Age is Just a Number of Candles on the Cake

It all started with the Queen in Snow White failing to grasp that aging is inevitable, you can’t go on a killing spree of teenage girls to call yourself the most beautiful. I believe it was her mid-life crisis that drove her to become a distributor of poisoned apples. The fear of growing old – everybody goes through it, and the Mad Men of the world take advantage of this very fact. They shove more fear down our throats and we in turn, give them all our money trying in all our might to try to stop something that is inevitable.

But why fear it? But more than fearing, why make it a taboo? Why consider crow’s feet or wrinkles or your sagging body the end of the universe? These are the marks that tell the world you have lived and seen this world a little longer – and that is exactly what we have come here for. Where is the shame in it?

I want to grow old. And I want to have white hair and wrinkles and laugh lines and I want to be hunched back and poke kids on the road with my walking stick. And I most certainly don’t want to be in my twenties my whole life. I also want to rub my experience over others and demand respect just because I am older than everyone else.

Everlasting youth is a fable that is being told to us day in and day out, and somewhere there, we are buying into it a little by little. But anything that overstays its welcome stops being fun. Edward Cullen did not get that shovel face because everlasting youth was treating him well, consider that. And if we start considering everlasting youth and immortality in all its seriousness, it will just mean scrolling down more of your newsfeed and more Nicki Minaj videos. Because be serious, what do we actually do with our non-arthritis stricken limbs and non-Alzheimer ridden brain? And is this what humanity needs?

Old age will mean that I will turn weak, fragile and wretchedly ugly, but then again, I came in as weak, fragile and wretchedly ugly. Might as well go in my natural state.

Photograph courtesy: Anastasia Pottinger


At The Crossroads

When I was 13 years old, I made my mum buy me a guitar. I learnt to play it for four years. And then I stopped. I realized it didn’t come naturally to me at all.

Things like music, art, they should flow naturally in your fingers or you are not meant for it. I still have my guitar in my old room. It serves me as a reminder that I take stupid decisions on whims and fancies. A lesson I can’t afford to forget even for a second. But I continue to make decisions, mostly the crucial ones, on whims. The results have been so far… interesting.

I have been reaching all over the place to touch my nose, being adamant and taking the roads with dead ends and searching for oasis in the middle of a desert, and being constantly fooled by the mirage. But what’s life without some trial and errors? A lot easier, I suppose.

But at the end of that day, I take responsibility for the failure of my decisions on myself. I wasn’t influenced by anyone, because the last time that happened, it didn’t turn out any better either. So the lesson here, no matter which road you take, the one less traveled or the other well-mapped one, there’s no telling if it will deliver you to your destiny safely and soundly. Potholes may crop up at will. The foresight to see the bump ahead in the road is no less a superpower than the telekinetic ones.

But the twist in the story lays right after you’ve had your bump. The cards are all on the table and you know you have the wrong ones. There’s no way out of this one. What do you do?

Do you take your losses in your stride and go back…. or do you gamble once again?

And who’s to tell, which of the choices would be the greater gamble?

Queen: A Thank You Note

I have a strict policy in my blog: no criticism of movies. Or fashion. Because I have very limited knowledge of either. And whatever knowledge I do have is entirely an audience point of view… a “masses” PoV. But I’d still like to talk about last Friday Bollywood release “Queen”.
And I don’t want to talk about how amazing Kangana Ranaut was, how beautifully she essayed the role of a naive girl from Rajori on her honeymoon alone. Or the credibility of the director who made such a feel good movie without ever stooping down to dumb down the movie for the audience. Or the brilliant supporting cast. Or the cinematography.

No, because, frankly, I don’t really have the required aptitude to go down to it critically. And I respect critics.

I would instead, use this small space to thank this movie.

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I would like to thank this movie to finally bringing into light that a woman just doesn’t have one chance at happiness – walking down the aisle or doing the seven rounds around the fire or uttering “qubool hai“. Marriage, settling down isn’t the end all or be all of my kind. A woman can find happiness in travelling just like the other half of the human population. A woman can find happiness in strangers turning into friends. And for being a movie that is a breakthrough, because now a little girl out there may get the lesson that she can find happiness in her ownself instead of the lesson that she needs to be saved. Especially coming from a place i.e, the movie industry, particularly Bollywood, which though has the means to empower and motivate women yet always chooses to objectify and suppress them.

I would like to thank the movie to show to the Indian audience the power of travelling. Alone. In unknown territories. It’s life altering power.

