6th day

Same drama….similar breathing problem, only a different environment. Call up the wall, panicking. ‘I can’t breathe properly!’ He asks me to step out immediately. I start banging on the shutter, asking the guard to let me out.

Poor guy, gets a fright! We start looking for the oxygen can frantically. They are in the office upstairs, he runs up to get them as I pant, holding on to my chest. A couple of hours before that, one had called up the house to say, I’m not well. But the men, as usual, were drunk out of their freaking minds. Plus, ever since mom and I have left, the house has been converted into a tavern. So, my dear Bhaskar, was busy taking care of the guests. Soon other things will start, too. But not that us being around really stopped anyone, earlier.

I pump as many meds as I can, take the oxygen that makes me feel better and get a lecture. ‘ How could you give that man what he wanted, so easily?’ He’s echoing what other well wishers had said, when I moved here. ‘ I got tired of everything- the accusations, the constant microscope I was under, the back and forth calls which were being made to my friends. The listening in, I got exhausted! Most of all, it pissed me off. My mum died and everyone behaved as if she didn’t exist. As if this was their time to make merry. The fact that they abandoned her, in her last few years, I’m mad about but to watch them sit in what was her house and celebrate, it makes so damn livid.’ I want to yell but I’m too uneasy. ‘ I got tired, for now!’ I repeat, as I have been for the past week.

I look for SB but can’t find her. So SC, just imagines lying on her mum’s chest (as usual, that’s why she was called chipkoo) and falls asleep, as the cough syrup kicks in. Tomorrow will be another day.

What’s up?

Five days on the couch, with a rat (I can’t get my hands on) for company and the only thing that keeps me going is work and memories. One minute I am in Pushkar, sitting on the terrace of the only place I stay at, the next minute I am sitting by the side of the Dal. In a blink of an eye I am driving down the Western Ghats as it rains.

Worried relatives and friends message. It’s sweet, that they think this would be hard for me. Four stories of silence, with just me, in the building, in a containment zone, feels like cakewalk compared to most people’s company, at the moment.

The workers try to scare me. ‘Didi sat baje ke bad bhoot aate he!’ The building down the road, had burnt down a few years ago. Many more than were reported, died in that fire. Ever since, it has been constructed and furnished, again. But people find it hard to work, there. Well, thank God for tanhai and the rat, they’ll protect me!

Between doing dad’s work and figuring out what to do about mine, one has started to feel a little bit like one’s self. On the photography front, everything is at a halt, at the moment. Kashmir, is out of reach, the exhibitions which were lined up for the coming year, I don’t know if they will actually take place…..one does have to start working on one of the books. Let’s see how everything plays out.

Anyhow, a friend called up to check up on me and I had a realisation about human relationships. This is a person who has always been incredibly nice to me but on the other hand has some not so nice things, to say about most people. Therefore, many a times, I get to hear what she’s said about me, too. I realised after speaking to her today, that the reason one never gets furious with her, ever, is because the good that she does, all outweighs the bad that she speaks.

It’s convenient for me to ignore what she says because she makes up for everything, with what she does. That’s not what you can say, about most people. So, we may be all idealistic or just hyper sensitive ( like the shrink, astrologer, teachers, boyfriends have claimed I am) but we are all creatures of convenience. We ignore what is convenient for us to ignore. I wish I could push that spot more often, keep SC hidden, forever or maybe at least keep her on a leash.

Lockdown 4.0

The father was here today, completely clueless about why I would move out. Well, at forty it should be for obvious reasons but considering the circumstance of being, the only child of a man who has a drinking problem, it does seem quite cruel. Of course one would want to look more liberated, in a more westernised version of parent/child relationship. But though one looks quite, fickle, footloose and fancy free, one’s not good at abandoning someone in their weakest moments.

So, why? Well, one has been in a precarious situation since the mother’s passing. From conspiracy theories about us murdering my mom, to my dad’s drinking and his loose tongue, this perpetual feeling of being under a scanner, to this constant flow of information about one’s life, to theories about how I will murder my father, it’s all a bit much for me. I know it’s all said out of callousness, sometimes spite and sometimes because people want a piece of the pie but the Bollywood version of my life, I am not enjoying. A friend just confessed, she went through the same thing with her relatives, when her mum passed away. Considering, she was much younger I should be able to handle things better, at my age. But honestly, I am sucking at it, right now. People tell me how strong I am, all the time but I have never been more frail, more unsure and as afraid as I am, right now.

Lying on a sofa staring at the fan, wondering what to do in life. Between some friends and suitors one has been receiving offers to move into people’s homes. One’s quite comfortable on the couch, tanhai is back, so I have pleasant company. When I get tired of her, a few friends and the ex assistant listen to me ranting.

Then there are the tantrum throwers, who are still throwing a fit. What is it with men and this warped way in which they apparently, love? Yeh kiss kisam ki mohabbat he, jo dusre ko bas paana chahtee he? Mohabbat hoti he jisse na doori, na khamoshi, na waqt mitata he. Jab aap ki har ek dua, me kissi ka naam ho aur uss ki khushi mein hi, aap ki khushi. Love is not getting, owning, marrying…love is yearning. But this is the twice in a lifetime kind of love, the kind that gets tattooed on your skin. Doesn’t happen always but it stays for what seems like forever!

Do I look like my sisters?

Do I look like my sisters?

My skin is a few shades darker ( I never got any treatment done, to look white) and my hair unruly and unmanageable.

Though they all are a little loud, I’m the one with the most viscous tongue. I am untameable.

Do you think, like them you can tie me to men at then tell me, this is your lot in life, deal with it?

Do I look like my sisters, who are day in and day out made to feel like they are less than a penis? The brothers, the fathers, the husbands own them, can trade them, ill treat them, beat them, leave them and the society still won’t spare them!

Do I look like my sisters? They’ve bought into the patriarchy without knowing it. Accepting their fates without a fight. All the time thinking, balls to women’s rights!

Do I look like my sisters? Oh hell, no, I don’t! I look just a little like the one who nursed me when I was in a cot. She was a force of nature, she always got her way. We all revolved around her, she made us all sway. To her tunes we danced, we laughed and we played. But she taught me, to always stand tall and never let anyone, tell me what I can do and what I can not!