Sunday, December 29, 2013

I can be my hero, again

"I'm a damsel. I'm in distress. I can handle this."

Melancholy is a very seductive enchantress. Victimization is so mind numbing that one knows not when and how one has plunged into the depths of it and is now addicted to the sedation of regression. The reverie of getting back up after having fallen down again is a clever mistress that doesn’t let you go till you are its slave and don’t want to go.
Love, added to the mixture, makes the concoction highly dangerous.

Love, hence, has its side effects too if one knows not how to rise with love and is content with being a passive recipient of it, as most women are particularly likely to be. I say the first part out of my personal experience with unbelievably intense love that besides making me experience heaven, slowly led me to forget what it was like to be my hero. And the second part is derived out of my understanding of the impact of our cultural symbols and motifs on women.

The whole process is so subtle, particularly if one has a source of unconditional love to fall back on no matter how small the issue is or how many times one has already made a call, that one barely notices all that melancholy drags down with it. At the end of the day, no matter how much one is egged on to stand up and no matter how lovingly one is helped to stand up, one keeps falling time and again due to the sheer lowering of the threshold of frustration tolerance that has taken place somewhere in the process. 

I tell my love today "just see how strong I'm gonna be from now on. I'll make you proud of me. I'll be like before" And even before the day is over, I have resisted calling him some ten times and finally give in and take it all out with another crying spell. Am I depressed, I wonder. That can't be, for I'm supposed to know depression; I study psychology. I tell my love that I'm ashamed of myself and secretly fear that I'm losing my mind. But he lovingly applies a band-aid on my ruffled self and I make another determined promise to be strong. In the lap of sleep, I lay my anxieties to rest. In the series of horrible dreams that I have been having since some months now, the next day tops the chart. I analyze it through and through for what it could mean (we have just finished psycho-dynamic therapies in class). That only worsens the matter and my hunch that I'm losing my mind is stronger. I let my guard down at one point and am less discerning of my listener. Somebody prescribes me an anti-depression tablet and diagnoses my problem as stemming from lack of spirituality. I die a little, again. I confided to the wrong person.
And, if one has seen oneself as a warrior of light for most of one's life, then it's not hard to imagine the beating one's self esteem must have taken. I am practically drowning.

And the only way left for me now is to go up.

Analyzing my state of mind has not led to much. I have only drowned in self pity at what I have become. I'm no longer a person of action, no longer harsh on myself. I'm no longer my hero. Yet I analyze some more, and this time, with brutal honesty. I am ready to admit that my obsession with my love could have contributed to it too.
I realize that have taken on the role of damsel in distress after my love re-entered my life and drowned me in love, making me come face to face with my hitherto un-recognized need for love and pampering. I have loved fairy tales since always but only in the last one year did I get to live a fairy tale, as well as my childhood, that I had never lived because of being the archetypal eldest child that is never considered a child. I have vented all my deepest resentments and taken out all of the latent hostility buried inside in the safe, containing, I dare say therapeutic relationship provided by my love. I have been given the opportunity to be cleansed but I guess I have loved bleeding so much in the cleansing process that I keep holding on to the remnants so that there is some more work to do. Knowing that there is not even remote possibility of male chauvinism entering the picture, I have let the feminist in me sleep and have acted more like a toddler than a woman of substance I like to think myself as. I have let down myself.
It's high time I reclaimed my self.
And I know what I need to do.

I promise not to fly to the bed or the phone when I’m in distress. I’m simply gonna write about it and better understand it in the process. I’m gonna resurrect the blogger in me again.
I promise not to dig up my past in order to better appreciate how much I’m understood at present by my love. I’m simply gonna believe that I deserve to be loved so, as he keeps telling me, because of who I am and how much I love him. I’m gonna love myself again (and this time not as a defence but as true valuing of myself).
I promise not to keep comparing my present with the golden years I had so recently lived that lasted so short. I’m simply gonna go with the flow and do my best. I’m gonna be my hero again.
I promise not to brood and die some more when I fall the next time. I’m simply gonna get up before even I myself notice. I’m gonna be brave again.

My new year resolutions, yeah. Why wait for two more days to get up when every pore of your body is dying to, eh?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Because love is worship

Poetry and prayer- there could be hardly any more beautiful ways of expressing awe, wonder, love and gratitude. Whereas one makes me express my love for God to the world, the other allows me to do so directly to God. Yet at the same time, they are one and the same. Poetry is prayer and prayer is poetry.

