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Young With Scabby Knees

Whether we be old or bald.

Sleepless with Morrie

There are a few minutes left until the clock shall tell me that it’s 4 in the morning and thereby unintentionally imply that I have stayed awake through yet another night. But this night/morning is special. I met Morrie tonight.

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It wasn’t until I had read three quarters of the book that I realised that the contents of it weren’t fictitious and that it was all true.

Morrie and Mitch, in 192 pages, condensed and consolidated so many of my thoughts that I have been trying to process for the last couple of years; amplifying the single chant in my being, something I have consciously striven towards for the most part of the last couple of years – (pardon the Bollywood trope) Follow your heart.

“Why are we embarrassed by silence? What comfort do we find in all the noise?”

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“I am every age, up to my own.”

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I convinced myself that my needs were realistic, my greed inconsequential compared to theirs. This was a smokescreen. Morrie made that obvious.

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Death ends a life, not a relationship.

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‘You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.’

I couldn’t bring myself to read or write meaningful words from the time I returned from Nepal. I gave a big piece of myself away to the country and to re-align myself with the world that I had left behind has not been easy. The ‘tension of opposites’ persists.

At such a juncture, ignoring the nagging feeling in my head (which was conceived when I read the back of the book and groaned at the prospect of having to read two hundred pages of self-help under the facade of a story) and trusting the word of the friend who owned the book, I started and finished the book in one night.

You won’t even realise how you cannot put the book down until you do.

May 26, 2017
Kolkata, India

Men & Women Are Not Equal.

Maybe it was the physical exertion resulting from ascending the 20-odd (give or take a few) kilometres from Tatopani to Ghasa, or the psychological stress and anxiety surrounding the trip to Nepal; maybe it was the release of a year’s worth of sexual and emotional frustration, or the unbridled exhilaration and disbelief at being able to complete the first day of the trek; maybe it was the ridiculously affordable and effective locally-brewed liquor or the canopy of stars blanketing the skies above me. The list of what can affect your menstrual cycle is rather long and unimaginative.

On the morning of the second day of the trek, I was awoken by an uneasy feeling in my stomach that immediately resolved itself to be the start of ‘that time of the month’. So there I was – ten days early, a person who has never been early even for a single day for all her post-pubescent life.

Disclaimer: Do you remember the girl, who runs around in white trousers while on her period, in the commercials for sanitary napkins? I am not that girl. I am the girl who falls unconscious from the pain in her belly and who the doctors tell that all she can do is pop pills. I hated helplessly swallowing down those pills.

I wasn’t alone and I did not want my weakness to derail the trek so I popped pain pills, sparing only seconds to curse the universe at large, as is routine, and started off. As I made the slow progress from Ghasa to Kokhethanti, I was quiet, breathless and alone for the most part, perennially lagging behind, ever so reminded of the fat to muscle ratio in my body. In the serenity of the world’s deepest gorge, amongst other things, my mind was a bundle of calculations.

Why can’t I tell my companions that I will need bathroom breaks oftener than usual? Why can’t I tell my companions that there’s a party in my uterus and I wasn’t invited to it? Why can’t I tell them that I need another minute before we start again? What is this strange sense of martyrdom that I am resorting to?

We climbed a mountain that day. I thought I was going to die.

The day after, we braved the infamous roaring winds of the Jomsom basin and crossed a river on foot. I thought I was going to die. I popped more pills that night and drank more local liquor (less affordable, the higher you are), the combined effect of which strung me up high as a kite. I slept like a baby that night, feeling triumphant, triumphant that in the war that my body was waging against me, it lost. I won.

It was the fourth day of the trek (and the third day of the period), when I couldn’t move a hundred metres without my legs giving away. I was foolish to believe that it would only get easier from the third day on. I was giddy and nauseated yet I refused to accept help or acknowledge that I may lose the war that day.

But I did lose the war that day: I resigned to take the bus. In the hours I gained by hiring a ride, staring at the dried blood at the base of my fingernails and biting down on bars of chocolate, I untangled the calculations.

Why is it easier to blame AMS for your inability to walk any further today? Consider this: once in every 35 days (barring the occasional irregularity), you are ill. Menstruation is not a weakness. Weakness assigns a sense of volition to itself. No. Menstruation is an illness, because what is illness but a condition of the body that you did not choose and only have an ounce of control over. You did not want to add to the prejudice against the physical abilities of women; to make matters worse your fat to muscle ratio also did not help your case. You wanted to prove that once in every 35 days, you were no less, but the truth is that you are less. Your body is expelling blood. Take the bloody day off.

