Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas 2015

Red and green brighten the path
Bows and wreaths all around
Christmas trees, cakes, candles and lights, I see
Yet, all I grasp is the black!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Last day of the first semester!

I have 15 more minutes before I walk into the room with the long table in the clinic. I will give my last exam for the first semester today, in 15 minutes. The paper is assessment. I would have to write write report for three measures used to assess children  for IQ, anxiety/depression and learning disorders. I am prepared. But I do not know how I will do. Its not the nervousness of the exam. It is just how life is at present. Last day of classes and a month break. All would have to do the next couple of days would be to proctor an exam and grade some exams. There are weeks to de-stress for the last 4 months after that. Yet, I am the least cheerful in the room. Is it a co-incidence or this is how supposed to be? Nevertheless, pretty proud of myself for getting here. The waters were pretty rough, but I swam for my life.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Caffreys after a long day!

I had a very hectic day. Today is Nov 2nd,  Monday... Drove back in real bad traffic, terrified I was late for the test at 2pm. Got here at 1.50pm and ran to the department hoping I will have time to get the print out for the open book test and grab a quick bite before I get to the test. I ran around frantically, printing out and hearing my food. Finally when I got to class, no one was there. After a couple of minutes, I was almost sure that the test was in another room and as usual I missed that part of the conversation with the professor. So runs out of the class to he graduate office to see where everyone is... On the way, stopping to look at the clinic clock... Oh yeah... It says 12.59... WHAT???? Yes, the time changed today and I was aware of it although I had forgotten that my car clock had the old time... So??? Unnecessary anxiety was the only result..! I had an hour more before the test which I spent doing random things including a quick meeting with Tony... Test seemed alright. Later, I had a lot to read which I did, went over the assessment stuff and finally went to Walgreens for a quick shopping before I picked stuff from my car parked in the garage. Had left some clothes in there when I thought there was no time to drop them in my room before the test... So now I'm at Caffreys... Ending a very stressful 14 hour day... I needed a drink. Caffreys doesn't have Margarita today... What? Really? Well, the $3.00 Long Island is no close second... But I can deal with it today. I just needed something to relax and I think I'm relaxed now. All part of self care as suggested by Angela. Not going to study anything more today!!! Stats and assessment class tomorrow. Going to be a loong day. Am I prepared? May be yes.... May be No..! But I'm here and as stressful as it is, someday I will be proud of me and Vygu will be proud of me... Or so I hope! And all this will be worth it! Good night me... Be proud! You work soo hard...! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What should one do?

How much shall one edure, 
before pain becomes a way of life? 
What does one need, if pain is the 
sole drill to sustain? 
How shall one survive, if 
hurt nourishes the vitals? 
What should one do, if there is 
no alley towards that hope? 
When will one know, if the trail
isn't the one they desired?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I am the bee!

I am the bee, I am the bee.
I have to be at my m├ętier.
If you get to me, come close to me,
...
I have to be, oh just a bee.
I have to sting, You, my invader,
you feel the prick, I die in pain.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Lost at the station

The last time I knew I was sleeping tight, but then woke up from this dream which although wasn't a nightmare, still got my heart beat up. To speak in scientific reasoning ( for no reason and just to show off), I knew my heart rate variability was going down, which is technically a sign of stress. After a few minutes of resisting having to wake up, I open my eyes just to see that it is still a long time to sunrise. It is dark outside and the time is 4.30am. I could go back to sleep, read some of the chapters I have to finish, send some emails long pending, well, do so many things. Instead I decide to jot down my dream into my blog. Hmmm! I wonder why though. Well, works anyway. My blog needs some updating. 


Tuk tuk tuk tuk, tuk tuk tuk tuk
I stay composed as my fretful heart pounds
The little one shouldn't see,
The little one shouldn't know
The antsy perturbed me
Where are they? Where are all?
Trains to the left, trains to the right
I hold her little hand tight.

Tuk tuk tuk tuk, tuk tuk tuk tuk
I stay composed as my fretful heart pounds
Get into the train to see places unseen
Says the train conductor,
I want to go home I mumble
The next train will take me home, he promises
But where are they, where are all?

Tuk tuk tuk tuk, tuk tuk tuk tuk
I stay composed as my fretful heart pounds,
There they are, the oldest one in white I see,
Traipse towards me, her hands held 
Taut to the one beside her
They will get to me soon and 
The trains will take me home. 
Tuk tik tuk tik tuk tik tuk tik. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

This and that!

There is always a lot to write. So many short stories, yet to be put down, several daily dairies, some random tics, the list is long. I just am not sure if I can handle all the emotions that comes with it. So leaving it all for some time later which probably (and hopefully not) mean NEVER. 

Anyway, yesterday, 8/24/2015, August 24th 2015 was my first official day at Marquette and it went smoothly. Surprisingly sleeping alone in a room didn't give me nightmares and after I cleaned my bed and before I went to bed, I watched the movie, Manglish. Writing this down so that I don't forget my first day of grad school. 

Good luck to me... As nervous as I am, I hope I survive this unharmed. 

At Marquette

I thought I would wake up,
from a deep long sleep 
and it will all be gone, 
like a sweet night dream.
It is tangible to my senses now
It's here and it's near.
Is this a new beginning,
or beginning of an end,
or any other day?
I'm yet to know, 
I just know, It's real, it's  real!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Who is my God?

So, who is God? Is it the protector Vishnu or the preacher Messiah or the amorphous Allah???  Well, not a very interesting topic I know. There has been several discussions and debates on this over and over again. Being so opinionated myself I had to give in my opinion. 

Like many of you, I have wondered over the years as to what is God's role in my life. My religious and spiritual upbringing promised me that God will fulfil my wishes if I pray devoutly and make offerings ( not necessarily money).  So that's what I did, for years. I prayed, to succeed in an exam, not to miss the bus to school, to punish the mean teacher at school who spanked me, for the cute guy at school to give me a smile... Well, the list just goes on. Some of them worked and some didn't. For anyone wondering, the cute guy in school didn't even know of my existence, eerrrrr!!!!. But nothing shook my ardent religious believes.

When I moved to a hostel for my college, I had a lot of Christian friends who would hold their hands together and pray feverishly. They talked like they could hear Him and see Him and He would do whatever they righteously ask for. I was fascinated. This was a time when I pondered as to why Hinduism (as I knew) wasn't as forgiving as Christianity. There was only one Christian God and Christians didn't have to fear about Hanuman swami being mad at them because they didn't offer him a coconut, but only to the Ganpathy beside him. But as much as I didn't understand the logics of any religion well, I believed all God's are powerful and would help me. So during exams, I would also go the church near my hostel. Well, You never know where you get help from right? Thinking about it now, my attitude of that time reminds me of Salim Kumar's  dialogue from Superman movie, "Eni engaanum biriyani kodukkunnundenkilo"!Ahem Ahem! Now you should remember, for someone who doesn't even have study materials almost 3-4 days before the exam ( Yeah, girls go through those exam situations too), it really doesn't matter if the help comes from Meenakshi or Mother Mary or Messiah or Mecca. When I did pretty well in the exams considering the amount of effort put in, I marveled God even more, all of them. I am one of the very few who have chanted Hanuman Chalisa more than 100 times in a go, more than once. God would just do anything for me if I prayed, or so I believed.

