Fury…

It is past midnight. You struggle between the need to watch another episode of Black mirror, or to sleep. You take a look at the time again, 12:30 am. You calculate that if you sleep just about this minute, you would get exactly five hours of rest before your alarm starts screaming to “it’s all about that bass” by Meghan Trainor. A heavy cloud of exhaustion lowers itself and settles on your shoulders. You feel burdened, not just by your increasingly heavy frame but also by your head that carries viscous notions. You sigh and promise yourself that tomorrow you would put Adi early to bed, so that you would have the time to watch at least two episodes of Black Mirror and yet get to sleep by midnight.

You shut your laptop screen and half walk, half tumble into Adi’s room. Partly out of habit and partly out of admiration. You remember how terrified you were of sleeping alone when you were six. In fact, you admit to yourself, but only to yourself, that even now every night you have to stop yourself from begging your six year old to sleep with you, in your room.

You switch on the night-light and watch your little son sleep, his steady breathing calming the storm inside you. You are going to switch off the light and walk back into your room, but you decide against it. You don’t want your child to burden the night terrors that you did, growing up. You are about to turn your back to Adi, when you hear a scratching noise. Your hands freeze, an inch away from the night-light. You stop breathing, your eyes are wide, bulging out of their sockets. Your feet are tethered to the ground like massive Oak trees. Your heart…Your heart beating like horse hooves in a stampede, is the only sound you can hear now. You try telling yourself that you imagined the scratching noise. Yet a sane part of you begs you to double check under Adi’s bed, inside his closet and under the study table. So then, you attempt moving your feet that are still rooted to the ground, after some amount of nudging; they move and as if on autopilot, walk you back into your room. You try to convince yourself that if you don’t acknowledge the fear the fear, doesn’t exist.

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“Life begins at forty”, they said…

Now don’t get me wrong, I have read enough inspirational bollock about people claiming that “life begins at forty”, and how forties are the new twenties. And I do suppose they are; with all that botox, steroids, liposuction and tummy tucks. Which is probably pretty similar to a 22 years old Kylie Jenner today. But that is not for us; middleclass folks.

"Believing life begins at 40, Dave decided to take it easy for the first 39."

I am sure you may think that your midlife crises would constitute “spur of the moment” vacations to Spain for the Tomatina festival, but then your bank will slap you on your face with it’s barely five figure balance and EMIs. So, then you decide to pick up a relatively inexpensive hobby, like an obsessive, aggressive, omnipotent, all consuming drive to convert your porch into a garden. And your Pinterest is all about DIY planters, perennials, annuals, terrariums and succulents.

You decide to garner words of undying appreciation from your social media followers/friends by calling your garden, your own tiny attempt to save bees from extinction. Because isn’t midlife crises all about finding meaning? At some point you really start believing that you care, in fact care a lot, you cry over the death of Harambe. And yet you don’t give a fuck about America’s elect president, teaching men “how to grab them by the pussy” but calling Climate Change a scam.

You realize your last year’s jeans feels tighter, you scour your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter every single day, multiple times to find anything, anyone out there to inspire you to lose weight. And the 81 years old nun who goes for Ironman every single year becomes your greatest inspiration. You search online; you find Gold’s gym right in the next lane. They charge 15,000/- a year for using the gym, and 36,000/- for six months of personal trainer. Your bank slaps you again with a reminder of your child’s overdue school fees. So, the next day you find out that Beyonce is Vegan, and then you wonder Vegan way would help you lose weight and keep your pockets heavy.

You invest a couple of thousand bucks in Rujuta Divekar’s diet for Vegan Gujratis. You blow another few thousands at Hypercity, you arm yourself with groceries enough to feed an orphanage, and very little olive oil. Because you realize that you are not as rich as that bitch, Rujuta, and you’ll have to sell your kidney if you want to continue using Olive oil for the entire family.

That evening you find yourself eating a salad comprised of spinach, cucumber, tomatoes and a bowl full misery. You brave yourself to stuff one forkful after another, and feel more of a cow than you have ever in your lifetime. Which then reminds you of that yummy beef curry from Ilango’s and that makes you cry, through your tear filled eyes, you open the Swiggy app on your phone and order a large, double cheese bacon pizza from Papa Johns with beef toppings.

But, no your mother hasn’t raised a quitter, so the next day you wake up and transfer 50,000/- to Gold’s gym, you’ll pay your son’s fees next quarter, along with the late fee, you decide.

When you walk out of your home, you barely glance through the dying plants in your tiny garden, begging for water. You tell yourself you’ll water them tomorrow, but today, today you sweat in your seven thousand rupees Adidas active wear and Puma shoes.

That night, when you take a whole of five minutes to slowly lower yourself on the seat of your English commode, because your body aches in places you never knew existed, you take your phone and check the prices for tummy tucks and liposuction.