Reaching the summit of the trek on the fifth day, at Muktinath, my happiness was still weighed down by the disappointment that I could not walk all the way, that I had somehow failed by revealing and succumbing to the ailments of my body.

I solemnly resolved to return, fitter and stronger, bereft of any malformed instincts to prove or validate the worth of womankind to mankind.

It is still sexism if you are trying to ‘equal’ a man. Women and men are not equal. Human beings, for that matter, are not equal to one another. Sexism only lies in the prejudices you derive from the differences.

Love Affairs In, With & After Nepal
India

 

‘Scribble: Fall 7 Stand 8’

Fall 7 Stand 8

It’s true for those who can count till 8. Octahedral systems. For those who live in 0 and 1 says – fall 0 stand 1. For those till 10 –fall 9 stand 10. For a human who knows infinity – fall infinity stand infinity.

No end.

She says it her way. Life. It’s an extraordinary thing. Feet, hands, languages, sweat upon brows, eyes with blinkers, eyes without blinkers, skies, water, snow, wind, trees, little feet, little hands, fire. So much fire. So many words.

No end.

And the sounds which flicker around.

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

‘Scribble: Sound through vacuum’

Sound through vacuum

I woke up before dawn broke and rode into the light with a weary heart and a heavy head. And I touched the clouds today. I’ve never felt so close to the clouds before. I’ve never seen the chilly mist descend from the skies above as I stand in a path that’s aimlessly meandering through the forest, much like I seem to through life. I was on my period and my body revolted with every step but I put my faith in my feet and it was surreal. On the ride back to the city, in broad daylight, I couldn’t believe that it had only been a few hours ago when the mist around me was white, and not black. Time did stand still. There was so much green and so much white. There was a moment when my body was worn out and I did not know where the path led nor how much time would pass till I would see civilisation again, and so I stood in the middle of the forest. The rain fell in sheets and the clouds poured in all around with an almost tangible mist. It was cold. I stood and absorbed every sound I could. The sound of the pitter-patter of the rain on the forest floor – so different from the pitter-patter of the rain in the city. The sound of the always rustling leaves. The sound of birdsong. The sound of the quietness in me.  It was extra-terrestrial. Words will not do it justice nor will pictures. It’s in my head and it’s better inside my head.

Will you see inside my head?

I would not rather. It will create civilization. It will tempt me to take out things and give in some things. Manipulations. Moulding. Let it be a mystery. Open. Wide. Infinite. We will keep on guessing.

Rather, I will tell you a story:

Someone was drinking with some other one. Each was trying to mock the other. They were slowly revealing the others truth just by guess. Arbitrary guess to the perfection. They could read the question playing in the mind of the other and they answered the others question to perfection. Perhaps that’s why people drink. They were slowly reaching a state, a combined one, where one could not bear the other though the opposite could also hold quite mysteriously. Then they decided to stop. They understood that it was impossible to reach that state. That state was meant to be left vacant for the lovers to love. 

One of them left only to return at the same place. The other one waited there for some more time. Then he thought why he should wait. Why does that thing always mesmerize him? A third person came from nowhere just nowhere and answered simply like an ad agency writer who writes those sexy lines for others to get stuck inside it forever. ‘To mesmerize you’. Then he left opening a new world to the other one. He slowed down. Drank a cup of sugary tea. He boarded a bus. He sat beside a window. The bus started. He fell asleep. He slept like an imaginary character from Ramayan called Kumbhakarna. After days he woke. The bus stop where he was supposed to get down had passed. He had missed calls from home. The conductor asked him to pay the ticket. He took out an arbitrary ticket from his pocket and showed it to the conductor. The conductor got satisfied and told him to get down like a father to enter a newer world. He had lost his sense of direction for again a time. It was spinning locally like an electron in a local field. He travelled towards the direction where the bus went, perhaps inertia played locally. Then he got rid of the emotion and turned. He put his hand inside his jeans pocket. He could not find his handkerchief. Perhaps the bus stole it. He looked back to see how far the bus had gone. Seemed quite a bit. Let it go. He ran towards his home.