I had several instances in life where things would seem to go extremely bad, but in the twist of events, end in my favor. At this point I was sure that God is doing this to me on purpose. Give me a tough time so that my victories will be sweeter. A lot of troubles didn't even bother me when I started believing it. But then came a time in life when I felt like God wasn't hearing me anymore, in spite of anything I did. I started to think that no matter what I pray, God will only give me what is thought to be best for me and not what I want. What is the point of praying then? So while I held on to my beliefs in God, I stopped praying, at least for getting something in return. Going to temples did not feel like a spiritual experience  anymore. But still at times when something went wrong, my immediate innate response would be to say "eeswara" (Oh God!) in my mind. 

So, is god Hindu or Christian or Muslim? May be Buddist?  What does God look like? Should I be scared if I do not pray everyday? The questions have lingered in my mind for too long and I have finally found the answers that make the most sense to me. 

God is our "belief". God is Ganapathy, Shiva, Devi, Parvathy, Krishna, Jesus, Mother Mary, Allah, Luck, Karma, Destiny, Fate, the family, the neighbor, the garbage man or whatever it is that one believes in. God is Hope. The hope that someone or something is there is keep us safe and secure all the time. God cannot cure our diseases, or wipe away our enemies or make our exams easier, but can fight all these battles with us without ever giving up on us. God is any of that, something or someone, living or imaginary that does not judge us when we make a mistake, that does not punish us for our secrets, that does not hate us for our misdeeds. That which stays perfect when we are imperfect. We need not look for God. We just live a life, try to do what we think is right, (of course killing someone isn't) and BELIEVE. Belief is God! Believing in ourselves and believing that everything will turn out fine. As for religion, it is man made. For all I know, I can make one tomorrow. Ok, Now I wonder what I will name it if I have a religion of my own. Although pretty narcissistic, may be I will tag it with my family name, "Mulangadism",  sounds fancier than Lalism at least. 


PS: This is what I believe now. God knows how my beliefs might change later! ;).

Monday, June 8, 2015

A blessing



She is blessed from heavens to save the world
She will wave her magic wand,She will touch your tainted arms
Your miseries will efface, your soul will be virtuous
your heart and brain so unperturbed.

She purges them all for 1000 days, the murderers, the rapists and them all
She comes to me on 1001., "Bless me", I beseech, "shrive my heart"
She gazes at me, with compassion in her soul and fear in her eyes
she chants a silent prayer, she hurls her magic wand
She vanishes,touched by me, leaving me untouched, !

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mistress of Life

Revathy looked at her watch again. It is 7.50pm.  The bus leaves in 10 minutes. "Where is he"?, she thought. She could vaguely see the taxi she came in, waiting at the red light in the intersection far away. The taxi driver Baby was the family's virtuous chauffeur for around 10 years, before Revathy's father loaned him money to buy a car for himself. Revathy has always been amused by the name "Baby" for a 6 foot 2 inch muscular man whose long face and bald hair resembled anything, but a baby. She had asked him once, around 20 years ago, about how he got this name. He did not know. He thought his grandmother named him Baby, but wasn't sure. "My official name is Srinivas, But everyone has called me Baby since I can remember" he had said.

Far away, she sees the red light turn to green and then red again. Many passengers have already boarded the bus. A young couple gets out of an auto and rushes to leave the baggage in the luggage area. Revathy gazed at her watch again. 7.55pm. She is becoming more fretful with every passing second and is startled by the bus driver's petulant voice. "Chechi, I am asking you for the third time, please get in and take your seat." Revathy is in her late sixties. She liked that the twenty something driver boy called her chechi and not Ammumma or Amma. It often made her feel fragile when someone called her Ammumma. "A few grey hair and you are inevitably bestowed the title of  grandmother of the entire neighborhood"!, How unfair!, she thought. She curbed her urge to respond to him and boarded the bus. She puts on her glasses to read the seat numbers. She had checked her ticket several times while she waited impatiently outside. She knows that their seat numbers are 13 and 14. She paces quickly, feeling conscious that she might block way for someone behind her. Revathy's feeling of relief to see the number 13 and 14th towards the 4th or 5th row of seats immediately turns skittish when she remembers how unlucky the number 13 is. She rushes to the window seat, restive and peeks out of the window, antsy. He isn't seen anywhere. The couple who just reached are the only ones outside the bus. The helper boy accommodates their rather large baggage into the luggage area. She is relieved to see that they have some more baggage to rearrange and hope it takes longer.

"Revu", she hears the familiar voice beside her and takes a deep sigh of relief before she turns her head, with no effort to veil her indignation. Without giving him a chance to speak, she pounces at him. "Where were you? Do you have any idea how worried I was? What if the bus had left without you?  Sukumar smiles and patiently takes seat number 13. Sukumar knew Revathy well enough to know that she wasn't just angry about him being late. She has been on an emotional turmoil lately and he knows he is culpable for it. Sukumar looked exceedingly handsome for a man in his early seventies. Clad in a white Polo T-shirt and Louis Vuitton blue jeans, his age is concealed efficiently than his fondness for big brands.

He pulls out an orange from the white bag he was carrying and holds it towards her. "I could not find oranges anywhere near. Had to walk through several different stores. May be if you liked apples, I would not have had to walk so much."He said smiling.

Revathy immediately feels a sense of guilt. She wished she had liked apples so that he wouldn't have had to walk so much. But refusing to divulge her feelings, she said, "Apples have no flavor. Do you know that if we lose our sense of smell, apples and potatoes would taste the same, and the saying that, An apple a day keeps the doctor away, its a myth". She then looks outside the window, but unable to bear her sense of guilt, turns around to apologize. But when she sees Suku enjoying the carefully peeled orange, unsympathetic of the old woman next to him, decides against it. The bus slowly starts to move. The driver turns the lights off in the bus, the only dim light comes from the TV which is now turned on, but the screen is just plain blue. Several passengers in the bus have already started to sleep,  some are reading books in the dim light while others broke ice with the stranger beside them. 

"We will reach Bangalore around 7 am in the morning, Suku said. 
"Oh no!, I forgot my BP medication" came Revathy's response.
Sukumar with concern in his eyes said, "You are so forgetful! You have to take better care of yourself Revu. They will take a rest room break somewhere on the way, I will go buy it".  

"No! No!" Revathy said, " You will take long and I will then be worried till you return. I will have it in the morning after we reach Bangalore".

Sukumar just sighed and did not resist. He then said, " Medicines aren't good for you anyway. They make you sick. That's why I don't take any. But you Revu, please take better care of yourself". 

"You are just lucky you don't have to take any medicines" Revathy said trying to provoke him. 
But Sukumar ignores the comment.

The young couple who had arrived late for the bus had taken seats right behind Suku and Revu. They try to pretend, not to hear the couple chortle and mumble behind them.

A movie starts playing on the TV which gets Revathy excited. "Chupke Chupke!", she says the old Hindi movie. "I haven't seen it. The movie released sometime around the time we were in college. I have always wanted to watch it". Revu sounded like her seventeen year old self, Suku thinks, around the time he had first met her in college. "Amitabh Bachan!", Revu goes on. "The angry young man, he is still as handsome as he was all those years ago. His son didn't inherit those looks. What is that boy's name Suku?"

"Abhishek Bachan!" he replies,  "Well, the most beautiful woman in the world does not seem to think so. Apparently Aiswarya Rai thinks he is very handsome".

"Come on Suku", says Revathy, "she has had several flings and she just hung on to the most reliable one. Now that doesn't make him handsome. I dont even think she is that beautiful. She was not even Miss Universe. It was that other girl, you know... Sushmita Singh!"

 Sukumar does not laugh at her gaffe. He simply corrects her. "It is Susmita Sen Revu".

Revu responds red faced, "yeah, bad memory, perks of aging you know".

