सहूलियत

छोड़ो भी,

क्या करना है जज़्बातों का,

रोज़ की आपाधापी में।

संदूक में भरकर इन्हें रख दिया है समेट कर परे।

जब आएंगे मेहमान तब निकाला जाएगा।
अपराजिता

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Letting go and holding on

What happens, when you’ve already taken the leap?

On the ledge, something keeps nagging you. I think the determination comes into full force when you’re staring down into the shallow still waters. You know the plunge isn’t going to kill you. Your heart is going to fail you before you make a splash and someone doubts they saw a person jump off the bridge.

But what if that’s not what happens?
You’ve jumped, and terror hits you. You’re mid air and it suddenly strikes you that life wasn’t that cruel after all.
Maybe you would have survived a rape.

Maybe you would have survived an obscene video of you out on the internet.

Maybe you could have survived failing in the exams.

Maybe you could have survived an abusive relationship.
I don’t know what it feels like when you’re letting yourself off. Pushing your feet into the iron railing,not for momentum, but one last call for help- pleading with your own self: don’t jump.
But if you’re midway, and the face the person who’d miss you the most flashes in front of your eyes and a voice that was suffocated beneath the one that urged you on becomes louder- rings like a siren in your head shouting: STOP THIS! GO BACK!, you realise your heart is stronger than you thought it’d be. It doesn’t fail you. 

And you wish you could swim.

Get me some love.

Honey,

Would you run to the store at the corner of the street,

And get us some fresh love?

We’ve run out of it I think.

There’s a little bit sticking to the bottom of the jar;

But that will need some work on it.

I have already tried everything I could think of.

Can you now see if you’re any better at it than I am?

But be careful,

What if the jar falls and shatters,

And we can’t tell shards from whatever remains of our love?

We wouldn’t want that.

Perhaps we can ask funny Will to sell us some.

Replenished with the spark everyone keeps telling us to get.

Though I wonder,

Do they sell refills?

Because I can tell darling,

We are going to be needing it often,

And it will never be enough.

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.

What makes me want to write?

The important question is this: Why do I write?
I have found entire worlds form around me as I turned page after page, reading what someone else had written. I find that words comfort me and can explain what I feel. 
When I read a sentence that goes:

The forest filled with the sound of birds chirping, as if it celebrated the birth of the boy.

As I read that, I have a picture in front of my eyes. And anyone who loves reading does so because the image the same sentence creates for him can be entirely different from mine.
Isn’t that wonderful?
I think I want to write because I love reading and I know what words can do to you.

Writers inspire me.

Poets create magic with their distorted perception of this world.

Novelists create entire universes full of unique characters between the yellow pages of an ageing book.
I write because I know, palaces will be razed to the ground but words will never die. And it is my shot at avoiding Oblivion.

Writing helps me cope with the dilemma of existing in the absurd. I place my life before anyone else and yet fail to find it’s purpose.

I write because it is much like talking to myself: unraveling the innermost thoughts of this mind and putting it out to censure.

Despair

Hoping against hope,

Wishing we didn’t collide into one another,

And neither collapse into a disastrous indifference,

I wait for us to come back to you

And me.

Through my days,

Your eyes smile through dimly lit corridors,

Shadows of light that I keep from filtering in,

Onto my scattered thoughts,

Spill all across the expanse of my memories of you,

Nevertheless.

I will sing songs that liken us to lost stars,

So that I know this can be ethereal.

And beyond my control is this world where we, bereft of gravity to pull us to one another,

Drift apart,
Over news and cups of tea.

My existential dilemma

To soil I return,
Crumbling into dust at the touch of your fingers,

After I have stopped thinking about this life.

A life that’s purposeless and important,

All encompassing and yet a shadow.

And I cannot fathom why we’re here,

Battling it out on a mantlepiece.

Do I stretch my thoughts to a quarter life crisis?

Do I read myself through scores of novels, both silly and grim?

This is about me: flesh on a heart that beats intermittently,

A person with a mind obsessed with my own perception of this world,

Melting,

Whisking away in embers the dying light of the day.

Wanting like the moon that leaves the sky once in a while and we never notice.

And it is, through numerous reruns into a past well forgotten,

I constantly become one with my million faces.
Aparajita

Wake me up

Wake me up,

When the sun isn’t so brutal outside,

And I don’t feel it burning a hole in my skin as I walk.

Wake me up when they have stopped looking for me.

When it’s dark outside for as far as you can see,

And you will know not a soul cares for where I have been,

When their gazes savor of a hungry voyeur,

Wake me up from eternal sleep.

Us

We are men and women.

Some of our days begin with odd jobs-

We are busy lifting things and loading them in truck, our soiled vests and a sweaty skin gleaming like polished shoe surfaces in the sun and yet by our own admission, we’re invisible.

