter, a car, a cycle even. It's the best option. Screw the traffic and everything. Find a way to get one and use it all the time.
6. Use a hoodie. Zip up and the forcefield goes on. Put the hood on and it gets stronger.
7. Use earphones or headphones. Really loud.
8. Dupattas or shawls also work. Anything to cover you head, your face, your body.
9. Cover your legs till you feet. Wearing a short skirt? Cover it with a longer skirt. And don't forget the previous point.
10. Do not make eye contact. With anyone.
11. Do not smile. At anyone.
12. Do not ask for directions. Use your phone and the GPS. Or wing it. Or maybe find some lady to ask directions from.
And you know what, it'll all be futile anyway. But still try. Because it's better than feeling you gave up.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Wool and knitting needles.
We each are given some. Different colours and different textures, with needles of different sizes. At different times of our lives. Every time we meet someone, we are given a ball of wool and a set of needles. And the choice to make what we choose of them. Scarves, sweaters, socks, caps, whatever it is that catches our fancy, that feels like it fits that colour, that texture, that wool.
I was given some too.
Black wool. And big needles. Just right to make myself a sweater three sizes too big, and incredibly warm. It was extremely difficult, I remember. But I kept at it. My fingers hurt. And I had to juggle all my other woollens too. I had to work just as much at the grey scarves, the dark blue knit caps and the light blue scarves and everything else. Even the tiny weird multi-coloured wannabe handkerchiefs. But I worked hardest at that sweater. I knit every link, every row. And there were days that my fingers hurt. And days that I thought that the wool would run out and days that I just didn't want to try anymore. But I kept at it, hoping that at the end I would get the warmest sweater I could hope for.
It looked like I might succeed. I knitted lots of moments into that sweater. I dropped a few stitches, lots of them, actually. But I knotted them and continued, because hey, it didn't have to be perfect, just warm. And I knew it would be. It was the nice kind of wool.
I tried it one day. Just for size. Sure, it was incomplete, but I wanted to see if I was doing it correctly.
And it didn't fit.
The sleeves were all wrong, the wool fell itchy. It was just all wrong.
I still kept at it, even then.
I didn't know what else to do.
I had spent so long on it.
That's when I found the other ball. It was the colour of honey and chocolate. Warm brown with a texture that wasn't like any I had been given till then. Needles which were not too big but not too small; still just right for that oversize sweater I wanted.
So I let my incomplete black sweater go. I realised it wasn't meant to be a sweater, after all. It's still there and I work at it now and then, but it doesn't hurt now.
This brown wool was new though. I tried going at it like I had with the black. But it wasn't working. The stitches would keep dropping and there were holes and stray threads. My fingers hurt more than ever and this time it felt like it was even more difficult than before. I had to keep unravelling and starting again and again. Which is when I realised that I was going at it the wrong way.
I had to forget the old sweater.
That was the problem.
I had to start completely anew with this one. Not using any of the lessons from before, at least not all of them. I had to find my way again with this one. I had to unlearn. And begin on a new page, or a new stitch, if you will.
I am still working on that lovely brown sweater. And this time it looks like I might get it done. I'm not counting on it yet, but it seems to be going well. I still have lots of dropped stitches and some too loose knots and some too tight knots, but nothing too dangerous. I'm getting there.
Looks like it'll be a nice addition to my wardrobe of warm.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
But you? You feel differently, somehow. You aren't like all of the others. You're a thinking, feeling, analytical person. Adaptable. Considerate. Intensely empathetic. Expressive. Creative. Passionate. A mind with a heart.
So you will be chewed alive. Swallowed and then spat out, covered in the slime and dregs of the world. Your soul crushed. Your mind in tatters. Defeated.
This begs the essential question of how to survive. You can't switch off. You can't cancel it out. So what do you do to protect yourself? Because hey, self-preservation is key here. And the fittest are the ones who survive.
You fake it till you make it. Put on an act for the world and pretend to everyone else, that you are like them. You know you can get them to believe you. You've observed them, seen how they are. And you're smart. So you'll be able to blend in perfectly with your perfectly fitted mask and your elaborate deception.
Make it your personal pantomime with the world as your audience.
Pretend so hard that eventually, that brilliant analytical mind of yours learns to fool itself. So that every empathetic muscle you have atrophies through disuse. Do it long enough and well enough and then eventually you won't be trying. No act anymore. It'll become unconscious. Subconscious even.
A word of warning though. It will be hard. Your mind will turn on itself. It will turn on you. And you will hate yourself. With a vehemence you did not know you possessed.
But if you keep at it, in spite of the hate, that lie you keep telling the world, won't even be a lie. It will have turned into the truth, the one you created for yourself. The mask a part of who you are. Because you tell the same lie long enough and you will believe it. Your carefully created persona will be who you are, because you believe it as the truth.
Congratulations! You are now part of the world. Unfeeling. Indifferent. Apathetic.
Sure hope it was worth it.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
What it does is lull you into a sense of security. You rebel in the beginning but then you train yourself to get used to the change. And when you are finally used to it and have let your guard down and accepted it in its entirety, that's when the illusion fails. Like a reflection in a pond, disturbed by the slightest movement, the illusion caves in.
And that is when you see that what you grew to believe was nothing but a shadow, a lie. Nothing really changed. The illusion was just too strong, too beguiling, too seductive. And you were taken in. A lamb to slaughter. A willing participant to your own destruction.
Mute. Cooperative. Hopeful.
Change can be a cruel mistress. Its illusion, even more so.