Since childhood, God has been my mainstay and best friend. Naturally that means I have been a God-loving person since always. My prayers, no wonder then, are out of the ordinary. I speak to God in a hybrid language (Odiya + English), the way I would talk to any familiar person, and my reasons of praying are myriad.

Rare bouts of maturity make me ask for divine grace. That's my word for all the little little miracles I encounter everyday that make me fall in love with God's genius more and more. There was a time I hated the word leela. Now I'm wiser enough to appreciate it for what it is. God doles out for me my share of little little tragedies too, but the way I am always surrounded with various means of overcoming all the hurdles and how I come out shinier and stronger after every run in the washing machine, makes sure I still have my faith in God very robust.

Instances of experiencing beauty, make me grateful and express my appreciation of the genius that God is. "God, You're brilliant" is my first utterance somehow, on seeing a beautiful scenery or an act of kindness. At times my love makes me feel the same too.

At other times, it's about keeping me on the right path and keeping my loved ones safe and happy.
All this doesn't mean I don't chant mantras. I do. Many people my age find those to be superfluous. I don't. I have my experiences to speak for. Mantras give me a sense of order and energy, (and some exude peace). Earlier, when I was dealing with the usual adolescent phase of questioning all second hand values of parents and society, I had questioned the need of talking to God only in Sanskrit. Over time I came across the fantastic explanation (by myself, beat that :D) that just like I would like my love to serenade me with poetry, even though poetry is not an absolute must to make me listen and melt with love, I realized God can be allowed to have his favorites too. Of course I don't know for sure if Sanskrit is indeed the favorite language of God, but with all the beauty and sophistication that there is in that language, at least to me it appears like it stands a good chance to be that.

I like my God to be perfect, yet relate-able. That's why I project ideas like these onto Him. What I believe my God to be like, is only for me to decide. Not a priest's, an agnostic's, an atheist's or a person of another religion who has objection to my idea of God. My conception of God is He who is the amalgamation of all the qualities that I see as the loftiest and aspire to myself. Why is He necessarily a male? Well He is both, Ardhanaarishwar, but I say Him for want of a better pronoun. Why this post? Well, I thought I don't think of a reason before writing about one love of mine; I need not hence before writing about another.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's 5 years now!

Five years. My blog has been my like my shadow, witnessing and recording much. I’m practically ashamed of my first score of posts but I don’t delete them just to be able to keep track of the changes my writing and my life experiences live through. On this day five years back, I published my first post on this blog and going through some of my earliest posts I can see the changes and all that have remained much the same. Today, I celebrate five years of this companionship. 

On this day, here's a quick list from yours truly of her favorite posts on the blog. Do breeze past some :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

While we kiss

My heart beats to the harmony of your breath on my face,
Fast, fleeting, nervous and suddenly still like death.
I live, hang in suspension and live again,
And recognize that I never actually lived till now.

The rhythm of your lips moving on mine,
sets me into a waltz, of rapture, euphoria and ecstasy.
I go up and down the alleys of drunkenness
Dancing to the tune of divine enchantment.

I drink the intoxication drop by drop, and in buckets,
That your fingers work on the nape of my neck.
And drown deeper, and deeper, while we kiss
Into the illumined oblivion of boundless love finally let out and expressed


I'm Gonna Miss My DU Days

Memories, like clouds, float away in the sky of my mind, forming mesmerizing patterns I can’t help being in awe of. The day I bought my admission form and told God that I would make myself known here, my experiments in the practicals in first year and having to hunt for subjects, the moments right after I finally got through all of the pre-admission formalities in college hostel finally, my moments of unexpected success in various creative writing competitions, my growing compatibility with the girl in whom I found my best friend for life, my silent tears inside the blanket when nothing went right for my dissertation work, my retail therapy sessions in Kamla Nagar market and the run for trying to taste each and everything special to Delhi in the last month of 3rd year, my home-sickness and love-sickness right before exams every time with utter disregard to level of's funny how many bittersweet moments and completely aha moments I have beheld and lived. I'm spellbound by the wealth of memorable experiences I have had. 

Meanwhile, as my eyes run past the buildings, the roads, the buses of Delhi for the last time for I don’t know how many years, I want to live each moment, each sight I behold, each breath that I take in. I seek to soak in all that is still left to me of Delhi while savoring at the same time some of my most memorable Delhi moments. On a slightly different note, hopefully I'll never have to board this Kalinga Utkal Express ever again even if I have to come back to Delhi. 

One chapter of my life comes to an end, a prolonged end, today. Well, so does one stage of my growing up.

