Dost

The cynic in me wants to start with the lines, ‘another one bites the dust.’ Then I think about the person and beat the cynic, down.

I retreated into my shell instead of saying anything, as I drove him to the Bus Adda. He looked at me in the same inquisitive manner I’d grown accustomed to, trying to figure out what goes on in this warped brain of mine. I know my silence can sometimes be hurtful but nothing good comes out of mouth when I’m scared. My usual retort is that of a sadak chaap- ‘mujhe kyaa hoga? Mujhe kissi  ka farak nahin padta.’

What could I have said to my bodyguard? He was moving to a new city and I was probably never going to see him, again. Goodbyes are always hard and this one…hmm.

Should I have begun by thanking him for standing up to a mob for me; for saving me on more occasions than I could count?

Should I have asked how he’s always remained so unperturbed by my sharp quills? Though he calls my tongue an AK47, he always says, ‘baaki saab ko daraayaa karo, mujhe nahin daar lagta aapse’. 

Should I have told him how grateful I was for his concern for my well being?  One of the few people who stood by my side last year, yelling, coaxing and sometimes even pleading. ‘Get up, work, pray, go to the gym’, he would say, playing part parent, part shrink.

Isn’t it strange that a person who came from such a dramatically different background, felt no hesitation in telling me whenever I was wrong or getting ‘hyper’, occasionally reminding me that I was a woman and he was around to do the manly work of handling the uncouth? He is a chauvinist but considering his exposure to conflict its but natural for him to be overly protective of women.

But true to character I didn’t say anything. He asked me what was wrong? I just shook my head. A few awkward handshakes later, with him asking me to say , ‘Jau Khuda ke havale’ and me repeating the words, I left.

On the way back, I heard these lines and couldn’t help but smile.

Muskaane ka gur bhi sikhaya
Peena sikhaya gham
Yaadein karodon jisne di
Usey kaise bhulayein hum.

I know he’ll be very successful. He’s hardworking and fearless. I pray he gets everything he wants and some more. I wish our paths cross again, someday and I hope he knows I will always be grateful for everything he’s done. He could read my silences, I just hope he managed to- the last time we met.

Let it be

Customarily, I glance at Facebook. Though I have unfollowed most of the people from my former life, yet sometimes, something pops up. I see pictures of people I once knew and for the first time I feel nothing…no hurt, no anger and no regret. Though I can easily imagine being there- the coversations, the gossip, peals of laughter…my uneasiness. Yet, I fail to recognise the faces and what they once, meant.
It is a New Year miracle! I spent the last year being terribly angry. They say anger is sad’s bodyguard…..Well, I’m a creature with a highly evolved defence mechanism. The juvenile expectation that people are supposed to stand by your side in trying times, has just made me bitter. I’m guilty of having a romanticised view of reality.
I recently read two paragraphs that helped.
The heading of one of the pieces is….Thinking too much is someone else’s problem. “If you use your brain, it is bound to create a problem for others if they are seeking to use, abuse or control you or keep you dependant or fearful.” M. Scott Peck explains further, that our culture discourages thinking and often candor (I have most often been criticised for my inability to keep it in). “If we choose to think for ourselves, we must be braced for backlash. We risk being seen as eccentrics or malcontents. We may be presumed to be on the fringes of  mainstream society, regarded as different and abnormal in the worst sense of the word.”
The Hadith of At-Tirmidhi on the other hand states, ” Be mindful of God and God will protect you. Be mindful of God and you will find him before you. If you ask, ask of God, if you  seek help, seek help of God. Know that if all the people were to gather together to give you the benefit of anything, it would be something that God has already prescribed for you and that if they gather together to harm you with anything, this would only be as God has already ordained.”
Whether, I intellectually choose to view the situation or resign to it in the manner of a spiritual fatalist, the inevitable conclusion that I have come to is- it’s all just water under the bridge.

Fear

They say it has been a year, as if a light is supposed to switch on and I am supposed to say, Yeah! Now I am ready!

Unfortunately, the advancements in technology haven’t changed the patriarchal nature of our society. The fact that IVF helps women of ‘a certain age ‘ to bear children doesn’t really help my case, these days. Apparently, my life as a woman is worthless or so I’m told, yet again.

Don’t get me wrong. I have always wanted to be a mommy. It scares me to death, what with my mom’s doc forewarning a probability of depression. But that doesn’t dissuade me, much. It just makes me a bit cautious. That’s besides the point.

The point is how does my being of a certain age give people the right to be obnoxious? Like a very close relative quips, “our product has expired, now.” Men can make babies till they are 70 and at 35 I have been declared an expired product! Lovely! My age should speed up the process of getting over things, as apparently my reproductive organs have a time bomb attached to them and they may go off any minute!

Why this obsession with age? I have never ever felt my age. I vacillate between various stages of development and none of them are thirty five. My closest friends have always been a few years older or younger. In my early 20s, I found older men attractive and ever since younger. Although, I know innumerable friends and relatives who have dated and married much younger women, the reversal of roles is considered sacrilege. Unless, you are JLo, Madonna or drop dead gorgeous, it ain’t going to be a walk in the park.

Then there’s the fear that everyone tries to instill in you. Statistically, there are more men than women in India. Add to that, the number of people having extra marital affairs and marriage as an institution miserably failing, the claim that one will not find anyone, if not now, is preposterous. Yes, there’s a 60% probability my parents will die before me and I will be all alone in this Big Bad World. And yes I will be lonely, but like Beghum Akhtar very poignantly said, “Tanhai ko apna dost bana lo. Tanhai dhoka nahin deti.’ Who says the married are not lonely?

The act of jumping into a relationship just so that I don’t end up alone seems rather juvenile. A few years ago, I definitely would  have but isn’t age supposed to bring maturity and isn’t it immature to first not understand, forgive and heal yourself before somersaulting into another thing?

Oonth Pahad Ke Niche

A midnight call asking where I have disappeared?  Being a semi professional escapist, I can usually fall off the radar for short periods without raising suspicion. But I guess I have outdone myself this time.Either that or the God forsaken social platforms have disclosed the truth. And now it seems the World and its mother knows and awaits my reaction! Considering my propensity to sink into the darkest corners of my mind..I can sense the worry around me. I know that they know and they know that I know, that they know. But we all beat around the bush. There’s a comfort in this treacherous game. It saves me from dissecting something that I can’t.