Love in the times of technology

Got a panic call from a friend, this morning. ‘Do you want to marry a Muslim man? Is uncle not giving you the permission to marry outside your community?’ The question was met with peels of laughter from my end. ‘ Do you think if I wanted to, anyone would be able to stop me from doing it? My dad would only be too happy if I agree to marry anybody at all, as long as I am paying for it! Come on, we may have a tumultuous relationship but there is nothing he would like more than a son-in- law, especially a live in one, irrespective of what religion he follows! The question is whether, I will marry a Muslim man, not whether anyone will allow me to? Well, I could as long as a man, any man, will not ask me to change my name, my religion, will be okay with the kids using my surname as well ( unless, they don’t want to use mine or either of ours), will not ask me to straighten my hair, will be ok with how I look (weight, colour of my skin etc) and the most important will be okay with living with two different versions of me, both that aren’t very pleasant! So, no, till I don’t find such a namoona, I don’t want to marry anyone, so all of you stop fretting!’

The panic, was created due to a comment I made on a page called, ‘Being woman’. Aftab, murdered his live in partner Shraddha and mercilessly chopped her into pieces, burnt her face and dumped her into a fridge. The cold blooded murderer, then kept her remains at home for twenty days, dated other women, while her corpse was in the house and then scattered her remains, one at a time, every night at 2 a.m in the Mehrauli forest. Gruesome, is the word for it!

But considering the regressive state our society has been stuck in forever and the current political climate; this murder like everything else became about questioning the woman’s morality, a sermon about the virtues of listening to your parents and of course the man’s religious identity. Is he Parsi or Muslim? Muslim it turns out to be! Not that it makes an ounce of a difference.

Courtesy the Meta Page- Being Woman

But if you grew up in as Islamophobic an environment as I did, where right from childhood you were told, ‘ kisse naal bhi vyaa kari muslmaan naal ni kari!’by the elders in the family…you know where all this is coming from. Sikhs are terribly suspicious of the ‘other’ and surprisingly this is not just the generation that moved from Pakistan. I was at a holi party, this year and a Sikh friend of mine, who had seen the Kashmir files, said things that were exactly the same things that the elders of the family, who actually witnessed horrific things, say! So the bias, is carried through generations and has very little to do with actual experience. But you know what, all the suspicion vanishes when people come face to face…when they have personal relationships. The same friend, was really nice to my Kashmiri Muslim friend, six months later, at another party. My nani, who was always worried that l would elope with an Muslim man, said to me before she passed away, ‘if you want to marry a Muslim man, go ahead!’ Inspite of her belief, Ms Rashid was like a daughter to her. My bhabhi who is a Muslim woman from Bhaderwah, remains an angel to the family because they know her! For my friends who spew venom against the community, Afshan remains wonderful.

The hate is directed towards an abstract, a wound of the past, carried through generations but who you love is real- flesh and blood! Love is….love! It gets embedded on your mind, heart and sometimes even on your skin, irrespective of what religion the man follows! If the love of Shraddha’s life was Muslim, she wasn’t going to not live with him because society was against it!

Unfortunately, in this case, it ended badly for her. But there are many cases of such kinds of murder, where the perpetrators weren’t Muslim. The trouble is, the poor girl lost her life and her dignity is being stripped off of her mercilessly, as all her decisions are being dissected, ruthlessly! Then we wonder, why she didn’t leave him? This is why. If she was alive no one would have spared to punish her for this bad decision. I’m saddened by the loss of her life but I grieve more for the life she must have led. Don’t you think, something must be terribly wrong with her existence if her family didn’t figure out she was dead? It was another man, a male friend who got worried! Don’t you think, Aftab knew that she had no where else to go, no one who would have stood up for her (other than her male friends) if he misbehaved with her? If anyone knows, including a cold hearted killer, that you are loved and cared for, they cover their tracks better. He knew her weakness and he exploited that. I feel sorry for the lonely life, this girl must have led. Not knowing you have people in your corner…no place to call home, isn’t a nice feeling and definitely leaves you exposed to wolves! She should have left….I wish she knew where to go!

P.S- One comment on a post, on a random page, got me comments like -‘ You are poison for your parents!’, ‘ You will get a big fridge’ ‘How many children do you have?’ and ‘Frustrated Nibbi!. Wow! Remind me to indulge in this nonsense when I’m getting bored, this is entertaining!

2022….

All my upcoming series or at least most of my works will be named after the year, in which the images were made like the last two 2019 and 2020-2022- Barely Surviving. My latest works, will be 2022-…the rest will be revealed when I exhibit the works next year. Hopefully, next year one should be able to show a lot more more work.

Hope in the future

Two patients who were admitted to the Institute of Mental health in Chennai- Deepa and and P Mahendran, will be getting married this Friday.

Mahendra had a tussle over property issues with his relatives and Deepa after the loss of her father, had to endure rejection from her mother and sister. Somehow, they both ended up at the Institute and after a few months of their treatment were sent to a ‘halfway home’.

Since, they both had nowhere else to go, they found love and employment at the Institute. If you go through Jordan Paterson’s videos, though he is considered enemy number 1 by the Western feminists, a lot of what he says about mental health issues, is spot on. According to him, before you declare that a person is unwell, make sure that everything around them is fine. If they’ve lost a job, are grieving, have no hopes for love, they’re not necessarily unwell but under stresses caused by their environment that they’re unable to manage. Many a times, the removal of the triggers will make their life much more pleasant and productive. Stress management and managing trigger points is the key to a better life for everyone including someone who does have a disorder.

Love, they say makes the world a better place. God knows but hope definitely, does. Umeed pe duniya kayam he, aur kissi ki umeed banjao, to kyaa baat he! Here’s hoping they have a fabulous life, one might not be able to find love but we at a 100 pieces of me…love…love and live for a good love story. Cheers.

Live Love Laugh

The end of mental illness by Daniel G Amen

I love weekends. They give me a legitimate reason to stay away from a place I find little joy, returning to. As the workers, go about running the machines, one gets to finish pending orders, plan, introspect, read and sleep. After they leave today, by five the lights will be switched off and one will gaze out at nothing, drift in and out of sleep and wake up slightly chirpier in the morning. Although, I seem to be forgetting what that really sounds like these days. Note to self- dance as frequently as possible.

Anyhow, one digresses. There was an interesting article about Deepika Padukone and her foundation that helps people with mental health issues- Live Love Laugh. The article states that the role of the caregiver is very important and in her case, it was her mother who figured out that she was depressed. Well, if you are lucky to have sensitive people around you, that’s good. But even if you aren’t and you feel like a mess, much can be done. In my case, since I’m masochistic and have suicidal thoughts, the minute I started ideating about death, I sought help. I even dragged my ass to a clinic, to get my psychological profiling done. One’s had the privilege of witnessing one’s mother’s life and one would rather not have a rescuer ( although, to be honest, one does have someone who will show up when one sounds too terrible and SC, loves it. I guess despite my anti social ways, one’s human). For now, one would rather be in control of one’s own mental, physical and emotional well being.

It’s a tricky thing, though. One day, you feel you’re better and suddenly out of the blue, after a decade of no masochistic acts, you’re slashing your arm, after being being triggered. It’s freaking frightening, to be honest. But once you figure out what or who triggers you, you can counter it. A friend spent ten days with me, countering the criticism one deals with on a regular basis. It helped, the way, my teacher would, countering the criticism with appreciation and the hate with tenderness and understanding. My teacher saved my life, otherwise I would have been dead by eighteen! This one doesn’t get my gratitude, though, just, ‘ I don’t need, nobody! Don’t try to be my father!’

Unfortunately, he doesn’t take my silence, and withdrawals seriously. In fact, my silence is met with lots of questions about my well being, my withdrawal with incessant calls and the latter with laughter and ‘you behave just like my two year old niece!’ So, I guess, I do have a caregiver- not technically, not someone who takes me for my sessions or insists I take my meds ; someone who is neither a family member nor a spouse. But someone who believes I can manage everything on my own yet watches me like a hawk and shows up when he thinks, I’m spiralling out of control and need some food, sunlight, laughter and dancing. I guess, we all need a caregiver, someone who cares about our well being. Not just when we are sick but on a regular basis. Caregivers come in different forms, I’m glad I have one.

Side by side

A week’s gone by…in an attempt to escape reality for a few hours a day, one’s overdosed on entertainment- four movies and two plays later, with the one—my mum insisted was the only person who can ‘ handle me’, most think I’m eloping with and my pops wishes I would just marry. But can you ever escape your own reality? Naaa, one invariably ended up watching stories of people with mental illnesses. Sent a shiver down my spine. ‘Snap out of it! Snap out it before you go absolutely cuckoo!’ I tell myself. I look in the mirror and someone I don’t recognise stares back at me…a sadder, hopeless version of me, just going through the motions. Get up, go for work, drive, eat, sleep and repeat!

‘ Get out of your den’ ‘ Do your hair!’ ‘Smile! Please smile just a little bit!’ he says as we pose for a picture. A photograph is worth a thousand words? Ahh, don’t we wish! Anyway, it’s not so bad, being around someone for large chunks of time, just going about the business of living. May be addictive. It’s starting to dawn on me, why people require company in life, it’s nice to have someone in your corner. One’s too used to one’s aloneness and too much of coward, to get too comfortable, though. Last, few days, I should try harder. Mask on…baby doll.

Aware?

They say ‘suicide is an act of cowardice!’. I say, ‘ try it once and you’ll figure out what it takes!’ Having said that, I do think it’s not just a failing of the emotional system. A person tries to commit suicide, when their imagination fails them! When they look at all the permutation- combinations and nothing seems to work out, the future seems too bleak…when their problems seem unsolvable and they have no real support system. No one they can talk to, about what weighs on their heart. Also, it’s not an act or a thought your average Joe indulges in. Though, people always think it’s the destitute, outcasts and losers who take their own lives…I think it’s the odd balls with enormous egos, who aren’t willing to live with what life hands out to them, who aren’t willing to submit to the rules or roles, they’re asked to play. They’d rather be dead, than be someone else! But it is some sort of systematic failure, nevertheless, that requires a rebooting, either internally or externally ( death is a fab- reboot but there are other ways). Anyway, if I talk about raising awareness about it…..let’s leave that for another day….I would feel like a mighty hypocrite.