 

 

Daddy’s little girl…

http://www.creativeadawards.com/hurt-girl/

You lug yourself forward, it hurts in places you did not know existed, until now. You drag yourself ahead; your body is heavy, panting like a dog in a desert. You are all alone, but that is a relief. You don’t mind dragging yourself to the bed stand, you don’t mind using the dying strength in your arms to slowly lift your upper body, and plop it on the bed. You don’t mind being alone; in fact you are positively relieved in your solitude. Because the alternative, the alternative to being alone propels you into tears of dread, misery and frustration.

You know that for at least another three to four hours, you will be alone. That time would help you lick your wounds, huddled in the corner of your bed. But before that you need to check, check your body, check your bones, check your face. No cuts, no visible wounds, no broken bones; that is your first priority; because the last thing you want is for people to notice. Your abdomen screams in pain, so does your nine months old daughter, she screams in hunger. Your abdomen can wait maybe, but not your daughter.

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Come on Sarah!

Now that you had not seen this coming Sarah, it’s safer to assume, you are caught off-guard. Perfect. It’s time to put your training to use, and the training remember Sarah, as you have been told by Mr. Kyle repeatedly, is merely about strength, or agility, or tricks, it’s more about the awareness of your mind. So focus.

A man has broken into your house. You have heard the shattering of the window glass. It could be a wild animal too, but what if it is a man? An animal does not know you are home alone, a man does.

He knows you are alone and mom has said she will be late, so of course dad has a big enough window to go out and gamble. You be the secret keeper and don’t tell anyone, not even your brother Eddie when he comes back tomorrow, dad has told you and that’s fine. Let dad gamble. He is not an addict. Plus he is good at it. He is fine. You are fine. Everything is fine.

So come on now, do the thing where, facing downstairs, hands on railing, you hop down the stairs,  one at a time, when mom’s not watching, and it’s okay if it’s getting a lot harder now compared to how it felt a few years ago, because someone’s feet are getting longer every day.

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At fifteen, Sarah, you grow faster than ever. And people notice that sort of thing; “Hey! You are developing breasts!” Continue reading

Birthdays – The beeps of a ticking time bomb

As you grow older – and oh boy, are you getting older faster than you thought you would – you realise, birthdays are like the beeping reminders of a ticking time bomb. You have thirty more beeps to go before you explode, or fifty, or five, depending on how you are programmed.

Now, do you want to worry about the bomb the whole time it’s beeping, or do you want to forget that the explosion is inevitable, and therefore, you go ahead and indulge in things that make you happy? Like, I don’t know, perhaps, you go and make yourself a sandwich? Or watch a video on YouTube where people are tripping on hoverboards, or read a book about the Nagas or the secret or the secret of the Nagas, or get a tattoo, or have sex on your leather couch. Although, if you ask me, you wouldn’t enjoy having sex, if there is a ticking time bomb involved. But on the other hand – the hand, that you aren’t using for sex – it would be totally wild if you enjoyed it, despite being aware of the bomb in the back of your head. The bomb, that somehow feels like it’s strapped to your chest – there is no escaping from it and you’re a breathing kamikaze.

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And so what, if some of them continuously but subtly remind you, that you have lesser amount of beeps left than they do, and yet, you are spending it all on unimportant things; like finding happiness and peace and being as yourself as you can be. And not on more important things; like worrying and being an opportunist and reproducing, and all that. But all you know, and oh god, in your own very heart you know it’s fucking true, that you’ve not only survived through all the beeps so far but also enjoyed their sounds and learned from them, shit, you even danced to a few.

But the only problem, as it appears to you, is that somehow the beeps have now sped up. Every beep, seems like it arrived before its time, and yes, you, of course, weren’t ready for this one, and this one, and the one that is about to come, and the one that is here, and the one that will be forgotten soon.

So what do you do? Give it an old college try? A few desperate attempts in vain, to cease the moment? Because the bomb isn’t going to diffuse itself. Is it? But ah, then it all dawns on your thick skull, that there aren’t any plausible diffusing mechanisms known yet.

So then whatever, this whole fuckery and the creators of it can suck on a giant donkey hog, and that’s about how much you care!

You obviously can’t step out of the blast radius – because it’s that big – and it’s also a no-brainer, that you try very very hard to give a fuck, and hello …? That’s the best you could do. So you chin-up, make yourself one more sandwich, read one more book, have sex one more time, and do not bother, or cry, or worry, or reproduce. But that is because reproducing to you, sounds a lot like sex went horribly wrong.

Meanwhile, the bomb has beeped a couple of more times, and one beep dissimilar to many other beeps from the past, sounds a lot like an epiphany of some sort, but duh, just a temporary one. You already know, it is going to explode some day, but you still turn a corner, and someone close to you comes over and whispers in your ears, wow good one, things are looking better, aren’t they? Keep them up! And you say, thank you very much, and yet, somehow, by the next beep or the one after that, you fuck it all up, and congratulations, you’re back to square one.