We are driving autorickshaws, plying people from A to B, day in and day out. Some of these people sit at their desks and prepare reports that ought to be something substantive. Some of these people have people working for them, forging blocks of metal into sheets, the jangle similar to a steel plate slipping from my hand and landing on my feet.

And there are of us, wary people of the same mould, worrying over the same things simultaneously: the safety of our loved ones and the safety of our reputations.

We talk about anything under the sun- about women who were asking for it and about men who are bothering us. 

This isn’t a feminist rant. It is about you and I.

You begin your day in a rented apartment and fast forward to work where you elaborate on presentations. I wake up and go where I work. I wake up and mop,clean,brush and dust for the madam that leaves her kid in care and keeps a foot in her cubicle and another in the creche.

You run, jump,skip,hop over obstacles and everyday is the same except that sometimes, you die. Sometimes, we die.

But still, you chatter around tea shops, discussing politicians and cussing them at the same time and I drop by, alight from my car and take a sip of the streetside tea while posting it on Instagram. You wear your overalls while machines buzz around you, a constant hum while you go wham. I, a ten year old kid see everything differently. Your world is so drab. I want to grow up already and have a job to pay for what I want. And you keep telling me to have fun while I can. Growing up seems fun too. You sit by the side of the road with last week’s produce that didn’t sell but I can see no one will buy it today too. I pity you, old lady.

You tell me I should buy this insurance and you have targets to report. I have choices to make. 

These are just thoughts of a clueless mind about what we are, all of us.

Some of us can’t see colours. Some of us lose the will to carry on while others tell us their survival stories. I wish I could record all of this.

Men, women and transgenders because seeing the world in polar opposites is like trying to fit it into a zigzaw puzzle when it is not. It’s a seamless transition of states of matter. From skin to charred bone dust, from skin to termite infested flesh in soil, from present to the past. 

People.

People who marry the person they love. People who don’t like such people. People who have no qualms killing but find it difficult to look at PDA. 

Children who don’t know what discrimination is, but will find out when they realise growing up is not that bed of roses they imagined it would be. Children who refused to grow up and have to be trained at schools for children with special needs.

Children with parents and without them. 

This is going to take more than this. Maybe a series of posts. To talk about nothing else but us.

And to learn to empathize.

Black money? What black money?

Black money is actually money painted black. I wish this definition was true. But it isn’t. The topic itself is sophisticated enough to repudiate claims of ‘Black  money! Gone.’

So what is it?
In the simplest language, it is the fund involved in a transaction of an illegal nature.

That is, something about the transaction is fishy.
Daal me kuchh kaala Hai.

Often it is referred to as undisclosed income which is bad for the country because no tax is paid on it.

Suppose someone earns Rs. 50000 a month, he pays income tax on his income. Imagine he is a dishonest clerk in a government office. Of course he doesn’t just earn that, he also earns in cash and kind, in lieu of giving files a nudge. But does he pay income tax on that money? No.

So that IS black money.

But how will he use it so that tracing it back doesn’t give Sherlock a dead end?

He moves it through numerous accounts until it becomes difficult to trace and because of that, it becomes white money. Now he can spend it as he likes.

Main purpose of converting this ill gotten money into white money is tax evasion. 

For this purpose, he will also try to pay in cash wherever he can, so that it doesn’t leave a trail.
One presupposes that for black money to leave us, more than a billion people in this country will have to overnight become sincere tax paying citizens disclosing all incomes.

The irony is that the very discreet nature of black market prevents us from accurately calculating how much undisclosed and unreported money exists.
We have to stop bribing officials to do their jobs and they have to stop asking for their share.
That will not happen ,at least not for decades. 

Of course an economy free of black money is a great news but to make it true, the black market has to vanish. Poof! Into thin air.

The black market involves much more than just black money.

It is a vicious space comprising of any product or service that is:

Illegal

Regulated

Unreported

Unaccounted for
As long as any such commodity exists that has a law debarring it from being sold, people will find ways to sell it anyway. And so, not every item in this market can be regulated.

For example, child trafficking is illegal. Yet children are bought and sold. There is a flow of funds. Where does this money go? 

A sum total of all such funds is invested in tax free investments. They are invested in shell companies abroad, in countries that are tax havens and remitted back as FDI, as white money.

The black market will exist for counterfeit notes. Money gathered illegally will move inside this marked to be laundered before it can be used.
The scale of the Indian black money dilemma can be gauged from the fact that India is amongst the top countries in the world with huge amount of black money, billions stashed away in Swiss banks. I don’t see what efforts are being made to bring this money back into the nation. We didn’t follow up on the Panama leaks. Doesn’t send a positive message regarding our will to even chase these accounts.

Demonetization did not bring this black money in it’s ambit though it makes up for a sizeable chunk.
According to data from Swiss banks, if all the black money that has been kept in Swiss bank accounts is brought back to India, that would be 210 crores in Dollars. 

Only that we don’t want to. We don’t want to face the facts.

We were busy incorporating offshore companies when there weren’t sufficient regulations to control the black money markets.