You will be fine.

Women.
Women who are mothers to us, worrying how we’re making it. What we have had for lunch and just when are we going to marry. Those who became mothers recently and are basking in it’s glory, even those who don’t think they’re carved for the task. Single mothers being a set of parents to their kid. He is going to ask you someday who his father was. I don’t know what you’re going to say.

He didn’t want you, dear.
She stands outside the obscure clinic, her face covered, awaiting her turn. They’re going to extract a part of her and set her free. Free of this judgemental world.
Women who love their husbands and women who are loved. She wakes up to snuggle up to him and he wraps a hand around her. Life’s good.
Women stuck in a loveless marriage, unable to get out. Where will I take my kids? What will people say? My parents will not take me back.

Women who go to sleep, cuddled next to their pets.

And then those who finish a sandwich on their way to office, tackling casual sexism as they drive. Women who are bosses and those who are subordinates. 
Women that bleed every month and yet try to pretend they never have it. They can climb mountains on their periods. Why should people get to know they’re having those days of the month. The shopkeeper discreetly wraps napkins in newspaper and then puts it into a black plastic bag. She feels like an undercover agent delivering a package to Matt Damon.
She watches him do that and wonders of she should be as ashamed of menstruation as he is.

Women who shout slogans and those who rather post a status update. Hashtag outrage.

Women who stand tall in the face of obstacles.

You will not go outside to work.

You will not apply for a job.

You will not drive.

You will not go to school anymore.

You will not talk to boys.
Women who carry on their heads bricks to construction sites and lament the builder’s cut in their pay.

Women, truckloads of them trafficked across states to be used as maids in upscale residential localities. Listen, you will take care of my kid and manage the chores while I go to work. Memsaab I don’t like your husband touching me. 

 To be sold to pimps. To enter a vicious never ending cycle of exploitation. Women who deal in these women without hesitation.
Women sweeping our corridors so that they can pay for the education of their children. Those of them beaten black and blue by their men.

Women motivating other women and those that pull them down.

We are friends.

Sisters.

Our own enemies.

Women who work and those that don’t. The ones creating magic out of words. 
Women who are looking for love and those that have given up on it. 

Women who are achieving milestones. Women witnessing these women and wondering what they are doing with their lives.
Then there is a tribe of those that find recluse in gossip because that’s their escape.

Women adhering to stereotypes and those challenging it.
I know that We are the same, all of us. Our stories make us different, have us grasping at reality differently.

Some of us affixed like rubber stamps into categories.

Good

Bad

Beautiful

Fat

Bitch

Cunt

Whore

I don’t understand how we make that distinction. We are misfits. 
Impossible that every woman finds a mention here but those that I have seen and those I know of, do.

Us

We don’t seem to be able to get any closer, and that’s the problem.

Anne Frank

You and I,

We talk in monosyllables-

The usual stuff,

Like how life has been pulling us down,

And in screenshots,

We narrate conversations.

We are not getting any closer,

I guess.

I want you to tell me,

If you like watching stars

And whether or not it makes you feel irrelevant.

I don’t want to talk about the weather anymore.

Explain to me what the wind makes you feel.

Do you wish you were home?

Dear You,

Dearest,

I don’t know you. I have no idea what demons you have been fighting lately. But I want to listen to what has been bothering you. Go ahead, I won’t judge I promise. 

Tell me what you’re afraid of. Tell me how you feel this morning. 

I have been there, not wanting to talk. I lay on the bed, not trying to sleep neither wishing to stay awake. Nothing someone says reaches me. It feels like they’re talking from the other side. And I just nod. I just let them know I am listening, their pauses validated by ‘hmm’ and ‘yeah’

And I have been there, wishing I was dead. What brought me out of this wasn’t well meaning support or words of wisdom. I just gradually became indifferent to the anxiety. It still exists but I think I handle it well. But I know, that is not how you’re supposed to grow out of agony.

You’re supposed to be loved.
So I don’t know who you are, but I’d be the person I needed when I was down. 

I am here. You’re not alone.

Yours.

A

If a machine gave me extra time

I am a banker by the day. People usually try to imply that my life is easy. I have a 9 to 5 job and not much pressure. How wrong that is! 

Often I am so tired that I just want to hit the bed as soon as I get back home. There’s enough pressure to give in to. But I don’t cave under pressure though I am at a loss because I cannot write. I cannot write as often as I want to; as much as I want to. 

If there was a machine that could give me extra time, I’d write novels.

I’d write novels in the stream of consciousness narrative, a peek inside the mind of a paranoid person.

I’d write that story set in a post apocalyptic world that has gone to the dogs. 

And another about a woman who finds her lost love back again in a terrorist attack and tends to him, rediscovering passion and herself.

I will take you inside my nightmares where bodies lie piled up at the Town centre, only to be stripped of whatever material they might be possessing on them before they are scooped up by cranes and dumped in a gigantic landfill.

A bus plunges into a roaring river and what the thoughts are of one passenger who narrates it to you. From the moment the bus skids off a bridge to the second life leaves her body. You are going to read every detail. 