On a lighter note, like they say, ‘there are only two ways to sort out———problems. Through marriage or death!’ If you ask me, ewww, same, same! But that’s another way to go, by that logic one should give marriage a real think! (Each time one does, though, the thought of waking up to the same face, everyday, for the rest of one’s life…how much would one have to like a person for that?) If the shit hits the ceiling and it gets worse, rather than better, well, this option is always open! Sorry, don’t take me seriously, just randomness runs through my brain at the speed of light, the entire day. Ignore! Oh, you probably can’t, that’s why you feel like this! So, my humble, hypocritical solution- Work like your life depends on it (probably does), sleep, pray, create, smoke, drink , fuck, do whatever…you might feel better tomorrow…or not! Repeat after me, ‘ I ain’t going to be a freaking foregone conclusion! I ain’t going out like this!’. Works… some days. Anyhow, everybody, should do what they want but put your problem solving hat on…you need a solution, not a final exit! I leave you with this dialogue, you might want to dwell on it-‘to live in the tyranny of the current situation, be brave enough to ask , ‘ what next?’

P.S- Don’t misconstrued my sarcasm as abatement to suicide. I ain’t challenging you to jump off but rather telling you that first it ain’t easy to jump and two if you do, you ought not die, which will be a bigger problem. So breathe in, relax!

Happy Teacher’s Day

P.S- Nothing teaches you more than a bad time. It reveals to you your own character- where your weaknesses lie and what all you can bounce back from. Most relationships and friendships are formed accidentally, unintentionally without giving much thought to how they impact our lives. A hard time gives you an opportunity to examine every single relationship.

Women

Anyone who knows me, will tell you I view my gender with the same kind of fascination and confusion, as a man. For the longest time, one thought it had to do with the company one kept, after all one was always most comfortable around the opposite gender. But through therapy, one’s realized that it has to do with my rejection of my feminine side- the softer, gentler version that one’s afraid off. Funny, most people are afraid of their shadow side, the darkest versions, mine are on view for the world to see! What you get, is always the worst version! The better one, for only my car and the wind to witness!

Anyhow, ever since mum’s gone, one’s deepest fear stares one in the face, the worst case scenarios, the cynical me, could have imagined have actually happened. So, in actuality that’s a relief! It gives me time and space to explore other versions of one’s self, really imagine a different life. Try to let go of some baggage! Dude! uff, it’s a lot! So, one struggles, like the caterpillar struggles! That’s part of the process, I guess. But for someone- self depreciating and masochistic, to come to a point, where one is able to really believe, ‘ I deserve better! I deserve a better life!’ is amazing! And though, one slips and slides, goes through the highs and lows, one knows one has come a long way from where one was!

Anyhow, my endless rant has a point. As I get in touch with my own femininity, I long more and more to hear the female voice. Not the voices, I’ve been hearing…not the voices of the one’s who chose security over adventure and then carry on a tirade, against the one’s who don’t comply by the norms society has set for women. The other, voices- of the go getters, of the jet setters; voices of the one’s who rose- through the odds, through the ranks, inspite of it all!

I’ll be sharing snippets and quotes from famous women. These are coming unfortunately from books and the net, as one isn’t venturing out as much as one used to, these days. Someday, these will be actual interviews. For now, let’s just get the party started.

Mysterious Ways

Though one likes to run alone with the wind and wolves, once in a while, company is greatly appreciated. The Wall, flew down to Delhi and we chilled out for a couple of days ( meaning eat and packed, since I take forever) before leaving for Ladakh. Since, Ladakh has become a UT, for my project I needed to make pictures there but one’s body can’t withstand the high altitude, so my go to- ‘I get into trouble, you get me out of it’ man, gave me company. He adores kids and tends to hurt animals, so no guesses for figuring out how we tolerate each other. After two solo trips- once when I was in college and the other one in 2007, one hasn’t really been eager about visiting. The landscape is like I wrote in my diary then, ‘a mysterious lover’ but with age, lovers and especially mysterious ones have totally lost their ways with me. Now, one just longs for familiarity and grounding.

Anyhow, Life doesn’t unfold according to my plans. One may not be the fastest or the most skilled driver one knows but nevertheless, one is a relentless one. So, once one decides one is going somewhere, there are very few pit stops, it’s usually a ‘just let’s get there then we’ll rest’ kind of an attitude. The plan was to see if Google is right and I can drive 24 hours straight to Ladakh without, staying over. My assumption was I would reach Leh in 36 hours if not 24, since my companion can’t drive! Then we would go to a camping site in Nubra, since one has already been to Tsomoriri and Pangong, earlier.

Man proposes and God disposes. An hour from Delhi I concocted this plan and I said to my companion, ‘I think I’ll just keep driving, let’s just keep going. Mein kheech lunga’ and then from somewhere the words came out of my mouth- ‘ if God wants me to, then.’ I shit you not, it slipped out of my mouth, without me wanting to say it and by the clock within thirty seconds, the tempo infront of me came to a screeching halt and the car infront of it, did a J turn (180 degrees) and slammed right into the tempo, we were saved by the bell, in my head. Of all the things that scare me about myself- my temper being high up on the list, this is by far the scariest trait-sometimes, things slip out of my mouth right before they’re going to happen. Most people, flip backwards trying to figure out how I ‘get to know things’. I wish somebody would figure out- my body reads energy very quickly and goes into defensive mode, almost on cue.

The night proceeded just like the first omen, it poured profusely, the wiper broke…so the Wall, whose great under pressure and fabulous with his hands, fixed it, while getting drenched. We slept in the car for a few hours, drove the next day and reached, nowhere close to Leh! After 24 hours in the car, we decided to stay in Jispa, right at the border of Himachal Pradesh. One was glad for the rest, I may be nuts but the body is ageing, dude.

Nothing went according to plan is an understatement, we took one wrong turn and by the the time we figured it out we were on our way to Zanskar, instead of Leh! A biker convinced us, it was prettier, it didn’t occur to him, to inform us just how terrible the route was. By the time I figured it out, all I could do was yell, ‘air lift my car, I ain’t going to put it through this. It never troubles me, how can I do this to it?’ Other, than mumbling, ‘sorry baby…sorry baby…sorry baby’ as one drove through water and over boulders, through the narrowest roads…as one stopped to inhale oxygen and pee under the sky, one knew his plans unfold in mysterious ways. We visited places, we’d never heard of, slept on the ground, in a tent, in the middle of nowhere, saw the most spectacular night sky, studded with stars, gasped for air, almost collapsed, let go of the sadness that I’m told has engulfed me and eventually found our way back to what seems like ‘home’. Of course as soon as the air changed and one knew one had reached where one belonged, the smile returned, much to the amusement of my fellow traveller. There are many places, I need to be but there’s only one place, where pieces of me, lie hidden underwater. They bring me, home!

Pause

One began the year, wanting oneself to feel better…less erratic and less melancholic. Half the year is over and it dawns on me, it’s time to rise. It gets awfully uncomfortable being on the roller coaster ride, as I age. Thankfully, one’s no longer a teenager and as masochistic as one was but these raging emotions, that make one feel like one is so terribly down in the dumps that one doesn’t want to go on even for another day, some days and then suddenly flying on a rocket, feeling absolutely invincible, on others, can be quite confusing, tiring and many a times very scary. When will it get a bit aggravated? When will I stop being aware of what’s going on in my silly head and start overturning cars and turn violent like my mother is what constantly worries me. ‘You’ll be fine!’ says the shrink, ‘you’re better!’ More productive, masks as better, rather well.

Does this seem better? I have to wonder, when I pause between non stop action, for just a bit. Weeks go by, sometimes, when one goes without interacting with people unrelated to work …everybody is shrugged aside, with ‘ya, ya just busy’, calls go unanswered, messages are replied to curtly…while one hides behind computers, books and machines, sometimes howling like the world has come to an end and at times, so ecstatic, like one’s just fallen in love, yet again! Even the house, makes one uneasy, so one spends night after night on a make shift bed, staring out at nothingness and my only constant, the moon. Oh, I’m such a peach, ain’t I?

Most people I know have figured, engaging with one is either going to be met with deadly silence, a quip or just rage, so they tread rather carefully but then there are others, who insist on showing up to check on the crazy lady! I think the Art Fair was emotionally cathartic, helped coming to terms with a few things. Since, I promised the shrink to break my childhood record of crying on my birthday, this year, one worked like crazy the entire month, to not be melancholic, outdid all the sales records, started to pick up my camera again but broke the promise, nevertheless. The next afternoon, as I sat in an empty house, lit two candles, cut the cake a friend had sent the previous day and sang happy birthday to oneself, , one also promised oneself, this has to end, not the solitude silly, this fear of when I’m going to go absolutely cuckoo!

Things happen as they must and always for the better. God, karma and time are even and merciful. A friend wanted to come check up on me…it’s been five years since Road tripping began…someone nominated that project for a grant ( which I didn’t apply for but so thankful, nevertheless) and many things are telling one, it’s time to get my behind up and running. Over the past two years, I’ve wondered constantly, if I’ll ever lay eyes on someone whose eyes light up when they see me and after my birthday, like a gift from above, a little boy walked in seeking employment. If I tell you he looks a little like my brother and smiles each time he sees me, you’ll think I am exaggerating but it’s true. Each time he calls me didi, he makes my heart melt. Some of us are born to run alone, mostly but when we can’t thankfully, God, sends people to nudge where he needs us to go. There are many places one needs to be but the only place one really wants to go, is home. The Dal beckons. Here’s hoping for some brighter days!

