There’s a light breeze this morning, and I can feel the monsoon preparing to let loose on us in a month or so. Monsoons are the loveliest times to be in Bombay. I feel calm and peaceful, and many things that bothered me earlier have been resolved. A couple, the major concerns, still remain, but I’m more patient now, because I’m not stretched on my resources. Looking at the bigger picture has helped me to maintain a relative calm when waiting for the consequences of these events, or else I’d be in tatters.
Inspired by that thought, I’ve written the short story below -
He was upset. He had no sleep last night, and felt bloated, constipated, stupid and ugly. After everything else that had happened, this was just the cherry on the cake. He could not drink the barbituates that he had mixed with alcohol. Drinking it all would take the continued courage he didn’t have. He lit a cigarette. The last of his pack. Why should he buy more in such expensive economy, when he didn’t plan to live?
He went to the terrace of his building. He wondered what a site he must make. A 3 day stubble, a faded grey t-shirt and short. He stood on the ledge. He hesitated. He could see the cars. Tiny as mice. He closed his eyes. This was the only way. He walked on with eyes closed, and simply slipped off. He didn’t open his eye no matter how scared.
He started losing consciousness, and last he remembered, he fell on something soft. A field in heaven? Perhaps, he thought.
He could hear electronic beeping of some kind. He opened his eyes. He was in a .. hospital. And a pair of beautiful, deep, intelligent eyes were staring at him.
“I’m the resident clinical psychologist. A new recruit actually. Just joined. I wanted to look in at you as they said that yours was an attempted suicide. Oh btw, you got saved because you fell on an open garbage truck“
He made a face. He could not even die successfully!
“I know what you’re thinking. Stupid garbage truck. But wait a moment. Both your ex-girlfriend and you ex-boss have been here.”
“What did they say?”
“That they’re sorry, they had no idea what they did would hurt you so much etc etc. One dumped you, the other fired you, if I’m right?”
He felt stupid and grumpy again. He grunted in consent.
“You liked my eyes, didn’t you? I saw your expression. I was blind until a couple of years ago, when after a matching donor and years of collecting money, the operation could be managed. You have no idea how difficult it is to manage exams and practicals with such a handicap. But if i’d ended my life before, I’d not have lived to see the day when I could..see, so as to say.”
That broke the ice. He looked at her in a queer way. And he wanted to tell her all that had occurred. But it all seemed so trivial when compared to her ordeal. And then he realized, your own problems will always look big because you are looking to closely at them. It’s like looking at pixels of the picture. You need to take a step back and look it at all to make sense of it, the big picture.
Still, he blurted all of it to her. Even this latest insight.
Then when she was leaving, she said, “I would’t mind a 3-day stubble actually. It’s sexy in a rugged sort of way”.
What do you feel when you are waiting for something? Results or consequences of an event? I realized I’m not a big fan of these periods in life, maybe, because the waiting period for too many things have coincided. More importantly, I’m proactive and so, waiting without being able to contribute much to how the outcome turns out to be, is all the more frustrating for me.
My board exams stretch from 6th april to 22 May, yes, and in between they called us for practicals, sent us back as the examiners didn’t show up (teachers’strike) and then called us again before a tough paper. But at least I’m glad its over. I’m waiting for a friend to be free so that we may go sightseeing here in Bombay, but even that isn’t conclusive yet.
There are some very weird things going on at home, the verdict of which I’ll know, after my exams. They have to do with my further education, and so of course, I’m tensed and anxious about how things are going to be.
I applied to TISS for my masters. They said the results would be out on the 12th, then delayed it to the 24th. And on the 24th I saw that I’m in the (wait for it) – Waiting list. Sigh. So if someone cancels their admissions, I may get in.
Lastly, I’m stuck in my weight loss regime. Need to lose those last 5 kilos that won’t budge. I’m even waiting for sequels of a book and TV series, but those are minor matter. I know that its only a month more, and that by May, the conclusions of all of this will start to cascade one after the other. Hope I have the strength to face things then.
I’m burned out by all the anxiety and I just want to hibernate for a while, till things, hopefully, take a final turn for the better. Until then, hoping that these events are worth the wait. I try to engage myself but the thoughts creep in.
My only fear is, I do not want to stop living life, while I wait for it.
The case of the moving bus gang-rape victim is all over the papers, I need not repeat it. But is this case only about a girl who got raped? Or its about a societal attitude that has cropped up in the most extreme forms?
Following the news, my parents (like many of my friends’ parents), have been stringent with where I go and what time I get back, among other restrictions. They are obviously trying to keep me safe, but in doing so, they are reinforcing the very notion that is wrong: Women are vulnerable, and need to be protected, that the outside world is not their place, and that if they go there, they will always carry a risk.
