Silver Spoon

Do they not see that the spoon only looks silver but it’s actually wooden?

Do they not see that the golden spoon in her mouth is laced with slow poison, only she can taste?

Do they miss the cut on the side of the lip of the woman sitting in the fancy car that she tries to hide, unsuccessfully? Have her fancy clothes managed to hide away all her bruises?

Do the drenched silk sheets soak all her tears?

Do the terrors of lonely, unloved days, violence, abuse nor forced penetrations reflect in the vacant eyes of women covered in fineries?

Does the night not leave traces on our faces…do the glittering diamonds make our pain invisible?

Love

‘ Tu mujhse khafaa he to zamane ke liye aa. Ranjhish hi sahi, dil dukhane ke liye aa!’

‘Are you lonely these days? The songs you share on FB, give the impression you’re sad!’ asks my friend. ‘ Nope, I don’t feel lonely. I have books, music and the moon to keep me company.’

‘ Eventually, you’ll need someone to hang around, who’ll show up when you need him‘ they say. ‘ My male friends are there to hang out with, I can speak to them whenever I want plus I don’t need to meet anyone more than once a week.’ There are plenty of reasons apparently to look for love-loneliness ( if only) procreation ( don’t need any other person like myself prancing around the world), companionship ( that’s a laugh, check out Tinder, there are a dime a dozen married people on it) and sex ( technology is quite good at fulfilling all my needs). In all the glorification of matrimony and henceforth love, no one conveniently mentions convenience.

All relationships are based on convenience, that’s an indisputable fact. We need someone to talk to, whose around to split responsibilities with, who is there when we want to go out…I don’t know how much of it is habitual, practicality, acquisition and how much of it is a matter of the heart. As for love- Love ends in tragedy in any case- either through separation, death or marriage.

I love the idea of love, don’t get me wrong. The high of the first year, I wish I could remain on that forever. Plus, we are khandani aashiqs. There were three elopements in my mum’s generation and some of my brothers have done the kind of things for their women, books are written about.

As for me, before I became obsessed with the younger ones, some of the men I went out with have done some of the most romantic things for me. The relationships failed because come on, it ain’t easy to have with one a neurotic, self indulgent person who does exactly as she pleases. After my mum’s death a friend who thought he had fallen for me came to the house and had a chat with my dad. My father was so disappointed, the next day he said to me, ‘ your mama’s told me they would shoot me if I entered Jammu, they actually had guns and they had the temperament to do that. What kind of cowards do you find?’ I don’t know about him, since one wasn’t interested but my failed relationships have taught me- Cowardly women, afraid of love tend to attract cowardly men, incapable of action.

But having said that I too would have loved to be the hero of my own love story just like my mum, haaii, but that never happened. I too want my daughter to someday, tell a prospect-‘ meri ma ne nasaya si mere pyoon ni, defiance is ingrained in the blood. We don’t wait to be rescued from the tower, we ride on the horse and get our men ourselves!’ But alas! it ain’t meant to be.

As the number of Covid cases come down and I’m asked to rethink dating, it seems like a highly risky task. Earlier I would check out the moves and think to myself, ‘ that’s to get into my pants. Now, I just go, yup, that’s to get a job or a house.’ One’s especially, afraid now that one has also gone and written about the BPD on a public platform. With the number of swindling instances and divorce cases, where women get accused of suffering mental illnesses so that the man can get away with anything, some jackass could take me for a real ride. Plus prenuptial agreements are null and void as under the Hindu law, marriage isn’t considered a contract! ‘There are many a men who are falsely accused of demanding dowry. By this logic, everyone would live as hermits and no one would trust anyone!’ they say. Touché.

Truth is, I could say anything and write anything to convince myself but I’m a freaking coward. The stone has gathered too much moss and the rolling that it did earlier, was so unnecessary not regrettable but avoidable that the effort required to clean up and start again, seems so damn enormous. Maybe, no one seems worth the effort or maybe I’m just waiting to find my moonshot. The one impossible love, I could risk everything for!

Systematic Destruction Of A Person

This is why!

While the Ludhiana experience was really touching, something happened the day after that, which regressed my mind to a place, my dear friends have been trying to cheer me away from since then. ‘How does it matter? ‘ ‘Don’t feel bad’ ‘It’s just one person!’ they say.

‘I’ve seen my mother being destroyed by the same system and it will not rest till it renders me useless or inconsequential!’ the fear grips me as I go back and forth, my entire life. It’s like a freaking Pandora’s box, one unpleasant thing and I fly off the handle. ‘It’s not one person! It’s a network that wants to put a defiant woman in place and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to hold on!’ I think. ‘ God sees everything Ma’am!’ my young friend tells me. Here’s hoping.

Ludhiana

Enroute
When someone feels just like Ma. (Ma-si)

When you’re THE blackest sheep of the family, meeting the members at times feels like a colonoscopy. But sometimes, Hallelujah! it’s like a much needed balm ( did you just imagine something else? ) Especially, when that member fits perfectly in your arms, just like your mum. Sorry, I’m rather superstitious these days, so you can’t see her pretty face, in the picture above.

Between my first shot and second, I finally finished Indra Nooyi’s autobiography that a friend had gifted me ( to propel me forward) and was pondering on strong female role models in the family, who must have struggled with balancing work and family, harsh criticism and making harsh decisions and the two people who came to mind were: my masi and my youngest mami. Tough women, that life has flung all kinds of adversities at and they have risen to the occasion and steered things in their favour. I was thinking of them and the next day, almost on cue, one got a message from my aunt, to attend a function, in Ludhiana.

I wanted the father to attend the 75th anniversary, so that he could get a much deserved break, from his somewhat monotonous existence. But he insisted I should shed my anti social ways and ‘go and meet your masi, who is very fond of you!’ Incase you’re attributing her fondness to any quality I possess, I have my doubts. I’m just reaping the benefit of being my mum’s daughter. Though, he was really pissed off about me traveling by myself. This is a new thing (totally understandable, though) that one is having a hard time adjusting to. I don’t know whether it’s due to how lost one can be, sometimes or because I’m the only one left, that he just doesn’t want me to go anywhere unaccompanied. And I loveeeee company, especially when I’m driving. Not!!!!

After much coaxing- Me, music and melancholy, took off at a reasonable hour. Along the way, melancholy paused to weep as Rabbi Shergil sang, tere bin sano soneya, koi aur nahi labana and then music and I bid her goodbye. The number of cameras on the way, pissed the crap out of me. That highway, requires a minimum speed limit of 110 but I guess that’s debatable. The car and I seem to have aged in the past two years, though. As the wrinkles set in and one grays, one seems to have less control over not just the mind but also the bladder. So, a lot more pee and tea breaks, along the way.

At a gas station, fifty kilometres from Ludhiana, much to the amusement of the employees, one quickly dolled up. After a little meandering through the city, one found the Gurudwara. What a lovely function, it was! Though, one claims that marriage is highly overrated, one does tend to appreciate the ones, that survive in sickness and in health…for richer or poorer. Seventy five years of togetherness, four generations under one roof, warmth and love filled the air. To one’s utter disbelief, one was made to feel so welcome by the entire family but most of all one was so happy that the aunt was thrilled to see me. One basked in the warmth of kinship (as one chatted with the cousins) after so long that a part of me really wanted to stay back but work called.

Life is all about the balance, I guess. Some people will drag you down and others will lift you up. But much can be learnt from the ones who struggle and thrive. The rest should just be avoided, for sanity’s sake.