Uff! Get a life!

Why? Kuch nahi he karne ko life mein? Iss na cheez ke liye itna effort? Whoever you are, I’m absolutely convinced, you must be following this blog…considering you are going on random sites and linking my name to shitty urls! I don’t know which is worse- finding my name on sleazy sites or my profile appearing on ‘celebrity’ websites. Aisa he, hum mar jaye to koi char aanson na bahai…celebrity, my ass!

What is wrong with you? What? Continually, for the past two years, you’ve been at it. Did your mum not hug you when you were little? Ithe aa mein tenu dasaa, mera shoe size jo itni achi tara se pata he na, wohi padega. Yucks, sleaze!

Weirdo

In a few days, one will start inching closer towards a milestone birthday. Not much seems to have changed in the past year and yet everything seems to be changing. I still like my seven year old rickety car and eight year old broken phone. I still sleep alone but always with books on my bed. The loves remain the same and the hates? Well, I hate very passionately, like I can scare the crap out of myself with that emotion it can be so intense so I avoid going there, completely. But the people I’ve harboured resentment towards the past two years…I wish I was mature enough to say I’ve forgiven (I’m not there, yet) but one’s found a better way of dealing with it, by being totally engrossed in other things and venting on this platform. Therapy has helped, it makes me realize, how intense the abandonment issues are , what an asshole one is ( not really a revelation but the intensity certainly is) and how intuitive one is. The humour is too self deprecating, apparently, areee come on, I don’t have a spouse to pick on, so I’m my best source of entrainment. But the prime get away has been there are things you can gain with effort but love isn’t one of them, so there’s no shame in giving up on some things and some people. Another thing one has figured out is avoiding human contact, is freaking awesome for my mental health because I have the maturity of a two year old.

One’s been surprised by people, this year. The Art Fair, was something else. The gallery didn’t inform me that they were discussing my work during the art walk, so one was a bit taken aback, with the way they described my pictures. One’s only met a few people in the past two decades who have really seen it from my point of view, so that was refreshing. And there’s another thing that will stay with me- I met up with some batchmates and one of them, has written this interesting read called Cupidity. So, one was having a fan girl moment and what truly surprised me was her friend’s reactions. They were so thrilled for her, that it pleasantly surprised me. Aspirational. I think one would want to someday be like this author’s friends, actually be really, genuinely as thrilled for another woman, with that kind of intensity.

The other thing one has been fixated on is:- what do I want to be when I’m forty five? So, the hours that one’s been putting in, has very little to do with money and much to do with that thing that one wants to turns oneself into- an unstoppable machine ( the only problem with that plan is the BPD- the highs are so freaking high, one’s totally energetic, like a disciplined soldier and the lows make it impossible to get out of bed. It’s like something I read- sometimes I feel like Van Gogh’s starry nights and sometimes like his suicide note) who doesn’t need anyone, especially not a man.

Before you accuse me of being a man hater, let me just say, ‘ come on, look at me, if anything I’m totally, unbiasedly, misanthropic. But I do adore men. Not all though, not the weaker ones who get off on verbally, physically or emotionally abusing women. I’m done with those, for this lifetime! But the rest- I love working with them, I think like them and I thrive in their company, as they’re aggressive and very competitive and that’s totally up my alley. In fact, every time I walk into a room, my first instinct is to gravitate towards the mundas because that’s where all the fun is and one has failed at decoding one’s gender, as miserably as they have. Plus, like them, I too am looked at like a spoilt, badly behaved, work in progress, rogue who needs to be fixed ( no man has been able to fix me, maybe a woman can).

Having said that, the super clingy (SC) part of my personality, looks at all of them with doe shaped eyes and has always wanted to be rescued by one of them. They’ve tried and failed at doing a job, that isn’t meant for them ( we have to rescue ourselves, I know, I know…dil ko behlane ke liye Ghalib yeh khyaaal acha he). In any case, women are better at this, unfortunately the thirteen year old who was going through a I hate all men after a molestation attempt, who developed a crush on SK and PK, twin sisters who played basketball and looked so cute, with their short hair hasn’t found a woman other than Anokhi Parekh and Sushmita Sen, she would want to be fixed by. ‘Please God, help me tap into my bisexuality, send me a woman with a deep husky voice, broad shoulders and strong hands before I die. I want to play Romeo, someone needs to play my Juliet..man, woman I don’t care’, is my birthday wish, this year but unfortunately nothing, nothing is happening.

Other than my very sweet aunt, sending me proposals. I know she likes me but sometimes , I want to tell her and the boys, who seem to loiter around that, ‘ For once look at me carefully….if I don’t get along with my own tubbar, I’m the blackest sheep in a family where everyone is not really normal, what are the chances that I would get along with a man’s family and especially his friends? With my Sheldon Cooper type ability to put my foot in my mouth and my intense aversion to being controlled or even being answerable to anyone for anything, on what planet would this work out?’ But I remain invisible, I guess, some are blinded by love and the others by contempt. But one remains Mr India, nevertheless.

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day, to my constant source of entertainment and woes, my companion and my in-law and my source of inspiration for the person I wish to be and also someone I hope I never become. This statement, as dichotomous as it is, falls short in explaining our rather complicated dynamic. But like the boy, you insisted I should be with said, ‘it’s like Amitabh and Deepika in Piku!’ Who knows? For now let’s just try to fit into that box.

I look at you with amazement and horror and that makes me realize how lucky one is to be able to have parents who were fallible humans and not demi Gods, one would have idealised but instead looked at as co travellers, who didn’t have all the answers. Having said that, it doesn’t mean one doesn’t appreciate how hard working and dependable you were. How you stuck around when most would have bailed and how you managed human relationships, so well, for the longest time. To deal with your life partner’s illness, then loose a young son and then to deal with your wife’s death and inspite of your grief to consistently work and focus on someone other than yourself and not shut shop, when you have the option of an easy life, is commendable and highly admirable. It reminds me of the tortoise and the hare.

Your sense of humour keeps me entertained and is also the absolute death of me. No one in this world can come up with such one liners-

‘There are two biggest doomsters ( which isn’t a word, it’s doomsayers but you insist on calling me thus) one was Nostradamus and the other is you! Always, preparing for the worst case scenario .’

‘Jo bhut aur dayan hote he unna koi gender nahi hota!’ Ya, I know, I’m one!

And my most favourite, ‘ You’ll never be a good daughter to me, so don’t do this pakhandbazi!’

The last statement has helped me more than a year’s worth of therapy. It has set my heart free. Hope something takes away the woes of your heart, as well. Have a lovely day.

Hierarchy

The Amber Heard/ Johnny Depp trial, had me almost as engrossed, shocked and appalled as the Kashmir files and the series of events that have unfolded in the Valley after that ( which we will talk about).

One has been ranting on other people’s walls…how upset somethings make one is the reason, I avoid the news, like the plague. Whatever other voyeuristic tendencies one may possess, watching people leave their homes, mother’s weeping for their kids, people dying, my heart ain’t capable of watching all of it for consumption, so I’d rather be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand. These two things unfortunately still managed to sneak up on me. The trial barged into my morning breakfast routine, which includes doing a little visualisation ( where I try to see myself with someone/anyone and miserably fail at imagining it…the sky, the moon or the clouds, is the best one can do) and watching Larry videos on YouTube, while I munch. The last thing I need, is something stressing me out but YouTube threw up this display of how toxic marriages and human relationships are in my face and ugh.

It reaffirms a nagging thought one has been having for the past two years (since my own trial of sorts) – fuck society and fuck a system that still burns women it imagines to be witches at the stake. The definition of the stake and the method in which its done may change but the act remains the same, nevertheless!’

Is she a saint? Hell, no! But she seems as damaged as him so bo freaking ho! What is this crap that people throw at beautiful women- she only wanted him for his money? Oh ya and he wanted her because she was Mother Teresa not because she’s really hot? Come on, at least in the olden times, when we weren’t all pretending to be so evolved, we knew, for marriage ( which is a business transaction) women were acquired for their looks (procreation and coitus) and men for their money ( security). Yet, can you think of a term similar to ‘gold digger’ that a man is accused of, for doing the above mentioned? Nothing as demeaning.

I don’t know if she faked her injuries or not but I do know that, men get away with domestic abuse all the time, with the help and might I add encouragement of society. Let me tell you, however drugged a man is, the minute he realises that someone will call him out for it, he straightens up, fixes his clothes, puts on his best behaviour. If it gets too serious, he knows who to bribe and impress- from the authorities, to the neighbours, to the victim’s relatives, he’ll charm the shit out of them all! Why do you think women don’t leave the abusers? Their abuse doesn’t end with the slap, it just begins with it. The maligning of the woman, stripping her off her personal autonomy and support system, that’s their trip, weak men get off on thrashing and trashing women, makes them feel more manly.

And who is their ally? Always other women, who believe that said woman has too good a life or she’s lucky because she has access to his wealth from relatives to friends, everyone begrudges her, this perfect existence. In Heard’s case, just look at her, women must be disliking her without her even opening her mouth, it’s like Aishwarya Rai, most people begrudgingly appreciate beauty. ‘She’s too perfect’ can only be used to insult a woman, it’s never unattractive on a man. Neither is ambition. A man is driven and passionate while a woman is greedy and crazy.

Forgive me if I don’t believe someone’s guilty just because strangers will vouch for powerful men and women are being tarnished by their own, that’s just society on it’s classiest act. That’s why abused women keep looking for protectors- either physically strong men or men who are top of the societal hierarchy.

