It’s a long, lonely afternoon. The sun beats down with all its might and the people wither and wilt. I manage to fold my legs in the swiveling office chair and stare at the heads bent over their laptops.
This is not where I belong.
I begin at the no. It’s a nice, round ‘o’ sound that carries into the silence. I begin here, not at nothing, but at something less than nothing.
Each no I utter shoves me deeper into a stone cold pit. It’s not bad, I quite like it down here. But then those voices begin shouting my name. Then come the search parties, stumbling with flashlights through the dark undergrowth. Worried, concerned voices, searching for me in the wrong places. I remain silent. I let them yell and they get louder each night. The voices, they comfort me. I want to be sought, yet I want to remain lost to the world.
I am lost, even now, to the world that represses, the world that sits in judgment and the world that drowns out perfect harmonies.
And so I run. Wind-whipped hair and a gasp of air, hear the beat, feel the heat, run fast, lose the past, hit the wall, break the fall, take a plunge, fill your lungs, forget what you know and just let go.
When I started this blog about three years ago, I only wanted to express myself, I needed a vent, something to do, something to care about. I was looking for someone who might empathize, who might be going through the same thing I was, and more importantly, people who would not pass judgments. 60 blog posts and 315 readers later, I realised, blogging had became all about showcasing my writing. Carefully treading the thin line between truth and fiction, the focus gradually shifted from needing a means of expression to trying to evolve as a writer. As if opening my eyes after an extended period of darkness, today I once again felt the need to simply express, to write only for myself, without trying to create a masterpiece.
I feel happy today. Perhaps the reason is something as superficial as – it’s the weekend! and I roamed the city like a free bird this cold winter morning, feeling the warmth of early sunrays caressing my face. I hit a couple of minor snags, potential dangers to my mood upswing – I sneezed 72 times (goddamn dust allergies), and, courtesy the new wave of black money eradication that’s gripped the nation, I waited 3 hours in line at the bank (which, I must say, was quite entertaining to the people around me, since I finished Tina Fey’s Bossypants laughing my ass off and grooving to Tool) – as I said, these were minor incidents, I wasn’t about to let anything get to me.
My mind was at peace. No restless drumming of fingers on the table, no sudden bouts of anxiety, and, thank God, no depression relapse or drooping self-confidence. It was calm inside, and laughter on the outside. Not particularly wanting to dwell upon the past few months, I can only be grateful for days like these, and hope they stay as long as possible.
They all see me stumbling blindfolded, scraping knees and elbows, dashing right into trees and rocks… And they think, for sure I am falling, falling into the valley below with no hope for survival. They look at me and wonder: I have my hands free, why don’t I take off my blindfold and open my eyes? Why don’t I look at the bodies below, the very people who had veered off the road and fallen to their destinies?
I have two options. I can meekly accept ‘my destiny’, this road that they have chosen for me. Or, I can suck in my gut and tell them that my chosen road is down that valley, to cross into new horizons. That I am not falling, but if I do fall, at least I tried.
What then, becomes of me who stands against this so-united world in their attempt to tame me, to rein the wildness within? Isolation.
Homi Adajania and Deepika Padukone’s Vogue ‘My Choice’ video has taken the word ‘empowerment’, and flung it far and wide, beyond the focus of the camera lens, where even Deepika’s billowing hair cannot reach.
Yes, a choice to cheat is incredibly selfish, and will probably shatter your partner’s life. But it is, after all, a choice.
Homi Adajania’s video ‘My Choice’ on ‘Women Empowerment’ featuring Deepika Padukone and 99 other women, has gone viral, which was what they wanted, but has created an outrage, which was not perhaps what they expected.
Deepika, looking gorgeous as always, says things like ‘My body, my mind, my choice’. She goes on to say that the kind of dress she wears, what time she comes home, whether ‘to love temporarily or lust forever’, ‘to have sex before marriage, outside of marriage or to not have sex at all’, is her choice. That, according to her is women empowerment.
I think everyone agrees that the video has nothing to do with women empowerment. She seems to have taken the opportunity to tell the world, ‘Yes, I am bold enough to think about running around naked, coming home at whatever time I want, choosing not to have a baby, or even having sex outside of marriage.’ The video has taken the word ‘empowerment’, and flung it far and wide, beyond the focus of the camera lens, where even Deepika’s billowing hair cannot reach.
That said, I may then say that the video was an attempt to make Indian women aware that they do have a choice, and to tell them to make their own choices. A choice to not have a baby if they don’t want it, to not have sex if they don’t want to, to dress the way they like as long as they are comfortable with it. 99 women are not in the video to simply fill up the edits in Deepika’s footage; they are independent women with strong personal opinions of their own.
People have focused way too much on the ‘having sex outside of marriage’ part. I did not hear Deepika say, “You should have sex outside of marriage.” She merely states that it is a choice. Yes, a choice to cheat is incredibly selfish, and will probably shatter your partner’s life. But it is, after all, a choice. The woman (or man) who chooses to cheat knows somewhere deep down, the repercussions of such a decision. I do not think Deepika meant to say that a woman can cheat and get away with it, or that a woman is allowed to cheat but a man isn’t.
It’s a choice. I’ve been on both ends of the cheating cane. It hurts, sure. A simple message expressing that he wants to be with her, how he longs to take her in his arms… is enough. Enough to realize you are faced with a choice to give him another chance, or to leave him. The choice to cheat is simpler. You don’t cheat if you’re happily committed to your partner. Making a choice to cheat, in my opinion, says you do not care enough, or that in your mind, you two are already broken up.
There is enough grey between being faithful and cheating. In the end it all comes down to what choices you make.