In these three years of college, I discovered myself and myriad colors of life revealed themselves to me that I never would have known had any one piece been missing- be it psychology or my professors or my friends or my PG and the list is endless. For reasons I’m not sure I can elucidate, I connect all of this to Delhi.  My dreams, my growth, my destiny are all in my mind irretrievably embedded in Delhi. 

I connect my growing friendship with Banaja inevitably with the North Campus streets and the dining area in our PG. I connect the acceptance of my love's re-entry into my life with that single-seater room on the 1st floor of my PG and all the baby-clips I bought in Kamla Nagar celebrating having found a reason to pamper myself. I connect my growth as a to-be-researcher to the numerous discussions in the corridor of the psychology department of my college with Dr. Kapur. I connect my resilience with my trysts with the college hostel and college library that gave me more than enough number of opportunities to test myself. I connect with my feminism the numerous talks I had the privilege to be present in as part of the audience. I connect my changing ambitions to the various lectures in my department and my unforgettable lecturers. As my Delhi days end today, I have some very beautiful memories that like wisps of clouds in a clear blue sky float in the sky of my mind and bring to life moments I never knew to be holding such beauty.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I gave them life, and their life I took away.

Incessant blabbering. 
Periodical pangs. 
The former meaningless; 
the latter too sharp. 
They are me but I don't recognize them. 
They have been let loose 
and have grown to unprecedented heights, 
fell to unprecedented depths. 
They threaten to consume me. 
They are eating me up slowly since long. 
I can't trust them to become complacent. 
Questions. Memories. Feelings. Fantasies. 
Cruel romanticism. Crude reality. 
Blanket of darkness. The stubborn flicker of light from afar. 
Struggle. Numbness.

The serpentine swirl of red-hot naked emotions, the labyrinth of internal dialogue that you know will only lead to a bottomless pit and the lethargy that prevents you from shutting your mind up and letting you breathe...all lose their potency when exposed in the form of black and white.

They look human, and hence vulnerable. I can now touch them, my inner demons. I can now tame them and turn them into another one of my ramblings that my readers would read, and.perhaps like. I depersonalize them by turning them into fodder for a writer's work. A work of art. I turn my enemies into raw material for my finished work of art, to be examined, turned up and down and even dissected, and at last perhaps appreciated, by my readers.

I start playing music. My demons cry out. I leave my laptop on the table and take out a letter from my drawer. I sit on the edge of my window. I take in the words of the letter. It's the first love letter my love gave me. The breeze and the love oozing out, infuse life into me. I lift my eyes up when a drizzle starts to make my arms wet. I smile.
My demons have been  demolished.

They will be reborn. 
They will be demolished again. 
A writer's tale. Old one.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The cloak of melancholy: 'No ordinary love story' series

Dressed in tears, her arms beckoned me
The man in me was eager; the human, apprehensive-
Will I be able to carry the burden of one more soul?

I didn't deliberate; I took the leap, unsure but determined
Those tears had to be wiped away, forever
And my sweetheart had to be adorned with only happiness

I caressed her salt kissed cheeks 
And brushed away her damp strands of hair
Her head she then placed on my shoulders

I told her my stories, and she told me hers
Her narratives brimmed with tears 
But I was there to contain those

By and by, she started smiling again
Tears didn't disappear though
I kept trying harder and harder

She told me how happy I made her
I realised my love had also grown manifolds
Life had happened to us; life in all its glory was shining upon us

The tears had dried but they refused to die
They used to confuse me no end: what is lacking still?
I didn't like the feeling of helplessness those salt drops flooded me with

I lived with that searing helplessness for years hoping I'll ultimately succeed
And one day, perhaps having sensed my struggle
She kissed me on my forehead and said- that's who I am; I'm not going to change.

Apparently, the cloak of melancholy was as much a part of her
As were the bones and flesh beneath it.
I stopped struggling, for I knew there was no victory to be had here.

And strangely that was the end of my love for her.

Note: Love is a very less understood term, and is often confused with gratification of needs. If one's needs are being satisfied and one is effortlessly able to satisfy one's partner's needs, then the numbness of compatibility clouds one's consciousness and the lofty ideal that love is remains unrealised. One's all consuming need to nurture and protect, whether people need it or not, can often be the one pervasive pattern that runs through all of one's relationships and this facet in a romantic relationship was explored in this poem.

Read the first part of the series here- No Ordinary Love Story I, and the second part here- No Ordinary Love Story II.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The rain reminds me of you

The rain reminds me of you love. 
Everything that the rain does with me, to me, reminds me of you.