Oprah Winfrey, recalls how when she began anchoring, her male colleague was paid much more than her. So, she went and asked her boss for more. Guess what was his reply? ‘ What do you need money for? You’re not married, you don’t have any kids, why do you need a raise?’. So she thought, ‘wait, I’ll show you!’, for the disrespect. In the scheme of things, it’s my realisation- the top of the pyramid is the politician (where too male is above female but it’s tolerable) . Then there’s rich man, less fortunate man, woman married to rich man, woman married to less fortunate man and then at the bottom there’s the single woman, divorced is considered better than someone whose never married and ofcourse wealthy comes over someone who doesn’t have, enough. We single women stand on the threshold of society, some have been cast out and others don’t seem to fit in. In Heard’s case it’s the latter- too pretty, too ambitious and she’s queer, there wasn’t a chance in hell, she was going to win this one. Like, I say, they are still burning witches at the stake! Screw their rules, be magical!

Rashmi’s Contemplations on Mental Health

Rashmi Divyam

How did you remain centered during the pandemic? Did your spiritual practice anchor you through the trying times?

The pandemic has been truly challenging for the entire world and it became absolutely essential for us to keep ourselves anchored and balanced in all aspects. Spiritual practices help us in a huge way to stay grounded, centered and deeply connected to what matters the most. I feel that our spiritual practice reminds us and keeps us bringing back to what gives meaning to our life. Certainly my spiritual practice supported me immensely to stay calm, grounded, aligned, connected, focused in countless ways and through that I have been able to cope up with the challenges that kept coming my way during difficult situations. It serves as a constant reminder to me that there’s something bigger than us, and that keeps me deeply anchored and helps me greatly in coming back to my center whenever needed. 

How were you introduced to Osho’s teachings? Any particular thought of his that resonates with you more than others?

I remember watching an evening show on Doordarshan channel during my school days, that was somewhere in early 1990s. They were showing ‘Whirling Meditation’ in an Osho Commune and everybody was dressed in long flowing maroon robes. In that moment I felt a strong connection and desire to be there. Later during my college days, whenever I would come across Osho’s quotes and articles, I felt a deep resonance with his writings and my inclination towards Osho gradually became stronger in a very subtle way. It was only in 2012, when I was in an extremely difficult situation in my life, and I felt a strong disconnect from everything and everyone I knew of at that point of time, somehow I landed in Osho Commune, Pune. And I felt such a strong sense of belonging there; it totally felt like being home to me and so much more than that I would say. I felt such deep love and acceptance of my being, for who I am and that was immensely huge for me, I never felt this way before. For the first time in my life, I felt I belonged, somewhere. 

I have always been a rebel. I could never accept false conditioning, the damaging patriarchy and the old belief systems of the society that no longer serves us. As I got to experience Osho meditations in the commune and I explored further through his writings and teachings, it all served as a healing balm soothing my heart and soul. Whether we agree to it or not on the surface, but I feel Osho’s  teachings somewhere deeply resonate with each of us.  

“Never belong to a crowd; Never belong to a nation; Never belong to a religion; Never belong to a race. Belong to the whole existence. Why limit yourself to small things? When the whole is available.”  ~ Osho 

How can Reiki help with mental health issues?

Research shows that Reiki primarily helps in the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression as well as relief from chronic pain. Reiki leads to a decrease in symptoms related to hypertension, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, mood disorders and stress. Reiki is deeply healing and helps clear mental blocks, bringing clarity and focus by balancing the energy centers, known as ‘Chakras’. Reiki works on all aspects – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

The human body has electrical and magnetic energies that flow through it and around living tissues, creating a magnetic field around the body. Pulsing magnetic fields from the hands of Reiki therapists are in the same frequency ranges that are optimal for stimulating tissue repair. Reiki brings to us what we need at the time, at any given moment. 

Have you had any particular point of desperation in your past that you look back at and realize it turned out for the best? In that moment what helped you the most?

 There have been many difficult situations or points of desperation in my past, and today when I look back I feel so thankful to all of that. There was a constant knowing that was telling me all along, nothing is permanent – “this too shall pass”. All that came my way only made me stronger and more determined to be my authentic self, live my soul purpose, and it all constantly nudged me to make the rest of my life the best of my life. Having given a chance, I wouldn’t want to alter or change any of that. All the learnings that have happened over the years and how everything has been taken care of by the Universe, it all makes me feel so very grateful from the bottom of my heart and opens me up further to trust the process and live in surrender to the universe. I have learned that our Creator is so generous and kind that He knows better than us what we can endure, what we deserve and what is good for us on the whole, rather than what we want for ourselves at any given moment. Of course we do need to make necessary efforts, and we are constantly supported and guided by a higher force all the way, I have no doubts about that. When we look at the bigger picture, we understand how everything falls back into place and how much we are loved and taken care of. It all makes me feel so grateful, thankful and blessed.  

“I am so grateful for the many times God has shown me the mercy of not giving me what I want. As I look back on my life I realize – every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being redirected to something better.” 


Since you are a mother of young adults and are also spiritually inclined, what suggestions can you give to parents about children’s mental well being? What sort of emotional tool kit do parents have to equip their kids with to go out in the world?

Unconditional love is the biggest gift that we, as parents, can truly give to our children. I am a mother of two young adults – I have a daughter who is 20 years of age and a son who is 16 years old and from my experience of raising two beautiful beings as a single mother, I would like to convey to all parents to provide their children with a nurturing and supportive ambience through unconditional love and a deep understanding of their emotional needs, respecting their space, trusting them fully and encouraging them to follow their passions, knowing and believing that there is a genius in every child. And in so doing, we discover that in the process children not only feel empowered to trust their own self and open up to their true potential, they also truly blossom as compassionate and confident individuals who know their worth and how they deserve to be treated. I read this beautiful quote somewhere- “Our greatest contribution may not be something we do but someone we raise.”

How do you remain spiritual and fierce at the same time? You come across as a person who is happy in their skin but who also speaks her mind. How do you balance the opposing traits within your being?

Well thank you for sharing this is how you see me as, and I am glad to know that this how I am perceived, today. But let me tell you, it has been a very long journey for me from then to now and in all these years a lot has happened. Yes, it took me a lot of inner work, self enquiry, contemplation and self reflection to open up my true authentic expression, my true authentic voice that was suppressed so much because of false conditioning, old belief systems that no longer serve us and all kinds of wrong ideas about how a woman “should be” and “shouldn’t be”. Now I feel, after all these years of hard work it all gets integrated into one’s personality and it all becomes so effortless because this is who we are today after all the learning and experiences get absorbed into one’s skin and bones. Today, everything has changed, I feel like a completely different version of myself, and yet I am more me than I have ever been. They say, fearlessness is not the absence of fear, it’s the mastery of fear and I feel I am still on my way, slowly and steadily getting there.  I feel so very deeply grateful to my parents, to my children, to all my Masters, to all my Teachers and my wonderful guides who have always been holding me energetically, supporting me with all their love, light and blessings. Heartfelt gratitude to all that is.

To contact Rashmi get in touch with her on FB/ Instagram.

Mandira Srivastava talks about mental health

Mandira Srivastava is a transactional analyst and mediator at Awaken The Dance Within.

How did you remain centered during the pandemic? Did your spiritual practice anchor you through these trying times?

Saadiya, I view the Pandemic as a reset in the world.

I have been living off the grid and in my rhythm for many years now. Yes my spiritual practices, which I also teach, helped me stay centered and energised, as they always do. In fact, because I could not move out much  I ended up working with lots more people and furthering my own educational qualifications. I also learned Spanish. The idea is to make the best of everything.

I celebrated through these times. The traffic stopped. The skies cleared up. More birds sang. People caught in the automaticity of life, were forced to rest and reconsider their existence.

Stops/ Resets are good to return to Consciousness.

I think dance is your main practice-whether it’s the sufi whirl, the Gurdfieff movements or Belly dancing. How do you think it helps in releasing angst?

Movement helps to shift and release energy. Done consciously, dance, or any other movement can support catharsis, including breathing exercises. I also practice Reiki, and counsel with Transactional Analysis. I am also a trained Trauma Release Therapist. All these methods allow for release of trauma.

I remember meeting you two decades ago and then having the privilege of meeting your spiritual guide. I find a lot of people being skeptical about not just religion these days but all kinds of spiritual healers. What are your thoughts on the importance of appropriate guidance?

I think when the Teacher is ready, the Learners will appear.  We each attract the experiences we have chosen for ourselves. Accordingly, we experience who and what we do. I am blessed to have found wise guidance at a time I needed it, and privileged to offer it to others in my turn.

People often want quick fixes. To transform requires perseverance, effort and most importantly the wish to change. It means self discipline and the ability to leave the known behind. It takes courage.

Sometimes the Teacher is not ready  sometimes the Learner!

As a single woman how do you navigate through Indian society, so cheerfully? What advice would you give people who get bogged down by expectations?

That would require a book! I think being self sufficient is crucial to navigating through any society. Self sufficiency, for me includes, having the courage to live my life on my terms, and in my rhythm and not letting others opinion of me matter, as much as my own opinion of myself.

‘ What others think of me is none of my business. ‘ My life is mine to co – create and celebrate. And as long as I am not disturbing others, I think I can do as I wish!

Favourite quotes or a song, you read or listen to on a hard day?

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

If I am not for others, then what am I?

If not now, WHEN?

Rabbi Hillel

Passing Through….. Leonard Cohen

‘We are spiritual beings, having the occasional physical experience

Not the other way around’

( Not sure who all have said that)

To connect-Check out her Page on Fb- Awaken The Dance Within

Antaheen Komal’s thoughts on mental well being

Antaheen Komal is a spiritual healer: a family constellation practitioner, based out of Mumbai.

How did you remain centred during the pandemic? Did your spiritual practice anchor you through these trying times?

Since, I am a spiritual healer, my work and spiritual practise is one. During the pandemic, the energies were really high for me. It was a deep transformation time. I was guided by energies to host several workshops to contribute towards the creation of a New Earth. Work took new dimensions as it went online. The pandemic was a really busy time for me, it was highly enriching for the soul.

How do familial relations influence the individual psyche?

