One tuned all of 42 years old today and one still remains as big an ass as one was, when one was fourteen. Last week, I’d made many plans for this week, one was going to catch up with some friends, make some stuff, spend a day on the road and then the melancholy mixed with pms got the worst of me!
So I stayed in bed for a few days, cried incessantly, drank loads and even popped some pills to calm down the nerves. One usually, stays a little away from both these poisons, considering the genetic disposition as well as my system’s inability to manage either but one underestimated the severity of pent up feelings and then bam, they came to shake me up a little, actually a lot. Of course, the first thing one does when one is hurting is, pushing everyone away. Most people are easy to push away, some though, unfortunately by now, know me too well, so one has to lie to them. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Sleeping’ remained one’s standard reply till last night. I think, if it wasn’t my birthday today, I would have carried on with the nonsense for a couple of more days, maybe weeks.
Last night, a friend called up to wish me and cut a cake, virtually, of course one look at my eyes and he knew. One was not only touched by the number of calls he made, to figure out when my phone’s on but also by the cake and the lecture one got. It helped me drag myself out of bed today. Got the sweetest surprise of my life, the father had bought a bunch of red roses for me with a bottle of wine. If it doesn’t seem like a lot to you, my dear here’s someone who shakes my hand to wish me on my birthday every year! Twelve, red roses from Dad! Precious! They just blew the melancholy away.
Spent the day with the men at home, drinking and eating. As night befell and the father tried to convince me to take the driver along and to spend a night away from home, rather than coming back the same day, the bell rang. My dearest friend Afy, had sent her guard to check on me, as my phone was switched off. I was totally confused and really touched. Of course, I made up some crap, that I was running a fever, I wasn’t well, that’s why my phone was off! Sometimes, it’s better to lie, than to tell people exactly what’s going on in your head. Hopefully, a day on the road, even if it’s with the driver, will fix my head and soon one will be a good as new!
‘It is said that unsophistication makes a man empty and that emptiness makes him carefree. It may be true among those who were born dead and who exist like frozen corpses; but the sensitive boy who feels much and knows little is the most unfortunate creature under the sun because he is torn by two forces. The first force elevates him and shows him the beauty of existence through a cloud of dreams; the second ties him down to the earth and fills his eyes with dust and overpowers him with fears and darkness.’-Khalil Gibran
‘Kabse Hun kyaa bataao jahane kharaab mein?’ pops up on my Fb memories and I wonder why the memories, seem relevant even today? Do people change? Have I? Not really!
Of course, one’s become more aggressive in the past year ( if that was possible) but that’s what small dogs, do , right? They throw a fit because their bite isn’t as good as their bark. So that’s the same, my male friends insist it’s funny! Trust me, they are the only ones who think so because if you ever see me yelling, believe you me, it ain’t a pretty sight!
As for the rest, one remains the same, SB remains herself and the other one- SC, I’m afraid, too remains exactly the way she was. They take turns once in a while, like these days, it’s SC’s turn, who is all sentimental and sad. ‘ I don’t want to be around people, right now!’, they surprisingly say in unison, one afraid her wrath will get the better of her and she will turn vicious, the other one scared she’ll catch what some people have- cowardice and cold hearts.
In a few days, one will be all of forty two years old. For someone who thought she would be dead by eighteen, trust me each year, after forty has seemed like a mighty achievement. Small wins,eh? Oh honey, big one, the biggest! There was so much speculation, the past year that I was eloping, that now all those who claimed it, have nothing to say! I love this about time, when people turn around and ask the ones who spread the rumours, why they’ve not materialised? But unfortunately, hypocrisy is a craft. So now I hear I’m getting a ‘ghar jawai’ an incredibly derogatory term! I should ask all these people who spend their precious time discussing me to also print this horoscope for future reference, it will make my life easier, I will follow it as I go along.