As the raindrops slither down my arms, 
It feels like your touch love and my heart blithely skips a beat. 
My eyes close and my lips unfurl into a smile 
As a drop caresses me on the lips and for a moment stays there.
The touch of your finger there is what my mind instantly conjures up and can't stop thinking about. 
Your breath on my neck is what the breeze feels like 
When it tries to reach me there through my open locks 
And as it playfully pushes them away, it's your fingers again. 
To me, the rain is you love.

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Windows and Me

It's only fitting that the song playing in the radio now is "Jeene laga hoon, pehle se zyada..."

I'm in love. With rain; with my large windows and with this beautiful genius of God called life.

I grew up in houses that have always had huge windows, thanks to my parents' penchant with the same. Sunlight used to flood all the rooms in the daytime nad we never had to switch on our lights till close to sunset. I had, however, like all things too easily available, never fully appreciated their worth till I moved out for college. The first year in college was still alright in the sense that I stayed in the college hostel that had balconies and one window in each room. The next two years during which I stayed in a paying guest accommodation made me fully appreciate, down to feeling suffocated and perhaps even SAD (seasonal affective depression), the actual worth of windows- the bigger, the better.

And this is only half of what my windows stretch upto :D

I write this while rain and breeze together romance the tall coconut trees spread all around the flats I can see from my windows, and these windows, I must tell you, extend all over one side of my walls :) I'm one of the minority amongst those new to Mumbai who are actually yet to be irritated with the constant rain. Why, I'm actually in love with the rain! I'm in love with the breeze that makes sure I haven't missed AC in my room and I'm in love with my windows that make sure I get to know whether it is morning yet without having to consult my mobile. Imagine staying in a room, all alone, for one year, that didn't allow you the faculty of knowing whether it was day or night if you didn't have a watch on or your mobile phone on the bed! The alone part wasn't problematic since I'm an introvert plus had a few good friends in the pg as well but having no windows made it pretty difficult.

From a lane in north Delhi in which buildings were all huddled so close together as if parts of an omnibus building stretching the entire lane, to a flat in suburb in Mumbai that accords me all the privacy as I would have wanted from my windows that remain open all the time, it's been an amazing journey of realizing the value of little little things we never come to appreciate for their easy availability. I originally come from a sleepy little town in Odisha whose easy pace of life and luxury of space I never truly appreciated till I shifted to Delhi and now it's a full circle again having been blessed with a place to stay in Mumbai that makes me feel like home yet at the same time makes sure I don't miss Delhi too much.It's a nice balance and yeah, I'm loving my new haven :) 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lives may end; Love lives on

Love is not meant to bind one to anything, even if it is to anticipated fears. Love is not meant to make one weak and dependent. True love is always a source of infinite strength, security and joy.  If it's not that then something somewhere is wrong. Yet the equation is not so simple when you understand that there's one thing you can't really conquer with your infinite love, no matter how much faith you have on your loved one's love for you. You become more and more scared, more and more insecure in your love when you realize that there's one thing that acts as the ultimate leveller and takes away everything, no matter how gifted, special and good you were since always. The more attached you are and the more good and pure your love for someone is, the more you start fearing it for it so happens that death is the inevitable end of every story. 
Turns out it's actually not.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears. Alternatively, when you really, badly, and badly as in absolutely in a soul shattering state,  need and seek help, it is unfailingly bestowed on you. 
I can tell you; it has happened with me far too often to let it go unnoticed. It happened again, today.

I have been racked by questions of death, reincarnation, eternal love and the like in the recent past few weeks. The more I loved and the more I realized how lucky I am to be loved by a person whose love for me can match my love for him, the more I have grown distressed by questions of our not being together forever. The more I realized the beauty of this life and the genius of God lately, that this love has made me appreciate better, the more I have caught myself deliberating on what would happen to me if I live to see more days than my love. It may sound utterly silly and ridiculously far-fetched but a few knots here and there have meant that my line of thinking can't be any different.

I have been an emotional wreck when alone with myself in spite of a steady career and personal life. My guy is by the way extraordinary in not having ran away from this relationship considering how often his normal statements with neutral intentions have made me cry, and cry incessantly, for some chord used to be touched that feared our separation. Everything else, I'm confident I can deal with but the prospect of death has since long made me feel very helpless. It doesn't help that personally I haven't faced death in family, friends and close relations yet.

