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Mom

If you’ve ever wondered
how I turned out to be who I am
the answer is ‘you’.
When I am complimented (often hated)
for being a grammar Nazi,
I feel thankful to you
for the song of ABC.
Force fed during those early years
when all I wanted to do
was eat, sleep, cry and just be.

When my colleagues praise
my vegetable pulao and
when I bake the perfect cake
and the Shepherd’s pie,
I silently thank you
for sharing your space in the kitchen
with the truant and lazy girl
that I once was.

When I see my degrees
and academic achievements piling up,
I thank you for not giving up on me
even when the whole world believed
I was and would be a failure…always.

When I win an argument with you
with prompt sarcastic comebacks,
I thank you for teaching me the language.

When I think women empowerment,
I think of you.
When I want an honest opinion,
I call you.

I’m proud of you
Not because you’re my mother,
(both of us are beyond conventions)
But because you are a wonderful person.
And I’m writing this today
Not because it happens to be your birthday
but because I happened to remember
that I am more like you
than I could’ve ever thought.

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I am…

The moment I say bipolar,
you say, ‘Oh! Depression?’.
But if I meant depression,
I would have said so.
When I say bipolar it’s obvious
there are two sides
to my mood swings.

‘So, it’s like two people
inhabiting the same body?’
You ask, showing that you care.
No. My disorder is of mood.
Not a personality disorder.

‘Must have had a tough childhood.’
You are trying to help, I can see.
But it doesn’t help.
You are still stuck
on the depression part.
There is another side.
An exciting one actually.

Did you see that glass painting
abandoned in my bathroom?
Or the origami birds
fluttering away my in dusty bedroom?
Did you read that poem I wrote
that inspired you to love yourself?
Did you taste that coffee cake
that I baked in my rice cooker?
Have you ever heard me
speaking Russian and Esperanto?

They are all little gifts
left by Mania as a remembrance.
To remind me that the disorder
isn’t just a disorder after all.
That, like everything else,
it has its positives too.

But I don’t blame you
for noticing Depression first.
It leaves its gifts on me.
In me. Seldom around me.
It has left scars on my arm,
shadows under my eyes
and layers of fat
in my cheeks and belly.
They are easily noticeable
and it often makes you curious.

You talk to me because you care.
You want to know me better.
But you fail to understand
that I am not my disorder.

I am not my depression.
I am not the scars or the cellulite.
I am the strength that survives.
I am the appetite that gobbles up
a whole tub of vanilla ice-cream.

I am not my mania.
I am not the paintings on the wall
or the poems in my blog.
I am the fatigue that remains.
I am the fearlessness that gives birth
to fresh ideas out of emptiness.

I am.
Like everything else you see.
Like everybody else you know.

Why I don’t Miss You

I have often wondered
whether I would miss you.
Ever.
Not that I never had the chance.
Your absences
have been with me
as much as your presence,
if not more.
As solid and sure.
Yet, there was always
the consolation
that you are not so far.
That I can share
my last sip of coffee with you
if I want to.
That I can always find comfort
in your assuring embrace
if I choose to.
That I can ask you to cook for me
if I wish to.
There was assurance in knowing
that you were just minutes away.
That I don’t have to wait
if I don’t want to.

But now,
with the hours, days
and miles between us
I don’t think I miss you.
I’d never want to.
Missing you would mean accepting
that memories are all I have
to hold on to and revel.
But there are moments
to look forward to.
Moments with you.
And when I think of creating
the memories from the future
I remember you.
Then I remember the distance.
I ignore it
and go back to remembering.

Dear Better Half

I’m not fair, tall and slim.
I’m far from being the standard beauty
and that spares you  countless rants
about calories and sun tan.
And whether or not the woman next door
is prettier or uglier than I am.

My rotis are not round
but they are edible.
If the roundness matters
we can always order a pizza.

I don’t believe in gender roles.
I wouldn’t stop you
if you want to try cooking.
If you want to quit
a high paying, stable job
because it’s just not right for you,
I won’t try to persuade you against it.

I will let you watch
your cricket matches in peace.
Don’t expect me to remember
the umpteen number of players
and rules of the game.

You wouldn’t be penalized
for not remembering birthdays
and petty anniversaries.
I won’t remember them either.

I would appreciate your efforts
and not brush aside your success
as ‘a blessing of god’.
I don’t believe
in the grand old gentleman, you see.

I can move the furniture
but I would need your helping hand.
I can do our laundry,
but don’t trust me with the whites.
The off-whites, creams and pinks too.
Any light coloured clothes, actually.

I am a strong person
and I can easily laugh off
any misfortune that comes along.
But there are times,
when hormones take control.
And on those days
You’ll find me crying over Nemo
and even X-Men and the Avengers.