As for my nonexistent love life, which has only had tiny interjections of proposals from a few men I know, in the past seven years and three dates (with the same guy) resulting in an immediate tatoo about the exes on my arm later, the single and unfreaking willing to mingle phase is still on! Having said that, flirtation is in the blood, darling. One keeps a lid on it but I realized recently, it ain’t going to die down anytime soon. Someone sent me a message a few weeks ago, ‘teach me Punjabi’ at 5 a.m. If you know me, you would know what my reply would have been. Mujhe realize hua, apne dimaag mein me to badi mein hue nahin hu, lekin natak to karna padega maturity ka kabhi na kabhi. I was so well behaved, you would have been convinced ke mein sudhar gayee ho! No, no, no, that is impossible, my dear! Just because one ain’t acting on the impulses, doesn’t mean one isn’t tempted to.
But dating seems like such hard work and I’m so lazy. First find a boy. Then have some random conversations. It’s when you run out of polite conversations, that’s what one finds problematic. Now, how do I sweep my entire existence under the carpet? I’m incapable of it. Every thing will come up and one doesn’t want to go through that rigmarole. It was so much easier earlier because all the men I’ve ever dated, had already heard enough about me, so they weren’t taken aback. As an experiment, I could throw a prospect into the lion’s den in the first instance, leave him alone with my friends or even family, they’ll pull out all the skeletons from my closet in an hour, I won’t have to worry about scandalising him, ever again! Na, every year I tell myself this is the year but the stone stopped rolling, a long time ago and it’s gathered too much moss! Besides, my buddies watch out for me.
Anyhow, the good news from the day my mother passed away ( 18th March 2020) up until now, is that every aspect of my life has been dissected. I think the only thing that has been spared is when do I take a crap? So, load off one’s shoulder in some way, one has been able to write whatever one wants to without an ounce of hesitation.
At times in the past year, I have worried for my sanity, wondered if one is just imagining that humans are capable of kicking you when you’re down and out, even now I find such utter and total disregard for another’s existence and this callousness unbelievable, till I hear people’s discussions and then reality hits me in the face. Most people are silly enough to think, that what they say about other people behind their back, doesn’t reach them.
‘Why aren’t you talking to us?’ people ask. ‘Well, even if I sit, stand and don’t utter a word and it’s still something that needs to be discussed amongst six people, then I can write and people can discuss all they want!’ I love drama, trust me I grew up with so much of it, my life seems empty without it at times but my face betrays me, even when I can hold my tongue. That’s remained the same my entire life, so why pretend? Life’s too precious to waste a minute, pretending that I’m going to fit into the box and not be a lucid confusion!
It’s supposed to be your day but if I make a fuss, I will hear, ‘pakhand karne ki zaroorat nahi he!’, so one shall refrain. Though, you are far from perfect, as a human being you’re a very interesting character to be around, covering all ends of the spectrum-white, grey and black.
The hardest part about growing up they say, is when you realize that your parents are mere mortals- with their own fallacies and their own insecurities. Your kids became aware of that very early in life. It saved us from being disappointed, later. You may have been an absentee father but there are many admirable traits in you, I’m told, I still unconsciously look for in a man.
The way you always loved your parents inspite of everything. The commitment that mum and you had to staying in the marriage was unreal- messed up, dysfunctional, far from perfect but the marriage vows stating- for poorer or richer, worse and better, in sickness and in health, were truly tested and your marriage survived more than four decades of that! You’re right when you say, I don’t have the temperament for it. But hats off!!
It never ceases to amaze me how obsessed you are with your factory. One always resented how much time you spent there, when we were growing up. But seeing you this past year, when the government and better sense should have convinced you to stay home, you still continued to go there six times a week, inspite of everything, You work harder than anyone I personally know off, have a photographic memory, a wicked sense of humour and are absolutely incapable of mincing your words. There are many things about the world, one has learnt by being around you.
