Love in the times of a pandemic

Amma,

One hears terrible news of deaths all around and finds oneself in front of a cremation ground, looking in, as usual. To even pretend to grieve your passing seems like a vulgarity, with death standing at everyone’s doorsteps! Happy birthday….miss you lots but I’m so glad the doctor didn’t realize you were infected ( at that time they didn’t even test me, though I had trouble breathing, had an infection and my ECG was erratic) otherwise, you too would have been like all those innumerable people dying alone in hospital and in your condition you wouldn’t have survived two days. I’m so glad the last person you saw was the person you loved the most-your husband. Uff, Ishq! So romantic and dramatic, Pinky!!

The Buas, who were like younger sisters to you, sent me messages today. One wrote, ‘ I’m sure the angels are looking after their own!’ Sweet messages for an adorable creature, I miss everyday!

Other than sickness the only thing that seems to be happening is- marriage! Yup! Last year one was taken aback by the absurdity of wanting to tie the knot during a pandemic but as time passes and more people die, one can wrap one’s head around that idea. I see people hooking up left right and centre, a bride and groom were walking on an empty road yesterday, with what seemed like a few relatives…one took charge as official photographer and snapped them for posterity. Another couple apparently took pheras in PPE kits because the groom tested positive. Nothing, seems to work on moi of course!

The radio too plays weird stories called ‘deedh ishqiya’. Yesterday, this is what the the RJ’s recited-a woman is stuck at home, hasn’t met her boyfriend due to the pandemic, so they have this weird ass conversation about getting married because they can’t bear not being with each other. Eye roll! Maybe, I’m just a bit J, can’t think of a single person, I would want to go through this with. Oh and of all the damn times, people are busy making babies. For God’s sakes! By all means hump each other like bunnies but there are no hospital beds, no oxygen, the air we are breathing in any case is poisonous and us Earthlings are hell bent on turning this planet into a dumping ground, at this freaking time you want to bring a child into this world? Slow clap!! People think we are weird, my goodness, I wonder what they’re smoking?

Your husband insists I’m a doomster. He told me the other day, if I was born before he got married, I would have convinced him not to tie the knot and have me. That’s not true. I’m all for love, but the kind that’s crazily passionate and a little bit impossible! I’m trying to change how I’ve always imagined the future- by myself. These days I’m trying projecting, imagining what kind of love would I want, which has led me to become a total Jimkook shipper. Don’t laugh, yes, I do want a love story akin to two twenty year old gay boys. It’s adorable. Now I should start looking for a girl! I wish Amma, please do something and change my sexual orientation!

I’ve been telling R and S that they must marry the girls they’re in love with soon. Of course, I’ll have to find younger boys to hang out with but that’s okay. I really should start hanging out with women more often, friendships with men last till they get married or till either of you falls for the other.

I wish you were around to scream and dance all day. The house is too lonely without you. The Father and I bicker all the time and since you’re not there to pacify us, we have to call a truce on our own, which is quite boring. From wearing a mask, to him shutting down the factory for a few day, everything I say seems too pessimistic to him. ‘Nothing will happen, stop behaving like my mother. Go and have babies of your own!’ he yells till I yell back and storm out. Poor Bhaskarji, just nods his head in dismay! According to him, I give myself too much importance. The other day, I was very upset because someone has been trying to hack my phone and has been repeatedly including text from one of my articles into the HTML code of a website. When you click on it, it drives it into another shady website. This has been going on for months and I have to keep complaining to Google. So, I told your husband and of course he thought I was overreacting. ‘Why do you care? Is it you? No, na, then let the person do whatever he pleases!’ I lost my shit! I told him not because he can do anything about it ( I will complain to the cyber cell and then God help whoever is doing this especially at this time) but a little bit of enragement would have been appreciated! But unlike you and I, there’s just pure pragmatism there, if you can’t do anything about it, ignore it! Oh how I miss you, my darling. Your death has sucked the fun out of most things but I’m trying to have the best life I can, for your sake and mine!

Change

‘ If you thought that you would die today, would you change?’ asked Tracy Chapman and I would think, no! But there’s a gnawing feeling, a restlessness, again and again I find myself thinking, ‘this can’t be my life!’

Don’t get me wrong. At 25, if you asked me or anyone around me, where they saw me at forty- this would be it. Of course the brother and the mother would be alive in that prediction. But something, seems off, like I’m forcing something down my throat, a life that is not my own, choices that aren’t mine!

Like today, as I packed my stuff and was on my way to Noida, it’s like a movie was playing in my head. ‘ Humare jeene marne se ghanta farak pade ga kissi ko. Jee ke mene kyaa ukhad lena he?’ SB tells the boys who fuss over her. But while my eyes itched and my stomach hurt and I forced myself to drive back to the factory to pacify the man, who kept insisting one of us has to work, if it ain’t going to be me, it’s going to him, every cell in my body yelled, ‘Mujhe farak padega! It doesn’t matter if my life is of no consequence to anyone else but it’s freaking precious to me. It’s a gift from my mum!’

That was a first. My entire being, so angry that my life was considered disposable, by another person. For the first time, upon being treated like that ( for the umpteenth time) the thought that ‘ I must be worthless, that’s why I’m treated such!’ didn’t even occur to me. As I sobbed in anger and pain, I promised myself , that its time to make different choices. These thirteen months have taught me, the harshest lessons but self love, is a lesson one really needs to learn. You got to be your own top priority, love because no one will do that for you!

Lockdown

Another lockdown and the man in the house, is as obsessed with money as ever! ‘ Let’s live in the factory and run it for a week’ he says. This when the workers are falling ill, none of them agreeing to get tested. People are dying, no hospital beds are available but God forbid, we should use our common sense!

If I don’t do what he wants, the taunt is that his son is not alive, if he was then he wouldn’t have refused him anything, apparently! Not that I ever witnessed that kind of obedience, but the advantages of being dead, you accomplish sainthood. Unfortunately, even death wouldn’t make one faultless. This never ending, battle to please someone who has never and will never will find anything okay with you, is tiring my soul!

Lockdown

So here one is in Noida, spending the weekend. Before you assume I’m wandering for the sake of it, the employees are working on the machines and I’m supposed to be resting my eyes ( have a terrible infection). Packed five books and my camera as if I was heading for a shoot, with the same determination and a similar mix of books I usually pack- poetry/ holy books to calm the soul, research books ( whatever I need to capture next) and at least one book for inspiration, this time Ayn Rands- The Anthem.

Isn’t there something so lovely about an old book? The yellow tint of the paper, the smell of forever. It reminds me of my old less cynical, more idealistic self. Never easier though- one’s been a classic pain in the rear for what seems like forever. This is lovely, ‘ And the day will come when I shall break all the chains of the earth, and raze the cities of the enslaved, and my home will become the capital of a world where each man be free to exist for his own sake.’ I love how in a world that constantly blames a man’s ego for all of his follies, Ayn, shines a spotlight on it. Lovely!

Anyhooo, unfortunately, the eyes aren’t permitting any reading, so here I’m writing this bs to entertain myself. I really have nothing to say! TP.