Today I came across a book I have very often heard about, highly recommended but one I never chanced to pick up for my library at home. I had half a day with absolutely nothing to do and so decided to give it a read in the college library. It was 'Many Lives, Many Masters' by Dr. Brian Weiss and having completed it a couple of hours ago, I'm to a great extent a lot more changed with respect to my fear of death and separation.  

 It's not that I haven't been told about reincarnation, past life remembrance and stuff but coming from a renowned psychiatrist, and like this, has brought my mind to peace. I'm at ease now with regards to the existential despair that was haunting me since several weeks and will now, hopefully have far less reasons to cry. Jokes apart, I highly recommend this book and specially to all students of psychology.You may not be interested in parapsychology (even I'm not) but chances are you will end up taking home a lot of life sessions at the end of the book.

I didn't intend this post to be review of the book so I leave it to you explore it further. Here you go: Many Lives Many Masters.

Lives may end but love lives on.  And it is this love that keeps getting our loved ones closer to us in the cosmic labyrinth while we are on our quest to settle our respective karmic accounts- paying off debts and experientially learning lessons. Call them guardian angels or anything else, it is heartening to know that our loved ones will be with us in our coming lives too in whichever form that is chosen by their karma. That's my take home from the book amongst many others. To repeat myself, I highly recommend it.


My TISS Story

It's funny how hazily we may first come to know about what turn out to be the most significant areas of our life. The way psychology happened to me, and of course psychology in DU, would make a very interesting plot for a novel I could write someday. Same goes with TISS. I had no clue about it's existence till late 2nd year of graduation, let alone it's selection procedure but once I got to hear about it from a senior and that it's entrance is pretty tough (which was enough to attract me at that point of time :D), it seemed like the whole universe actually greeted me with a barrage of TISS related information and conversations. Before I knew, I had heard so much about TISS, all good of course, that I was highly motivated to give the first stage of the entrance my best shot.

The first stage happened and I ended up being one of the highest scorers (with 90 you see :D). This was enough to let me dream boldly and actually think that I could get into TISS after all. The best part was, the introduction of a new course that perfectly suited my future goals and present interests. For my honours in graduation i.e. psychology, there was just one course in TISS till last year i.e. Counselling for which I wasn't very keen. This year, so that I didn't have any reservations about joining TISS and not DU, they introduced Clinical Psychology (by the active direction of God, I being His favorite kid you see :D).

The next two stages went satisfactory and what happened in-between is of no consequence now. Well nothing much...I just had terrible result anxiety and ended up having bad mood swings and irritability for no apparent reason, but that's as I said nothing much, is it? They tested our patience by delaying the results but you know the super high scores in my score card managed to do well in appeasing my temporal annoyance *grinning from ear to ear* Fast forward one month and now in June I'm here in Mumbai, in the cyber library of my college, having attended all three days of a superb orientation that made me fall in love with TISS all the more.

Bathed in hope and wrapped in a warm sheath of faith, I look forward to the beginning of a new life. It's in a way a continuation of my previous years in terms of what I have always wished to do and new in terms of leaving me with hardly any choice but to give life my best shot yet. I'm all charged with an energy that borders on frightening me and I can't wait for this energy to be properly channelized once the classes start. Students of other courses have their classes underway already but we people have to wait till Monday. Good Lord how will I pass this weekend!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Presenting God with Oscar Wilde & Others

After Whatsapp took everyone by storm, it's now the age of WeChat, very correctly described as "the new way to connect". WeChat in case if you have just landed from the moon, is a social app that does the amazing job of gathering all of your sharing and communication tools in a single place! And this includes video calls, text messages, and images. Ask me, and the best feature of WeChat I would say is 'group chatting'. 

Now, if I were to have five people with me in a WeChat group with whom I could connect with, and preferably with all of them together, I would have with me *hold your breath*: 
  • Albert Einstein (his wit has fascinated me since always, I dare say as much as his hair and expressions)
  •  Oscar Wilde (I'm currently reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and you should know what this book can do to a person. Btw I didn't like the book, rather it fascinated me. There's a difference between the two.)
  • Sheldon Cooper (if you don't know him, you might as well come and shoot me)
  • Jack Sparrow (quite obvious, going by the first three names)
  •  God
As to why I would like to have these five people and not others is quite obvious. Read along and you will know. Before that here's a peek into how exactly WeChat works: here.