You may have never treated me like most fathers treat their daughters but knowing that you aren’t going to protect me from anyone or anything, has made me fierce, which is great. I don’t really mind being the fixer, the problem solver, I love when you tell people, ‘meri beti handle karti he tede log’ though a call to check whether I’m dead or alive, once in while would be highly appreciated. I know, we have the same dynamics that most men share with their sons, which is alright I guess, confusing but ok. As for the bad stuff, we both are viscous enough to tell each other ever so often, so let’s leave it for today.
Hope you have a long and happy life and you get to travel a bit, make some new friends, experience a life beyond work. Happy Father’s Day, to the man I used to clap for, each time time he returned home. Remain blessed.
When I die and you get the chance to rummage through all that I hoard, you’ll find all kinds of weird ass shit but most of all my precious notebooks. When SSR passed away and they found his diaries, with all kinds of lists and random information, I realized they are quite telling of a person’s inner space and someday, when mine are found, maybe someone will be able to piece together, all of me. Find a way, to send me the Vishesh Tipani!
The past year has been really tough for everyone and has been the loneliest in all my years on this planet. Don’t mistake my cribbing for being ungrateful. God as always has remained in my corner, kept me safe, from disease and from myself! But with the solitude that one is quite comfortable with, there’s been a mix of certain other emotions like hopelessness, cynicism, topped with slight disgust. Let’s blame my misanthropy for it or just my natural instinct when I feel cornered by the herd, that is society at large. One reacts like one did as a child- First step, go into my shell. Second step, remain there till I feel stronger. Third, peep out, figure out no one is there…get on with my life and then if anyone comes near or instigates, turn into a raging bull. Does it work? Less and less, with age. Recently, I realized, that certain things will have to change, as I grow older. One will have to start, standing up for oneself at some point and I have begun that process, too late. With an aggressive personality, like mine you would assume I do it all the time. In my personal relationships, when one is hurt by the rumours that surround one, one tends to just disconnect, disappear and become Mr India (a nickname given to me by my friend). Ideally, speaking, one would love to not care but na, unfortunately one does.
But you got to catch the bull by the horn, at times, this ‘let it be…karma will it sort out’ stuff that I tell myself, might have resulted in people bearing the consequences of their actions but the rumour mills churn at full speed which may seem harmless or entertaining to the people who have the time to indulge in these activities but it can professionally, personally, mentally and emotionally harm others. So, I’ve decided to not to let it be, if you’re going to talk crap about me, I will definitely let you know that I know. No one gets to demean me and then pretend everything’s great. I don’t take anything lying down anymore ( figuratively and literally- sorry I couldn’t help that). This is my new thing, it makes people squirm but so be it!
The other thing, is owning the story. We all got to own up to our crap and the story of our lives. The haters will continue to hate, the gossip mongers will continue to weave stories…record and pass on messages. The one’s who have been infected by the green eyed monster, will continue to detest you for your privileges. The critics will continue claiming that you are brainless, talentless and penniless fool. But inspite of all that, there will still be people out there, who will hold your hand through it. Even if you are all of those things and more, so what? What should you do, stop living, stop doing or stop being?
One had an incredible experience today. Someone shared something on a group about judging people and i’ve been feeling very low, the past few weeks. One wrote back, some personal stuff, I share on this blog all the time but highly inappropriate for a WhatsApp group. I think what I wrote was just a culmination of things- hopelessness and defiance, almost a throwing caution to the wind, like a kiss goodbye. It came from a place of feeling cornered and not from a place of wanting to share, anything in particular. One expected silence, a brushing under the carpet but slowly I started getting the kindest messages on the group and otherwise, too. An outpouring of positivity and love that someone such as myself doesn’t even expect on her demise. Sometimes, the greatest acts of kindness are just words of appreciation. The hoarder in me, is tempted to turn the messages into a tiny scrapbook, that one can look at when one feels, a little too lost or disillusioned. A reminder of sorts, that not everyone is the same, so stop painting everyone with the same brush.
There are worse things than
But it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
too late- C.B
Could be or sometimes, you realize you got to not be be so afraid and take a leap of faith.