I work in the area of family constellation and ancestral lineage healing. In every therapy we have seen karma or emotional and psychological patterns of the family or childhood traumas affecting the individual. A child sometimes also expresses and compensates for something which has remained unexpressed in the family lineage.

How do you propose coming to terms with past hurts via the family constellation workshops?

When you see, acknowledge and name the entanglement as it is…the soul makes a movement. This is the basis family constellation work. We make the client see what is the root cause of an issue, acknowledge that yes! it is an issue, name it and then make a choice to move from the old space into a new space.

Is group work necessary or can the work be done individually?

The workshops can be conducted as a group workshop, as a private, individual session with other people as representatives or private individual session with puppets or paper representation. These can be done in person or online.

Contact- agarwalkomal@gmail.com

Eitu Vij Chopra Reflects On Mental Health

Mental health awareness month

Eitu Vij Chopra is a spiritual entrepreneur, Life and Mental Wellness Coach, Educationist, Writer, Poet and Just Another Volunteer.

How did you remain centred during the pandemic? Did your spiritual practice anchor you through these trying times?

Fear and uncertainty can play havoc with psychological as well as physiological goodness of the body and both of these emerged as big issues during the pandemic. The one sure short way that helped me was being purpose driven, grounded and joyous in creating something bigger than myself for the world and finding Joy in Giving.

So on the one hand a lot of volunteering went on, by way of being an aid and support to front line workers as mental wellness and holistic coach coupled with starting our #miLLLss ThemoJOsh Life Leadership Learning2Learn Success Summit; an online program for youth to help them bring to the forefront their passion and purpose and become passiopreneurs to create better world for self and others. To be able to accomplish the season 1 of it, we reached out to 100 plus self-driven passiopreneurs from across the globe and curated and recorded their learnings and insights for youth who had been left high and dry during the pandemic with no internships, no jobs or no colleges. (* passopreneurs are entrepreneurs who are led by their inner passion and fire not a job, money or title).

Yes, my spiritual practice of meditation and mindful conscious awareness helped me a lot to feel and feel that this too shall pass and let’s make some meaningful memories and learning out of it. Did a lot of Writing and Journaling as holistic health practice for anchoring the mind played a big role too and both of these therapeutic modalities have been proven through research to help anchor the mind in calmness and in here and now.

We all know the benefits of yoga for the body but can you tell us a little about how it helps to calm the mind?

Yoga is a game and play of breath as it uses our own energy source that is the breath know as Prana: breath recharge and energise our body and mind. Yoga for me is a way of everyday life to centre myself and also recharge all my energy centres. Full body cardio exercise like Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutation is a full body cardio exercise and manages to massage each inner vital organ and stretches every muscle of the body.

Yoga as I said above draws its energy from our breath so when practised with focus and right breath work of inhalation and exhalation brings the mind to NOW and helps to relax and stay mindfully distracted in a way that is long benefit.

Sometimes just sitting in simple Lotus posture or the Padmasana and focussing on your breath is a sure shot happy calming pill as it’s again proven that deep breath while in this pose the brain is calm and aids sleep and relaxes muscles.

Can you tell us a little about chakra balancing? What should a person do if they feel unusually distressed?

 Chakras are nothing but energy grids or power grids of the body that are around major organs and also around major glands in the body. They work in unison with neurotransmitters to carry energy and signals to the brain. So when our mind is heavy, stressed and depleted like in fear or anger our chakras get depleted and awry hence we feel depressed or less energetic and find our minds and bodies heavy.

This in comparison to easy, light, charged energy helps to keep us in now as well as  happy and moving like when we are joyous or in gratitude or practising empathy and compassion.

I practice 10 non-invasive and organic ways to help charge the chakras just as nature has designed it to be, through- sound therapy( natural sounds of the universe), yoga, colour therapy, nutrition or food ( raw), reflexology, crystals, visualisation, affirmations ( thoughts its part of Neuro linguistic Programming, aromas and mudras ( hand postures and pressure points).

Simple remedy I would tell people is to eat raw many coloured food and walk bare feet on grass to get natural antioxidants to calm your mind and bring the heart rate down. It has sure shot instant health benefit.

Not much is known about the mind, let alone about mental/mood disorders. Even now I see psychologists struggling to give a particular tag in a jiffy, since observation is so hard, unless a person is institutionalised. That is quite evident even in the Amber Heard trial; where she has been ‘accused’ of suffering from a ’border line personality disorder’ and a ‘histrionics personality disorder’. Do you think this vilification will make it more difficult for people to come forth with their problems? What are your thoughts on this labelling of mental conditions?

When there is a complex, complicated and sophisticated machinery like brain why can’t it act up like any other part of our body is the question to ask?

As a Mental health coach and therapist one major shift in mind set and narrative has to be to detaboo mental health issues and/or by giving it these big fancy names and then make people dependent on chemical suppressants that are never a cure or sustainable.

Time to accept mental health issues as regular human health issues and in need of intervention and mainstreaming as heart ailments or cancer, diabetes or let’s say skin issues and finding dialogue that is not self-defeating but empowering.

Vilification or taboo as I said earlier has to be completely omitted and we have to treat them as any normal health issues not even mental health issues to help them get acceptance as part of human life and journey. More talking and accepting at every level of family and society together will usher in this change. It’s OK not to be OK.  Seek help and no brandishing at all is the way forward for all genders and age groups and people across countries.

Does it help to label in order to heal, a person? Is it easier for you as a counsellor and a spiritual practitioner, to define or is the spiritual practice more fluid about such matters?

Labelling for research and medical cataloguing is fine as sometimes genetic or family history plays a role but the truth is 99.9% of human population suffers from some or the other mind issues which could be because of circumstances, hormones and food so labelling is a NO but at the same time awareness to seek help and get perspective and find within one’s own thinking to adapt to adept to find tools to cope with, is what I believe in. I help my clients to become aware and educated with the functioning of their own body and mind and to think and find answers and help them with tools that will aid them in their hour of need, The story is always inside out and I believe in empowering not taking away the power which modern medicine does.

Spiritual or non-invasive tools that I mentioned above help get clarity and our thoughts have potency to change our personal reality and tonality. So I lay a lot of emphasis on something that I developed called Talk Therapy which is fluid yet structured conversation that helps to find triggers and once we are deft at identifying them we know them and handle them better and help ourselves. It’s an art learnt slowly but surely that has benefited each client. Secondly, whatever goes in our gut brain that is food or mind brain has to be in our control only then we can manage good, mind health. So awareness is paramount.

It’s easier to pin down disorders when people are melancholic but there are many symptoms. Is there anything in particular that you would want people to watch out for, especially in teens?

The major symptom for teens is when they stop being teens and stop doing the fun, stupid, normal things and are more brooding and pensive then that’s the time to watch out.

Secondly, everyone in the society or support system or family or parents should be laying importance on talking of taboo / bothersome things to teens as it should be fine to talk anything without being judgemental about teens. This is a collective call to all of us.

Thirdly a lot of issues in teens are due to cocktail of hormonal surges happening and coupled with wrong kind of food that could be processed or junk food that leads to mind issues and go utterly undiagnosed.

To get in touch

Email at- eitu.vijchopra@gmail.com

Facebook-

https://www.facebook.com/EituVijChopra/

Mental Health Awareness Month

India Art Fair- 2020-2022- Barely Surviving
Art Walk at the India Art Fair

Since, my mum’s birthday and the mental health awareness month, coincided with the Art Fair, this time one decided to show a series of work which reflects the past two years of our lives.

This is the concept note of the exhibit-

We all hide parts of ourselves that we afraid of or ashamed of due to the fear of rejection and ridicule. The first day, I couldn’t stand being at the fair but by the second day, I was more comfortable in my skin than I’ve ever been, today one is joyful, happier than I’ve been in a long time! This year and this fair will remain etched in my memory.

This month at a 100 pieces of me, we will be discussing mental health. Stay tuned.

Closure

Dear Amma,

Happy birthday. For a change, a series was dedicated to you and you weren’t there to see it. I couldn’t stand in front of the images for even a minute, everything rushed back and made it difficult for me to remain steady. But this should bring me some closure and hopefully, I should let go, of everything before, I get very sick. Hid behind my mask, the way I hide behind my camera, deriving comfort from the distance it creates between crowds and myself or the way SC hides behind SB. If they thought my walls were fortresses earlier, they should try talking to me, now.

I miss you…miss your body more than you can imagine, not in an incestuous way. Incest makes me digress but this is hilarious. I was watching Badhai Do, with Dad and Rajkumar’s character is gay, so to avoid marriage he tells his parents-‘I’m in love with a Muslim woman’ , playing on the prejudice of his family. So Dad burst into peels of laughter and asked me, ‘are you sure, you don’t like women, that’s why you’re not getting married and these Muslim boys around you are all just to keep us distracted because you think no one will agree? I’m agreeing beta, you bring anyone!’ It’s like no one understands that living with someone scares the shit out of me, whether he’s a Sikh man or a Muslim man or even a woman for that matter, ewww, to constant physical proximity…no can do!

Anyway, back to the point. I miss your hugs, your kisses and lying on your tummy for hours. Why don’t men feel like you and your son? But your sister does! She came down especially for us, it was the sweetest thing and I wanted to hold her forever but I was worried she would get freaked out. Had an amazing time with her. Missed you at dinner the other day. It would have been nice if you had been there, too. Masi gave me some mothering, not like you, you were a bit of a baby but like two adults having a conversation about life, what’s it like to be a woman, sweet at times, encouraging and yet stern. She said the kindest words of encouragement. She told me stories of you about Tullika. I always forget the other doll’s name and how you loved to dress me up just the way you dressed up your dolls. If you were to see me these days, you would immediately disown me. Went to parlour after many months and got fired by Kalpana didi. ‘Mama ko dekha tha na apne kitna dhyaan rakhti thi!’ She said the sweetest thing after that- ‘ Ma’am you’re a very lucky woman. Only sons get the privilege of taking care of their parents. God has blessed you, that’s why you got so much time with your mum. My mother had two daughters but it was my sister who got that privilege because I was in Delhi.’ She always talks about you and I’m a sucker for anyone who does that.