I don’t promise you a bed of roses.
I don’t expect one either.
But we can keep each other occupied
till the next season of Game of Thrones airs
or my letter from Hogwarts arrives.

The Dream

I have a dream that recurs.
A dream where I know I’m dreaming
yet it all feels so real.
I, sitting on a train’s engine.
Not actually the engine,
to be precise.
It is that small hook-like thing
projecting out…or is it my imagination?
I don’t know what it is called.
Perhaps it doesn’t exist.
May be engines of trains
have smooth and rounded fronts.
But it doesn’t matter to a dream,
does it?

The scenes are never the same.
Sometimes it is a field of mustard,
sometimes miles of white sand.
Sometimes I see houses and children
watching me and the train.
Sometimes there are clouds.
Last night, it was a forest
and there was rain.
The train moved against the wind,
against the rain
and the rest of the world.
And I moved against them too.
I always do.
I can’t remember
wanting to reach a destination.
Or wishing to get down.

I have other recurring dreams.
Nightmares.
Reliving memories
that almost killed me.
Creating memories of things
that never happened.

They say antidepressants can give
the desired dreamless sleep.
But I don’t want this one dream to stop.
So, I sleep through the nightmares
waiting for this dream to recur.
And when I wake up
I am ready to face the world.

Scents

Scents are never just scents.
They are memories;
Pleasant, embarrassing, painful.
Or memories of those memories
exaggerated, romanticized, underrated
blown out of proportion.
And we fall in love with some scents
trying to relive
a romanticized memory
of a cherished moment.
Or we start hating some
along with an overrated memory
of a dreaded
yet a not-so-life-changing experience.

I remember the night
we found love and each other.
Perhaps my memory is distorted
by time and imagination,
and myths, subtly placed
between the empty spaces.
But I remember the scents;
Glycerin soap and henna shampoo,
moisturizer with cocoa and
your very masculine musk deodorant.
Perhaps apple wine too
and the weak smell
of sunshine trapped in wool.

And all these years,
I have been trying to escape
the memories and the scents.
I would love to relive that night
with the stolen scents
from the beloved past.
But the memories never stop there.
They always take me
to memories of other memories,
making my failures and mistakes
look bigger than they actually were.
Making those sleepless nights stretch
longer than a night possibly could.
Making those scratches from long ago
appear like deep wounds.

I keep buying a different soap every month
to brush away any memories
that could have accidentally crept in.
I haven’t used a moisturizer in years,
they come in a limited number of fragrances.
I haven’t taken out my woolens
from the cheap duffel bag.

I’m afraid one day
I’ll run out of new scents to buy.
To chase away the old ones
with the imprisoned memories.
And then I will probably tell you
about my fears and griefs and losses.
And about the scents
that chase me with them.

You will call the scent a metaphor.
I would argue that it is metonymy.

The Flower

Fragile, proud, mysterious;
she stands strong
in the reluctant storm.
She sways, she breaks
but holds on.
Immovable, invincible.

The storm doesn’t scare her
for she holds
a million storms within;
Turbulent, fierce, untamed.

She blooms nevertheless.
I love her, nonetheless.

#BoycottAmazon: Rants of a Tolerant Indian

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I came across an article that started off with ‘Boycott Amazon’. I was intrigued because, naturally, I thought it was Amazon.in and I haven’t been very happy with their services anyway. A year ago, I had placed an order for a music player and made an online payment because it was supposed to be a gift. It never got delivered. I had to make umpteen number of calls to the customer care to get my money back. From that day I only place an order if it has a COD option. Each time their delivery boys are unable to deliver the product, I get an SMS that says , ‘Product could not be delivered due to unavailability of the customer’. So, I expected the article to throw some light on their fucked up delivery system and return policies. But, I had my WTF moment when I saw that it was Amazon.com.But still, it’s Amazon… May be they are kind of screwed up all over the world… And then I had a bigger WTF moment. The problem wasn’t about their fuckedupness with the customers.It was about ‘religious sentiments’.

Amazon is stupid enough to sell doormats with deity motifs. Contrary to the ‘news’ spreading on Twitter, it is not just ‘Hindu’ gods and goddesses. They also have doormats with Jesus Christ (that blond, blue-eyes white dude from the Middle-east that is being worshiped since the advent of Christianity). But I haven’t come across anybody talking about that. Not that I care. I agree it is a wrong thing to do. Religious sentiments are easily hurt, especially in India. And we claim to be tolerant. Of course, we are! If the word ‘intolerance’ is mentioned, there will be hell to pay. One Tweet openly stated ” I don’t care about Jesus or Allah, but we won’t let you insult the Hindu gods.” And several other Tweets went on to talk about how everybody insults Hindus and Hindusism because they are the most tolerant race. Seriously? I don’t see how different they are from the Puritan Christians and other ‘tolerant’ religions.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My problem isn’t because people are only infuriated about the Hindu gods on the doormats. I don’t give a damn about any of the gods/goddesses because if they exist they can very well ‘punish’ Amazon for insulting them rather than letting their minions do all the talking. My problem is that this whole fuss is making the people not do anything about the real problems.