"We only grow old when we give up on life. It can be in our thirties or in nineties. I don't think either of us have started aging yet. We would not be together, here today if we had". Revu unsure of whether to agree or disagree, just stares at him. She remembers how much she loves listening to him speak. She always felt like a little girl when he talked to her like this. She quietly admired his articulate preachings, even when she disagreed with him.

♪♫Chupke Chupke Chal Ri Purwaiya.... Chupke Chupke Chal Ri Purwaiya..♫♪, The song grasps Revathy's attention back to the TV. "This song brings back a lot of old memories" she says. I can never forget you and your friends bullying me on the first day of class."

Suku introspects shortly before he says "The golden era of life. Kids these days will never understand the joy of life without electronic invasion."

Revathy asks, "Suku, Do you wonder how different life would have turned out, if we knew back then, that everything we thought we knew about life was fictitious".

"I don't know Revu. I don't think like that. But I know those days are not coming back. We will have to make the most of what we have now.", replies Sukumar. "Do you remember  Professor Krishna Shayle, from chemistry."

"Ofcourse, I do! He was my Acha's lookout for me. He called Acha and warned him about us, remember. It took a lot of lying and convincing before I was allowed back to go to college. I promised him there was nothing to worry. Actually I cheated him, I betrayed his trust, you know" She sounds apologetic as she speaks.

♪♫Pagal pavan se, kaise koi bole...Gori ke mukh se, ghunghata na khole♪♫, the song continues

They drift back to their college days, Again. This time, together. 

"Christ University", the big black sign outside the university read. A small, private university with just 3 buildings managed by the priests of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), the first indigenous Syrian Catholic religious congregation in India. A chilly June morning of 1972 was a 17 year old  Revathy's first day in Bangalore. Her father had just found a new job in BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited), Bangalore. This June held a lot of firsts for Revathy --first time away from grandparents, first time she travelled on a train, first time she saw a girl in jeans, first time in a college and the very first time she saw Sukumar, but the last time she would fall in love.

Sukumar and Revathy were two of the only 5 Keralites in the university. Sukumar was in Revathy's class of B.Sc in Chemistry. But Sukumar did not look like the other seventeen year old boys in the class. He definitely looked older and he was. He had already tried out two years in Zoology classes, 6 months of Economics and with the subjects failing to garner his interest, has now started Chemistry. He was like the big brother in the university. Everyone knew him and those who did not know him, knew someone who knew him. Sukumar was known to work his charm among the girls too.

On his first day in Chemistry class, the short girl with dark, smooth hair, had caught his attention, but he never tried to talk to her. He just watched her sitting in the middle row, unable to understand a word of Kannada her teachers or classmates spoke. He knew she could come to him. Someone would ultimately tell her about the only other one in the class who can help her in her misery. " I will be the saviour she would turn to", he had thought. 2 weeks he had waited and she never came to him, not even a smile. Without speaking a word of this new language, Revathy had already made several friends. They would laugh to her jokes and she would bring them her Amma's Upperi from home. Finally on June 22nd, she came to class with a handful of cadbury chocolates. She handed them to all her classmates. "Happy Birthday" he said and she smiled. She doesn't know when and how she fell in love for the guy who her classmates had warned her against. Sukumar felt like Revathy traded a piece of his heart for the cadbury she gave him. After the first year his classmates were sure that Sukumar stayed in the chemistry class for no love of Chemistry, but for Revathy.

Sukumar and Revathy never spoke of their love, for almost 3 years. Her heart skipped a beat, when he looked at her, when he mildly brushed against her when they walked through the corridors, when he called her Revu, or just asked her to be careful when she walked back home.
Sukumar did not know what was it about her. He just felt very different than he had ever felt before and he thought he had been in love before. "What is with this girl"? he often asked himself. But they never spoke of it.

Revathy's unforgettable day of them together was this one day at the college canteen. It was Suku's birthday, He got hot chai and kesari for all his friends.

My chai tastes horrible Suku kept complaining.

"Revu could you try this and see if it is just me?" he had asked

Revu took a sip from a perfectly sweet tasting chai. "Whats up with you? There is nothing wrong with this chai. It is sweet", feeling perfect authority to reprimand him for being unreasonable.

Suku looking amused, takes the cup back from her and takes a sip. "Oh, its so sweet now - the touch of your lips I guess, that is what it lacked."

Revu blushed till her cheeks turned blood red. As silly as it sounds to her at this age, she still cherishes that day and  remembers the day like it was yesterday. This reminiscence never failed to brighten her up.

It was the little things about him that she loved -- the way he looked at her, his eyes so small and yet so idyllic, she sank in his gaze, his words so effortless and yet so invigorating, she could listen to him all day, his hands so sinewy and his touch gentle, she could be her guileless, genuine self. A glimpse of him and her breath leaped , her kness tickled and her chest heaved. She felt like a rapacious witch when she saw Suku with another girl, jealous and envious. But she could not tell him of her love. She loved him too much to lose him by being one among his several flings,  her father would not approve of his frivolous life style, he does not love her, not decorous for a girl to make the first move, she had just too many reasons to hush her love.

A hump on the road caused a sudden jerk in the bus, yanking them back to the dimness of the A/C Volvo bus. Revathy pulled the lever next to the handle and the leg rest swayed up. Revathy struggled to bend down and take her sandals off her feet. No matter what Suku says or how much she denies it, her body has started to resonate her age, she thinks.

The movie is still playing in the small TV perfectly placed on the top center of the bus from where it is visible to even passengers in the back seat. Revathy watches the TV screen as a handsome Amitabh Bachchan as Professor Sinha tries to boo the endearing Vasudha played by Jaya Bhaduri. Revathy is caught unguarded by the scene where Professor Sinha asks Vasudha to taste to cup of tea for sweetness. Vasudha tries the tea finding it perfectly sweet and returns it to Professor Sinha who too now finds the tea, touched by Vasudha's lips, excessively saccharine. A staggered Revathy stares at the screen bewildered. Suku turns to her, embarrassed, perfectly conscious of the reason behind Revu's astonished look. She had told him innumerable times, how glorious she had felt that day.

"Sukuuu????!!!!"Revu calls in utter amusement.

"I have never seen this movie before", Suku retorts. "I have no clue how they got it", Did you tell someone Revu? I am sure you did." Suku smirks sheepishly. Don't you know all these scriptwriters are looking for real life instances, especially all Amitabh Bachchan movies are replicates of real life or English movies"?

"I have not told anyone", Revu snaps and yet she deliberates in her mind if he could be right. Could the scene be based on her real life? Could Amitabh Bachchan have heard of it from any of her friends or someone at the canteen that day? Suddenly realizing how dense those ideas were, she turns to Sukumar and says, "I can't believe I was so half-baked to fall for your filmy dialogues. Has anything you ever told me come from your heart and not a movie"?

" What do you think, Revu"? Sukumar asks looking her right in her eyes.  His tiny eyes, still so alluring, wipes off all her suppositions.

While they continue talking about college, old friends and family, Revathy can sense every passing minute. "Time is moving unusually fast today" she says and he nods in agreement.

The helper boy in the bus appeared from behind the white curtain that separated the passengers seats from the driver area. "We are going to stop in a restaurant for half an hour he said. You can have food and use the restrooms", he said sounding uninterested, as he did every night when he repeated this same sentence.

Suku feels sympathy for the boy's mundane life. The same bus, the same itinerary, the same restaurant and many sleepy passengers, not one caring to thank him when he helps them with their luggage.
Revu meanwhile ponders over how she wishes her life was like the helper boy's. He gets to travel a lot and meet new people every day.