Alright in my dream WeChat group, I would have the conversation to start by having Albert Einstein ask a few questions to God, which Oscar Wilde would obviously have the answers to (he has the answers to everything) and which he would answer before God has finished. Oscar Wilde being Oscar Wilde. There would then ensue a debate of the kind that has never been witnessed before (*devillish laugh*) between Wilde and God. 
Meanwhile Jack Sparrow will try to impress me with his witty aphorisms and the still wittier epitaphs he has thought for his corpse. I know this sounds uncharacteristic of him but Jack Sparrow has a penchant for doing the outrageous you see. 
The three of us would heartily enjoy the debates on hedonism, puritanism, morality, art and religion still continuing unabated between Wilde and God. Neither of the two would ask for our validation and so we would be content not adding anything to it. 
Sheldon would, however, and uncharacteristically, talk a lot- not to impress me of course (there's Einstein in the group after all) and not content with what I would already have by then, I would gradually incite Sheldon to join the discussion going on between Wilde and God.
 I would not be disappointed. 
Einstein and Jack Sparrow would have a gala time getting to know each other while trying to win me over (which means I'll have a gala time too) while we witness the world's most interesting discussion between the other three in the group. By and by, all five would get involved and no matter how the debate ends, I'll have the last laugh.

P.S. This post was written for the "WeChat with Anyone, Anywhere!" contest on Indiblogger.

New Girl in the City

"The thing about Mumbai is you go five yards and all of human existence is revealed. It's an incredible cavalcade of life, and I love that."- Julia Sands

People it's Mumbai for me now! I, however, do not claim to have known all of human existence already (just in case you were misled by the way this post starts). Having spent three amazing years in the city of my dreams, Delhi, now finally I'm in the city I had dared not fall in love with during my first visit lest I should encounter a massive heartbreak if I didn't make it through the entrance. For those who know about TISS, I need not say anything about it's selection procedure. For those who don't, suffice it to say that you can never be sure that you will get admission here, even if, as in my case, you are DU topper and were the highest scorer in the first stage. Anyways, this post is about Mumbai and not TISS as the latter will keep featuring in several of my posts in the coming two years. I'm a TISSian in and out already and you will tire of me singing its praises in anything remotely related to it that I write on :D

Sweltering heat and humidity welcomed me here but in less than a week I have tasted it's monsoon- buckets poured on you even before you have got your raincoat out of the bag and put it over yourself. I have had several misconceptions shattered and horrible myths busted about Mumbai in general and Mumbaikars in particular. From having heard that Mumbaikars don't give a shit about each other, I have had umpteen instances of people ever so willing to help that I seldom came across in Delhi. The simplicity in dress largely is something I had totally not anticipated. Yes, there must be sections of milieu I haven't come across till yet but in 4 days of roaming in several parts of Mumbai and interacting with quite a few in the three days of orientation in college, I have had some experience from which I can safely draw my first impressions. I'm in love with the weather and I'm not complaining about the rain. I only don't like it when I'm wet before my raincoat is out due to which I'm carrying an umbrella as well now :D And yes, the breeze! I have got huge windows in my room and the breeze keeps me cool minded amidst my grumbles about how most of those I have met in TISS sofar are not really so much into social service as a true TISSian would be.

I have traveled in local train already and unlike I had expected, it's now my preferred mode of travel when I need to go somewhere outside this area. There is somethingly outstandingly exciting about a train halting for just 20 seconds in which people need to get aboard as well as get out!
My college is just 15-20 minutes' walk away from my flat which means I walk to college. The best part about Mumbai so far is that I can walk home after dinner in college dining hall at 9:30 in the night alone and without fear. Whereas in Delhi this would have been an hour of dread for a woman without a male companion, it's nothing out of the ordinary here. Whereas in-time there was 7:30 or maximum 8 p.m. (and 10 p.m. in the lenient hostels), here one can walk home at 12 in the night without a thumping heart or go for chai with friends at 3 in the night.

Alright I can see that I have been comparing Delhi and Mumbai, which isn't fair as it's been just a week here. There are many things here that I can appreciate without necessarily comparing those to Delhi, say, the street food. I have tasted almost everything that is common in Mumbai and have loved every single bite except for the fact that there is bread in almost every item :D The pav bhaji I had in Juhu Chaupatti was out of the world totally and I am still in awe of how surprisingly inexpensive street food here is. The one necessity of life that is however unfortunately pretty expensive is parlour charges. To get threading done, I have to shell out double what I have so far in life over and above the fact that the beauty parlour right opposite our main campus offers special discount to TISS students! Getting to hear Hindi generously sprinkled with Marathi words in the morning, thanks to our always smiling maid aunty, is another thing that amuses me. The tapori way of speaking (say, humko jane ka hai) always reminds me of Bollywood movies and it feels a little uncomfortable that I can make out absolutely nothing when I hear Marathi.