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

‘Scribble: Everyone understands the whole thing’

Everyone understands the whole thing

Much is soundlessly shattered in the vacuumed spaces of my consciousness, which in itself survives in fragments. I stare at this sentence. It came right through me which is to say I wrote it before I thought about it. And now I’m thinking about why I would say that. I survive in pieces. I don’t mean badly by it. I think i mean, replacing a single identifiable emotion is a fragmented microcosm of sorts. Between those pieces, there exists a vacuum, and in it, there’s something undefined clawing into me. The basin inside the Inferi-infested cave in Harry Potter that did not empty unless it was drunk from? Like that malicious basin, the vacuum latches on inside me filling me with hate that never empties. And, as I live on, as I give off pieces of me to the places I see, to the words I read or write, to you, to others, to the strangers I make meaningful eye contact with, and to the world I strive to reject – there is less of me and more of the vacuum. The pieces I take back with me don’t seem to replace those that were taken from me. So, there is a terrible incongruity inside, where nothing fits; and the more I see, the more I read, touch, feel, understand, breathe, move – the less I know. Like an infernal cycle, diabolically enough, what helps me sleep seems to make life worse as well as better – all at the same time. So I constantly build a fire, burn in it and rise from it, only to build, burn, rise on and on. Like a paradox. A paradox in limbo? Sometimes the scales tip in favour of one and i burn a little more or rise a little more. Or build a little more. And the face in the reflection is alien. The flesh and bones feel alien. Even the air i exhale feels alien. I’ve listened to music in the last month more often than i have in my life prior to it. I’ve logged more hours at airport queues in the last month than i have in my life prior to it. And it should feel like i’ve won more civil wars than i’ve lost, yet it only feels like i’m losing. The ‘win’ feeling, that adrenaline rush, doesn’t last very long. A slightly more lasting moment of peace is when i’m looking at the sky. And i’m almost sure that it’s where i want to be. Elsewhere – Skyward, perhaps. Sometimes i want to toss every relationship, all kinds, i have to a trash pile and never look at any of them ever again – assert free will by a cold detachment. But i also know that it would only make me a sum of my experiences. Sigh. I can go from 0 to 100 and back so fast without control, my mind starts to spin. I’m tired. I feel mad. Nothing fits.

The thing and the anti thing takes our lives away. Only to reinstate the belief. Big Bang and Big Burst every instant. 

Nothing + nothing + nothing + nothing +…………………………….= Something finite. I think that’s what you would call a sum. It made me mad. It makes you mad. It will make us all mad. Mad is a pretty word or a dangerous word?

The door knocks or the reverse
Infinite laziness
Mysterious laziness
Fucking laziness
like I will vomit
the mountain will crash
The plane would land
Ice will melt
Fire will burn
The cloud will form
The hiss of the snake
Difficulties in the geometry
Sweat

It will make all of us survive throughout. That’s all we want. Right?

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

‘Scribble: An Inter-View’

An Inter-View

She asks
“Is it necessary to have boundaries?” the heart asks the imagination.
Ever so often.
Can’t we fly, can’t we dance, oh can’t we live.

If I think the entire thing as fixed as something which has an end and then a different beginning I will confuse you like a spinning electron in a local magnetic field. Where was it? Where we go?

We say these things. We say of isolation. We speak of stratosphere, ionosphere etc.

For example: When asked to name a thing when given the description. Each of us thinks all the possible things it could be. And then the teacher makes me stand – I answer it’s an apple. And then the teacher makes you stand – You answer it’s a pear or whatever. Someone says another thing. We were thinking of all these things, the boundary was expanding as newer things got introduced. And then when asked to answer we name it to be an apple specifically or a pear or an orangutan or whatever. You I We cannot even guess verbally or quantitatively the possibilities of this set. Heck set does not exist.

No boundaries. Transition from this to that with simple precision.

But why do we say? Because we were questioned. Again who made the teacher question? So already there is not a boundary to the thought. You can see that things are losing its way to break rigidity. It breaks with light speed away to somewhere. Nowhere. Yet there is no boundary. The sink and the source. 

We are flying. We are falling.We are dancing. Why don’t we feel it?

Again an example. You are walking at 5kmph. A train too walks at 5kmph. Can you see the train moving?

Likewise we are doing these things along with everyone else. Hence we cannot see it.

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

Scribble: ‘…Mumbai Kolkata India Asia…’

…Mumbai Kolkata India Asia…

5:51am on a Mumbai Wednesday

Everything is loud. I’m awoken by the sound of waves and a strong breeze carrying the whooshing sounds to them. I can hear the sea, relentlessly crashing upon the shore, wave after wave. I sit up straight and stare. Ah, fuck sleep.

Everything is loud.

7:38 pm on a Kolkata Tuesday

I wish everything is loud.

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

Scribble: ‘Contradictions or Similarity’

Contradictions or Similarity

Almost everywhere the eyes can see, they are met by a plethora of roads, freeways and highways that snake around and above the too tall towers, the too small blue-topped shacks and the occasional clump of green, all shadowed by an unending rainy haze. There are little drops of water, along the edges of the window railing, waiting to lose the fight to gravity. Sometimes I like those little drops of water more than I like rain. I sit down to compress everything that I am feeling into words in ink and paper with a trembling hand. It is only then that I realise that I don’t feel different, that I don’t care about a city or all things (pertaining to a prosperous, degenerate human civilisation) that mar the said city. Is this what ‘shapeless’ feels like – that leaving home evokes no sense of nostalgia, that finding (or losing?) your own place in the world evokes no sense of apprehension?