"We will have food and also look for the BP medication." Suku said
Revu although delighted that he remembered about the medicine convinces him that it was unnecessary.

The place can hardly be called a restaurant. A small building crowded with passengers, in the deep corner of big ground with buses lined like match sticks in a box. Some of them looked more sophisticated than the others.

"The owner of this place must be paying a lot of cash in commission to all these bus drivers. Look at this place, it is flooded with passengers." Suku said as he sipped through his sugar free coffee".

Revu did not hear him. She was lost in her own thoughts. Suku decides not to bother her. He knows what she is thinking of. It has gone through his own mind several time. He looks at his watch again. 11.45pm.
 "We will reach in almost 7 hours" he says a little later.
"I know", She says and after a pause, " I will go use the restroom."
"It is to your right from that blue door"
"I know. I can read signs"! She sounds hostile.

Suku takes a deep sigh and watches her she disappears behind the blue door. He does not hear his phone ring in the rambunctious room, but feels the vibration in his pocket. Ashok calling, the screen read.

"Hello Achu", Suku greets
"Acha, Where are you, I have been trying you for a long time. Message said out of coverage", Ashok asks warmly
"I was in Cochin. On the way back to Bangalore now. The bus just stopped for dinner, I might lose connection again, once I board back the bus."
"How is Amma?" Achu asked
Suku looks towards the blue door as he speaks "She is not with me right now. I will call you once I reach Bangalore and you can talk to her"
"Ok Acha. I will call tomorrow morning. I am leaving for office now. The Chicago weather is getting warmer, so I might go out with friends in the evening. Tell Amma not to worry if I don't call until late".
"You know how your mother is. I will tell her." You take care Achu. Bye!
"Bye Acha" comes the reply and the call is disconnected.

As Sukumar and Revathy boarded back the bus, the couple behind them has already cuddled under a single blanket. They move a little away from each other as they see the old couple coming towards the seat, a respectful gesture.

As they occupy the seats, Sukumar says, "These kids think we don't discern love and intimacy. I should probably go tell them our story. I want to see their reaction when they hear it"

"You are silly, leave them alone. They must be newly married or first time in love" Revu blushes as she speaks.

Sukumar is delighted to see Revathy smiling again.

"Do you remember our final year college excursion?" Revu asked unexpectedly.

"Ofcourse I do! Without that trip, I probably would have never known that you love me. I always thought that you never cared for me you know,  that I was not your types like the kids say these days." he laughed wholeheartedly and she joined.

"Well, I thought the same of you. You always had a bunch of "Gopikas" around you." She blurted out.

"What can I say, I had my looks back in the days-. All these girls were after me. I was too busy trying to impress you that I never paid attention to any of them. Actually I should have right?  I wonder where is that girl Vijaya now. She did have a thing for me" Sukumar explains.

" Well you have carried your looks pretty well to your seventies, no doubt!, but I have seen you flirt with all those girls." and yeah, your Vijaya, she is dead. Heart attack, 5 years ago. I thought you knew. " She says without remorse.

"Oh heart attack, I knew I had broken a piece of her heart when I rejected her love. She would be alive today if I had married her."He replies equally unremorseful.

They both  laughed again. The movie had finished on the overhead TV and old Hindi songs started playing.  "♪♫Khilte Hein Gul Yahaan, Milthe Hein Dil Yahaan♪♫".  As they looked into other's eyes their memories hitched a free ride back into the days...

Department of Chemistry, Christ College- Batch of 1972-1975, the banner on the bus read.

It was around 2.30pm and everyone was dozing off after the lunch. Prof Shayle was right in the middle row making sure the boys and the girls weren't getting any closer than it was absolutely necessary.

"This drama has been going on for two years now. Why don't you just tell her that you love her? This whole class know of your love for her. I am sure she is aware of it too and is just waiting for you to tell her." Raghav explained to Sukumar.

"I don't know if she loves me. It will be too embarrassing if she says No. I won't be able to look at her again". Sukumar replied as he bookmarked page number 3 on the book he was reading, The Day of The Jackal, By Frederick Forsyth. Although he had waited 2 years to get a copy of this fiction, he realized his mind was too occupied to read right then.

"What are you,  stupid? She loves you, the whole universe knows that. Now this is your last chance. The classes get over in 3 months and we will all go our own ways. You will never see her again. Think about it". Raghav reminded him.

They reached Ooty around 5pm. Most of them took out their sweaters before they unboarded the bus. Sukumar wore a white full sleeved T shirt and blue jeans. Revathy puts her hand out the window and felt the chill of the slow breeze in her hand. She wrapped the black shawl tightly around her blue salwar. The bus would not get till the Lodge they stay in. They have a five minute walk. There were several small stalls on the road sides, most of them selling flowers. The gust carried with it fragrances of mullapoo (jasmines) and roses. Revathy waited for a few minutes to make sure Suku came out of the bus before she started walking. Shayle had already walked ahead. Unable to bear the cold, he rushed to the lodge.

Revathy had started walking before Suku could join her. She paced slow, hoping Sukumar will catch up. But she did not expect him to halt her like that, dashing in front of her and not letting her move.

"You startled me. Why will you do that?" Revathy pretended to be annoyed.

The other students passed by utilizing this time without Shayle to taunt each other and flirt.

" I want to know, you have been driving me crazy for a long time now." Suku said

Revu was annoyed, this wasn't what she had expected. , " Driving you nuts? What did I do?"

"You don't do anything, that is the problem"

Revu feels confused and starts to walk away. She found Suku's charm fading away in this unexplained pique. But before she could move, he spoke again.

"What are your feelings for me? Do you love me?" He sounded unintentionally commanding, as he spoke, dreading rejection.

Revathy's  feet froze and as always she was bewitched by his infinitesimal eyes. She regained all her prowess, took her eyes off him and walked off.

Sukumar had no idea what it meant. Was she mad? Did she hate him? His ego was on its peak however, and he was determined to know. He had to know.

He stopped her again. But as he looked into her eyes this time, he knew, he knew that for the first time in his life, he had madly fallen in love. He said again, "Revu, I need to know. Do you love me?"His tone was much placid this time.

"You never told me you love me!!!", came the quick response. Revathy didn't realize she spoke those words.

 "Oh God, girl!" Sukumar smiled, his usual smirk, looked around and said. "I love you. In fact I feel like a lunatic. I wake up thinking of you. I go to bed thinking of you. I have a stupid pillow in my room, I call Revu...I mean, not stupid.... a good pillow, like soft and.... fluffy, like a teddy bear.!!!" He paused. "See, I come to class just to see you, to talk to you. I would have given up on this Chemistry class by now if you weren't in this class. I want to make something of myself now. I want to finish my studies, find a job and then come.... talk to.... your parents. I had never thought of life this way. You make me want all that girl, everything I have never wanted before."  "I Love You Revu, a lot!"

Revu just stands there dazed, too shy to look at him and then starts walking again, slowly. Suku holds her hand gently and begs, "Please"!!!

"I want mullappo".

Suku is purplexed, "Huh"!!!

Revu repeats, " I want mullappoo, this time pointing to the woman who has several bunches of flowers in front of her.

"Mullappoo???? No you don't". Suku replies unsure of what else to say.

Revu with timid audacity says, "I love mullappoo and do I have to tell you for you to know that I love you" and walked away. She looks down and smiled gleefully as she moved.

Suku hollers happily from behind, "Wait, I am buying it".