The beaches are not as enticing for me as would be for most others, as I originally belong to Odisha and have had my flings with beaches. The sea, yes, remains one of the things that inspire the sleeping poet in me and fill me with a sense of awe and amazement and I mean to visit it quite frequently in the winter. The Nariman Point in the night is indeed what it is famed to be and sometime in the near future I'm gonna visit it at night to partake in the feel I couldn't have enough of, this time.

Another good thing for me here is inexpensive public transport. The autowallahs here have already impressed me with their honesty  as every one works according to meter (not to be expected in Delhi) and here I go in comparison mode again, which I guess I can't help. By the way, they call you back to return a rupee if you paid Rs. 20 and the meter shows a rupee less. They rarely refuse to take you to some place though I confess that I had to roam around for 15-20 minutes in rain, in vain, asking autowallahs to take me to my place three days back (turned out that I was in the wrong direction and due to the rain and traffic nobody could perhaps wait to tell me that). I maybe a little biased towards Mumbai, thanks to my first visit here two months back and thanks to TISS, but my instinct tells me this love affair is going to be as good, if not better, as the one I had with Delhi :)

Friday, March 22, 2013

The scary prospect of Holi approaching shortly

It's that time of the year again when I'm scared of all men. ALL. Including 6-7 year old kids (who could turn worse when they actually become men).
After two safe, unmolested years in Delhi, I was finally hit by water balloons this afternoon. Two in a day. Both by kids humming raucous Bollywood numbers and giving me a 'stare and keep standing at your own peril' kinda look. Certainly not funny. I don't find it, not a scintilla of it, to be 'in festive fervour'. Sorry dude, I'm not so sportive.
I have been way too lucky these two years, escaping being hit, by whiskers; my reflexes surprising me umpteen times a day just before Holi is in the air. I mean, it sort of strikes me as unusual. You know what I'm talking about if you live in this part of the country.

It's not like women don't play Holi. Many do. Many enjoy it. Some admit it to be their favorite festival. Playing with family and friends should be ok I guess, where getting wet in the middle of the road and feeling violated are out of the equation. Even if one plays with mud, egg yolk or you-know-what, as far as the woman has given her consent and is enjoying it, I believe it's alright. I mean, yeah, I admit, women too can and do enjoy Holi. But that in no way means, I should try to enjoy it too. I can't take the 'it's a Hindu festival, a gift of our culture, a time to let your hair down, forget everything and just soak in the colours and enjoy' argument. My body and my choices are my property. I decide what to enjoy and what not to, be it a festival or a party. The culture of my country doesn't get to decide that. And herein lies the problem. Though there's nothing inherently misogynistic in Holi, people have made it so by forcing it upon the lesser mortals (women walking on roads or on rickshaws) who for some or the other reason fail to enjoy it. The festival gives one the license, in the name of culture and having-fun and stuff, to engage in molestation.
Yeah, I call it molestation.
Modesty is a subjective issue and being made wet in the middle of the road does enrage me and does outrage my modesty. It might be innocent fun for others. For me, it's not. And for the nth time I repeat, I hate Holi.

I've been criticized for criticizing Holi as anti-women. I can't be criticized anymore of exaggerating things. I had a first hand experience of the 'fun' today. One gotta be a woman, walking on Delhi roads, with quick steps and heart racing even in the daytime, to know what I'm talking about. And if you don't understand, keep good distance. Defending Holi is waxing eloquence on hidden misogyny and more importantly, I'm not in the mood to take in any more shit.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More love coming my way

Entrance exams and dissertation work kept me busy in February and it's been close to a month since I last posted. I have much to share with my readers, needless to say, since all sorts of interesting things keep happening to me, thanks to the amazing sense of humor God has and me being me (His favorite child you see), as you dear reader must have figured by now if you read my memoirs in this blog. Anyways, I'll start with the two Liebster Blog Awards this blog has been awarded by Ashish and Srishti

First what this award is all about:

  • Liebster means you love some fellow blogger’s work and want to appreciate it by this gesture.
  • You have to post 11 things about yourself, after you get the nominations.
  • You have to answer 11 questions, asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • You have to nominate 11 other bloggers having less than 200 followers, like you were nominated.
  • Notify your nominations candidates by commenting on their blogs.
  • Post Liebster’s picture on your post as a gesture of acceptance.