Oh PD, had such sweet things to say about you, as well. How you took her shopping when she was a teenager and then SK showed me the first gift you gave her. Of course since morning, I’ve been getting such lovely messages for you. Even before I woke, there was a message from RB for you on my phone and NB, sent a message a Facebook. Then umpteen messages from your nieces and nephews. Acchi thi na tu. Me? The world will forget in two hours. Dad keeps telling me I will rot in my basement alone and I tell him, the plan is to die on the highway to Kashmir, after the Banihal tunnel, when there’s a nip in the air and the music is right, death can take me anytime it wants and strangers can bury me. My favourite people will be waiting.

Dude, why?

Bhai Sahab, please find some other occupation! Nobody is interested in this or who my boyfriends have been and I am neither a celebrity nor am I famous. I’m not even adding the shady websites on which you repeatedly connect my name as a keyword. You’re obviously someone I know, the shoe size kind of gives you away. One really doesn’t deserve so much of your attention, my friends have better things to do other than send written complaints to Google and I really feel terribly narcissistic checking on what you’re doing on these sites. Enjoy your life, leave me alone…find something else to do.

MCM 1-111

My latest body of works, is a record of the last two years of my existence. Titled, 2020-2022- barely surviving, they are going to be up at stall no D-5 at the India Art Fair. It’s an ode to my Mum, who passed away in 2020 and to the series of events that one faced after that. If you are one of the few people, who actually likes me, don’t worry, I’m in a much better place- emotionally and psychologically.

One had apprehensions about sharing it but one’s works right from the word go, have been a record of one’s journey. Since, history is written by the rich and powerful ( by the winner) just making sure, ‘her story is written by her!’, flawed as it it may be. Motto in life- ‘You’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud!’

One hopes that one day, that shouting will be something akin to Harry Styles’ and Louis Tomlinson’s videos, hiding deep love or like Mann’s work about her children but as of now, the photographs are what seem like a ‘perpetual self indulgence’, as I call it under the garb of ‘ making it okay for masochistic little girls, everywhere!’ Self deprecating, much? Just a little. But it is what it is! This is who I am, right now, take it or leave it! Angry, depressed, anti social …right now…tomorrow I will be something else. But this will lurk from, the shadows always…like it always has. One could, do what the mind says and project something else- nicer, pleasanter, more positive like all humans beings love but SC, needs her outlets, otherwise she will come apart at the seams.

Here is a description of what the MCM1-III, test entails. Like I keep saying, this should never be shared with anyone so please be very discreet about your mental condition. In my case, I’ve been sticking it up to the world since I was very young, plus, I have nothing or no one to loose and much to gain from this. Closure for one, cleaning house for another and just for hope. One wishes to just close this and someday find someone I think I can be with, not having to worry about the sword dangling above my neck or about what anyone will tell him. I’m just going to be like, ‘read this…see this and then lets take it from there!’ Love does have a way of saving us, for now, I make do with the moon.

Happy 40th

Happy birthday to the embodiment of mother hen and brawny alpha male. Thanks for having my back, for trying to constantly save me from combusting and for being ever so amused by my theatrics. To be honest your niceness, does make SB, look at you rather suspiciously, sometimes. But since she’s a teeny, tiny bit scared of you, she doesn’t spell ‘murder’, so easily. Just kidding ( or maybe not) patient human beings are the most dangerous creatures on the planet. Never know when you’ll explode! But then SC, reassures her, you’re just a fixer- who tends to hurt animals and damaged humans. We all pay for our complexes, you might have to pay heavily for your rescuing ways, too!

Thanks for being my friend. For checking on me everyday, since mum has gone….For keeping your promise to her. For listening to me weep…For scolding me, more than any other person would waste their time, doing. For making fun of me, about everything especially boys. Each time I tell you, I find someone hot, you start tripping on my easily annoyed ways. ‘ Go out with him a few times, then we’ll talk!’, your predictions are always on point. Thanks for your generosity and your kindness, for your words of encouragement and most of all your silliness, that matches mine! You may not be the boy in my heart nor the one on my skin, you may not be the devil in my brain who whispers my name but you’re definitely a very dependable man and having you around feels safe, secure and comforting! That’s why you’re one of SC’s favourite people in the world. No one else scolds her when her hair is disheveled, asks her dress up, tells her she’s like a two year old and prays for her when she’s getting all hysterical. I can get into any kind of trouble, I know you’re the one person, who’ll try to get me out of it!

By the way, there are things that you should have learnt how to do before turning 40- like driving a freaking car! Next time, you’re here, you better get your ass behind the wheel. Maybe, I shouldn’t be a hypocrite and complain. In forty years, you haven’t learnt how to drive and I haven’t learnt to navigate through society…same, same, I guess!

Anyhow, sorry I didn’t show up for you, like you always show up for me. It would have been nice…we could have gone dancing. Most days, scandals entertain me but sometimes I get tired. Four days, would have become a decade of bullshit, that would get spun around and broadcasted to anyone who would listen. One is slowly resigning to the fact, that one is going to remain under the microscope, for as long as there’s no man to parade around and when there is one, he’ll be made to dance on strings, to control the defiant woman. In any case, since one has already given you all her wealth (which doesn’t exist) and is making you a director in the company ( if you you were the kind..they really think, I would be speaking to you but logic is blinded by misogyny) there’s nothing left for you to do, I guess, so off you go! Since, you’re the only person I know, whose never asked me for anything, I really didn’t want more shade flung your way.

Have a fabulous day and a blessed year. Come soon, so we can go dancing in the clubs and streets of Delhi…go hogging in Chandni Chowk and I’ll even show you some cool, quiet places, I’ve found. See you later, alligator!

Love Is…..

I might suck at love, but one does love the idea of it. What can I say- we at a 100 pieces of me, love…love! So, what if our heart chakra is blocked and we have become incapable of even dating, forget committing? ‘Give love and yourself a chance’, they say! I seem to have given both too many but…. Anyhow, to reactivate my chakra and pump up my cold, cold, heart, one of course ships gay love stories- they seem to be the only ones that look real and so freaking dramatic and of course one keeps going through, these adorable cartoons by Kim-

The Curious Case of Will

Other than Kashmir Files ( one will drag oneself to watch the hateful propaganda sooner rather than later. Of course, hearing from all the Kashmiri groups one is on, especially the Pandit one they say it is a true account but most of them agree, it’s divisive politics) the next big thing is the slap that was heard throughout the world. Chris Rock was slapped by Will Smith, for his unsavoury comment against his wife. Not a big fan of the way he handled it but in the social hierarchy for a black man to pick on a black woman, for her looks, especially her hair ( black women are very touchy about it) and both the times he’s hosted the Oscars, looks like punching down. As a rule, comedy is funnier, if it’s punching up. Anyhow, I’m always a bit uncomfortable with jokes on things that a person can’t change-a disability…a medical condition ( like alopecia) unless it’s self deprecating humour- that’s my favourite kind.

Much is being said- Smith has resigned from the Academy and there’s a disciplinary hearing in a couple of weeks. Why is one so interested? Well it hits home on many levels. Not on the world renowned superstar bit, silly, but his childhood, his marriage, what he’s been going through personally, it breaks my heart to watch, a person disintegrating into that. I don’t think anyone, who hasn’t witnessed domestic violence, will ever know the extent of damage it does to a human being-it makes one either incredibly guarded or a total people pleaser. It skews your view of the world, of marriage…how you bring up your children. Just read about Ben Affleck and the disaster that he turned his life into. That gave me the hibbiee jibbes!

To top that, if rumours are to be believed, the heavy closeting that Hollywood demands can’t be easy on anyone. Secret love or keeping love a secret ain’t easy, on nobody. If all of that is just plain gossip, in any case heterosexual relationships are rather dubious, which makes his marriage very problematic for society at large. Monogamy which has been shoved down everyone’s freaking throats, is unnatural as hell! Maybe, after forty but before that come on man! I came from a household which was rather unconventional for its time or maybe we just happened to be aware of the fact that our parents, were fallible human beings and not some Demi gods. When I grew up, I realized that everyone just covered their shit with whipped cream and put a cherry on the top, so it all looked hunky dory. But men, as well as women, struggled with keeping up this unnatural facade. So, if you really examined it- everyone, was in an open relationship. Mostly it was the men because women are afraid of the wrath of society but trust me, its the same for the other gender. Don’t believe me, go into a restraunt, sit by yourself, check out the behaviour of all the married women, around attractive men and I’m not talking about your stereotypical aunty. Just observe, the way they look, the way their voices change, their bodies will naturally turn towards them, the way they play with their hair…yup…we’re all just animals. You’ll figure, most of the times that its just some external forces of morality and not some internal compass, that holds them back.

I admire gay couples, they seem to be so honest with one another. This garb of ‘honey I don’t look at anyone other than you!’ truly sickens me to my stomach. I mean, it’s your business who and however many people you’re doing, whether you’re straight or gay, neither the law, nor society has a right to enter your bedroom, just because property is involved. I’m not a fan of Jada and Will Smith’s but I admire honesty and vulnerability. In a world full of couples, who are just pretending to be perfect, it takes balls to say, ‘we have a miserable marriage!’ But society breaks you down, relegates you-punishes you for not pretending, for being the honest one and elevates the pretender, the liar. The upholder of morality, just being the one who lies better. As for this curious matter of morality- isn’t that subjective. In India, a single man can do as he pleases whereas a woman can’t date multiple men without being branded a whore, on the other hand abroad you can go out with different people till you commit. Thankfully, the law, as well as Bridgerton will agree, maidens can’t wait around forever, for a man to make up his mind. Polygamy can be practiced by Muslim men-they can have four wives also polyandry is practiced in a village in Himachal- a woman can keep four husbands. There are tribal societies around the world that practice polygamous relationships. In fact, in Gabon, Central Africa, both women and men are allowed to practice polygamy. My question is why get married in the first place? Yikes, imagine waking up to the same face for the rest of your life. ( I really should stop saying this. It’s funny, a little boy asked me recently, ‘Is it liberating waking up to a new face, every morning?’ It was hilarious because, when I say this, people assume, that I’m actually doing that). Some of us have demons to slay at night and we wake up exhausted and cranky after the battle…alone is better.