Back in the bus, the driver honks a long one at a biker who passes by him. Revu startled by the honking, looks at her watch. It is 1.23am. She looks at Suku wondering if he is asleep. But he was getting something out of his bag.

"What are you looking for?" she asks

Suku pulls out a small package from his bag. It is wrapped in a white paper and secured with a thread. He hands it over to her and says. " This is really why I was late to board the bus". It was harder to find than I thought."

Revu takes the package from Suku. " A gift for me"? Thats unusual. I am not very used to taking gifts from you." She said trying to mask her enthusiasm under her taunt.

She could smell it already. Infact, the whole bus smelled of mullappoo by now.

They heard the girl behind them remark, "Mullappoo!. Where is this fragrance coming from? " The boy next to her, unconcerned where it is coming from,  hugs her tighter under the blanket as she speaks.

Revathy holds the small strand of flowers in her hand uninterested. Surprised by her lack of zeal, Suku sayss, "I thought you love mullappoo".

Revu looks at Suku and replies, " I loved mullappoo."

Suku feels his heart sink as Revu continues, "I am too old to love flowers now Suku. I will save it in my bag."

Suku grabs the flowers from her hand and slips it in between her hair. "You are not old and definitely not old enough to give up on everything you love. "

Revu gives him a disappointed look and turns her head towards the window. There was nothing to see outside, but darkness.

"Do you know of this grandmother who skydived for her 90th birthday?" That is how we should celebrate life." Suku says

"Do you know she almost died and could have killed the man who jumped with her"? He could feel her rage when she talked. " Life mocks at me Suku, everyday!  It gives me everything... everything I need, except what I want. Then it laughs at me while I make futile attempts to make up for what I want with what I have". 

Suku does not respond. He doesn't even completely understand her perturbance this time. He had thought she would be happy to see the flowers and now feels annoyed at her whining.

Revu sees what is coming next. Suku will do what he does best now, start moralising her, until she feels guilty for everything she has ever said to him. But this time, she isn't sure if she wants to hear it, but before she could say anything, he starts talking.

"You know moments before we die, when we look back at our lives, we will only regret one thing, that we did not live life to the fullest. Have you heard of Professor Randy Pausch?" Suku continues unaware of Revathy's disregard. "He was a professor at Carnagie Mellon at University in Pennsylvania, one of the best in the world. At 45, he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. Instead of brooding over it, he inspired his entire university by talking about how he overcame different obstacles in life to fulfil each of his dreams. He became an advocate for cancer awareness. You have to learn from the lives of these people who leave a permanent foot print in this world before they leave. What do you even complain about? What do you not have? People suffer every day for countless reasons. You think your problems are bigger than everyone else's Revathy. They aren't. You are just less appreciative of what you have right now. It is not all about you Revathy! It has been years, just get over it Goddamnit.!"

His words bounced back and forth in her head, more jarring than she had expected. "Do you know how hard it is to be me? Do you know how it is to live.........."she hesitates and does not finish. What is the point she thinks as she turns her head towards the window again. He will not understand, just like she does not understand anything he says.

Revathy was no stranger to Suku's censures. Although she had expected this, she wondered how he could be so brutal. She often wonders if he does this on purpose. To make her hate him. That would make her life easier. But she knew he didn't.  This was Sukumar, one who cared, but whose ideals transcended his love for her. No matter how hard she tried, she knew she wasn't getting anything more.

The young couple behind them seems to have fallen asleep.

The next time Sukumar looks at his watch, it is 2.00am. He looks at Revathy who is still looking out into the darkness through the window. He cannot see her face, but he knows she is struggling hard to hold back her tears.

"I am sorry Revu" he says. "You know me. I just say things I don't mean. I don't know... I just do that. Just forgive me.... Please!"
Revathy's head drops into Sukumar's chest as she weeps vehemently, heedless of her surroundings. He gently pats on her hair with his left hand, while trying to gather his own emotions. As she fails to curb her tears he says again"I am sorry".  He then looks at her again and ever so gently kisses her on her forehead.

They don't know how long they just held on to each other like that. They haven't spoken a word, but a lot was communicated. Revathy sinks in the cozy comfort of Sukumar's shoulders and holds on tight to his arms. She doesn't know when she dozed off.

She wakes up with the sun shining into her eyes. When she opens her eyes, she sees Sukumar already awake.

"I did not want to wake you up". He says.

"You should have".

"We will reach Madiwala in half an hour".

Revathy looks at her watch unable to believe that she had slept that long. She tries to remember the last time she had an uninterrupted sleep. She hasn't realized that she is still holding Suku's hands and has not let it go for the last five hours.

"Your hair smells of those flowers Revu. I think you will start loving them again", Suku says.

"I told you Suku, it is too late now"

"Madiwala", Someone shouts from behind the curtain. She suddenly feels as if awake from a dream and realizes her right hand is still clasped to his.
Some passengers are already moving towards the door.

Sukumar is surprised they have reached already. He turns to her, "I know I have hurt you. I am sorry"...  He says perfectly aware of the damage he has caused". She knew he meant it.

"I am sorry too Suku. I know I have done the same"she says. Before reluctantly pulling her hand out from his, she sucks her breath in and asks him. "Have you .....ever really loved me"?

Suku just pauses,  holds his head down, took a deep sigh, looks her in her eyes and says, "Revu, Ask yourself, you know the answer".

The bus was slowly coming to a halt. Rickshaw drivers are charging towards the bus door, competing to lure passengers towards their vehicle. As the door opens, a passenger gets out and tries to walk past them feeling like the first feed in a fish tank. 

Sukumar and Revathy slowly get up and walk towards the door,but only after she turns to look at the young couple behind them. They are still sleeping, snuggled inside a blanket. 

As the two passengers ahead of them step down, Suku suddenly turns to Revathy and asks. "Will we see each other again?"

As she collects her words, the driver asks them to clear the way quick. Revathy holds her tears and  smiles at Suku, before she slowly, with one feet at a time, gets out of the bus and without looking back turns right towards her husband. Balachandran was waiting behind all those drivers, explaining patiently to them that he does not need their service. The cleaner boy has already taken out her bag and handed it to him.

"That was on time,. How was the ride?" Balachandran enquired.

"Quite pleasant" 

Sukumar grabs his black bag and gets into an auto. He knows he can see her again if he just looks back, but he cannot.  He says "Indira Nagar" to the driver and holds his head back into the seat, closes his eyes and tries to replay in his head, the last few hours of his life, again and again.  

As they get into the car, Balachandran comments. "Is that some flowers I see Revathy? That is new. Since when do you like mullappoo?"

Revathy takes the flowers off her head and shoves it in her bag, She smiles and says "I really don't" and the conversation dies. 

She closes her eyes, "Ask yourself, you know the answer", Suku had said. 
She had asked this question to herself, over and over again. She had expected to finally get the answer when she met him,  after all these years. 
She asks herself again. "Did he really ever love me?"
She does not know and it does not matter, at least right now. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Not So O K Kanmani

After listening to ravishing reviews of the movie OK Kanmani, from expected and unexpected sources, we finally decided not to wait for it to be available online and to actually watch it in a theatre. The $13 tickets, the inevitable snack expenses  and the long drive, all seemed worth when even my dad and mum insisted on how good the movie is.

The first half an hour of the movie, the hero Dulquar (gosh, he is handsome and charming) and Nithya Menon (the Kanmani), ride (of course a bike, what's romance without red roses and bikes) through different streets of the Mumbai which looks unexpectedly clean and nice, probably the Modi effect (Who are we kidding, its the art director). Trust me, I was bored and even remembered to turn my phone to silent mode while they were enjoying the cool Mumbai breeze (oh yeah, as much as I love Mumbai, the air stinks, especially in the mornings and you know of what!lol). The movie was a little more engaging in the second half.