But its not only my parents that are wrong, many other agents in the society are. Death penalty, castration demands, fast-track courts, outrage – all are required. But they aren’t the solution to the problem. They are like the bucket you keep under a water leakage till you can get a plumber to fix it.
But this is what we do – we never get the plumber, and when the bucket overflows, we don’t replace or empty it either. Our outrage, like that of the past, will die within a couple of months, like it did with the Kenan and Reuben case, among many others. Besides, our outrage is shade racist. We don’t care much for women raped in Kashmir, for example. This woman, was raped twice. After the gangrape, she was raped in police custody because her brother joined militants. http://www.kashmirdispatch.com/sameer-bhat/211210446-shabnam-the-woman-who-was-raped-twice.htm . For the extended article, see - http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2012/Dec/23/kashmir-joins-delhi-gang-rape-protests-albeit-with-a-suffix-37.asp . Here, we are implying 2 things – that even the women of those regions who contribute to the economy of the nation are not safe, and backward in their views towards women, as backwards as remote areas, and second, that only people in such privileged areas are important, that only these’ peoples rights will be fought for, and that only the voice of the metros matters.
Besides the way we outrage, even the way we grow up is wrong. This two articles in The Hindu say what I want to say, rather well - http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/rape-and-the-crisis-of-indian-masculinity/article4214267.ece , http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/time-to-be-ashamed/article4214334.ece .
The basic idea of these two articles, is that most rapes are those where young males encroach upon the modesty and freedom of women who are just trying to work and carry on their daily life. But, somewhere, there is resentment. They have grown up having more importance than their wives and sisters at home, and they can’t digest it when these same weak women, take up jobs that should be theirs, and earn prestige they aren’t entitled to.
It is not only the young unemployed youth who have this mindset. In minor rape cases, constables often escort young boys and girls to hospital wards for medical examination, loudly claiming that ‘iska rape hua hai. Check karo’, apparently having no idea how it will traumatize the child.
It takes no genius to realize that he needs to be sensitive. But, he is just one of the faces among many. The many who feel that anyone who is weak can be exploited, and blamed. As if somewhere, he felt that it was the child’s fault that he was raped. (Or that he reported the crime? God knows)
We already know of cases where men working in the lower rungs of law enforcement themselves are wife-beaters, tribal officers themselves rape young tribal girls. In these, and many other cases, there is double or more than double victimization.
And this is not just the remote places that I’m talking of. Everyday, in each home in the city even, subtle sexism still exists. Maybe they do it because they feel they are protecting their daughters, but in truth they are not. They are getting them accustomed to the ways of society, but of such a rotten society, that it needs to be changed. Girls shouldn’t be asked to stop going out, but be equipped to be safe wherever they go out. And this is only a temporary solution – in long term – such measures should not be required - the society should be THAT SAFE.
People will tell me that what I say here is very idealistic, and that fast-track courts are a much more practical idea. Yes, they are a brilliant idea, to handle the level of problems that we have reached. But eventually, you will need to go to the root of the issue and treat it. And that lies in changing how the men and the women of the nation think.
India has been forever a plundered land. Be it by outsiders, or by those within. That needs to change. Not because women work, or contribute to GDP, or give birth to children, or are your wives or sisters, but because they are human and there is no other justification required.
(Photo contributed by @AdamFredie on Twitter)
No happy, inspirational insights, nothing to look forward to in this post. You may leave the page this very instant. Whatever I’m going to say next, is purely for my release.
Last night, I came to know certain things about an individual who used to be important to me. We had drifted apart anyway, but this piece of information made me go back to the time I had known that person. For whatever I knew was false, and a farce.
First i thought that i would have to change the way I look at every person I know, just because of this individual. But later, I realized that, I have to tackle things in such a way, that at times, I can trust whatever first impressions I got, and at times I can’t. And that emotion, when involved, blurs a normally alert mind.
This is a greatly unsettling feeling because, we always make certain assumptions about the general niceness of people. You know at the back of your mind, that there are all sorts of scheming, plotting, people who are exceptions to this.But you don’t expect someone you know (or thought you knew) very well to turn out to be a vile, cheap person.
There is a great deal of mental and emotional discomfort that accompanies this realization, and your beliefs are shaken. You need to restructure. And its your formerly hopeful self that faintly gets you to anticipate that after the restructuring, you won’t be disappointed again.
But you know it’s people you’re talking about, and nothing can be said for sure about them.
And that’s the unrest that will stay for some time to come.
Today is one of those days where self-doubt is heightened and social interactions minimal, unless you count the internet. What happened to bring forth this isn’t of much importance, because these things happen often. The point is, they bring out the worst fear in me : of the future.