Naturally, I'm all happy happy and being awarded this one by three bloggers(the first one by Anupam Sir) I really appreciate is the cherry on top my mirth. So here I go with 11 things about myself:

1.     1. I love reading. Classics, poetry, psychology, philosophy, politics give me anything but pop garbage.
2. I’m a bibliophile. Most of my pocket money goes on books and the mini library I have at home is one of my biggest assets. I feel good at the mere sight of a book and my dream date would be one in a library.
3. I love writing. It is the best way I express myself and only through writing do I manage to resolve conflicts of emotions and achieve clarity of thoughts. Often times I write to prevent my head from exploding.
4. I’m a good communicator but not good at conversations. I love public speaking and have been a good orator since childhood but I find small talk extremely difficult and tiring.
5. I love studying. Sounds odd? Well, blame my parents. I come from a family wherein academic achievement is the hallmark of a person’s capabilities and everything else is secondary. Did I have any other option? Love, by default, alas!
6. I’m an introvert (on my way to ambiversion). I love people (otherwise I would not have opted for psychology) but can’t tolerate too many of them around me at once. I have a very high need for privacy and solitude and there is nobody that I find more companionable than a good book. I draw energy from within and don’t seek many friends. One or two special friendships are enough for me.

7. I’m a feminist out and out. And I’m absolutely comfortable with the tag. I can stand everything but male chauvinism.
8. I’m idiocentric i.e. my orientation is individualistic. For me, individual achievements and happiness hold more importance than keeping the non-entity called society happy.
9. I find it difficult to stand loud, boisterous people a la Anushka Sharma in Band Baaja Baraat.
10. Love is what makes my world go round.
11. I believe in God. Lord Shiva is my mainstay, my emotional support, my best friend, my everything. I don’t know how I would survive if he were to ask me to stop talking to him.

Here are my answers to the questions Shrishti has put me to:
  1.     What does blogging mean to you?
    - Sharing who I am with the world
  2.     One thing that you can’t do but cannot stop yourself from doing it.
    - Writing poetry
  3.     If given a chance to go in past, what era would you  choose?
    - The Victorian Era
  4.     Who is your current crush?
    - Markus Zusak
  5.     What would you like to change about India?
    - Its social architecture
  6.     If there is one person that you are okay with killing or getting killed, who would that be?
    - The Nithari case accused who is still roaming free
  7.     If you could write a book what would it be about?
    - My love story
  8.     Who is that one person you can do anything for and why?
    - The person I love the most in the world, because, duh, I love that person the most (anything doesn't really mean anything :P)
  9.     One country or place you are dying to go to?
    - Dublin
  10.     Is there any law you would like to be abolished? If yes, which one?
    - Yes, the law that allows polygamy in Muslims
  11.     Being a blogger, how do you reach out to people and keep your readers engaged?
    - I try to write straight from my heart and not mould my content based on what most bloggers are writing about. I try to keep the personal touch and my distinctive style intact in every post and every topic I choose to write on.

oOk now here go my answers to Ashish's questions:

  1. 1. Who is your favorite author?
    - Jane Austen
  2. 2. What is your profession?
    - Student
  3. 3. Apart from blogging, your hobby?
    - Reading, listening to music
  4. 4. How many hours do you spend on blogging?
    - Close to half an hour at least on each post
  5. 5. What/who inspired you to write?
    - The storms inside that threatened to gush out through tears
  6. 6. Do  you feel, you could be a writer in the near future?
    - Yeah I do :D
  7. 7. Choose one: Money or Fame. Why?
    - Fame. I'll have as much money as I need anyways. No aspirations of becoming a millionnaire.
  8. 8. Are you socially active?
    - No
  9. 9. What came first egg or the chicken?
    - I'm too lazy to come up with some witty answer. You'll have to contend with a IDK :P
  10.   . Why is the word dictionary in the dictionary?
    - There's no reason for it not to be in the dictionary, you see.
  11. 1. Why is Liebster award so obsessed with the number 11?
    Oh, not again. I don't know.
     So, as per the rules I have nominated 11 bloggers whom I'm gonna inform individually.

     For them, my questions are:

1.     Religion or spirituality?

2.     Do you like partying?

3.     Who is your Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014?

4.     Barcelona or Manchester United?

5.     Blogger or Wordpress?

6.     Dream holiday destination?

7.     Which genre of books/movies do you enjoy most?

8.     What are your views on marriage?

9.     Did you study Sanskrit in school?

10.   Is Chetan Bhagat overhyped according to you?

11.   Did you ever get lost in a new place?

L   Let’s spread love and sunshine around. Amen!