Anyway, u get the point, I didn't like the movie, Atleast not as much as many others. Makes me wonder what's wrong with me? Why can't I just enjoy a simple romantic movie? For that matter I didn't enjoy 50 Shades of Grey either... Oh no!!! I think the romantic teenager in me has kicked the bucket and I would hate that. So I have decided to blame the movie for me not liking it. 

If you haven't seen the movie and plan to do so, Spoiler Alert!!!

So the movie is about this boy (brought up by a controlling brother) and a rich girl ( whose parents divorced and dad committed suicide), who both do not believe in the institution of marriage. It isn't surprising considering the kind of marital relationships they grew up around. So they decide to have a live in relationship for a month until one leaves to the US and the other to Paris. Well, u don't have to watch the movie to guess that they will fall in love during that period.

During the first half of the movie, they ride bikes, trains, eat, dance, feed pigeons, have sex and then do these things all over again. During the more interesting second half, they live in together, fall in love, decide not to express their love and in the end get married. Sigh!!!! That is the whole movie.

After the first 30 minutes, it was no surprise what was coming next. So I have postulated a theory to explain why the movie is a huge hit regardless of the mundane storyline. I call it theory of Obsession for Relationship Perfection. Wow! I like that I get to name my own theory. Well, According to my theory, we are always seduced by the idea of perfection in relationships, possibly that is how we make up for imperfections in our own lives. Let me prove my theory here with the following points--

1) Despite my disapproval for the movie's script, I enjoyed Prakash Raj and Leela Samson in their roles as Ganapathy and Bhavani in the movie. Bhavani is in beginning stages of Alzheimers and  Ganapathy is the devoted husband, their relationship--an epitome of unconditional love.- Perfect love

2) Aditya and Tara, the hero and heroine, Perfect relationship!!! He is considerate, good looking romantic, calls her Kanmani, is a good kisser and has the best job ever. He is a video game designer and from what I saw, he was the script writer, designer, programmer, sound manager, art manager, peon, janitor and everything else that needs for a game. God!... Tara is facetious, ambitious and a girl without any demands from her boyfriend. Yet, he would walk miles in the rain to see her smile and jump on a train without ticket to follow her, they cuddle, romance and are blindly in love although they don't know it yet. Who wouldn't want that.

3) Aditya's brother and sister in law - Perfect marriage. A controlling husband and a wife who makes sure she does not antagonize him. (If u did not get it yet, yes, I'm being sarcastic). But the couple at least did not seem unhappy at any point.

4) Tara and her mother - Perfect Mother - Daughter emotions. Now this is arguable, considering that through out the movie, there seems to recurring conflict between the two. Although Tara blamed her mother for divorcing her dad, her mother probably was just escaping from a suicidal husband who married her for her money. As a single mother, being over protective of her daughter is a cogent response (Not that mothers usually need a reason to be over protective).

5) Perfect Fun - Both Adi and Tara are independent, working,  youngsters in the movie. So they have no scarcity of money. They share a room, Mumbai is notorious for bargain shopping, no responsibilities, TADAAA!!!! Plenty money left to have too much fun.

6) Aditya's sister in law - Perfect Bhabhi -- She takes up Adi's mother's role, is protective and even has the freedom to go over his belongings. Now for me she is the real heroine of the story. She represents everything that our society is. She is married to a control freak --  Like all of us living in a self proclaimed ne plus ultra society skilled with the classic craft of controlling our lives. She condemns live-in relationship because society does not accept it -- Ring a bell??? She also hides Aditya's relationship with Tara from her husband. Why? If she disapproved of it, why guard them from the brother's wrath? Living with a control freak might have made her more open to the idea of live in relationships. Yet, her orthodox upbringing forbids her to extend the idea a candid welcome.

So its a game of Perfect you see. I believe it is the same reason why the movie 50 shades of grey is a success too. Who would not want a guy in your life who surprises you with designer clothes, helicopter rides, surprise airline upgrades, a red room (wink wink) and what not. Well, at least for someone of us, the bouquet of flowers from Walmart our guy gets us being "not on sale" is as close to a surprise we are going to get. So thats my theory. The Perfect is supernatural, like God. We believe its presence, pine for its touch and it keeps deceiving us. We are the 3 year old who wishes to grow up to a princess or a superhero. At some point we realize it's impossible and yet cherish Cinderella and Superman.

Now coming to the most Imperfect part of the movie, the climax. After all the drama, Adi finally asks Tara to marry her and she agrees within the blink of an eye. I could not understand that concept. If the movie was all about Love, why could Adi and Tara not wait till they are back from their trip to get married. In fact, his dialogue was, "Go where ever you want to go, do whatever you want to do, but marry me and go." Really???!!! All that for the endless love and bike rides and ice creams??? If they loved each other so much, why could the love not be tested by time and distance. Why did he not trust her to leave without the tag of a wife and why did she not ask him to wait? If anything, I found the movie anti-love and pro marriage.

Well, you get the idea... I did not love the movie and these are the reasons or I think these are the reasons. May be the reason is just that amidst this demanding, busy, emotional life, I miss all that Perfect. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Feminist - To be or not to be!

Note - I really liked the Rebecca Cohen cartoon on feminism. Had to share it.

A friend (lets call him that) told me the other day, that he doesn't "like" or "comment" on my facebook posts, because he doesn't like to promote feminism. Really? A feminist??? Is that what I get tagged as, for writing about rapes and love in "just" facebook???.

When I hit 29 on my age chart, suddenly it occurred to me that I had done nothing with my life. I have a functional, happy family. I believe being a stay at home mum requires colossal flair and expertise. But whether I possessed all that was required, I wasn't sure and even if I did, I wanted to work. I wanted to hatch from the safe haven of my home.

As ingrate as it makes me, I realized that if I were to die the next day, I would be a dead one in despair. Death is already so morbid, do I need more woes on top of it? A dead me deserves more. So I decided to do something about it. Find a job for example and more importantly to stop blaming anyone for anything that goes wrong with my life. Thats what I did. My perforated brain was only used to taking in what was preached to it, be it on love, life, relationships or what not. But the cold immigrant air of the Americas did have its charm. My ever so bored brain started to think for itself and it resonated on everything I did, talked and wrote about. But how does that ever make me a feminist? In fact, if anything its, just the opposite... When I think about how socially, politically and economically equivalent women are to men, I also realize how emotionally disparate men and women are or at least how emotionally covetous I am. 

Yes, I am a feminist, a feminist who can not outlive a man's love.



Monday, April 20, 2015

Another day, another night

It's 11.30pm. I'm sleepy, yet with a quick beating heart (I don't know why) I'm scared of going to bed. More than many things, sleep worries me these days--The dreadful long hours I lay on my bed, musing about things important and irrelevant. Then finely, when I drift off to sleep, my dreams that possibly wake me up with a weary heart and worked up brain. When will sleep again be a less dreadful deal for me, I wonder. This wasn't how anything was supposed to be. The victories were to sweep the dusted antiques off my path. While the stubborn dust clings on, I wish for sweetness to my triumphs and deepness to my sleep. My hearts gains its momentum as I speak. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Leftover Panchali!