But never mind, this all shall, and must, balance itself out, because, after all, it did pop-up on its own. Didn’t it? You did not plant the bomb, they did not put a snooze button on it, and oh yes, you know intuitively, acting a fool has perks involved in some good way, so go ahead and forget the beeps, put rave in crave, and the blessings shall be bestowed upon thee.

Dopey Hopes

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Morning shower used to be fun. Research says that lonely people spend longer hours in warm showers. Now my only sliver of solace and warmth is disrupted by calls from the cab-drivers. They assign a different cab-driver every day and every driver is a new nightmare. Despite satellites tracking and streaming my precise location right into his goddamn phone, the driver inevitably prefers to call me up and – against a backdrop of dire honking – I must explain in excruciating detail the herculean journey he must undertake to reach me at Number 12, 17th Main.

The commute is too long for the distance but too short for me to listen to music. I don’t like music because music is a lie. When you don a headphone, you’re immersing yourself in a lie but when you must immerse yourself in a lie, it’s a shame when you can’t immerse yourself long enough. Continue reading

That Valentine’s Day Story

You are in the open air parking lot of your high-school when you see her for the first time. You are drawn towards her—she’s the magnet, you are the metal. She has a name that you are scared to ask.

You see her again in the class—packed with a few hundred desperately inane students—the next day, and none of them matter to you. The sinusoidal wave equations, if at all you pay attention, dance funny. And in the next class, the one about the alcohols, phenols and ethers, you get up and sit three rows closer to her. The class after that—although you like limits and derivatives—is exhausting. The teacher doesn’t speak loudly, perhaps has a lisp, and the students—most of them—are either obnoxious geeks or teenage hooligans and you stay away from all of them. In fact, you stay alone, driven by an overpowering awe. Your admiration for her, from this point onwards in life, is laughable. Like your frayed and baggy, patchy jeans. Like your middle partitioned long hair. Like your cross shoulder unwieldy backpack. Like you!

You are awed by her for months, almost a year. A year and a half, maybe. You know her name now, you know she laughs a lot. You know, you aren’t the only one who is obsessed with her. You have overheard confrontations from some fuckboys in the alley. You have seen her name scribbled on the desks of the classrooms. You have seen her close friends being over-protective of her. You know she laughs loudly, maybe her friends are funny, maybe she’s always happy, or maybe she laughs only when you are around. These are just assumptions after all. You have never spoken to her. She seems unapproachable and you know you are still scared deep down. You have seen other guys being rejected, if not by her then by some other girls, so you are saving yourself from all the embarrassment. You know, you will never gather the courage to talk to her. And the day you do, pigs will fly in the air, in a flying saucer, full of Italian sausages.

It’s middle of the summer and you are in college fourth semester. You have found yourself some really good friends. You have learned a thing or two about life. Your hair is still long, your pants are still baggy and saggy and your backpack, although less bulky, is still off-putting. You have not changed much, except you talk more now. You’re quirky, funny and somewhat likeable. You talk quite often about her, to your really close friends and they laugh. They mostly make fun of you, but you laugh along. They have no idea, where you come from.

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You haven’t seen her in almost two years Continue reading

Earthquake in California

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You sleep late and wake up early. You see the sunrise after months. The sky is vast; thistle in the west and a piercing vermillion in the east. You wonder whether it’s always this beautiful out here when you’re asleep in your bed with the curtains snugly drawn.

You arrive early to work but not early enough to have breakfast. You head over to the secure zone. You key in your PIN and step inside. It’s cold because it’s a refrigerator for sensitive customer data. Terminals that hum solemnly in front of you are processing a million online transactions. You’re unpacking your bag while a million people are leisurely scrolling through items, drawn in a vortex of increasingly irresistible AI powered recommendations. You dial in to the conference and try to connect to your desktop operating sixteen floors above you. You can’t. After a moment of hesitation, it occurs to you that you don’t need your desktop right away. You’ve made assumptions you’re not aware of; that you wouldn’t be aware of until it’s time.

After a couple of hours, it is time. You realize you need your desktop. You have a had a rough couple of hours where the scripts that were supposed to work didn’t and it took someone from Dublin to fix those for you Continue reading

You are home

You walk further and you breathe heavily—like you saw a ghost in a man. This breeze on your face is cold, but comforting, like the layers of your jacket insulating your jittery spine. This breeze is your only companion, it always has been and it always will be.

You are mad, but you’re not stressing, no, not today. Your head is on your shoulders, your chin is up, your eyes see the way things are, your mind is in your own hands and your hands … your hands are in your pocket, holding a peace-rock; it’s cold too. That’s how it’s meant to be; you clasp it, rub it, rock it. Sometimes, you also throw it high up in the air and catch it—for hours.post

You’re forgotten, by her, by him, by them, by everyone, but that’s okay, you are at peace. You smile at all kinds of animals, but a mere human eye contact is agonizing.  So you look away when they are around or when they approach you. Continue reading