So morality is just about geography or maybe even just about who you’re hanging with. Will Smith, should hang around musicians or around the Osho Ashram. in a world full of fakes, find some people who are not hiding behind their well crafted masks and trying to put one on you as well.

ODD

I lie on the couch, in the factory which has become more familiar than my bed…peering outside at the tree. I toss and turn, unable to calm my nerves down. I pop another pill, thank God, they’re not yet sleep inducing or mind altering drugs. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since ten in the morning. There’s a dread that grips my heart, when the freaking thing starts off and it’s not regarding work or one of my usual friends who’ve kept a watch out for me.

‘Another round of bullshit is going to begin! This isn’t a coincidence, five calls in one day, from the same network.’ nags SB. ‘ Like this, you will not let me speak to anyone!’ complains SC, who feels trapped behind SB’s pokey exterior. She longs for the sun, a little warmth, some faith, a smile…just a bit of tenderness. The other one, who not only had her temper, vicious tongue and general pokiness, as a defense mechanism (what has been termed ‘anti social behaviour’) has developed better ‘walls’ ( they’ve been called my fortress), classic escapist, now hides behind work. Not the work, that has kept her (relatively) sane for two decades…but lets solve the financial mess before you get royally screwed kind of work! She’s a woman on a mission, with only herself to truly rely on. All the knives in the back, have triggered an obsession with the idea of financial security, absolute privacy, a legacy plan and adopting babies!

The internal dialogue goes on and on-

SC- let’s go to the Dargah. They even messaged to find out if everything is alright.

SB- Wait! I don’t need you to get all weepy and emotional. We got shit to do.

SC- But I have to shoot. If this carries on I won’t be able to create anything..

SB- Doesn’t matter.

SC- Stop getting anxious…nothing is happening.

SB- Haven’t you learnt anything from your mother’s life and your own? Something is freaking up, this is round three. Prepare for the onslaught!

SC- I just want to go home!

The End.

We hold on so tightly to something and then one day you wake up…see his picture with someone else and for the first time in almost two decades, magically it no longer hurts. I don’t have to tell myself ‘that boy doesn’t exist’…Nothing, zilch! Other than ‘glad he’s happy!’ ‘If only you let go of the four of them will you make space for someone new!’ You look at the tatoo on the arm and think, ‘one down, three to go! Could have given these two a little more thought!’ Nevertheless, a saying from the Granth Sahib and the Quran…sums up everything..but nothing to fret over…at least for me…for the future lovers…hmmm!!!The other ones will be a little tougher to get over…none of them were, cold! Guess, something is working! Getting rid of all my (real and imaginary) ghosts ….

Amma

It’s been two years since you left, to be with your favourite child. Please don’t bother to deny it, he was my favourite person, too. It’s been eventful…is that an understatement? Have you enjoyed the show from your vantage point? Me too, tortuous but come on! our love for the dramatics makes everything entertaining!

I sat across the doc at Kolmet, the other day and as he tried to figure out the root cause of my high diastolic levels…when I answered all his questions he looked at me in all seriousness and said, ‘ if after two years, just talking about your mother makes you this emotional, you require intervention!’ Cute, all the therapy in the world, ain’t fixing this head. You and my men would vouch for that, did you all not try every trick in the book to fix me? Some people aren’t fixable, they’re broken in a different way. ‘ I’m alright, plus I am in therapy!’ I replied. Of course, he tried to get me on a sedative, of course, no freaking chance in hell, one is getting on that.

But I thought about it later. Mourning is a privilege, that’s not really granted to us. It’s a gift we give ourselves, if we can take out time from our lives, away from the fear of death, pain and longing, to truly cry over someone. To grieve the part of us which has died with them. Like the part of me, which will never be able to smell that particular fragrance of yours (which has evaporated from your clothes, by the way) – a mix of talcum powder, pee, age and pears….there’ll be no stomach I can lie on for hours, doing nothing. Or the part which will never have anyone standing at the door, singing, ‘ oye meri Gudiya, oyee, oyee, oyee!’ and doing a silly little dance. The part which will not jump out of bed, hearing you yelling and abusing on top of your voice. The part which never be able to look at someone, in awe, disbelief, anger and adoration! So, its okay if I grieve but its really the softer side of me that I mourn, which was capable of feelings. It’s a bit complicated to make anyone understand that.

Anyhow, like we are supposed to think uniformly so are we meant to feel, like everyone else. Sometimes, I want to yell, ‘ I’m sorry…I wasn’t made at the same production plant as you! Don’t use your manual to understand me!’ but why upset the apple cart more than I usually, do? So, I nod my head in agreement to most things or just use my classic ‘ I’m too dumb to get your point’ expression! It always worked like a freaking charm, has kept me from getting into many unnecessary altercations, over the years.

I wish I could say everything is as controlled as my expressions, though. Honestly, as I age and I yell at everyone, ‘ don’t think I’m my mother!’ the more I realize, how much I truly am! Not as nice but as cuckoo as you could be on your worst days…okay, not…almost…there. Thankfully, I’m yet to find ( and hopefully shall never find) a love I can’t live without…go nuts over and a daughter I I can beat up ( oh don’t feel bad honey you were really sick). But I feel so scared of myself, Amma, as the mood swings get really bad, I find myself yelling at someone or the other and in the midst I remember you and I tell myself I can’t go down that road. The good days are so freaking good…totally charged and meglomaniacal to the point where I feel totally invincible. Like I am going to take on the whole world and its mother on that particular day….work…work..party…party!!! The bad ones are getting terrible, hours and hours of crying, total lethargy, the worst flashes. It suddenly catches me from my flight and buries me right under the ground.

One does feel really feel sorry for you, as one struggles, oneself. You must have been terrified, overturning cars, not having control over yourself and getting violent. Those electric shocks, I know scared the crap out of you, for years to come, as they do me. Unlike, what I thought, you were good for my sanity. There was at least some grounding, especially in the last few years. Plus, you were so loud and dramatic all the time, Amma, that there was always something going on. Now, there’s an eerie silence, in this house and in life.

When I went to Kashmir last, the hotel staff got totally freaked out and entered my room one evening because I was just having one of those days, when I don’t eat, lie in bed and cry all the time. Like you tried with all the pills in the world, I too try with books, shares, music, smoking ( yup that’s back) endless binging on videos of gay couples just being so crazily in love with each other (don’t know why but that calms me down..still in love with…..love) but I don’t know how long it will work.

My assessment stated- my state is deteriorating! Sometimes, I wonder. Maybe its not…maybe I’m just too painfully aware of myself, every single thought and feeling gets exaggerated because of fear. Maybe because I saw you, I’m more conscious or I’m slowly tumbling down the road, each freaking psychological assessment, astrological chart, boyfriend or doctor predicted. Who knows? But I ain’t going down without a fight, that’s for sure. On days when I can’t, I remember you biting, clawing, abusing three to four people, trying to hold you down in a hospital room and think ha! I came out of that four feet, seven inches tall, fierceness. I can’t give up! Who would have thought, something that embarrassed me so much, would become inspirational and help me through my struggles?

Your husband misses you, more with each passing day. The initial partying, ‘ I’m going to remarry, yeah!’and euphoria, to deal with your loss has worn off. Thank God! I was so freaking pissed, I’m telling you, it took every fibre in my being to control not breaking every single thing in this house! Especially the first two months. But I understand, a little now. Forgive, I don’t know but I’m trying. It’s hard because I was grieving and it looked like for everybody else, the best thing had just happened. I’m a judgemental shit, though. I look at him, now and I realize, everybody copes with loss differently and denial is as good as wrath! Now, when I look back, I think I behaved exactly like him after Dustu passed. I immediately went back to work, I had an exhibition after a little more than a month. I travelled like crazy and in fact, one of Dustu’s girlfriend’s commented-‘it looks like a party!’ So, what a freaking hypocrite one is, to get mad! God knows what’s going on in his heart and head? Things are never what they seem and I’m sure they’re tougher than he shows. You loved him so much and that’s truly the worst addiction. I think it’s easier to get over someone you love more because that’s all you, a person can snap out it whenever they really want but when you get used to being looked at like you’re the centre of someone’s life, if their eyes light up when they see you and they worry about you all the time, it plays on your narcissism! That’s not easy to live, without! It’s dawning on him l think, that no one will love him like you did, with all his flaws and weaknesses. That’s tough, he struggles with that. You don’t visit me in my dreams, you should meet him in his. Poor Dad, misses being loved by you!

Morality

Covid may have put a damper on socialising but its been my much needed break from society, at large. Am I ready to be integrated? Hell no! Hm, one was always on the fringes, in any case. Unfortunately, the mind may be stabilising ( I think) but the body is erratic. Diastolic levels have been up for almost a month now, so they suggest I should go about relaxing and meeting people, of course sleeping and loosing weight as well but let’s just put that on the back burner, for now.

Spent yesterday, gallivanting through the different sectors of Gurugram, catching up with the people I hardly get to meet. I don’t know how relaxing human interactions are for me though they’re entertaining, once is a while. Especially when one is looking for an answer.

For the past two years, as I’ve taken a fine tooth comb and ran it through my existence, many a buried feelings have resurfaced and they make it difficult for me to sometimes even breathe. In one moment flashes of burnt clothes, then a heartbreak here and there, occasionally love… death constantly looms in the background and suddenly appears like a flash card, moving at the speed of light. Highly dramatic, I must say…interesting to experience this level of a loss of control, where the hands quiver and you’re anxious to the point of uselessness. Interesting as long as it doesn’t become the death of me. Heart attack ain’t the way I intend leaving…sinking or swimming? I have no clue, this is a different roller coaster ride.