I would like to thank the movie to show that people need not be judged. A woman may like to have sex, drink like a whale and love her love child. A woman in prostitution need not feel like a victim of the system, and may enjoy her work. A man who has lost his everything may not want your pity. And your Grandmother also has a love story. I’d like to thank the movie because it did not succumb to stereotypes.
I would like to thank the movie for showing real, supporting family who do not put “What will society think of us?” before the well-being of their child.
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And lastly I’d like to thank the movie for not giving Rani a drastic “makeover” and showing her leave her fiancee in her way – with respect, dignity and that small “Thank you” that meant so much.
P.S. Also thanks for showing such an awesome Lisa Haydon, especially after her last screen appearance.

P.P.S Have a happy holi, guys. And no ugly pranks.

Of those unloved ones

People expect others in their life to accept them for what they actually are – skin, bone, soul, thought. It is after all a packaged deal and if you want an exchange, baby, that’s hurting. No one wants to change and no one wants to force change on anyone else either. It is after all about the genuine, unaltered and unadulterated experience. Which makes me wonder, if we expect other human being to accept ourselves for who we are, why are we that much more afraid of accepting ourselves – skin, bone, soul, thought?

One look at an advertisement endorsing magic products with unrealistic results or a person up in big lights with man-made beauty, that’s enough for us to brand ourselves with defects. Our ideas are not good enough for us. We are not smart enough for ourselves. We find so many faults with ourselves, we cloud our merits. I remember, one day I sat down and just wrote everything that is wrong with me and after a while I deduced I am a horrible human being. I could not come up with one good thing I could say about myself. Each and every day, we are rejecting ourselves.

It would be a realist thing to look at a spade and call it a spade, and maybe we all are realists here – but reality was giving me an internal haemorrhage. After the aforementioned experiment I tried, I secluded myself in a rather grimy place, some days against my own wishes. Masochism was fun for so long, the pleasure soon started to wane and all that was left was the pain – hollow and empty. Not the best of state to be in, but as Gotye says, “You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness”. But resigning when you are young and beautiful is not the most fabulous thing to do. At all.

Doing the fabulous thing here would be examining the scars and the bruises. Trying to remember the story behind it, and realise you are a book. Dog eared, cracked at the bind, yellowing, warm things filled with dreams and stories to tell. If you think you are not as good as the person you are comparing yourselves with, maybe you don’t have to be. Maybe it’s just about being as good as you can get. Fitting in your shoes and walking all the miles. And if you have hard days and they seem to just schedule them all around your calendar, don’t curse your luck – that’s her job, to go bad at times. 5 years down the line, it would either be what changed your life or be too trivial to remember

We are not perfect, perfection is a concept. We are the real deal – dried skin, broken bones, tainted souls and perverted thoughts. We are all over the place, we are infinite.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you.

Rocking around the clock

When I was a year old, I probably threw my food around, maybe started walking but I am sure I cried a lot. My mum told me.

When I was two years old, I ran around the house, talked to myself and my imaginary friends, spent a lot of time infront of the mirror and with my dolls and cried when my brother went to school.

When I was three years old, I cried because I had to go to school.

At four, I lost a sweater, lost at the candy race, sulked when I got no medals in the Annual function and slow danced with a guy who would just not keep his hand at my waist.

At five, I changed cities, did not complete studies at 1st grade and missed my dad a lot.

At six, I knew all the show timings of Cartoon Network. And Shahrukh Khan was my favourite actor.

At seven, I started in a new school and felt like an outcast which made me awkward.

At eight, I was not allowed to meet my dad who was in a different state because my grades dropped.

At nine, I found my idol in my 5th grade class teacher, wanted to go catch all the Pokemons and stopped sleeping with my parents.

At ten, I was introduced to Harry Potter, got slapped by my Maths teacher, had my first crush on a guy and I started swimming the crimson wave.

At eleven, I spent my lunch breaks mostly alone, I hated the girl upstairs and made collages with pictures of celebrities.

At twelve, I met my best friends, came to know about sex and read my first erotica.

At thirteen, I was obsessed with high school teen movies, american pop stars and Sidney Sheldon novels.

At fourteen, I could talk to my best friends forever without a moments silence, had my first boyfriend  and butterflies in my stomach. Then I broke up.

At fifteen, internet was new to me, I had my first kiss and vouched that a guy would never make me cry.

At sixteen, I went into depression and was too stressed with boards to participate in any shenanigans.

At seventeen, I started college. It was a crappy year. But met some really cool people. And had my first drink.

At eighteen, I got my hair cut way too many times, was the biggest bitch to a friend, started my blog and just let myself be.

At nineteen, I hit my desperation point, broke my own rules more than once, cried for the major part of the year. But at the end realized it was just as it was supposed to be.

And at this moment, now that I am twenty, I feel numb and way too clueless. I’m floating through.