Take my hand and enter the world of someone who has lost all hope. Walk in his footsteps only to discover the footprints stopping right before a ledge on the terrace of a highrise. While you walk, I will take you through everything that brought him here, gave him the assurance that death was the better option.
Yes, if I had extra time, I will be prolific.

Am I allowed to feel?

If it’s okay,

To kiss you like we are in a dream, about to wake up,

Then I’ll hold you up against the wall and do that.

If it’s okay,

To talk about the stars making weird shapes,

While we desperately want to fall asleep under them,

Then I will create a canvas of shapes as far as your eyes can stretch in a gaze.

Look that’s a heart, I mumble sheepishly.

If it’s okay to stand on rooftops and feel the wind on our faces,

Drive a skyfall across my skin,

I’ll want us to fly.

To test these shallow waters that keep us inches in trepidations,

If we are permitted to love,

I will dive in still for answers.

Do we sink or stay afloat?

And now I know that I am okay.

It is alright,

To talk about what is not important,

At one in the silence of the night,

And

It is allowed,

I am allowed to feel.

Books!

The daily post weekly photo challenge in its latest challenge asks us to take a photo of what satisfies us. My first thought went to my books. And I won’t lie and tell you I have read the lot that I have, the satisfaction springs from having them, and finding comfort in the fact that one day I’ll pick up one that I haven’t read and will gain a new experience at minimal effort.

Have some faith.

I don’t find answers in your faith,

But you do.

And maybe we can go on living like that.

Maybe I can stop sneering at your traditional ways

 and you can keep from the thought that I worship the devil.

I don’t.

For I’ll need faith for that.
Carry on,

If you find peace,

You head bent over in front of idols,

And deities.

Books and shrines.

Mountains and rivers.

Fire and the sun.

I am but a blot on another dot,

In a cosmic space that boggles my mind,

And I tried faith to give me the hope that

There still was some hope left for us.

I am but moving towards death like you,

Trying to avoid the inevitability,

Trying to make sense in the truth that,

I am not worse off than you.
I have seen you shrug and brush off a tragedy as

The will of the Lord,

And resign to the cajoling that,

In the end,

The faithful ones shall attain redemption,

While I’ll be queueing up at the gates of hell.
I,

The faithless,

And yet neither you nor I are saved from the end.

Regret

Tell me feelings are,

Made of lumps in my throat.

Made of an uneasiness that springs around my heart,

When you go on,

Unstoppable,

On about what I do,

How I hurt you,

How I never listen,

And all of this in a spiteful breakdown.

On about what I think,

And everything I have ever chosen when I could.

Why should I speak at all,

Everything I say will be used against me;

so I don’t.

What do you like?

There are a lot of things about life that I don’t like. It’s short and so uncertain, so often ends abruptly. So much about this world bothers me too when I can’t do anything about it. But today, I decided to make a list of things that I like.

  1.  Books

          Yes, I smell books. I order books when there are some already waiting to be read. Books are truly the friends we seldom acknowledge. In books I find comfort. Through the voice of those that have left us and those that continue to inspire us, I find that I can overcome my moroseness about death and existence.The world they weave exists like another universe in my mind. Places and people overlap simultaneously, from Elizabeth Bennett to Chacha Choudhary. Books were my first love and will always be.
          2. Music

          Headphones in, I can conveniently forget the world now. Some songs catapult me into the past and sweet nostalgia. While others intensify the uneasiness I have at heart and bring tears to my eyes. But in the end, music soothes. Music is my answer to the nights I have trouble sleeping.

          3. Mountains

          Photo by Aparajita

          I have been to the mountains once, with my brothers. We went on a trip to Darjeeling and I fell head over heels. As I watched the peaks being kissed by sunlight while I sat in the car, it overwhelmed me. I got caught in the meaninglessness of this existence when I stood before the towering structures that have been here forever. If asked to choose between the mountains and the sea, I know it will always be the former. It felt like home out there.

          4. Relationships

          My parents, siblings and I are not always on the same page on everything and I guess that’s allowed. We are allowed differences and inspite of those, we can always be confident of having each other around like pillars you can hold on to.

          Amongst my relationships my prized achievements include retaining a few very good friends. They’re few, but enough. I don’t need a hundred friends who be unavailable when I need them. I just need one who’ll be there. And one, is enough.

          5. Cakes and pastries

          My friends now know how I love these sweet delights. To indulge into a cheesecake or a heavenly black forest feels the right thing to do, any day. Like a child, I look with a longing at delicious pastries kept in the display at bakeries. I used to joke that marrying a baker would really be convenient for my cravings.

          6. Poems

          Poets say so much in terse phrases that it astounds me. 

          I shall be telling this with a sigh 

          Somewhere ages and ages hence: 

          Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, 

          I took the one less traveled by, 

          And that has made all the difference.

          The poems I hold dear to me talk about time and death. They give me the comfort of trying to find order in a random chaotic universe. Poetry offers the solace that is often snatched away by an existential crisis.
          When I started making this list, I was at a loss. I was unsure if I could list even five. And I did. But there’s more! There are a lot of things that I like. This list isn’t comprehensive. There’ll be at least twenty lists like this one- at least a hundred things that I like! 🙂