Anyhow, to keep one relatively sane, when one gets overwhelmed with all of the intrinsic unravelling, then there are extrinsic questions that one looks up, to distract oneself with. For example, why are women so terrible to each other? The psychological view turns out to be much more interesting than the sociological one. Which is- men and women both are equally aggressive. We are by no means more peaceful. Men as we all know are physically more aggressive, which makes it far more obvious. The experts say, that all this gossiping , backbiting , gathering of support and what do they call it, damaging of reputations is actually our genders way of expressing that aggression towards one another. So it truly ain’t no different than two men brawling in the street, this is just much more tactful. Makes sense. Now, one knows why one appears overly confrontational to most people, especially women because we’ve been taught to tango around issues, not catch them by the horns and ask what the fuck? Oh, plus, good girls don’t say fuck off, they make calls, to people to plead their case. So, claims JP but apparently Jp and I can sometimes seem a bit misogynistic.

The other view, which is from a sociology 101, textbook is worth a read, as well. The understanding of why women, agree with the patriarchal values that run through their ecosystems. I kept wondering why literally every woman I know, was so against the stand that I took, which was, ‘ No I will not give up my right over my mum’s share because she did not want that and you can’t force me because I don’t have a penis!’ Some day, when I’ll be a kick ass woman, it may sound like a good story but it was hell to go through! For this reason, till date I have to listen to, ‘ she is eloping…she’s sold of her mum’s jewellery and given it to some man ( try taking something from me, then you’ll figure out, just how easy that is) ..she’s doing this that and the other…her father is starving’ lah, lah and blah, blah, blah. Trust me, many a times, I have looked at the roof and gone, ‘ oh! God please save me from these women!’ to which the reply has been, ‘suck it up, that’s what you pay for your privileges!’

But the 11th standard textbook has a better answer. The experts say, this is the only option that seems available to most because women are afraid of exactly this, that one was put through- Breaking of societal/ familial ties, seeming overly aggressive, being accused of being greedy and even loosing face infront of their husbands and in laws ( thankfully, one didn’t have to worry about that). So, apparently all women harbour resentment against being treated unfairly or unequally, yet they feel as if the only way to maintain kinship, is by agreeing and perpetuating the system that fails them. Thank the Lord, youngsters are being exposed to texts like this.

The other thing that’s being gnawing at me, is this middle class morality! The answer to which has been perfectly laid out to me by my male friends. At almost forty three now, one’s love life has always been under the microscope, since it’s more eventful than society permits women to have. But in my head, I could always do whatever I wanted and one came from a household where everyone was very open. So, sex seemed just what it is- a biological need. No fuss, no fancying it up and making it sacred. Henceforth, one is always bewildered by women’s curiosity about who is entering and what is coming out of another woman’s body. Men seem to be so much clearer about this. Love is- what you feel for someone. Sex is a biological need and marriage is a social contract. They don’t seem to intertwine all of it unnecessarily. I know people who love someone, so much that they can’t get their minds off those people yet they don’t marry them or meddle or mess with the other person’s life. I know men who have sex outside marriage and there is absolutely zilch love involved in that process and I know many a men and women who have sacrificed love for societal acceptance-marriage to a spouse who will be accepted by the family.

I know one thinks like a man and definitely acts like one but one always wonders how did a gender, that can bear children and period cramps, that is glorious, beautiful, destructive and vindictive beyond measure, how does society still manage to retain ownership of its mind, its vagina and its freedom? Sorry, mine ain’t up for grabs!

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!

Piece of my heart

Dear Love,

Years pass by…everything changes but nothing really does. Though, each time I find you slipping away from my memory, I touch my chin and there you are, going ‘chi chi’ as if I’m a toddler needing to be amused.

I hardly pass by the cremation ground these days. …I’m not supposed to (docs orders, to let all four of you go). You of course are the hardest to stop clinging to, of all those who occupy my heart. The one person I loved without the fear of loosing, who looked at me as if I was the queen of it all, my confidant and most importantly the bridge between me and the rest of the world. How well you navigated through this world- calmly and always detached from the drama around us! ‘Why do you care? Just stop reacting. Iss jungli suar ke gusse ko control kar!’ By the way calling someone a wild boar, is highly disrespectful! You would be amazed at the way I would spiral out of control and I was confused by your ability to sleep through it all.

I miss you more than usual these days. When I’m sad I want to see you pretty face but when I’m saner or happier, I want to see it more. The shrink said to me the other day, ‘ you’re making progress…you want to bring someone to meet me, so we can plan, the days when you struggle?’ ‘ The only person who would have understood is dead and the rest are trying to convince me this is bullshit. So no thanks!’ Remember the last year of your life, you got help from M. We were both a little frailer than most, I guess.

I was sitting in a cafe, in Kashmir a few weeks ago. As I looked out of the window at the Dal, sipping my coffee in this quaint place, I recalled how your friend SG, would pull your leg. ‘Diya at forty will be reading a book and sipping coffee by herself in Ladakh and Dusty will call her, ‘ Diyu my kids are troubling me, come and scold them!’ and she’ll rush back!’ Forty two love, all alone, sipping coffee by herself but you’re not there to fight for. These day, one fights for oneself though. It took them a while to figure out, this one is programmed a little different. ‘ This is bad for your mental well being. Do it so you can sleep well…do it for this that and the other.’ Then they said ‘babies’ and I said bring it on. I wish I could make a few like you but considering my luck and our genes, I shouldn’t take that chance. Imagine, if they turn out to be like me, freaking horror show…no…no..no!

Over lunch a couple of weeks ago, a friend was talking about how men are and I said the men in our house weren’t dominating. ‘ Maybe your brother was a little docile because you’re like this. He must have been giving you space to be yourself!’, I guess, he was trying to make sense of my aggression. ‘ I wasn’t always like this!’ is all I could say. You weren’t there to tell him how I was or how we were as kids, growing up the way we did. Totally different and yet connected, almost completing one another. You -more in touch with your feminine side, mostly in the company of women, peaceful, practical and level headed. Me-with my high testosterone levels, in love with high speeds, chase and drama, perpetually getting into trouble with the parents, hating the whole world and it’s mother other than you (and whichever man I was involved with at the time). Now, when I look back, not only was I fiercely protective but almost territorial about you. Sometimes, I wonder, is loosing you to death more painful or would loosing you to life have been more difficult for me?

Myths Regarding Mental Health

youtube.com/watch

Though we have someone like Deepika Padukone, trying to create awareness about mental health, the stigma around it is terrible. I saw an interview where she admitted, ‘ I was on set, working and no one knew what was going on!’ I’ve had people, try to convince a person (me) who has innumerable cut marks on the body, whose stomach has been pumped for overdosing on pills twice before she even hit eighteen and who goes days at a time, not getting out of bed and still struggles with masochistic tendencies that ‘psychologists’ are just trying to swindle my money and that’s how the ‘spiritually inclined take advantage of weak people such as myself’ and ‘other people have bigger problems but they don’t succumb’. Oh yeah, this is a classic, ‘ if you remain busy, you won’t have the time to think negative thoughts’ and ‘this is what happens when you’re an atheist!’. Please watch this. Don’t send it to the ignorant souls surrounding you because your well being is probably not on their mind. But do seek help.

After struggling for decades with my condition, mostly denying it in order to remain ‘sane’, it’s only now that I realize, accepting is the best way to deal with it. One’s benefitted a great deal from therapy over the past six months…the only reason I don’t write about it or share anything about it anymore is due to the terrible push back, scrutiny and criticism, my seeking help has gotten me from ( most of my) friends and family, who read about it on this platform. I hope you have support and even if you don’t there are loads of strangers out there who will help you…as long as you’re willing to help yourself. Godspeed.

Love

So one’s been cooped in my office in the factory since Saturday. Sick as a dog…the test results were negative but sick nevertheless, with fever, a headache and a soar throat. Started shivering during the night shift and didn’t go home. Since one is the only person I know off, whose only taken a single shot, I’m told one needs to be extra careful. Of course, these days one always keeps medicines around, so recovering steadily.

Like the way, one is perpetually turned on since one’s hit forty ( hormones I guess), same way one seems to be perpetually high on the idea of love these days. Mere dimaag mein jo blockbuster film chalti he na, Sallu bhai’s 300 crore film would look like a SatyaJit Ray in comparison. Why do you think I’m so bored by the rest of the world? I’m like, not enough drama…go away dude. I’ll entertain myself! Just kidding. Come on man, bear with me. I could wake up a few people I know at half one and go, ‘what’s upppp?’ but I should start growing up a little. Teeny, tiny bit, let’s not overshoot.

Kahan the hum? Hai ishq! Kashmir ki jab bhi hava lagti he, my mind starts floating on cloud nine, not that it ever walks on the surface of this earth…in the realm of reality. But somehow it stays in lah lah land longer. Then Satte pe satta plays on the tele and Ali Bachchan is serenading Hema Malini with ‘Dilbar mere!’ and all the teenage romantic cells in my body get charged. Hai, I always want to be him in the film, i’ve never imagined myself as the babe whose being serenaded. What is this bakvas crap, women are told, ‘ be with someone who loves you more than you love him!’ Wow, so that when they stop loving you, everything is over? Be with someone you love more, then most of how it shapes up is your decision. My mum loved my Dad more than he could have ever loved her, someday, my babies will say, ‘ mum got on a tempo and got dad! Not the other way around!’ The way I tell people, ‘my mum made my father elope…she was all of four feet six inches but she was the alpha.’

So much for inna, meena, deeka, alpha, beta, theta…I’m not drunk! Sick and a little homesick, I guess….I miss Kashmir….always but a little more tonight….