It was almost like a summer romance; a friendship that was as sudden and unlikely as rains in March. The three of us first met on a train speeding to Delhi – the start to an awesome trek in the Himalayas. One was a lanky curly-haired boy of 21, who alternated dangerously between acting like he’s five, or getting lost deep in thought. The other was a sweet-looking helpful girl who I didn’t really interact with during the trek… Not in my wildest dreams did I think three such varied individuals would become inseparable within less than a month’s time.
It began simply for one reason, that of the trekking group of 15 or so, we were the only three people who had ‘time’ on our hands. We were all unemployed; I was awaiting professional qualification after which I was sure to start job-hunting, and these two were 2 years younger than me and had much lesser worries of education and jobs.
And so it began. We were like three forever-hungry and almost-always-broke teenagers, and on most days we had no option but to lock ourselves in my room, shut the blinds and watch back-to-back movies, since we could not afford going out. On lucky days when one of us had some money, we treated ourselves to chicken subs and wraps, and that too secretly, as it was in addition to what my Mom used to prepare for lunch.
Now, I had already realized that living with the parents past The Twenties is a big disadvantage. To top that, these two taking up residence plus dining in my room, was maddening enough for my parents, but they were pretty much helpless, save the weekly fights we had on the ‘kind of friends I bring into the house’, and how ‘I was wasting my life’. Nothing unusual there…
We all knew this was short-lived, and would come to an end once one of us started working, or my parents decided to throw us all out, whichever happened earlier. We thus had an unspoken pact to spend every waking moment together. We prepared bucket lists of movies and series to watch, and devoured brilliant films of every possible genre, day after day.
The evenings were the highlight of our time together. The best part about my building is a terrace on the 10th floor, which has a splendid view of mountains and city lights around the necklace-shaped bend in the road on one side, and speeding lights of cars zooming down the highway on the other. It was this terrace that had become our sanctuary, and here we retreated to enjoy our evenings with delicious chicken steamed Momos, and some John Mayer playing in the background.
Conversations were never needed on such evenings. We were dreamers, artists in our own ways. Silence itself was our conversation, and we were often at peace, lost in synchronized thoughts, perhaps… When the moon rose and the sky reminded us of the nights spent in the Himalayas under a glorious blanket of stars, I knew we all felt that connection some alive within us.
Looking back on those days right now, I would honestly be perplexed at how we spent 2 months doing absolutely nothing productive or worthwhile to boast of. But then I remember the laughs, the music, the fights, the wrestling, occasional partying, and I know they were magical days we may never get back… A life-long summer friendship, and some moments of peace that vanish in a heartbeat…
Housing.com is this new wonderful thing on real estate that everyone’s been talking about… Although personally I doubt I could find something there as wonderful as my terrace and these long-past moments with friends!
It’s an important date. It used to mark anniversaries of a past love. Year after year of gifts and romance, cards and special surprises, then absence, distance, bitter fights to coming back stronger with a sweeter love. The aging date stole time from under our young, naive eyes, only to throw them back at me as memories of a lost dimension.
5 anniversaries later, I started resenting the lost years of stumbling through life unquestioning, unaware of who I was and where I was headed. I was restless, and I knew this time the upheaval was far too big to be subdued under compromise. I knew then, that I would always be restless in love. I would always be certain only of what I don’t want, and always seeking what I want.
On 21st November last year, I bade goodbye to my first love, scared of letting go and guilty of having hurt him. But my instincts told me I’m doing the right thing. A year later, and nothing has changed; but nothing’s the same any more.
Who knew so much could happen in a year, especially so much of what would ultimately be remembered with either sadness, guilt or regret? I believed I was still the same person inside, just doing things I didn’t usually do. It’s just a phase, and I’m living someone else’s borrowed lifestyle of excessive partying, drinking and occasional screwups, I kept telling myself. Well, not anymore. This girl is sobering down, it’s done and resolved.
The date is still significant. This year the clock struck 12 and time passed by a drunk me in a stranger’s arms. It gave me a good hard much-needed slap on the face. It left me wringing my hands in despair, and the more I thought of what I’m doing the more I fell into depression, terrified of confessing to anyone for fear of being judged, and completely clueless of how to get out of this mess.
So I wrote this post and decided that if there’s one thing I knew about myself, it was that I’m not a coward. I told myself to take a deep breath and start by being completely honest, without fearing who I might lose in this process. Once again, this date seems to have woken me up from a deep stupor.
I guess now the date marks my years of stumbling down an unknown path, stubbornly alone, just as unaware of who I am, and just as sure of what I don’t want.
My leg slipped, and I felt hands trying to pull me back up. But all I saw were expressionless eyes and cold hands. So I let go and fell. I could see rocks jutting out, twigs and tree branches. I could just put out a hand, and try to let myself escape with just a few bruises, but the hand wouldn’t obey. So I told myself the twigs would have snapped anyways. I kept falling and hit the water below, hard.
Instinctively I took a large breath before going under. I found the water welcoming. I felt it engulf and wash over me with a sense of peace. Until I opened my mouth and gulped water. Until I realised I couldn’t breathe, but I wanted to. I tried to move my arms and legs but they got heavy and the water kept dragging me down. Down below the surface where I opened my eyes and looked around to see nothing. Looked below, and saw rocks at the bottom. But I hadn’t hit rock bottom, not yet. The fall had been too effortless.
The lack of oxygen was closing in, suffocating, pressing on all sides. I felt the sharp sting of tears pierce at my eyes, constricting my remaining air supply, gnawing at my own self-pity. And then I realised I was still waiting for someone to come and save me. I was waiting for someone, anyone who cared enough. I believed there would be enough ripples on the surface for someone to look into the depth.
And then I thought, ripples fade and soothe the surface. The water stays calm until the next storm. I had no breaths left to wait for someone to cause another storm. I knew how to swim, I just needed to remember how to send the brain signals to get my arms and legs kicking.