I am no follower of any melodramatic, meaningless soap operas where the frail heroine is always the target of an ostentatious villain who has incomprehensible reasons to hate the female protogonist. If anything I enjoy a good laugh from Thateem Muteem, Bing Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men ( Charlie Sheen was way better Ashton Kutcher, Sigh!). They satisfy my nocturnal craving for humour and make my sleepless nights a little less tedious. But the days when my TV keeps running while I cook, clean ( let's say I do all that) or just browse through my phone, I passively watch some episodes of Malayalam tele-serials. One particular scene and a conversation between two characters from the serial  "Ente Pennu" caught my particular interest. Again, NO, I do not watch that series or any soap operas. Goes something like the following,

So I guess the hero, a married man, cohabitated with several women, one of whom marries his best friend to get revenge on him for abandoning her. Don't ask me, I have no clue how that works. Anyway, following this, a remorseful hero cries, stating... " Avan engane avalde koode jeevikyum, endhokke aayalum AVAL ENDE ECHIL ALLAE"??? (and I burst out laughing). The translation is, "how could he live with her. She is like my discarded left over food" ( the word Echil stands more abhorrent and repulsive!!!) So he thinks the girl is despicable and not marriageable because she has slept with him. I take his aversion to polyandry. But I don't see why there are no tears for his own wife who inadvertently lives with a polygamist. I am not sure what this represents -- A patriarchal India or a society which imbibes anything that is fed in the name of tradition.

Anyway this highly entertaining and offensive dialogue from the series (I hardly care about) invigorated me to do some background research. That's how I came up with the title of this post. We base our "right to morally judge" every ant to elephant around us, on our tradition. What better than digging into our own antiquity  and who better than the dusky, astoundingly beautiful princess Draupadi from Mahabharatha to illustrate our history of polyandry. She had 5 husbands and bore a child from each one of them. Needless to say, none of them was a miracle child like many characters from the epic, like Draupadi herself who was born out of fire. There are several tales of ancient women being in multiple sexual relationships mostly to procreate and sustain the bloodline.  I realize that epics like Mahabharatha and Ramayana are believed to be fictional, written to promote "Dharma".  Many believe Puranas are just a pathway to spirituality and every character represents our senses, vices or qualities. For me they do teach us a lot about Dharma which can have several interpretations. But I like to believe that these characters really existed and they were just human beings with hormones an emotions just like any of us.  Even in case these epics aren't real, they still represent the rational of an era which typify our culture. So atleast we can confirm that it wasn't ever a patriarchal society that preceded us.

Draupadi (Panchali) is only one of the many historical women who practiced polyandry. Panchali was doled out among the 5 Pandavas by Kunti who herself bore Karna from Surya , Yudishtira from Yama, Bhima from Vayu and Arjuna from Indra. Draupadi wasn't a compliant, fragile woman who took orders without resentment. During her swayomvara she voiced her reluctance in marrying Karna proving that her diffidence wasn't what kept her from denying to be the wife of five highly competent men. She either wanted it or did not find it unreasonable.I  know there are stories about her regaining her virginity every morning. Come on, its not her earring or a sock that she misplaces one day and finds later. Its her Virginity, more like Time (but not nearly as important) and once its gone, its gone.. like forever!!!. But our protectors and preachers of "Dharma" did not tag Panchali or these other women promiscuous. They fought the war for Panchali's dignity and she is worshipped even today.

Polyandry is believed to have existed in several Indian communities until recently, like among the Todas tribes of Nilgiris, Nairs of Travancore and Ezhavas of Malabar. Polyandrous relationships have traditionally disappeared from India, but it is still practiced by some Indo-Aryan ethnic groups in Northern India. There are stories of decked up women from august, reputed ancestry waiting along the paths of royal commute, to seduce the king and be one of his several wives. I wonder how the moral police would respond to that.

While I am not suggesting that women should sleep around with several men, I believe that virginity is worshipped beyond common sense in our society. A rape victim for no mistake or hers is denigrated for she lost her "Virginity" or for having sexual intercourse with a man she wasn't married to. I happened to come across a news report about a girl in rural India who was married to her rapist because he was the one who plundered her purity.Yeah, exactly the kind of man you want to spend the rest of your life with. Phew!!! Do I need to say more?   A girl who made a poor choice in life, or a widow or a divorcee are all belittled in the name of tradition and culture . Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, men aren't equally chastised for the same. 10,000 years from now, we could be the epic. Let's live good stories for them. Our stories will be their Dharma and we will all be aptly rewarded for our Karma. What gives us the right to judge each other anyway. Like Jesus said, "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone". 

Again, my point isn't that women or men should have multiple relationships. In my opinion, a sexual relationship with your partner is sacred  and divine, made meaningful only when shared  for love and love is eternal. But no one has the right to flag another woman as his "Echil" or used. It does not make you traditional, but only a hypocrite, because many Indian traditional women have a history of polyandry to brag about. You can't even blame the western culture or social media for it. I can assure you that Kunti and Panchali had highly limited facebook access. So our hero from Ente Pennu (or anyone who think like him), let me ask you, according to you, which Pandava is Panchali a left over of ?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Black Creeper

The black creeper, creeps, creeps, creeps
The heart covets love, evade, elude
The music from the loud speakers,
The  perfumes of stranger men,
The sweet dreams I dismay,
The ephemeral reminiscence when the eyes respite
They nurse the black creeper I'm fearful of
The love for an inept man
Who left me emaciated
The black creeper, creeps, creeps, creeps
I live and live and live.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Indian Men -- Rapists from birth

No, they are not. That caption is just to grab your attention. Following the "Nirbhaya- India's daughter" documentary,my facebook page is flooded with statements (from Indians) that tag all Indian men as rapists and abusers of women. Most mention that the attacks against women in India are all due to the Indian culture and, except us (and our family), all the rest of Indian men, are miscreants. Trust me, I am offended and ready to fight. In fact next time you say it, I am ready to shove up a shovel up your throat. Ah! I would never do that (Yes, I will... you have no clue what this Indian woman is capable of.)
What the hell is wrong with you to think that our culture is so inferior? We have a rich culture and a tradition of strong capable women leading the country. You probably should have payed a little more attention when your teacher lectured on Rani Laxmi Bhai, Sarojini Naidu, Begum Hazrat Mahal and the many other highly competent Indian women leaders. We have had more female prime ministers and presidents than most other countries. Even the most liberal USA has never had a lady commander and chief.
How many other countries in this world worship women, be it Shakthi or Mother Mary? Indian women are assigned a high place in society from the Vedic age. The Nirbhaya documentary does not represent what is wrong with Indian culture. It shows how India condemn violence against women. It shows the valor of an Indian girl who held on long enough to point out her violators. It represents the thousands of Indian men and women who stood up for her.
Be it eve teasing or exhibitionism, I have had my share of bad experiences in the Indian roads. But I also grew up knowing my father, brother and several other men in the family who respected women. Later married a man who helped me get more independent in my thoughts and actions, than I ever knew I could be. They helped me shape me as who I am today. Rapists and abusers are criminals. So are people who support them. If you think they are the men who represent India and Indian culture, you are wrong. YOU and ME represent India and our culture. Adv L.M Sharma is not the voice of India. Nor is Nirbhaya's rapist. We are the voice of India. Every man and woman in our country is free to voice our beliefs and detest (or support) our leaders without having to fear for our lives. We are the biggest democracy in the world. That is our culture. Our culture is not marrying a stranger at 18 or sacrificing ourselves for the family. That is what THEY say our culture is.
I heard Nirbhaya's rapist's wife in tears questioning the media, "What do I do without my husband? What is a wife without a husband? Please kill my son and I too". She wants her husband back. Her statement annoyed me. But then I remembered she does not represent all the women in India. She represents illiteracy, in India and all over the world. She represents weak, ignorant women all over the world who needs a shadow to survive. They are all over the world. The annual rape rate in India is 1.2 per 100,000 as compared to 24 per 100,000 in the UK and 28.6 per 100,000 in the USA. Well, we all know how populated India is. Even a single rape is unjustified, be it in India or in Mars. But India DOES NOT TEACH ITS MEN TO RAPE AND HUMILIATE WOMEN. Stop publicizing such fallacies.
Dear us men and women, we are the change we need to be. Women let's believe in ourselves and let us believe that our dreams have no bounds. Whatever we want to be, a full time hard working mum, an entrepreneur, an artist, a doctor, an engineer, lets remember that we are only obstacle in our path. Men, Treat your girls (Mum, sister, girl friend,friends, one night stands etc etc...) the way you want to be treated yourself. We all - We are our country, not THEM!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Wanting