Was sorting some stuff out in the basement and found a bunch of pictures. Of course, there were all kinds of pictures of my brother and I, the sweetest ones I’m sharing. If you are an army and you like Jikook, you must have seen the videos with these lines, ‘find someone who looks at you like Jungkook looks at Jimin.’ I agree, definitely find someone at least once in your lifetime, who looks at you like you’re the only person in the room but that love could to bestowed on you by a friend, a parent or a sibling.
The one true love of my life, will always be this little boy, who insisted I only went from liking older men to liking little boys because he had grown up. Who knows why the heart wants what it wants?
I also found a few things that made me wonder, if one should not give up on love just yet- pictures, lyrics of one of my favourite songs written in a 14 year old’s handwriting, It would be a pity to never look and feel so besotted, again. It’s ironic that at one time I had to literally hit the brakes and tell myself enough and now I just can’t make myself, feel anything for anyone.
‘I believe wherever dreams dwell, the heart calls it home.’- Dodinsky
(Video shot Enroute Gurez)
So many of my memories from the past twelve years are entwined with Kashmir, a place I first visited as a child with my mum. Later, sometime in my twenties, I remember seeing Zila Appa, clad in white sitting opposite the Dal, singing with Muzaffar Sahab’s musicians, while I shot her, totally enamoured by her voice and the place. Travelling with friends, family, alone, accompanied, for work, for leisure and most of all for the spot near the Dal, where I’ve tucked away the broken pieces of me. I return sometimes, just to see if they are still there. Like tonight, I long for my spot.
One understands that just because one has a birth certificate and a passport mentioning the place of birth as J& K it doesn’t make the place home. But my love of places, like Kashmir and Pushkar has been more intense than the love that one has felt for any man. I should stop though, it causes plenty of confusion. My concept note for the series 2019, that drew a comparison between Srinagar and Delhi, mentioned my home- Delhi and my ‘home away from home’ Kashmir. A journalist visited the stall, at the art fair, read the concept note and wrote ‘Kashmiri photographer Saadiya Kochar’. A compliment for me and I’m sure a little infuriating for any Kashmiri, who might chance upon it. The journalist and I never did get to chat and I guess my name confuses everyone in any case, so not her fault. One should have been more careful.
In any case, as the rumour mills churn and one hears there might be another bifurcation the place of birth on my new passport, might just mention Jammu. One wonders how much the people of this land will continue to suffer? Now that we’ve all experienced lockdowns, it might help you empathise with a twenty year old whose life in Kashmir, has just been a series of such shutdowns with no internet and the fear of being locked up. That’s if they haven’t lost someone due to the conflict. God should have mercy and we should have some empathy!
A couple of days ago, a friend rang to find out if everything was alright. ‘You’ve not been ranting on your blog, when you’re quiet I worry about what is going on in your head, much more!’ she sounded concerned. Sometimes, I forget this is not one of my random notebooks lying around the house with all kinds of arbitrary information jotted in it but a blog that some, albeit a few people read.
What is going on in my head? Melancholy has come to embrace me, like it does…twice a year by the clock, a couple of weeks are harder but nothing to fret over, one bounces back like one invariably does. All kinds of inanimate objects ( that seem more real than most actual people do) surround one. The advantages of being a bibliophile with a terrible memory, I sometimes find poems and prose from a decade ago, that have vanished from my memory. My lack of recollection is no ways implies that the words aren’t par excellence, I invariably forget most of what I did and read, even a day before (The main purpose of maintaining this blog, is to help me remember).
How could I forget this brilliant, Jewish, suicidal woman who slept all day and used black slang? If you know me, you would know why I would like her.
Check her out. This is the last poem she ever wrote-
Twenty seven years is enough.
Mother- too late- years of meanness- I’m sorry.
Daddy- What happened?
Peter-Holy Rose Youth
Betty-Such womanly bravery
Keith- Thank you
Joyce- So girl beautiful
Howard-Baby take care
Leo- Open the windows and Shalom
Carol-Let it happen
Let me out now please-
Please let me in.