Am I?

There’s a huge problem with being an artist, or aspiring to be one and trying to get the best out of your creative self – happiness gets in the way. And that I feel is contradictory with the entire point of being a healthy, stable human. As a human, all we strive for is happiness, some find it in the journey and other at the end of the road with the big prize. Nevermind the happiness definition, but the human nature is to try to get out of the depression pit they throw themselves into. But the artist, that weird creature, grows only in that dark pit. With the dissatisfactions and the heart-breaks, does the pen run smoother, hands mold better, brushes stroke gracefully. And artists have a short life span.
But technically shouldn’t talent be like a superpower, working everytime it is summoned? No matter whether you are happy or sad, the quality never suffers. But then the things don’t work that way. I wish it did, I wish for simple things. But the inevitable truth is if I want to satisfy my creative self I need to carry all my insecurities, fears, all the memories of falling down and the hopelessness, that feeling of void, worthlessness and engrave all the reasons behind all negativity and condense it and wear it around my neck. But the difficult part isn’t that, the difficult part is to switch in between the artist and the human. The difficulty is in letting destroy the wall we keep up to guard ourselves against these very emotions. To travel through that condensed time capsule and come out of it and live my normal life, and not be affected with the travel between emotions. To live a life where the artist in me doesn’t suffer because of the human side and the human side doesn’t get suicidal because of the whims of the artist, am I really up for it?
Am I strong enough to actually conceive that I can do this, forget that, do I have it in me? Do I have the talent to take up this challenge? Infact, even forget that, the real question is: am I even an artist in the first place? I like the luxuries of life too much to let it go. I crave for other’s attention, I care, care very deeply of what people think of me, of what I do to speak my mind. Is this all just a ruse to pacify myself, to have something to play with and throw away when I am done?
I hope I am. I hope I won’t be afraid to not only feel the feelings within me, but also the feelings of the words I write.

Photograph courtesy : Kyle Thompson

Come another day

Autumn is always a happy time – perfect weather, that crisp air, leaves changing color, pretty clouds in a clear sky and for us Bongs it is even more special because it features the mother of all festivals, and we have a ton of festivals. Durga Puja is what ties all the bongs all around the world, no matter where you are coming from, we all have that special attachment to this one – childhood adventures, teenage love, first night outs and reminiscing all that when you are an adult.

Like in all pagan festivals, there’s always a lore – and the lore to this one is quite a kick ass one. The gods grant a wish to a dark human turning him into a killing machine who can’t be destroyed by any man, so he goes on about his killing spree, and the gods have a moment cursing their boo-boo. Then they come up with this idea that a woman must slay the demon, so Parvati, Lord Shiva’s wife volunteers and all the gods give her their weapon, and she becomes this ten-handed deity and has a lion as a pet and then she slays the demon and we earthlings celebrate her victory with our feast, lasting 5 days.

As a kid, the festival obviously attracted me a lot. It had everything I’d wait around for an entire year – every place decorated with lights, huge pandals housing huge idols, loud music, the dhaak and the kasar, the new clothes… tons of new clothes, oh! And the food! The street food and the meals my mum would make especially on Nabami – that’s the last day of fun before the idols are submerged in water and bid goodbye, which is the bhaasan on Dashmi. The whole thing was some affair. We would plan out how to go to the maximum numbers of pandals, what to eat, and there would be those plastic guns with gun powder ribbons and balloons that we would just carry with us like the bosses we were. Nabami was always the most special day for me, I would keep my best dress for the night, have chicken because it’s not Ashtami and no one can make me eat stupid vegetarian dishes, and Dad always planned an all-nighter for Nabami and we would go about the town at 12 o’clock in the night and invariably I would always fall asleep in an hour or two. My brother cursed me for that.

Childhood always does make an affair grander. All that is such a far cry from the way I spent it this year or the year before – in my room, in my pyjamas. Although this year I was mourning Robb Starks death (just finished GOT and joined the wagon, y’all) so don’t tell me it wasn’t for a reason. I don’t know when exactly but the charm wore off and I started to not enjoy things. My aunts all got married – I spent my Pujas with them so that was a loss, my brother got his own set of friends to spend his time with, my cousins too got on with their own lives, my friends for some or the other reason would not, could not spend their time with me.. So I guess I turned a loner. Also not an atheist, but I don’t believe in idol worshipping, so that could be a reason I became a party pooper in pyjamas.

I guess it will take me time away from here, to value the time here. So not until I am forced to spend time away from home for the Pujas will I have the craving again. The gods should bless us all this year round to enjoy what we have, peace will finally come.

Photograph courtesy : Sohini Kumar