Whenever something happens which makes me doubt that things would be smooth in the near and distant future, I feel helpless and restless. I am not kidding myself, I know we can’t predict the future. But one needs the guarantee of certain basic things staying as they are, and when I don’t get it, I become fidgety, and eventually sad.
I guess that the root of my discomfort lies in the fact that I’ve always wanted balance and that everyone ought to be reasonably happy, or at least, not sad due to my actions. But today, there is a forced realization, that somewhere, due to some decisions, some people might get hurt. What matters is the trade off : what has been compromised for what.
As time passes, my priorities will become clear. I will know what I want more, and what I’m willing to let go. And there will be discomfort, like the one I’m experiencing right now, as the resistance is wearing me out. But the point, I guess, is to not give up, because eventually, that’s the only strategy that works.
Although this realization doesn’t exactly lift my spirits, it cleared some things in my head, and that’s a start. For now, I will take a day off from people and my duties towards them, spend it with books and paints maybe, and hope that tomorrow, they, or the circumstances are less disappointing.
This post happens about 20 days later after the last one. I’m actually surprised the gap isn’t wider, for Third Year or Majors year has completely taken over my time!
I had taken up a freelance writing job, but had to leave it because I could not manage it all. My academics include anew psychological experiment every two weeks (and believe me, the two weeks are not enough to prepare!), group calculations of these findings, making notes, studying, conducting research, submitting project proposals (that will eventually culminate into projects, hopefully!), attending lectures, and lastly, travelling to and fro to college! What? It takes up quite some time, the travelling. Besides, it’s tiring.
So, my 10k per month job went down the drain. But, not only that, I have to make other sacrifices too! I hardly paint these days and the ink in my calligraphy pens has dried due to lack of use. The blog receives less attention. In fact, so does social networking in general. Except Twitter, because it is convenient to access on the move.
And being social with anyone except those in college has taken a back seat. I really hope my friends outside college will understand.
But then, would I be comfortable not working so hard in an important academic year? I have chosen to study something I love and dedication is probably not questioned on those grounds. But I have to deal with a lot of people these days, whose general level of pea-brain-ness appals and disappoints me. Besides that is the fact that, perhaps I need better time management.
Also, not all is lost. For example, even though slowly, I did complete the painting for my room, “The Royal Escape“. I am also able to try some new fonts each weekend.
Another good thing that’s happening these days is that I’m catching up on my reading. In trains or during meals, it’s easier to read a book as compared to my other hobbies. Since I haven’t gotten time to update my playlist, music is a second priority now (I still have 818 unassorted tracks on the phone though )
And lastly, I do get new insight regarding psychology each day. I will have a career in this field someday, and this is definitely a start. Besides, this hectic year will be over before I know it. And there is also the College trip to Kashmir. Maybe I will enjoy it all the more because of the being busy for so long? Who knows, maybe busy-ness is bliss!?
If you were to hear the people around you, you would feel that hopeless is the only romantic you can be.
I, however, disagree.
Because, the hopeless, typical vision is cliched, and has been made so by commercialization. For example, if all you wanted was a birthday card from your boyfriend, why does it make you happier if he got it from Archies, rather than some other lesser known place? Or made it himself? Shouldn’t the message matter the most?
This is the kind of image of love that has been put forward by corporations for their own benefit. It’s so well engrained that girls tend to feel “if he spends more, he loves you more”.
Such kind of plastic expectations will always remain unfulfilled because there is no end to such expectations. Thus comes the “hopeless” into the picture.
Besides, I also feel that if the person cared enough for me, they would come up with original ways of expressing their feelings. And, if they care, but aren’t creative enough, I’ll get bored with them anyway. (I value creativity highly)
When I tell people that I do not read love stories (unless there is some other element like adventure) and do not like being gifted flowers, they assume I’m some hardened woman, with no feelings and an utter hatred for men and relationships.
The assumption is unfounded of course. I realize that no matter how versatile I be, life eventually sucks alone. I value good company. I have been blessed with like-minded friends. And here, I’lll flatter myself by saying I am a fairly good friend to them too.
I also know the importance of a special person in life, a partner for the good and bad. But, I’d call myself a hopeful romantic. I will love that person, and give them enough space to coexist with me. I don’t expect us to celebrate anniversaries as if they were milestones on a road, but that we be happy with each other, and can do special stuff for each other, without limiting it to couple of days in a year.
I won’t expect superhuman things from that person. What is his fault, that he cares for me?
Everyone can make mistakes, and I will try my best to hear him out and not jump to conclusions. In this way, I feel, we can enjoy our time together.
Innumerable poems and paragraphs of prose have been written to cover the beauty of human relationships, and we still haven’t done enough. Therefore, there is no denying that human bonds are special. And for that sake, let us all not let money measure that for us. Let us all be hopeful romantics! Enough mushiness for now! Until the next post!