I cross my thighs, hold 'em tight
Wait for the kiss, yearn for a touch 
destitute and wanting 
Not to be wanted, not to be craved, 
not just once, but twice and again
Shh! They say
Not the way a righteous wife should speak
Not the way a virtuous woman should act
But I stay muddled
Do I procure Cleopatra's prowess to
hold my love or Kamala Das's valor 
to shred my cult?

Friday, March 13, 2015

New gen Laxmana

I hear several conversations on modern day relationships and how marriages are morally weak these days. I believe a lot of work need to be put into any relationship, but being and thinking differently don't make anyone any less scrupulous either. In my opinion, it all started way back in the Treta yuga. Laksman and Urmila from Ramayana are the embodiment of a modern day perfect "no strings attached" relationship. I think Laxman married Urmila because that was the most convenient alliance for him owing to his desire to serve Ram and Sita always. Who better than Sita'a own sister? Since Laxman was definitely a better brother than a husband, the relationship must have taken its toll on the couple gradually. Laxman's Vanavasa was probably the much desired break they both had from eachother. Why else would Laxman ask his wife to stay back to take care of his parents. Like the king and the queen didn't have enough help around the kingdom. Urmila never insisted on accompanying Laxman either. She instead advised him not to worry about her and he conveniently didn't. No matter what reasons we give to explain this, if Sita could accompany Rama, so could have Urmila. But the couple made a choice not to and the only cogent reasoning is that they wanted time away from eachother. I believe the same is the reason why there isn't much mention of Urmila in the Ramayana, because she probably digressed from the classic, flawless wife model. Laxman isn't the ideal husband either, but who really cares, he is the "Man"!!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The bitter sweet

I gulp this bitter melon, stoic and still,
hopeful, the vitamins will kick in,
besides the magnesium, fiber and zinc.
B'cos the last time I savoured a chocolate
all it left me was a toothache!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Save my love,spare my soul!

Grueling is to guard this bond 
Warmth is the gadget to hoard
Prudence is the smiles, the hushed tears,    
the cosmos and the cogent pretense
They call some things love, for me it is a spur,
burning bliss between my breasts, my quick beating heart 
and my frail round knees.
Ah! I fear failing to recall it and I might,
And yet I go on, the phase is to pass
And I am to be in love, all over again.
Taxing is it to content this soul.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Happily ever after



I'm outraged by this bizarre ritual. Im sure she is a manglik (Chowva Dosham). So to secure her life and her husband's long life she needs to be married to someone or something whose life weighs much lesser value than her would-be husband. I wonder how old these rituals are...especially the whole idea of horoscopes.
Im not sure if Rama, Laxmana, Arjuna, Krishna, all married after getting their horoscopes checked! As far as I know they all had "swayamvara" except Arjun who eloped with his lady love, Subhadra. I'm not really sure about Krishna, but I am highly skeptical about his weddings being grounded on horoscope compatibility though. In swayamvara, the girl always picked her groom from a bunch of hunks (or not so hunks) who tried to impress her. So the men had to toil his way into the woman's heart and Im sure it paved way to a lot of mutual respect and love. After all, lifting and stringing a heavy and hefty bow did take substantial skill... So did living in disguise (Arjuna) to win over a girl..
`
So when our own Gods married on love, why are we so reluctant. Shouldn't we be more prudent and dump such superstitions far behind us where they belong.
This girl-dog wedding happened in some remote village in Jharkhand state. But well educated and successful families in urban India are equal culprits in promoting such practices. Now things get to a whole new level if the girl is dark skinned too. Now thats a real challenge to the already worried parents of a Manglik girl. ( I dont even want to go there now). I think its high time we crawl ourselves out of ridiculous fallacies. How about we bring back the Swayamvara system where after the initial background check by parents ( ofcourse, we have to keep the robbers, molesters and thugs away) , the prospective grooms portray their skills to win over the girl. The girl then chooses the most impressive one. Wouldn't that be something!!!
PS: I am a manglik and did face some side effects... But I am lucky that my parents didn't make a marry a tree or a dog and I married a loving and judicious guy who is equally or more appalled by horoscopes than me.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Queen

Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho, first book I have read in almost 5 years. I just realized how much I missed reading. I also happened to watch the movie "Queen" yesterday. Both the movie and the book are kind of old now and I must be among the last few of my Indian friends to read this book and watch the movie.
Both are about a girl's adventure in a foreign city. But how it turns out for Rani and Maria are waaay different from each other. ( I still haven't finished the book). But while I watched Queen, I had so many questions linger in my heart.
I think Rani represents 80% (or more) of Indian girls. So what if Rani (or this Indian girl) wasn't from a rich family and could not afford a trip to Paris by herself? Or what if her honeymoon was planned for Taj Mahal or the backwaters of Kerala instead of Paris? Wouldn't she have had a whole different experience. Would she have ever stayed in a hostel with other men and had a chance to be independent. She might have stayed with her distant cousins or aunties who would immediately try to find her another prospective groom. (after all she had to get married before the guy now). Okai, say she had tickets to Paris, but if her parents were too conservative to let her travel by herself, they probably would have traveled with her in which case, she would have returned the same emotionally troubled girl with low self esteem. Would Vijay have ever called her then??? Or would she still be checking her phone every 2 mins for his message.
Now even if she had gone by herself, what if she had never met the extroverted helpful friend Vijayalaxmi, who had an Indian father. In that case, wudn't she have just ended up lonely and depressed in the most beautiful and romantic city, trying to run away from the Eiffel Tower. Given, all this went well, what if she would have ended up in a hostel without a cheerful Japanese roommate and two handsome well behaved men. Instead if she would have ended up with one guy, who tries to feel her up when she slept, would it have ruined the whole trip for her??? She would return ashamed and blamed by all for her incautious journey to trouble.
If nothing would have worked out right for Rani ( or the girl she represents) , would she have ended up marrying the same guy who dumped her for status, or another guy who would or would not be different from him (Vijay). I do not know the answers to any of this. For everyone who loved the movie, I wonder how many would actually dare to take a journey like her or how many parents would trust their daughters to such a trip. I think we are so self engrossed in our societal norms that we will applaud the movie and blow whistles when Rani returns the ring to Vijay, but return to our deep rooted believes of how an Indian woman should behave, learn to make chai, get a degree and get married to a well qualified boy. For us, the path to self discovery, self appreciation and love in Indian women are all for the movies and not practical for our well calculated, pre planned (by who knows who) and so called pragmatic life.
Nevertheless, like many other Indian girl who was never brave to be like Rani, I too liked the movie!!! Hoping that my Indian daughter will grow up to be the Queen I never dared to be!