Amazon has been a bit on the problematic side for several reasons. They are known for their anti-competitive practices which include one-click patent, direct selling and removal of the competitors goods from the site. They have been compiling information from Wikipedia and selling them off for very high prices, they sold a Pedophile Guide and they are known to harass the workers… The list is too long to mention in one blog post. And finally, Indians raise a voice against this atrocious establishment. But for what? For hurting religious sentiments. I seriously can’t understand how cheating people, encouraging pedophilia and harassing the working force can be considered less evil than having gods and goddesses on doormats.

P.S. Those who are tagging our respectable PM ans asking him to do something about the sales happening in US can rest assured. Ache Din are round the corner.

Mirages

I follow the Mirages.
I become their shadow.
Reshaping and changing,
hoping and despairing,
Moving forward,
Never giving up.

Uncertainty resonates
through the empty promises.
Yet I move ahead
hoping to reach the oasis.

After years of chasing
the tantalizing emptiness
I look back and realize
that I have come a long way.
And the way
has been beautiful.

The Mirages laugh at me.
I thank them.

Communists: Myths and Facts

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Communist! That must bring a lot of things to people’s minds. Maosist. Terrorist. Sickular. Pesudo. Hypocrite… I have been called all that and more. But the funny part is that at the end of it, it is the ‘abuser’ who gets offended. Not me. I thought people who hated Communism and Communists were supporters of capitalism an dictatorship. Sadly, it is not so. The haters are actually ignorant people who haven’t even heard about The Communist Manisfesto and the concept of coexistence, as explained by Marx. And they think the term ‘labourer’ or ‘worker’ only applies to a certain class- daily wage labourers. They find it hard to accept the fact that a man with a million dollar job in an MNC is also a labourer. So, I felt compelled to mention some of the myths associated with Communism and bust them.

  1. Myth: Communism believes in taking away money and resources from the rich and distributing them among the poor.
    Fact: Actually, that’s the story of Robin Hood. Communism promotes a ‘fair’ distribution of wealth based on the worker’s skills and the amount of work he/she has done.
  2. Myth: Communism doesn’t have provision for religion.
    Fact: Communism is an ideology. Not a faith. One is free to be a Communist and believe in equality and at the same time believe in the grand old gentleman. Sounds absurd…but it is possible.
  3. Myth: Communism is patriarchal.
    Fact: In the early stages, Communism didn’t really talk about gender inequality because the society then was a patriarchal one where women’s services in and outside the house were taken for granted as ‘duties’. But times have changed and the ideology (unlike Religion) has evolved. Ever heard of the term ‘Marxist-Feminism’? Please google it!
  4. Myth: A Communist should not be using an iPhone or travel in luxury cars because they are ‘capitalist’ products.
    Fact: Well…there is no such thing as a ‘capitalist’ product. Any product is a result of labour. And when I say labour, I don’t mean just the guys sweating away in factories. I’m also talking about the software engineer who developed the android in my phone, the content writer who wrote about the phone’s features in a language humans can understand and the Amazon guy who delivered it at my doorstep. A communist can enjoy luxury cars, expensive food and everything any other person would because they have earned that money with labour and they have every right to spend it the way they want.
  5. Myth: Communism has failed. Capitalism hasn’t.
    Fact: The misunderstood idea of Communism which was never there to start with has definitely failed. The skyscrapers and the development of technology isn’t the victory of Capitalism. It is the result of the hard work of workers who are more than happy to work for their boss because they are paid well and not exploited. There! Communism is being practiced. The sad part is that the ‘good boss’ doesn’t know it most of the time.

Of course, I’m not trying to ‘convince’ anyone. That is the job of preachers and other religious people who think they can reserve a place for themselves in heaven if they can ‘convert’ people to the ‘true faith’. But then, I’ll have my life each time a communist-hater has a hearty meal, has a peaceful sleep, doesn’t worry about clogged drainage, deposits his/her hard earned money in a bank, drives his/her car on a smooth road, looks at his/her newly built house proudly… The communist-hater gets to enjoy these because somebody is out there labouring for him/her and the labourers wouldn’t be doing it if there were no labour laws protecting them. And there would never have been labour laws if there was no Communism.

 

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