Hello, world.

Is it a mirage or an oasis?

You are trying to do a thing in your way. You are unique. I am trying to do the thing in some way. I am unique. Yet we are connected and similar and same by the Grand thing. That is the fucking beauty. When I see smoke rising up from my hand it reminds me of the ice that sublimates. I am responsible too for the loss in ice.

We still like filling up the gas balloon and disperse ourselves praying ‘May the balloon fly away to infinity’. We light the balloon and with the final prayer let it go. And then someday the magic indeed starts happening. You meet the still flying balloon. It holds. Breathes. Springs you up. Hopes.

We are not saints in this old mars world. Geometry relocates us we relocate ourselves for ‘  ‘. We see bare spaces and get excited but once we become familiar to that space we lose interest and move on. We see that the space is not bare or that it is barest to the extremity. We move on to understand a new form of the same geometry misguided by the sounds of the atom bomb the light from the sun the water from the Ganges the touch of the fire and get tempted that there might be something new. We chose some newer curves as and when it comes in our eyes. We try to recreate that same fucking thing over and over again inside our skin in the hope of finding some new pattern but we get bored even faster than the last research space. Then after a hundred research spaces we calm ourselves down. We take another route ‘en route to Paris’. We take a cleverer decision. Human needs education in every field he tries to put his hands in. Some degrees some formal courses to see what are they trying to say. And then one bright morning after having taken a few million courses wakes up. Extremely confident starts writing his own paper. His new paper which will be read by someone like him 10 million years later and get motivated to write his own.  In the process 10 million trees will get wasted to create some prize. The prize called ‘Nirvana’. Never mind.

Hello, World.

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

Scribble: ‘After Time’

After Time

A smattering of rain, irregular traffic, skyscrapers that dare scrape the sky and poverty that dare be ubiquitous, claustrophobic hotel rooms and cute bell-boys greet me. I greet back.

Hello, world.

Nobody gives a second person a chance.
I will call that an after time experience.
The second needs to create.
The first is always a giving class, in general.
We tend to get a bit fuzzy when we think of our lovers.
But the lovers keep on motivating us like hell.
We will do some talking now in our dreams.
I can share our conversations tomorrow perhaps.
We will keep on trying.
We will in some way.

I don’t remember now what was it that we talked about.
If I remember I’ll come back to that.
I know a man who can love and count till 19.
So whenever asked about his age, he cool-ly says ’19’.
19 is a magic number to him.
The 19 Ampere current flows cool-ly too from the eyes of his lover to his and creates a mild intoxication.
Like 2 half pegs of vodka or whatever taken with time in a naturally cool place  and then walking out in the Sun.
Perhaps in a cold afternoon.
The lids close to the perfect magnification.
You smoke and the breeze or the cold warmth or both carries you along.
The leg just walks.
The eyes just see.
The mind just thinks.
And the song plays.
And then the things might get rattled up naturally.
The mosquitoes bite you.
Then you think of the electronica of the partitioning.
Craziness whips you down.
You then try to hide the smell that was getting bother-less-ly removed from your intestines some time earlier.

As I walk through a maze of human bodies and squalor, side-stepping puddles of muddy water that the erratic rain leaves behind, a gentle breeze slips like silk through my fingers. My consciousness without permission fragments and my fingers, of their own volition, feel forlorn. The rest of me takes stock of the world as I pass it by, one step at a time, but my fingers.. my fingers are forlorn. The breeze rekindles in them memories of a yesterday, of a you, of a me and of ‘inside jokes’ that our interlinked hands held and kept. I stutter in my step but ever so slightly. The maze thins a little.

The just 19 Ampere current hit you hard and fuse you up.
Then you pass by a colourful house which gives you cushioning.
A colourful madman.
A kingly beggar.
A confident clerk.
A filmy auto-driver.
A not too serious scientist.
A philosopher who plays football.
A businesswoman who plays cards.
An analyst weaving cloth.
And my grandmother cooking steady and creating abnormal stuffs with wool.
Things nurture you down to that zero state.
You become ready for a new 19 Ampere current.
It might bog you down a little faster but that’s okay. 
A mystic who abuses.
That’s okay.

Hello, world.

Scribble: Just throw it. That’s all we can do.

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